Saturday, October 30, 2010

Good Things in Small Packages?

My stuff from Dick Blick came in today!

See, the brushes I've been using are sort of old.
Okay, they're real old, some of them have been with me for like ten years. Now I don't know what the life expectancy of a brush is, but once the bristle thingys start falling out, I suppose that's not a good sign.
For what I do, I use a whole range of brushes:

There are flat brushes for covering a lot of ground, small brushes for details and brushes in the middle for well, stuff in the middle.
Some of then are so old, they even got white hairs:

Now I have to admit, most of those brushes weren't purchased.
No, they weren't stolen either!
When I used to work in the ceramics studio, at the end of the semester we'd clean out all the lockers and sort of appropriate whatever we needed.
That was good.
The bad thing was that most of the stuff left behind was cheap stuff folks didn't mind well, leaving behind.
That's okay though, for if it wore out or broke, you just waited until you cleaned out the lockers next semester.
Well, I don't clean out lockers anymore so now I have to (gasp!) pay money for my wear and tear stuff.
Like brushes.
Okay, brushes are not wear and tear items, unless you consider them wear and tear items and treat them like wear and tear items.
If you know what I mean.
Anyways, I decided to step up to the plate and get me some real brushes, the professional kine, since well, I'm sort of a professional.
I mean seriously, don't try this at home.
So anyways, I'm all excited that my new brushes came in and I'm all giddy cause I can't wait to try them out and all and-
Hey! wait just a minute.
My brushes shrank!

What the hell!?
I don't remember ordering no midget brushes!
I mean compared to my other brushes, these were made for folks with really small hands:

These brushes are made in Spain by Escoda with squirrel hair and I know squirrels are like small creatures and all but does that mean they have to be squirrel sized?
Do folks in Spain have like really small hands?
I like to think that you get what you pay for and all, and I'm sort of embarrassed to say what exactly I paid for these brushes because if I told you, you'd think that I got ripped off or something.
I mean I think I should have at least got full sized people type brushes.
Okay, okay, maybe I'm judging a book by it's cover and all that and maybe these brushes are like the pinnacle of all brushes, the absolute last word in brushing, the brushes of the gods.
Or something.
Maybe good things do come in small packages.
Or in this case, over sized boxes.
I guess I'll go glaze some stuff and find out.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Let Your Fingers Do the Walking, The New Gios

I gotta tell you, I've almost never used the touch pad thingy on my laptop and it's sort of a pain if you aren't used to it.
Searching evil eBay sucks for there isn't a "back" button and although I can scroll, sort of, it's just not the same as having a good ole four button mouse.
I never realized I made so many typos before.
My finger is not a happy camper:

Mousey! I miss you!
Hurry Amazon, hurry! Hurry up and deliver the Logitech goodness to my door!
My finger will thank you!
Boy, the things I do for laughs around here.
So anyways, the search is still on for the Ultimate Two Wheeled Self Propelled Vehicle(UTWSPV).
I still have to drive out to the far side of nowhere to check out that place that sells the Jamis bikes. I called and they have a couple of road bikes in my size so I may take a journey out there this Sunday.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my finger and I have been busy.
I went over the Masi site to check things out.
Not too shabby!
In fact it was downright drooly and mouth watering:

Unfortunately, imported beer taste on a Budweiser budget.
I also checked out the Kona bikes, for the LBS is a Kona dealer too:

Out of range for my budget, unless I manage to sell like 50 of them bicycle coffee mugs. I better get on it for right now I only got like five made.
I'm digging the disc brakes though.
So anyway, I remembered some talk about Gios and the compact frames they had. I searched and searched and couldn't find any for sale.
Well, it turns out that the company reformed or split or something due to some kind of licensing thing and now they'll be offering a whole bunch of new stuff!
Okay, not a whole bunch of new stuff, but their road frames along with a new line frames that aren't so sporty.
The information was sort of spotty and I forgot where I found it so if you're interested, you'll have to do your own searching.
I do remember that their compact frames were going for around $900 and the top tube dimensions were what I was looking for.
Okay, out of my price range again, but not if I was thinking long term project.
Oh well, I might as well dream, I mean I'm sick and all I need something to cheer me up besides Law & Order.
Once my new mouse gets here, my finger will be happy too:

You know, now that I think about it, I should have just Photoshopped those faces on there.

