Posted on July 31st, 2022
Oh look! Summer is half-over and the temperatures are climbing past 100°, but it's cool in this house... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Uhura! I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Nichelle Nichols. It's impossible to quantify just how important her role on Star Trek was when it comes to the history of television... and the world, really. The now legendary story of how she was going to quit Star Trek until Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed her mind because it showed the world how our future should be was just the beginning of her influence...
If you're interested in a very loose interpretation of events... this episode of Drunk History is darn good...
I have watched that so many times.
• Wood! Maybe it's because I love woodworking that I've watched these a half-dozen times... but I honestly think it's so cool that anybody would find it fascinating...
I love videos like this. Entirely too imaginative and clever. There's only a few videos, but entire YouTube Channel is gold.
• PANDA! Bamboo Eating Panda is no longer interested in eating for your amusement (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@xiongmaosh This is to know that someone photographed it? Pose#panda #lovely #eat ♬ 原聲 - xiongmaosh
He's still adorable, however.
• Girls? I've been looking forward to Paper Girls since I found out that they were adapting the comic book series, which was excellent. — Unfortunately, I find it to be nearly unwatchable. In the comics, the story really shines through... it's imaginative and interesting and everything you could want in a comic. But the Amazon Prime adaptation? EVERY FUCKING SCENE HAS THE DRAMA AND INTENSITY DIALED UP TO ELEVEN! It's all screaming and overacting on top of overacting on top of overacting. And I do not blame the young actors for that... when they are given quieter moments (which is rare) they are darn good. I blame the director(s) who apparently pushed them to be fucking insane level to a bizarre and intolerable degree. And the worst part is when they use swear words, because they don't sound even remotely natural... they PUNCH. EVERY. FUCKING. CURSE. and it's so jarring as to be disastrous. Absolutely hated this series, and nobody is more bummed about that than I am...
Be careful what you wish for... because for every Umbrella Academy, there's whatever the hell this was.
• Deadly! Utterly fascinating. Utterly terrifying.
Add to this the advent of antibiotic-resistant bacteria... and the future looks pretty scary if science can't find a way out of this.
• ChocToc! Look, I'm not saying I ate a lot of Choco Tacos... but I am still sad that they are being discontinued because my life was made easier knowing that they were out there when I needed them...
WHAT WILL I DO WHEN I CRAVE A CHOCO TACO NOW?!?
• HYPOCRISY! So remember… I know I will… (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick).
And that's all the bullets we have for today.
Posted on July 2nd, 2022
This past week I finally had a day to start putting back together my studio. I kinda had to rebuild it once the shelves I had toppled over in the middle of the night. First I bought a new drafting table... then bought some new IKEA shelves. Since my cats like to watch me when I'm drawing, I decided that I would put a catwalk around the perimeter of the room so my cats could hang our and look down at me. But how to get them up to the catwalk?
I decided to punch out the sides of my shelves in order to create a staircase for my cats.
I still have to trim it out, but I managed to get everything screwed together and bolted to the wall for safety. I also built guardrails so that my cats wouldn't fall out if they tried to pass each other on their way up or down...
The last one there has a hole in the top so that they can get to the top of the shelves. This is looking down the staircase from the top...
The guardrails are built from scrap wood that I painted to match the shelves...
Next up? Guess I need to build that catwalk.
Posted on November 26th, 2021
As always, I save up whatever money I can scrape together all year long so I can take advantage of the massive sales going on this awful time of year. Alas, I didn't have as much saved up as previous years because I had to pay the first payment and taxes for my new MacBook Pro. Which was money well-spent, because it's easily the best purchase I made in all of 2021.
But anyway, here's my loot for this year's Black Friday...
And... that's all I could afford.
UNTIL I DECIDED THAT I JUST *HAD* TO HAVE THE MILWAUKEE TABLE SAW THAT I COULDN'T GET LAST YEAR BECAUSE IT WAS SOLD OUT EVERYWHERE IT WAS ON SALE...
Unfortunately it wasn't on sale this Black Friday. But I did get $50 off for opening a Home Depot account, so there's that. I probably shouldn't have bought it, but I just can't take another year of trying to get precise cuts out of my wonky $110 Harbor Freight table saw.
