Over the moon

Just heard the news. SpaceX is going to the moon late 2018. Two paying passengers will be doing an Apollo 8 type mission which won’t actually land, but will take a Dragon Capsule for a couple of Lunar orbits before doing a slingshot back to Earth orbit.

My inner child has just popped his tousled head up from his ‘Space Heroes of 1971’ annual and is currently punching the air and painting imaginary pictures.spacex-moon-mission-artistic-impression like this one. Which is essentially a collage of three public domain images. As for a landing, well, that may have to wait a couple of years if Musk and his merry men are involved. He’s hired some talented people and they’ve fixed the tail first landing issues. So a Lunar landing may follow. And space tourism. Or more likely a ‘space bus’ service which can get people from orbit to the moon with a weather eye on a manned Mars mission.

Another part of me is going; “Some good news at last!” because I don’t want to know about all the bullshit about ‘fixing the problems down here before we send some rich dudes around the moon on a joyride’. I hated those kind of anti-space exploration arguments when I first heard them at school almost forty five years ago and I think anyone who voices them knows next to nothing about humanity. Earth will always have the same problems of poverty, war, disease, hatred and inconvenient migraines.

Stopping a space programme until we all live in some impossible utopia where everyone is happy will mean we’ll be waiting to get off this third rock from the sun a long, long time. Probably never. Did the Wright Brothers wait until the problems of the world were fixed before hoiking their ungainly machine to Kittyhawk and launching it along some rickety wooden rails? No. Did any Victorian era explorer stop as they were about to pull out of home harbour and say; “Sorry lads. Trips off. Someone’s poor old Aunt Gertie has a sick kitten.” Of course not.

Every argument I’ve ever heard about space exploration being a ‘waste of money’ has turned out to be complete bollocks. If humanity hadn’t sent satellites and manned missions into space we’d know next to nothing about the Van Allen Radiation belts and the Earth’s magnetic shield. There would be no GPS, no pictures of the Earth from the moon that gave fuel to the Environmental movement. Never mind about all the innovations and indirect spin offs in materials technology. Space exploration does one thing which we could never have done without it. It gives us a greater awareness of ourselves in the cosmos, and even if we are only An invisible dot on an invisible dot.” At least because of our faltering steps into the night, we will come to know what we are and can get a better perspective on some of the worse ideas down here.

If Elon Musk and his team can pull it off, good for him. I think they can.

Here we snow again

It’s eleven on Monday morning. Two hours ago I looked out of my office window to see a grey sky that looked full of rain. An hour and a half ago it started snowing. Now it is snowing quite heavily, with visibility under a hundred and fifty metres.

This is rather absurd because over the weekend we were promised snow, which did put a dusting on the hills further north, but left our little domicile basking in sunlight. Now we’re getting dumped on. This is Victoria. The Canadian Riviera. It’s not supposed to snow here. Where’s that global warming when you really need it?

Seriously though this is just another part of the usual climate cycle. Some years it’s warm, sometimes it’s not, and despite all the fluffy whiteness currently descending upon us, it’s just weather. Like all the climate Cassandras out there, wandering round like old school bible thumpers constantly prophesying that “The end is nigh.” keep saying when things don’t happen as they predict, and that anyone who’s ever driven to work or taken a transatlantic flight is somehow guilty of causing a warmer or colder than average spring day. Earth’s climate is a chaotic system, and so far the climate models have more in common with the obscurity of Nostradamus’ poetic prognostications or a newspaper astrologer than reality. These are models that idiots like Trudeau want to impose carbon taxes for? The climate models that don’t actually work?

Never mind. Today I have forms to fill in and send to the UK. My offshore bank is closing down because similarly bureaucratic-minded morons think that relatively small time investors like me are all wicked money launderers who need to have Mr and Mrs Spank take a quick trip to bottyland. So the bureaucrats have upped the regulatory burden to the point where there’s no profit in it for my bank any more. Of course the big guys with millions will be fine, they can afford the lawyers and shell companies, but people with only a few hundred thousand are being squeezed out of the market. Which means I have to find a new bank account and jump through even more bloody hoops to transfer my funds around Europe and the UK without getting caned by my Canadian banks extortionate foreign currency transaction fees.

