Gye Greene's Thoughts

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

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mystery ceiling T.P.

I enjoyed nosing about my grandpa's basement workshop. One of the things that caught my attention was a roll of toilet paper, hanging from the ceiling above his woodturning lathe.

Figured it was for when he had a runny nose: Back in my bachelor days, when I had a cold I'd carry around a roll of T.P., rather than tissues, because (1) it was somewhat cheaper, and (2) you could dole out exactly the amount required, depending on your juiciness.

Asked my grandpa about it the next day, when I visited him at his new place. Nope -- not for a runny nose. It was for wiping up excess glue after clamping (the squeeze-out).

Ah. Yeah, that makes sense. Either way, it's another example of how my grandpa customized his shop to suit his own working style -- which I hope to do in my own shop as well. When I eventually get one. ;)


Sawbuck to go? No.

Packed and crated a lot of my grandpa's tools (with the help of my mom [wrapping] and my brother [co-crate-er]). Deeply pondered taking my grandpa's sawbuck with me. In the end, decided against it: not for the cost (nominal, as it's pretty lightweight, and wouldn't have added much to the shipping volume once I packed things around it), but because the feet were just a little squishy, and I could see the Australian Customs & Quarentine not being too happy about it.

So, I left it behind. Sadly, I don't think anyone else will be taking it: I think everyone else who uses 'em already has one. But, who knows: maybe someone could use an extra. I mean, hey: it's grandpa's! :)


Grandpa's woodwork

Again, not to overwhelm folks, I've limited my display.

The first item is a more recent piece. For the last five (ten?) years, he's been making stripey breadboards out of contrasting woods, with inlays. (No stains, just a simple oil -- probably Danish oil, as that's one of his favorites.) Using the same style, he's made computer keyboard wrist-rests.

Starting a year or two ago, he diversified into making footstools with the same basic style. The one pictured is earmarked for my younger brother (really, my only brother). I took another one from elsewhere in the house, and it'll reach me (via crate, via ocean cartage) in... well, a few months.

The second footstool is indicative of his general style: lots of lathe-work, and darned solid! Maybe it's just me, but I can see the Swedish influence. (My Swedish-American grandfather; Norwegian-American grandmother.) I took one of these as well, since although I have a footstool he made (which The Kid loves to carry around the house, then sit on where-ever she sets it down), it's not as representative of his general ''style'' as the two I've pictured here.

One more entry to come.


Grandpa's wood handles

As I think I've mentioned, I recently returned from Everett, where I was with the rest of my family. My grandpa decided to move to one of those assisted-living-type places, so he was dividing up his ''extra'' stuff among his kids and grandkids.

I took a few snapshots -- most of which I **won't** bore you with (probably of personal significance only). But, here's a few.

One of the things I always liked about my grandpa's place is how he customized it with shelves and handholds, where-ever he felt they were needed. The top photo is at the top of the stairs, going down to the basement.

The other two shots are of additional hand-holds, going up the same stairs. The extra length of the wooden rod in the photo to the left is functional: it's actually well-placed. The unusual spacing is probably due to locating the brackets over the wall studs. Either that, or he installed it, then discovered that he could really use another half-foot or so, and swapped out the rod. Not sure; I'll have to ask him.

If you compare the first and third photo with the middle photo, you'll notice that the handle in the middle photo just has a simple stain or oil finish, whereas the first and third are green. Items around the house can be ''dated'' to different periods. I think the green ones are older -- in part, because that's the color of a boat and some other things he made way back.

The photo below is of a towel rack behind the bathroom door. Like most of his work, not fancy -- but sturdy, and well-made. (And typically using economical scraps, rather than ruining a long board.)

More in the next entry.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pics of my two new guitars

This is an update of a recent post, where I discussed buying two guitars from the **very** recommended used guitar, bass, f/x pedals, drums, synths, mics, and etc. shop in Seattle, Washington. Literally 60-80 acoustic guitars, maybe 120 electric guitars and 80 or so electric basses, hanging from the wall. All at very reasonable prices. Ahhh....

