Gye Greene's Thoughts

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

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Avoid excessive self-denial

A good quote about why you can't self-deny so much that you don't enjoy the present. Found it 5/14/10; spoken by Harold Hill, in the movie The Music Man, somewhat near the end:

“Oh, my dear little librarian… You pile up enough tomorrows and you’ll find you’ve collected nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”

I may use it as an audio sample in a song. Someday. ;)


Labels: , , , ,

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lost wood


Over the last month, workers at our next-door-neighbors' house have been building a swimming pool, deck extension, and pool house. I got permission from the owner to collect the misc. scraps of wood strewn about on the ground -- but he asked to wait until later, because he wanted some of the longer pieces for himself. Fair enough.

Today we went over there to check out the progress, and I noticed the the bulldozer guy from a few days ago must have scooped all the wood up and dumped them. Too bad: the wooden deck used a nice reddish-brown type of wood. Plus, they're all at the garbage dump, now: that's wasteful.

Usually, I'd fish things out of the construction dumpster every evening or two. But this time, the construction job was (apparently) too small for a dumpster.

Oh well: my current stash --at my present rate of building things -- will last me several years; I **do** have a backlog of wood to get under cover (i.e., store away properly); and I've been kinda busy (so I might not have had the time to gather the wood. Maybe.).

STILL: A shame.

Next time I'll gather the wood, and tell the owner he can grab what he needs from my safely-sequestered pile.


Labels: ,

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Do not make fun of names

Now that I'm old, I'm mandated to pass on my hard-earned wisdom to others.

Here's one: **Never** make fun of -- or make witty remarks about -- a person's name.

First name, last name, middle name -- doesn't matter.

No matter how darned clever you think you're being: you're not. And it's a good way to come off as a jerk. Either the person's heard it a zillion times already, or else it'll hurt their feelings and they'll never forget it (because names are rather permanent).



Friday, June 25, 2010

Awkward branding

There's a clothing store in the local mall that caters to middle-aged women. The store is called ''Wombat''.

A wombat is pictured (to left): they're a bit rolly-polly.

Somehow, I don't think that's the look to which middle-aged women aspire.

They **have** stayed in business at least since when I moved here, seven years ago.

But still: awkward branding.



Thursday, June 24, 2010

Scary Kiwis

If you ever see a New Zealand folks play an Australia team (and other folks as well, it seems), you'll see them do the "hakka" -- a fairly freaky traditional warrior dance:

It may not seem like much on a teeny screen: but having these huge guys freaking out -- SCREAMING at you -- ten feet in front of you? The NFL got **nothin'** on that...!!!


Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Old man

Yeah, I'm becoming an old man.

This morning, the kids and I were watching children's t.v. There's an English show called "Grandpa in My Pocket", where this kid's grandfather lives with them and has a magic shrinking cap.

When the grandpa puts it on he shrinks down to a few inches tall, and they have all sorts of adventures: the cover story for the disappearance of the grandfather is always, "Oh, he's gone upstairs to have a lie down."

Every time they say that, I think "Having a lie down. THAT sounds nice..."


Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Is it zen

Is it zen -- or just perseverance? I have a camphor laurel log that's oval in its cross section (14” diameter along one axis, 15” along other axis; i.e., 36cm x 38cm). The bottom of it was rotten from sitting in the dirt for three years, so I cut it off.

I only used handsaws, so the cutting took me an hour or two -- although I'm not sure, as I didn't keep track. It was fairly "zen": just letting the saw do the cutting. Of course, I was supervising the kids outdoors at the same time.

I started the cut with a fairly fine-toothed crosscut handsaw. After the cut was started, I had a chance to finally use the frame saw (photo at left) from my paternal grandfather (received by way of my dad). This worked pretty well -- but then bottomed out due to the cross-member.

So, I switched to a fairly coarse rip-filed saw (2.5 TPI), to which I had increased the set (i.e., the splay of the teeth, which determines the width of the cut). I used (for the first time!) one of my grandfather's sawsets for the first time -- looks kinda like this...

The handsaw is slightly awkward to use, as the upper horn on the handle is gone, making it harder to grip. But, I've worked out an alternative grip. The substantial set, plus rubbing candle wax on the side of the blade, made it a pretty easy cut. It also helps that I'd sharpened it recently.

