Gye Greene's Thoughts

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

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Wood with potential

So, I stopped by my next-door uncle's place today. Just a few days ago he had a tree guy cut down a bunch of camphor laurel (?) trees -- non-native and slightly invasive. Of pretty reasonable diameter (30cm-50cm//1ft-1.5ft), and although most of them were chainsawed into 2ft//0.6m lengths, there were a few that were still of a goodly length -- around 6ft//1.8m.

I asked him if I could have some, both for milling into lumber, and also to use as a chopping block. (Just got back from Seattle, and de-barking 2003 vintage chunks of filbert wood [to make Aussie Quarentine folks happy] with a hatchet and chopping block reminded me of my lack of same back home in Brissie.)

He said sure thing, as the rest will just become firewood. He and I chose three or four with good chopping block potential: good diameter, ends cut reasonably square.

The wood was already dead (poisoned some years back, but starting now to drop their branches and become hazards, hence the felling) -- so, less issues with seasoning, since they were "standing deadwood". Also, supposedly rot-resistant (the camphor). Seems to have an interesting figure, with some green-ish, some brown, some yellow-white layers intermixed, in no particular order.

Lots of potential... Dissertation first, though.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Green Eagle has landed

O.k., so I'm back in Brisbane. Happy to be home again with my wife and child.

The Girl still doesn't completely talk, so I haven't missed any shocking developmental events.

However, when I left, she was calling The Lady ''Mah-hee''; now she's calling her ''Mah-pee'' (i.e. ''Moppy'').

This is a **great** nickname for The Lady. I've been trying it on for size, and it seems to fit. :)

Please note that I have a few blog entries I jotted down on the plane ride home, that I haven't yet posted. So if you're interested, you should probably scroll down a little when you next check in.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Autoharp meets air guitar

Old Roommate sent me this link, about a short electric guitar neck with seven chord buttons, and an infrared beam shooting out the bottom which you ''strum''. Basically, combining an auto-harp with air guitar-ing.

For some reason, this seems like something that faithful blog reader Tara might be interested in -- maybe for herself, maybe for her guy (or, maybe for the Peanut? It might be drool-resistant).

Supposedly hits the stores July 25th; US$27 retail -- a reasonable price point.

In Aussie-land, Father's day is mid-September. Hmmm.....


Friday, June 22, 2007


My brother and I both aspire to (hobby) woodworking -- mostly handtools-oriented.

We're both at my parent's place, at their iMac, and I showed him the very good woodworking blog by Chris Schwartz, the editor of Woodworking magazine. This photo came up, and we, at the same time, both said "Mmmmmmmmm..."

We even harmonized.

Brothers are cool. :)

The blog, BTW, is at

I'm 37, and he's -- umm [math, math, math...] 31 or something. I've finally moved to a place I can call ''permanent''; he's living in family housing near the university his wife attends. I look forward to when each of us manages to set up a nice little -- or medium, or big -- workshop, with a decent workbench and a place to arrange tools in an organized yet handy manner. :)


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Whirlwind tour

Just to give a sense of the whirlwind nature of this ''Friends and Family 2007'' tour that I'm on, here's a sense of my itinerary:

Weds -- fly in, sleep at parents' in Everett
Thurs -- at parents', sleep at parents'
Fri -- to brother's in Seattle, sleep at brother's
Sat -- at brother's sleep at brother's
Sun -- to friends', sleep at friends'
Mon -- to brother's, sleep at brother's
Tues -- to parents', sleep at parents'
Weds -- bus to Bellevue, cousin takes me home to Maple Valley, sleep there
Thurs -- ride in to work with cousin, other cousin picks up, hang out with and sleep at cousin's
Fri -- cousin drops me off at parents' in Everett, sleep there
Sat & Sun -- at parents', sleep at parents'
Mon -- train down to Eugene, Ore., sleep at Old Roommate's
Tues -- hang out with Old Roommate, sleep at Old Roommate's
Weds -- meet up with sister, sleep at sister's in Eugene
Thurs -- train up to Seattle, sleep at brother's
Fri -- bus up to Everett, sleep at parents'

...and etcetera. ;)

The Lady is **sooooo* glad she's not beign dragged along on this one.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dangerous You-Tube

Stayed over at Old Roommate's place, with his very kind missus. They introduced me to the wonders of You-Tube. Being on dial-up back home, I'd never experiemented with it.