At one point last week I was reduced to naked sarcasm with a bank functionary over the levels of disclosure they required to open an account. Not being satisfied with my notarised ID and credit references and previous bank statements, my late parents sources of income were demanded. To which I was forced to respond; “I don’t know. Can you hang on while I go and find a first class spirit medium and ask them?” Seriously. Trying to find another bank that will take my funds is turning out to be a Kafkaesque labour of Hercules. You’d think they didn’t want the money.

And outside the snow is falling. Onward and bloody upward.

The great white doughnut

“Hi. Bill?” The scrub clothed technician greeted us. Mrs S and I arrived late evening at the Medical Imaging unit. I’d been waiting for this scan appointment since late November. Which was originally supposed to be a ‘ten day’ appointment, where they’re supposed to contact you with a scheduled appointment date within ten working days. I’d had to chase after six weeks of nada and get an first appointment for the end of March, then chase for an earlier cancellation. Oh the joys of Universal Health care.

Inside I was fairly sloshing with the extra litre of water I’d been instructed to consume within the previous hour. No, I wasn’t to substitute any other fluid. Had to be plain water, not beer or pop, okay? So I’d chugged down two and a half pints before leaving the house for our trek across town to the hospital. Good job we weren’t using public transport. I’d have left a puddle somewhere en route.

Confirmed my identity by checking in with my BC Care card. Was I a citizen? Of course. Robes over there, keep your underwear on. Then once reclad in one of those pale surgical blue ‘gowns’ with the big draught in the back, sat down and chatted aimlessly with Mrs S until called into a side room and asked to lie on a low treatment bench. All very folksy and informal. The next mildly unpleasant surprise was having some ‘contrast media’ pumped into my system. So, into my arm went a cannula (Good technique, hardly felt the needle.) and a syringe full of contrast was pumped into my veins.

More questions. Was I worried about the radiation? No, I’d probably had worse on a transatlantic flight. Then after asking me when I’d had a previous scan (in the mid 1990’s) the technician seemed to have doubt about whether I needed this scan at all and disappeared to consult with somebody else. Which left me feeling a little annoyed. If they didn’t do the bloody scan, how in the name of Satan’s trousers were they going to find the source of my chronic pain?

But when he returned a few minutes later, all appeared to have been resolved and I was led into the Temple of the Great White Doughnut, laid on its sacrificial motorised altar and hooked up to a contrast drip. Arms over my head, the motorised bed smoothly delivered me into the centre of this holy medical relic. Red lights flashed, the hieroglyphics of blue lit controls stayed steady. I closed my eyes and breathed in and out or held my breath as instructed via an intercom built into this great holy relic. The motorised bed whined in and out of the Great White Doughnut inscribed with the occult rune ‘Siemens’. Something buzzed a few times as images were taken. All I could do was lie there, my bladder bulging with all the extra fluids.

After a couple of runs through the torus, I was unhooked from the drip and the cannula was removed from my arm with an imprecation to press on the dressing in case I soiled their nice clean floor with my inconvenient blood. Then it was out, quick trip to water the horses and back out to change into my skivvies for the drive home. I was a bit peeved at not being able to see what the scans were telling anyone, because when it comes to bad news I’d rather know than not. The report will be with my GP by Wednesday I’m told, and the next part of the saga will begin. More hurry up and wait.

I feel sorry for Mrs S, she’s the one who will fret and worry while I’m being prodded and submitted to whatever ministrations the doctors decree. I told her I can handle whatever happens, and at least money won’t be a problem, even if my condition does turn out to be something nasty. Note to self; double check the will. Because if I am coming to a premature halt, I want her to be able to forget me in style.

New books

A literary interlude is on the cards with probable forthcoming hospital stays. Last time I was so immobilised, I took to reading and trying to memorise the complete works of Rudyard Kipling with a side order of Defoe and Melville. This time I went and raided the bookstore for almost the complete works of Earnest Hemingway.

