Gye Greene's Thoughts

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My brain

I like Wikipedia (99% accurate!). ;) You can learn stuff: I tend to click on links and open them in a new browser tab, to read later.

To get a sense of my brains: over the last two days, here's what I've Wikipedia'd (which reflects what is interesting to me):

  • Johnny Cash
  • Folsom Prison Blues
  • Casey Jones
  • Camper Van Beethoven
  • Cracker (band)
  • Million Dollar Quartet
  • Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian (a Johnny Cash album)
  • Nickajack cave
  • Man in black (song)
  • altar call
  • dry cleaning
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Maria Anna Mozart
  • Mozart's compositional method
  • Mozart and scatology
  • okra
  • gumbo

An interesting cross-section -- if'n I do say so myself.


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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two good quotes

From one of the lessons at church, this recent Sunday:

From St Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 12, beginning at verse 9 (Romans 12:9-21 (NRSV)).

20 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” (Interpretation: Be nice to your enemies -- it'll mess with their heads.)


21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Sounds like something The Tick might say.


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Monday, August 29, 2011

My tastes

Because I dislike having to wait around without anything to read (if I have something decent to read, I don't mind waiting), I keep a few half-read magazines in the map pocket of the car.

Over the last week, I've noticed that none of the woodworking magazine ads make me go "Oooh..." Example:

This is probably because I've reached a stage where I've amassed enough (used) woodworking hand tools to do what I need to do. (Still need a lathe and a bandsaw, though.) Now I need to clean them up and start **using** them, and developing my skills. I don't need to buy any more of 'em.

Some of the guitar magazine ads (guitars; guitar amps; effects pedals) make me go "Oooh..." Example:

I can always use another effects pedal. ;) And one of these days it'd be nice to have a tube amp...

But, the recording magazines. Yowza!!! I mean, check **this** out:Or this:


Sadly, these things ain't cheap -- so I'll probably never bring myself to actually get one of these. But if someone gave me a choice between some $3,000 flat-screen t.v., and one o' those blue things (above), I know which one **I'd** choose.

Partly 'cause it's a **tool**: you can do useful things with it. And partly -- dunno. Aesthetics, I guess. And it has lots of knobs and switches.

Different tastes. Whenever I show my wife ads for effects pedals or recording gear, she just shrugs. ;)


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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Final two ties

Oh, BTW -- Wednesday and Thursday of this last week were my final two neckties out of my collection. (For those new to this blog: I have about 85 neckties, and I've been systematically wearing one per day (except Fridays) until I've worn each tie once.)

So: Monday -- any tie I want! Woo-hoo!!!

Here's my second-to-last tie: electric guitars and electric basses. Received it as a gift (either from my wife, or my kids) a few years back, and never worn it (still in the plastic).

Here's my final tie: a red (or burgandy?) bow tie -- an actual tie-it-yerself bow tie. Unfortunately, although I understand theoretically how to tie a bow tie (it's basically like tying your shoes), I didn't think to practice ahead of time. So after a few tries in the men's room in front of the mirror, I gave up. But, here it is.

So: them's the ties. :)


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Saturday, August 27, 2011

More on puppets

When I'd showed my kids my sock puppet from high school (as mentioned a few blog entries ago), they'd all wanted to take turns with it. So last night I dug thru the rag bag for mis-matched and/or hole-y socks, and let each kid choose one. Then I stayed up late-ish sewing oval shaped cutouts from margarine tub lids into the socks, to form the mouths.

Today (Saturday), I picked up some colored poofy balls from the local arts and crafts store for noses (if they want to have noses); a pack of googly eyes; and a sheet of black felt, and white felt (as an eyeball alternative). We have a few different colors of yarn, for hair (optional). I'm assembling this all in a box, which I've labeled as my "Puppet Kit".

We were busy today, so maybe tomorrow I'll help them assemble their custom sock puppets.

Regarding my larger puppet, I had the insight a few days ago that if I make the arms the same length as my 3 y.o. boys' arms, then I can dress it in their old clothes! Also, that I'd like to make it with light purple "skin", and dark purple hair. Orange nose, orange felt eyebrows. No ears. Hands will be mitten-shaped, but with clothespins or some-such embedded as thumbs, so that it can hold stuff.

I want the "guide sticks" (don't know the technical name) on the arms to be easily removeable.

