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Rocky Horror

My problems with this production can be summed up in three words: Rocky's wearing boxers.

Also I think it would have worked better if they'd cast a woman as Rocky, too. And the audience framing device just... isn't working.

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Project time!

Some while back I picked up some scrap granite to do leatherworking with. One of the pieces we got was pretty large, so I decided to make a little table with it. Today I got out the tile saw, and cut off the broken edges, leaving a 26x26" square.

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Then we went over to the place near us that sells scrap iron, and found a little pedestal about the right size. It wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing option, but it was the one that combined affordability with wobbling least, and since I want to use this as a craft table for larger leather stamping projects, stability was the prime requisite. I got a 2x2 foot square of heavy plywood from Home Depot, and screwed it onto the pedestal:


Then we attached the granite top to the plywood using silicon granite glue:

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Et voila!

Now I just have to figure out where to put it...

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Mom is convinced that the magnifying machine she uses to read with is malfunctioning. It's not -- it's a combination of her eyes getting worse, and the fact that LED screens change at different angles. If she were sitting six inches higher, or the table the machine was on were six inches lower, it would be fine. But she won't listen to me. She wants me to get a technician out to look at it. Which will probably cost a fortune. Sigh.

Saturday we got haircuts -- I went really short again, and I'm pleased with it.

Today I got up bright and early to mow the lawn, and I'm glad I did, because virtually the minute I finished it began to rain, and it kept raining off and on all day. I had to drag the rest of the branches up on the porch to finish sawing them up. But I got almost all of it done; the only ones left are the two really big chunks that ideally should be cut up with a chainsaw. Unfortunately our chainsaw self-destructed several years ago, and I've never replaced it (it was a cheap electric one, and the vibration of operating it kind of destroyed several of the plastic parts that held the saw part to the motor.) So either I cut them up with the pruning saw, or I break down and replace the chainsaw. I expect it will depend on how sore I am tomorrow.

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Testing Imzy crossposts

Blah, blah, blah, blah. Anyone who wants an Imzy invite, I got about 15 of them.

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Slightly more excitement than desired

Friday night a friend of ours had a piece in a show in one of those little galleries in downtown Phoenix (Alwun House, for the locals) so we went down to the opening. It was a multimedia SF/fantasy/comics themed show, and the quality of the art was equivalent to your average convention art show (that is, ranging from excellent to... not so excellent. Our friend's was one of the better pieces there.) There was a body painting demo, and they had a bar (decent if limited) and a live band (which was...uh...imagine the drum solo from Inna Gadda Davida done in electronic woo-woo except it's the whole band, and goes on twice as long.) But the weather was perfect and the venue was quirky and cool, and we had fun. We went out for burgers at Sonic afterwards.

Saturday was errands for Mom and shopping for us, and then watching the second season of Gallivant, which we missed the first time around. I wasn't terribly impressed with Gallivant the first time I saw it, but I liked it a lot better on second viewing.

Saturday night, for whatever reason, I slept terribly, and woke up groggy and cranky, and so I determined that I would accomplish one thing. That one thing was going to be pruning the acacia tree, because it required a minimum of thinking and I figured that I should get as much physical exercise as possible to ensure I slept better tonight. Since several of the branches I needed to take down were quite large, I was very careful with the cuts I made, so they wouldn't fall on me, or the fig tree, or anything else I didn't want damaged. And they all came down pretty much as I wanted them to. It was not until they were all on the ground, and I was cutting them up into smaller pieces for disposal or firewood, that I pulled a stupid move, and the piece I was cutting shifted position unexpectedly. I sliced the back of my thumb open with the saw.

I've cut, scratched, and bruised myself plenty on this tree, because it requires frequent pruning and it has nasty sharp thorns that get more than an inch long. And I always feel that as long as I'm lopping off limbs, I can spare the tree a drop or two of blood in return. However, this was a tad excessive. I held the gouge closed and went inside to clean it off, and realized that it was kinda deep, in the "Um the edges of this wound are pulling apart, is that supposed to happen?" kind of way. I could still move my thumb, so I knew I hadn't severed anything vital, but still... I said screw it, I have insurance and I'm damned well going to use it.

We drove over to the emergency room, and the doctor looked at it and said that it was tricky to stitch up cuts in that location because there was a chance of jabbing into all the vital things I hadn't severed, so he put some skin glue and a bandage on it, and they gave me a tetanus shot, since I couldn't remember when my last one was. He told me I'd done well to wash it with water rather than alcohol or anything, and that was it. So now I have a sore thumb, and a lot more branches to chop up when it gets better.

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Project for the week

Making a new coat rack. Our old one is… well, it says “Larry, Darryl, and Darryl” on it, and we bought it back when that was hilarious. I saw these hooks at World Market the other day and loved them so I decided it was time for a change. Walnut board from Home Depot, screws to match the hooks from Ace Hardware. The board was about four inches too long for the space we had, so I sawed the end off and put the fourth hook on it – figure we can use it for hats or something. Boards were sanded and rubbed down with Johnson Paste Wax but are otherwise unfinished. We need to get hooks for the backs, and then up they go.

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Bloody awful poetry

Over on Tumblr some folks were talking about Spike's line in the last issue of S10, where he mentions that they gave Dawn the power to open portals on Earth by writing a sonnet in the Vampyr book, wondering if he meant that literally, and if so, exactly what that sonnet said, and just how terrible it would have to be. I could not possibly leave speculation like that to dangle, and so!

Attend me, Fates! Tis you my pen implore
We Furies now pursue D'Hoffryn's flight
A Key there is for ev'ry door:
A Dawn for e'en the darkest Night

To grim Arashmaharr he runs, the cur
And we shall follow if the Door be ope'd
Our vengeance be not stayed nor...

