Sunday, November 30, 2008

Progress Report

Just a few update pictures, since my resolve to be more consistent with my postings seems to have gone right out the window. If you can't tell, they're in sequential order from top to bottom.

Beyond that, we seem to be getting our first sticking snow of the season right now. If I heard right, it's supposed to continue through the night till around noon tomorrow. I also may have heard between 5 and 8 inches, but I'll believe it when I see it. Or, better yet, I'll believe it when I shovel it.

It's good to have heard about the two fuzzy new additions to Kittyluv's household. Should make things quite a bit more interesting.

It was also good to have a nice long chat with Cromag the other day. It didn't do much to alleviate my nerves regarding his heating situation. I can understand how expensive it is to replace a furnace, really I can, but the idea of trying to get through an IL winter just using space heaters doesn't seem like a good idea. Having been witness to, and a participant in, a mobile home fire, the whole thing makes me really really nervous. Since I'm not a HVAC contractor though, I guess the best I can do is hope the weather stays mild.

The return of Tigerjewel has been an interesting disruption to the everyday routine around here. It's interesting how little some things change.

Bluegirl seems to have vanished.

Here's hoping that the flare didn't quite manage to get a hold of Dhawk.

Another leaf is starting to unfurl on my banana plant, bringing the grand total to five.

I have no idea who I should be buying gifts for, and within that context, I have no idea what to buy. Have I bothered to mention that I'm not really that fond of the holidays?

Found several pieces of osage orange (hedge) wood when I took the last of the leaves (at least the ones I'm going to rake) over to the dump site. Couldn't quite believe the luck of finding it just laying there on the ground. There were at least six pieces that were nice and straight, with no knots or forks, each about 18" long and ranging from 6-12" in diameter. And freshly cut, to boot. So, it should be fairly easy to carve as long as I get to it before it dries out to much, and then when it does dry out, it'll be rock hard and that gorgeous yellow color. Should be really fun to work with. I wonde if it's something that I can go over to the Hardwood Connection and get more of if I happen to work my way through these pieces quickly. But then again, who am I kidding? I haven't exactly been on fire artistically lately.

Have been contemplating the idea lately of getting rid of the aquarium. I put very little effort into it anymore, and with the downstairs still being a complete mess, I don't spend any time in front of it. The up side, of course, would be that I would then be able to rearrange the space to include a bar. I think I'll have to contemplate this for a while before making a decision.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


The past week I could qualify as not being the best, but was far from horrible. The weather hasn't provided much sun, so that's no great help either. I am also beginning to think that working out isn't really something I can opt out of either. It was just a really blah week, and I didn't work out at all. Maybe if I had I would have been able to have made a better run at things. Seems that bit of physical exertion may have been what helped keep me moving today instead of grinding to a halt like I've been doing all week. One more thing to add to the list of things that I hope will manage to keep me some version of sane this winter.

In the meantime, eight days or so have gone by without me getting anything posted, so I find myself backlogged once again. I think I'll give you the Reader's Digest version of events of late and then try to start over and stay on top of things a bit better.

  1. Added 2 new video games/ways to waste time to my collection: Peggle and Painkiller-Triple Dose. I didn't realize it until a day or so later that they both started with the letter 'P'. Struck me as odd.

  2. 'Pushing Daises' is the 2nd TV show with a unique take on death that I have have fun watching.

  3. 'Leatherheads' was an amusing movie.

  4. Pinklady overloaded the garbage disposal and then the dishwasher made the downstairs drains burp out all sorts of foul nastiness. One $90 dollar visit from the plumber later and all seems to be OK.

  5. The current tiki carving is moving along quite well. Watch for pictures shortly.

  6. I am having the damndest time remembering to take my stupid pills.

  7. Got another new leaf on my banana plant.

  8. Pinklady dragged me out to get my hair cut for the first time in 13 or so years. No more blond tips.

  9. It amazes me how sharp a properly sharpened chisel stays, even after use.

  10. 'Tropic Thunder' was funny, but not that damn funny.
  11. 'War, Inc.' left me confused, but I still like John Cusack.
  12. 100% of people think being unnoticed is worse than being disliked. Watch for another poll as soon as I can come up with a good question.

