Gye Greene's Thoughts

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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Good insight

I thought this had some good wisdom to it.

The video clip is pretty short. A transcript is later in the blog entry, but it loses the vocal inflection.



Saturday, March 22, 2014

Actual drum brushes

Two days ago I became curious about the origin of "brushes" for drumming.

I did a bit of a web search, which turned up the  history of "drumming brushes", contained in this very informative article.  Apparently they were actual wire flyswatters (fan-shaped, rather than square-shaped); and also people used whisk brooms.

(As an aside:  oddly, you can't find whisk brooms here in Australia.  Duunno why.)

Anyhow, I became curious as to whether "actual" brushes would work -- so I picked up a pair of dish-scrubbing brushes, and a pair of grout-scrubbing brushes, and gave 'em a try.  Here's the Y'allTube video clip:

BTW, here's the drumhead, which a few years ago I let my daughter decorate with permanent markers.

And, here's the drumhead with the brushes on it:

I'm pleased with how my experiment turned out.  Cost me about ten bucks, all said:  $2 each for the dish-scrubbing brushes, and $3 each for the grout-scrubbers.  That's a reasonable price to pay to satisfy my curiosity -- and expand my range of possible drum sounds.  :)


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Friday, March 21, 2014

Easier to go unnoticed

Last night I went to bed a bit late, due to my Krav Maga class:  got home, showered, put on some laundry, and etc.

So today, I was a bit tired.  My desk faces the main route that people walk along on our floor -- meaning that most people can't see under it.  So I crawled under my desk and took a nap during my lunch hour.

Since I was "clocked out" for lunch, it was a perfectly legitimate thing to do.  But to avoid questions, prior to my nap I shifted some things around to further shield myself from view.

Once of my co-workers said there was some precedent:  George from Seinfeld.



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lovin' the Krav

So, when I was in Seattle, I dabbled in about eight martial arts.  Sadly, I didn't spend enough time to get actually good at any of them:  some were for a month, most were for a semester; the longest was about two years.  In order, they were:

  • Aikido
    • (long break)
  • Karate
  • Shaolin five-animals kung fu
    • (short break)
  • Hung-Gar kung fu
  • Judo (there was a semester where an evening class conflicted with Hung-Gar)
  • A different Aikido (one summer, instead of Hung-Gar)
  • Mantis style kung fu (two or three weeks, visiting Australia)
  • Tae Kwon Do (another summer, instead of Hung-Gar)
(Note:  If I don't specify the style of Aikido, Karate, etc., it's because I don't remember.)

During the period that I was dong Hung-Gar, I also observed a friend's fencing session, and did a session of archery.

(I also did wrestling in middle school for a season.  It was OK; I think I'd get more out of it now, given my broader martial arts context.)

Then, since moving to Australia about ten years ago, I've intermittently shopped around for martial classes (roughly once every two years).  I've observed a class session of:
  • Zen Do Kai (met at a local community hall)
  • Aikido (at the university gym where my wife worked)
  • Capoeira (also at the university gym)
  • Lei Quan Gong kung fu (also at the university gym)
  • Jeet Kune Do + Escrima/Kali (a few neighborhoods away)
  • Black Crane (a few neighborhoods away, in a different direction)

...and, nothing panned out.  For a variety of reasons. But essentially, they all had good points -- but also had aspects that I didn't want. 

So:  My kids are taking a Tae Kwon Do class once a week at the local gradeschool.  About two weeks ago they had their first belt testing.  And as I sat in the bleachers and watched them going through their moves -- I got the itch again.

There's a local Ju-Jitsu class (traditional style, not Brazillian) that I'd been considering over the years.  I e-mailed the instructor, asking if I could observe the class.  No reply.  OK, then -- never mind.

I also did a web search on local Wing Chun and Krav Maga schools.  All the Wing Chun classes I could find were too far away from where I live.  Conversely, I found two Krav Maga branches ten minutes away from home:  each in a different direction, and both part of the same organization.

I went and observed an "Intermediate/Advanced" session of Krav on Thursday night, March 13th.  Very promising!

The Krav webpage said that Thursday, March 20th was the start of the new term at the other branch -- and the first class is free.  That was tonight.  So I attended.

I'm sold, I'm in.  Signed up.

Krav Maga won't suit everyone.  Different people do martial arts for different reasons:  fitness, spiritual development, sport, sociability, self-defense -- the groovy katas ("forms").

But so far, at least, Krav has everything that **I'm** looking for -- and none of the things I want to avoid.

We'll see how things go.


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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I liked this episode

I liked this episode.  :)



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Two food insights

Two food insights for you:  one that I've known for a few years; the other that I just figured out in the last few weeks.

Old:  when you cut up a watermelon, the center is the sweetest; the closer you get to the rind, the less-nice it is.

New:  when eating a carrot, the end near the tip is sweeter than the end near the greenery.  This has two implications:  it's nicer to eat a carrot from the tail to the tip; and if you children are fussy (reluctant) about their veggies, give them the end near the tip and save the "wide end" for yourself.



