Friday, December 29, 2006

I was about due for an allergy shot when I mangled my finger, and didn't quite make it over there until last week. They told me then that because I'd gone so long, I was very nearly starting over with allergy shots. Which explains why my sinuses are killing me right now. So why am I smiling through the headache?

Because on the way to work today, Christie and I noticed that Wal-Mart had only one of its three automotive bays open. The ones labelled "Tires" were all closed, with chains across them, but the one labelled "Lube" was open. Now, I know the way you think, and I'm sure you're thinking I made some sort of stupid, off-color pun. I didn't. Christie suggested that maybe the tire guys didn't get there until nine, and I suggested it might be an inventory thing. "Maybe they don't have enough tires to do a whole car," I said, "Maybe they're just two-tired..."

See, not off-color at all.

And so I'm smiling, partly because I have a sweet-tooth for dumb puns, but mostly because Christie didn't pull the car over right then and make me walk the rest of the way to work.
I don't need it, or even, really, want it, but I'm glad someone's finally making a computer-driven carving machine for home woodworkers and small shops. My Uncle Jiggs probably has one already.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

From a purely acquisitive perspective, this was a pretty good Christmas. The gift theme seemed to be "workshop safety", which might seem a bit obvious, but it's what's been foremost on my mind lately for obvious reasons, and it's a much better theme than "let's find Mike a hobby that doesn't involve power tools". And I got an ice cream machine. I'm still trying to decide if I'm more excited by the ice cream machine or the new router and router table. I think it's a tie.

But the best part of Christmas is all the stuff I hated as a kid, the family time and food and laughter and such. We had thirteen for dinner on Christmas day, and it was not bad luck at all; it was a joy. Christie's folks have been with us a week now, and that's been a joy, too.

Of course, it's a season of expectations, and emotions run close to the surface this time of year, so there have been one or two little tiffs, but I can't imagine a group this size (there are eight of us, and we've been spending the better part of every day together) where that didn't happen. I expect the house will seem pretty quiet next week. Maybe I'll make some ice cream. That makes everybody feel better.
Make a Rubik's cube out of red dice with magnets.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The following is a real post on the Columbia craigslist:

Carpentry, plumbing, Heat or Air conditioning for companionship

I am able to do all of the above in exchange for some personal time with a female.


Huh. Where I come from, there's a name for that sort of thing: Marriage.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I just noticed that AdSense has been putting up lots of ads about nail fungus lately, which is gross, but roughly 5% less likely to be a problem for me now.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Last night I had one of those really involved, cinematic, plot-based dreams. This one was a Jaws sequel, and featured Theron's dad as a salty old sailor, a thickly accented Belgian assassin who dressed like an art student, and a trained manatee that had been given plastic surgery to look like a shark.

My subconsious is such a hack.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Because I'm not typing as fast (or as well) as I once did, it's not as easy for me to dash off a post, hence the semi-silence here of late. But I figure I owe you guys an update on the finger situation. So here it is:

The doctor's optimistic about it. He likes the way it's healing and thinks I should be able to keep the tip. He's curious about possible damage to the bone, so when I go in for my checkup next week, the first thing I'm doing is getting an x-ray. If the bone is seriously damaged, it might get infected or die, in which case I will lose the tip, hence the concern. He is not, however, terribly optimistic about the nail. All of the nail is gone, as is most of the nail matrix, so if it grows back, it'll only be a partial nail. One option is to transplant one of my toenails up to my hand, but he wants to wait and see how my finger heals before we get into that. Basically, the idea is to deal with one problem at a time, which I applaud.

The pain is better, which leads me to think I can do more, which means I end up bumping it, which makes it hurt more. Even when I don't bump my finger against something (which believe me, hurts like a sonofabitch), just keeping it below the level of my heart for a while makes it start to throb. So I'm spending less time sitting on the couch with my hand in the air, but I'm managing to remind myself regularly that I'm not actually healed, yet.