So, that's the short version of the past week and couple of days. Right now I'm feeling better, and I hope that I mangae to stay that way for a while. Being constantly reminded that I need to come up with lists for the impending holiday could eat away at that positive mood really quick, though. Anyone with good gify ideas for themselves or anyone else should feel free to pass them along, as I am not really doing the greatest in the idea department as of late.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In Print

"Puff" by Bob Flaherty
This is one of my discount bookstore purchases that I've just gotten around to reading. Not only was it a quick and amusing read, it serves as a cautionary tale for those who try to go out after a snowstorm in a ratty old van in an attempt to score some dope. Fortunately, this story has more going for it than being just another 'stoner quest'. It somehow manages to add in Catholic priests, a psychotic cat, a huge knife, and a near frozen Basset hound without so much as a moment's hesitation. Not to mention the sex and death. So go ahead and take a rather strange ride with the Gullivan brothers. You may just get more than you bargained for.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hello? Hello?

A good part of what makes something funny is timing. Another big part of the equation is comprehension by the audience. The entire 'Russian unity' gag lived, and died quite miserably, on those two points. The timing was way off. And that's measuring in a scale of days, not just minutes. The comprehension is much harder to judge. If it was there, ignorance was feigned quite successfully. If it wasn't there, for once I may have been overly subtle (as hard as that is to believe). Either choice ends me up right where I am; with a stinking dead joke. Definitely leaves me trying to work a tough room and not having a lot of luck.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


** Tuesday started poorly for me. Pinklady was up early getting ready for an appointment, so she and the dogs were moving around and making noise, which made it really hard to stay asleep. Even after she left, I had a hard time finding a comfortable position to lay in since my back was bothering me. About 0930 I finally gave up and schlupped out of bed. I crawled into my robe and looked out the window to find another nasty grey day. Sat down in front of the computer and thought about all the things I should do. I should get dressed. I should take my stupid pills. I should eat breakfast. I should make some coffee. I should go walk on the treadmill. I didn't do any of it.

I sat there on the computer for over an hour, just clicking my way around the 'net. Just going from one random thing to another, not really interested in any of it. It was just easier to do that than to do all that other stuff. The whole time though, the thought kept going through my head that I really should be doing those other things. Just before 1100, I finally levered myself up out of the chair and got moving. I shuffled down the hall and got into some workout clothes. Went to the kitchen, took my damn pills, started a pot of coffee, and had some left over H'ween candy for breakfast. Shortly thereafter I was downstairs on the treadmill.

And with that effort, I gained enough momentum to make a decent run at the day. Not great, mind you, but not miserable. And even though I'd like think it was purely my own effort that got me moving, it wasn't. Another prime motivator was not wanting Pinklady to come home and find me laying around. I really didn't want to hear 'Are you taking you pills?' or 'Are you using your lamp?' or 'You know you're really acting like you did last year and it took months to get things under control then.' Even though that may not have been the best motivation I could have had, at least it served the function of getting me to do what I needed to do.

But, the rest of it is still there. Call them signs, symptoms, or indicators. Tendencies would be the nicest way you could put it. No matter, it still points to the recurrence of something I really don't want to admit is happening, yet again. Nor do I want to have to deal with it all winter.

** Seems that in my haste to show off for The Goalkeeper, I failed to remember one of the cardinal rules of puzzle crafting: check it, check it, and check it again. Two errors in construction on my part kept the solution from being achieved neatly. After being informed of the problem and locating and correcting my errors, the correct result was quickly obtained. The reaction to said result was politely neutral. Only in my good dreams would it have been enthusiastically implemented. Only in my bad dreams would it have been cause for legal action. Oh, well. For a short while there, I was amused.

