The Big Think

December 1, 2004

Comments Down (aGAIN! AARGH!)

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 2:31 pm

Really sorry about this, folks, but the comments section is down yet again. I think this is having the effect of training everyone who reads my page to avoid making comments. What is happening is that the IP address of the server somehow gets added to the list of IP addresses that are not allowed to post comments- hence, anyone posting comments gets denied.
Hopefully there will be some kind of permanent fix someday. In the mean time, it should be taken care of soon. Again, sorry. I really don’t want to have to turn comments off, but it may be the only permanent (if ugly) solution.

Work in Progress

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 12:02 am

I should really stay out of Half-Price Books.
I went to the library tonight and checked out three books. I’ve read 27 books so far this year and want to pass 30 before January. Picked up the new Larry Niven Ringworld book, Whirlwind by Joseph Garber, and “Dogs and Their People“. Since we might be getting a dog we’re starting to read books on dog ownership.

Figuring that three books doesn’t justify the trip and that I hadn’t raided the bookstore lately, I dropped by our half-price bookstore for a visit. Two hours and $36 later, I walked out with five books:

How to Get Your Dog to Do What You Want
Second-Hand Dog
How to Teach Your Old Dog New Tricks (see a pattern here?)
The Complete Book of Woodworking (they mean “complete”. It’s about 2″ thick!)
and finally, I got “With Wakened Hands: Furniture by James Krenov and Students“. I hadn’t intended to buy this book, but one look at the furniture designs convinced me it was worth the half-price of $10. Go to the Amazon link and look at the details of the book. Some of the pictures there will show what I mean when I say that Krenov and students produced some truly inspiring, stunning work.

Good quote from the book:
What’s terrible is to pretend that the second-rate is first rate. To pretend that you don’t need love when you do; or you like your work when you know quite well you’re capable of better.
This is what I have in mind when I criticize my own woodworking. Erin really hates it when I do that, and sure, other people compliment me (it’s appreciated, really), but I’m never happy with any project I build because of the bloody imperfections. Imperfections in design, imperfections in materials that the workman wasn’t capable enough to overcome. Wrong grain choice, ghastly construction. And let’s not talk about my finishes.
Granted, many of these are small imperfections that only I (and another woodworker) would notice, but I still aspire to the level of craftsmanship that is worthy of the material. Perfect craftsmanship. Craftsmanship. It pains me to think that I’ve taken something that has been patiently growing for tens (or hundreds) of years and treated it with a cavalier attitude, or that my design or construction didn’t do honor to the craft.

This puts me in mind of another quote. Appropriate whether you’re carving a dovetail, studying for a test, or sweeping a floor:

When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight or for present use alone. Let it be such work as our decendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time will come when those will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor, ‘see, this our father did for us.
John Ruskin, The Seven Lamps of Architecture, 1849

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