500 years of painting the female face morphed together. Amazing and beautiful.
May 31, 2007
May 30, 2007
Spent today constructing the microphone cabinet for the corner under the desk. Lots of cutting, laminating, and finishing. I also built the cable run for the back of the desktop. Now all of the cables can run invisibly behind the desk. Very slick! After I was done Greg and I moved the massive desktop up to the studio from the shop. It weighs about 150 pounds and is 80 inches by 100 inches in a giant L-shape. It was really difficult to move the thing up the narrow staircase and through the doors (which, last time I checked, were definitely not 100 inches tall), but we managed to get the beast upstairs and leaned against the wall. What a pain! That thing isn’t moving any time soon, and I pity the movers who will move it back down one day.
I got the desk pillars sanded and oiled and they’re beautiful. They’ll both get moved up (along with the mic cabinet) once the doors are completed. Tomorrow I get to mill up the stock for the doors and trim on the mic cabinet, pull the cables through the walls, and learn how to wire up a Cat 5 ethernet panel with 6 jacks.
May 29, 2007
May 28, 2007
It’s a big mystery to me why people who don’t support the war aren’t up in arms about the fact that the “unbiased” media is only reporting one side of things. It’s very telling to me that war detractors have no answer to this argument (via Day by Day):
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
May 26, 2007
Yesterday Erin and I went down to San Antonio to celebrate the 40th birthday of my good friend Barry. Barry’s folks put on a huge shindig at their house with over 50 people there. Lots of food, music, fun, and Erin even got some quality dog time with their champion poodle (really!).
After the party the four of us (including Barry’s wife Catherine) retired to their house for the night. Barry graciously opened up a bottle of 40 year old port that was made the year he was born. It’s always been a List item for me to drink a wine that is older than me, but the more time that goes by, the less opportunity there is. Older wines can get pricey! Barry, however, poured freely and we were able to enjoy this incredibly smooth, complex, and wonderful drink.
A great time with great friends. Thanks, guys.
A young child returned from his first music lesson on the tuba. “How did it go?” asked his father.
“Great,” said the child. “I learned how to play a ‘C’.”
The next week the child took another lesson and his father asked about the lesson.
“Terrific,” said the child. “I learned how to play a ‘G’.”
The following week the child didn’t come home. The father was frantic with worry when he finally got home at 2:00 AM.
“Where have you been!?!?” screamed the father.
“I had a gig!!” answered the son.
May 25, 2007
I’ve noticed over the last week of shop time, and the past four years of serious woodworking in general, that my shop skills have improved dramatically. I’m much faster now (when I’m not thinking and pondering), and yet I feel that I’m actually getting safer as I get to know my tools better. I’m more efficient in my movement around the shop and seem to have developed some subconscious work habits that help me move things right along. Often I’ll find myself unplugging and moving a tool without realizing why, only to discover the tool in just the right spot for a later step. Little things like that. There is still a lot of wasted movement, but overall I seem to be getting much more efficient at maneuvering around in the space, and in being able to build stuff with minimal energy expended. Now I can focus on what has to be built instead of how it has to be done. It’s akin to how it feels to play a song over and over again, or how it is when your brain finally ‘gets’ typing and you don’t think about where the keys are. Eventually the mechanics of the motions become subconscious and you start to focus on a higher level of creativity. Often I find myself smiling or even laughing out loud that I am able to take something as rough looking as raw lumber and plywood and make real what has only existed in my imagination. What a privilege!
I’ve been doing all this studio construction work lately, and I’ve spent the last week in the shop building furniture. There’s a lot of what appears (from the outside) to be downtime as I sit and ponder my next move, cut, or decision point. In fact, today I spent 90 minutes just sitting in my office chair, which I had moved into the shop to help decide on the final layout of my desk. I sat in that chair for probably an hour and a half just looking at the layout and going over every single detail to make sure it was just right. I had set up the two 21″ wide “pillars” of my old desk (which have been refashioned into teh new hotness with Lyptus trim). On top of these supports I set plywood in a rough shape of the final desktop, supporting it temporarily with sawhorses. I taped the outline of that corner of the studio on the floor to get the dimensions just right. Next, I brought some of the equipment down and set it on the desktop to get the general spacing worked out (monitor, keyboard, computer keyboard, speakers). One of the unfortunate things I discovered was that I don’t have enough room for the second monitor! Big bummer here, but I may be able to fix this.