** Dog issues? Go figure that the mostly untrained dogs may be trying to figure out the pecking order for themselves. Or maybe not. i have no idea what the problem could be, or if there even is one to start with. All I know is that Pinklady has told me that there have been 2 separate times when Gracie has grabbed Reka by the scruff of the neck and made her yelp. I'm tending to think that Miss Gracie is way too possessive of Pinklady and may be starting to become intolerant of others getting to close to her. Irregardless, I think Gracie is going to need to get a bit more structure into her life.

**Thanks to the early arrival of the MN crew, and the near fanatical insistence that tradition be maintained at all cost, I am already being hounded for my holiday list. Which is something I don't have. That will simply not go over at all with the gift procurement committee.

** It is taking me damn near forever to resharpen my full size straight chisels. Mostly because I did such a horrid job of it when I was doing it freehand. Now, with the sharpening jig I made, I may still be sharpening them to the wrong angle (somewhere around 25 degrees), but at least they're consistent and straight.
The last carving I did (see the top slideshow below) came out really nice, even after having to refinish the whole thing (due to my own stupidity, grumble grumble). In fact, I do believe that I will be keeping it to add to the collection. Alas, Mr Dawson will be left without for a while longer.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tinfoil Earmuffs

** Been a fairly quiet weekend at work. The weather outside has been for CRAP, which has resulted in massive leaf falls from the trees in back. I doubt there will be a point when the leaves will ever dry out, so I'm betting that most of my day tomorrow will be spent moving huge piles of damp leaves from the back yard to the front. No, not damp. Soaking wet. Not to mention the embedded dog bombs. And slugs. And sticks. I think I'll bring Pinklady along to share my enjoyment. And if I somehow manage to get all those leaves moved, there's still another whole yard full still up in the trees. Just hanging there. Mocking me.
Wonder how much trouble I'd get in if I just put them in a pile and lit them on fire. Mind you, that wouldn't be the easiest thing to do with wet leaves. Still, it would make the task of disposal somewhat fun instead of a steaming pile of sheer drudgery. Alternately, what we used to do when I lived out in the country was good too: we just let the damn things blow away.

** While skulking about on Facebook today, I ran across a picture of someone I knew. Not unusual, mind you , but it caught me off guard for a second. I guess I was in the mindset that I was the only one who had received that particular image. I was apparently wrong. Don't know why I thought that to start with. Just left me with an odd sensation. Disappointment? Maybe. I guess that's what you'd call it when you find out that something you thought was special really isn't. But then again, I have been know to overreact.

** I was not really happy to hear that Get Smart had been made into a movie, even though it went one step further to proving my theory that Hollywood has truly run out of new ideas. Pinklady wanted to see it, and I was entirely unenthused, but, since she was the one going to the video store, that is what she got. The movie was forgettable for the most part. Go figure. But, I have decided that I really enjoy Steve Carrell's acting. That was what made the bulk of the movie palatable. Alan Arkin, too. I also enjoyed his role. Unchallenging, funny in parts, with a great joke about existentialism: if you're looking for any of this, rent this movie. Otherwise, keep your $5.

** The Spawn showed up on my doorstep today. I was not in a particularly charitable mood, but along with Pinklady, we decided to do our good deed for the day. I somehow doubt that it will serve to get me any close to the Actress.

**I can't tell if other people are taking a powder on me or if I'm retreating with the onslaught of the cold weather. MSD, Cromag, The Amazon, Dhawk, and Kittyluv have all fallen off the radar as of late. And my mood of late is such that I am as likely to sit and mope about it as I am to get off my ass and get in contact with them.

** I am currently debating whether or not I should continue on with Facebook. It seems that it is getting cluttered and clogged with all the things that had started to annoy me with Myspace. Keeping in touch with people is starting to come second to sending them little video presents and such. I don't get a lot of traffic there either. It would be one less website to maintain. And there wouldn't be any reason for me to not just do everything from here in an effort to simplify things for me. Maybe, maybe not. Not like my readership here is stellar.

