reprogramming the Baby
Sunday, October 17 2010
It was a beautiful sunny day, with temperatures up to nearly 70 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm liking this new outdoorsy version of myself, like a veal calf unchained! Today while Gretchen was off at the Farm Animal Sanctuary helping spread vegan propaganda to impressionable community-collegiate minds, I stayed home and worked on building a replacement for the greenhouse door. I decided to use treated two by fours as the main structural material, splitting most of them all in half to form cross sections of 1.75 by 1.5 inches. I left the top and bottom framing of the door as full two-by-fours, and this meant forming a joint between the two was a bit complicated. Because of their tendency to force right angles, I'm a fan of the mitred joint in such applications, but mitering two pieces of lumber of different dimensions is awkward. So I made a sort of half-mitre/half-butt joint instead (see the second of these two illustrations).
Such cuts would have been hard to pull off accurately before I got a bandsaw, though I'm still a long way from attempting dovetail joints. Fortunately, a standard mitre joint is plenty strong if secured by a screw or two. The joints I made today were so orthogonal that I didn't have to make any adjustments to the geometry after putting it all together.
I've been trying to do some sort of firewood gathering every day until I get fully in-shape for the wood-gathering season. So today I took my chainsaw down the Stick Trail to just past the Chamomile, to a place I would have thought should be completely tapped-out of salvageable firewood, and proceeded to cut up nearly two carts' worth of wood from just random trees I'd overlooked in past seasons (either for being too small or too rotten). It turns out that even very rotten-looking trees can be full of good burnable wood.
Back at my greenhouse door project, I was satisfied with its framing, but I wanted to be certain that it would suffer no ill effects from being in wet conditions (perhaps I was overcompensating for the sad fate of the old door, a modified interior closet door that had barely survived two winters). So I slathered nearly all of the treated-lumber framing with asphalt.
In the evening Gretchen and I watched Get Him to the Greek, a movie I'd tried to watch earlier in the form of an awkward camera recording surreptitiously made in a movie theatre. Now, though, there are high-grade DVD rips available on Bittorrent, so this copy was flawless. I liked the movie somewhat less than I expected, perhaps because I'd seen most of the jokes before. I also think the movie should have had more Sean Combs (Aldous' record producer) and less Colm Meaney (Aldous' father). But the joke of accidentally calling your girlfriend while you're consorting with random women never got old.
Our oldest cat, Marie (aka "the Baby") goes through territorial phases, most of them related to either the weather or flea infestations. I think it might have been the latter that caused her to abandon her old habitat on the teevee room couch (and our bed) back in August or early September, and she hadn't really wanted to be anywhere else ever since. At some point during the past couple months she developed the habit of pooping and even pissing on the laboratory floor, so I had to develop incentives to make her occasionally go to other parts of the house. I stopped feeding cats in the laboratory (something I had been doing for well over a year) and also discontinued maintaining a watering dish. But temperatures have been steadily dropping in the laboratory, and until I turn on the household heat, it's going to be increasingly uncomfortable for an old cat in there. I've been running a heating pad on one of the extra chairs, mostly to keep her out of the chair I need to sit in. But recently she's been complaining about the cold (she does this with loud relentless meows and attempting to sit in my lap when I am at the computer) and it's become obvious that I need to break her of her habit of spending all her time in the laboratory. So tonight Gretchen and I trapped her in our bedroom with the door shut to see what would happen. She yowled a few times and pawed at the door, but eventually she gave up and crawled into bed with us. I rewarded her by letting her sleep on my chest under the covers, something I normally don't let her do (there's something very bony and uncomfortable about the crouched posture she prefers, particularly when she does it on my chest). She purred happily and eventually fell asleep, having survived the psychological shock of being forced back into long-forgotten territory.
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