Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sketching in the square

This last weekend we decided to take a day off together, Ruth and I. We went to Marietta Square.

The Square is an old southern thing you'll see in these parts. It usually consists of a fountain and some park benches. This square has a small train for toddlers to climb through. There's also a bandstand used for free music in the summer.

Anyway, we found a cafe with a few outside chairs and began to draw people and things in the square. I soon had two guys staring at me who finally come over to see what I was doing. They saw my little book with this tiny sketch of a shoe and sock. "Wow, look at the detail in that sock. Cool." he said as his buddy come over to join us.

It's a bit unnerving sketching in public. I fight the inclination to hide my book as people pass by but in the end, who cares? I'm doing it for some simple afternoon enjoyment and relaxation. Who cares if I hear giggles as people pass? Or have some kid lean over my sholder and say: "If you're so good, why don't you have your own art studio?"

Go away kid you bother me. And stop dripping your ice cream cone on my knee.

"Everyone is a genius at least once a year; a real genius has his original ideas closer together." - Georg Lichtenberg(1742-1799)

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Project Journal

To prepare the house for the sale I finally finished our french doors. As you may know this took me over two years to complete. Not because the job was hard but ... well, I don't know why. I guess I was kinda making things up as I went along. When I put in the doors I expected to BUY sidelights not MAKE them. Then somewhere along the line I got the bright idea of making my own. What was I thinking?

Building my own skylights proved to be a challenge because I changed several of my design ideas along the way. First, it was going to be a simple routing job. Using a plunge router I thought I'd just punch a few holes in some MDF, pop in some glass and air nail it in place. That proved to be naive. Use the plunge router to punch through three-quarters of an inch of MDF? How does the glass sit in the frame? What genius thought of this?

Then I decided that I ought to do it right. Build the frames like a stile and rail cabinet door. This took more thinking than my brain cells could handle. It got tricky real fast. I had to build two sets of sidelights. One set for the city dump and the final set for the office. (Apprentice to boss: "I cut it twice but it's STILL too short!")

Enter the Project Journal. Only after drawing what I really wanted did I succeed. Since I'm just a weekend tinkerer this really worked. Imagine, drawing what I wanted to build before turing on the saw and router. Why didn't I think of that before?

Even after the sketch, I made a few changes, but in the end it's fairly close to what I sketched.

It just took the sale of the house to complete it. Too bad. It would have been nice to enjoy it for a few years and show it off to a few of my visiting friends.

"There are two ways of constructing a software design; one way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult." - C. A. R. Hoare

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Moleskine Tabs Hack

I'm big on Moleskines. They are fantastic. I carry a Blackberry but there is a unique appeal to the pen and paper. I carry it everywhere.

I used to put Post-it book mark tabs in them as place markers. Then it dawned on me to create my own tabs. Using an Xacto knife, label maker and patience I created custom tabs. This is my little Moleskine hack.

Counting about 12 pages for each tab works out to about 8 tabs. Each tab is three lines wide with the last two tabs using up two lines. (You can create your own number of tabs if you make your label text short.) If you use plastic label material, your labeled tabs will not become discolored with wear.

Too lazy to make your own tabbed book? Write me and I'll make one for you. Include the text for your 8 tabs. I'll mail the finished customized book anywhere in the U.S.

A Zebra F-301 clipped to the cover completes the always-available little writing package.

See the following sites for other hacks:

"If you depend on the opinion of others, you will forever be their prisoner." -Unknown

Theoretically Related Posts

Monday, July 24, 2006

We are going separate ways

I guess eventually it was bound to happen. She and me parting ways, going separate directions. It's not that I don't love her anymore. I do. But I think it's better this way.

We met not too long ago, her and I. We've been all over Georgia together. We were always together. Early morning, braced against the fog, we'd ride to work together. At lunch, we were inseparable. Returning home from work, we'd travel together. I was content in her embrace.

But it's time. She's still beautiful to look at, her subtle curves. I love to listen to the purr of her voice. But all of that can't pay for her habits. She has very expensive habits. She is high maintenance.

I simply can't afford her anymore.

And so we part.

Goodbye my Boxster love.

"There Is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go" -Tennessee Williams

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Free Polish

There's always a Borders near me. Sometimes I go there to sketch.

I like going to the one near my work place. That Borders is located on the second floor. I have to take an escalator to get to the main floor. There are two double wide doors at the bottom with racks of inexpensive blank sketch journals just inside. But that's not why I like going there.

I like the escalator. I like riding the escalator. I like riding the escalator because there are brushes just above the treads of the moving metal stairway. The brushes keep junk from falling into the edges of the moving stairs. I guess that's what they're for. But I don't care. I just use them to polish my penny loafers.

