Being Elliptical

NOT MUCH GOING on to blog about. Christmas morning, Toni and I had breakfast together and exchanged gifts. Early afternoon, we trundled over to Number One Daughter’s dodge and wound up the grandkids. Number One Granddaughter is displaying sassy attitude that would do Beyonce proud — considering she’s all Now We Are Six and everything.

‘Cept she’s more into Barbie than Pooh.

True enough.

Dinnertime, Jesse stopped by for roast beast and smashed taters and the House marathon. I see Tam has discovered the good doctor. Heh. ::evil grin:: Oh, snap! Careful, Tam. A holiday marathon was how I got addicted to Xena, and look what THAT netted me.

HEY! Are you talkin’ stuffin’ about me?

You? ::butter wouldn’t melt:: The Gabrielle Dolly? Nah! I wouldn’t. Trust me.

Sunday evening, we took Number One Granddaughter out for her birthday. She’s officially six and everything. Because it was her birthday, and because she got shafted by being born so close to the OTHER major gift-receiving holiday, she got to pick, so of course, we ate at Big Boy. Yum.

Quit with the faux sarcasm. I know you loved it.

Yeah. I did. Takes me back to when that used to be my lunch. Two Big Boys, fries, coffee, and a good, thick book. I’d go late so the waitress wouldn’t get pissed about me taking a four-top up by myself for forty-five minutes during the lunch rush.

THE REST OF the time, I spent trying to get up steam and work on the bookshelves. Although I didn’t get a lot done in any absolute quantitative sense, I did reach a couple-three major milestones. I finished the post-sealer sandup on all of the boards for the middle-course bookshelves. (That’s how I’m mentally referring to the sets of shelves that go in between base and overhead cabinets — as opposed to the floor-to-ceiling variety, which will be going in on the north wall and between Toni’s desk and the hall door.) I also got all of the pocket-hole drilling done.

And on the last bit, I got to use a couple of my Christmas presents. I got a really trick story pole — what ought to be an award-winning creative use of t-track — and a K3 upgrade kit for my Kreg pocket-hole kit, which brings my lashup to the Master level. Next step would be the automatic power thingy, which I don’t see anytime soon. As always with really useful tools, they made me more efficient and able to accomplish more in less time.

The story pole has sliding stops which allow me to make, pickup, and transfer measurements from one piece of stock to another. Since I’m doing a lot of all of those in situations where repeatability is a major factor, this is critical. And this thing makes the process run on rails, so to speak.

Get it? T-track? Rails? Heh.

The K3 jig is a bench-mounted viselike affair that holds a drill guide for pocket holes. It has a cam-type clamp — similar to the locking action of vise-grips, but in a vise-jaw kind of shape. You put a piece of timber — that’s Australian for lumber — into the slot, clamp it down, and drill your pocket screw holes. There’s an outboard stop. You can screw the whole thing down to your workbench — or, as in my case, your Work Mate — and away you go. It also has a dust attachment, which makes the cleanup sinfully easy.

I ALSO DECIDED to bag the dovetail on the file drawers. At least, this time. The jig I got is really inappropriate for this design. I don’t want to spend the kind of money the right jig would cost, and I’m getting tired and depressed with the mental gymnastics I’ve been going through to try to make it work. Nor do I feel confident enough to wing it. So I’m using a different kind of joint and over-engineering it. It may turn out to be ineffective. And if it does, I’ll burn that bridge when I get to it. Meantime, I figured out how to re-size the boards for those drawers and started to work on those as well. Once I get them up to a certain level of finished-ness, I’ll be able to carry on working on both the file drawers and the bookshelves and possibly have them all together at the same time.

I REALIZED that, as I have no more need for lumber out of my Chinese plywood buy for the bookshelves — having all of the needed pieces cut to-size and in the finishing process — that I may have enough of that plywood left over to build myself a toolbox. I’m thinking something face-framey with full-extension KV slides, and fairly shallow drawers. For things like chisels and files and small hand saws and suchlikes. And, if there’s still enough left after that, I may make a clamp box. I seem to have acquired a critical mass of clamps now that they may start reproducing. And, hey, you know … they might want some privacy.

I can guess that Og is going to remind me of the tribulations I’ve had with this stuff. But it’s worlds away better than A/C softwood ply, so I’m not really going to complain. That is to say, I’ve worked with worse. (Like the CDX we used to use for waterbed decks.) And if it fails immediately, I’ll still have learned something from building the boxes. Since I’ve got it, if I can make it work, it’ll save me a good chunk of change.

I MAY HAVE REACHED a startling conclusion over this weekend as well. I think I may actually like tung oil as a finish better than I like polyurethane. I need to think about that. My main objection is that I hate the way the tung oil feels on my hands, and I hate to work in gloves. But it seems a lot easier to work to a fine finish. I just need to work with it a bit more and figure out how it likes my sanding practices on hardwood. I’m a bit pickier, (read: more anal), than a lot of people seem to be, so there isn’t a lot of advice around. And if there was, I probably would ignore it and make my own decisions anyway.

I TAKE NOTE in the fact that there seems to be this ongoing battle between the bigendians and littlendians in the Republican Party, with the bigendians seeming to have inferiority complexes,judging by the harshness of their rhetoric. It’s almost as if big government Republicans such as Bill Kristol and Mike Huckabee can read the handwriting on the wall and don’t like what it portends for their strain of anti-conservatism.

Yawn.

Bill Buckley is barely cool in his grave and these putzes are again with the revisionism. Of course, your grass roots commoner won’t stand for it, thus further weakening the Republican Party. I can’t help wondering if a true conservative party wouldn’t be stronger. I keep hearing that you can’t fragment the movement like that. But then we keep also hearing that conservative values and positions are what wins elections — even for Democrats. So… why do we need RINOs? Would somebody ‘splain? Seems to me that the reason the Republicans lose elections is because they run RINOs, and they force conservatives to truckle to RINOs.

AS FOR THE FOOD fight going on in the blogs between minarchists and anarchists, I’d love to tell you-all that I’m here to represent the Way, the Truth, and the Light, that I have the answers to everything because I’m right and y’all are wrong, but… I know better.

Me, I’m ecumenical. A minarchist, because I know you can trust all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t trust all of the people all of the time. An anarchist because I understand that man’s reach must exceed his grasp, else what’s a heaven for? If you never shoot for par, then your whole life is going to be sub-par. Ideals are to be striven for, and it’s not a sin to fail to reach them. It is a sin not to try. All of us on the right agree that government is evil. The degree of necessity to the evil can be argued over, but that it is necessary is inarguable.

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