As you can see in the below photo, the rot only seems to have penetrated an inch or so into the log. Given that it was sitting in the dirt for three years (it was holding something else off the ground), that's not bad. Around here, there'd also usually be termite damage -- but apparently they don't like the taste of camphor laurel (strong smell, like pine or cedar).

I'll use this log as an side-table, to place tools on when I'm sitting on the wooden chair and doing woodworking: I avoid laying my tools on the ground (easy to step on, and/or forget to take inside).

I have two more logs of a smaller diameter, which I'm in the process of cutting in half lengthwise. My two 2yo boys enjoy sitting on them (as logs), so I have an idea for turning them into kid-sized stools.

One of these days I want to modify a two-person crosscut saw (like one of these...)

by cutting it in half and re-filing the teeth on one of the new halves for rip-cutting (i.e., cutting the long way, like with a pit saw). Eventually.


Labels: , ,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Old man shoes

Because I never shave, I try to dress slightly more formally to compensate: button-up dress shirts rather than t-shirts, and dress shoes or those newfangled hiking boots rather than sneakers.

The dress shoes I usually wear have fallen apart, so yesterday we went shopping for some replacements. Found a pair that are probably sneakers rather than dress shoes -- but they're black (not brown), look respectable, and are comfortable -- as well as being well-constructed and at a good price.

My wife says they look like old man shoes (see photo) -- and I can't disagree (although I'd say more like "nurse shoes"). But, yeah: I'm at the age where I don't care about being ''hip'' -- I just want comfort and respectability. ;)

Of course, I also play the drums and the electric (rock!) guitar -- so I'm secure in my un-coolness. ;)


Labels: , ,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Updated knock-knock joke

I thought of a twist to this knock-knock joke I mentioned a few days ago. (Read it first, if you haven't already.)

OK -- here goes. Made this up all by myself:

A: Knock knock.

B: Who's there?

A: Preemptive cow. MOO!!!



Saturday, June 19, 2010

Childrens books recommendations

(I intentionally left the possessive "s" off the blog title, as punctuation does weird stuff to the URL.)

I have a soft spot for children's books: they get to the point right away, and they're (usually) well-written. Here's four of them that I picked up last week from the kid's section of the library. All of them for little kids (one drawing per page). My daughter (5.5yo) is of the age for all but the Emily Dickinson one (need to try it). I can envision a 10yo enjoying them. Heck - I'm 40yo, and **I** liked 'em!

I enjoyed all of them, and will likely eventually buy 'em for myself. Hopefully your local library has 'em.

THE BOY WHO GREW FLOWERS (2005) – by Jen Wojtowicz; found mid-June, 2010; children’s book, one illustration per page; boy who grows flowers from his body and has a family that the town views as oddballs makes friends with a plain but kind girl who moves to his school.

MY UNCLE EMILY (2009) – by Jane Yolen; found mid-June, 2010; children’s book, one illustration per page; fictionalized story of Emily Dickonson’s nephew and his relationship with her as his favourite aunt.

PRINCESS SMARTYPANTS (1992, 1995, 1998) – by Babette Cole; found mid-June, 2010; children’s book, one illustration per page; princess is forced by her parents (king and queen) to choose among suitors; gives them impossible tasks, ends up blowing them all off.

STANLEY PASTE (2009) – by Aaron Blabey; found mid-June, 2010; children’s book, one illustration per page; schoolboy who is the smallest one in his class is an outcast, until an abnormally tall girl moves to his school and becomes his friend.



Friday, June 18, 2010

Good knock-knock joke

Heard this knock-knock joke today on Yo Gabba Gabba (season 2, episode 24). Had heard it before, but forgotten it.

A: Knock knock.

B: Who's there?

A: Interrupting cow.

B: Interrupting co--

A: MOO!!!

Told it to my daughter, who at first didn't get it -- didn't know what "interrupting" was -- but then proceeded to apply the concept to "interrupting chicken (Cluck!)", "interrupting penguin (Waddle waddle!)", "interrupting person (Blah blah blah!)", etc. Except that she called it “interrucking”.



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Who my children should marry

A few days ago I told my wife that I hope my kids marry a nice Greek, Italian, Indian, Pakistani, Turkish, or general middle eastern or Mediterranean girl or boy. Because that way we'll be invited (as in-laws) to the various ethnic holidays and festivals -- where my son/daughter-in-law's momma will cook lovely ethnic foods.

I like the food.

My wife pointed out that it would be easier just to go to a restaurant.

