Thursday, July 19, 2018

Caveat Emptor for buying wood online

Well, as an experiment I ordered some expensive hardwood boards from a big box store, to be delivered to my house.

 I knew that this was a risk- after all, choosing planks that are considerably more expensive than #2 pine boards at Home Depot  means getting value for your money- all wood has imperfections, and given the subjective nature of what you might turn a given board into, finding boards that you can work with requires they be hand-selected.
           So I tried paying a premium for a small amount of S4S  (sanded on all four sides) pre- dimensioned wood in walnut and rock maple. It was delivered to my house, and only about 75% of it was usable. Voids, checks, knots... all the things that you don't want.


 While I was running around, I stopped at a custom woodworking shop in my area- these guys custom make molding and joinery for the old-money billionaires in Palm Beach.  Talking with the manager, a young guy who I immediately took to, he showed me custom molding and cove-cutting blades made to match century-old crown molding in a mansion- a service they offer at $20/inch. They were cutting 260 feet of mahogany boards for someone's ballroom.
 Although it turns out the shop isn't set up for selling direct to the public, they were willing and able to sell me rough-cut hardwood boards in small or moderate quantities. I bought several LARGE rock maple and walnut boards- about 8x the quantity I got from the big box store, and the grain was exactly what I wanted, and the quality was near-flawless- and it still cost me less. Given the disparity of prices, and the shop's willingness to support local amateurs like me, I bought a planer yesterday to mill the boards down to size for the little projects I have in mind. The scrap from this I'll also try to use. Cutting boards, little boxes, salt cellars and the like.

 Unfortunately, I'm running out of days at home. I'll be back to work after the weekend. 

 I also finished the hull of my latest little boat and have starting fairing it. More on that later.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Time Flying

Man, time really flies when you're at home vs floating around on and in a big metal gas can.

   It's been a hell of a ride. First week was a lot of obligations and errands, this week is (in theory) more about relaxing and having some shop time and fun at home.

      Celebrating an anniversary milestone, Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife and I spent the weekend at Key West. It was a good time, as most people know. On the way down, we met famous plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Rey "Dr. 90210," who had a reality show in the early days of reality shows. Great guy, and he lived in Boston for a bunch of years, and hearing my accent, was immediately on a tour down memory lane. We ended up talking for about an hour and a half. Since the guy is Brazilian (we met him in Boca Raton, which has a massive Brazilian population), and fluent in both English and Portuguese, conversation was free and easy with all three of us.

 We also ended up in the middle of  a Corsa America Rally, and I'll write about that when I'm back at work. Basically 150 supercars and their owners in town for a good time. Quite a show.

        I scored a HUGE bargain on some supersweet walnut and rock maple planks- it was such a good deal that it's actually worth me buying a jointer-planer to mill them down... which I'll hopefully be able to do this weekend. Buy the planer, I mean. I doubt I'll have time to mess with the wood too much. Got other irons in the fire.

 At any rate, I'm not dead but I also have stuff I want to do today, so I'm out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Last watch, and how I got kicked off yet another facebook page.

Well, we're loaded pretty deep, waiting on our tugboat to ease us into the Kills, and head for Port Elizabeth NJ, where we'll transfer some 3,500 tons of fuel oil to a waiting ship. At some point after we get all fast, I'll be relieved, and can go home. Looking forward to it.


 Before I go, I have to share the absolute and definitive sign of the End Of Days:


STUDY: Fossil fuels contribute to ‘petro-masculinity’ 

 

  • Professor Cara Daggett, who teaches classes on politics and global security at Virginia Tech, is warning that fossil fuels are contributing to a warped sense of “masculine identity” and “authoritarianism” among men.
  • Writing in response to the 2016 election, Daggett coins the term “petro-masculinity” to describe what she sees as a convergence of “climate change, a threatened fossil fuel system, and an increasingly fragile Western hypermasculinity.”

  •  Don't click on this unless you like feeling that Armageddon would be a relief right now. 
    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0305829818775817?journalCode=mila&

     Folks, you can't make this shit up... Well, obviously you can, because this is shit, raw and unrefined, and also made up.

     It also got me kicked off a Facebook page for my having made fun of the people who provide this retarded shit a platform.

