Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Legends of Fat Tuesday

I have decided to make a confession to everyone… I am the sick and twisted mind behind some of the most famous urban legends of all time.

That whole thing about the gang members in the car with no headlights, just waiting to gun down the first person who flashes their brights at them… that was me.

The goofy idea that the Great Wall of China is the only manmade object you can see from space…again….all me.

Most everything you have ever read about Skull and Bones and Templar Knights is just stuff I make up to try to mess with the people of this planet. It’s something I have been doing since I was a kid, and I was reminded today of where it all started.

I happened to look at a website describing the events of “This Day in History” and realized that on February 24, 1981, Buckingham Palace announced the engagement of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. At that moment, I had just moved from Elida, Ohio to Beech Grove, Indiana and I chose this momentous day in history to mess with all of my new classmates. I told a couple of kids that I was the one who hooked up Chuck and Di. (Please note… phonetically speaking I just said, “Upchuck and Die”.) I came up with a whole story about my family having recently lived in England where Diana Spencer was my nanny. I explained that my parents knew Charles, and the rest was going to be the stuff of fairy tale romance. And when these classmates were dumb enough to believe it, I was off to the races with this little mind game experiment that continues to this day.

So with this confession behind me, I am now going to share with you some of my upcoming seeds that I have yet to plant. However, when you hear these Urban Legends in your own neighborhood in the coming weeks, you will realize that you read it here first.

1) There is a bicyclist in West Michigan who is carrying a Sig Sauer 9mm, and the first person this year who honks at him, while screaming for him to get off the road and onto the sidewalk is going to get a cap busted off in him. (Obviously this is very similar to my headlight flashing one, but the repeats of the classics are the ones that always get the most attention and make it the farthest along the email chains)

2) The Toyota Camry production for late 2005 was compromised and there was at least one day’s production where the fuel filler hose may not be properly clamped to the fuel tank. Even though 54 fires have resulted from this, Toyota has managed to kill all of NHTSA’s efforts to force a recall. Please pass along this important note to everyone you know that has a Toyota Camry. Actually, it may be best to pass this scary information along to everyone in your list of email contacts who may own a Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, or ANY car that carries an Asian name. (We can’t be too safe where there are fires concerned.)

3) There is new information to suggest that Barack Obama, Sr did not die in a car crash in Nairobi back in 1982. Instead, he has been running black ops for the Kenyan government since then, and the death was staged as a means of providing his deep cover. With his son being the President of the USA, his role in the intelligence community now calls into question the safety of all US government secrets.

4) All applications that iPhone owners have purchased are scheduled to permanently expire on Steve Job’s birthday due to a fault with the digital rights management.

5) Tom Brady’s recent knee injury was unknowingly treated with cadaver meniscus that was infected with HIV. Tom has not yet tested positive for AIDS…yet.

See how it works? The beauty of the internet is that any crap you can make up and say (or type) with a straight face can now be spread around the globe in a manner of minutes. Unless, of course, you are emailing with your iPhone, in which case you will only be able to share these bits of knowledge until Mr. Jobs’ NeXT birthday. Quick!!!! Somebody find out when that is.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My God Complex

My first nickname for my new shop was Mammoth Cave. It was an obvious choice given when we moved in the 1800 square feet of basement space was lit by 5 overhead lightbulbs. It was dark enough that with the addition of a little water and some fish eggs, within a generation or two the scaly descendants would have devolved to be born without eyes.

There was a time years ago when I was tasked with packaging map lamps and reading lamps in mini-vans and SUVs. So I seem to remember nightmares of Footcandles and Lux as I strove to focus light on areas that passengers would want illuminated, all the while blocking stray light that would disturb the driver’s view. Yep, automotive interior lighting paid the bills for a few years back then.

Now I have the task of illuminating something I care about.

Ideally, I could come up with about 100 lumens per square foot, but when I look at throwing up 180,000 lumens of fluorescent shop lamps in my basement…it’s a fairly big task.

Nevertheless, I went ahead and did a temporary addition of some 4 foot long T8 shop lamps to at least shed enough light for me to take the first photos of my new shop that many of you have asked for.

There will be more to come in the blog, but on the Creationist model, we are at Day One:

In the beginning was Jeff and his shop. And the shop was void and without form. And Jeff said, “Let there be light.” And Jeff saw that the light was good. So he shot a couple digital photos and promised to add some more to the blog when he had time.

Then, he went out and had a Guinness.

Below are some pictures of the new shop along with descriptions...

My wood pile. It's mostly airdried cherry, but it also has bubinga, hard maple, purpleheart, quartersawn white oak, birdseye maple, etc. It is unstickered and measures 11 feet 8 feet by 4 feet. It's 300+ cubic feet of amazing collection of lumber.
Who doesn't have 10 ft long pieces of Birdseye Maple just randomly thrown into their woodpile?

Looking down the "machine" side of the shop: past the jointer, Unisaw, planer, drill press, chopsaw, etc... all the way down to the massive woodpile.
Looking from the "Bench Area" toward the Cyclone in the corner. 18" Bandsaw is on the right and a boatload of 6" PVC ductwork on the left.

The "Bench Area" is about 3 times bigger than my entire shop in Michigan. Here you can see my Holtzapfel Bench, my tiny little Soberg bench, and the Metal Tool Cabinet that is actually the base of the biggest Router Table known to man, courtesy of Woodpeckers, Inc.

There will be better photos and much better descriptions to come. I promise.

Monday, February 16, 2009

An Intervention for THE LAW

Whether it was the Buddy Holly-less Crickets, The Clash, or even the Bobby Fuller Four… whole hoards of folks have lined up to take on The Law, only to slink away with their tails between their legs when The Law opened up a can of whoop ass on them.

