Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Being odd

I liked this.

It's apparently a quote from the movie The Breakfast Club.



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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Possible wood from Chinese elm

I'll preface this blog entry by saying that although The Lady's family refers to this tree as "Chinese elm", this is technically incorrect -- although it's a typical misnomer.

It's really "Chinese celtis" -- although it also goes by the names celtis, Chinese elm, Chinese hackberry, Chinese nettle-tree, hackberry, and Japanese hackberry.


It's a "junk" tree around here:  not only is it an invasive species, but it also rots pretty easily, if left out in the weather.


I have a piece of it that I carry around in my pocket for good luck.  It's a wedge that's about the size of one-eighth of a ping-pong ball.  I've had it for a few years, so it's thoroughly seasoned.  It's hard enough that I can't make a mark in it with my fingernail.

A few days ago I rescued two small logs (sections of the trunk) from my in-laws' firewood pile:  each about a foot and a half long, by about 6 to 8 inches diameter.  I split them into eighths (to minimize splitting while they dry), dunked the ends in boiled linseed oil (to slightly retard checking), and used a scrub plane on one of them to check out the figure, then rubbed on some Danish oil.

Here's what I got:

You may want to click to enlarge:  I've intentionally left it full resolution (and thus, full filesize) per photo.  On the left it's essentially quartersawn.  You can see a hint of flecks -- not as much as I'd hoped.  It might show up better with some stains or dyes.

A fairly subtle grain:  that could be a good thing, or a bad thing.  Reminds me a little of balsa wood.

Whiter than pine.  I've left this piece where the sunlight can hit it:  I'm curious to see if it yellows over time.

Here's the end grain (with boiled linseed oil) of the same piece:  the left, underside is essentially quartersawn -- and it drifts into something beginning to approach flatsawn.

An Australian woodworking forum says it's not very good for woodworking -- but so far I'm finding the opposite.  Your mileage may vary.

Meanwhile, I've stored my sections of wood -- most of them riven "blanks" -- and I'll come back to them in a year or two.  Might make an interesting (or, bland?) wooden box or small wooden chest.


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Monday, October 06, 2014

Asymmetrical bench or pew

Just got back from a trip to Sydney.

Saw this pair of wooden benches (or, pews?) in a lounging area of a museum, and thought they were interesting.

They're not part of an exhibit: they're just for sitting on, while waiting for your kids to finish drawing. 

Why are they asymmetrical? The right ends are capped, but the left ends are open.

I asked the two staff members on duty -- but neither of them had noticed the benches' asymmetry.

The benches are old enough that I don't **think** the creator would have done it just to be "funky". (But, maybe?)


There's two of them -- which suggests that these are part of a set.

The Lady thinks that maybe they're church pews -- and that the ends along the aisle were open, and the "closed" end was near the wall. But if so, why not just make **both** ends open?

She also suggested that the "open" end was done that way to conserve wood.  But it doesn't seem like it would save enough wood to bother:  seems like it would be faster to make benches where both ends were the same.


Any ideas?



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I do a Sound of Music orangutan

So, I was waiting for the elevator at work, so that I could take my lunch break.  A co-worker, Juliet, was waiting for the elevator at the same time.

I asked her how she was doing, and she said that she had a headache.  I suggested that perhaps if I made her laugh that it would ease her headache:  laughter **is** the best medicine.

We got into the lift, and stood -- as people do -- in the two opposite back corners.  Then I told her to close her eyes, and I made my "wet helicopter" sound, and it made her laugh a bit.  We got to the main floor, and went our separate ways.

After my lunch break, I stopped by her desk to see how her headache was doing.  She said that her headache was gone!  And that it had indeed eased after I made her laugh.  Although it could also have been the painkiller kicking in.

I then mentioned that if the "wet helicopter" sound hadn't worked, I also do a somewhat amusing orangutan impression, which I'd modelled after my dad's.

"Did you say 'A Sound of Music orangutan impression'?", she asked.

"No", I replied.  "But I could do that, if needed."  And I did a quick "The hills are a-live, with the sound of muuu-sic...!!!" whilst aping about.   Just really quickly -- because I was in a workplace.

Ryan, who sits at the desk next to hers, asked if I could do "Evita".  "Well," I replied, "I only know that one song:  'Don't cry for me Argen-tiiii-na...' (ook, ook)".