Anyhow, here's a shot of the US$59 electric guitar that started the whole thing off:

And, here's the acoustic guitar I ended up getting, as well:

Again, I really like -- not just the sound -- but the color of the acoustic guitar.

As I've probably mentioned before, I only collect ''users'' -- and ones that look a little ''different'', and that appeal to **me**. Thus, I'm unlikely to bother paying mega-thousands on a nineteen-sixty-whatever original Stratocaster; much more likely to buy cheap, weird stuff -- as long as they actually play o.k.

At the moment, these two guitars -- plus an blue Ibanez electric bass that I ''folded in half'' (i.e. unbolted the neck) and for the past two or three years have been trying to take home from Everett, but it wouldn't fit in my suitcase (after everything else had been packed) -- are sitting in a crate, along with a sofa from my grandparents' house that I'm very sentimental over. I should have the guitars here in time for Christmas -- which would make a perfect justification (i.e. ''They're my Christmas gifts!!!'').


Carry on baggage: suckered!

Just got back from a brief trip to the U.S. I had the good fortune(?) to fly out only a few days after the ''water bottle plot'' was uncovered.

I phoned my airline to ask about the carry-on status, and was told:

-No pens
-Nothing in pockets
-No wallet; rubber-band your credit card and money together

I **had** been intending to bring my digital video camera, in carry-on. But I didn't feel comfortable putting it in my luggage (possible damage; possible theft), so I left it at home.

Here's my actual carry-on, then:

And, here are the contents:

(It was my own innovation to sort things by zip-lock baggies.)

And of course, when I got to the airport, people were toting their dufflebag-sized carry-ons, just like usual. Just no water bottles.

Ah well. I discovered just how lightly I could pack. And my entire carry-on fit in the seatback pocket.

The biggest nuisance was that I had to pay three bucks for a ''fancy'' ball-point pen at the airport gift shop, to fill out my arrival documentation, because I'd stowed my cheap-but-sturdy pen in my checked luggage. Ah well: now I have a fancy pen.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

USB Thumbdrive

Sometimes I come up with random thoughts that are, arguably, creative and/or useful.

Yesterday I thought that it would be neat to have a USB flashdrive (or what I call ''USB keys''; could be my own unique terminology) in the shape of a thumb: It's about the right size, and it would be kind of amusing.

Just did a quick Google search. A few hits on ''USB thumbdrive'', but they're all just regular-looking USB flashdrives. Eh: boring.

Anyone willing to manufacture one? If it was priced similarly to other USB keys, I'd buy one.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Spiritual wood connection

Doing the long, all-night, no-sleep, marathon crate-buildings session my brother and I held in my grandpa's basement workshop was not a lot of fun.

At the same time, it was the first time that I had attempted to build a wooden shipping crate -- let alone a production run of that quanity and variety (five total; sofa-sized; headboard-sized; footlocker-sized).

And, there was some good brotherly bonding, as my younger brother and I cranked through the making of the crates. He has more powertool experience than I do, so intially I created the cut list; he cut the plywood and framing; and we both assembled. (I held the pieces, as he has a steadier hand on the screw-driving drill bit.) Later, when I allowed him to sleep (2am-7am, IIRC -- as I continued to use a circular saw while lacking sleep; potentially foolish, but no accidents resulted), I did the whole deal myself. Then, when he woke up, he joined back in until the truck showed up around 10am.

And, even though I'd bought my own stash of plywood and dimensional lumber, we ended up supplementing it with my grandpa's stash of leftovers. In part because I under-estimated the quantity I'd need, but also because lumber is expensive in Aussie-land (mostly desert, so lumber is largely imported) -- so some of the crates have some nice, cabinet-grade plywood facing the interior! I'll dismantle (used screws, not nails), and re-use.

