Dec 19

Content cheats from the weekend

A treat from the weekend:

We took the in-laws out to eat dinner on Sunday. This was our dessert on a cold and rainy night.

Something sweet from the weekend:

Turns out that when it gets chilly, the two cats, which have a mercurial relationship, get along nicely. For warmth.

The most successful tweets from the weekend:

More on Twitter, of course, and check me out on Instagram as well.

Nov 19

Typing with wood stain on my fingers

Here’s the progress on the recent project. This weekend we glued all the pieces together. So it is assembled:

Gluing doesn’t take a long time, thankfully. But you have to come to terms with the parts that work and don’t work. A good craftsman, I said, does not blame his tools. Fortunately, I continued, I am not a good craftsman. And there’s enough blame to go around.

We’re on to staining. That’s taking a bit longer than necessary because things aren’t drying in the garage quickly enough. Too cool in there just now. So we’ve moved it from the garage to a better, warmer (funny how that works) climate. When the stain dries I will put a coat or two of finish on it. And then I’ll attach some hardware and our work will be done. Hopefully it will make sense and be useful.

Otherwise, I’m going to blame my tools again.

Seriously, I’m working out of my garage. I have to pull the table saw out from under a shelf to use it. I have to pull the miter saw off the same shelf and put it on the table saw to use that. I have a sophisticated cardboard box setup for my belt sander. I sanded individual parts on an old printer hutch. And we’re staining it on a hand-me-down kitchen island because the height it about right.

It’s a delightful shade tree operation, is what I’m saying. This is what I was coming to terms with this weekend.

Not really. It’s fine. The project looks pretty nice. It is the right height, so it will be functional. The color compliments the room — if you’re standing in the right light in one of three previously marked positions — so it will look appealing. You’ll see. The next time it shows up here, it will be in place.

I woke up yesterday to a forecast of “abundant” sunshine. In the sense of it existing or being available in large quantities, that was true yesterday. Here’s a quick shot from my afternoon run:

If we’re discussing abundance in the sense of having plenty, we did not have an abundance. Also, I seemed to be running west the entire way yesterday afternoon:

And it was a fine day. Bright and crisp. A rarity here this time of year, so going for a quick slow four-mile run was the right call.

Here’s the thing. I was just reading about Project Sunroof where you can “discover your solar savings potential.” Like all curious people, I put in several neighbors’ addresses, because Google doesn’t need to know where I live, they can just get close and guess and that’s close enough, man.

The data is really about how much sun your roof gets — because this is about solar panels — the data was disheartening. The calculations on the site suggest that we get about three hours of usable sunlight a day over the course of a year. Solar calculations and energy savings (which appear to be minimal given how our house and its roof are oriented) notwithstanding, that’s not abundant sun.

Also, you can tell this estimate is in the proper vicinity, and know there’s something to that forecast, because the meteorologists at the weather service made the point of saying we’d have abundant sun yesterday. You’d never see such language if it were the norm.

It should be the normal condition, but alas. So far the forecast calls for partly cloudy skies … next Monday. Something to look forward to you.

Nov 19

Remember the old saw …

Measure once, cut twice? I’ve been measuring and measuring.

First, I created a test version of this project I’m working on. And we decided how to change the project. It is going to be smaller. Just six inches high, and not seven and change. And so the work model was disassembled. Part of it was plywood, and that was stacked away neatly for some future project that might require quality plywood.

The original side pieces will be re-used for the finished project. So I ripped them down to size this weekend:

And I took some extra pieces of pine and cross cut those to (more or less) the width of the finished project. It will require three pieces:

One of them is warped. It might have a warp in a whorl, I don’t know. But I think I figured out a way around that. Measure twice (measure a few dozen times) and cut once.

Then! Use the belt sander to sort it out:

I’ve learned several things, working with wood the last two years. One of those things is that I prefer the product to the process. So it’s a nice side hobby, but this is never going to be a primary interest. (Begging many questions, I know.) I’ve learned which parts of the process that I like less than others. Usually it has to do with some moment that marks no going back. But, I remind myself, measure twice and so on. And I’ve learned to recognize when it is time to stop for the day. Before you get frustrated. Before you rush. Before you hastily get past some no-going-back moment that belies the notion that it’s only wood. Before the process wears you out.

This was much of my weekend.

At least until I overdid it with the belt sander, so the new phrase is this: Measure twice, cut once, use the belt sander to sort it out, and then cut it again.

So, really, get lumber larger than the size of your finished project. For refinements.

And this evening I glued up and assembled some of the pieces. Later this week I’ll make the final cuts, and glue the final pieces. And then, we’re going to finish the project, so it is a finished project. Probably next week I’ll show you what this is.

Turns out I’m a slow worker on matters that aren’t the primary interest.