There are three things I've been needing to complete my wood shop. A good table saw. A good drill press. A good planer. So one down, two to go, I guess. Heaven knows where I'm going to find space to put all this stuff when I'm using my garage as an actual garage in the winter.
Posted on April 12th, 2021
Well... this has been... a day. I guess. Stupid Monday.
If I had a better weekend, I would probably have been in better shape to deal with it all but, alas, here we are.
It's kinda sad that I haven't developed better adversity coping skills after all these years, but I guess it's just not where my skillset landed. Which reminded me of this TikTok, which is an excellent metaphor to be had...
##stitch with @mattshaw882♬ original sound - Z
The original video is equally dead-on hilarious...
I mean... holy crap!
This past Saturday as I was trying to distract myself from feeling sick all day, I watched a bunch of television, starting with the Doctor Strange movie. This took me through a Benedict Cumberbatch run that included some episodes of Sherlock and Star Trek Into Darkness...
When this movie first debuted I was... disappointed?... I guess is the word I'm searching for?
On one hand, the visuals and special effects were jaw-droppingly beautiful and the action intense. The cast, as with the first movie, was flawless. But the film was also a needless remake of the best Star Trek flick of all time: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It was like... why?!? There were hundreds of new directions the franchise could head, but they decided to put a new spin on already-great material just because they could. And then there was the worst-kept secret of 2013... Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Khan Noonien Singh, originally played brilliantly by Ricardo Montalbán.
But on a fresh viewing where I know what to expect and can separate the remake from the original, I was able to appreciate it better. Mostly because it's just so dang stunning to look at. Plus it had a cameo by Leonard Nimoy. Still hate the disaster porn ending... Lord is that a tired trope... but, overall, not the huge disappointment I remembered.
I wonder how many other films would change my mind if watched anew?
And now we return to my butt-puckering day, currently in progress.
Posted on July 19th, 2020
The USA may be leading the world in COVID-19 infections, but that's not the worst news you'll hear today... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Psych... Again! NBC's new streaming network, Peacock, launched this week. To entice people to subscribe to yet another service, they are making some content free for a while. Including Psych 2: Lassie Come Home...
I had forgotten how much I love this show. The one-liners are as fast and funny as ever and the story is actually pretty darn good! It features the return of Timothy Omundson (Carlton Lassiter) after his stroke, and he is wonderful. Everybody is. I tell you, bringing back Psych would be a sure-fire way to get me to subscribe to the network, that's for sure.
• Coming 2! Heaven help me, it might actually be worth getting infected just to go see this...
With the exception of all the Marvel Studios movies waiting to be released, this is what I most want to see.
• Leibovitz? In my work I've seen this many, many times. Photographers shooting Persons of Color the way they shoot white people because they cannot be bothered to learn how to create a shoot for darker skin. And apparently it can be a challenge for even the best photographers. Annie Leibovitz is a true artist, but she completely and totally failed in her shoot of Simone Biles. The Vogue shots are dim, murky, and poorly adjusted...
My guess is that Leibovitz is of a caliber that she can dictate nobody modify her photos, which is a shame because Simone Biles is a beautiful young woman who deserves far better (as does her family). Any pro photographer worth their salt will be able to get stunning shots regardless of skin tone because that's their job. Or, you know, Vogue could hire Black photographers who have a lifetime of experience shooting Persons of Color... just sayin'.
• Viola! Case in point? Meanwhile over at Vanity Fair where they hired the first Black photographer in the history of the magazine to shoot a cover story of Viola Davis...
Viola Davis would probably look amazing even if she was murky and tinted green... but, boy, this is phenomenal work by Dario Calmese.
• STOP! I've seen demos of SawStop technology before. It still takes my breath away to see it in action, and here it is in slow motion...
I use a table saw as an absolute last resort because I am well aware of how dangerous they are. No matter how careful you may be, accidents do happen. SawStop is a pretty brilliant way of keeping the damage to a minimum.
• Hobbes and Me! As a massively huge Calvin and Hobbes fan, I can't believe that I missed these shorts when they were released back in 2014...
You can see the entire series right here. You're welcome!
And that's a wrap. Enjoy your pandemic, everybody.