Also, that his name will be "Ha". Vocal inflection going down, or kinda flat -- so "Ha.", not "Ha!". Don't know why that name: it just came to me.

Also, his head will be kind of marshmallow-shaped: cylindrical, but with rounded edges.



Friday, August 26, 2011

Another college dream

Two nights ago I had yet another recurrence of the "back in college" dream. This time I dreamed I was a "returning student" (or whatever the current euphemism is for someone who doesn't go directly from high school to college).

I was at a university reminiscent of Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, WA), a few days before the start of the first semester. I pulled up with a car full of belongings, then realized that I didn't know which dorm I was staying in. So, I walked around campus, looking for the Housing office, or something similar.

While doing this, I also realized I didn't know what classes I was taking -- or if I was even enrolled. So, I also kept an eye out for the Registrar's office, or similar. I spent most of the day doing this, with no luck.

Then (in contrast to most of my other "back in college" dreams) I realized, Hey! I have a Ph.D.! Why am I trying to go back to college. I'm better off moving in with my parents, getting a crummy non-career-track job, and recording music on my days off.

Then I woke up.


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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Now versus later

I've had the froggie windsock for years and years: a gift from my parents.

I've always had it hanging indoors, to keep it from getting faded.

But a few days ago, I was inspired to hang it from a tree, outdoors, where the wind could catch it.

Yeah, the colors will fade from the sun. But it tickles me to look out the window and see it flapping around in the breeze.

It's being **used**, rather than preserved. And that's o.k.


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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This desk

This recent weekend we visited the local Ikea.

This is a snapshot of a desk I'll -- eventually -- be getting.

See all them shelves? The idea is that I'll be able to set up my various "classic" computers, and actually **use** them. The keyboards can be on the desk; the monitors can be on the mini-shelf; and the tin boxes can be on the upper shelves (vertical form factor boxes on the top shelf, and horizontal form factor on the next shelf down).

Right now, they just live in boxes. :(


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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Need a puppet

Like many things, this one follows a circuitous path.

A few weeks ago I'd rented I Love You, Man. Sunday I got around to Wikipedia-ing who the guy's fiance was (ah! the same actress who was the love interest in The Office; **knew** I recognized her!!!). Which made me YouTube Jason Segel's "Dracula's Lament".

(No, you don't have to watch the whole thing.)

And somehow that lodged in my subconscious -- such that Monday I realized, "Hey -- I need to make a puppet."

I'm thinking something with "Bert" arms: hollow tube of cloth, with a seam at the elbow, filled with lengths of foam pipe insulation. And with lengths of dowel, attached at the puppet's wrists, to guide the arms.

Not sure what to do about the head. Today (Tuesday) I've been pondering it. Briefly thought about making it some sort of animal -- but I think I'll make it vaguely person-like.

On the way home, on the bus, I decided to name him "Small Guy" -- as a counterpoint to "Tall Guy" (whom we haven't seen much of as late -- have we?).

It'll be a week or two before this happens, though.

However -- as a "proof of concept", I dug out my old sock puppet that I made in high school (or early college?). I was pleased that I found it so quickly: it was in my "Weird Stuff" box, in amongst the Groucho Marx glasses, whoopee cushion, and the like. (What -- you don't have a "Weird Stuff" box...?)

Here it is:

(Did this in the bathroom -- hence, the echoes. I needed the bright lights, to capture a decent image.)

The sock puppet never had a name -- but when I was having him talk to the kids, he said his name was "Olson". So, I guess he's Olson.


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Monday, August 22, 2011

Good days

I had two pleasant evenings.

Sunday night, after the kids went to bed, I spent two hours doing music stuff: typing up some song lyrics I'd recently scribbled onto a notepad (i.e. new song!!!); trying out an old drum machine (Boss DR-110 -- I'll let you Wikipedia it) and getting it to work; then working out the guitar chords to the new song, as well as tightening up some of the lyrics.

Good stuff. I'd meant to also lay down some basic tracks, but I didn't get that far.

Then, Monday night (tonight) I spent a few hours mucking about with some business data from Old Roommate. Trying to find patterns in data -- and trying to work out how to bend Stata (the software) to my will.

Again, good stuff.

So, two pleasant evenings. Although I should've gone to bed about an hour ago. ;)


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Friday, August 19, 2011

Good band

I just recently discovered the band Fountains of Wayne. Some good songs.