Well, yeah: that’s plan B.



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Devo

Apparently, Devo has recently released their first new album in 20 years.

Thanks to Kevin H. for the alert!

(Have a listen here. Yep; sounds like Devo.)



Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Everything wants to stay together

''Entropy'' is the concept that everything in the universe wants to devolve to a state of randomness: basically, that everything wants to fall apart.

For example, it’s harder (and takes more energy) to turn a pile of sand into a sandcastle than it is to turn a sandcastle into a pile of sand. I’m sure this has something to do with Newton’s Laws.

But today I realized that objects live in dread of entropy: this demotion from being “stuff” to “junk”. All it takes is one mishap, and that wooden footstool you’ve had since you were a kid ends up on the scrap heap; that teacup from Auntie Sue ends up in the bin.

An item at the garbage dump feels sad: it held on for soooo long – only to lose out, in the end, and end up compacted between a Styrofoam cup and an orange peel in an eight cubic metre cube of trash.

You see, everything follows an imperfect arc of anti-entropy -- starting as not much, just raw materials; peaking at some maximum level of ''something-ness''; and then crashing back down to ''not-much-ness''.

That piece of paper where I wrote my Reading Comprehension answers in third grade? It went from wood pulp, to paper, to schoolwork. Then it was further upgraded to paper airplane. For a long period of grace -- thirty-plus years -- it sat at that pinnacle of order and assembly-ness in a box in my parents’ attic -- until I, as a forty year old man, rediscovered it.

Upon its rediscovery, its state of being was balanced on a quantum precipice: would I recycle it, to become paper for another child’s homework assignment? Would I toss it on the compost heap, where it would return to dirt? Or – as it so happened – would I transfer it to another box (with other childhood keepsakes), and keep it for another thirty years?

Even people are like that. I’m forty years old, and I think I’m at my physical apex. This is as good as it gets. My body is **just** starting to – slowly – fall apart.

Here’s the point: there’s a brief, fragile moment in time that everything -- teacups, home electronics, humans -- are at their pinnacle of together-ness. Everything crafted or manufactured in your personal environment is only a mis-step away from falling off its pinnacle of created-ness, to be devoured by entropy.

And **that** -- I realized -- I why I keep broken junk.



Monday, June 14, 2010

Geek timesheet

My job is part-time and hourly. I seize snatches of time in oddball quantities: ten minutes here, thirty-five minutes there. Sometimes I get interrupted by ideas for song lyrics (or what-not), so I have to (in all fairness) "clock out".

One of my timesheet entries from yesterday reads "11:15am-11:40am: composed a blog entry on entropy”.




Saturday, June 12, 2010

Superman doesn't need sleep

I come up with some odd thoughts, as I work late at night (which no longer seem ''late at night'' to me; hmm).

As I sat at my computer, just now, a frame from a Superman comic book flashed across my vision: Superman was on a long patrol of the Earth, and commented that he didn't need to sleep -- except for a few hours every now and again, for psychological reasons. I can't easily substantiate this, as I have... a few... comic books. However, a quick Google search seems to support this: here.

If I only needed to sleep an hour or two a night? **Man**, that would be handy! I could be **sooo** productive!

Although: I **do** like dreams.

TOTALLY OFF-TOPIC: I found this photo by accident, while Google-image-ing ''superman sleeping''. I appreciate the colors.

Although, I have no idea why ''sleeping'' returned this image. Maybe it was part of that person's blog entry.


Labels: ,

Friday, June 11, 2010

Disconcerting self-insight

Hm. I seem to be more patient and attentive to my children when I'm **not** feeling like garbage. That's sobering.

Meanwhile, though: Even though I'm only about 96% back to normal -- I feel **GOOD**. Yowza.


Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mostly recovered


OK -- Monday night, I stayed up late working, followed by (whoops!) spending about an hour on YouTube, watching people give foolish answers on "Who ... Millionaire", "Wheel o' Fortune", and the like. Went to bed about 1am (technically, Tuesday morning).

"Hm," I thought to myself. "Stayed up so late, I gave myself a stomach ache."