And there was something -- spiritual -- about using my grandpa's work area, and some of his leftover tools, to make things out of wood... to haul away things from his house. His interaction style is such that it's hard to work collaboratively with him -- specifically, it's hard to ''discuss'', or have a ''give and take'' exchange -- although I'd had two or three attempts over the last few years. So this was possibly as close as I could come to a collaborative wood-using experience.

At least, that's the feeling I had, about about 5am in the morning, in my harried, sleep-deprived state.


Big handplane, small handplane

When going through my grandpa's handplane drawer, there were three metal-bodied planes: a regular block plane, a skew-blade plane, and a jointer plane.

Initially, my brother, myself, and my Guitar Cousin all expressed interest in the jointer plane. We decided to postpone the deciding until later.

Later, when I was packing up my stash of tools for shipping, I remembered the handplanes. My brother declined, saying that Grandpa had recently given him a metal jointer plane that had belonged to Great-Grandpa Aos, a finishing carpenter (how cool is that???). That left just my cousin and me.

Since I was taking the two block planes, I figured that it was only fair that I give my cousin the jointer plane. I wrapped it in a bit of newspaper, and brought it to the BBQ at my aunt's place that evening.

That evening, I brought my cousin out to the car, told him that it seemed equitable to give him that plane -- seeing as how I was taking the other two -- and handed him the plane.

''Thanks!'' he said. ''I don't have a long plane, yet -- just two shorter planes.''

''Umm. Actually, this is a jointer plane -- like for jointing the edges of boards. The two you have are probably jack planes.''

He paused. ''Maybe you should take this, after all.''

''You sure?'', I asked.

''Yeah,'' he said. ''I don't use my other two planes that much. And I already have a power jointer.''

''Ah. Well, thanks! I **do** collect handplanes.''

I guess he was impressed that I actually knew the technical names for them. And I think we both realized that I'd appreaciate -- and acutally **use** -- the jointer plane more than he would.

He's a good cousin. :)


Grandpa's woodworking tools

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm in the process of shipping from Everett, Washington to Brisbane, Australia a footlocker-sized crate of woodworking tools. Although he was much more of a power-tools than handtools type of guy, he still had a vast array of hand tools throught his basement workshop.

Probably two reasons for this. First, he started in an era where there really **were** no consumer power tools. For example, he, his dad, and his father-in-law (a Finishing Carpenter: niiiiice!) built his house all by hand, using (I believe) all hand tools. And a well-constructed house it is.

And second, he comes from a lumber mill background, so he has a number of traditional lumberjack tools around the place. Pretty sure he had a two-person crosscut saw around the place, but I didn't see it when I was there. He also had a pickeroon (pole with a spur, used for pulling logs towards you), a Peavey (used for rolling logs), and a Swede hook (like mondo ice tongs, used for picking up the end of a log and dragging it via two large guys). I was a little dissapointed that my Guitar Cousin got the Peavey and Swede hook, since out of all the family, I felt that I was the only one that would use them. But it turns out that my grandpa had already, specifically, given them to him a few months ago -- and that my cousin has already used them several times to shift logs (he lives on five acres, with evergreens all around the rim; the evergreens occassionally fall down during windstorms, and he hires a portable sawmill to convert them to lumber). So, fair enough: I'd use 'em maybe once a year; and the trees I get are half to two-thirds the diameter of his (so, what -- one-fourth the cross-sectional mass? something like that).



However, the main reason I can't rightfully complain is that my dad, aunt, uncles, and cousins have their workshops essentially set up. My brother and I, on the other hands, not yet being home-owners, and still being quasi-students, have only the bare bones of a workshop. Thus, a goodly portion of my grandpa's tools were left for me to choose through.

I don't know if it's a Depression-era thing or not, but if my Grandpa saw a tool for a good price at a garage sale, he'd pick it up, even if he didn't really need it. Luckily, he'd only buy good quality. Still, this tendency meant that he ended up with **seven** power drills (no cordless, all corded); seven glass cutters; and about fifteen ''church key'' bottle cap openers and a similar number of the old style ''pop a triangular hole in your can of motor oil'' devices (can't think of the name). Plus a zillion flatblade screwdrivers of various sizes (oddly, very few Phillips heads), many pliers, etc. But at least he was very organized, so all of his duplicates were in the same drawer, the same shelf, or the same loop of cord hanging on a nail.