Mrs S will be travelling to London on her own to see Youngest this year because I have to keep my diary clear for possible surgical interventions. Which is annoying, but as one brought up in the stoic tradition of “What cannot be cured must be endured”, what else am I to do? Keep taking the tablets and chill with the pills.

I haven’t read Hemingway since my English Literature class trudged (mostly – I still like reading) unwilling teenagers halfway through ‘A Farewell to Arms’. As for literature in general, just don’t talk to me about Brontes or Jane Austen. Did Wuthering Heights and Sense and Sensibility for English Literature A level, and I’m still having unpleasant flashbacks. Fortunately we had a teacher who explained how to understand the middle English of Geoffrey Chaucer and some of the better Shakespearean jokes. Which was a compensation for the Wessex novels of Thomas Hardy (Don’t ask). Frankly I found Calculus, Logarithms, and Binomial expansion more fun.

a-few-hemingwaysFirst pick was of course ‘The old man and the sea’, but as it’s a bit on the short side I also bought ‘The Sun also rises’, ‘Death in the Afternoon’ and seven others. See the picture of my latest acquisitions currently hogging the seat of my office reading chair. There is also a used collection of Milton, Conrads classic ‘The Heart of Darkness’ and sundry others to grace the old bookshelves and keep Lady Chatterly’s Lover warm on those draughty upper shelves above my collection of Terry Pratchetts. If time allows I’m going to delve further into D H Lawrence, I’m sure he won’t mind.

As far as ‘macho’ writers like Hemingway are concerned, there are people out there who are keen to tell everyone what they can and cannot read, say or think because it contradicts one of their sacred ‘ists’ or ‘isms’, but right at this moment they can all sod off because my plate’s a little full right now and I truly can’t be arsed.

Happy reading.

A very good question

Was wandering around the local supermarket to top up the groceries yesterday and caught an old half remembered Matt Monro song “We’re gonna change your world” over the PA which contained the line “Died for others to live better…” Which tweaked a cynical nerve.

I found myself asking the question “How does dying improve life for other people?” Well, they might be a complete, irrevocable, anti-social, destructive pain which humanity is better off without. Yeah, that would help. If the person to die were damaging to the rest of humanity, certainly their death might help others live better. Like putting down a monster will save them taking more lives. But what I’m driving at today is the whole notion of martyrdom, be it religious or secular. Who does martyrdom, in light of even the most cursory examination, help? It’s almost exactly like suicide, this willing surrender of precious life. Because no matter what anyone else tells you, you only get one.

Now I’ve seen it written down that there are few good reasons for dying, but an awful lot more for living. Causes to die for? Don’t make me laugh. That kind of cause is as cheap as chips and common as shit, because it’s not the people who want you to cease to exist for their espoused ’cause’ who are in the front line. Besides, dying is easy, any bloody fool can do it. The real challenge is ordinary day to day living and making life better for others one day at a time. Now that’s hard.

In the Western Christian tradition, we are indoctrinated from our first words that a certain Judean Carpenters son ‘died for our sins’ around a couple of thousand years ago. And I reiterate my question, why is dying for other people a good thing? Surely living for them might be a better idea. Living people can build, debate, repair, love and compose. Dead people, no matter their symbolism, can only decompose.

Perhaps if Joshua Ben Joseph had got out of town while the getting was good there would have been a whole lot less religious persecution and a lot better carpentry. The Jews would have had it better too. No two thousand years of Christian or Muslim inspired pogroms and massacres because Christianity might have become a different faith, and Islam might never have arisen. Which from a casualties point of view, might not have been such a bad thing. Pagans too would have been better off with fewer of them burned alive, not so many drowned on ducking stools or any other form of religion inspired execution.

Unfortunately, what I have learned about humanity during my life is that, at least emotionally, so many bog standard humans resemble Minions for their spiteful zealotry and mindless tribal tendency to bicker in what appears to many, complete gibberish. Unlike the cartoon Minions, the real life version is neither comical nor harmless.

