We’ve been walking.
My wife and I have tried a few times to up our activity level by walking around the park in the evenings, but with schedules the way they are something always gets in the way and it sort of gets pushed into the background of the things we need to do. On this iteration I made an offering. I’m a night person, and I married a morning person. Logically, this seems optimal for covering a broader operational spectra because there should almost always be someone on deck and ready for action. Realistically, it doesn’t quite work that way. Usually it means one of us is causing the other to lose sleep, which may be pulling down the readiness curve. Anyway, I sucked it in and said, “Hey, why don’t we try getting up early and walking before work?” Debbie looked at me with what could be understated as disbelief. She knows I mumble answers to her as she gets ready for work and then collapse back into the coma that carries me through the early hours. Anyway, I knew that was going to be the only long-term solution to the walking issue. But some mornings she still issues me a morning reprieve.
Today was not one of those days.*
I do enjoy the time to think.** Today as I was mulling the myriad of things I’ve got to do.*** I caught my long, faint shadow out of the corner of my eye. I looked to see if the sun was above the horizon, as it’s the second day of summer, and I fear the fast approaching winter. The sun wasn’t up, but there was a bright reflection off the sky just above the mountains with some of the canyons showing direct sunlight. As I looked off to the west and saw the belt of Venus, it made me glad and suddenly I was back to the mornings in first or second grade.
I had to walk to school and cross the great playground at about this time of the morning. I remember the distant, muted white noise of traffic and the sun glinting off the Bingham copper mine in the distance. From the playground I could see the tower at the Murray smelter and knew that my Grandma worked right by there. It seemed so far away, yet I could see the benevolent face of Colonel Sanders gazing protectively over the valley. There was the fall smell to the air, back then, that always takes me back to this place too. It’s one of those memories that’s starting to have the corners worn off it, so I’m usually loathe to bring it out, because it’s one of the good ones.
elementary_school.jpgI remember the playground being so big that on adventurous days I’d try to get expeditions together to make it to the fence at the far side of the playground. Often we would get turned back as we crossed the boundary to the grass. “It’s too far”, “We’ll never get back in time”, “Beyond here, there be monsters!”**** Downhearted, as Hillary must have been at times, we would turn back with a final glimpse over my shoulder of my elusive goal, swearing to try again.
I feel there’s something about that sort of adventure that’s lacking in me now. I’m not quite sure what happened to it. Maybe it’s still down there and it occasionally boils up, like when I got my kayak, but there’s some adultedness that seems to have smothered the fire of pushing the boundaries, like when I don’t take the kayak out of the basement. I love to see what’s over the next hill, but somehow I need to mow the lawn, or clean the dust out from the pile of cables under my desk before I can do that. But some morning when I’m stumbling along bleary-eyed, maybe I’ll see if I can’t make it to that fence before the adult wakes up and catches me.
* although she does always ask if we’re walking when the alarm goes off.
** It’s another story about what I think about thinking.
*** finishing my dad’s birthday gift, putting more soil in the compost for re-planting my puny garden, clean the dust out from the pile of cables under my desk, finding some way to bolt my rolling mill to something stable, getting work on etsy, etc…
**** Ok, so nobody ever said that, I don’t think. But I told you the corners were getting worn off this memory.

Animals at Lagoon

The dragonfly held really still, and when disturbed didn’t fly far and would come back to perch on the same post really quick. Now that I look at this up close it looks like he had an accident and dented his head. (notice the nice reflection of my shiny orange shirt on the post)
And as an added bonus… Ducks on Vacation.

Manufacturing Blues

So I’m working on this project and I decide that I need an antique looking plate showing north and I throw together a ‘N’ with an arrow through it and decide to carve it roughly into a block of wood and see if I can’t sand cast it. But because I’m mostly in a prototyping phase (for several things, evidently) I decide to see if I can’t cast just the face of it in a sand mold and not bother with the whole cope and drag. But because I’m forever making stamps or sprig molds for clay, I naturally decide that it needs to be backwards. It wasn’t til I was pressing it into the sand that I realized I was making a positive casting so the original had to be forward. (I flipped the pic just so it would look right… full disclosure, you know). Anyway I decided to go ahead since I had it and it was getting late, and then if it worked, maybe I would cast the cast and have a relief ‘N’ instead of a raised one, as long as it looked old.
But I ran into a few problems. I don’t have a furnace, and my acetylene torch doesn’t have a big enough tip to keep that much metal molten very easily. The casting poured short, probably because I couldn’t keep it hot enough, and I think it’s too much copper. I need to find a source of tin to formulate a good bronze alloy with all the spare copper I’ve got laying around. I melted down some old bronze I had, but I knew it wasn’t enough, so I just made up the difference with copper.
Maybe I should have done aluminum, but aluminum wouldn’t weather the way I want it to. So in the end it may be a good thing that I did make the original wood cut backwards, because I’m probably going to end up using it as a stamp.

A Walk Among the Dead

So I find myself dead and I’m wandering around what looks like a bombed-out Latin American city where the natives are employed making fancy luxury cars. There were a bunch of other dead people walking around with me, only they were terribly upset because they couldn’t find jobs or any way to get money. Some were so upset they tried to commit suicide by either jumping off the 4th floor of the wall-less building we were in, or slitting their own throats. After the attempts they would just end up walking back in more distraught than ever. I was kind of relieved to be dead because it meant that I didn’t have any more worries, and I tried to explain to some of the people that they just needed to find something to do to pass the time and enjoy it, but this seemed to make them more angry. I pointed out that the natives were all happy even though they were working making things they couldn’t ever afford either. This only made them angrier, so I decided that maybe if I left I could find some other people that were having a better time being dead than these goofs.
First I tried to jump on a carrier ship for the new cars. It was like a huge cargo ship, but all the cars were resting on little platforms each held up by a small pole in the center of the platform. The only place I could sit was on top of one of the cars, and I was really afraid I was scratching the paint. I sailed on for several miles but suddenly found myself back in the little town, so I decided I’d just try to walk somewhere else. I went down a tunnel I found in the dirt carrying a little ladder and a length of rope, just in case I found obstacles I couldn’t get around.
I walked for a long time and finally came up where there were a bunch of people who were really distraught. One guy was complaining that he wouldn’t go back into the little box, pointing to a small footlocker looking box with slits in the top and I understood that all these people were required to give up their bodies during the nighttime hours and stay in this little box all smashed together. One man was saying that they didn’t have a choice, and that they had to do it to ensure the safety of Pennsylvania. (I blame Doug_Doug for the location) I figured I must have gone the wrong way and moved deeper into hell, rather than closer to getting out.
I told the guy that putting all the souls in there wasn’t going to make anything safer, and besides that, we were already all dead anyway. This made him really angry and he said I needed to go in the box too, because it was the law. I said that I was going to run for governor and change the law, which made him completely bonkers, evidently he was the current governor and by saying out loud I was challenging him put me in the race. I needed to go around and talk people into voting for me because that night was the election night and they needed to get the vote in. I walked around and talked to some of the people, but they were really distressed because they didn’t have any money and couldn’t buy furniture that wasn’t sold in thrift stores. I tried explaining that they didn’t need furniture anyway, and that sometimes thrift stores have really good deals. But the people only wanted brand new shiny things and I got kind of tired of talking to them, so I grabbed my ladder and rope and went looking for the hole to go back the way I came and try to find somewhere better on the other side of the Latin American Country I started in.
Then the cat jumped up on me and woke me up.