Then I woke up about 5am Tuesday with a **really** unhappy stomach. Dashed to the toilet; kneeled down; you can imagine the rest. (Hm. Don't think it was staying up late that did it.) The Lady got me a few towels to use as blankets and floor padding, a sweatshirt, sweatpants, socks, stocking cap, and a water bottle, and I spent the next twenty-four hours (literally) dozing on the tile floor of the bathroom (easier to clean up, should it be needed, than bedding or carpet; also, towels easier to launder than blankets). Felt queasy all through Tuesday, and Wednesday night, but no further "action" -- so I **could've** slept in my bed, after all.

Tuesday is basically just an empty day to me: lying on the floor, basically asleep except to shift position, and occasionally waking up to take a sip of water. Every time I'd fall back asleep, I'd have the same weird but boring, repetitive dream of a white paperboard box the size of a deck of cards. Also, my lower back was starting to get sore.

The Lady stayed home from work on Tuesday.

None of this should have been **too** shocking, as each of the boys had vomited and had some 24-hour bug within the last week or so. But I seemed to be hit harder than them.

So, Tuesday was spent sleeping on the bathroom floor. My only change of pace was about 5pm Tuesday, when The Lady hollered for me: The Girl had thrown up, out in the family room. I assisted somewhat -- mostly just holding The Girl while The Lady did the actual clean-up. By bedtime, though, The Girl was mostly better, and although she didn't go to school on Wednesday, she **did** go to her piano lesson that afternoon.

Wednesday was my weak-as-toast day. The Lady had some meetings with students that she couldn't miss, so I wrangled the kids for most of the day. I lay on the sofa and watched kiddie t.v. shows with the kids, and then various children's DVDs. Whenever I got up to do anything, my teeth, gums, and hands tingled. Clearly not yet well. Hadn't consumed any food for the past 24 hours, so had a few crackers during the day. At night, I had a little meat pie, plus some re-heated sweet potato fries.

Thursday was the wacky body temperature day. (Wish I'd get sick during **summer**, for a change -- being Down Under, it's currently winter.) For the first few hours, couldn't get warm, even with two t-shirts, two flannels shirts, a sweatshirt, a coat, and a stocking cap -- and lying under a blanket (on the sofa). But then, when I walked around getting something for the boys (The Lady had to go in to work; The Girl was back at school), I immediately got **really** hot. So: freezing if just sitting/lying; sweating if just walking around. Despite that, about 85% "normal".

Also, while counting down the time until I had to go pick The Girl up from school, I realized I'd not returned the DVD that was due on Tuesday: was too busy being unconscious, and not at all thinking of such things. So, dropped it off on the way home from the school.

I'm probably 90% recovered, not (11pm, Thursday night). Being sick has **really** torpedoed my "hours logged for work" for this pay period -- will try to make it up this weekend.

But, at least it makes ya **really** appreciate felling "normal".


Labels: ,

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Why words rhyme

I thought this was pretty good:

Apparently they're discussing rhyming words in class (prep year; an analog of Kindergarden

The Girl told me that her teacher was writing rhyming words on the board, and asked the class what made words rhyme.

She'd raised her hand, and told the teacher “For words to rhyme, they have to have the same last ending sound”.

I love the phrasing.


Labels: ,

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Movie recommended: Children of Men

I work from home doing "hourly" work, and my timesheet is due on Wednesday. So, there tends to be a bit of a push on Tuesday night (and Wednesday morning) to rack up the hours. This makes my Wednesday night feel like most people's Fridays.

Wednesday night, then, I watched Children of Men (2006) on DVD. (For the last few years I've kept a running list of the movies I've seen, plus my mini-review. Sadly, the last movie I'd seen was in November 2009 - six months ago.)

Briefly: It's year 2029, and no one has been born for 18 years -- so it's a world without children. Because of this, the whole world is in chaos except (for some reason -- geographic isolation?) Great Britain. G. Brit. has, however, become somewhat draconian, forcibly deporting all illegal immigrants and (for example) offering free suicide kits.

The main character guy somehow gets caught up in smuggling a pregnant lady (the first in years and years!) out of the country to some freedom ship.

The ending is mildly ambiguous, which I usually don't like (I prefer to see the "happy ending" wrap-up, rather than just having it implied). But this one wasn't so ambiguous as to spoil the movie for me.

Ratings-ish: There's some intermittent cussing, intermittent high violence, and brief nudity.

Although I have many movies on my “To See” list, I bumped this one to the top due to seeing a section of it on a website with the “Top 10 Movie Tracking Shots of All Time” (or some-such). Many scenes in the movie were done in one continuous take, which lends a feel of “you are there” to the movie.