I don't think people realize that one trip to Borders will give you a free shine. It's great. I try to do it nonchalant so people don't think I'm some homeless freeloader looking for a free shine. I don't even have to look down. I can feel the brushes against my right shoe on the way up. I do the left one on the way down when I leave.

Borders has everything: books, magazines, music, coffee, and a free polish.

Well not everything. They still charge for the Internet. But I'm working on them. Someday they'll offer wireless for free too. That would be the ultimate.

Then I'll never have to go home.

Draft beer; not people. ~Author Unknown

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Rinse with water

At my last visit to my hygienist she suggested I drink water after my morning coffee. She's the one that has to clean my teeth and remove the coffee stains. She says it'll help keep the pearlys, well, pearly.

So now I keep a water jug on my desk. It's not JUST a jug but a filtered jug. Ruth picked it up from Costco I think. You just dump in the water, it filters through the carbon center, and drips fresh tasting, clear, sparkling water out the bottom.

So now I "rinse" after drinking my morning coffee. What a difference it's made. And I no longer get in trouble when I go to the hygienist.

Drink more water!

My dental hygienist is cute. Every time I visit, I eat a whole package of Oreo cookies while waiting in the lobby. -Stephen Wright

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Selling the House

We've been just a bit busy preparing to sell our house. There are 1001 things to do. Funny thing is though, those side lights I've been working on for two years finally got finished. Just need to paint. When I get done I'll post on the new House-for-Sale blog.

We are selling the house ourselves with the help of Duffy Realty. They are an ala carte realty. You buy what you need. Just $600 to get in for signs, lock box, MLS listing, and pictures on web site. I created my own blog so as to show off more pictures.

The house has been painted within the last year. Our kitchen cabinets have been painted. I've installed the french doors into the office. I've replaced faucets and drains in the master bath. Ruth has painted almost every room in the house within the last year. She's done some landscape both in the front and back. She's read up on how to showcase a house for sale. As a result we've simplified every room to just a few things displayed on shelves and counter tops. It looks clean and inviting.

Duffy left last night after taking $600 dollars and some papers we signed. She gave us some signs. This morning we got a call from a realtor to show the house tomorrow. That was quick!

Eric finished painting his room. I finished trimming and priming the sidelights in the office. I took pictures and posted them to the web site. I think we are done.

Only thing is, if we sell, where do we live? We haven't found a house yet!

It's so easy to become homeless.

"They Call You Stubborn When You Fail, But Persistent When You Succeed."" -Anonymous

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tree by the beach

I just went through some of my old drawing books and found this sketch in ink. It's a dried tree at Kailua beach in Hawaii. Got a little carried away with the grain I guess.

"Got a little carried away did you? Keep that up and you will be!"

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Coke sketch

We went to a park as a family back when Eric was only 6 or so I think. It was a hot day. As he played on the gym equipment I drew my Coke can.

Do Not Spoil What You Have By Desiring What You Have Not;
But Remember That What You Now Have Was Once Among
The Things You Only Hoped For. -Epicurus

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The lowly 4x6 card

I can't say enough about the lowly 4x6 cards I use every day.

It's just white cardboard stock but it's never far from my reach. I use it at work, at home, even in the car. I never go out without a pack. I carry a pack of 10 or 12 binder clipped in my my Lands End bag. And I use them for everything.

Here are a few good uses:

cup coaster
backing stock for picture postcard
put a stamp on it and use it for a regular postcard
fold it in half and use it as a small gift card
convention notes (flat on lap)
sketch cards
run them through your printer for teaching flash cards

Point is they are very handy to have around. I have a lose stack of them (about 100) sitting on my desk. Whenever I need something more lasting than a 3x3 Post-it, I use a 4x6. It's more permanent, I can use both sides, I can fold it in half and put it in my shirt pocket, and it doubles as my cup coaster.

I prefer the blank 4x6 (on both sides). But you can also buy lined cards as well as graph cards (cards with the small squares on one side). You can even buy cards in florescent, obnoxious colors to irritate your friends.

And they are cheap! You can buy 500 for about $4. Everyone is spending big bucks on those pricey Post-it notes. They are passing by the lowly 4x6 cards.

People ought to give them a second look. I think they're going to be all the rage in the future.

Although it is generally known, I think it's about time to announce that I was born at a very early age. -Groucho Marx

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Here spider, spider...

This story reminds me of my uncle Richard. He loved tarantulas, alligators, and snakes. He still cultivates ants.

Anyway this guy went far beyond that.


"Some people are molded by their admirations, others by their hostilities." -Elizabeth Bowen