So in all probability these zealots would have only found another excuse to violently attack and even kill others in remarkably inventive ways down the centuries. Often over little more than a difference of opinion. And will continue to do so on the least pretence. Not only will they let their untrained Dogma crap all over your philosophical lawn, they’re more than willing to murder you and yours if you object. Then tell everyone else they did it because you were ‘a ‘bad’ person. For whatever they say is ‘bad’. Even though you are no real physical threat to them, your contrasting opinion cannot be heard, because they say it’s wrong. As we have seen with the anti-Trump protests. The unhinged zealotry of the protesters, and their willingness to do harm to others holding an alternative point of view are a classic example. They view all opinions outside of their own tight little sphere as heresy, and in earlier times would most likely have been enthusiastic witch burners or ardent National Socialists. The same mindset applies. Even if these zealots are guilty of the same ‘sins’ as those they accuse. It is their violence that separates them from those who have a justifiable grievance.

Me, I’m content for people to hold other opinions, but am of the strong view that martyrdom or death in any cause save immediate preservation of your family or defence is utterly barking.

Anyway. Hospital this evening for scans and fluids. Lots of bloody fluids and lying still holding my breath wishing I could see what the scans were telling me. Not sure what’s up. Perhaps some of those people who screamed “I hope you fucking well get CANCER!” in my face back in the day are getting their wish. Perhaps it’s something more benign. Whatever the quacks find, I’ll deal with it. Although I happen to be rather fond of living, and will use any available means to keep indulging my favourite breathing habit, no matter how irritating it is to some. Because my dying will not improve anybody else’s life. Also because, in the words of Robert Frost;

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

And the promises I have solemnly given must and will be kept.

There’s news, and then there’s news

Now this post isn’t about ‘fake’ news, or op-eds decrying whichever side in the ongoing media wars that swamp all the mainstream outlets, but more the result of my nasty suspicious little mind. I’ve lived too long on this Earth to be anything less than cynical and as an investor, cynicism is a very useful tool. So it is with me.

There are lots of stories in the news about Iran preparing to give the USA a ‘slap in the face‘. Which looks like an act of monstrous ingratitude considering the bundle of cash Obama sent them special delivery over the much vaunted Iran Nuclear Deal. Why would this be? Weren’t the USA trying to be nice to the Iranians? Maybe it’s time to turn that sand into glass.

But hang on. Considering recent attempts to improve relations between Iran and the USA there’s more to this situation than meets the eye. Especially when I did a little googling of my own and found that the Iranians are having severe internal troubles. In one instance recently they deployed large numbers of elite units to Ahvaz in the agricultural region of Khuzestan where massive riots have broken out over a collapse in public services. And Iran being the type of state it is, is looking to do the old “Look! Over there!” trick by blaming the eternal enemy, the USA, which is the whipping boy for all Iran’s troubles. Nothing to do with Iran’s rulers cocking it up at all. Some sources are talking about another internal ‘Green Revolution’ against the hard line Islamic state. The one in 2009 failed, but what about this time round? Oil revenues are way down, so how are the Iranians going to fund this war-talk?

Similarly with North Korea and their threats to drop a nuclear bomb on the USA. If their missiles worked reliably and could carry such a warhead without the Yanks shooting it down. Now flip the news and consider the following. The Chinese, long North Korea’s biggest coal customer are pissed off over the Koreans bumping off Kim Jong Un’s older half brother, who was under Chinese protection and have been stopping shipments of coal at the border. No coal sales (for the rest of the year) mean no money, no wages and no food for all the soldiers that the North Koreans need to keep their top down militaristic state staggering along. Which in turn means economic collapse and somebody, no names, no pack drill, might just end up getting stomped to death by an angry mob while his bodyguards are having a suspiciously long tea break (or even his own bodyguards). So the North Korean state has to divert attention from the privations of their population. Nowadays I look at these repeated threats of a missile attack as being just North Korea’s funny little way of putting out the begging bowl for foreign aid. Essentially saying “We’ve got a missile and a bomb, honestly. Send money, we’re broke.”

