Gye Greene's Thoughts

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

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Two dreams

I don't usually dream about people I know -- except myself! -- but last night I had a pair of them.

The first dream:

My co-workers and I were at work, and one of my colleagues (who in the dream was in poor health and was about to take some sick leave to recover) received (at work) a large envelope in the mail, containing the application forms for a Ph.D. program in History.

(Clearly, this is pre-internet: I remember getting university application forms mailed to me; now-a-days I presume people just download the *.pdf?)

He said that he'd been thinking about getting a Ph.D. in History and becoming a History lecturer, to escape the stress at work -- but now that the envelope was in his hands, he wasn't so sure.

It wasn't clear in my dream whether he was planning to attend part-time, or full time.

Then I made a crack about "Professor ______ -- we have an urgent data request from the Pro-Vice Chancellor!"

(Underlying meaning:  This co-worker really **is** taking some time off from work, due to poor health.  So this appears to be an extension of that.)

The second dream:

In real life, The Lady plays a few "classical" instruments, but not any "rock" instruments.  None the less, in my dream she and I were a husband-wife rock duo.  One of us was electric bass, and the other was electric guitar:  it wasn't clear which.

It was about an hour before our first performance as a group.  We'd dressed up in our "performing" clothes, and we were now at the venue -- just a small club, basically a cafe.

It wasn't to be a big performance -- maybe 50-100 people -- and we were the opening act.  It was a fundraiser for some sort of "sick kids" charity.

We were hanging around out front, on the sidewalk.  It was a weekend, and a warm, sunny afternoon.

Suddenly, I realized that we hadn't actually brought our instruments:  we'd have to drive home (maybe 15 minutes away) and get them.

What's worse, I also realized that we'd never actually practiced any of the songs we'd be performing!  The songs were mine -- but I'd never showed them to her.

And -- even though they were my songs, I hadn't played some of them in (literally!) years.  I didn't remember the chords, or most of the lyrics.

The one exception would be "Only Women Should Have Guns".  But given that this was a "family" show, I didn't think it would be appropriate:  the lyrics are witty, but a little grim.  And you can't build a set on just one three-minute song.

And on a related note:  we hadn't prepared our set list.

The dream ended with me about to head back to the house to pick up our instruments, get a marker (for the set list, and to jot down the chords in the margins of the set list), my old notebooks, and a music stand.  I'd get back to the venue about a half hour before we were scheduled to play.

We'd pull it off -- no choice, except for simply cancelling -- but it would not be a smooth performance, and we'd end up looking like idiots...

(Underlying meaning:  The Lady and I have both been pretty busy at work for the last four weeks -- so we have a huge backlog of dishes, a backlog of laundry, the lawn needs mowing, the house is a mess...  So this probably drives the whole "un-prepared" theme.

I haven't had any "woodworking time" in about four weeks.  I also haven't played the guitar in about two months -- and I haven't re-visited any of my old songs in probably nine months.  So "not being able to perform my old songs, from memory" is factually correct.

"Only Women Should Have Guns" is an actual song -- and it's the only song I end up playing when I'm messing around with the guitar, because I actually remember all the lyrics.  That, and "Pretty Little Sue".  So, that's actually a two-song set:  still a little short.)


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Still waters

Still waters run deep.  Plus, they've turned into alcohol.



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Being a grown-up

Kids don't realize this -- and most adults already know this:

A large part of being a grown-up is doing things you don't really want to do -- either because it needs to be done, or because someone needs you to do it.

Context, to my future self:  "OUA marking".

Also:  Lasted until 4am.  System outage scheduled for 6am -- so, pretty close.



Friday, August 22, 2014

Workbench modification

One difficulty with English-style workbenches (example at left) is that it's hard to clamp things to the surface, because the front and back edges of the benchtop are obscured by the apron:  the wide, vertically-oriented board the provides structure to the relatively thin benchtop..

This isn't an original observation:  I got it from one of Chris Schwarz's "workbenches" books, and/or one of his blogs.

My suggested work-around to this problem -- although non-traditional! -- would be to cut a series of vertically-oriented rectangles in the apron.  This would allow clamping access.

The top end of the rectangular holes would not be flush with the underside of the surface of the benchtop, but would instead be perhaps a half inch or three-fourths of an inch of remaining material (i.e. running "with the grain") hanging down below the underside of the workbench.  (The specific amount would depend on the configuration of your clamps.).  You would then clamp **through** this access hole, to the underside of the benchtop.

The reasoning -- much like with truss bridges -- is that even when you make holes in a sheet that serves a "stiffening" function, you still retain much of the strength in that direction.

I've tried out this approach on my own workbench -- and it seems to work.

Please see the photo below -- which is a poor but illustrative sketch overlaid on an outdated photo.  Specifically, the little black rectangles across the front of the workbench.

I took this photo when I first put my bench in my workshop.  Since this day, neither the workbench nor the workshop have been this tidy.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kid quote

The Girl was watching “The Sound of Music” on DVD.

At the part where Maria and The Admiral kiss for the first time, she asked, “Are they actually kissing? Or do they have special effects?”

I said, yes, they're kissing for real.

Then she asked, “Do they get paid extra for that?”


Sunday, August 17, 2014

A good Ekka

Yesterday we went to the Ekka -- basically, the "county fair":  rides, animals, carnival foods.

It drizzled all day; therefore the crowds were only about one-third of what they usually are; therefore it was the best Ekka experience I've ever had!

-Basically **no** lines at the food stalls.

-Basically **no** lines at the rides.