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I do not want a swimming pool

This isn't shocking news, but:  for a given amount of backyard space that it would take up, and a similar amount of money, I would waaaay rather have a shed than a swimming pool.

I'd use the shed as a recording studio, or as a larger workshop, or as a home gym.  Or, depending on the size, some combination of all of these.  Whereas I would have no use for a swimming pool.

Plus, according to this, a swimming pool would cost more, anyhow.


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Saturday, March 08, 2014

Good songwriter rapper guy

It's worth checking out this guy's YouTube channel:  good songwriting, good singing, good rapping.

I appreciate that he's actually PG (mostly), and positive:  that's not always the case with the rap.



Monday, March 03, 2014

Minor progress

In addition to working on those Taiko drumsticks, I also tried cleaning off my workbench a bit.  I came across two packets of drill bits that I'd bought on sale. 

Figured I ought to put them away properly.

Pondered for a bit (no pun intended), and ended up mounting them on the right-hand end of my tool rack behind my workbench.  I tend to stand at the left-hand side when I work:  that's where the main vice is, and therefore my main "daily" stash of tools.

I figured that this was a good compromise:  close enough that I can easily access them -- but far enough that they're not in a place of prominence.

A minor accomplishment -- putting them away -- but an accomplishment nonetheless.


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Sunday, March 02, 2014

Taiko-style drumsticks

Regular-sized drumsticks feel insubstantial to me.

I usually use a pair that my late (paternal) grandfather made for me, which are a little larger diameter.  But I was looking for something even heftier:  something like is used in Taiko drumming (you don't have to watch the whole thing; you get the idea in the first 15 seconds):

I stopped by the local drumming supplies shop, but they didn't have anything relevant in stock.  The guy said he could order something in for me -- but it would be about forty bucks.  Nah.

So, I went to the local mega-hardware store and picked up a hardwood dowel (25mm by 0.9m long; so, about one inch by three feet).  Cost me three bucks.

Cut it in half,  then rounded off the ends with a rasp, then a file.  Wanted to minimize the denting of drumheads by making the contact surface less of a crescent shape, and more of a sphere.

Here's a comparison of the old end, and the modified end:

Here's my hand in the shot, to give a sense of scale:

And, here's a comparison of the three different sizes:

And, here's me making a comparison: 

As the little annotations say, I'm not sure if I can tell the difference in sound (with the built-in camera mic).  But they **feel** heftier -- so that's worth something.


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Saturday, March 01, 2014

Tiny apartments

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm browsing YouTube for videos of tiny houses and tiny apartments.  Yesterday's post was on tiny houses; today it's on tiny apartments.

Not surprisingly, many of them were from New York City.

A small apartment in Japan.  I get the impression that this is actually a pretty standard-sized apartment.

European open-plan apartment.  I like the narrow spiral stairway to get to it.  It's actually pretty spacious:  I could probably fit some recording gear, including a drum kit, up there.  My woodworking gear would go out on the balcony -- although I would have to install a better roof out there, or else I could only work on things during nice weather.

Secret cave apartment.  I like the secret nature of this, and it actually seems sufficiently larger. It's bigger than my first apartment!

Half-bedroom. This is a little bit of a "cheat", as it doesn't include the rest of the apartment -- so we don't get a sense of the rest of the apartment (e.g. cooking, bathroom).  It's clever how she uses the end of the bed as her seat for typing at her computer, and the lower shelf as her "desk". There's also a little entry area (closet items?) -- but it's not displayed clearly.

On the other hand, she could've had a loft, with a narrower bed, and then have all the rest of the floor space for a desk, a love seat, and etc.  But then it wouldn't have been as quirky.

Tiny Manhattan apartment. Not much in the way of cooking facilities.  Also I just realized that just about everyone in these "tiny apartments" is single. I appreciate her approach of whittling down her possessions to just what she really **loves**:  that way you're only surrounded by wonderful, meaningful things.

An even smaller apartment.  This is just about as small as you can get away with.  The sofa converts to a bed.  His desk is also his "kitchen".  A single, narrow closet.  It's a little bit of a "cheat", in that the bathroom is shared (out in the hall).  Also, he could've added a sleeping loft and really increased his useable space.

Top of the building.   Decent sized outdoors area, and he manages to have different "zones" in his apartment.  The kitchen is a useable size.

Seattle basement apartment.  This one is possibly my favorite, and the most like what **I** would come up with.  He's an engineer -- so presumably he could afford a bigger place if he wanted it.  But he enjoys the design challenge of fitting a lot into a small space -- seeing how much he can maximize.

I'd add a safety bar to the bed, so you don't roll out in the middle of the night.  And I personally wouldn't have the bicycles.  Also I'd have less steel and more brown-toned wood -- even though that would mean sacrificing the thin-ness of the material.

This would make **really** neat-o student accomodation.


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