Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Who are You? Who? Who?

I don't know if it'll make a difference, but I figured it's time for me to start playing ball. -- 1986 Jimmy Chitwood, Hoosiers (the movie)

Well, boys and girls, I figured it’s time for me to start writing. -- 2009 Jeff Skiver, Hoosier (the birth-state classification)

Perhaps the relocation from Michigan to Indiana dragged me too far away from my muse. Maybe the new job is just too busy to allow my mind to wander to the far off places where my “What the @#%$@#“ thoughts dwell. I don’t know why I have found it so easy to go without updating the blog these past few weeks.

I must admit that most of the new material I have come up with recently is decidedly PG13 or stronger. Whether that is attributable to the rougher posse of cub scouts I have started hanging with or rather simply the fruit of my rapid journey toward secular humanism, I am not sure. I just know that everything I have come up with recently that has been funny enough to make those around me shoot beverages out of their nostrils is far too hard core for a blog that gets linked to by Woodworking Magazine.

My mind appears to be sharp. My wit is still Mach 5 fast. However, all of my punchlines are decidedly naughty. Here’s an example. (And this is the God’s honest truth.) Last week Gail and I were talking about 16 French cuff shirts that needed to go to the cleaners. I said we would be well served to find a Tuchman Cleaners closer to home, because I have an endless supply of Tuchman $1.79 coupons for Business Shirt Laundering. She replied that the last time when she left shirts at Beaver’s Cleaners the cost was $2.39 each. I asked, “Where did you take them last time?” She responded, “Beaver’s Cleaners.” I naturally said, “Well, I wasn’t questioning the name. I am just shocked to hear that Beaver’s Cleaners does full service dry cleaning. You see, Gail, I thought they only did Vinegar and Water rinsing.”

As you can see, it is a cute line, but it will likely drive away most of my remaining readers.

The real scary thing is that the timing of my blogging absence cost me some golden opportunities. For example, yesterday was the 20th Anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill. Do I wait another 5 years for the 25th Anniversary to put out my list of Top 10 Drunken Woodworking Mistakes? We’ll see.

I’ll tell you what. I have been gone so long, that I want to re-introduce myself to you. So below I am including the full text of my 2007 email to Chris Schwarz where I provided my autobiography. For my first appearance in Popular Woodworking, Chris asked me to provide some information about myself that could be written up into a paragraph that would make all of my former school chums and/or lovers go, “YEP!!!! That really is Skiver in that thar’ magazine.”

So friends, as I re-enter the blogging world, let me share with you who I really am:


Since the inclusion of my profile on the Contributors Page will likely double Pop Wood's circulation, I know how important it is for me to provide this information. I apologize for the delay, but I was not sure if you preferred my bio information written in first person or third person.

So instead of writing an eloquent autobiography, I am sending some facts that can be knitted together to form something of interest. I know it is possible to make it interesting, because 11 years ago I managed to come off as interesting enough to convince my wife to marry me. However, I am struggling at the moment to rise above the level of mediocrity.

I was born in Indianapolis, and I lived in various spots across the Hoosier state for the first 26 years of my life.

I received my Mechanical Engineering degree from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1992. (Rose-Hulman has been ranked by US News & World Report as the top undergraduate engineering school in the country for over 10 consecutive years.)

I moved to Holland, Michigan in 1996 and met and married my wife (Gail) that same year. I work in the automotive industry designing car parts. Although for a couple of years I dabbled in the Engineering side of office furniture and household appliances.

Always a car guy, who thought all spare time should be spent with a wrench in one's hand, I unexpectedly stumbled into woodworking in 2004 when I built a sauna in our basement and found that I really liked it. Woodworking...not the sauna. (Actually, I love the sauna, too, but that is a different story I could write for Midwest Sauna Times Monthly...a bi-annual publication dedicated to the sedentary pursuit of naked pleasure in a dry heat environment.)

I am still experimenting with various forms of fine furniture (Modern, Arts & Crafts, and far.) I am steadily working my way chronologically back the furniture path. Eventually, I plan to get to Roman Crosses that I can supply to Stigmata groups and Passion Play Performers. I desperately need to finish building a workbench and tool cabinet for my shop, but everything I build seems to be for someone else. It should be noted I am not afraid to make my furniture pieces ugly as sin if that is what my "client" wants. I refer specifically to a Pink and Purple Arts & Crafts desk that I made for my niece Hannah. It is a colossus of Purpleheart and dyed Poplar that the mere sight of can induce seizures in infants and the elderly.

I read books, watch videos, and attend classes to learn how to do basic woodworking techniques that most people learned in shop class. I am a member of the West Michigan Woodworking Guild.

In the last year and a half I have become a fanatic of hand tools. What I lack in throughput of projects I make up for in collecting tools and lumber.

I am obsessive compulsive about saw dust, so I have a dust collection system suitable for a shop 400 times the size of mine.

I am desperately searching for a venture capitalist to be the silent partner in opening my own Woodcraft Franchise.

I am a disease-free, non-smoker with no visible tattoos or piercings. I received my last tetanus shot on 31JUL07. (Last Week)

Hopefully you still have that great digital photo I sent a couple of weeks ago. If not, just let me know, and Gail and I will shoot some more. I was thinking about doing a Senior Picture style shoot where I lay on my side in front of my Unisaw with my chin resting on the knuckles of my fist....very 1986....

By the way the part about the pink and purple desk is the God's-honest truth. The most highly crafted piece of furniture I have made so far is so intensely ugly that I am ashamed to show it to people. However, it is EXACTLY what Hannah wanted, so I daily wrestle with the fear that I compromised my art for the sake of making a little girl happy.

Thank you,

Jeff Skiver


Randy said...

OK,, Jeff, I knew Rick was going to have an impact on your writing (Who ar You? Who? Who?) oh no,, it's all over now,,,
he did mention some good 'ole classic rock though,,,
Hey,, as I was reading, I read

"rapid journey toward secular humanism"

What exactly are you meaning by that? Are you falling to the secular world? Have your beleifes been jepordized somehow?

Ok,, ghota go,, busy at work,,,
Welcome Back Jeff,, Wecome back my Brother.

Ethan said...

"Terre Haute" means "high ground" in French, did you know?

I've always thought it seemed kind of flat when I drove through it, though...

Jeff Skiver said...

There are a lot questions that are raised if analyze it deep enough, Randy. I suppose the first one would be whether a secular humanist would use the phrase "God's honest truth" in both his blog and his letter to the editor if he was indeed a secular humanist.

At best I think it makes me out to be a liar.

I've lost all credibility, haven't I?

Jeff Skiver said...


What is really weird is that during my last year living in Terre Haute I took on a whole Nostradamus (seer) mentality, and I started writing stuff in Quatrains. One that never made sense to me at the time but became abundantly clear years later had lines like:

"High Ground with the French name is where Ryder Truck Terrorist of the controllers of drinking, smoking, and shooting will ride the needle to the great beyond. Ronald the clown calls his name Vay McTim."

I would love to say the above statement is "the God's honest truth" but we all know I just don't have the credibility to pull that one off.

JasonB said...

Welcome back. Are there any new shop pictures to share with us?

Mike said...

Heh. "Pop Wood."