October 2020


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Archive for the 'Life' Category

In Memoriam

Posted in Life on September 27th, 2015

Shortly after The EMC and I moved into our first solo apartment after getting hitched, she surprised me with the gift of a little black ball of fluff – an American Longhair cat that we christened Zoe The Monster (because she was fluffy like Sesame Street ‘monsters’ – it made sense to me…). I don’t have any digitized pictures of her from before 2009 – primarily because most of her pictures look like a pair of eyes floating in a puddle of darkness, as seen here in the Xmas 2009 album:


This picture is about the best one I have as far as getting any visual detail is concerned: Read the rest of this entry »

Apartment Living

Posted in Life on June 4th, 2015

So, we’re all moved in to the new apartment now, and I’d forgotten so much about apartment living in the years spent at the last place.

We’re on the first floor, so I have upstairs neighbors – and of course they have a small child. A stompy child. (Not that the parents are any better, mind you…) Thankfully, they’ve figured out they should keep it down after 9pm, so it’s just during the day that it drives me nuts.

My assigned parking place is of course next to an un-assigned one, and the most-frequent denizen of that space had a habit of parking way too far to one side of the space making it hard for me to get in the car. Last time he did that he out-and-out parked over the line and I had to leave a polite note on his windshield. He’s been good since then, but he’s still pissing me off because the car is a rust-bucket with expired Washington tags and I want it towed.

Bitch! Whine!! Moan!!! getoffmylawn!!1!

Okay, rant over.

On the good news side of things, I talked to the maintenance guy and there’s no rule against some light wood working on the patio, so I don’t have to drag my desk all over town to find someplace to do rebuild it as a leatherworking bench.

I bought all the materials last weekend and had them cut to size, so all I have to do now is glue and screw it together. Mounting the monitor on the spring rod will be a bit more challenging since I have to make some custom brackets, but nothing I can’t manage.

I think the hardest part is going to be dragging the needed tools out of storage.

ye Gods, I’m a Grandpa

Posted in Life on May 6th, 2015

Welcome to the world, little girl!

Hmm… Grandpa? Grampa? Gramps? “Hey Old Guy”?


Posted in Life on April 4th, 2015

Moving Day – a phrase that strikes fear and loathing into the hearts of most, with only those blithely possession-less folks able to resist the call to despair at the thought of picking up all your crap and lugging it somewhere else. When I moved to Las Vegas shortly after high School, it was no big deal – just two duffel bags and a box of books. Leaving Las Vegas 8 years later, however was an entirely different proposition involving a 14-foot box truck – and if I hadn’t got rid of the TV, I would have needed a bigger truck.

15 years ago, I packed it all up for the 29th time and hauled it to my current digs. I was 29 years old. Some of the places I have lived had seen me for several years, while other had been mere temporary stays of a few months. None of the long stays exceeded 4 years prior to this last residence.

Now, however, this run must come to an end. The landlords have realized that we were getting away with exceedingly cheap rent considering what the market will bear, and decided to rectify that to the tune of an $800 per month increase that my budget simply will not bear. So, out come the boxes from the cardboard hoard and off to the dump we go to start seriously offloading 15 years’ worth of accumulated crap to pare down to human-movable volumes of stuff.


Car analogies and computers

Posted in Life on December 6th, 2014

For many years, I have been perfecting ways to compare computers to cars, since most of my clients know nothing about the magic box under their desk, but they usually know at least a little something about your average car – you change the oil, replace the tires, take it in for a tune-up, that sort of thing. Recently, a similar thought struck me about cell phones – specifically, smart phones – that compares rather well to certain brands of performance cars:

The iPhone is a Porsche 911

Think about it: back in 1963, Porsche unveiled the 911, and it has been in continuous production ever since, with only incremental changes. Tweak a little here, update the technology behind that thing over there, and roll it out onto the dealer lot with a minor incremental change in the type number. Porsche loves the 911 so much, that it can be argued rather well that in fact it is the only car they make, considering that the other models look more like they took a 911 through a funhouse and took pictures of the reflections in the funny mirrors than as car designs in their own right. (That’s right, Panamera, I’m looking at you…)

Well, we have the same thing with the iPhone. Any changes to the iPhone in each generation have been merely incremental tweaks – a slight change to a curve here, a slightly updated processor there, just enough to make sure that the end-users don’t think they are stagnating and not moving forward with the times. iOS compares rather straight across to the venerable rear-engine Boxer arrangement found in the 911 – which was air-cooled until 1998.

So, if the iPhone is a Porsche, then the other major brands can be equated to BMW, Audi, Mercedes and the like. While the iPhone sticks to that rear-engine Boxer, the other brands put the engine in front with Android, using a number of different engine configurations, body styles, performance packages and trim levels. Everything from zippy little two-seaters (your humble feature phones) up to massively overpowered station wagons that you can’t fit into your garage pocket (Samsung Galaxy Note).

Now, don’t get me wrong – the Porsche 911 and the iPhone it compares to are both capable machines – but sometimes, you have to wonder if maybe the designers have taken what was a good thing and dragged it out too long. While the other major players have been out there innovating and developing and taking risks with design, the iPhone has been playing the same song. With the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, it’s really playing catch-up with the other guys.

Back to the Archery Field

Posted in Life on March 16th, 2014

Took the Daughter Unit and her Bestie out for archery at the Washington Park field this morning and found two unexpected things:

First, Washington Park has put in parking meters everywhere, and it now costs $1.60 an hour to park. Still way cheaper than going to one of the indoor ranges, so it’s not a terrible hardship, just an unexpected cost.

Second: the filed gets ridiculously muddy in winter. I had no idea, as it was never this bad during the rainy parts of last summer, but apparently over the winter the place becomes nigh-unusable. There needs to be some ditch work done along the edges to allow the water table to sink lower.

