Well mice actually. This morning around 2:30 am, I woke up to a noise I thought was something stuck in the fan (it was rhythmic, and seemed to be the same tone and length every time). I couldn’t see anything and decided to not bother Holly (who hasn’t been feeling well) by turning the light on. I tried to go back to sleep. After about fifteen minutes of lying there Holly sat up and I asked her if she knew what that sound was. She identified it right away as Oliver’s usual “Look what I caught!” noise, then put a pillow over her face (she can embalm a corpse that’s been rotting for days, but can’t bare to look at a mouse in her house?).
I jumped up, grabbed my camera and chased the cats down to the main floor. Oliver ran into Gage’s room and laid in a pile of his clothes. I got him to move into the kitchen, then opened the front door and picked him up (I would have grabbed him sooner, but I was worried that when I did, he’d drop it and it would take off). Usually when he goes outside he freezes and meows in terror. I set him down, turned on the camera and sure enough the little bastard tried to take off on me. I stopped recording and grabbed him. Once I had a hold of him, I shook him a little and he loosened his grip. I picked him up again and shook him a little more, and he dropped it. As soon as it hit the ground the mouse took off running. I wasn’t sure it was still alive, and it might not be anymore. I did notice however that the mouse pooped in Oliver’s mouth while I was picking him up. Gross.
This is what I’m currently working on. It’s the first of several images James neglected to mention appear in the second appendix of the book. I just got them last Friday and started this that afternoon. I’ve put quite a few hours into it already, and I’m probably only about half done (if I’m lucky). It’s pretty difficult to wrap my head around how to make this look realistic, and not like it’s modeled in 3d on a computer.
The finished version won’t have all the dark colours (those are just because I was playing), and will hopefully look perfect when it’s scaled down to fit the text. It’s supposed to look like the image below, and give people an idea of what wood looks like on a cellular level.
I should be done it later tonight, but right now I’m being lazy and watching Enterprise. I was supposed to be getting wood, but it looks like I’ll have to do that another night. I’ve tried calling the person I’m supposed to meet about 30 times today, and now I’m giving up.
Once I finish all these images, there is just a few corrections to make to one drawing, then some minor layout adjustments, followed by some photo spreads and finally a revised cover. Ir’s getting closer and closer, but when I break it all down like that it sounds like a lot to do.
Saturday evening we all went to the Mandarin for Holly’s birthday meal. Jon and Laura had come down to do some business at the border with Jon’s work visa, so they decided to join us. When we got there we all went to get food immediately. Holly, Gage and Roan were the first ones back at the table, and the waiter walked over and ask if we were celebrating anything special. Holly said no, but I came back just in time and yelled “It’s her birthday! It’s her birthday!” and pointed at her.
When we were done our meal, they brought her a piece of cake and sang Happy Birthday. After she made her wish, they took a photo of all of us and gave it to us in a magnetic frame. I think it’s the only photo I’ve ever seen where both Gage and Roan were actually smiling and not trying to ruin the photo (although I noticed Roan did sneak in his chopstick impaled longan).
Don’t let our friendly smiles fool you. We spit venom from those teeth.
Saturday was Holly’s birthday. I haven’t been able to obtain the materials I need to construct her shelves yet (hopefully today is the day though), but I did make her a card. Since her and the boys are heading to Disney in November, all she wanted was American money, so I decided to make her card out of money and put a note inside.
It wasn’t my first idea, but I struggled with figuring out how to make a decent card. Then I remembered that Holly brought home a bunch of paper clips a few weeks ago when she brought a stack of resumes for me to sign. Before that I was going to attempt to fold the money into a card, but I didn’t want to crease the bills – they came out of the bank machine feeling fake they were so fresh! I used every paper clip we had,Â it took me about 15 minutes and a lot of patience.
If I had more money to give I’d have made it a little different. I would have weaved the bills so that it was more firm (and possibly omit the paper clips), but I think that would have taken at least another $200.
Later today I have to call about getting lumber for the shelves, and then hopefully by this evening I’ll be laying out joints in the basement. Holly is off to So You Think You Can Dance tonight (and again next week), and the boys are at their dad’s. With any luck I can have all the layout done on at least one set of shelves before she even gets home, and maybe even some of the cutting.
I’ve been calling around looking for lumber to build Holly’s shelves with, but most places here sell green hardwood. If I bought that, I’d be lucky if I could use the wood before next year. I called McQueen Custom Cuts in Welland a couple of times last week, but no one was getting back to me. I actually know the owner from Niagara College. He was one of my instructors when I took the Construction Techniques course in 2007. That course was where my interest in timber framing began. Our textbook had a brief paragraph on Post and Beam and about 3 images of typical joints used in timber framing, as well as some images showing the larger spans building with big wood allows. At the end of the year, our big presentation had to be on some building method we hadn’t done in the course but that we felt had certain advantages over typical stick (stud) framing. I chose to do my presentation on a combination of two alternative building methods: post and beam, and straw bale infill.
I spent a lot of time researching the timber frame part, since I had already done a lot of reading about straw bale. I managed to throw together a decent powerpoint presentation which my instructors were mildly impressed with, and James McQueen (my instructor) brought in pictures of his own timber framed home the next day. He showed us some photos of the raising and then the finished product which he offered to give a tour of to any of us who would like it. I think only me and possibly two other guys took him up on the offer, but I’m glad I did. After seeing his house I decided to pursue a career in timber framing.