Nov 19

We eeked perhaps the last bit of autumn out of the weekend

Hey look, it’s the Circle Tower! You can see the name, right there on the side! Completed in 1930, it is today on the National Register of Historic Places as part of Indianapolis’ Monument Circle Historic District. It features what they call smooth-dressed Indiana limestone, with the defining characteristic being the stepped back top stories.

I was more interested in the sign on the side. Some kids were more interested in calling it a pyramid. It’s more of a ziggurat, actually, with those upper stories receding from the outer façades in terraces.

(While pyramids were tombs, ziggurats were temples.)

The tower is one of Indianapolis’ prime examples of Art Deco architecture, especially this metalwork.

This is the north entrance, a one-and-a-half story arch lined with foliate banding. Circle Tower, being completed just a few years after King Tutankhamen’s tomb was rediscovered. Egyptology being a big fad of the time, you got a lot of decor like this:

Sculptor Joseph Willenborg, a German immigrant, filled the bronze grille with the hieroglyphic-like images. This is one of his more memorable works. He also has a lot of work in the nearby theater, the Purdue music building, several prominent hotels and a few social clubs, but the Internet runs out of information on him pretty quickly after that.

Here’s a quick look at some of banding that weaves its way around the door:

But we’re not here, early in the morning, wearing multiple layers in a serious chill, for architecture. We’re out in the cold, after waking up hours before dawn on an off day, for this picture:

By the time the sun woke up and burned off the morning grey, it turned into a lovely morning. Here’s the scene at the finish line:

And if are ever doing something and they give you a medal, make sure you pose for pictures at the capitol.

By the afternoon, the day turned out quite nice indeed:

Sunday was a beautiful day. Perhaps the last one for a while. We, of course, celebrated it with a bike ride:

Today? The bottom is falling out of the thermometer, the latest arctic blast — or whatever we’re calling this one — showed up, along with rain, which turned to snow. I watched it blow in the air in every direction. I watched it give an optical illusion of hanging in the sky. I watched parts of things get accumulation, and others just getting wet. And I watched it start to create little piles on the wooden deck and the chairs and the shrubbery. It was a good day to stay indoors.

Nov 19

It was a nice, full, weekend, thanks

There is an alarm clock in our guest bedroom. It is blinking because of the last power outage. I walked in there one day in the last week or two and thought I should reset that. But then I realized, No, I’ll wait. ​

And now I can do it, around the microwave and the stove clock and the cars and whatever else has to be done the old fashioned way. Thank goodness your computers and phones and DVRs and tablets and thermostats change themselves these days. The miracle of technology is nearly limitless. Nearly. Maybe if I had a smart refrigerator it would change the milk for me. That’d be helpful these days.

I mean, I’d change the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but, by then, I’m just so exhausted. It turns out this well-oiled machine is impacted by just the tiniest bit of melatonin.

Anyway, lovely weekend. We attended a football game. Indiana got to seven wins for the first time in ages, these poor suffering football fans. They’re going bowling and they keep winning and there’s another win on the schedule, perhaps two, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Let’s get ahead of ourselves. This is a super young team and they are playing against type in some real and serious ways.

Michael Ziemba is a junior, and he’s been around on this team so long he feels like an old man. He was in my class last fall. Nice guy. Not old at all. He had the one tackle on the night:

Michael Penix Jr. is the quarterback, and he’s had the injury bug this year, but he’s also helping to lead a team that has scored 30 points in eight games this year. He’s a redshirt freshman. So big things to come:

Here’s James Miller, another redshirt freshman. The linebacker finished with three tackles and an assist. He’s chasing Aidan Smith, Northwestern’s backup quarterback.

Hunter Johnson is the Wildcats’ stating QB, but he’s been out while his mother undergoes cancer treatment. He did play in the game, though. And, most importantly:

“She has a couple more procedures, but really the bulk of it is out of the way. The chemo is done,” he told the Tribune. “My mom has been unbelievable through all this, so strong. She hasn’t flinched a bit. It has been tough for her, but she has kept a great face. It has been inspiring to me to know she will get through it.”

This past week Whop Philyor was added to the Biletnikoff Watch List. The junior is among the nation’s best receivers. He had a quiet night. Two catches for 76 yards.

And here’s Stevie Scott scoring one of his two touchdowns on the night.

The public address announcer calls out the jersey numbers. So it’s always “Number Eight, Stevie Scott carries for 27 yards.” But it sounds like he’s saying “The great Stevie Scott … ” He rushed for 116 Saturday. The sophomore is closing in on his second 1,000-yard season.

Penix, the IU quarterback above, got hurt in the second half, meaning Peyton Ramsey came in. Ramsey was a starter in his frehsman season, started all 12 games last year and he’s been great as a spot starter this season.

But here are the real stars:

Last night we went to the theatre, he said without any sense of flair.

It’s a funny show. Full of high energy. Great performances, and it makes fun of an entire belief system.

That last part is kind of important.

But that’s not everything! There’s more on Twitter and on Instagram and many of the fine places that don’t require I change a clock.