Gye Greene's Thoughts

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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Clever hinge

Still plugging away at the chicken house.

Here's a component that I'm rather pleased with:  the door hinge.

Instead of getting a pair of regular-old butt hinges (insert juvenile joke here) -- like these: 

I decided to do hinges my own way.

I can't tell,. from the Wikipedia article on ''hinges'' (which is also where I found the term ''butt hinge''), the type of hinge I made.  Basically, I put a long screw through the door fame of the chicken coop, into the top and bottom of the door.  I used a few washers as spacers, and I lubed the washers with WD-40.
Here's a shot of the washers, approximately in position:
The one below has a ''tooth'' that I created, using a hacksaw and pliers.  I've drilled the hole into the wood, through the center.  The other washer is resting on top of it, waiting to be modified as well..

Here's a closer look at one of the washers that I customized.  As I said, it has a tooth that drives into the wood.  That keeps the washer in place, relative to the wood -- which ensures that the metal washers will wear against each other, rather than wearing into the wood (and eventually burrowing **into** the wood, which would defeat the ''spacer'' purpose of the washers, as the bottom of the door would end up rubbing on the lower door frame.

I think it's well-engineered.


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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Morbid luck

When my parents visited recently, my dad noted that the local newsagents had ''Golden Casket'' signs:  he asked what that was about.

It's the name of the govt. lottery.

He pointed out that the use of ''casket'' reflects a cultural difference.  In AU, I guess it suggestes a treasure chest full of riches.  In the U.S., a casket tends to refer to a coffin.

Good point.


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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wii Fit parody

Parody of Wii Fit.  Amusing.


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Friday, April 27, 2012

Different chickens

So, Mum has been keeping our five(?) hens over at her place.  But it's been about a month, so she's becoming attached to them.

Meanwhile, they had two or three egg incubators at the kids' daycare, which hatched about a week ago.  Which generated about twelve baby chicks -- which then needed homes.

So today (Friday) we took them home.  Three yellows and a black one.  The kids have named them (I don't remember the names, but The Girl spontaneously made up a poster which includes the chicks' names).

So we might end up with just four chickens.  Or nine.  Or some number in between.

Once I finish the chicken coop.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Marking knife

The property that we live on used to belong to my wife's grandparents.  And grandad was a bit of a hoarder:  if he found something that was potentially useful, he'd bring it home and put it in a shed, or in a pile somewhere in the backyard. 

This means that there are oddball stashes of things all over the place.  Like this pile of metal bits and pieces -- bracket, car parts, whatnots -- that I discovered when clearing the brush for the chicken coop in-progress.

I found this item somewhere in the yard, two or three years ago.  It seems to be a homemade half of a hinge -- or a hinge that has been bent.  I've placed it across my work glove to provide a sense of scale.

I'd always intended to make it into a marking knife, which is a knife used in woodworking to make a very precise reference line:   more precise than a pencil mark, as a knifed line is very thin.

But, I was waiting for a grinding wheel, to shape it.  Finally got one for Christmas -- and then it took me another four months to actually set it up!

The above photo reflects what it looks like after I used the wire wheel on my bench grinder to clean up the loose rust and crud.  So this is an ''almost-before'' photo.

My aim was to make it functionally (but not stylistically) into a marking knife like the one to the the left:  two bevels, with a flat back that is the ''reference surface'' that is pressed against the ruler, trysquare, or other reference item.

To do this, first I used a hacksaw to cut off the tip, at an angle, because I knew it would take a long time to remove that much metal through grinding.

Then I used the grinding wheel to shape it, and put on a knife bevel.

I didn't bother further sharpening it on a whetstone, as it just needs to be sharp enough to score the surface of wood.

Below is the mostly-finished item. I used it in the laying-out process on a side project I've somewhat started:  seems to work.

In the photo below, you can see just how curved it is.  But it still works as a marking knife.  Depending on whether I'm marking the left or right hand of the reference item, I hold it in a pencil-like grip, or else in a handlebar-style grip.

Here (below) you can see my efforts at flattening the back of the knife.  The back needs to be flat, all the way down to the tip, so that the tip will mark the surface of the wood perfectly in line with the ruler, trysquare, or whatever.

So:  functional, and unique.  Clearly a ''user-made'' shop item.

Seems to work.  :)


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Monday, April 23, 2012

Clever tea device

I thought this was pretty clever:  it's one of those tea balls, for holding loose tea leaves for a cup of tea.

Except it's shaped like a rubber duckie!

The photo is in our ''kitchen'' area at work.

Below is a look at the underside of the duckie.

The hand belongs to the co-worker who owns this neat-o device.


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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Still chicken house

Sigh.  Still working on the chicken coop.  Some progress -- but it's slow.

Part of it is that it's a one-person endeavour.  So instead of having a second person to hold things in position, I have to rig up clamps to do so.  Which takes a lot of fiddling.  Which slows me down.

Maybe next weekend.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Long time chicken house

This chicken coop is a long time coming. Spent all day today (Saturday) working on it. Again.

If I made it smaller, or was more slapdash, it would go faster. But --

-I'm building it to last 5-10 years -- maybe longer. So I don't want to do things that will bother me for the next ten years, every time I see it: things like beams not properly vertical (or horizontal), or joints not quite lining up. My rule of thumb is that I can see an error from across the yard -- and it's right next to another building, so things off-vertical will be obvious -- then it's worth fixing.