Thinking about it, perhaps President Trump should be talking to the Chinese about letting the current North Korean regime collapse and maybe negotiate the withdrawal of US troops from the DMZ and South Korea with some form of ‘hands off’ agreement from both sides while a reunited Korea rebuilds and gets the North Koreans used to a better standard of living. The smart move would be to let the Chinese gain ‘face’ (Which is more important to them than money) and lose a troublesome neighbour. Then apart from the row over the Spratly’s, perhaps there could be a cooling down of tensions in the region. At least as far as the Chinese and Americans are concerned. The recent dispatch of an aircraft carrier to the region could then be turned into a ‘goodwill visit’ and allow the Chinese to have a field day trying to steal some of the USA’s less valuable military secrets. It’s a thought.

Mrs S and I often discuss these matters over our weekend breakfasts, and find it useful to look at the news as a ‘join the dots’ puzzle, because while a lot of people get ‘offended’ by superficial stuff then run around like headless chickens with their knickers rammed up their arses, the smarter folk take a breath, step back and try and get a feel for the broader picture, which is often very different from the one many news outlets would have you see.

The X-files were right about one thing, the truth is out there, but it’s not about aliens or strange phenomena. No, it’s far more interesting and profitable than that.

Update: The North Korean regime are now openly mocking China, as well as pissing off the relatively friendly Malaysians. This may be a great miscalculation on their part. China will not like losing face to these upstarts, and I can already hear the squeaking of economic screws tightening from all the way across the Pacific. This may be peppered with gunshots as the NK’s lash out (A very bad move) leading to a Chinese invasion. The NK’s may even have a go at the South (an even worse move), but burning their bridges with their only real protector is about as dumb as it gets.

So; what to do? That’s one for the military and political tacticians with a nod to the UN security council. Let the Chinese invade to the 38th Parallel? By negotiated arrangement of course. Then let the Chinese do their thing and install their own new puppet of a civilian administration. Add a little Chinese style capitalism, some inbound western investment and leave to brew for a decade.

Outcomes? Short term; very bad for the North Korean populace, so no change there. Medium term; very bad for the current North Korean regime. Which I don’t think anyone will shed any tears over. Long term; better for North Korea as it opens up to the greater world and finally discovers, like China, the delights capitalism can offer.

From the comments; just loved Elenamitchells nickname for NK dictator Kim Jong Un as ‘Spoonbanger’. Very apt.

Woodwork and nail guns

Well that’s it, the Drinks cabinet is finished and the house smells of varnish and woodstain, which will go away after a few days. Frankly I’ve stopped noticing it already. Everything works and Mrs S has a better looking reading corner. Job done.

One nice surprise was my electric stapling gun. An Arrow ETF50PBN, which is fine for what I need it for, and makes stapling domestic cable runs a breeze. Only good for softwoods though, but I don’t need anything heavy duty. What amused me was it is able to shoot nails too. Well, one type of nail, a 5/8th inch BN1810 to be precise which will require a last tap with a light hammer to drive home, but this is good. I now have a capability I didn’t think I had. No more bent nails because my hammering technique is on a par with a Tourettes sufferer with a bad case of sleep deprivation, and using a nail gun there’s no denting of the wood.

Home Depot still stocks the nails and staples, so despite being over fifteen years old my electric stapler / nail gun will do all I need it for. Which was the final nailing of the finished back over the rear of our pine drinks cabinet. This final phase took longer because I stained the outer skin, so that was another two hours drying time out in the garage (We have a garage! For the first time in absolute yonks!), so fixing the back happened about seven pm last night.

The new home is taking better shape after six weeks. Pictures are finally going up on walls with more to do. Mrs S and I are discussing ways to make the place look a little more homelike, a little less stark whilst retaining the lack of clutter and not spending a bloody fortune. Things have been worse.

eutanic-rock-and-a-hard-placeI’m also keeping a weather eye on the currency markets and looking at taking a serious (for me) short position on the Euro. The Euro is going to take a big hit over the next few months due to the French and Dutch elections because of the strong showing Euro-sceptic candidates of Le Pen in France and Wilders in the Netherlands garnering popular support. The news coming out of Sweden and France regarding Immigrant riots and the large uptick in sex crime will give them extra momentum. So it’s a fairly safe bet to say that if the Euro sceptics don’t win, they will at least come in a close second. In the meantime, I’ll be shorting the Euro. I may lose a bit at first, but what with BREXIT looking a bit more steady, the EUtanic will be going down and I’ll be able to trade out at a reasonable profit. We may even see the return of the Franc and Guilder. That will be interesting.