The really nice handsaws had already gone to my uncle, or else my grandpa didn't have any. But I got two or three ''older'' handsaws, plus basically all the misc. handsaws (took two coping saws, but left one behind; two hacksaws; a GIT-sized wood-handled handsaw). A double-bitted felling axe. Four splitting wedges. A ''light'' (relatively speaking!) and a heavy splitting mallet; likewise, a light and heavy sledgehammer. (Left the medium-sized ones there, figuring I'd grabbed the range.) His hammer drawer had roughly twelve hammers, of which maybe size were claw hammers. Took one or two claws that he'd etched his initials into the heads, reasoning that the others may or may not have been garage sale finds that he never truly used; also took a cross-peen hammer, a smaller ball-peen, and two(?) that looked like some sort of geologist's pick.

Most of his woodworking was lathe-based, and thus he had nine or ten mallets and bludgeons(?) of various styles scattered around the workshop, all of which he'd made. (And this ''nine or ten'' was after his kids had [potentially] chosen a few for themselves.) Most of us grandkids (me, my brother, my sister, two cousins) took one or two; and I took another few of the remainders. Thus, I now have I cylindrical one for my froe, as well as a brick-headed and a cylindrical-headed one (or two?) for driving chisels.

A few unusual pliers. A few handfuls of U-bolts, hinges, and knobs. (I was strong, and didn't take any of the jars upon jars of screws, bolts, washers, and nails. Well, except for the jar of decking screws -- which I ended up using up on the crates, anyhow.) Some pulleys. Some short lengths of rope that he'd done the eye-splicing and backsplicing on. (I know how to slice rope, but apparently most folks my age don't.)

Three sawsets, strung together on a cord. (I impressed my aunt [who does powertool woodworking] by knowing what the heck they were.) Also two sawblade clamps (i.e. for holding while sharpening), including one that looks large enough to possibly be for a two-man crosscut saw. Also a wooden saw-setting jig that my grandpa had made (wooden diamond; four nails) that as soon as I saw it I remembered him showing to me when I was a kid (at the time, I hadn't appreciated it, being pre-Galoot), over which I impressed additional family members at being able to identify it.

Two wooden bench dogs, which (presumably) my grandpa made. Not sure where the iron holdfast went to: will have to ask my uncle.

Also found, near the stairs, a plastic grocery bag with three sets of headphones -- all **coated** with sawdust (clearly, rarely used; he just removed his hearing aid). I took the nicer of the three: metal pivots, and the ''length'' setting can be locked in place with a wing nut.

And etcetera.

My grandpa had a big lathe (which converts into a table saw; my dad now has this) and a small, benchtop lathe (I think my aunt has it), located in two different sections of his shop. Thus, at each ''lathe-ing station'' he had two sets of lathe tools -- clearly, all ''users''. My uncle took them all home, to try to match them up. At the moment, he's the only one in the family that does lathe work.

I asked for a set, since -- once the house is built, and I have more room -- I'll be buying a benchtop lathe. He said let him know, and he'll give me one of the sets.

I didn't take any power tools, since Yanks and Aussies use different voltages. But my brother took my grandpa's high-quality jointer (everyone else that would use a power jointer already has one). He took it home to his two-bedroom, university Family Housing apartment, where he's shoved it in the bedroom closet (as far as I know), to be used someday when he actually has a house.

I took many, many photos of the interior and exterior of the house. I especially took a lot of photos of his workshop area: trying to document his working style. I particularly appreciate how throughout his basement, as well as the house there's shelves, handholds, and holders, right where you need them to be: wooden, self-made. For example, back by access door on the back of the furnace is a wooden ''loop'', screwed to the wall, with a flatblade screwdriver hanging in it. Clearly, that's the screwdriver used when changing the furnace filter.