Here' s the music video for the song "Hey Julie": good song, good video (although it appears to be for a class project, rather than an "official" video).

Good stuff.

Also: here's the Scrubs version:

Cute. :)

(I used to really enjoy Scrubs. But I've not watched the last few seasons -- and apparently J.D. isn't even on the show any more. Which rather loses the point.)


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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Songs at your funeral

On Tuesday I was moral support for my wife at a family funeral. An aunt; I'd only met her once. They played a lot of good songs during the service -- presumably, ones that the aunt liked.

This made me realize that, if a person is savvy enough to choose her own songs for her funeral ahead of time, then funeral songs serve as a small "mix tape": a snapshot of the person's musical tastes.

I came up with these, for myself (see below). Maybe add an instrumental piece as well, if I ever get around to writing one.

1. Hey Jealousy - Gin Blossoms
2. Valerie Loves Me - Material Issue
3. Il Fait Plu - Gye Greene (me)
4. Shout - Devo
5. Magic - The Cars
6. Hello, I Must be Going - Groucho Marx
7. Tom Sawyer - Rush
8. Happy Noodle vs Sad Noodle - Logan Whitehurst
9. Smooth Noodle Maps - Devo
10. Everybody Wants a Rock - They Might Be Giants
11. Blitzkreig Bop - The Ramones ((or maybe not))

Not necessarily in that order.

Hmm -- eleven songs is probably a bit much. Maybe use "Tom Sawyer" during the seating period (maybe the very last song before the service starts?). And "Magic" could be used as the recessional.


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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Music dabbling

After four of five days of attempts, tonight I **finally** managed to sit down and play the guitar, and mess around with some guitar effects pedals. Spent about two hours playing tonight.

Also came up with a catchy riff, which will eventually end up being the chorus to some song. Not complicated, but it's catchy, and for me that's the important element.


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Monday, August 15, 2011

Some productivity

OK! I feel about 95% good. But one of the kids was unwell, and it was my turn to stay home from work.

Managed to unpack two boxes from the front porch, though. So, some productivity there, which **somewhat** makes up for my lack of usefulness on the weekend.


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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wasted weekend

Thursday I went to work, even though I was feeling poorly: I had stuff I needed to do.

Likewise Friday.

I had **planned** to finishing digging a drainage ditch in the back yard, mow the lawn, and various other things. But, nope. Sat around, going "uhhhhhhhh" (and feeling crummy) the whole weekend.

**Did** finish watching a season's worth of the original Twilight Zone t.v. series on DVD. Plus another movie or two.

But basically, a frustrating weekend. By Sunday I felt a little better -- but not enough to actually **do** things -- neither physical work nor sorting/tidying things. Gah.


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Friday, August 05, 2011

Condtradictory hope

An awkward position at work: trying to double-check some figured I'd generated, which contradict another well-respected agencies figures.

Every time I run some double-check on my work, I hope that I don't discover an error -- because that would mean I'd screwed up. But, to **not** find an error means that I'm still in trouble-shooting mode. Gah.

(Update: turns out that we're using slightly different definitions. Good: everyone's a winner.)



Wednesday, August 03, 2011


A little tricky: last weekend finally got around to working on some data for Old Roommate. Prior to starting my current job, I'd been using Stata (statistical software), which has its own scripting language.

However, since the end of January, I've been using SPSS (statistical software), which has a different scripting language. So, this weekend was the first time I've used Stata in a few months. So all of my new habits (using single "equals" for logical equivalencies; ending statements with a period) are nowin the way of my old habits. Gah! Tricky.

Like moving from Italy to France, then back to Italy.


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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Simplest saw till

The World's Simplest Saw Till is the point of this blog entry. (Which doesn't directly relate to this first photo, which is just a general example of a saw till.) But first, a little background:

A "saw till" is what woodworkers that use hand tools call the rack that holds their handsaws. Sometimes it's a cupboard with a door; other times it's open air, like the one pictured here. The aim is to keep your saws safe (i.e. where they won't get stepped on), organized, and accessible.

Since getting a shed, and more recently a workbench, I've managed to log a little bit of shop time. I've noticed that I tend to use the same three or four saws over and over.