So, have my skills atrophied any over the winter? Not noticeably. Of course, with that batch of arrows, it’s difficult to tell. I’ll need to do some additional repair work though, as one of my arrowheads decided to permanently reside inside a hay bale. Au revoir, my arrowhead.

Ahh, vacation…

Posted in Life on October 27th, 2013

Took about ten days in a row off from work for sanity – just coolin’ my heels around the house and whatnot, relax, let my guard down… and get sick about halfway through.


I apparently need to be spending more time in the shop

Posted in Life on August 2nd, 2013

So the Wife hands me a magazine this evening with a full-page picture spread of the “Best Camping Gear”, and I’m flipping through the list and trying not to hit the floor with my jaw. (There’s cat hair down there, tastes awful.)

Item the First: a “Restored” hatchet. Some yokel was digging out his barn apparently and found a hatchet head, so he wanders over to the bench grinder, cleans it up and shoves a new handle into it. “Not bad,” he says to hisself, “I should sell this. Mebbe even put up a page on them thar In-tar-webs…”

The website, I must admit, is a Hipster trap par excellance. It’s barely there – just a picture of one of their ‘restored’ (read: rusted to shit and re-ground then polished with WD-40) axes stuck in a stump with a “coming Soon” legend in the corner. So, what do they want for the hatchet? $165. ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-FIVE FUCKING DOLLARS. A buddy of mine has one looks just like it, he got it for $10 at Freddy’s, works like a charm. The things I could get for $165… like:

Item the Second: a three-legged folding stool with a leather seat. No design on the leather, just dyed a pleasant tan with three chunks of broomstick and a carrying strap. Guess how much. Yep – another $165. I thought it was ludicrous, because I’ve seen kits to make the same idea for less than $30, so I went looking for one. Didn’t find a kit, but I did find another stool for sale – only this time, they REALLY loved it, because they want TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY-FIVE FUCKING DOLLARS. $2!7!5!

If I could make and sell 5 of those a week I’d be set. Hell, I could sell the cheaper one 7 times a week and do just fine indeed.

If you need me, I’ll be in the garage.

In Memoriam

Posted in Proof! on July 21st, 2013

Back in the early 90’s when I lived in ‘Vegas, a few of us were hanging out in Cafe Copioh drinking coffee and playing cards when we met a girl.

She was a bit shy, but had been watching us play cards for a bout 20 minutes when we dealt her in. Due to her long and tightly-curled Henna-tinted hair, she eventually picked up the name Fraggle, (referenced as lady D in this postwhich fit her very well once we got her laughing. Once we got her laughing, the shyness went away and we had a good deal of fun. Everyone did, really – you could hear her laughing from down the block :)

Over the next year, she became a regular at our table and our various apartment gatherings, and she eventually hooked up with the Barbarian and we all moved into The Townhouse. She was a perfect example of why race-car drivers shouldn’t teach normal people how to drive. She had the skills to drive at speed – on a track. On the street, she was terrifying to behold. Just ask anyone on the sidewalk in her vicinity.

Life moved along. The EMC and I got hitched, and not long after The Fraggle married the Barbarian, bought a house, had kids. later she divorced the Barbarian because he developed a severe case of idiocy. A few years later she got together with and married one of our other crew members from the Cafe days. That guy turned out to be another sufferer of the idiocy gene, and was she arranging to divorce him. That was last month.

Unfortunately, the Universe had other plans for her. The Fraggle had a rather screwed-up metabolism that brought her no end of grief through the years, and earlier this week she succumbed to a heart attack.

The world will never again hear her flip her head open and laugh so loud the folks next door wonder what the hell was so damn funny.

A return to old things

Posted in Life on June 30th, 2013

When I was a child, somewhere around 3rd grade, my avid-outdoors-man stepfather managed to get something right and brought me home a child’s archery set – a lightweight fiberglass bow, a handful of arrows and a hay bale. I got pretty good at it, but it was yet another hobby that I fell out of practice in and it went by the wayside.

Some time ago, the leader of our SCA household expressed a desire for the whole household to get more involved in the SCA events that we went to, and archery was brought up as something several of us could pick up. When my daughter mentioned that she would like to do an archery camp of some sort this summer break, it seemed like a perfect opportunity for me to get back into that game as well.

After several trips to various on-line and physical archery shops, we’ve acquired the requisite gear. For my daughter, I went with a modern take-down wood recurve bow. The junior leagues aren’t that picky about what they shoot (so long as it isn’t a compound bow), so I figured it might be better for her to get a solid start with semi-modern gear and then move into the period stuff. We shot several before she decided upon a draw weight that felt right to her, and then she topped it off with a dozen purple-fletched arrows.

For myself, I found a good deal on woodbows.com and got myself a nice linen-backed Red Oak longbow, and spent a couple hours putting together the shooting kit I need. Longbows shoot off the knuckle, so I need protection for the left hand and the right fingers, plus an arm guard. The quiver will come later.


Having put all that together, I took it out today and spent a couple hours flinging arrows theoretically at a target; reality was more of “shoot at the wall and try hopelessly to hit the target”. English longbows, it seems take quite a lot of tuning in and getting used to. The string, for instance, will stretch a lot – I had to twist it up shorter twice during the session, and that has probably got the knock point a bit off by this point. Which doesn’t matter quite so much, because I’ll be pulling that off to “serve” the string. (“Serving” is the process of wrapping the bowstring in a different type of string at the point where you pull it.)

Still, I think I did make some progress today – or at least, I really hope I did, considering the chunk of skin I scraped off my finger and the three arrows that broke in the process. (The tips decided to stay in the target when the shafts came free.)

Stay tuned for further developments.