-Because there were no lines -- and rides seem more enticing when there are already people **doing** the rides and having fun -- the kids got extra-long turns on the rides.  (That is:  No point in shoo-ing the riders away, then having empty rides.  Bad for business.)

-We didn't have to "swim" through the crowds.  Loads of room.

Because we knew what the weather would be, we just dressed for it.  I wore double socks and gumboots:  when I putter around the yard on weekends I wear gumboots all day, so I knew I could wear them without getting blisters.  I also wore a windbreaker and a wide-brimmed hat (canvas, so it got soaked -- but it still kept the rain out of my face).  The kids wore raincoats with hoods (also jeans and sneakers -- but these got only slightly damp).  The Lady wore a water-repellent coat with a hood. 

The Ekka was as noisy as always -- maybe even noisier, since there weren't the same crowds to absorb some of the acoustic energy.  In previous years I'd remembered to bring earplugs, for the evening fireworks -- but this time I forgot.  So the noise -- particularly in the "rides" area -- was starting to get to me.

When we passed by the first aid station I asked whether they had any foam earplugs.  Luckily, they did!  So the whole rest of the day was **much** better.

At various points I sat off to the side with the bags, and read my magazine,  while The Lady took the kids to the various "Look!  Animals!" sections.

I'm not in to "seeing the animals" ("Isn't that the same pig as last year?") or the fireworks (too much noise and bright flashing lights).  I enjoy the bumper cars, though.

Anyhow, it was fine:  better than usual.  ;)


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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Run like Gump

For the past few days I've noticed I'm in kind of a "running" phase.  I don't like running for exercise -- but for the last half-year or so I've run-walked from work to the train station, about three blocks away.

Starting just a few days ago, I've been "loping" around downtown, while running errands during my lunch break.  It's just kinda fun to run -- not a sprint; more of a gentle lope -- instead of walk.

Dunno how long this will last.  Maybe until the weather heats up again:  right now it's still winter for us.


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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My outfit

The outfit I wore to work today.

I received several compliments on the tie and/or vest. I told everyone that my mommy made them for my daddy 30 years ago. Although a co-worker pointed out it would be more like "40 years ago".

I think the hat used to be my paternal grandfather's.  But I'm not sure.


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Monday, August 11, 2014

Thinking deeply

So:  here's a pair of my (related) eccentricities.

I think sometime in 2011, I noticed that when I was trying to verbally explain something that was complicated or in depth, I would close my eyes while I was doing it.  This is probably to block out visual stimuli that I find distracting:  this lets me focus on what I'm saying.

Put differently:  I can think and talk at the same time -- but not think, talk, and make sociable eye contact with another person.

When I'm doing this, I also tend to gesture with my hands a lot.

The other thing I do -- which I think I've only done in the last year or two (i.e. early 2013?) -- is that when I'm thinking really hard -- and particularly when I'm thinking really hard AND having to explain it to someone -- I have to take off my glasses, close my eyes, and lie on the ground on my back.  I still gesture with my arms as I talk.

This is probably an extension of the above tendency to shut my eyes:  I lie down because I'm using all my processing power to think something through (or:  thinking it through while explaining my reasoning).  I don't have enough brainpower remaining to keep my balance and remain upright:  I need it all for thinking.

I engage in both of these tendencies only at work:  the "closing my eyes" thing about once every two days; the "lying on the ground" about once every 2-4 weeks.  Apparently nothing I do at home requires this degree of deep, intensive thought.


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Thursday, August 07, 2014

That college dream once again

So, last night I had a variation of that "in college" dream -- again.

This time it was about a month into the semester, I was enrolled in four different courses, and already I was completely behind:  I hadn't had a chance to do **any** of the reading, or **any** of the assignments. 

And it was too late to drop any of the classes without getting a "Fail" on my transcript -- so I was stuck. 

I think one course was a history course, and one was math.

And I dimly recall having yet another "in college" dream a week or two before this -- except that it was a brief component of a larger dream. This time, it was at the **end** of the semester.  I was terribly, terribly behind in all of my classes: I could probably salvage a passing grade in one, but I'd for sure fail the rest of the classes.

I had accumulated several semesters of several fails per semester.  How was I ever going to finish my graduate degree when three-fourth of my classes each term were "Fails"? 

I'm pretty sure this is my subconscious saying that I feel like I have too many things on my "To Do" list at home, and I don't feel like I'm making enough progress.

It might also indicate that this lack of progress is bothering me.  Hm!  Could be.



Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Firefly light pick

Old Roommate knows me far too well!  :)  For no apparent reason, except "I think that GG would appreciate this", he sent me a USB-powered guitar pick -- which flashes green when you strum.

But of course.  :)

So:  a substantial "thank you!" to Old Roommate.  :)


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Sunday, August 03, 2014

Movie review of Disney's The Kid

Saw “Disney's The Kid” (2000), with Bruce Willis.

There was a Charlie Chaplin movie, I believe, that was called "The Kid" -- so I guess that's why the official title includes "Disney's", for clarification.

Basically, a self-centered, somewhat crabby business guy somehow gets stuck looking after himself as a young boy.

It was an enjoyable movie.  Quite a few amusing bits, and we laughed a few times (several times?  didn't keep track). 

I don't think there was any bad language or other things that little kids shouldn't see.  However, little kids might thing that it starts a little slowly:  my 6yo boy complained that there was too much talking in the first part of the movie – and then he fell asleep.

I had seen it before, years ago – and recently picked it up, used, on DVD. So clearly, I liked it. :)

Worth seeing.