Pew Pew Laser Blog

Code. Glass art. Games. Baking. Cats. From Seattle, Washington and various sundry satellite locations.

Past Blogs

Unclaimed Property.


I received a letter from a "private investigator" saying that, for a mere 20%, they could recover a pile of money that was being held for me. Phf! They wanted to keep one fifth of my money? I think not. I was pretty sure I could find this money and recover it myself. (The husband performed a similar bit of fiscal conjuring about 5 years ago via some government website.) And I was right.

Oregon and Washington state (and many others, I'm sure), hold money in trust from refunds, lost payments and the like. There are websites where you can search for your property and get the paperwork to re-claim it:

I found several claims available for some family and friends. Take a look for yourself. Don't spend it all in one place.

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Phoenix Mix Ornament.


An orange, red and yellow ornament made of blown glass I made this ornament at a "Blow Your Own" event at Art By Fire. This particular mix of frit makes me think of phoenix; the mythical firebird.

I was pleased with how this ornament came out. I like being able to see just a bit of clear in-between the opaque bits of frit. You can get a sense of the motions which created this ornament by the shaping of the colored bits: the bottom of the ornament is blown out while the top is squeezed in.

As always, thanks to the husband for the lovely photo.

City Layout.


Some cities have their streets laid out in a Cartesian coordinate plane, with the "NW", "SW", "SE", and "NE" street designations relating to the four different quadrants. Once you discover the origin (0,0) of the city, you can generally navigate without familiarity of the named streets. For instance, the origin in Portland is Burnside and the Willamette river. So, 1500 SE 40th would be about 15 blocks south of Burnside, on 40th.

This practice is probably more common in cities that were deliberately designed, and younger cities. Unfortunately, this very simple navigation equation can break down when faced with natural topography such as large hills and lakes. (Seattle and Camas, I'm looking in your direction.) Regardless, this concept was immensely enlightening when my dad explained it to me many many years ago.

Change Those Passwords.


Come on folks; don't leave your device's password at the factory setting. Change it to something anything other than the default.



Snickerdoodle Cookies While these aren't my personal favorite cookie, they are my most requested cookie. The husband and many co-workers agree that these are the best snickerdoodles in the world. I keep the cinnamon and sugar mixture on-hand in a small jar; I re-use it for the next batch of snickerdoodles, or on buttered toast. Here's the recipe.

Too Many Emails.


I've signed up for quite a few commercial emails, and I'm pleased by most of them. The glass shops email me class schedules. The Space Needle emails me coupons. The library emails me when my held books are available. I want those emails; I get actionable information and useful coupons.

But Eddie Bauer sends way too many emails. They emailed me every day in the 5 days before Christmas. On average, I get an email every other day. At first, I signed up for the email list because it seemed to be the only way to get the frequent buyer coupons. (It isn't, actually. They mailed me a $10 certificate at the end of the year; and I bought a $9.99 sweater. They paid me a penny to take the sweater away!)

The frequency of emails really irritated me; just how often do they expect me to come into the store? Then I set up a message filter in Thunderbird. Now Eddie's emails are quickly filed away before I even see them. Problem solved.

Compilations in iTunes.


My iPod's Albums menu was cluttered up with albums with only one or two songs. The Artists menu was cluttered up with slightly different name variations, such as "Julie Andrews" and "Julie Andrew and Rex Harrison". The answer to this mess is Compilations, or the "part of a compilation" setting in iTunes.

Read more about it here; scroll down just a bit to "this week's Ask iLounge column".

I'm already pretty compulsive about getting album art onto all of my songs. Compilations add a whole new way in which to be obsessive compulsive about fixing my iTunes.

Troublecat is Trouble.


Miss Ingrid wearing a paper bag's handle. Our Miss Ingrid has a well earned reputation for causing trouble. Here she is modeling the evidence of an escapade that didn't go so well.

We had purchased some slippers decorated with large fluffy feathery bits, and left them in a paper bag on our nightstand when we went out. When we came home, this is how we found Ingrid. She had been going after the irresistibly fluffy slippers, and got caught inside the bag's handles.

She eventually found a way free of the bag, and probably spent the rest of the afternoon under the bed. We cut her loose after we had preserved the moment for prosperity.

Don't Start Your Own Web Site.


Do you have a homemade or craft item that you'd like to sell online? Are you thinking of setting up your own website to sell it? Don't. Odds are, it'll about as effective as arranging your wares on a card table on the sidewalk outside your home.

Go where the shoppers are. Use, say, Etsy. Or eBay if you must. Sell your stuff where people are already looking to buy something similar. This is akin to setting up a booth at Saturday Market. (Or in front of San Francisco's Ferry Building, or Seattle's Pike Place Market.)

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