Posted on February 12th, 2020
There's a cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Yokohama, Japan due to a Coronavirus outbreak onboard. With the exception of China, the ship has more cases than any country on earth, clocking in at 175 people infected. The worry is that with so many people living in such close proximity that the virus will continue to spread. If that's the case, the bulk of the passengers may end up with the disease despite all efforts to keep it contained.
As a result, cruiselines are taking drastic measures to avoid this situation from happening on their ships. Most of them are canceling or rerouting cruises to China and other Asian countries. Some of them are denying passage to any customers with a Chinese, Hong Kong, or Macau passport. Anybody having visited those countries within 30 days, regardless of citizenship, will also be denied passage.
Needless to say, many passengers are canceling their cruising plans regardless of destination because they are worried a carrier of the Coronavirus will end up onboard.
The media, always hungry to stoke people's fears because fear is good for their business model, are all too happy to keep feeding the fire.
Not a good time to be a cruise company.
I've never been a big "cruising" person, but my mom absolutely loved it. She loved being able to go to lots of places on a single vacation. She really loved being able to go to so many different places without having to pack and unpack each time. So we ended up going on a number of cruises, including The Caribbean (twice), Alaska, The Mediterranean (twice), and The Panama Canal. They were all great, we had a fantastic time, and I am grateful to have found travel which was low-stress for my mom since that was all that really mattered...
Mom aboard the Dawn Princess in the Caribbean in 2004
Mom aboard the Norwegeian Jewel in the Mediterranean in 2007
Mom aboard the Norwegian Pearl in Alaska in 2009
Mom aboard the Disney Magic in the Mediterranean in 2010
Mom aboard the Island Princess in the Panama Canal in 2012
And, let me tell you, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. people found out we were going on a cruise there was at least one of them telling us "I would never go on one of those because it's too easy to get sick when you're trapped with so many people on a cruise." Which may be true, but neither me nor my mom ever got sick. Not even so much as a cold on any of the half-dozen voyages we were on.
Meanwhile I've gotten sick after flying on planes, staying in hotels, or attending events where people were sick. I've also been run down by a van in the South of France, hit by a taxi in Chicago, and been run over by a cyclist in Salt Lake City. As if that weren't enough, I've been held up at knife-point in Seattle and at gun-point in San Francisco. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I've gotten injured and had many other problems... all while not traveling on cruise ships.
Would I cruise again? Of course I would. There are pitfalls, sure... especially in China and especially now. But there are pitfalls in any method of travel. And the positives for cruise travel are really too good to ignore. Even if you're not a big "cruising" person like me.
While I am not much a "cruising" person, I am an amateur woodworker.
And nothing quite tests your resolve as a woodworker than having no budget to build something. I drew up a plan for a gift shop's children's book display and calculated the materials would cost $48 to build. I only had $10-$12 to spend. So instead of actual boards, I scrounged around Home Depot for the cheapest possible lumber. They had warped thin boards for cheap, so I bought $12 worth and just spaced them out as far as I could to hold exactly what was required securely...
It was a strange project. I didn't have the material to use pretty miter joints everywhere, so I used them only in the places they would show, then used butt joints everywhere else. ALL of the boards are curved. I just nailed and glued them into place, straightening as best I could as I went. Worked great, and I had a whopping 3-1/2 inches of board left when I was through!
Posted on January 29th, 2020
As I mentioned in my entry for "yesterday," I broke my blog. Something that didn't get fixed until "tomorrow." I actually still wrote entries for "yesterday" and "today" but decided to save them for "tomorrow" and "the day after tomorrow."
If that's all confusing to you, just think about how it feels to be me! My head has to be in the past, present, and future at the same time. All because I decided to go messing in Blogography's guts without a backup.
I've been thinking back to what I did today (yesterday) and, other than hammer away on WordPress, I can't think of anything special.
Oh... check that... I did clean up my garage wood shop! The shelves I built got all sanded, varnished, and delivered, so I wanted to put my tools away and clean up so I'm starting my next project organized and sawdust-free. And it took a minute, I tell you what. It's shocking what a mess I had made. Why I can't put a tool back after I use it is a genuine mystery. It would certainly make my life easier.
What would also make my life easier? Throwing garbage in the trash rather than on the garage floor. Contrary to popular belief (held by me) you can't just sweep it all up at the end of the day. Dustpans can only hold so much. And so I end up having to pick it all up before I sweep. Which takes longer than if I had just tossed it in the trash in the first place.