So: I stayed up 'til five in the morning, bringing up up muic videos for obscure '80s bands. GOOD stuff, this You Tube -- but with much potential for self harm (clearly!).

They also introduced me to the video ''Chad Vader: Episode 1''. I'll let you find the link yourself. Pretty funny -- ESP. if you like the original Star Wars. I tried one of the other episodes, but it wasn't as funny. Don't know about the others (looks like there's maybe ten epiodes).

In less-happy news, found out that the wife a guy whose blog I read died of cancer. Dang. As a married guy, that spooks me out. Would give my wife a big hug, except I'm, um, in another country.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Geek nightlight

Last night, for the second time in my whirlwind journey, I slept by the the soft, reassuring glow of a server light.

That is, I slept in the spare bedroom, which also houses an internet server.

I must have a lot of computer-y friends... :)


Monday, June 18, 2007

Unsettling school dream

Last night I had another occurrance of my dream where I've somehow screwed up the entire semester, forgot to attend **all** my classes, and now it's the end of the term and I need to drop all my classes.

However, **this** time I talk to someone in the advising office, who says it's o.k., something can be worked out.

Whew! Relief!

I think this reflects my belief that I finally **will** finish my Dissertation in the nex month.

Being 38 and still in school really sucks...


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Young old teacher

Went to church with my parents today. Ran into my 3rd grade tacher, a member of our church.

Wow! She looks **younger** than I remember her -- although she's about 93.

I think that means that I'm getting older...


Monday, June 11, 2007

Almost found Gypsy

Did my usual pilgramage to the best used musical instrument shop ever -- the Trading Muscian -- in Seattle. Asked the guy behind the counter if they have ''wish lists'' or ''notify lists'' for when stock of a certain item comes in; he says they don't. I said the reason i

I explained that I'd lost a guitar and an electric bass in a burglary a few years ago, and when I search e-bay for an Ibanez Roadstar II (the guitar), the only hits are for single-coils, not double humbuckers.

The guy replies that they recently got in an Ibanez Roadstar II **with dobule humckers**!!!

I go take a look. I give it a few strums, and it has the same feel as Gypsy, my stolen guitar Tempted to buy it, but: (1) it's red [if it had been green, I'd have snatched it up; if was blue or purple, I'd have agonized]; and (2) they wanted US$350 -- a reasonable price, but not a bargain...

And, I'd already blown a small wad on used CDs (hard to find used CD stores in Brisbane). And we're (mostly) on a single income, with mortgage payments kicking in. So, I'll wait until next time -- even if it's a number of years. Once I finish my Dissertation, and get a stable job -- then we'll be financially juicy, and I can go for it.

Also saw an unusual cowbell (percussion) for US$20; and a tenor bugle -- which is like a regular bugle, but slightly larger, with a button (valve) leading to an extra loop of tubing, to drop it down -- for US$99. Again, a reasonable price, and unusual enough to be fun and interesting... but we're on a budget at the moment. Next time, I guess.

Also some funky, osbscure electric guitars, for about $150.

**Did** buy a glow-in-the dark shaker, shaped like a skull, for US$3.00 I'm indifferent to th e skull-ness, but I do collect glow-in-the-dark stuff -- and also musical stuff. And the price-point was right!

In their synth and keybaord section (!!!), they had maybe 15 synths of varying vintage-ness. Most were around the US$300-$600 mark. Someday, when we're financialy stable, on each trip to the U.S. I'll wander through this place with a wad of money and get something nifty -- a synth, a bass, or a wird-o guitar. Someday...

I **was** gratified to see that, out of the fifteen or so synths, I owned about five of them. Most were the smaller, Casio keyboard variety, though. It was interesting to note that a copy of the old electronic keyboard that my sister recently returned to my parents, because she now has a modern digital piano with weighted keys, was priced at around US$250. My folks said I could bring that keyboard home with me to Asssie-land. Yay! :)


Saturday, June 09, 2007

I am giant

Back in Aussie-land, the doorknobs are just above elbow height (for me).

In Washington State, in the U.S., they're about waist height.

Which means that I feel like I'm bending over to use the doorknob.

I feel like some sort of freaky giant.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Sleepy boy

Dang! Slept ten hours straight! 9pm - 7am. No waking up at all in between.

Must've been tired.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Airline irony

After a 14 hour flight across the Pacific, the lead flight attendant said, "Thank you for flying with us, and we hope you enjoyed your flight!"

