DXMachina (dxmachina) wrote,

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Saturday Snippets

It's a muggy, cloudy Saturday a Casa Machina. Because of the recent weather, I have yet to ride my bike since I was given the go-ahead. OTOH, my tomatoes are growing like crazy, and I noticed that a few are starting to turn red. Yippee!

I have spent the day alternating between playing a computer game (Birth of the Federation), reading in the back room with the A/C on full, and working down in the basement. Yup, that's right, I said working. Life seems to finally be returning to normal. Here's what's been going on...


There was a massive rainstorm Thursday night, so much so that Friday morning when I went downstairs to get a shirt from the laundry, I found a fairly large puddle of water in the middle my storage gardening area. It was only about a quarter inch deep, but it was fairly widespread. The location is odd, because usually when I get water it comes in by the laundry, either driven in over the side door stoop, or through the imperfectly sealed waste pipe exit. I couldn't find any evidence of it coming down a wall anywhere, so the only logical conclusion is that the storm raised the water table enough that it came in through the cracks in the floor in that area. Sheesh!

I cranked the dehumidifer up to high yesterday, and it's evaporating very slowly. I could've used the wetvac, or even just soaked it up with towels, and I might do that later on today.


Meanwhile, as long as I was down there anyway, I actually did some work on the shelves for the bookcases. I'm working on the shelves that go at the very bottom of each case. Each shelf is just a piece of ¾" maple/birch faced plywood with a piece of ¾" high x ½" thick maple stock glued to the front edge as a facing. I cut a single bead along the bottom of each piece of the facing stock, then cut slots for some biscuits in the mating surfaces of the two pieces with a biscuit joiner (natch). The biscuits add strength the joint, and help keep the facing aligned with the shelf, especially necessary right now, because with all the moisture in the air down there lately, the plywood has warped a bit.

After that, it's just a matter of putting a thin layer of glue on the stock and the biscuits, then assembling and clamping until it sets. (I had done one of these back in June, but then with everything else going on, I got sidetracked.) After the glue is done setting, there are two more steps. The first thing is that no matter how hard you try, it's impossible to align the facing to the shelf so that the joint where they meet is perfectly smooth along the top. To get around this, when you glue up the pieces you offset the facing just a skosh high compared to the shelf, then after the glue sets, you use a router with a flush-cutting bit to trim it flush to the top of the shelf. A little sanding and the joint should be perfectly smooth. At least that's the theory. I tried the flush-cutting bit on the one I glued up in June, and sure enough, it worked. The last thing I need to do is then cut the finished shelf to it's final width on the table saw. I should be able to work on that tomorrow, then put the first application of stain on them.


I finished The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. It was fun; I enjoyed it. As I've said previously, I think I will like it better as a movie. I did skim a lot of description as I was reading. I was a bit puzzled at the end about the crate, because it just sort of arrived out of the blue, but then there was no payoff. Still, it's an interesting look at the Golden Age of comics.


I'm also working my was through the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, and I've noticed something odd. The appendices are written as a narration, and the narrator (at least in "Realms in Exile") appears to be a hobbit. That's fine. What's odd is that some of the paragraphs in the section are surrounded by quotes and some aren't, seemingly at random. It's as though the narrator is quoting long passages of the tales told to him, but then never bothers to tell you who he's quoting. There doesn't seem to be any change of voice in the quoted material, and it's only luck that I noticed the quote marks in the first place. I thought perhaps they might be typos, but my old Ballentine paperback has the same passages quoted. Anybody out there know what's going on?

More Tolkein stuff - A couple of years ago, I had a conversation about The Silmarillion with the guy who covers my local post office on Saturdays. (It's a teeny post office. Weekdays it's just the postmaster.) Neither of us had ever been able to get through the first chapter of the thing. Went I went to pick up my mail this morning, I mentioned to him that I had finally gotten through it. He still hasn't, although he still wants to try. He also told me about a German metal band called Blind Guardian, that did an entire album based on The Silmarillion called Nightfall In Middle-Earth. I listened to some samples on Amazon, and now I want to get the thing. I don't even like most metal bands.


Birth of the Federation is a 4X strategy game based on ST:TNG, and if it wasn't for that, I probably wouldn't bother with it. As a game it is deeply flawed, especially when compared to similar games like Master of Orion I & II. The situation develops way too slowly, it takes way to long to develop colonies, and diplomacy consists primarily of bribing the various minor races to join you. The only thing that makes it worth playing is that they did an excellent job adding all the minor races from TNG, and having them act as they would in the series. Thus the Tamaran diplomat speaks to you in metaphor, the Vulcans are logical, and the Ferengi are money grubbers. Plus there is a picture of a member of each from the series. The Betazoid is portrayed by a very young Henry Groener. Also, the ship-to-ship combat animations are excellent, and fun to watch. Still, it's all chrome, and I will become bored quickly, and put the game away for a couple more years.


One more mark against the weather. The Perseids meteor shower is this weekend, but alas I cannot see them. Last year was a ball.

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