-I want it sturdy enough that I don't have to fix things in just a few months. Also, it'll be sturdy enough that if we ever stop having chickens it can be a decent storage shed.

-A web search indicated that you need a certain square footage per chicken. Rather than build it for the bare minimum, I ended up making it a little large. From my recent experience, I've found that it's not the physical size of the parts (or the finished project) that takes up time -- it's the amount of handling. For example, building a two foot by two foot by two foot storage box takes the same amount of work as a four foot by four foot by four foot box. More cost for materials, sure -- but the same amount of time.

Anyhow: it might get done by the end of this weekend. Probably **not** -- but it'll be **nearly** done.

Maybe done enough to move the chix in, anyhow.


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Friday, April 20, 2012

My brain

My brain thinks a lot. Sometimes it goes off in funny directions.



Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rotating desktop

Every day for the last fortnight or so (''two weeks'', for you Yanks), I've put a new photo on my computer ''desktop'' at work. I do a Google image search, choose the pic I like, and ''save as'' to my desktop.

I started off doing bands that I like: Devo, Buddy Holly, The Smithereens, The Cars, Material Issue...

Then I did actors: Jackie Chan, Jimmy Durante, the Marx Brothers.

Then t.v. shows: Burn Notice, Cupid, Joan of Arcadia.

I found it interesting that none of my co-workers could identify Jimmy Durante or the Marx Brothers. Maybe they didn't make it across the pond...

On my ''to do'' list: Young Einstein, Scott Pilgrim, The Crow, The State, The Princess Bride, How I Met Your Mother, MASH, Ed.


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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A solid bass

I've had to stay at work somewhat late the last few nights. The problem with working late is that once I get home, have dinner, help get the kids to bed, and process a round of laundry, it's time for **me** to go to bed.

Tonight, though, I **finally** sat down and played the electric bass for about twenty minutes. Worked out the bassline for my ''Woman from '63'' song, and just generally goofed around on the bass.

I've been trying to get some ''electric bass time'' for about a week; good to have finally achieved it.


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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Song quality

There's a lot of good songs out there.

And even more no-so-good ones.


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Monday, April 16, 2012

Further progress

The chicken coop project that would not end...

So far, I've spent two days on a weekend clearing brush; a four-day weekend plus a regular (two-day) weekend levelling the ground, assembling a shed kit (without instructions, and the shed was slightly mangled from the last time), and starting to build the wooden frame for the "yard" (including paining some of the lumber). Oh, and getting up an hour early this morning to do some minor things for it.

I still have about half the frame for the yard to do; plus build the door to the cage; plus string up the heavy-duty chicken wire. We bought the heavy-duty stuff because the local snakes apparently can force their way through the thinner-gauge fencing.

I'd **hoped** to be further along this recent weekend: I hadn't expected to **finish** -- but I thought I'd at least have the frame up (i.e. just the door and the chicken wire remaining). But, I ended up cutting three pieces about a foot too short: the plans for the chicken coop changed, but I forgot to update my measurements. So, I had to make a special trip to buy three more lengths of lumber.

Ah well -- it's an interesting project. I've planned out -- and executed the entire thing myself. The exceptions so far were having The Lady hold up the sheet-metal walls of the shed while I attached them (I tried doing it myself, but every little gust of wind made the wall flop over), and having my brother-in-law and his son help me lift the roof into position.

I'm taking daily ''progress'' photos. I just haven't grabbed them off the camera yet...

I **might** get it finished by the end of this weekend. But somehow I think I'll be just a **little** short.


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Saturday, April 14, 2012

And another good band

The Sisters of Mercy is a good band. Not my favorite band (some of their songs are a bit drone-y for my taste) -- but they have some winners.

Here's one I like: "Lucretia My Reflection". I don't know what the lyrics are about -- but good snippets of imagery -- and a great melody and arrangement.

The music video is pretty neat-o, as well. Again, dunno what it's about -- but still cool.

According to the Wikipedia article, they have a large "goth" following -- although they don't self-identify as goth.

They also use a drum machine rather than a live drummer -- both in recordings and in live shows. I find that interesting, from a songwriting point of view.


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Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I received an unusual compliment today.

During the weekend, one of my co-workers stopped by -- with her dad -- to pick up some surplus baby items that we're getting rid of.

When I mentioned to her at work, "So, that was your dad...", she mentioned that her dad had remarked that I was handsome. More specifically, that I was "good looking, like an old-time movie star."

Heh! OK -- I'll take the compliment. :)



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chicken coop

Or: "Very expensive chickens."

So, a few weeks ago my brother-in-law found some chickens wandering around. The Lady had been considering -- for the past year or so -- getting some chickens. No one else in the family wanted the chickens (hens) -- so we get to have them. But for now, Mum is watching them: they're locked in the shade house (like a greenhouse, but backwards: it's to keep plants from getting too hot).

Here in Aussie-land we don't have a formal separation of church and state. So, Easter weekend is a four-day weekend: Good Friday and Easter Monday! I spent most of Friday and Sunday (we went to church in the morning), and all of Saturday and Monday, working on building a chicken coop and caged-in yard. Unfortunately, I'm only halfway there.

I'm hoping that I get get a lot more done this upcoming weekend.

And have bought lumber, screws, and chicken fencing. I won't say how much we've spent...

I'll post some"before", "during", and "after" photos when I **do** finish...


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