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

On the home front and at work.
It seems my cold has come back and this time it's all in my head.
I can't seem to pop the pressure inequality in my right ear and I keep bumping into the walls.
Equilibrium in your ear?
Believe it.
When it messes up, it ain't pretty.
Work has also become decidedly difficult.
I hope to have that resolved by next week, though being just a player does not help my situation.
Hang in there they tell me, it's okay, I've already hit the bottom.
On the other hand, the only thing that remains is a bright side.
My mouse decided to die after I spilled some water on it.
Okay, I drowned it.
I thought I heard a squeal, then the LED slowly went from green to red.
Rest in peace, you served me well.
Amazon is a little late delivering the replacement.
I ran out of Kleenex and the safety check on my car is expired.
I got two cheese rolls and a quarter of a piece of salami.
I'm down but not out.
Except I keep reaching for a mouse that's not there.
We are trying to resolve the problems and return you to your normal programming.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Cactus Update!

You know when I first started this cactus thing, I thought it was going to be pretty easy.
I mean plant some seeds, add water, watch em grow.
Well it's been more like watching paint dry.
The neobuxbaumia is doing great:

I may have to transplant those little ones soon. I think I'll give them another couple of weeks before setting them up on their own.
Some of my second plantings have caught up with the first bunch:

That's the cleistocactus strausii.
The agave looks okay too:

Not too sure about that tall one, you know what they say about over achievers.
I'd show you the Saguaro; check back with me in about ten years.
The eulychina breviflora is really taking off:

For some odd reason, I can't seem to get the opuntia to start. That's the flat sort of cactus. I got this coming out, but I'm not sure if it's cactus or some weed that got in the potting mix:

I'm hoping it's some kind of cactii.
I also took part of the wild alien cactus, which I think is peanut cactus, and tried to make a starter:

It doesn't look promising, but I'll give it another couple of weeks.
If that wild alien cactus grows any larger, it could be a great coffee mug tree!
My cactus army is taking a bit longer than expected to assemble, but it's coming along.
Soon, very soon now, I'll be making my move!
Be there.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hawaii Five Oh!

So, I'm really digging the new Hawaii Five O, not to be confused the old Hawaii Five O, which is nothing like the new Hawaii Five O, but you probably already know that.
For one thing, there's a lot more action!
The old Five O tended at times to plod along, getting too wrapped up in stuff like a plot and characters.
The new show is like SLAM! BAM!
It just keeps going!
They(the new guys) also manage to get the location names correct, most of the time.
I mean seriously on the old show, it seemed like they had some dude back in corporate headquarters throwing darts at street names and locations.
Us guys that really lived here, boy, we got a laugh out of that!
Still the old show had it's impact.
Back in small kid days, that's Hawaiian for when I was a child, okay, not really, I mean it's not Hawaiian, but back in small kid days, all the boys wanted to have Steve McGarrett hair:

Of course being small kids, we'd have to wait until our hair was fairly long, which didn't happen too often, and steal some Vitalis from our fathers to get it to stick like Jack Lord's.
Hair, that is.
Vitalis, that was some great stuff:

Of course when us small kids "played" Hawaii Five O, no one wanted to be Danno cause he always took orders(book em Danno) and every one wanted to be McGarrett so it did pose some problems.
Usually the guy with the best hair won.
The new Five O has an all new cast(duh!) and I think they work pretty well together.
First there's the new Steve McGarrrett, Alex O'Loughlin:

He's pretty good for an Aussie, but he's got to work on his local accent a bit more.
There's Scott Caan as Danny Williams:

I have to say, Caan almost steals the show with his witty banter. The real Danno though, would never have talked to Steve like that.
He would have gotten a back slap to the head for sure.
Danile Dae Kim does a good Chin Ho, the man on the street:

The old Chin Ho actually looked like a Chin Ho, if you know what I mean.
Then finally rounding out the cast is a new comer, Grace Park, who plays Kono:

