Monday, November 23, 2009

just a bit early

Every year it seems the xmas season ( notice I don’t Christianize the word) begins a bit earlier than the previous year. It is not at all unusual to find xmas decorations in the big retail stores crowding out the Halloween pumpkins and Thanksgiving turkeys by mid October. Here at home I have always held out until after Thanksgiving to put up our xmas decorations outside and inside, not only on principle but also so that we don’t get sick of looking at the glitz and glimmer and twinkling before the day we are supposed to be celebrating itself arrives.

So it is with a sense of shame (just a tiny bit) that I admit to jumping the gun on my own self imposed timeline for decorating the old homestead. The wreaths are hanging in the usual doors and windows, the garlands are wound around the railings and the lights are festooned on the trees and garlands. All that was accomplished yesterday, a beautiful sunshiny warm 60 degree day with hardly an inkling of the impending winter in the air. It was simply too nice a day to not to be outside doing something. So since the season is nearly upon us, I rook advantage of the choice weather and violated my own rule.

I make myself feel a little better about my early efforts by insisting that none of the lights get turned on until after Thanksgiving. So I have not completely gone over to the dark side. Please don’t think less of me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

football fever

I am a die hard Packers fan from way back. I grew up with the champion teams of the sixties and suffered through the mediocre teams of the 70’s and 80’s. The 90’s with Favre at quarterback reignited a passion for the team and were as exciting as it gets. The last few years with great expectations that were rarely met were both exciting and aggravating.

And this season has been an exercise in frustration given the great preseason and then the lousy play that was the first 8 games. Last week’s loss to the pathetic Bucs in Tampa Bay gave rise to the anger that comes from knowing the team is better than they were playing. I admit I jumped on the get-rid-of-the-coach bandwagon last week after that embarrassing loss.

Anticipation of today’s game against the Cowboys was pretty much restricted to hoping the Packers would put forth a respectable showing and keep the score under blowout status. I fully expected the Pack to lose by at least two touchdowns while showing at least some basic competence at the game. I hoped only that they would show some progress in correcting the penalty and sack problems that have plagued them every game this season.
I prayed that the O line would somehow figure out a way to keep Rogers upright and still breathing at the end of the game. I begged the football gods to show the D line the way to get to Romo and plant his ass on the sacred tundra of Lambeau. And I was not shy about begging for a special teams rebirth as a professional unit.

Well, my begging was not ignored. My beseeching of the football gods apparently worked. The team the Packers put on the field today was the near opposite of the team we’ve been seeing up until now. The defense played like an all pro team, pitching a near shutout. The offense came alive at the right times getting first downs when they were desperately needed. The special teams played as though they were special, not allowing the big play that has hurt them so in the past few games. And when they got into scoring position, the Pack scored.

The only bad thing about today’s excellent play is that it raises expectations for a repeat performance every game until the super bowl trophy is again back where it belongs. Unreasonable expectations? Not if you’re a Packers fan from way back.

Monday, November 09, 2009

another tragedy

It has taken a few days to absorb the senseless violence of last week’s murderous rampage at Ft. Hood. I’m not sure I will ever really understand how such a thing can happen.

What possible rational can justify such a heinous act. What twisted logic allows a man to calmly approach his fellow soldiers and start shooting at them with deadly intent?

I am not yet inured, and hope I never will be, to these acts of violence perpetrated by crazies who feel it acceptable to act out their thoughts of revenge against a society they feel has wronged them somehow. Columbine, Virginia Tech, and now Ft. Hood will forever be linked to the violent acts that bear their names. The name of the place where the next slaughter happens (and be sure that it will happen again) will join that list of tragic sites, adding to our collective consciousness that there is no longer any place that is truly safe.

I sincerely hope that we don’t ever become so accustomed to such horrible acts that we can easily shrug them off and go about our daily routines with only a passing notice. Outrage should always be our first reaction, and then grief for the victims and then grief for another deadly blow to our sense of humanity.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

shop update

Time to get caught up with the shop output. I continue to work almost exclusively on the lathe, trying to become more and more competent and comfortable with it. I've tried a variety of techniques to familiarize myself with the many different possibilities of lathe work. It is an ongoing learning process that I find exciting and fulfilling.

This walnut bowl is 4.5" diameter and 4" deep. The slanted rim makes the interior more visible and accessible.

This is a simple little bowl made of maple with a bubinga stripe. It is about 6" diameter and 1" deep. It is rather elegant in its simplicity.

These are only a small example of the latest pieces to come out of the shop. If you want to see more, click on the "gallery" link in the side bar. I will post more here soon as well.