The Law's reputation as an undefeated badass was fairly well established, until Judas Priest started bragging. I cannot help but feel that singular act started the downward spiral that we have seen in The Law.

I think Judas Priest's "Breakin the Law" planted a seed that has manifested itself into self-doubt that has all but crippled The Law.

Recently I ran into The Law and found the carefree character committed to justice that we all knew from our youth was now just a broken down neurotic hermit obsessed with his arms.

Years ago it was recognized that The Law had arms of unequal length. However, it was understood that the Long Arm of the Law was sort of an overly powerful, bionic arm, as opposed to being a case of the short arm being a handicap. Yet the last time I saw The Law, it was favoring the short arm like a useless, little, floppy appendage. To those who hadn't seen the law in its more vigorous, youthful days, they would have thought the short arm was the remains of a non-viable parasitic twin.

I realize now I should have intervened at that moment, but I didn't think it was my place.

I wish now I had confronted The Law. Had I done that, here is what I would have said:

"Stop it. Stop it right now. I'm getting really sick of your complaining about your short arm. You have a fully functioning arm that is just slightly shorter than your long arm, yet you are going around like some kind of freak. It's not like you're a T-Rex, for crying out loud. Is that what you want? You want to be treated like a Tyrannosaurus Rex… like both arms are so short you can't brush your teeth or scratch your ass? You need to snap out of this victim mentality. You are STILL The Law. Don't you remember when you fought Bobby Fuller and his band of street toughs? You not only won; you kicked their butts. So Judas Priest broke you??? So what??? You gotta get back up, fella. If you don't start taking care of yourself, you are going to end up rotting away. I didn't want to tell you this, but your Uncle Torah was having identity problems, and Exodus told me that he heard Leviticus and Deuteronomy were talking of seceding. You know if they go, anarchy will start to reign. Why it wouldn't be long before the second and third parts will leave your cousin Thermodynamics, too. Then, once they're gone, everyone will start to question all of the Newtonian family of laws.

You have to be the stop gap. You're The Law!!!!!!!!

Listen, Buddy, you've been through too much to give up now. Think back to your days sitting there on Capitol Hill. Remember when you were just a Bill? Back then, you didn't care about arm length, and you weren't worried about being broken by Judas Priest. Back then you were ready to do whatever you had to do to climb above being just a Bill and to rise above all of the unproven theorems and the sea of postulates.

You're still The Law, and we need you, Buddy. Without you, we wouldn't have Kinematics, Physics, or a host of restrictions as to where and when we can buy alcohol.

Here's what you do…

Put together a Rube Goldberg weight lifting machine in the cab of your big rig, and start flexing that long arm the way Sylvester Stallone did in "Over The Top." You can come back even stronger than you were before. In fact, you should do that.

Start pumping iron now, and do not stop until you are stronger than you ever were. For only when you are an overbearing, omnipotent, oppressive force like your cousin Sharia, can free men everywhere get back to being the mindless hamsters that Big Brother wants them to be.

We need you, Law…for only you have the power to overextend yourself and impose your will on man in a way that cripples creativity, compassion, and free thinking.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The New Shop (an Icelandic Hot Spot)

I am alive.

The reason for the two weeks without communication is that I have FINALLY moved out of my parents house. Also, I have (just today) re-established a connection on the Information Superhighway.

Last week Gail and I finally closed on the purchase of our McMansion after weeks of underwriting delays caused by all of the refinancing geeks who wanted to lock in the sub-five percent rates.

Last Friday the movers started unloading the first semi trailer of stuff, and they finished it yesterday. It is interesting how things were divided between the two moving trucks. The top of my Holtzapfel bench arrived Friday. The base was delivered yesterday. I can only imagine how the time apart will affect their long term relationship.

I now have the daunting task of setting up the new shop. The basement of the new house is just over 1800 square feet, so I finally have a massive space to fit all of my crap (tablesaw, jointer, planer, band saw, chop saw, router table, work benches, sharpening station, tool cabinets, lumber, etc). However, I have to do everything from scratch with regard to things like running the 220V lines, and piping the dust collection for the cyclone. It's weird that what was sort of fun when I set up my first shop is now just rattling around in my brain as being a big pain in the ass.

Setting up the tablesaw the day I bought it was sort of fun. I relived everything I had learned from Kelly Mehler's book and video. Now, I just see it as a source of tension that it was necessary to remove the perfectly square fence and cast iron table top in order to move the Unisaw to its new home.

On a bright note, the movers somehow moved my jointer from the old basement shop to the new basement shop without having to disassemble it. So there are no gib screws to tinker with.

I suppose I shouldn't complain. This is probably a good problem to have. Perhaps this is akin to some guy complaining about how rough it is to change the oil in his Ferrari 250GTO or go shopping for lingerie for his supermodel wife. Oh woe is me for having to do so much work to reassemble my dream shop. Still, I needed to vent to someone.

Let me leave you with one assurance, though.... this blog will continue to be the same smartass stuff you have come to love. I promise to not turn this into a 3 month documentary of setting up the new shop.

Let me leave you with something else. (Really this is just something for myself). I have noticed that I get almost NO blog hits from Iceland, and this was even before the country went bankrupt. So in an effort to get a big rush of hits from Iceland, I want to do a little bit of keyword spamming... just to stir up the traffic from Iceland. Here goes: Reykjavic Escort Services, Iceland Sex Tours, Iceland Gilrs for Dating, Keflavik Asian Massage, Samantha Brown Iceland Vacation Pictures....

THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can see my Icelandic hits increasing already.

Gott kvöld