** OK, Gracie has managed to take a spill on the kitchen floor a time or two. That does not mean I'm totally ready to accept the idea that the floor I put in needs to come out in favor of something that has a bit more traction to it. I don't want the dog(s) to get hurt, but I'm also trying to get the outstanding bills paid off before anything else goes wrong. The notion of a $500+ tile job in the kitchen really doesn't do anything for my nerves.

** Kid Rock continues to remind me of Shel, which continues to remind me that she is part of a past, much like my high school days, that doesn't exist anymore. Dammit. That's another one that just makes me want to bang my head repeatedly against the counter.

**The package has been left for the Goalkeeper. All that's left is to see how it goes over.

** At the moment, I have absolutely nothing that I am looking forward to.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

To the Rescue?

It's just bizarre to consider the ways in which I manage to come to the aid of the cute. Not less than an hour ago found me melting a hole in a thumbnail to let out blood that had accumulated after an incident with a car door. Not your typical service, to be sure, but right along the lines of what seems to come my way.

Before You Know It...

** Any and all hints of summer have left the area. All that remains are an endless series of cold, windy, damp, grey days. For like the next six months. As usual, I am really not fond of this situation.

** Must be my year for reunions, as an old floor mate of mine from college popped back into the picture again. Apparently it is also my year to continuously encounter near-rabid Catholics as well.

** A series of texts from Dhawk has left me feeling uncertain about a lot of things.

** After sorting through most all the stuff regarding the reunion, I can only conclude that that period of time is like a blankey that you have when you're a kid. At the time, it seems to be the greatest thing ever, but as you get older, it gets more and more tattered and worn. At some point you end up with nothing left but threads and fuzz that can never be reassembled into anything like it once was.
That just leaves me looking at the piles of stuff I have hung on to over the years and wondering what, if anything, it really means to me. I'm not really sure at all. Very very few of the connections are still in place, and those that are see these things from the past quite differently. So, I really have no idea what to do with all this stuff. I really hate to throw it out after having kept it for all these years, but at the same time, I've come to discover that it doesn't really connect me to anything anymore. Most likely, I'll just lock it all back away until the next event rolls around and I can drag it all out again.

**'Russian unity' not only kept me amused all evening one night this week, it actually prompted me back into doing some puzzle building. The end result was tempered with a bit of disappointment when the intended target failed to appear.

** According to the family plans as they stand thus far, we are on our own for Thanksgiving, and will be having C'mas early. I find myself unaffected either way.

** A new leaf has almost completely unfurled itself on my banana pup. That would tend to make me thing that I hadn't quite managed to kill it completely when I transplanted it. If it keeps on growing, it'll be interesting to see how big it gets before I can replant it outside.

** I've also seen some new growth in the aquarium, but my time spent in that part of the house has been minimal as of late, so I once again find myself behind on upkeep.

** I have once again bowed to continued pressure and started to consume the dreaded meds. Even though I hate having to take them, at the same time I have to acknowledge there is a definite downward trend in my overall mental status lately.

**A poor choice has once again left me doing a ridiculous amount of cleanup work. Rather than go out and get a new container of wood stain, I opted to use some ancient stuff I had sitting in the garage. Not a good idea. I have now spent way too many hours sanding clean a tiki I most likely shouldn't have even bothered to stain in the first place. Mayhap this one will go out with the newly constructed puzzle.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

In The Works

The first three steps of a new project (from top to bottom)

1. Concept. I like to use graph paper when I have a specific piece of wood selected. If I'm just doodling without anything specific in mind, I usually just work with proportional units (ie 3x1, or 4x1) that I then just scale up or down to match the size of the wood I'll pick to use.

2. Rough sanding of plank to be used. This one is about11" wide, about20" tall, and 1.75" thick.

3. Rough transfer of design. I usually just use pencil, but I always have trouble with it rubbing off as I work. The solution here: Sharpie.