Wednesday night, Holly had her family over for cake. Her brother needed a copy of something I had, so I spent ten or fifteen minutes flipping through spools of DVDs. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I did find a cd of photos from the college course they gave us on the last day (which I don’t think I’ve ever looked at before). Yesterday I got a phone call back from Mr. McQueen who said he remembered me when he heard my voice on his machine. He said it was weird that he got the message when he did, because he had just returned to the shop after doing one of his first classes of the year where they showed the cd I had just found the night before. He hadn’t thought much about me until he saw the top image an hour earlier, then came home to find me on his answering machine looking for wood. Weird.
I was supposed to go see him Monday evening, but I just remembered Holly is gone to So You Think You Can Dance that night, so I don’t think I’ll be able to leave (unless I can convince the boys to come to an after hours sawmill while I talk about things that won’t interest them in the slightest). He said he’s probably got what I need, which is a relief. Now I’m just worried about the price. I’m planning to bring my laptop so I can show him the renderings and the shop drawings. Holly’s dad has agreed to let me use his tools, so it shouldn’t take long once I have the materials. Unfortunately it won’t be ready in time for her birthday tomorrow.
Here is the kitchen me and my group made in the Habitat for Humanity house we made at Niagara College. The house was a duplex with very little room for anything. The kitchen was designed to have room for a table, but there really isn’t space for one. My group did everything in this room: framing, insulation/vapor barrier, electrical outlets, drywall, trim, cabinets. It wasn’t the best, but I doubt anything built by volunteers is.
This is half the finished product (it’s a duplex, so picture the same thing mirrored on the left), minus a lawn or driveway. I have been past the place once since completing it, and it definitely looks much better with landscaping. It’s also the newest house on the street, which in that part of town probably makes it one of the nicest. However, I remember how stupid most of the other kids in my class were, and I’m pretty sure this house will have major issues in the future if it hasn’t already.
I almost forgot that I made this rather large (in file size, not pixels) animated png of my army of tripods. It may not run on your machine, depending on what you’re using and how good your internet connection is, but trust me it’s marvelous. I’m done messing with these guys now. I’m still trying to get a copy of the live War of the Worlds DVD, and after I watch that I’m hoping my WOW obsession subsides so I can go back to enjoying other music and thinking about other monsters (not just tripods with heat rays).
Holly and I went to St Catharines on Saturday (turns out she doesn’t hate me) to find some of those diodes Shawn needed to jtag my xbox. Then we went to the market and got some local fruit for us and eccle cakes for my dad. We had to kill some time before we could drop off the diodes to Shawn, so we had lunch at Strega before heading to Welland. We gave Shawn the diodes, then hung out for a bit. We smoked a joint and played with his new dog, until a giant spider caught my attention and we started throwing huge mosquitos at it’s web, watching it race over and wrap them up before they got away. I left my camera in Holly’s purse, which she left in her car, so I didn’t get any photos or video. Shawn’s mom brought her camera out, but I couldn’t get it to focus very well. If he uploads them to youtube I’ll post a link to them. It was pretty neat.
We left Shawn’s and headed over to my parent’s place to drop off the eccles and pick up the saw. I decided to show my dad the renderings I did of the first shelf, and he seemed pretty impressed with both the design and the renderings. I showed him a few other things I’ve posted here, but didn’t show him the blog (he still doesn’t know about this site, or my bad habits and it’s probably better that way). He really liked my little robot I call Goggles, and even asked me to send him links to it so he could show it off to someone else. I’ve decided I should get another domain where I can host a portfolio of all my work.
I also mentioned to my dad the possibility of me designing more furniture similar to these shelves, and compiling my own $5.00 ebook for D.I.Y. crafters to download. I’ve already got two different (although highly similar) shelf designs, complete with dimensioned shop drawings. I can easily think of a few other small projects I could include to make it worth someone paying $5.00 for. Although I’ll be holding off until I prove that this design works by building it for real.
My dad was a bit worried that I had posted the shop drawings online in case someone uses them for free, but I would be flattered if someone thought my design was worth stealing. I also did give the go ahead in a previous post. So I’m going to share this redesigned version too and if someone decides to also make it, I’m fine with that. I just ask that you send photos.
Click on the shop drawing for a bigger version that is easier to read.
Looks like I spoke too soon on my previous post. After sleeping on it, and a little salesmanship on my behalf, Holly changed her mind on the birthday bookshelf. On Saturday morning I had to model a mock up of what built-in bookshelves would look like so Holly could see the difference.
After agreeing to change theÂ design so it can accommodate a third shelf, and eliminating the 10Â° slope so the shelves are not limited to books but can also be used to rest picture frames on when needed, she agreed to go with my original design.
I spent a few minutes yesterday afternoon making the changes to the model, and dimensioning some new shop drawings. Overall, the design hasn’t changed that much. It’s now 8″ taller, and there are three sets of plumb/level shelves which are perfect for picture frames, and books. I also decided to make the wedges a little bigger on the vertical supports. The original design had them smaller on one tenon than on the other, but I decided to make life easier by using the same size for all.
I plan to go later today and see what wood I can get that would be suitable for this design. My dad lent me his circular saw, since I have yet to replace the one I left in someone’s car, but I’d rather use a table saw so I’m hoping Holly’s dad will let me use his and possibly his surface planer (if needed). With any luck I will have at least one (hopefully 3) completed before Saturday.
It’s very important we get these vampire novels, and bombshell bio’s off the carpet A.S.A.P.
Remember those tripodal martians I modeled last week? here is a rendering I did of a bunch of them zapping nothing with their heat rays. Some of them are broken, lying on their back. Some are still massive, murderous monsters from Mars set on destroying humanity and erasing any trace of our existence.
I only let it render overnight, but I think it looks good enough. I wish I could render at larger sizes, but I’m still only using the trial version of Indigo. I also really want to be able to get models I make printed on a rapid-prototyper. I would love to have any one of the things I’ve made sitting on my desk reminding me of how awesome I am.