A customized workshop, with everything where I need it: That's what I'd like, one day


Things I shipped to Australia

As explained in another post, they actually haven't yet been shipped. But I ain't taking things **out** of the crates -- so for inventory purposes, they're as good as shipped.

The largest crate has an old, three-cushion sofa. When telling people this, the response is always, ''You're shipping a sofa to Australia???'' (Yeah -- and in that tone of voice, too.) If it was just a sofa, I wouldn't do it. But oddly, out of all the furniture in the house, it holds the most sentimental value to me. When I was a kid, my grandparents had a huge stash of comic books, resulting from my dad and his sibs subscribing to several comic book series each when they themselves were kids: the funny type (Donald Duck, Little Lulu, Bugs Bunny...), not the superhereo type of comics. The sofa arms are abnormally wide (for a sofa), so they were perfect for stacking comic books on (two piles: a ''to read'' and a ''have read'' pile). (The photo is for illustrative purposes: different style, but the arm widths are about right.) The sofa arms are also wide enough to hold an adult tush (semi-comfortably), if the main part of the sofa was already filled up.

Because the ocean freight is charged by volume, not by weight (as long as you don't swamp the boat, the weight doesn't matter as much as how much of the ship's belly you're taking up), the ''seat'' area is essentially free of charge. So, I stacked a lot of boxes there, including three guitars and a wooden bench (which I otherwise would've left behind, due to its size).

Second crate is the overstuffed(?) chair that goes with the sofa. Again, sentiment, and the abnormally wide arms.

Third crate is two headboards and two footboards. One bed is an iron thing that my grandpa slept on when **he** was a kid. When he built his house (the one we're now cleaning out), he put it in the upstairs bedroom and my uncle slept in it while growing up. The other bed is made of wood, and he built it himself.

The fourth crate -- although technically not a crate, but just a bundle -- is eight metal bed rails. Two pairs belong to the ''headboard/footboard'' crate, above. The other four go to the bunkbed my brother and I slept in. The rest of the bunkbed is already in Australia, brought with everything else when we moved here. But somehow, the rails got left behind.

The fifth crate holds the wooden ''springy horse'' (like a rocking horse, but there are springs on each corner, which connect to a supporting framework). My grandfather had built a lot of wooden things over his lifetime, including this. Apparently, he had built it for my aunt (my dad's sister). Then, when we were kids, it was at our house and we all used it. Then it migrated back to my grandpa's attic. At the moment, my brother, the younger cousin, and myself are the only ones with little kids. My brother and the younger cousin each already have a ''springy horse'' for their kid. So, they deferred to me.

And finally, the sixth crate is filled with woodworking tools. I'll describe it in more detail in another post, but essentially it's the size of a footlocker, and is **very** heavy. I shudder to think of its actual weight...

As yet, no idea what this all will cost us. But I have a wonderful wife: The mandate given was, ''If it means a lot to you, get it.''

What a sweetie.


Married guy's traveling rule

Since getting married -- and in particular, since having a kid -- my rule of thumb has been to not be away from my wife and child for more than a week.

I violated that this time -- was gone about a week and a half -- and emotionally, I suffered for it.

Didn't take the wife and kid, since the wife had to work, and I the wife correctly predicted that I'd be too busy to do what I needed to do while trying to look after a two-year-old.

Pragmatically, the amount of time I was gone was about right for what I needed to do. In hindsight, I could've used another day or two at the end -- but I'd scheduled my return date to allow me to make a family birthday, and to change my return flight after I'd arrived would've cost several hundred dollars.

BTW -- public thanks to my parents, who paid for my not-inexpensive Brisbane --> Seattle --> Brisbane ticket, given that I bought it with about a week-and-a-half's notice. (The decision for the date to go through my grandpa's house came about pretty abruptly.)


