Wednesday Words and Woodworking – Assembly Cart and 3,000

First, thanks to all who are following this blog.  Over the weekend my follower count edged just over 3,000.  I appreciate all of you who take the time to read my little writings I post up here in cyberspace.

I mentioned in a post a while back that I’ve applied to attend a couple of poetry workshops this summer.  Almost good news here as the one I really wanted to attend (and the hardest to get into) sent me an email yesterday saying that I’ve been put on their waiting list for an opening.  This workshop only accepts about 30% of applicants and while I didn’t get one of the seats outright, they said that they liked my poetry and added me to the short list in case there’s an opening in the next two weeks.

So a “good” rejection. 😉

I haven’t heard from the other workshop yet.  I’m not going to name them until the selection process is completed.

My cold kept me most out of the workshop, but on Sunday I managed a little time and finished assembling my assembly table so I can assembly other projects …

The table is on wheels and holds my air compressor and air tools:

My compressed air supply

and the surface for building stuff:

Some of my common assembly tools. I do have bigger hammers if needed.

That’s it for this week.

If you need me – I’ll be in the shop.


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Benson Arizona

Sometimes an old song or memory just gets stuck in your mind and won’t leave.

This one’s been playing for a couple of days:

“Benson, Arizona, blew warm wind through your hair

My body flies the galaxy, my heart longs to be there”

Recognize it?  Some of you may have, if like me you spent most of the 70’s watching weird science fiction movies or if the 80’s you attended a science fiction convention where they were playing this cult classic film.

By 90’s I’d purchased a VHS tape of the film.

Figured it out yet?

How about if I mention “thermostellar triggering device”?

Beach ball alien?

Veil Neubula?


Of course, now you remember, Dark Star, John Carpenter’s first movie and the only John Carpenter movie I ever liked (or even really watched, except for Halloween where I was the security guard for the theater and saw it something 23 times, but after years of therapy, I feel much better).

It’s a quirky movie.  Low budget as this was Carpenter’s senior project for film school.  How it ever made it to a real theater or to home video is a subject beyond the scope of this post.  I will say that when it was discovered by guys like me who thought George Lucas’ THX1138 was a better story than Star Wars, Dark Star entered that cult realm where it has entered a kind of immortality.

“Benson, Arizona, the same stars in the sky

But they seemed so much kinder when we watched them, you and I”

For the few of you who’ve not had the joy of watching this film over and over again, let me summarize the plot:

The Dark Star is an interstellar scout ship that has been given the mission of scouting out places were people can colonize and using its bombs, the “thermostellar triggering devices,” the crew destroys unstable planets making the area safe.  The problem is that the ship is falling apart – a radiation explosion destroyed the crew’s quarters and a short-circuit in the his chair during a hyperspace jump killed Commander Powell.  The crew has been at this for 20 years and is starting to have a number of mental break downs.  During one malfunction bomb number 20 decides it’s received a message to drop, but the main computer talks to it and convinces it to return to the bomb bay – yes the bombs are smart.  Later during a real bomb run another malfunction fails to release the bomb and it starts its countdown to blow up while still attached to the ship.  Dolittle, the ship’s second in command, talks to the bomb using Cartesian doubt and tells the bomb that the message it received to explode is false.

Which is great as bomb #20 returns to the bomb bay to consider what Dolittle just said.  Sadly for the crew a few minutes later the bomb announces, “In the beginning there was darkness … and I saw I was alone. Let there be light.”  And it promptly blows up.

Yes, the film is noted in most references as being a comedy.

There are moments in the film that are down right funny, like when sergeant Pinback chases an alien shaped like a beach ball (actually it is a beach ball with claws glued on).  The special effects are cheesy and the dialog, is just plan formulaic, but the way it is delivered dead pan by the actors just adds to the fun.

Well, there are maybe a thousand or two of us on the planet who love this film.

I mean you’ve got to love a SciFi movie whose title song is sung by a gravelly voiced country singer.

While the movie has always had a special place in my heart and funny bone, the movies and books of that era had a special something that something that I find so hard to describe.  As a teen and young adult, there was always this yearning to be part of a big adventure – to do something bold, to go somewhere strange, to do the impossible, and be the hero.