Part of this focus on just a few handsaws resulted from something I read in a book, in June of 2010. ( Frid, Tage. 1993. Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking. The Taunton Press (by FWW). Newtown, CT.) Tage Frid is a famous old-school, traditionally-trained woodworker. He contends that you don't really need crosscut **and** rip saws in your arsenal. He demonstrates his point by making (presumably) the same number of saw strokes into a board (p. 14) with crosscut and rip-filed saws. He makes pretty much the same progress with each: the rip saw is noticeably faster when ripping a board (cutting along the grain), and nearly as fast when crosscutting (cutting across the grain). (Note that he doesn't specify the number of teeth per inch, which has an impact on the cutting speed. Presumably they're the same.)

Thus, I've been using a rip-filed backsaw (I think it's a tenon saw) for dovetailing, tenons, and smaller crosscutting (where traditionally I think a carcasse saw would be used). For medium to larger crosscutting I use a crosscut saw or a medium-toothed rip saw. And for heavy ripping, I use a coarse-teethed rip saw -- although I'm in the process of modding a one-person crosscut saw into a mega-ripsaw -- but more on that some other time.

So, that's four saws. And I lacked a good place to put them.

Part one of the solution was to stick a bolt on the side of some wooden shelving near my workbench. So, a bolt, or dowel, stuck in the wall. That's about as simple a sawtill as you could have.

That's a pruning saw on the bottom of the stack; then a hacksaw (the fine teeth are good for cutting PVC pipes and other plastics); then a backsaw. I used to have a few out, and I'd use whichever was sharpened; now I just focus on one, and sharpen the teeth when they need it.

My second saw till is almost as bare-bones as the "bolt in the wall" approach: it's a board with three parallel cuts, going the long way. Each cut is about as long as the depth of a handsaw blade, and slightly farther apart than a saw handle (wide enough that I can get my hand between the handles, to grab the saw). I either clamp it to the end of the workbench, a nearby storage rack, or weight it down with whatever's available.

Below is the super-simple saw till. I glued on an additional piece of wood, thinking I might have room for one additional saw. Then I decided to just make the saw till for three saws. But, I still have room for expansion -- and the extra wood gives added flexibility for mounting.

And here, below, is the end view. It's "Grandad wood", for what that's worth: my wife's grandfather had stashes of wood all around the property (mostly offcuts), and these are are some of the pieces. Some sort of Australian hardwood, although I couldn't tell you more than that. I sanded the top a bit, and gave the whole thing some boiled linseed oil. Didn't bother with the underside: no one's going to look there.

So, yeah -- two of the World's Simplest Sawtills. :)


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Monday, August 01, 2011

More degrees

On Sunday, The Lady had to help staff a booth from her university department -- so the kids and I wandered around the other booths. Pretty good swag: got a small tape measure from the Engineering Department, a pen from the Business School, a squeezy ball from Accounting, a flexi-frisbee from the Health Dept, and I forget what else.

Picked up a catalog from Engineering. Good stuff, but if I won the lottery I wouldn't bother getting an Engineering degree: I have enough knowledge to dink around in the shed, making contraptions, without having to go to university. And at this point I don't need to do that stuff for a living: I'd rather mess around doing what interests **me**, not what my boss tells me needs doing.

I also stopped by the Creative Industries booths. The "Music and Sound" program is interesting, and I think I would've enjoyed being a film student. If I won the lottery it might be fun to do the Film and T.V. program -- not that I couldn't just go out and start making my film shorts, but more that it would be fun to hang around with like-minded people.

They also have a graduate certificate in Music and Sound: six months if you do it full time. **That** might be something fun to do, once I earn my "long service leave".

Long service leave is "a period of paid leave granted to an employee in recognition of a long period of service to an employer." In addition to the four weeks of paid vacation each year, Queensland government employees get eight and two-thirds weeks of leave for each ten years of ongoing employment. So that's twelve weeks, if I combine them.

A university semester is thirteen weeks, plus finals. So if I saved up a little vacation from a previous year, I could spend my entire three months doing a graduate level university course on recording technology.

Hm. Actually, I'd be better off spending the AU$7,400 tuition on some recording equipment, and spending the three months locked in a room, recording songs.

Although, it would be a different experience.

Mostly, I'd just do it to be able to put some more letters after my name, on my business card (seems to be an Australian thing: listing your qualifications on your business card).


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