Why do your take-home final when you can...

...wash the windows! Yeah! Excitement to the max!

It was a beautiful day today, and I didn't really want to start the final anyhow, so I biked to the hardware store, and then took several of the dirtiest windows in my apartment apart (to the extent that it was possible), cleaned them ( carefully avoiding defenestration), and then put them all back together. They look pretty good. That had been bothering me for a long time.

I'll start the final tomorrow... unless I spend all day filing graphite plates for my research... or simulating an old project with my new code to determine what went wrong with it. I'll almost certainly start my final.

I'm really quite eager to get the final done, because then I'm done with classes for 9 months. I only have one more required class for my PhD to take, and the one I want isn't offered until next spring. I'll get so much research work done. It'll be awesome.

Foiled Twice, and Some Nostalgia

Last weekend, Keely and I took a trip to visit my dad and step-family in Southern California. This trip almost exactly coincided with the third anniversary of a joint attempt by Grant and myself to destroy the world by... traveling through a part of it by automobile (it made sense at the time, trust me). That was a wonderful road trip, and the smell of the wild-flowers and the temperate breezes brought it all right back to me.

During the LA portion of that trip, Grant and I parted ways briefly so that I could do family stuff without subjecting him to said same. While I was having many pictures taken with a 6 month old on my lap, Grant explored the fine botanical gardens near the city of Pasadena. Ever since, I've always wanted to go and check that out for myself, and thought it would be a great way for Keely and myself to spend a day while my dad and step-mother were working. Of course, the universe had other plans.... but I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.

I was first foiled on Monday, when we planned on going to The Getty Museum, which is a fantastic structure and grounds with lots of interesting exhibits. The plan was to hang out for the day and to have a picnic lunch of bread, cheese, fruit and wine. We drove all the way out there from Rancho Cucamonga (real place, honest) only to find out that it is closed on Mondays. Of course, we made the best of it by going to nearby Santa Monica, eating our lunch on the beach and walking around the fancy shopping district there for a couple of hours before meeting up with my step-brother and his fiance for dinner.

I was foiled again the next day when my plans for going to the botanical gardens at The Huntington Library were undone on account of the grounds being closed on Tuesdays. Curses. So instead we went to see
"Horton Hears a Who", which was quite enjoyable.

Overall it was a good trip, even though the high-culture elements were struck down by my poor planning. We got out of town for a couple of days, hung out in the relative warmth of Southern California, and did some high quality visiting.
  • Current Mood
    nostalgic nostalgic

The Tapestry

Keely brought me a tapestry back from Thailand. I had a had time figuring out how to hang it up in a classy way. I thought about getting a frame, but it would have been rather expensive since the tapestry is 74" x 40". Instead, I decided to make something.

I starting with a long segment of closet rod (1.5" pine). I stained it first with some red-oak colored stain, but I really wanted something more red, so it was back to good old Rosewood. I followed up with a nice coat of amber shellac (my favorite finish).

With the rod surfaced, I super-glued 8 little squares of velcro to the rod at roughly equal spacing and sewed the corresponding 8 squares to the tapestry. You could hardly see the stitching on the other side, even up close. Here's what the squares looked like on the tapestry:

To hang the rod, I put tacks in each end, and wrapped bailing wire around each tack. Easy as that. Here it is hung:

Now the whole thing put together on the wall. Note that after I took this I ironed out most of the creases.

So, does it show that I'm only taking one class this semester? I really need to work harder on my research.

Another Good Project

I've decided to put up projects that I've worked on recently, mainly for my own edification, but maybe someone else will find it interesting, too.

Many years ago (nine maybe) I pulled a wooden coat rack out of a dumpster. I liked the look of it, and didn't have a coat rack. It had one missing hook, but that was OK. In the time I've had it, it has always been a bit wobbly, and two more hooks fell off over the years. I've recently launched a minor campaign against possessions with marginal functionality, and this was a prime target.

After a very long search, it became painfully obvious that I was now only in possession of two of the cast iron hooks. I was disappointed by this but set out to find some more. I found some decent matches at With shipping they were $15, but I really wanted to do it, they were good matches and it's not a huge amount of money.

Here's a picture of the old and new hooks side by side. The old one has flutes, was cast in slightly finer sand, and is slightly smaller.

I filled the old screw holes with wood putty, and screwed in all the hooks. So far, so good.

I also needed to take care of some wobbliness. To my surprise, I found out that the base is attached to the top with a single, large, square headed screw. Tightening this made quite a difference, but the small gaps between the two base pieces was still wiggling a bit so I got some tiny wooden shims, and put them in between the two pieces that make up the base. Here's what the base now looks like. If you look closely, I think you can see the little light colored shims:

The two pieces comprising the base didn't sit at quite the same height, though so I did a little planing and sanding of the feet to get them to sit flat. After that there was just some minor details to attend to.

There was one place where a little wood filler putty was visible, so I stained it with a tiny bit of Zar Rosewood 124 stain. I think this is my favorite color, and is a good match for the existing stain. With that done, I just polished the whole thing with Almond oil. Et Zoila! Here's the finished piece in all it's glory:

I've decided that the appearance of the wood, slightly unusual construction and cast-iron hardware suggest that this item might be an actual antique. Probably not of any particular value (especially without original hardware and with my hack-job), but nice.
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Don't Let it Fool You...

A lunar eclipse may be pretty, and interesting to look at, but it is also an evil omen. I watched some eclipse tonight, and not a half hour later dropped a 12 pack of beer on my stairs, breaking two and making quite a mess.

Consider yourself warned.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed

A Good Knitting Project

I have taken up knitting. I did a scarf last winter, and have completed one this winter. I think it's a big improvement over the previous one.

I knit this one in Patons Merino Wool "Dark Grey Mix". It was knit on #6 bamboo needles. The pattern is just:

CO 38
Knit 2 Row
*K3 P2* 1 Row
*P3 K2* 1 Row
** Repeat until desired length reached (6 ft or so)
Knit 2 Rows

Not too hard, but it is a lot of stitches. It is also a bit narrow, but very stretchy owing to the ribs. I think I would probably make it wider if I had it to do over (just add multiples of 6 stitches). The other thing is that it has a tendency to curl because of the asymmetry in the ribs.

I think the next one I do will be 1 stitch ribs. But first, I'm going to knit Keely a hat. I have a blue and white wool blend yarn and pattern picked out. Should be nice.

Here's a picture of the scarf on my friend Jackie:

And now, up close:


Oh Shit Dude! I Forgot my Sub-Reference.

Here it is folks. My first post. You've gotta start somewhere. It's really a cry for help.

So, I have something that I've been quoting for years and years... but I've forgotten what it is. It goes like this:

"Fuck him, fuck them, and fuck you!... Fuck You!"

I can't for the life of me remember what made me first start saying this. Can you help?

Oh yeah, before I forget. I'm still alive, am dating, and am still a grad-student.
  • Current Music
    New Years Master List 2005