Back in Brisbane

Yesterday, got back from a week and a half of a rushed trip to Seattle.

A few months ago, my paternal grandfather had fallen and broken his leg. Although he's essentially recovered, I think the experience spooked him: he was outside watering the garden, and lay there for most of the day before his neighbor heard him calling for help. So, he decided to sell off the house, and move into an assisted-living-type place.

His four kids (my dad, my aunt, two uncles) helped him gather up the things that he wanted to take with to his new place, and then everyone gathered to go through the things that he hadn't already assigned to a specific person.

Got in on a Wednesday (I think; it's already a blur...). The first half of the trip was enjoyable: hung out with my folks; hung out with my brother, his wife, and their kid; and my brother and I hung out with our sister (took the train up from Oregon).

Sunday (of a week ago) was also pleasant: Gathered at my Grandpa's house, and there was a lot of reminiscing and family stories shared. According to my cousin's wife, who also attended (some spouses attended, some didn't), our family is unusual in the gracious, cooperative way that we divided the family heirlooms. Apparently, many families are cut-throat and argumentative. Ours, in contrast, was pretty darned considerate and co-operative: If multiple parties were interested in an item, those parties tried to determine which person **most** wanted the item (for sentimental reasons, not the $$$ value), and deferred to that person.

Afterwards, my two cousins on that side, plus the younger cousin's wife and child, hung aroud the back yard for several hours and chatted. Really good conversation; glad I was able to catch up with them.

Monday through Wednesday was spent collecting my items throughout the house, ''staging'' them in the living room, and wrapping and packing them to make them safe for crating. Worked from 8am or 10am (depending on the day) to 8pm or 10pm.

To recap, I chose the items I'd be taking on Sunday. I'd originally hoped to do the wrapping/packing on Monday; build the crates on Tuesday; and deliver the packed crates to the docks on Wednesday. Instead, I did the wrapping Monday through Wednesday afternoon, and did the crating (with the gracious help of my brother, as mom finished the wrapping and packing) in a marathon session from Wednesday afternoon to the Thursday-morning freight pickup.

It all turned out to be a bit of a fiasco. I'd innocently figured that the truck that would be used for the pick up would be the same size that I'd once driven when I worked for an antique furniture crating company. Instead, it was a 26(?)-foot monster that couldn't back down my grandfather's gravel driveway (the cement slab outside his garage door is behind the house). The gravel driveway prevented the guy from using is pallet jack to drag the crates out to the street. And three of the crates (a huge, antique sofa; the matching overstuffed chair; and a crate full of metal tools) were much too heavy to lift by hand. So, the whole transaction was aborted.

I was **very** upset and dissapointed with this failure: after having spent so much time doing the packing and crating -- including pulling an all-nighter (at that point, no sleep for 26 hrs., and probably inadequate food given my activity levels) -- I was at a breaking point. Plus, the associated emotional load of my grandpa's poor health, and the symbolism of packing up his belongings from the house he'd lived in since long before I was born (it's the house my dad and his sibs grew up in).

So: I now need to arrange shipping for three mega-heavy crates that are stuck behind the house -- including how to get them around to the front. (I have two ideas, but I'm open to suggestions.)

Because the packing and crating took **waaaay** longer than I had hoped, I wasn't able to accomplish most of the things on my ''To Do When Back in Seattle'' list: didn't visit my maternal grandparents; didn't visit the graves of my deceased sister and grandmothers; didn't load up on cans of root beer to bring back to Australia; didn't get donuts from Family Donut in the Northgate area of Seattle; and had to blow off two sets of friends who I'd arranged dinner dates with.

On the plus side, I did manage to: spend time with my folks; play a few games of Axis & Allies (a computerized military strategy game) with my dad; spend time with my sibs (and a sister-in-law, and a nephew); spend time with my various aunts, uncles, cousins, and spouses and kids; visit with **one** friend, who I'd scheduled prior to the crunch period; get a pizza from A Pizza Mart in the U-District; and bring back a few cans of Dr Pepper (not available in Aussie-land). Plus -- and perhaps most important -- visit my paternal grandfather on multiple occassions.

