Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Unexpected Blocks

     There they were at our neighborhood grocery, looking like some Warsaw Pact version of the famous (and very trademarked) plastic building bricks:
     Thing is, the grocer's in my neighborhood doesn't have a toy section....
     Yes, is says "Candy Blox," and they were right next to the big jars of "penny" candy.  I checked: they do interlock, weakly, and they taste okay, too -- sugar, citric acid, just like the label claims; maybe some fruit flavor.  Just the thing if you're topping a cake for someone in the grip of  Legomania™ -- although it may give Junior Structural Engineers some unrealistic expectations.

     (There's a storm coming through and the power went out -- and stayed out for five minutes! -- right as I went to add photos.  Oh, First World Problems.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Still Ouching

     But sleeping with cold-packs on my knees sure did help!  I'll have to dig out my kneepads the next time I have a project.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Oh, My Aching Knees!

     I have now completed the second set of bookshelves I'd cut and routed while on vacation. Another afternoon spent mostly crouched or kneeling over the shelves while I whittled, cut and sanded has done my knees no favors (most strikingly my "good" knee, which pops, cracks and catches in an alarmingly painful manner).

     They're sitting in one side in the living room now, adjusting to the much lower humidity, quite in the way (though not as in the way as they were in the garage -- even standing up, they featured in a conversation that included the phrase,  "I was barely able to get my car out and I don't know if I can get it back in again!" They had to move).  Having gotten them this far, I'm starting to wonder if there's enough clearance to get them around the corner to the office or stand them up once I get them there.  So it might be there's additional work in my future featuring a saw, dowel centers and drills, plus installing a crossbrace on the top section so it can become a kind of "removable hardtop."

     All this, and before I can even place it, I have to rearrange furniture in the office, empty and remove an existing set of shelves that date back to 1980 (and are slated for rebuilding and re-use elsewhere) and generally clear the decks.  It's likely to take every evening this week. I think I'd better check on that "clearance to stand them up" issue before proceeding.

     ...With that done, Step Two is to measure the wall space between the new shelves and the window frame, in order to build yet another set of shelves to fit there.  (Is there an end to my shelf-building?  Probably when I run out of walls to put them against.  I should've bought a bigger house!)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sore, Sore, Sore

     I'm sore all over from hard work.  Spent all afternoon yesterday assembling the second set of shelves I had cut and routed while on vacation.  Of course one of the uprights had warped -- slightly cupped -- and it took multiple screws per shelf to pull in the center where it (should) get a good glue bond.  Is this wise?  I don;t know, but I have done it before with good results.  As long as the glue holds, it doesn't much matter if the vertical piece develops splits, since it's bonded crosswise at every shelf.  Still to come, trimming the bottom from that side with a narrow-kerf saw and move it in about an inch: that side sits in a corner, up against trim molding.  Both uprights will have to be notched for molding-clearance at the back as well.

     But notice the construction of my shelves is such that splits along the grain are not usually a problem.  That's not how world politics work.  There is no engineering against even predictable failure and there are a lot of stress points built in.  Even as I write, Putin's bully-boys and/or "Russian-oriented separatists" (depending on who you believe -- and a third option, that he primed the pump but they are barely under control, is hardly whispered) in the Ukraine are refusing to hand over the bodies from the airliner they shot down.  Most of them were from NATO-member nations and more of that group were Dutch.  A large number of them were HIV/AIDS researchers, on their way to a conference.  ...The Netherlands may well be the single least-aggressive member nation in NATO but they pride themselves on being civilized; acting like barbarians to 'em is one of the better ways of raising ire.  And when the skinny, quiet kid who sits in the back at NATO club gets riled, what will the bigger, tougher kids in the front row do to help their pal out?  

     Maybe we're about to find out.  1914, here we come -- and without even a dead Archduke to show for it.  Likely to be some aches come of it.

Friday, July 18, 2014


     There ya go:

     Okay, the sub-rosa (for very small values of "rose") Russians in Ukraine are shooting down civilian jetliners, there's war an' politics an' destruction an' mayhem an' general unhappiness.  But I can't fix any of it; barbarians, like the poor (but way nastier) will always be with us.

