Thursday, May 28, 2009

new stuff

For the past three months I have been diligently working at learning the skills needed to do creditable work on the lathe. There is a lot to learn and practice. Between attending a class and seeing a tool demonstration and reading books and watching podcasts, I have managed to get a lot of information that has made the learning process enjoyable and fruitful.

Here are pictures of some of the latest finished projects that have spun from the lathe.

Planning this plate was more difficult than the actual turning. It is made of maple and walnut and is 10" diameter.

This bowl is made of maple, walnut, oak, and purpleheart. It is 6" diameter and 2.75" deep.

I like the more substantial sides to this bowl rather than the typical very thin walls that seem to be the standard for turned bowls.

I like to make these little twig vases as a way to use the leftover scraps of wood that accumulate around the shop. This one is made of maple and walnut and is 3" high.

This little covered box is made of maple, walnut, oak, and purpleheart. It is 4.25" high.

I currently have several more pieces in various stages of completion in the works. I do have a couple sculpture projects that don't involve the lathe. So much to do, so little time. What a wonderful dilemma.

what's going on

I'm having trouble with my blog. It seems photobucket, whoever that is, has usurped my blog and made it inactive. It says my link has been inactive for 90 days. What link? What the hell is going on.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

unlucky, but lucky

This seems to be our year for flat tires. Back in January we came out of the art museum to find the right rear tire on the truck flatter than the proverbial pancake. While we had to wait nearly an hour for AAA to respond, at least we weren't stranded on the road or hurt. A bit of a nusciense, but overall not too big a deal. Then last mnth I took the Accord into othe dealer for an oil change and the mechanic, on inspecting the tires, found one of them had a two inch nail imbedded in the tread. Again we were fortunate that we weren't driving when the tire went flat, possibly causing all sorts of mayhem. And now today we were driving home from the cottage, 125 miles with no problem. Or maybe I should say 124 1/2 miles with no problem because as soon as I got out of the van in the garage I heard the unmistakeable hissing sound of a tire losing air. Sure enough the left rear tire was going flat. Again, how lucky were we to have made it all the way home into the garage before getting that flat tire? While all those flats are somewhat unlucky, we were, in each instance, exceptionally lucky to have been stopped and safe when they occurred. The tire gods may be toying with us, but at least they don't seem to be malevolent about their toying.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

backyard birds

We've been fortunate this Spring to have a constant nature show playing out in our backyard. A pair of Cardinals chose to nest in one of the bushes that border the deck. Through our kitchen window we can see them coming and going, darting in and out of that bush while they first built their nest and then worked nonstop to feed the babies in that nest. Of course anytime we would be on the deck they would do their best to distract us from that bush and keep us away from the chicks. Their constant chattering and swooping from tree branch to tree branch was meant to get our attention on them and away from their babies. And for the most part it worked. Who can resist watching a darting flash of brilliant red bird shwoing off in the sunshine? We didn't take their scolding personally, but respected their wishes by staying away from peering into the dense convines of the bush. We haven't been able to actually see the inside of the nest to count the chicks there, but can only go by the hungry cries constantly streaming from inside to be certain that they are there. The bright red male bird is always easy to spot in his coming and going, but the duller colored female is more shy and hard to see. Natures way of giving that little added protection to the nest. Once the chicks are older and find their wings, I suppose the nest will be abandoned and the show will end. We are hoping that the pair of Cardinals willl return next Spring to liven up our backyard again.
I managed to get a few pictures of them over the past few days as they flitted from tree to tree, but could never get them as they entered or left the bush where the nest is hidden. They are just too careful and quick to allow me near enough.

The elusive female.

We will miss them and their frantic activity when they are gone. We are hoping to see them again next Spring when the cycle starts all over.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

communication downfall

It has become more and more disconcerting lately to find that our collective attention span has dwindled to the point that if you can’t say it in 140 characters or less, you won’t get any attention at all. Is blogging dead? Has Twitter killed off the blog as a means of connecting to the world or has it merely maimed it so that it is on its death bed awaiting the final gasp for relevant breath?

Many of the bloggers that I regularly followed have stopped communicating via the blog. They may have succumbed to the allure of the tweet, but I don’t know that for certain. It just seems that people who once used their blogs to set down their ideas, to tell the world of the significant events in their lives, or who just had something to get off their chests have migrated away to the land of the overly succinct. Or perhaps they have stopped blogging simply because they find their efforts at such communication ignored in favor of the next big thing.

I have to admit to coming under the sway of Twitter, much like those people I’m lamenting. Yes, I tweet. There I said it. But I feel so guilty doing it. I have neglected my blog in recent weeks, thinking that the occasional tweet would fulfill my obligation to stay in touch. But every time I scratch out a single one line thought I feel guilty for having left out the more interesting parts. I feel as though my entire life is being abbreviated into quick oneliners, lacking the substance that makes me whole. Others seem to get around the limited number of letters by using multiple tweets about the same subject. So many tweets are followed by second and third and fourth or more tweets on the same subject from the same person that it seems that a more coherent blog post would serve them better. What’s the point of limiting your twittering to 140 characters when you simply follow each tweet with another and then another. First 140, then 280, and then 420, and on to 560 characters, and before you know it you have written a paragraph that has been divided into separate thoughts that would make more sense if the effort was made to put them together in one place. What is the advantage to multiple tweets then?

I can’t help feeling that many who use Twitter as their primary means of connecting to the world are just as dissatisfied with the process. They have been lured into the process by their peers who insist on including them.
I fear we are becoming less communicative with each other while trying to keep up the technological blabbing of nonsense. The vision of people walking down the street with thumbs nimbly traversing their phone keys, pecking out a non-communication to someone who doesn’t care, conjures up a distopian society of people unable to connect with others face to face. While you were pecking at those keys you failed to notice those around you who would welcome a brief smile or a nod of the head or even, God forbid, a verbalized hello. Has our species “progressed” so far that the only way to interact with each other is through a haze of ciberwaves? I hope we aren’t raising a next generation of entranced cyberzombies unable to interact on a face to face basis without the aid of iPhones and iPods, Will they be able to construct a coherent declarative sentence without weird abbreviations? Will they even be able to read more than a sentence or two at once without losing their concentration. Tweet if you must, but only as a last resort. Our intellectual future wellbeing is at stake.