Saturday, January 31st, 2004
I had coffee (rather than beer) today with Roy Edroso of Alicublog (which is to my surprise pronounced "Ali-COO-blog", not "A-LICK-yooblog"), and old friend Nathaniel Heidenheimer. Roy brought to my attention the scene on p. 22 of Don Quixote -- a scene which I had smiled at when I read it a few nights previously but without realizing how excellent it is, and how exactly descriptive of my own actions in many situations throughout my life.
...he saw that it had a great defect, which was that instead of a full sallet helmet with an attached neckguard, there was only a simple headpiece; but he compensated for this with his industry, and out of pasteboard he fashioned a kind of half-helmet that, when attached to the headpiece, took on the appearance of a full sallet. It is true that in order to test if it was strong and could withstand a blow, he took out his sword and struck it twice, and with the first blow he undid in a moment what it had taken him a week to create; he could not help being disappointed at the ease with which he had hacked it to pieces, and to protect against that danger, he made another one, placing strips of iron on the inside so that he was satisfied with its strength; and not wanting to put it to the test again, he designated and accepted it as an extremely fine sallet.
I have done precisely this many times: test something which I have put a lot of effort into, find it extremely wanting, rebuild it with a little reinforcement and then skip the test -- and say to myself, the extra reinforcement is sure to make it hold.
It was good to see Nathaniel again -- he says he wants to get a blog, which would be a good thing to have happen though I am a little skeptical. He made me reconsider my support for Edwards, who he thinks is totally insincere in his economically progressive talking points.
Friday, January 30th, 2004
Don Quixote: I read (last night) the prologue and introductory verse (which I more skimmed than read), and the first chapter; tonight I reread the end of the first chapter, and read the second and third chapters. It is flowing very nicely for me and giving me some laughs. The author's voice (as realized by the translator) is very strong and consistent.
Reading After the New Economy, my first reaction is that it's far less dry and uninteresting than I found Wall Street (counter to expectations) to be. I reckon this is probably indicative of a change in my abilities to comprehend rather than in Henwood's writing style, so I should probably go back to Wall Street sometime.
Of course, another distinction between the two books is that After the New Economy has more direct personal relevance to my situation.
Update: I seem to have taken to singing, in a Jim Morrison whine/moan, "After the new econ'my, turn out the lights..." -- Alas! When phrases get stuck in my head they can hang around for weeks, sucking up resources which could otherwise be better used...
Thursday, January 29th, 2004
So here is the plan for the next few weeks, reading- and woodworkingwise: On the train to and from work, I am going to be reading After the New Economy by Doug Henwood until I finish it, then Nickeled and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, which I bought today for Ellen -- I believe she will be finished with it by the time I want it. Come home in the evening, play with Sylvia, have dinner, recreate, put Sylvia to bed. Then I will go downstairs and work on a dust collection harness for my lathe -- or when that is finished, on Ellen's bookcase or turning projects. Then come back up and read Don Quixote for an hour or so before bed. This makes it difficult to figure when I will post my reactions to DQ but I will try and make some room for that as well.
Wednesday, January 28th, 2004
I went to Coliseum Books today in search of Don Quixote. Coliseum is sold out of Don Quixote but should have a new shipment delivered tomorrow morning. I took the opportunity to buy Doug Henwood's After the New Economy instead.
Monday, January 26th, 2004
I am reading Terry Castle's review of Edith Grossman's new translation of Don Quixote, and thinking I should read it. I read the book, or large parts of it, in college, in Walter Starkie's translation, but it never really hit me -- I never had the DQ experience that I was expecting based primarily on some stuff I had read by Borges. Time to go back to it? I think so -- and Castle sure makes this new translation sound worthwhile.
My query on the turning forum has generated quite a lot of advice regarding how to control sawdust when using a lathe. I have ordered a Dustfoe 88 dust mask, and a dust collection hood to attach to the lathe. Neither is the very ideal thing, but both are within my budget and can be upgraded at some later date.
Sunday, January 25th, 2004
Turns out you need to wear protection when turning walnut. Up all last night with a mightily inflamed throat and sinuses.
Saturday, January 24th, 2004
Follow-on to the candlesticks pictures: This evening I turned another candlestick and it is way better than any of those. More interesting shape, better technique, and an actual finish! (By "better technique", I mean essentially that the surface of the turning is smooth almost everywhere, and that the cup for the candle is the right shape, tapering instead of straight.) The finish is shellac, which I mixed myself from Lee Valley's shellac flakes. I made sort of half-hearted efforts toward polishing it, that did not really work, but it is quite lovely anyway. I will post a picture of it when the roll is developed.
Thursday, January 22nd, 2004
Some new woodworking graphics in the photo album: Some candlesticks and The lathe I used to turn them.
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