July 25, 2010

Sawdust in my drawers

It took a little longer than I thought it would, but the drawer boxes for the kitchen cabinets are done. They don't have faces yet, because I haven't quite decided how to handle those. I opted to dovetail all of the joints, because dovetails are strong and because I like the way they look.

I didn't cut them by hand; for one thing, I've never done that before, and I'm not going to learn in the middle of a major project, and for another thing, they're kitchen drawers. Instead, I used the Stots Dovetail Template Master to make the jigs used to rout the dovetails. You follow the directions to make a dovetail template using the Stots template; you can tweak it, adjust it, destroy it, etc., and just make a new one when you're done. The template you make works a lot like the General template, I expect. These are through dovetails, as opposed to half-blind dovetails. I have a Harbor Freight dovetail jig that does very nice half-blind dovetails, but since I was working with 1/2" stock and applying drawer faces, I didn't think those would be appropriate.

Sooo ... here are the drawers. It's another piece of the puzzle. Next, the doors, which should be a learning experience. They're poplar, incidentally, milled to 1/2" thick as I've said. It's pretty good wood, but it does sport some of the characteristic green, brown, and purple patches that make poplar a good secondary rather than primary wood for a project.

July 23, 2010

"Hercules, hero of song and story"

Man, I used to eat this cartoon up when I was a wee lad back in days when we got only two and a half channels. It was in black and white back then, or so I thought. It came on on Sunday mornings, during that time after I had been readied for church and before my dad was ready to leave. My dad shares my resistance to situations wherein one might be obligated to be civil to people on weekends, but he had a greater sense of tradition and duty, so we went to church religiously (if you will) ... but we weren't in any hurry about it, and we didn't tend to stay a minute longer than necessary.

Disney version? Don't make me laugh. Literally, the Disney version didn't make me laugh. Much. I'm sure some of you were very fond of it, but it pales in comparison to this cartoon. IMHO badabimbo.

So, yeah, Herc and his annoying little centaur buddy came on before Davey and Goliath, which I didn't like that much anyhow, since I found it both tedious and painful to watch the characters work their way from error to correction. Brady Bunch anxiety, if you know what I mean. I never saw much D & G, since we had a 25 minute or so drive to church (driving past two other churches of the same denomination for reasons that escape me to this day).

Joseph Campbell would probably have something to say about the degree to which I associate the 60s cartoon Hercules with church--two of the hero's thousand faces converging, or something-- or make it three, since Herc and Superman are kind of twinny as drawn. I do not believe that the New Testament would be improved by the inclusion of a shrill, hippogynous centaur, but deep down in the dusty church basement of my unconscious, Jesus and the assertively pagan Hercules are at a pot luck supper, enjoying a nice crock pot of chunky primordial Jungian soup.

Made from centaur stock.

July 22, 2010

I give up

I've been trying and failing for years to make a joke along these lines.

Thanks, xkcd!

Bump, set, spike.

July 08, 2010

What I did on my summer vacation

I took the past week off, and it was nice. I sure do miss the academic calendar, I must say ... now I only read the ebb and flow of the semesters by the number of cars in the parking lot when I show up for work, the number of queries from the registrar about grades that "my" faculty haven't submitted (because you know they do whatever I ask of them), and the number of complaints about said grades I hear from disgruntled (or at least differently gruntled) students.

So here's what I did on my vacation to make progress toward realizing the plan depicted here. All the cabinet boxes are put together, minus backs, and the shelves for the upper cabinets are also done. I laid them out roughly in the position they'll occupy in the kitchen:

I'll probably cut out the backs next, though I won't attach them until after they and the cabinets are sprayed. It will be a lot easier to apply the finish without the backs getting in the way, and without all those corners to cause runs.

After that will come the drawers, which I'll be making out of poplar, with solid maple faces, and the doors, which will be raised panels. In other words, there's a lot left to do! A professional would have done the drawers and doors first, before cluttering up the whole damned shop with cabinets, but I wanted to fit the components to the cabinets, not vice versa.

In other news, I think the Domino's Pizza PR folks ought to be commended for their current ad campaign, the one that started with the frank admission that everybody knows their pizza sucked (and it may suck still, I don't know, though they're saying it's completely new and improved ... we don't have a Domino's around here). The commercial I saw the other day makes a big deal out of the unnatural acts that go into photographing food for print and TV advertisements, promising that Domino's ads will show the pizza in its natural state. Good stuff! I'd absolutely try their pizza again if it weren't 50 miles, probably, to the nearest one. I doubt they deliver here. Though I can't imagine it being better than Pudgies!

During my senior year of college, I had a roommate who worked at Dominos, and he would come home at 2:30 one or two nights a week with pizza that had been "wasted," written off and trashed at closing time. A diligent student--or at least one with a limited social life--I generally turned in by 11, and yet when Mark came in with pizza, I'd drag myself out to the kitchen (we shared a trailer in a shabby trailer park) and devour half a pizza, half-conscious, and then return to my top bunk to sleep until six. It was okay, but the locally owned joints were much cheaper and their pizza more interesting.

Mark was also something of a nudist, and he had successfully completed Ranger school--Army, not park--the summer before. I'll tell you more about him sometime, perhaps.

July 06, 2010

In praise of Gladys Kravitz

Before there was Lenny Kravitz, before there was even The Jeffersons, on which Lenny Kravitz's mom appeared, thus providing me with a halfarsed link between this pointless allusion and the wonderful world of situation comedies, there was the archetypal meddling neighbor Gladys Kravitz. I just watched Bewitched for the first time in many years (not counting the terrible movie of the same name a few years back), and I have a few words to say about Gladys Kravitz.

First of all, who are we talking about when we speak of Gladys? People always want to argue about which Dick they prefer, York or Sargent, but fewer people will debate the relative merits of the two Kravoi, Alice Pearce and Sandra Gould. Pearce's Kravitz was brilliant and unproblematical in my opinion ... she was just a nosey, shrill, hysterical proto-Furley. The archetypal Gladys. Gould, who Kravitzed the episode I just watched, is different. Strangely attractive when she's not overshadowed by Elizabeth Montgomery, and not blessed with the hilarious facial expressions and brilliant slapstick timing of her predecessor, she brings another layer to the character.

With the first Gladys, we feel somewhat bad for husband Abner, even though he's a loser, just because his wife is so annoying. With the second, though, Abner's sterotypical long-suffering husband schtick crosses right over into verbal abuse, and the smirking Stevens' mock-innocent shrugging as Gladys "Cassandra" Kravitz tries to blow the whistle on their satanic hijinks smacks of cruelty.

Because, of course, she's right. Samantha is a witch, and her family is a whole pack of witches, (a coven if you will). Admittedly, as a former wacky neighbor myself, I have more than average sympathy for my fellow WNs ... but I think Gladys's reputation is undeserved. What if your next door neighbor were a witch? Wouldn't you try to tell people about it? I say Gladys is a hero!


Back when I was teaching, I was once talking about witches in connection with "Young Goodman Brown" and a student announced that his sister-in-law was a witch. "There's no such thing as witches," I replied. "I mean, can she fly?" If you're a wiccan, earth goddess worshipper, etc., more power to you, but if you can't fly, you ain't a witch in my book.

Of course, this was at the same university where I once drew the five pointed star, the "sign of Solomon" from Sir Gawain's shield, on the blackboard, and a student in the front row flinched--actually flinched. I said, "Did you think I was going to summon forth a demon from the blackboard? Really? Do you think that if I could summon demons out of the blackboard, there wouldn't be demons running all over this place by now?"

No sense of humor, some of these people. Maybe they should watch some sitcoms.