Maybe it’s just a natural part of being young, but I so wanted to fly between the stars or to explore the mysteries of the universe.

Why this has stuck in my head I can’t really say.  Nostalgia? Unfulfilled dreams?

Or perhaps as I get closer to retirement, the more I think of the extremes of my life often  find my mind drifting back to my youth and that time when everything seemed fresh and there was a universe to discover.

Someday, I’ll invite you over and we can watch the film – in a double feature with Silent Running.


Here’s the song for you to enjoy:

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Friday Wisdom – Google search

So the other day I thought of something that I should look with a google search.  By the time I got a browser window up, I’d forgotten what I was going to search for.

So I typed in, “Short term memory loss in aging men.”

Interesting stuff.  There was this really great article about it.  Can’t remember what it said, but you should read it.

I also discovered a sale for 2-cup tea pots and that my favorite table saw blades are in stock at the local Home Depot.


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Catching Cold

Where did the phase, “I caught a cold” come from?  It’s one of those weird idioms.

I love idioms – those weird phrases we say that don’t really mean what the words mean.

You know like, “I’m all ears.”  Now that would be a weird, strange and possibly frightening image.  Serious, you’re covered in ears from head to toe?  How do you breathe? Eat?

Or how about the ever popular, “Hitting the nail on the head”?  Do you ever have a hammer in your hand when you say that? Are you even in a room with a nail and hammer when it’s said.  There’s a guy at my office who likes to say, “Let’s hit it on the head this time.”  You hit me on the head, with or without a hammer, and you’ll find me escalating the situation quickly.

If you think too much about these things, you’ll realize how stupid they sound.  Hence the word, “idiom” derived from manifestation of stupid – the idiot (who cares if that’s true or not, it’s a fun explanation).

But getting back to the “elephant in the room”, “catching a cold”, it seems that I have in fact caught a cold.  I didn’t mean to catch one.  I didn’t go out into the garden with a big net and swoop one up.  There aren’t any little traps on my desk to ensnare wandering microbes.

No, just the other day at work my throat felt scratchy.  At first I just put it down to have been assigned to a new manager and spending the whole day talking to him.  Mostly I was telling him how to do his job and he was mostly ignoring me, which is working well for us so far.

By the second day of marathon meetings to create a “road map” of all the work we’ve promised to do and aren’t likely to get done, (this is high-tech, the point of the road map is to have a map of where we’re going, not to actually go there – different processes, longer post), I was starting to feel a bit “under the weather.”

Well, living mostly on the ground and the clouds going over my head, I’m “under the weather” most of the time except when flying in an air plane which sometimes goes over the weather.

But I digress.

I have a cold.  You know the stuffy, coughy, can’t breathe kind of cold with a cough.  It’s annoying.  First you can’t breathe, then you break out into coughing fits followed by the world spinning slow counter-clockwise (or withershins for those of you studying 16th century Low German and it’s impact on the Scottish language).  It’s worse at night as every thing backs up and sneezing starts.  At least it’s a break from coughing.

My father use to describe two phases of a cold as: “At first you’re afraid you’ll die followed by a period when you’re afraid you won’t die.”

He use to also tell me, “If you take care of yourself, get lots of rest, and drink plenty of liquids, you’ll be over the cold in 14 days.  If you don’t, it could take two weeks.”  Thanks Dad!

The most annoying thing about the cold is that I sit around, take some medication and start to feel better.  After awhile I start to feel like I could go do something.  Then I stand up and move and that withershins (or the world moving backwards) starts up.  I was supposed to read the Bible lesson in church this morning for the big show, Easter Sunday.  Instead, I tried to leave a message on the pastor’s voice mail.  Luckily for me, Heather had the pastor’s cell phone so I could send a text without all the coughing and spluttering.

When did pastor’s start doing text messaging? I missed a memo there.

Well, I’ll have to end this post now.  I think it’s time for either my decongestant, or my cough medicine or my blood pressure pills.  Did I take that extra vitamin C I was thinking of? Umm, did I confuse the BP pills for the vit C? Was it 10 or 20 milligrams for the cough syrup.  Wow, that might explain this post.

There you have it right from the horse’s mouth, idioms are strange and colds a pain.



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