She's a fresh new face who was on Battlestar Gallactica or something. With such a great cast, she's going to have a hard time getting noticed though I think she's okay.
Sort of blends into the background, but hey! what do I know?
So anyways, if you haven't already, check out the new improved Hawaii Five O!
Like we used to say in small kid time:
Be there! Aloha!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Final

It's smaller than a tool box.
The thing I got today.
After going back to the Danger Zone.
I debated with myself last night, and it was a very long debate, on what exactly I was doing and what I needed to do it.
Being a ceramic type, I should be all hot and bothered by ceramic stuff, but to tell you the truth, there's just no glamour in ceramic tools.
Not even to a ceramic type person.
Now wood type tools, there's some stuff to get all hot and bothered about!
The thing is, unless you got like beaucoup bucksage, it's mostly window shopping, like what I did today.
Well, I did pick up something:

Yes sports fans, I bought a saw!
Not just any saw, a Japanese pull saw, to go with my Japanese dozuki saw:

Which as you can see, is much larger than my new saw.
So is the kerf:

The kerf is the size of the cut the saw makes; the new saw is on the left, the dozuki is on the right. It's all in the teeth per inch:

One can get pretty stupid with Japanese saws, there's like one for every uh, sawing occasion:

Some of the real ninja saws go for more than a hunski; out of my league.
I didn't even bother to check what these bad boys were selling for:

Judging by what the planes cost, I was afraid to ask:

It's all in the steel and as we all know, steel is real.
A good saw and nice set of chisels would do you good if you want to start working with wood.
One of my projects from school was my toolbox:

My new saw will fit in there very nicely, thank you.
I put it together using box or finger joints. You are supposed to cut those out by hand, but I used a jig and a table saw.
You can see the box joints on the top section.
I added false joints next to the drawers in front:

I then cut the dovetail joints to match the box joints. I made detailed plans for this:

Those were done by hand.
The dovetail joints, I mean.
To do this, you need some chisels and a good mallet:

I sort of got into joinery.
So anyways, I was inspired being around all those glamorous wood tools and such, I mean it was like being in wood person's heaven.
Then I came home and looked at my mail box:

Boy, nothing inspiring about that.
Time to remodel.
Or more like raze and rebuild.
Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Danger Zone

I'm telling you, I had to muster all my Jedi skills to keep my composure.
Things were fast and furious, but I held my ground.
Today, I had to sit the show again, so since I was in town, I decided to check out another type of show a couple of miles away.
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to another show participant who happened to be a wood turner and he reminded me of a show of sorts at our local Woodcraft store.
Now let me tell you, I usually avoid this place like the plague, I mean I don't have deep pockets and that place, well, it's just not a good place to visit.
Seems like every where you turn, there's something you don't really need but want to buy.
Today it was hopping!
Large tent outside with all the major manufacturers represented:

I spent a while poking around, reminding myself how much I didn't need any of the stuff on sale.
Boy, it was rough.
I mean everything was on sale!
I passed on some Bessey clamps, and an impact driver and a table sander.
Just some things I've been thinking about for future projects. I mean it's hard to justify the cost when you are only going to use the stuff once or twice. I'm not really a wood worker.
I could be though.
If the I can turn it, I can work it:

Mesmerized by the hypnotically spinning block of wooden goodness, I watched with my tongue hanging out of my mouth as this dude made wonderful gobs of sawdust while creating a bowl.
I calculated in my head the cost of the chisels, the sharpening thingy, and the lathe.
Then I thought about how much I would like to have a clay slab roller.
Then I watched the dude some more.
Slab roller.
Finally, in a moment of clarity, I gathered myself and left with my wallet intact.
That's the good news.
On the way home, I started thinking of all the different kinds of things I could do making wooden bowls on a lathe.
The bad news is I'm going back tomorrow.