Medicinal.  Co-worker.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Just trying to be a better person

Did my half-yearly haircut.  As usual, had fun along the way with the ''transitional stages''.  Unlike most times, forgot to do the ''Before'' and ''After'' shots.  But I was looking decidedly ''Kenny Rogers''.

Anyhow:  I'm just trying to be a better person.

My name is Gye.


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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Two options for marking your items

If you're an artist, woodworker, or just someone who likes to identify things as yours, here are two options.

Both are suggested by Chris Schwarz, a woodworker who (FWIW) tries to buy from small, independent companies that treat their workers decently. So presumably these companies do the same.

The more economical option is a custom rubber stamp. See his blog entry here. You can submit a logo, drawing, or what-have-you, and they'll make you a rubber stamp.

An alternative is to get a custom metal punch -- with your name, logo, or whatever. See here. This option is more expensive -- the woodworking punch is US$160 -- but presumably it lasts a lifetime. They also have punches optimized for leatherwork, plastic, and others.


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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Two dreams

I don't usually dream about people I know -- except myself! -- but last night I had a pair of them.

The first dream:

My co-workers and I were at work, and one of my colleagues (who in the dream was in poor health and was about to take some sick leave to recover) received (at work) a large envelope in the mail, containing the application forms for a Ph.D. program in History.

(Clearly, this is pre-internet: I remember getting university application forms mailed to me; now-a-days I presume people just download the *.pdf?)

He said that he'd been thinking about getting a Ph.D. in History and becoming a History lecturer, to escape the stress at work -- but now that the envelope was in his hands, he wasn't so sure.

It wasn't clear in my dream whether he was planning to attend part-time, or full time.

Then I made a crack about "Professor ______ -- we have an urgent data request from the Pro-Vice Chancellor!"

(Underlying meaning:  This co-worker really **is** taking some time off from work, due to poor health.  So this appears to be an extension of that.)

The second dream:

In real life, The Lady plays a few "classical" instruments, but not any "rock" instruments.  None the less, in my dream she and I were a husband-wife rock duo.  One of us was electric bass, and the other was electric guitar:  it wasn't clear which.

It was about an hour before our first performance as a group.  We'd dressed up in our "performing" clothes, and we were now at the venue -- just a small club, basically a cafe.

It wasn't to be a big performance -- maybe 50-100 people -- and we were the opening act.  It was a fundraiser for some sort of "sick kids" charity.

We were hanging around out front, on the sidewalk.  It was a weekend, and a warm, sunny afternoon.

Suddenly, I realized that we hadn't actually brought our instruments:  we'd have to drive home (maybe 15 minutes away) and get them.

What's worse, I also realized that we'd never actually practiced any of the songs we'd be performing!  The songs were mine -- but I'd never showed them to her.

And -- even though they were my songs, I hadn't played some of them in (literally!) years.  I didn't remember the chords, or most of the lyrics.

The one exception would be "Only Women Should Have Guns".  But given that this was a "family" show, I didn't think it would be appropriate:  the lyrics are witty, but a little grim.  And you can't build a set on just one three-minute song.

And on a related note:  we hadn't prepared our set list.

The dream ended with me about to head back to the house to pick up our instruments, get a marker (for the set list, and to jot down the chords in the margins of the set list), my old notebooks, and a music stand.  I'd get back to the venue about a half hour before we were scheduled to play.

We'd pull it off -- no choice, except for simply cancelling -- but it would not be a smooth performance, and we'd end up looking like idiots...

(Underlying meaning:  The Lady and I have both been pretty busy at work for the last four weeks -- so we have a huge backlog of dishes, a backlog of laundry, the lawn needs mowing, the house is a mess...  So this probably drives the whole "un-prepared" theme.

I haven't had any "woodworking time" in about four weeks.  I also haven't played the guitar in about two months -- and I haven't re-visited any of my old songs in probably nine months.  So "not being able to perform my old songs, from memory" is factually correct.

"Only Women Should Have Guns" is an actual song -- and it's the only song I end up playing when I'm messing around with the guitar, because I actually remember all the lyrics.  That, and "Pretty Little Sue".  So, that's actually a two-song set:  still a little short.)


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