Bugger, what rhymes with 'cur?' For fuck's sake, Harris, that's not part of the poem! Scratch it out! Here, give me the rubber, I'll change 'cur' to 'hound.'

To grim Arashmaharr he runs, the hound
And we shall follow if the Door be ope'd
Stay not our rightful vengeance till he's found!
The echo of our footsteps chill his hopes!

In this dread Book my words are drawn
The Key creates the Door which it unlocks
Upon the rising of this glorious Dawn
D'Hoffryn's pride be dashed upon its rocks!

And now the Doors of Earth be opened wide
The ponce may run, but lo, he cannot hide.

--Wm. T. Bloody

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For Science!

In a spirit of scientific inquiry, I decided to test the four cookie presses. For those who asked what a cookie press was, this is one:

One of ours was the old Sunware one we've had forever, mixed metal and plastic construction. It works all right, but over the years a lot of its discs have gone missing. Therefore, if any of the newer and more complete sets work as well or better, I can chuck it in the Goodwill box. The second one was an all-metal Shule we picked up a few years ago, which has no frosting tips, but does have twice the number of cookie discs as any of the others. (Twenty as opposed to twelve.) The third was an all-plastic Wilton, and the fourth was an all-plastic Sharper Image battery-powered(!) one. Kathy must have picked up both of those because I don't remember them at all.

So since I have today off, I got up bright and early and mixed up a batch of cookies to see how the three newer ones work. I divided the dough into three parts and used an equal amount in each press. Results as follows:

1. Wilton

Pros: Easiest lever action of all of them; easily make either smaller or larger cookies by pumping once or twice. Dishwasher safe.
Cons: If you're not careful, the cookies tend to be lopsided, as if the plunger exerts more pressure on one side of the tube than the other. Also, the concave plunger end means that after the plunger has been fully depressed, there's still at least one cookie's worth of excess dough left in the tube, which has to be gouged out by hand. No icing tips.

2. Shule

Pros: Much sturdier construction than any of the others. More discs. Nice even pressure. Completely flat plunger end means no wasted dough. I was able to use the one-or-two pumps method for reasonable results for larger or smaller cookies.
Cons: Lever action not quite as smooth as the Wilton. In theory one can use an adjuster wheel to control the size of the cookie, but I couldn't get it to work. Must be hand-washed. No icing tips.

3. Sharper Image

Pros: Even pressure. Produces cookies indistinguishable from hand action presses. Comes with icing tips and sausage-making tips.
Cons: Twice the size of the hand presses, taking more room to store. Noisy. Slow compared to the hand presses; takes twice as long for the plunger to depress sufficiently to deposit one cookie on the baking sheet. Plunger shaft must be screwed all the way into the base by hand before use, which is annoying. Plunger construction is flimsy; I worry that the plunger shaft will warp under continued use. Like the Wilton, plunger end is concave, resulting in wasted cookie dough. Tube is, for some unfathomable reason, slightly squarish rather than round, and cookie dough remains in 'corners' of tube as the plunger is depressed, resulting in more waste. Only partially dishwasher safe.

(I heroically disposed of the waste cookie dough left by the Wilton and the Sharper Image by eating it. If I die of salmonella poisoning, know that it was in a good cause.)

Since we have a whole other set of nice metal icing tips, and we make sausage approximately never, I am inclined to keep the Wilton and the Shule if we keep two, and the Shule if we keep only one, but I'll have to see what Kathy says.

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We have four cookie presses. Four. I like cookies as well as the next person, but somehow this seems excessive.

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See Barb post. Post, Barb, post!

I really didn't mean to fall off the face of the earth for...erk, almost two months. I've been lurking. It's a whole different vibe.

Anyway, after a miserably hot and dry June and July, we've had a surprisingly temperate and even somewhat rainy August. Temperate for Phoenix in August, anyway, which means it's been mostly been 107 and under, and once or twice even dipped into the upper 90s! THE 90s!!! That never happens! Which means I have to mow the lawn a lot, but it also means that I have a lawn to mow, instead of a scorched wasteland reminiscent of Carthage after the Romans got through with it. It might even be cool enough that we can use the patio in a few weeks.

I've been messing around playing Skyrim, years behind the rest of the universe as usual. It's fun to compare it with the very first Bethseda Elder Scrolls game we played, Daggerfall. In a lot of ways, gameplay is still remarkably similar; the graphics have just improved immeasurably. NPC dialogue and AI is better, but not up to the standards of something like Dragon Age. If only one could combine the sandbox aspect of Elder Scrolls with the characters and storytelling of Dragon Age or Baldur's Gate. (I think Ultima V-VI-VII came closest there, but the graphics are even more dated.)

Work's been busy, but nothing terrible has happened in over a month, so I count that as a win. :P

Ma-San is complaining bitterly that I have given her the Wrong Food. Sadly for her, I have no intention of opening up six more cans to find out what the Right Food is tonight.

I skimmed the last issue of S10, and need to give it a closer read when I have a minute. Overall, this has been a decent season, I think. The okay-to-good outweighed the bad, and there was nothing anywhere near as awful as Twangel or the pregnant robot plotlines from seasons 8 & 9. My one real worry is that while this finale seems to decisively move the characters forward into a new phase of their lives, so did the end of S7, and by the end of S8, that had all been swept away. So I don't have any huge confidence that by the end of S11, everything that's been built this season won't have been broken down again, so they can do yet another "The Scoobies grow up, this time for sure!" plot.

Writing is not happening, damn it.

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