Month: May 2010

I shall prevail. . . oh, yes, I will.

Today, I am aggravated. Aggravated about my ongoing difficulties with getting proper holes in spindle whorls.

Given that all three of my sons call me mechanically declined, you might surmise that I’m utterly incompetent. It’s not quite as bad as they think, but mechanical things are not usually my friends. Most of my scars come from malevolent mechanical life forms, and then there was that unfortunate incident that left spiral blood spatter on the wall… But that’s another story. Also, I spent most of my life around first my dad and then my now-ex, both of whom had woodworking down pat and had great workshops. And yet another also, I’m accustomed to using precision tools for graphic design (pre-computer).

If you have experience with both, you know how frustrating it is to try to work with half-baked tools when you’ve used high-quality ones and have come to expect the kind of quality you get from good tools. I don’t have enough room for a wood shop, nor the money for good tools. Seriously, I’d have to put woodworking tools in my bedroom, and I’m just not willing to share my bed with wood and/or plastic shavings. Nope. And my budget is of the “if you can figure out a way to make it and not spend any moolah, go for it” variety.

So. Enter spindle whorls.

Two-inch and larger circles do not exist on my circle templates. That meant I needed something with larger circles so I could easily find the center of the whorl. Seeing as how I have several kinds of compasses, this was simple: fine-point marker, T-square and triangle, clear plastic, and voila.

Next was the hole-drilling bit (no pun intended). I tried all sorts of half-@$$ed methods but, since I’m accustomed to being able to use a drill press and get holes both accurate and vertical, yet no longer have drill press access, I was in the proverbial swamp. I was actually considering getting a drill press, despite the aforementioned bed-sharing etc. with it, until I discovered that Dremel makes a little drill-press-mounting kit (they call it a workstation) for their little tools. And they’re cheap.

Having had experience long ago with something similar for full-sized drills, I was pretty skeptical. They just don’t work very well with big drills. And right out of the box, the dang thing reinforced my skepticism:

1. They have changed a few of the specs and parts, but have not changed the instructions. This aggravated me no end, because it meant I was looking for parts that weren’t there, but that the destructions said should be there. Finally, I gave up and just put it together the way it looked like it oughtta go.

2. I was not terribly impressed with some of the mounting materials. “Secure” will be a relative concept with this thing, at least with regard to the vertically mounted pole.

3. I was not terribly impressed with the “tools” that came with it—you know, the assembly tools that most mfrs include, those cheesy little wrenches and things. I had to go find my crescent wrench to put it together.

4. It turned out to be necessary to get out my rubber hammer to mount the assembly on the upright. This isn’t all bad, since it at least means a tight fit, but it’s annoying. Why can’t they just tell you you’ll need a rubber hammer?

5. My Dremel tool did not fit easily into the mounting. This wound up taking the crescent wrench as well. But eventually, my brilliant intellect (okay, so it was dogged determination, don’t pick nits) overcame the inherent evil of mechanical objects, and I had it put together. A couple parts were left over, but apparently they were extraneous. (I hope.) Cf “not changed directions” above.

6. Another serious aggravation was that the destruction booklet said you had to use “workpiece hold downs” to hold the work in place… but they did not include any. Nor do they even make any that you could purchase. Nor do they inform you of this before you buy the thing. Instead, they include yet more badly written destructions for making your own!!! Which meant I had to make another trip to town to get carriage bolts and wing nuts. =>:-\

So, here we are. I marked a couple of centers using my spiffy little template. I centered the first one under the mounted Dremel. I turned the Dremel on. And I pulled the little handle on the side down. And voila!!, a vertical, perfectly centered hole.

I feel ridiculously pleased about this, and somewhat vindicated, too, for having. . . this time. . . Mastered the Malevolent Mechanical Monsters.

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I am doubly awesome!

I used two coat hangers to make a balance scale. You know, like those antique jobbies with the pans suspended by chains from the balance arm? It’s ugly, but it works, and it’s pretty amazingly sensitive.

:victory dance, hoot, guffaw, giggle:    I rock!

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I am awesome!

I was just informed that if you Google “handwriting,” my Web site comes up on the first page, and if you Google “handwriting improvement,” my site is the very first one! I think that’s astonishing. But very cool.