Forgiving Milo

Milo Yiannopoulos; who is he? An Ex-Editor at Breitbart.com (He just resigned). A provocateur against the radical fascisti of the political left. A free speech activist. An anti-radical feminist. A screaming queen and an absolute hoot. He’s a gay who has a predilection for males of an African heritage and doesn’t give a shit who knows it. Having watched quite a few of his YouTube videos I actually quite like the man, he’s funny. Anyone who annoys the pantywaisters of the radical far left (or right) is okay with me. He’s a welcome antidote to the fascist on campus PC culture currently poisoning academia and spilling out into the greater online world.

Who he isn’t; he’s not an advocate of paedophilia. Which is what a lot of people are using to throw him under the bus at the moment. What we have here is one of those accidents of imprecise language. His use of the word ‘boys’ is being taken out of context and inflated past the point of explosion. He’s even said so himself. His use of the word ‘boys’ I took to mean young men over the age of consent but still finding their adulthood. Like an eighteen or nineteen year old ‘girl’ who marries a man in his forties or even fifties. He was referring to what are known as “May to December” relationships which span a wider age range than is usual. The ‘girl’ benefits from her spouses life experience, and the man benefits from her untrammelled soul. Love, both hetero and homosexual is a funny beast, and what trips our triggers sexually speaking, is as diverse and intensely personal as it gets. Sexual preference is a bell curve, not a series of absolute positions. Not even if you’re working your way through the illustrated edition of ‘The Joy of sex‘.

Now as a boring old heterosexual I’m fairly ambivalent about gays. Not totally comfortable being in close proximity with them, but they are what they are and that is an end of it. However, if they leave me alone sexually I’m okay with them. I am not they, and they are not I. Quite frankly I find overt camp homosexuals like Milo modestly entertaining. A performer on a stage without whom life would be a lot less varied and colourful. My reaction to him is usually an amused “Oh what’s the little tinker up to now?” Because he does no harm, indeed he brings joy with his antics, unlike those from both the political left and right who would shut him up and enforce their vile, narrow minded little groupthinks upon the rest of us.

To me, Milo is a bright spot in a sea of earnest mental and political constipation. A dose of cayenne pepper in a bland tofu fricassee. An electric pink umbrella on a rainy day. Without that sparkle, that highlight, all else would be grey depressing dullness.

So yes, on this occasion I’m inclined to forgive Milo for his imprecise speech. Anyone with two working brain cells to bang together understands that Gay and Paedophile are not synonymous. Besides, he annoys the narrow minded net curtain twitchers of the Interweb, and that is a good thing, or else what would they have to give their worthless lives meaning?

Another little bit of woodwork

Well, I’ve reached the half way point in the Drinks Cabinet project and proved to Mrs S yet again, that she may be married to one of the world’s few real multi-tasking men. Even if I had to cheat a bit. Having said that I think I’ve perfected my recipe for fish stew, but the Lemon and Garlic Couscous to go with it needs a little work. Less lemon, a spot of butter, and a trifle more seasoning with a scattering of finely chopped bell peppers should do it. I’ll post the method and ingredients under cooking for conspiracy theorists when I’ve nailed it all down.

drinks-cabinet-during-01A small job popped in via email and was quickly dealt with, then I busied myself with the usual chores and a bit of furniture redistribution before removing the shonky looking backing of the cabinet to expose the rebate (See before and after pictures). Why someone fitted that rubbishy looking 3/8th inch square Cedar beading in there is beyond me. I took it out anyway.

drinks-cabinet-during-02Next was staining one side of the inner back section and giving it a double coat of varnish. While that was drying, I fitted a small LED strip light under the shelf, running the cable to the left and left rear of the cabinet out of the back. Then once the inner panel was dry, I dropped it into place and fixed with a few panel pins and some carpenters glue. In the words of Cinderella overheard by palace servants just after her wedding to Prince Charming “It fits! OMG! IT FITS!” Have you any idea what they were up to? Me neither.