Anyway, I just sat and stared, occasionally getting up to shift something incrementally, or to extend the desk a bit to get the exact right spacing. It was a long process of minute adjustments to get the space functioning just right. I’m really happy I did it, because once it was done, it was a fairly easy (and fear-free!) process to cut up the plywood and fashion the desktop. I now have my final desktop in rough form. It’s 79″ by 100″ and has plenty of space for monitors (1), speakers, rack boxes, keyboard, trackball, and printer. Plus, lots of open workspace. It consists of a 3/4 inch piece of maple ply laminated to a 1/2 inch layer of ply. The corner will be supported by a custom microphone cabinet I decided to build. Because it’s over an inch thick and glued and screwed every few inches, the thing can hold a tank, but the top is still light enough (just barely!) for me to maneuver it around. It’ll be trimmed in Lyptus and topped with black laminate.
It will be beautiful.
One of my personal self-improvement philosophies was taught to my by my friend Hajime (Jim) Kumahata. The Japanese word “Kaizen” means continuous incremental self-improvement. It’s something I’ve practiced for over a decade now, and it’s led to some pretty revolutionary things. Just doing something 1% better today, or this week, or this year, and that small improvement can really add up over time.
Lifehacker has a good article on Kaizen. Make it a goal to read it today!
May 24, 2007
May 23, 2007
Just got back from the lumberyard after picking up a truck full of lyptus for the final push. I got about 20 board feet of the stuff in varying widths (all 1″ thick). I’ll use it for the trim around the desk, the top of the small rack boxes, and the rail/style parts of the cabinet doors. I got a beautiful piece of maple plywood that was slightly damaged. The guy at the lumberyard let it go for a song (not literally, I still had to pay, and they asked me to quit my dulcet tones).
More shop time today. It’s getting hotter here in Texas and I’m racing the seasons.
May 22, 2007
Grr… got a great deal on a 320gb drive from frys.com the other day. I installed the drive yesterday and put some data on it (a carbon copy clone of my OS 9 partition). I let it run for 24 hours, intending to wipe the other drives today and reinstall everything from scratch. Well, on one of my reboots that drive went completely belly-up. I get a kernel panic on reboot. Took the drive out and the computer booted fine. So it’s definitely something to do with the drive.
I have had really bad luck when it comes to drives. According to published statistics, the “infant mortality” of drives (failure within the first three months) is somewhere between 1-3%, so it’s odd that I would get one. I’ve also had terrible luck when it comes to brand new computers. Of the last six Macintosh computer I have owned (and LC, a Performa 635cd, a G3/333, a Powerbook, and my current G4, plus Erin’s new iMac), five of them have had to have their drives wiped and the OS reinstalled in the first 24 hours. In a few cases the computers wouldn’t boot at all after a few hours, and in some there were significant freezes or lockups that were solved by a reinstall. Fortunately, when it comes to a new machine, a complete lobotomy/drive wipe/reinstall isn’t that traumatic since there’s nothing of value on the drive yet, but it has made me very skeptical of newer machines and drives. Once my system is stable and functioning well I don’t like to mess with it.
May 21, 2007
Honor is a concept widely derided and discarded today. But honor is really nothing more than your personal credit rating. It is a statement of your character, and like credit, honor has leverage. It can move large numbers of people: elevate them, raise their spirits and their expectations of themselves. Honor and Courage and Character are beacons in the darkness; they draw all manner of people toward their light. Most people want to be good, to be brave, to be useful. They just need to be shown the way sometimes. And the only way to create such beacons to light our path is to commit to becoming one yourself.
Good words from Bill Whittle.
Chairs! We have chairs!
We went back to Target yesterday on an unrelated errand and discovered that the leather chairs I had been eyeing had been put on sale! I had resigned myself to waiting for six months until they reduced the price, and living with the empty spot in the studio, when lo and behold they went and dropped the price by $80 each. I applied for a Target card (which will be summarily canceled) and saved a bunch of money.
So one big step in the final process has been finished. The two leather seats are assembled and sitting in the studio. They look great, though they need a bit of breaking time to soften up- the cushions are rather hard! But judging from how comfortably squishy the displays were at Target it shouldn’t be too long before they start to get that broken in feeling.
Today I start the trim out of the desk support pillars and build the rack boxes for the top of the desk. I’m trying madly to finish things since I have some work ready when it’s together (sorry Patrick! I’m going as fast as I can!)
May 19, 2007
Lots and lots of Diet Coke and Mentos in a massive self-sustaining chain reaction. Cool!
If you read or care about the state of copyright in our world, watch this incredible mashup.