     I can't fix it.  About all I can do is be decent to other folks and hope it's contagious.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bizarrely Symmetrical -- Symmetrically Bizarre

     Those are the only words that fit.  So...  I'm a fan of of Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner, and when Danger Man (released on U. S. TV as Secret Agent) popped up on Amazon's streaming service, I watched an episode, since it's (somewhat -- McGoohan maintained that "John Drake" and "Number Six" were not the same man)  backstory for The Prisoner.

     Alas, at that time the release started with the second series, which ran two years after the first, and I wanted to get in at the beginning.  Last night, I discovered that the first series was now available, and in handy 25-minutes doses.

     So I watched the pilot.  Set in Italy, a bit of a gimme but not at all bad for a half-hour spy drama.  As the credits rolled, I caught the name of the location that had doubled for Italy in the various outdoors scenes: Portmeirion.

     Yes, the very same folly-built-large where the entire series of The Prisoner was set; there's only the one.  Patrick McGoohan's career as a TV spy began and ended in the very same place.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

And On And On And On

     Towards what or in service of what, I dunno; it just keeps rollin'.

     "Shots fired on the East Side" took on a slightly different meaning last night, after a rebuffed masher in a car struck and injured the young woman he was pestering when she ignored him: as the hit-and-run creep drove off, a bystander took a couple of shots at him.  While it's generally not legal to shoot at a malefactor who is leaving, police were remarkably silent on the topic, focusing instead on the lowlife scum who injured a young woman. There's a moral here about the wages of criminal creepitude, and I can't help but hope this serves as an instructive example to creeps everywhere.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"It Don't Look Good, Slim"

     And it wasn't.
     Though it wasn't as bad as it could have been, either.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Oh, Broad Ripple...

     One the one hand, this:
     (Admittedly, outside the village proper.)

     On the other hand, in response to a crime wave, this:
     Oooooookay.  What could go wrong?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Slept In? You Bet!

     Tam and I I went to the Indianapols Hamfest yesterday, walked and walked -- and bought some neat stuff --
     And then on to 317 Burger for lunch.  I ordered an appetizer called "Bacon" on the menu -- just the one word.  They offer a staggering variety of bacons as a burger topping, so I  was curious what this might be.  It's more of an entree:
     Yes, that's bacon lightly breaded and deep-fried, with a nicely-spiced sausage gravy to dip it in!  Way too much for me; I shared it with the Tam and she countered with half of a ruben egg roll (with Thousand Island dressing to dip it in!).  Okay, you shouldn't have this every day -- or every week, even -- but it certainly is tasty!  (Generally speaking, cornmeal bacon [etc.] is milder-tasting than plain bacon.  This is not; it's loaded with bacon-ness, while the batter it was dipped in sings harmony.  I don't know how they do it.)

     I had to take a nap when we got home, then woke late and stayed up too late before making breakfast (open-face fired egg sandwich on toast -- egg  fried in olive oil with a few drops of chili oil added, then topped with a small slice of Swiss cheese.  When the cheese is melty, you flip the egg onto the toast cheese side down, season to taste and enjoy!).

Saturday, July 12, 2014


     I've started watching HBO's Rome (free on the Roku via Amazon Prime) and Tam joined me when she returned from New Hampshire.  There's a certain trainwreck fascination in watching the Republic go off the rails (any resemblance to modern politics is purely coincidental -- right?), along with a certain trainwreck fascination in the things the show producers get wrong, from details (a wooden "anvil" does not ring!) to omitted personages to elided incidents.  --And, both amusingly and horrifyingly, the actress who plays the immoral and licentious Atia (a combination of at least two historical Roman women and more lurid than either) is a near-twin of a friend who I know to be of sterling moral character, a contrast which is its own sort of trainwreck.

     Of course, the outcome is inevitable; but the process of getting there is a plot better than any soap-opera.