drinks-cabinet-during-03So how far have we got? Well, not much further to go. I’ve sanded the outer panel and got rid of the labels and manufacturing stain. The light fitting works nicely, and I should be finished by supper time tomorrow. No more groping around in the semi darkness of the single malt lottery and having to squint at wine labels for us. Although the wine rack is empty as we’ve been buying 3 litre boxes of reasonable Australian and Argentinian Cabernet Sauvignons for the last few months. Which saves all the fuss and palaver with Wine Savers and other such widgets if you just aren’t in the mood to quaff a full bottle.

I’ll restock properly in a month or two when the weather improves enough for an afternoon glass or three out on the deck watching shipping drift past along the Juan De Fuca and trying to ignore all the panicky hand waving over something someone has said on the Interweb, or Donald Trumps latest policy implementation, or BREXIT, and possibly even a FREXIT if the French electorate decides to bet on Ms Le Pen. That could be fun.

In the meantime that’s it really. Same stuff, different day. Life plods on.

A little bit of woodwork

Things have slacked off on the work and financial front. Documents have all been signed, funds transferred and nothing mission critical is going to happen for the next month (I hope). So there’s not much for me to do and frankly I’m tired of listening to the mess Trudeau and all the other Liberal (Hah!) politicians are making with their virtue signalling (instead of doing the more mundane but important stuff like not spending so much) and trying to tell everyone else what they can and cannot think, the dickheads. So I’ve decided to immerse myself in a little woodwork.

There’s something soothing about natural wood and I’ve always had a penchant for a little DIY since getting my Grade 1 in woodwork at school. Something about patiently working with the grain and texture that fully engages the hands and mind, focusing the attention on minutia, driving out all the negative shit that silts up the daily consciousness. The gentle rhythmic motion of hand sanding, staining and finishing soothes the head, smoothing over all your own roughened edges and allowing a little time to put all your mental dominoes in the right order, letting the right bits of your mental jigsaw fall into their correct places and lower the blood pressure. It’s an exercise that is worth all the pills and potions in the world, and probably much better for you.

drinks-cabinet-beforeAnyway, the project I’ve begun is the improvement of a cabinet we bought two years ago. The main body of which is solid pine, which looks great, but like so much Canadian furniture the back is thin, tatty and unfinished. The current back is some very rough looking plywood which doesn’t even cover the whole back, and since we’re using the unit as a room divider, this needs ‘tidying up’. So the current back, which is frankly a bit of a bodge job (See picture), has to go.

What I’m doing is very simple. I’m removing the old and rough 3/16ths plywood and rather shabby looking beading, and replacing it with a double layer of 1/4 inch finished plywood into a rebate already cut into the pine. Which will make for a more solid back with a nicer finish, even if it does make the whole unit about ten kilos heavier. When I’m done we won’t be looking at a cheap and tatty bit of rough plywood back which needs covering with a backcloth, but a simple solid and plain looking piece of nicely finished wood grain in keeping with the antique knotty pine front and sides. Nothing fancy, although I might be tempted to add some light 1/8th inch pine beading around the edges at a later date. It all depends on the end result. So long as it looks neat and tidy when I’m done.

So far the inner layer has been cut, sanded and stained and I’m waiting for the varnish to dry before removing the ugly old (and much more fragile) cabinet backing to pin and glue the inner layer in place. Then I’m going to sand the outer piece to a fine finish on the edges, sand, stain, varnish and fix with panel pins and glue. Like I say, this is nothing complicated, just a gentle exercise in improving on a previous bodge job.

While I’m at it, I’m also fitting a small LED light internally to illuminate my single malts and the wine rack. So we’ll have a much more functional piece of kit than before. Not bothering with a motion sensor, just a simple bar light and switch.

Doing stuff like this, at least for me, helps clear the mind and improve decision making. Which is nice. More on this project later.

Expatriate expostulations from Canada; a.k.a. A Sarcastic man abroad trying to stay in the middle of the road without getting run over.

%d bloggers like this: