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Door Handle Inside Interior Blue Driver Side LH Left for 93-97 Corolla Prizm

I just got this, and installed it. I’m hoping it works out better than the previous handle(s).

A few years back, I purchased a four-pack of door handles, and installed them. Some worked, but some promptly broke within months.

The singles ones might last longer. They cost more, and they have an “UH” logo on them.

The cheaper ones in a four pack don’t have the logo, and have a red plastic sleeve.

I suspect the four-pack is for dealers selling used cars, to fix up a car for sale, so all the handles are the same color and new.

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Curve Headset by Sentry from DD’s Discount, Cheap

These are shaped like Apple earpod headsets, but with a rubberized surface, and in different colors. The audio is mediocre, with a thin bass, but the microphone is quite loud. The mic hangs a little bit low, so be careful about dragging it across your clothes.

All in all, a decent super-cheap headset. I’ve paid more for worse, unfortunately.

Update: the connector is flaky. It might be a broken wire, or a bad plug. This didn’t last long.

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Skullcandy Simple Headphones Blue, Skullcandy Ink’d Headset from Ross, Cheap

These were $4 for a pair, and I thought I was getting a headset, but it’s just headphones. Headphones with no mic! Arrgh. I had to go and buy a headset. Fortunately, it was cheap, and these are good. They come with two sizes of silicone plugs, so you can get a comfortable fit. The audio quality is solid, with a nice bass.

Generally, I’ve had good luck with Skullcandy brand headphones. The audio is good. The build quality is pretty good – not as good as Apple and other higher-end products, but solid. The price is fairly high, if you don’t get this kind of closeout.

This was a $5 pair, and is the best headset I’ve had in this price range. Key features:

  • good mic, and not too sensitive (too sensitive turns out to be a problem because it pick up noise)
  • decent wire that doesn’t break
  • low price as usual
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Retro Microwave Ovens with Rotary Dial Knob Controls

A late 2020 overview of “old-fashioned” microwave ovens with knobs instead of keypads, divided into three classifications: small “easy” rotary knob models, “retro” style digital models, and commercial microwaves.

These are often sold as “for seniors”, but that’s really a euphemism for “poor eyesight” or “dementia”. The reviews tout the easy interface, but to think that seniors can’t handle a complex interface is absurd; these are the people who drove stick shift, rebuilt carburetors, invented the Internet, and and transitioned from manual electric alarm clock radios to digital electric clock radios. Some even managed to program their VCR clocks.

Contemporary microwave oven interfaces are almost as confusing as setting a VCR clock.

Continue reading Retro Microwave Ovens with Rotary Dial Knob Controls
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I’m really cheap and kind of low-income and am trying to find or fix audio equipment, because the stuff is so expensive.

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Sold: Vintage Rice Cookers: National Rice-O-Mat SR-18E in Chrome, Hitachi Chime Omatic RD-4053

For sale: The Hitachi on Ebay.

For sale: The National on Ebay.

Showa Retro home appliances. These are two classics, the single-button National, which is probably from the 1960s, and the switch-and-button RD-4053 that must have been in production into the 1990s.

Following on the heels of the successful Toshiba ER series rice cookers, Matshushita, under the National brand, produced a similar rice cooker that required only a single inner pot.

The National rice cookers would become hugely successful around the world, and are still produced under the Panasonic brand. This style is still available outside the US, in some parts of Asia. (The Panasonic brand started as “National Panasonic”, and then just Panasonic. The company eventually changed its name to Panasonic.)

Meanwhile, the Toshiba design would be exported to Taiwan and produced by Tatung (Datung), and its successors are still in production today.

Hitachi’s innovation was obvious: there’s an on-off switch, so the cooker can be kept warm.

The switch enables you to keep the appliance plugged in. By this time, all rice cookers had a stay-warm mode, to keep the rice hot, so the bacteria would not grow. In Japanese households, the rice cooker was, basically, always on, because rice was eaten with every meal. There was no need for an “off” state.