But don't try telling me that.
When I'm being a wood surgeon, the last thing I want to hear is somebody telling me what to do. I actually became wood surgeon specifically to get away from people telling me what to do.
And, oh yeah... in case you didn't notice, I've started using the term "wood surgeon" now. I find that I prefer it over "wood worker." I toyed around with "wood doctor" for a while, but telling people that I have a doctorate in playing with wood seemed dishonest somehow. I'm amateur at best.
I bet Bob Vila never has to deal with existential crises like this (he says while wondering if whomever came up with the plural for "crisis" realized how stupid it looks and should have just made it be "crisises" like you'd expect it to be).
Probably not. He's Bob Vila. He gets to be a fucking wood wizard if he wants to!
Ooh. Now I wanna be a wood wizard.
Posted on January 27th, 2020
The key to using cheap lumber is to own a planer to grind it into shape.
Except I don't have a planer, so instead I assembled my project with small screws, dampened it a little bit. Then let it set for a couple days to see how it all comes together.
It wasn't too bad... only minor adjustments and some sanding to whip it into shape. It sits level and looks like a million bucks... even though it only cost me $25 to make. Time to remove the little screws and move up to the big screws so it will be solid as a rock...
Shot with a wide-angle lens in my tiny garage wood shop... it's square, I swear!
My favorite trick when needing thin pieces of wood? Paint stir sticks! They cost 98¢ for ten of them! And they always look fantastic! I edged the little booklet displays I made with them...
Unfortunately, Home Depot didn't have an 1/8" router bit in stock (even thought their website says they did)... so I had to pay $5 for some 1/4" hemlock to make the dividers...
The contrast between the light pine and the darker hemlock is actually pretty cool! So I meant to do that!
All that's left is to sand it, varnish it, then haul it to its new home!
I would do woodworking every waking minute of every day if I had the time.
Posted on January 26th, 2020
I may be ankle-deep in sawdust, but here I am... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Push Back. The impeachment trial is absurd. There is overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing in a number of areas, and it's clear the president is exploiting his office for personal gain at every possible opportunity. But because Republicans in The Senate are 100% willing to enable his abhorrent behavior, he's going to remain in office. Which is why This post from Dan Rather is so important. "As many of us focus on the news out of Washington, let us not forget on these cold, winter nights, many are struggling with hunger and hopelessness. There are the lonely, the homeless, the sick, and scared. Service to others is a way to push back at the cynicism of our times."
• TEMPORARY! OH MAN! TIME TO STOCK UP MY FREEZER! YOU SIMPLY CANNOT BEAT THESE SAVINGS!!!
As I've made known many, many times, I rarely buy anything at the grocery store that's not on sale. I build my meals around what I can find that's inexpensive. I very nearly grabbed these for taco night until I was like "Wait a minute! Aren't these usually about $2?!?" Stores are pretty devious. They expect people will grab something on sale without looking for how much it's on sale.
• Dance Dance Dance. A new bird has been discovered. It's feathers are like a black hole, absorbing most light. This results in a very cool mating dance you gotta see...
It's amazing that we keep discovering new animals as scores of others are going extinct.
• Scraps. It's hard to complain about working on the weekend when I get to set up my wood shop and build displays! I cut the pieces for a rack display I will assemble tomorrow, and now I am building a half-dozen little fruit-crate-inspired booklet displays. They will have a small standee sitting next to them with info and pricing...
As thrifty as I am for my own projects, I've doubly so when spending money for work. The stands had to be heavy so they wouldn't move... and deep so they wouldn't tip over. I made the tray part look nice, then used whatever scraps I had laying around for the back-stops since they don't show. Works like a charm, and they ended up costing a whopping $2.20 each. =sigh= Designing and building displays is the best part of my job. Wish I got to do more of it.
• Peanut Hell. Killing time until 10:00 so I can fire up the power tools... I'm watching SNL from last night with Adam Driver. The cold open takes place in hell where Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials is visiting. She sold her soul to the devil so she could be on television forever. THEN can you guess what commercial comes on? Just guess! I hope that was planned and SNL contacted Progressive to have it happen, because that's genius.