       I shouldn't be surprised. This is from the same people who brought you studies retardsplaining how "Farts are sexist tools of the Patriarchy" and from this same 'author,' "How Unmanned Weapons Queer the Experience in War."

     I have to wonder why the hell Jesus died to save these particular people, and if he regrets it now.

    *******************

           You know, on reflection, though, in this case I think the author is right? I mean, I am pretty petromasculine.
    What if she's REALLY on to something? Maybe there's something to all this feminist/pussy male PC bullshit.

     I really did become quite a bit more masculine after I started working on oil tankers. Prior to my first job on a ship, I was a pretty quiet, introspective and somewhat shy person. Not at all the way I am today. Working with oil did make me more masculine... so, petromasculinity is now a thing, and I will embrace it.
            Everyone knows that these days, when I walk into a room with my bulging petromasculinity oozing out of my every pore, every woman in the room spontaneously ovulates, and soyboys start lactating explosively out of shame and fear.
    So let me petrosplain something to you:  If you don't like it then you're petrophobic and should check your cispetronormative privelige. Petrophobia is now also real and also a thing, and you should be ashamed of yourself if you have it.

     Petromasculinity is here. I'm going to have to apply to one of these Asshole Concentration Camps they call liberal arts colleges so I can get Petromasculine assigned one of the 99 new genders that these shitbiscuits are trying to tell us are also real. I mean, it's way cooler than being a Furry, at least, and the ladies love it, once they get over the smell of sulphur coming out of your pores the first night home at least.


    Saturday, July 7, 2018

    I got wood- AND NEW BLOGS!

    I mentioned before that I've spent a fair bit of money in the past few weeks, replacing and upgrading some tools and buying some additional hardwood stock for raw material.I took a BIG gamble.

        I've been living in south FL for 4 years now. I still don't know the area as well as I should. As such, I know of a few places where I can get specialty wood for certain projects, but not much.

          Purchasing hardwood is a process, and it's an intimidating one for the non-professional. I guess I stand at the educated amateur level there. I know what I need and what I want, but I have to think about it. It's not second nature to me. If you've never bought wood at a hardwood supplier, it's certainly not like Home Depot. You have to ask for what you want, specifically, there's weird nomenclature and a lot of math, and the prices are just... really high.

     Fortunately, I know how to build and fix small boats, so I have a slight leg up, because otherwise I'd just be utterly lost instead of somewhat lost amidst the stacks.

     So I saw a good deal online on some walnut planks, and while I was there, the price on rock maple was decent too... but I'd be buying sight unseen, which is never a good idea, especially as neither I nor my neighbors have a planer, so any misshape, knots or such are going to make the wood undesirable.. but the rep of the seller is good, and  so I'm taking a chance, and if it pans out I've got a new resource.

     I really don't want to buy a jointer/planer until I buy a new house and expand my shop space next summer. They're expensive and take a while to dial in, moreso because I've never owned or used one.

     One advantage to having dicked around with wood boats is that curves don't scare me near as much as they perhaps should. Spherical trig is a thing in carpentry, just not taught much outside of boatbuilding.

     So I've got a couple of little projects to knock out this time, and I'd like to experiment with some joinery using interlocking curved pieces of hardwood with greatly contrasting color, like the white of rock maple with the deep brown of walnut. Still, I need to start off simple, like dead simple.
     The cost of wood being what it is, and my monkey ass being a rank amateur at joinery, I'm going to make some stuff with pine, and if I like it, remake it in more interesting and useful wood. I've been putting off making a stepstool for Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife to use in the kitchen and also outside, as a low seat when she's messing about with the potted plants. Being only 5' 3", and my kitchen having 9' ceilings and tall cabinets, she is at a disadvantage when she has to get rarely-used stuff off the top shelf, so a 2-step stepstool in wood would be a lot nicer than the folding Wal-mart abortion that currently clogs up space in my shop 'till she needs it. I'm going to make that in just pine, using scraps from my scrap bin, I think. Might need to get a 1x8 at the most.
          I've been hemming and hawwing for a while over it, but I also need a fresh set of chisels. Mine are just beat to hell. I spent too much time tapping on them with a framing hammer and beating the steel through the handles. Where my hands are so goddamn shaky all the time (and always have been, for some reason), chisels represent a Rubicon in skill for me, something I don't lightly cross. Think of a surgeon with Parkinson's, and you'll get the idea. Truly fine woodworking might just be beyond me, but hopefully I'll find out.