I am itching to get back into the workshop. Part of my motivation is the whole bunch of projects I've been thinking about. Part of it is the new toys I plan to get so I can keep indulging my passion for wood without risking another injury. But there's one more reason, one I haven't really told anyone. So keep this just between us, okay?

I'm scared. Shredding your finger with a dado blade hurts. A lot. And it still hurts, almost three weeks later. When I think about the accident, read about tablesaw projects, or think about a whole range of topics related to the thing that almost cost me a finger, my stomach drops, my heart races, and my skin gets cold. I can't wait to get back into the workshop so I can stare down that fear and get back to doing something I love. Safely, of course.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Spirit in the Young
I can't have been much more than four or five, and getting ready for Christmas meant making that big honking list. As I figured, there were rules to such things. A list needed to be fairly long to give your parents, um, I mean Santa Claus, a nice selection, with a good price diversity. Order's important, too. I had figured out that you were pretty much guaranteed to get the first item on your list as long as it wasn't too expensive, and didn't involve serious ongoing maintenance, like a little brother or a pony.

I designed an experiment of sorts. This was my thought process:

Everybody knows that Santa makes his own toys. So if Santa's real, and I ask for something you can't find in stores, but that a talented toymaker could easily make, I should get it. If he isn't, I wouldn't.

This was the early seventies, when the stuffed animal universe was pretty limited. Bears, bunnies, that sort of thing. Definitely not gorillas, so that was what went at the top of my list.

Christmas morning came, while I don't specifically remember, I'd imagine my parents were a bit confused at my total lack of dismay when there was no gorilla. I was too busy basking in the glory of proving my very first hypothesis. Then my mother asked my dad, "What's that box?", pointing into the corner. Dad asked me to fetch it, and there was no missing the thatch of black hair and reflective, plastic gorilla eyes looking up at me from inside the box.

I experienced, for just a moment, a flicker of doubt.

Addendum: In my twenties, I told this story to a girlfriend in the presence of my parents, and my mother kind of freaked out. Laughing, she said, "What? Your dad and I spent hours trying to figure out why you wanted a stuffed gorilla, and never could. But I drove all over town trying to find that damn thing. I ended up at a carnival supply store down by the river!"

Finally, vindication!
I can't wait until Mara's old enough for an Avenging Unicorn Play Set!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Well, it's two weeks till Christmas, which means the in-laws are coming any day now. Christie's folks aren't big TV watchers, but they're from hurricane country, so her Mom gets a little twitchy when she can't watch the Weather Channel. Unfortunately, I've got a home theater set up I'm pretty proud of, which means I'm about the only one who can use it. Well, and Christie.

So I went out and picked up a Logitech Harmony 670 Universal Remote. So far, it's been great. All the other remotes have gone into the closet, since the new remote covers everything the old ones did, and much more easily. The real test, of course, will be when Mary gets here. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Our local paper's video game columnist is upset about the Nintendo Wii because non-experts can beat him at it. And because his mom thinks it's so much fun that she's buying one. The picture is a classic.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"'Keeping us up here eats away at families,' said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who typically flies home on Thursdays and returns to Washington on Tuesdays. 'Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families -- that's what this says.'" - Culture Shock on Capitol Hill: House to Work 5 Days a Week.

No comment needed, I think.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

For that hard to shop for do-it-yourselfer on your Christmas list: IBM 7535 SCARA industrial robot. I'm thinking about picking one up for myself.

Monday, December 04, 2006

This would be a good fabric choice for work gloves, too, if they can get it thin enough.

Update: They are using them in gloves, actually. Right now, it's all sporting goods, but they're working with firemen and such, too.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I woke up about 4:30 this morning with a pounding head and got to do some early morning research on drug interactions to see if I could safely take migraine meds with the pain pills they gave me for my hand. That's an unequivocal "no", but the pain pills dull my head as well as my hand, so it was a non-issue, really.

Now I'm feeling better and can tell that this morning was actually the tail end of a migraine that manifested itself primarily through crankiness, thanks to the wonders of modern chemistry. Kudos to me for figuring it out, but next time I'd like to figure it out during the migraine, not after.