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Behavioral analysis

Missy Dogge did something unprecedented yesterday: She jumped all over another dog back on the off-lead trail. The dog was a clumsy and inattentive puppy (or at least young dog, no more than a year) who kept lurching sideways and banging into its owner, who was attempting to jog, but not very successfully given that she kept getting knocked sideways by this large black klutz whacking repeatedly into her knees. I actually had to grab Herself and haul her away. Very strange.

So, let’s look at this logically, although logic doesn’t always apply to behavioral issues.

1. Ye Dogge has never exhibited any territorial feelings about that trail.

2. She has no issues with black dogs.

3. She has no issues with running dogs, or even black running dogs, or big dogs, or shaggy dogs, or any other kind of dog.

4. She has no issues with blonde women, joggers, or other people (with the exception of tall guys with beards and farmer hats).

5. She doesn’t care if people talk to me and vice versa on the back trails.

6. She does dislike puppies jumping all over her, and will snap at them; but this wasn’t a snap, this was a serious “knock it off or I’ll kick your ass” deal. And the dog was a good eight or ten feet away from her.

7. She does not tolerate dogs roughhousing and growling and play-fighting, and consistently runs between them to break it up and prevent any unauthorized fun. I’ve attributed this to herding behavior, an instinct to stop anything that looks like it might be harming a herd member.

Therefore, I’m suspicious that she may have thought the black dog was attacking the woman, and that she was defending the woman from the rambunctious and inordinately clumsy young dog. This is an interesting development, and I shall have to observe further.

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This is great

That’s a headline I always wanted to use but never did. For obvious reasons.

But you will like this. I promise. And not in a canned-peas sort of way.

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Happy holiday

Mother’s Day was extra-special fun yesterday, thanks to Snaotheus and KrisDi. After breakfasting with Grandma, who was complaining yet again that her little amp wasn’t working (this time, she’d managed to break the earbud) and later nearly fell asleep in her plate, we considered a couple of options:

  • bungee-jumping down at Deception Pass;
  • parasailing out in the straits;
  • checking out the Lady Washington, which was in port; or
  • hanging out.

After due consideration, we went with Option 4. Surprised, eh?

We took one of the bottles of wine I got when we went winery-touring, picked up some cheese at Haggen’s, took along a corkscrew, some wipes, napkins, little plastic cups, and a knife (if only Snaotheus had thought to bring the Swiss Army knife his leedle brudder gave him. . .) and went to my park. We went a little ways back on Blue’s Favorite off-lead trail, found a big log a little off the trail, and took our goodies back to have lunch. It took Blue a few minutes to get the hang of *not* going on down the trail; I’ve never just sat down and let her muddle around before.

It was one of the loveliest times I’ve had in a while. Warm, but not too warm; shady and beautiful in the woods; not too many people wandering up and down the trail despite there being quite a large crowd at the park; and of course, excellent company. We’d managed accidentally to get cheeses that went really well with the wine, so everything was hunky. Until I accidentally poured somebody’s last bit of beer from a discarded can on the remaining cheese, trying to be a Responsible Citizen. But that’s another story.

Snaotheus rescued my window screen from its hiding place under the deck; KrisDi warned me against ever setting foot on my deck again; we all got some garden plants; we did a few little chores (one of which turned into a fairly large PITA); and we went to Panda Palace and ate Chinese for dinner. Yummmmmm.

And how could I forget—KrisDi brought up a scrum-yumptious cheesecake slice, just for little ol’ me! 🙂

Northwood called, so visited with him a bit. And we all suppose that the Bassmaster is still alive. Somewhere. Possibly even in the Western Hemisphere. We think.

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Just one more humiliation. . .

Took out a watch the other day that I’d forgotten I had, one that came as part payment for a debt a few years back. Nice automatic watch, big numerals, night-illuminated, with day and date on it—exactly what I like. It wasn’t running, so I set it aside to take it to my buddy Hans, the watch kid, next time I went to town.

As it turned out, I didn’t go the direction that would’ve taken me to Hans TWK, so I stopped in at a jeweler’s on the way to my knit night. Handed it over and asked if they could put in a new battery for me.

Guy took it, said, “I’m sure I can,” then a minute or so later, after he’d taken the back off, said (wait for it. . . w-a-i-t. . . do you know what’s coming? hmmmmm?) . . .

“Erm. . . this is an automatic watch. It doesn’t take a battery. The motion of your hand and wrist makes it run.”

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