Does anyone REALLY **enjoy** their flight -- even the short ones? "Tolerate it" it more like it...


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Beatles remix album

Had a chance to listen to the Beatles "Love" remix album. This is the album that came out half a year(?) ago, which consists of remixes of hit Beatles tunes, done by George Martin (the producer for all [or at least, most] of the Beatles albums), plus his son.

Two-word review: Overrated, mediocre.

More specifically, it sounded like someone was in their final year at the Musical Recording Institute of Techonology, and this was their senior project. Competently done -- but with no real spark or catchiness.

If most of the Beatle's hit songs were released today, most of them would still become hit. But these wouldn't.

For nearly all of them, the "remix" idea was to double or quadruple the instrumental intro -- and then to delete a few verses and choruses. Woo-hoo.

A bit like watching the "Director's Cuts" of a movie, with all the edited-out bits re-inserted, despite the fact that it kills the pacing, and doesn't add anything new. Like -- hey! -- the "revised" Star Wars, with the bad CGI!

Example: On ''Strawberry Fields Forever", where John Lennon has the nifty, warbly double-tracked vocals? Just the one voice, now -- which sounds just a little off-pitch, because that's how he sang it, to blend with the other one. And the backing instrumentation has basically been stripped down to a single guitar. Basically, it sounds like the demo version.

OTOH, it **did** inspire me to do a cover of "Back in the U.S.S.R."!


Monday, June 04, 2007

House leftover things

Innocently enough, I thought that when you pay a company to build you a house, it would be all set to move in and start living there. In hindsight, this was naive of me.

There was a glitch with the screen door (long story), such that there's a white strip of wood about 3" wide running across the top, which I need to paint to match the screen door and door frame.

Telstra (the local phone company) disconnected our phone from our old house, but (another long story) couldn't install the phone at our new place. So, we've been phone-less for a full week. Which means we have to go across the street to Mum & Dad's to check e-mail (and post blog entries!).

The kitchen cabinets includes an alcove for the dishwasher -- but no hole for the hoses or the power cord. So, I had to cut those myself.

Some of the downpipes from the gutters need an extra thingy clipped on. The site supervisor has phoned the relevant folks several times, but no one has yet come out to fix them.

The kickboard area on the bathroom sink is a mis-matched color. The cupboard guy is supposed to come out sometime to swap it out -- but he's not doing a good job of returning The Lady's calls, to arrange a time.

Need to install a bracket for the clothes drier, so we can hang it from the wall above the washing machine. (The laundry room is small.)

Need to hook up the dishwasher.

Need to put up a mailbox along the front fence, so we can actually receive mail.

Need to finish putting up curtains.

And that doesn't even **begin** to address all the misc. landscaping-ish stuff. Luckily, my dad's helped out a lot in that regard.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

My comic book stash

My 15yo(??) neice wanted to borrow some of my old X-Men comics: she's doing some sort of in-class presentation (or written report?) on a modern-day pop culture fictional character. So, even though my stash of comic books wasn't completly handy, I dug thru the stack o' boxes on the veranda 'til I found my comic book boxes.

Of course, they weren't labeled on the outside -- so I had to un-shrinkwrap them (shrinkwrapped during the international move -- back in 2003!).

After I found the relevant comics, I took a tape measure and measured the length of all my comic book boxes: 3.1 linear meters! (about 9.8 feet!) So, that's how much bookshelf space all my comic books, from my younger years, would take up.

And that's not counting most of my graphic novels... or the foot or so of comics I've picked up over the last ten(?) years.

Not bad. :)


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Staying with far-distant relatives?

I mentioned to a family member that I'd been stuck in L.A. overnight, due to a missed connection (the airline's fault, not mine) when coming back from Seattle to Brisbane last August. The family member proclaimed that **this** is why I should get in touch with various and sundry relatives third-cousins, my dad's aunts' and uncles' kids, etc.) -- so that I'd have a place to sleep when such things happen.

I replied that I'd rather just find a hotel; that is seemed rather ''utilitarian''(?) to go look up people ahead of time, just so I have a free place to sleep. And that I wouldn't feel comfortable staying at such a person's place, anyhow. Nor would **I** want to host a distant relative overnight, having only met them once or twice. (Among other reasons, there's one or two distant relatives on one side of the family who are a little shifty; and on the other side, a semi-distant relative recently married a convicted child molester. So, just because they're distant relativies does **not** mean I want them staying at my house!!!)