Friday, October 22, 2010

C. I. S.

No the be confused with CSI.
That's a whole nother thing.
A couple of days ago, the sore throat came back.
Yesterday, I was hoping, praying even, that what was happening wasn't happening.
So much for that.
By the time I got home, I plopped down on the couch, took some sick pills and passed out.
Not very blissfully, let me tell you.
So today, I called in sick(CIS).
I didn't want to, but I got to thinking, I was sick a while back, one of the students I work with is sick now, so if I go in all sick, I'm not doing anyone any favors.
I also got some stuff I need to take care of, but I didn't really feel like dealing with the Wild Bunch with my head feeling like a beach ball.
So to make myself feel better, I'm watching reruns of House cause those folks got it way worser than me, and I continued my Great Bicycle Search(GBS).
I've been watching evil eBay for some time now, and there's not a whole lot been happening there.
At least not in my price range.
So I decided to look at complete bikes. That makes it sort of easier but still, there isn't much of a steel selection.
Way back when, I looked at the Specialized Steel Allez:

I even rode one in a 49 and it wasn't too bad except the position was a bit aggressive. It also has down tube shifters which I'm not opposed to, it's just that it would cost me a bunch to switch to STI.
Then I looked at Bianchi:

Their line of steel bikes is pretty nice though a bit out of my price range. I'd have to wait until tax time to think about one of those. They do have one bike that looks cool but it's sort of close to what I'm riding now:

I'm liking the disc brakes, but the frame is aluminum.
Not liking.
The aluminum, I mean.
There's a bike shop here I never heard about located on the far side of the island. I may have to check them out for they have bikes from Jamis:

That's a nice entry level steel roadie I'm thinking about. Jamis also has a cool town bike that might work for me:

I'll have to take the drive out there to check these bikes out. Well, at least one in a similar frame size which would be a 48 or 51.
That townie bike is one I'm liking, again the disc brakes are doing it for me.
I'd probably lose the fenders though.
I'm real concerned with top tube length for when I had my Allez, I didn't like being stretched out so much.
I'm not in a rush to replace the Barn Door so I'll wait until I find something that really floats my boat so to speak. This time around I'm thinking this will be my primary ride, one bike to do it all.
If there is such a thing.
I'm even contemplating going custom, but I want some time on a steel frame before I go that route. I'd like to give drop bars another try though it's not a priority.
Actually, I really don't know what the hell I want, I guess I'll know it when I find it.
Anyways, bike shopping sure does help take some of the sting out of calling in sick.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I almost pressed the button and called in a nuclear strike.
Then at the last minute, saner minds prevailed and things got settled.
My mind wasn't one of them.
The sane ones I mean.
You never know what's going to touch off a major incident, it's not something we plan for though maybe now we should.
Nuclear meltdown in the classroom, unplanned border crossings and such.
We have been making progress with our students, but it often comes at a price, usually something negative must happen in order for something positive to be learned.
It's easy for me to forget that these, uh, students I have, are not of the norm, not of the moderate, not even of the severe.
They are at times, beyond description and my comprehension.
Now I am of the thick skinned sort, you don't go through art school being overly sensitive or susceptible to negative criticism.
I suppose being the type of students they are, being thick skinned is a necessity though the method in which they acquired such armor is different from my own.
Being thick skinned does not make us alike.
They it seems, still have much to learn about personal relationships and the dangers of over stepping certain personal boundaries.
Today, they crossed the line.
Okay, it's not as dramatic as it seems, for this isn't the first time they have gone over to the dark side, and I am sure it won't be the last.
I think the mission here is to make them aware of their actions, self assess the motivations behind the actions, then have them make a logical decision based upon their own conclusions.
Sort of like talking to cyclists about running stop signs; either they get it or they don't.
The cyclists will continue to run the lights and signs, until something catastrophic happens to change their minds.
These kids are the same way.
Something really really bad has to occur before the above self reflection takes place. Talking and explaining does not seem to work, they are compelled to touch the fire before acknowledging the burn.
As dealing with this type of student is not in my area of expertise, I have my problems, my own version of the China Syndrome, and today was one of them.
Fortunately, going ballistic is no longer in my repertoire, a cool head prevails, and any show of anger is mostly an act.
At times I believe a show of anger is necessary, especially with this bunch, or perhaps it is my way of explaining my own crossing of the line, my own border excursion.
Like in international relations, going to a higher state of readiness is interpreted as a show of force thus creating a showdown or standoff.
A necessary evil?
A calculated risk?
I will know in a few days.
I also face the reality that there is no DEFCON 1, there is no aggressive option, there is no cocking of the pistol so to speak.
There can only be compromise.
Not only students can learn things in the classroom.
Boy, I had a rough day.
Thankfully my dog was happy to see me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The Flat Tire Staff