But still, glad to be back.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

How to buy an acoustic guitar


1) Visit Seattle for the first time in half a year.

2) Visit an amazing mostly-used guitar store, the likes of which is not available where you currently live (100+ electric guitars, 100+ acoustic guitars, 100+ electric bases). See this old post for photos. Also drums and synths upstairs (which I intentionally did (**not** visit!!!) ;)

3) Remember that due to a burglary a few years ago, I no longer have a steel-string acoustic guitar in my collection.

4) Remember that the purpose of this trip is to send a crate of furniture back to Brisbane, Australia: adding an acoustic guitar inside the crate won't change the freight costs, and is easier than trying to send a guitar home through carry-on or checked luggage.

5) Realize that I won't have access to this range of well-priced guitars -- intersecting with a convenient shipping opportunitz -- for a long, long time.

6) Decide to buy an acoustic guitar.

7) Go to the room o' acoustic guitars. (Mmmmmm....)

8) Identify all the acoustic guitars that appeal visually to me -- the black or unusually-colored ones, not the blonde or light-tan ''regular-color'' ones. (About eight of 'em.)

9) Of those with visual appeal, retain those in the US$100 - US$200 range. (Four.)

10) Play them one at a time, trying to remember differences in sound.

11) Discard the obviously thin-sounding one. (May've been an unsually thin set of strings, but, eh...)

12) Discard another one.

13) A-B the two finalists with the help of my brother. (A chocolate(?) brown one and a reddish, cedar-y colored one.)

14) Acknowledge that one has better definition and clarity in the notes. Upper-mids or lower-highs emphasis.

15) Acknowledge that the other one has a full, warm sound. Fairly rich, although not as much bass as the black acoustic guitar I once had (named ''Roberto''; bought it used, I'd replaced the missingfret markers with green Formica).

16) After some self-reflection, realize that I generally prefer a warmer sound over a sharp sound. Plus, as I continue to A-B the two guitars, the sharper one is already starting to fatigue my ears.

17) Decide on the brown-y one.

18) Take guitar to front counter. In a good-natured way negotiate a discount for paying with cash. (Luckily, I had hit the bank that morning!) US$150, after sales tax.

19) Take guitar back to my brother's place, and experience no buyer's remorse.

20) Phone wife to tell her of my purchase.

21) Suggest that Father's Day (in Australia) is in a month, my birthday is two months after that, Christmas is the month after that -- perhaps it can go ''under the bed'' until one of those occassions...


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Vague sadness over gone guitar

Way back in May of this year (it's now August, of course), I posted a blog entry about a guitar at a pawn shop that was nifty on two accounts: it was green; and my first name was the brand name. And, it would hold a valid place in my collection: was a steel-string acoustic, which I no longer have in my arsenel.

However, it was more expensive than my usual ''bottom-feeding'' inclinations would allow (AU$350, IRRC -- I go more for the AU$150-$190 range). It seemed a bit indulgent to pay that much **just** because it was green, or had my name -- particularly since (1) the tone wasn't that impressive (there were several AU$180-ish guitars that had a much richer tone), and (2) IIRC, it's not like it had any electronics on board -- so it was essentially overpriced.

Hemmed and hawed, and never went back for it. Every time I considered getting it, I realized I had a more visceral (sp?) pull towards a white, one-pickup single-coil I'd seen at another pawn shop for about AU$110. Given that I've slightly overspent my ''spending money'' budget, and that we're a one-income family until I finish my Ph.D. Dissertation (and then get a job), I just... couldn't... justify... it.

Was running errands today (three months later), and happened to be passing within a few blocks, with time to spare. Went in to see if it was still there -- and of course, it wasn't.

Mild sadness -- but thankfully, no feeling of regret. I'm comfortable with my not having bought it.

Ah -- but if only it had had a nicer tone...!

