Gye Greene's Thoughts

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

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Power trios

Was listening to a "best of" CD of The Outfield today at work, on the CD-ROM drive of my computer.  Was in the mood for "Heart-Shaped Box", so switched over to The Best of Nirvana-- another three-piece band.

Material Issue is my #1 favorite band:  also a three-piece.

And the band I was in (Quiet Storm) with Guitar Cousin and "Crash" Adams was also a three-piece.

Bell (a little-known -- but very good -- Seattle band) was also a three-piece -- at least in the beginning.

Maybe it's all a coincidence.  Or maybe that's just where my aesthetics lie.



Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Wood stashes

Similar to a quilter who has boxes of interesting scraps of fabric all over the house, I have stashes of wood for future projects.  Some of them have been around for a number of years -- out in the weather:  one of my "To Do" projects is to make a shelter for them.  But, by accident, I've learned that wood lasts a really long time "out in the weather" -- as long as its not lying in the dirt, and it has a chance to dry out again.

This is the pile of wood that inspired this blog entry:  I was selling something on Gumtree (the AU analog of Craigslist), and the buyer asked whether this was some sort of sculpture.

Nope:  just some chunks of wood, held up by some empty, inverted plastic pots.  I split the wood before it dries, so that the wood has "somewhere to go" when it shrinks as it dries.  And I paint the ends to try to minimize moisture loss from the ends (again, to minimize splitting and end-checking).

The rubber boot is there as a size reference:  I'm taking the photo with one boot and one stocking foot. 

The photo is dark, because it's inside my chicken coop! -- but here's a sash of 50+ year old beams that I've found around my property.  Been lying in the dirt (or, when it rains:  mud) for decades -- but only the surface was eaten away:  the core is good.  Hardwood; reddish color:  when slabbed it'll make some nice-looking lumber.
Would consider leaving some surfaces "weathered", and other surfaces smooth and oiled and pinky-red.

These are quartered "small logs", I guess you'd call them?  It's on a metal rack (a table, minus the top?).  Gonna make it into a rustic table:  it'll be an experiment to see if I can do the minimum amount of processing, and in particular, no slabbing.  Instead, the ends will be "tongued", to fit into grooves in the simple rails, and the legs will be tenoned into the bottoms of the rails.  I'll handplane the upper surface of the tabletop, but there's no need to plane (or even shape) the underside.  You'll see (eventually).
I think it's some sort of eucalyptus, but I'm not sure.  I wrote it down on the underside of some of them -- but I couldn't be bothered un-stacking the pile to see.

This isn't "finally", as I have other stashes -- including under the eaves (back of the house), and on the (fairly long) front porch.  Anyhow:  a cedar-looking wood (except it isn't).  A boot again, as a size reference.  No specific plans or vision:  maybe a rustic bench? 

Brother:  next time you visit, you can make something, if you like.  And/or take a sample home with you. 


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Monday, August 20, 2018

One disadvantage of the digital revolution

When I was in college, you could tell what sort of music someone was in to by browsing their CD and/or cassette collection.  In the '70s and before, you could take a glance at someone's record collection.  And from that, get a sense of their compatibility -- for one characteristic, at least.

Nowadays you can't do that:  someone would have to unlock their phone (or hand you their mp3 player), and you'd have to browse through all the listings.

And the further difficulty is that the file structure is often nested -- meaning that you can't just scroll straight through.  Whereas with albums on a shelf, you just at the top left and work your way though.

It's becoming that way with movies, too:  you used to be able to see what movies people liked enough to buy (rather than rent) on videotape -- and later, on DVD.  But with streaming, you can't "see" people's favorite movies.

It's a shame.


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Sunday, August 12, 2018

All the languages in the world

Thought of this maybe a month ago: 

I've already stated that if I won the lottery and could just quit work (i.e. be a stay-at-home dad; songwriting, woodworking and yardwork -- plus exercising on a more regular basis), that I would take one martial arts course a year (e.g. Judo one year, BJJ another), and cycle through most of the styles until I figured out which I liked the best (and acquiring a hodgepodge of skills along the way).

In addition, I now think that I'd take about one semester each of many foreign languages (skipping every second semester):  that is, take [Name of language] 101, and then at the start of the next school year take something else.  This was prompted by my trying to read the various "copyright warnings" at the end of a DVD (the ones that appear after the movie is over) out loud, and realizing that although I did a decent job of knowing the different languages (I think I knew more than half), my pronunciation was pretty bad.

So it would be good to know just some basic vocabulary, pronunciation rules, and language structure, for a bunch of different languages.  I already know some French and Japanese (and American Sign Language) -- so do Spanish, Italian, and German (in an arbitrary order); and then in no particular order, Russian, Greek, Turkish, Laotian, Cambodian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Australian sign language, Portugese, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Irish (Celtic?), Welsh, and a few local Aboriginal languages.  That's about 21 years right there.

I'm pretty bad at anything involving straight memorization -- which is why I'd only do the first semester of each language:  I'd reach a saturation point with vocabulary.

I will say, though, that for some reason Italian has an extra appeal:  I think it's a combination of the sound, the expressiveness... and the gestures while talking!  :)

I knew a guy who was taking Italian at the University of Washington, and he said that his instructor said that you can't speak Italian properly without moving your arms.


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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Wonderful backlog of movies

I like movies.  We haven't got around to getting Netflix, and because DVDs are an obsolete technology, the local pawn shop sells them for a buck apiece (that is:  a dollar Australian; that's about 80c US).  So about once a month I stop by, have a browse, and if I remember it fondly, have heard of it and been curious, or just if the title or summary sounds good -- I'll pick it up.  Mostly Rom-Coms; not really action, drama, etc.

At one point I was watching half a movie nearly every night (as I did the dishes) -- but lately it's about two a week.  So I've been acquiring them faster than I watch them.

I just took a quick tally of the DVDs in my "to watch" pile(s):  about 250.

If I watched one a night, that would last me eight months.

If we say that a typical movie is 100 minutes, and I didn't have to work for a living, I could sit around at watch -- at a leisurely pace -- four movies a day.  If I did that Monday through Friday, it would take me 50 weeks -- nearly a full year -- to watch them all.

Niiiiiice....   : )


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Monday, July 23, 2018

My happiest times

I usually hang my "yardwork clothes" on hooks on the laundry room door.  The specific contents vary -- but its an old shirt (either a retired [stained!] dress shirt or a cheap t-shirt), pants (either a certain denim pair of shorts, short sweatpants, or long sweatpants), and a hat (the floppy cloth hat [pictured], or a straw hat) -- plus my "tool belt" (pouch for pruning shears; pouch for my keys (shed keys, house keys); pouch for my cell phone (if The Lady phones during her errands, plus for taking snapshots of projects); and a pouch for my utility knife.

A few days prior, I had read a quote in a magazine (wish I could give a proper citation, but I looked, and couldn't find the quote again), where someoneone's mother (or grandmother?) had said that the secret to happiness is to find three things that you like doing -- and then try to do them a lot.

I took the photo because I realized:  some of my happiest moments are when I'm wearing those clothes -- puttering around doing yardwork, or doing some woodworking project -- or wandering back and forth between the two.


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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Compost bin patch

This is me knocking off a project that has been kicking around for a year -- maybe longer.

I have one of those "tumbler barrel" composters -- and a few years ago some critter chewed a hole in one of the corners.  The hole is about one and a half finger widths (an approximation; my fingers, at least), and about as long as my finger.  This means that whenever I rotate the barrel -- you're supposed to turn it three times whenever you add more scraps, just to mix everything -- some of the good stuff falls out the hole.

The difficulty was that I figured I'd have to use a sheet metal patch, and use some bolts (probably six, maybe eight), bend the metal around the corner, get the holes to all line up:  urgh.  I avoid using metal, for a variety of reasons --  and therefore I don't have a good stash of metal scraps.  And non-square pieces can be a nuisance to work with.  In hindsight, probably could've used the sides of an aluminum can (which would've been easier to work with than standard sheet metal).

Anyhow, a few days ago I suddenly realized that I could just use a section of branch:  I have tons of those -- and it's woodworking, not having to cut, then drill through, metal.

It's for function, not being pretty, so I didn't have to worry about cutting it precisely:  I just wanted to crank it out and cover (most of) the hole.

Here's the concept:  emergency patches on inflatable lifeboats use a similar approach.  Plate on the top; plate on the bottom; pull them together through the hole.

I didn't have the forethought to take a "before" photo -- and I couldn't be bothered to disassemble everything.  But here's one "after" view:  you can get a sense of how large the hole is.

Basically, just take a section of branch from the kindling pile; split it more-or-less in half; decide that the smaller "half" should go on the inside; clamp the two halves back together while you drill pilot holes all the way through; separate them and drill larger holes only through the top half (so that the threads of the screws can slide when passing through the top, but still grab the bottom portion); countersink the holes in the top; put in place and screw together.

Another view.  There's a little bit on the end that appears to not be covered -- but actually the end of the stick that's inside the hole mostly blocks it.

And here's a better-lit shot (and from a different angle), about a week later.

A design component is that the left end of the interior piece butts up against a piece of plastic on the inside -- and the right-hand screw (in the orientation as shown) butts up against the right-side end of the hole.  This means that there is no movement end-to-end.  And because the wooden patch is on a corner of the octagonal barrel, there's no side-to-side movement either:  it's wedged into the "V" of the interior corner.  So, it's pretty snug.

Oh:  and I soaked it in some Danish oil before mounting it, just to seal off the pores a bit.  It's hardwood, and because it's near the top of the barrel, it will be able to dry out (rather than rot, which it might do if it was on the underside, with wet compost constantly lying on it).  So, I don't expect it to rot.

It's functional (does the job); didn't take a lot of time; and has (I think) a certain rustic charm.

Most important:  it's finished.  :)


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