In other news... POOR MR. PEANUT! Guess he shouldn't have killed all those kids with peanut allergies!
• Art. I recently read a Facebook post by Rachael Eliot Barker that's so important to me that I am reprinting it in its entirety...
"Recently, there was a dust-up over The Comedian, a piece in which Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan taped a banana to the wall of a gallery and sold it for $120,000. A gallery patron made additional news by pulling the banana off the wall and eating it. Interviews made it clear that everyone involved was trolling. The saga was catnip to people who believe that conceptual art is full of shit.
Maurizio Cattelan is clearly full of shit, but his work begs the question: could an artist ever walk into a gallery with some snacks, say 'This may look like something I picked up at the bodega on the way here, but it is in fact my Art, behold my Art,' and NOT be full of shit?
In my opinion, the answer is yes.
My opinion is heavily informed by this 1991 piece by Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) is a pile of free candy. Visitors are invited to take one piece of candy. Frivolous, right? The piece may be staged in any gallery that follows a few simple rules. The most important rule is that the pile should weigh 175 pounds.
175 pounds was the healthy weight of Gonzalez-Torres’ partner Ross Laycock, who died of AIDS.
González-Torres had a Roman Catholic background, and taking the candy is meant to be an act of communion. The patron partakes in the “sweetness” of Ross while participating in his diminishment and torturous death.
The decision to use candy has political significance. In 1991, public funding for the arts and public funding for AIDS research were both the hottest of hot-button issues. HIV positive gay male artists were being targeted for censorship. González-Torres was desperate to be heard, and part of the logic of Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) was that you can’t censor free candy without looking ridiculous. The replicability of the piece makes it indestructible; González-Torres had an intuitive, ahead-of-its-time understanding of virality that came from dealing with an actual virus rather than the internet.
I’ve never seen this piece staged, but I think about it all the time. The artist, sadly, is no longer with us. But we will always have the most brilliant, heartbreaking free candy to ever be heaped in a corner. The key to conceptual art is storytelling — how well can you tell a story without words OR a “proper” picture? The banana on the wall sucks because it doesn’t tell a story about anything but attention-seeking and greed. I can’t stand Banana Guy or the media coverage surrounding him because stunts like that make people close their minds to unconventional art and storytelling, which can be just as sophisticated and moving as conventional art and storytelling."
I always assume that there's a story like this behind every artistic endeavor. I may not understand it... I may dismiss it... I may not like it... I may disagree with it... and all that is okay. So long as it means something to the artist and not just a stunt, I can at least respect them putting themselves out there like this.
And that's it for Sunday bullets.
Posted on April 27th, 2019
Jake is doing so much better, so thanks to all of you who reached out with concern and kind words! He still limps... sometimes more than others, but he's showing vast improvement. I wouldn't be surprised if his limp is mostly gone in another week.
Right now my priority is keeping him safe from another fall.
When I design projects I also write out a task list and a schedule so I know how long it will take. For my new "banister cat tray" I had one evening allotted for construction. One evening to fill nail holes, sand, and prime. And one evening to smooth-sand and paint two coats. Which means I was ready to install it yesterday morning...
The carpet that goes on the bottom arrives on Wednesday. In the meanwhile, I hope things are a little safer for Jake and Jenny. At least Jake can't fall asleep... then fall off... so easily again.
From the bottom, it's not very obtrusive, which is nice...
I sent the photos to a friend who does carpentry... he replied with "DESIGN FAIL! Somebody using the hand railing for the stairs will run into your construction!"
I couldn't understand what he was talking about until I realized that the angle of the photo doesn't show the whole story. So I sent him this photo and said "YOU WERE SAYING?!?"...
Turns out I actually DO put some thought into my projects!
Eventually I want to build a narrow staircase so they can climb up to the banister instead of making a dangerous jump. Until I do that, I put a bench in front that they can use to hop up more easily. Jenny was the first to take a look...
And there you have it... a safer, conveniently cat-sized walkway!
And now to think about how I can build cat stairs... and a safety ledge for the windows above the stairwell where Jenny likes to play. A "feature" of my house that terrifies me to no end. The girl is fearless when it comes to heights. Which is fine. But only when it's reasonably safe! She likes to be totally UNSAFE, and it drives me crazy.
Until next Caturday...