KAILUA-The Flat Tire has received this exclusive photo of a local woman catching a Merman with a fishing pole.
"Oh, he fought like hell, but I eventually reeled him in," said the woman, who did not want to give her name. "He struggled for over an hour, but I think I tired him out."
When asked what she would do with the Merman she replied, "I'll use him for stuff like washing dishes, mowing the lawn and taking out the trash."
She declined to reveal what she used for bait.

Monday, October 18, 2010

On Your Left!

Or sometimes it's: On your right!
In the latter case it's what I feel like yelling when someone passes me sort of close.
This happens quite a lot.
People passing me, I mean.
If I'm passing someone close, by close I mean close enough to touch, I usually call out.
Coming up on your left!
Hello, nice day, mind if I pass you on the left there seeing as how you are going much slower than I and I have many more miles left to go and I really don't want to follow you all the way to the end of the street.

Okay, maybe not the last one, but you get the idea.
If you've been following this closely, you read the part where I said usually.
About the only time I don't call out when passing is when I take the left lane while the passee is in the bike lane.
The bike lanes here are not of the wide variety:

Oh, and while I remember, I commented in someone elses blog(One Speed: Go! I think it was) about the bike lane guy going in the opposite direction as the bike lane guy here.
It's sort of true, but the other day I noticed that the bike lane guy here actually goes in both directions:

I believe it's a secret Department of Transportation plot to confuse me.
Slow me down.
Or something.
Anyways, in the case of passing folks in a lane(s) such as the one(s) above, I usually take the left lane and go like hell.
The point being the rider in front of me has the bike lane and I'm not one to ask someone to yield to me just because I'm in a hurry.
Now if the left lane is occupied by a vehicle larger than I, I pace the rider in front until I can execute the pass mentioned above.
I think this is the right thing to do. I mean that's how I do it when I drive a car.
Now, this may come as a shock to some, but I get sort of angry when I'm the slow one in the bike lane(yes, I know that's a rare occurrence) and some yahoo passes me in the lane.
I'll tell you why.
For one thing, riding a bike is sort of fun and sometimes, I like to do zig zags and yell "Wheeeeee" between taking gasps of air.
Sometimes, I'm so impressed with the amount of speed I've attained that I find myself staring at the computer readout and I tend to drift right and left.
I know I shouldn't be impressed, but really it doesn't take much to impress me.
Point is, when I'm in the bike lane and there's no one in front of me and I think no one is behind me I ride my bike like a twelve year old day dreaming of Christie Brinkley.
Or whom ever the young ones day dream about these days.
Unless I hear someone call out behind me, then I move over to the right like the good huffer and puffer I am.
The only time I hold my line is when there's someone behind me and that's like almost never.
Now that means either I'm really fast or really slow and I ain't saying.
Image is everything don't you know.
Now what this all means is that it's extremely dangerous to pass me on the silent cause I'm a freaking danger to bike lane navigation.
Mostly to the passer cause you assume I know what the hell I'm doing.
That means you tri guy.
Or maybe you were just to huffed and puffed out to utter a sound.
Maybe it only looked like I was loafing along.
I would tell you about the time a woman silent passed me on the road but I'd rather not.
Anyways, I call out to the rider in front or take the left lane for I figure what if the dude in front is like looking at the bike lane guy wondering why he's facing opposite directions or maybe he's having a really good day and any time now he's going to yell out "Wheeeee!" and start doing zig zags or maybe he's just set some kind of personal speed record and he's like so impressed with the number on his computer that he's sort of distracted right now.
So if I'm in front you, a ring of a bell, a short call out, or even a shout of frustration is enough to get me to move to right.
On Your Left! is the one stop vocalization for all your passing needs.
Just remember, if you are passing me, I was in front of you.