In the US, the power switch allowed you to shut the cooker off, wash it out, and then keep it on the counter for the next use, which might be more than one day in the future.

The Chime-Omatic did exceedingly well in Cajun country.

The National cooker is unusual in that it sports a chrome finish. The iconic rice cooker came in white. Some were painted in an ivory or creme color. I never saw chrome until I bought this cooker.


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Retro Stereo Project

I’m putting together a stereo to sell. My target price will be $200.

Videos at Google Photos:

Video at YouTube:

This stereo was pieced together from my personal stereo and thrift store purchases. The furniture was found and repaired. Then it was painted bright red.

Components: Denon DRM 500 Cassette, Infinity RS2000 Speakers, Yamaha Natural Sound Receiver

Cassette highlights: Kate Bush, Dave Brubeck, John Lee Hooker, 10,000 Maniacs, Buzzcocks, KROQ on air, KALX on air, Soft Cell, Traveling Wilburys.

Lamp: Yellow Green Glazed Ceramic Onion Shaped Lamp. Has a regular light on top, and a “night light” in the base.

There really isn’t any “theme” to this, but it sits there an says, “Generation X”.


Waiting on the FM antenna. Looking for speaker surrounds. I’m not going to do more work on the nightstand – the other changes aren’t visible. Added more cassettes. Looking around for plastic wood.

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Sold: Cookbook for Robert and Mary Fujioka Mid-Century Industrial Designer

For sale on Ebay:

Community created cookbook for Fujioka anniversary. Many different recipes with a fairly large number of Japanese American community recipes.

Possible connection via USC Industrial Design school, search for “Alumni with Designs for an Industrial Archive

Possible connection of Robert Fujioka to the company Design West as founder. Search for “pacific citizen a strong bond continues“. He may have been an internee at Manzanar relocation camp, and went to design school at USC.

Search for “California Design 9 1965 by MR Design” and search for “design west” within it for examples of Design West products.

Design West Incorporated 3669 W. 6th St, Los Angeles – associated with designing classic Samsonite attache case of the 1960s. Search for LA Times article “Design West Plans to Market the Goods It Styles

From the LA Times article:
So, when Samsonite, then Fujioka’s and Ellsworth’s principal client, offered to make Design West a wholly owned subsidiary with few strings attached, the partners readily accepted.

Over the next several years, Design West created the look of Samsonite’s patio furniture, luggage, brief cases and folding chairs and tables in addition to handling a variety of outside clients.

From the Pacific Citizen article:

He started high school in Chicago, working after hours to support himself. When the group’s sponsor, Mr. Temple, died of a heart attack after their arrival in Chicago, Robert said, I was told that I had to leave the city because I had no sponsor.” He moved to Minneapolis to finish high school, graduating in 1943 while working at night at a foundry shoveling charcoal and later at a granary to support himself. After high school he started college after being told the Navy and Air Force would not let him enlist. A quarter and a half into college, with the war still going on in Europe, he was drafted into the Army, serving two years in the infantry and avoided being deployed to Europe because the war ended.

Fujioka returned to West Los Angeles, living in a boarding house, and attending the University of Southern California on the G.I. Bill majoring in industrial design.

While living in West Los Angeles, Robert Fujioka said he knew of the Yoshiro “Babe” and Shizuko Fujioka family (the “other Robert Fujioka at the reunion) because they lived across the street from the boarding house where he stayed. He met with the “other Fujioka family” while at the reunion.

Robert’s wife, Mary (née Honda), was sent to Manzanar at the beginning of the war when she was 11-1/2 years old, but unlike his brief stay there, she was in the camp from 1942 until August of 1945. They met when her family moved to West Los Angeles when Manzanar closed and according to Robert she walked by his boarding house one day and he called out to her, “What’s your name?” and that, as he said with a grin, “was the being of a beautiful relationship that has lasted through 60 years of marriage.” They have one son whose name is Mark.