There was an electric bass there, though -- a blue-green color -- with two pickups. AU$89. Good price -- but what's wrong with it? (Visually, seemed fine. Maybe the electronics are wonky?)


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Dream for inside my shed

As I was cleaning off my desk, I came across a packet of photos from a few years back. Glanced through, and discovered a few snapshots of the basement room of a friend of the family. Like me, he's interested in computers, video, and music (although in different proportions to my own interest). With -- apparently -- the blessings of his wife, he's commandeered most of the basement, for his things.

Here, I've merged two of the more illustrative photos. I ''greened out'' (rather than ''black out'') his face, to protect his identity. Note ''A'', the big guitar speaker; ''B'', the video tripod; and numbers ''1'' through ''5'', indicating the five PC towers (number 5 is actually horizontal; it's the black thing by my brother's elbow). The photo is a little small as it's displayed by Blogspot, but if you click on it a larger version will be displayed.

Something along these lines are what I hope for in my (eventual) mega-shed out back. Lotsa desks and tables; lotsa computers (have a Mac Classic and an Apple II-GS I need to set up). But even more guitar amps and synthesizers.

Someday... ;)


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The **Real** Use for Dogholes in a Workbench

Mommy was late getting home, so Daddy had The Kid to himself for a few hours tonight. After dinner, Daddy decided to get in some woodworking. The Kid (one month shy of 2yo) decided to help.The Kid discovered where Daddy keeps the candles he uses for rubbing on handplane soles, etc., to prevent rust.

Apparently, these are the **real** purpose for dogholes in a workbench.

Speaking of handplanes, here's a sure sign of a happy Galoot (lover of woodworking handtools):

For a number of reasons (regular readers will have an inkling), I haven't done much woodworking in the last two(?) years. Haven't used a handplane in 6-12 months. Luckily, my current project (need to make a box-like gluing jig for the hatchet handle I'm Frankensteining) requires some cleaning up of some wooden surfaces. Pulled out one of my three near-identical jack planes (someday I'll find a reasonably-priced [used] metal-bodied smoothing plane), cleaned off the surface rust (the joys of living in a subtropical clime), lapped the sole, sides, iron, and chipbreaker (had to go fetch a cinderblock from the back yard, and spray-adhesive some fine-grit sandpaper to it), and had at it.

Had to remove the candles from the dogholes, first.

The Kid came by to investigate the weird ''schwick... schwick...'' sound Daddy was making. Every few passes of the plane, I'd stop and she'd remove the shavings from the plane, and stuff them down the dogholes. Later, as I was putting my tools away, she walked among the shavings, crunching them like autumn leaves.

Kids R fun. :)


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

G.I.T. indoctrination

Usually, my very nice mother-in-law (lives across the road) watches The Kid during the week, while The Lady and I do employment-type things. But on Tuesdays I take The Kid for the day, just to give Mum a break. And, today is Tuesday.

Whenever I have a few hours ((obligatory Dissertation plug: when I'm not hard at work on my Dissertation)), I've been trying to squeeze in a little time for woodworking with hand tools. Keeps me happier.

I'm trying to rescue a broken hammer handle, and match it up to a spare hatchet head I picked up for a dollar a few years back. I'm taking pics of each stage, and keeping a log [woodworking pun?] of my progress: When I complete it, I'll post it as a unified blog entry.

This afternoon I was cutting some wood, wedged into my off-brand Workmate(TM) clone. (Note: Got it at a clearance sale. Best AU$50 [US$37] I ever spent.) The Kid seemed interested, so I got her involved.

(Sorry: The framings a little off. Had to use the auto-timer on the camera, since I was the only grown-up at home.)

She couldn't reach the saw from standing on the Workmutt's step, so I had her stand on the benchtop -- with support, of course.

Never too early to be a G.I.T., eh?

(For the un-initiated, ''G.I.T.'' is a Galoot-in-Training; an young apprentice in the way of woodworking with handtools. An in-joke.)