    I've been watching a fair number of boatbuilding and carpentry videos for a while now, and I've edited my blogroll. It's been great watching true professional artists and some amazing amateurs, too.  Among my new favorites are:

    Boating:

    Tips From a Shipwright :  Louis Sauzedde is a master shipbuilder from Bristol RI. He owns a shop there, and makes small boats, including skiffs that he draws out and builds piece by piece online via Youtube.  Along with having the ability to explain a damn-near mythical lost art of wooden boat building, he's also down-to-earth and a great teacher.

    The Sea Dreamer ProjectFollows an upper-state NY carpenter, a not boatbuilder who is building a 41' trawler yacht out of wood using designs and methods drawn up by the late George Beuhler, a well-known marine architect who dedicated his career to making boats for regular people to build. 

     Sampson Boat CoLeo is a young British shipwright who moved to the US to buy and restore a rotten ancient sailboat, the 'Tally Ho' and helps underwrite the costs by filming and producing weekly videos about the whole process, including his time off, when he works on other peoples' boats to help pay the bills.

     General Carpentry

    The Wood Whisperer: Marc is a master furnituremaker whose easily-accessible youtube videos have made a carpentry superstar out of him. Funny and clear, his stuff is really worth watching.



     Check them out!

    Wednesday, July 4, 2018

    Patriotism and New Americans

    This isn't my story to tell. This year, on July 4, I am at anchor awaiting a berth for our next cargo. After dark I'll have a great seat to watch the NY Fireworks, hopefully.


       No, this Independence Day, it's Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife who is celebrating.
     

        When I called home to say goodnight last night, my wife told me that she got into an argument with one of her closer friends about politics. This friend is also a US citizen, like my wife, and also Brazilian. On failing to come to agree with her friend's view, my wife was dismissed with a 'I forget, you're American now. You wouldn't understand."

     It was an interesting story. We both know this was meant as an insult, but it wasn't received that way at all.

          When we were newlyweds, after about a year of processing, my wife received her first green card. She had been living here on a visa, but overstayed. By 10 years. The occasional brush with local law enforcement for getting pulled over, or what have you, just required undoing a button on her blouse and a smile, and she'd shortly be  on her way. Perks of being Inappropriately Hot, I guess. Still, she was VERY aware of how tenuous her existence was. One female cop, or one hardass, and her life would be a mess in short order.  

     On the day we had the immigration interview, when the USCIS agent asked us questions to see if we were really married, she was issued residency. I'll never, ever forget the ride home.

     We were driving south on Rt 93, coming out of the Chinatown tunnel in Boston, headed for the suburbs.  The reality had already set in. The happy yelling, the jumping up and down, all the hugs and kisses had been dealt out before we got back to the car to go home and celebrate. We were just talking happily, holding hands as I drove.

    The Big Dig, Boston's massive construction project, was still going on. I took the HOV lane to cut down on traffic.  At the HOV lane entrance, a Massachusetts State Trooper waited, looking to pull over anyone who was driving solo. Traffic slowed to a crawl, and my wife slunk down in the seat by a full foot, just trying to make herself smaller, less visible, less noticeable.
         Realizing what was going on, that cops to her represented great danger, I squeezed her hand, smiled and said "Hey, relax, honey. You're a resident now. You're allowed to be here."
          Instead of the reaction I was expecting, I got a shaky smile and then she burst into tears.
         I had no idea how much living in fear had been eating away at her.

        In due course, the week after she qualified three years later, she applied for citizenship. But a funny thing happened.

            Becoming an American Citizen doesn't mean much to many immigrants, especially the ones who solely reside inside an immigrant enclave, like the insulated miscellaneous Latino communities in Massachusetts, where being a monoglot with no English presents no problems. There's no interaction there, citizen or alien, legal or not.

     Somewhere along the way, my wife started listening to me, and reading about American history a bit, ostensibly as a way to familiarize herself with the citizenship exam... but she took it to heart.
     Despite having been here for over a decade, my wife knew little about the American culture. She very much still had both feet in her parent culture... but this started changing. She finally had one foot firmly planted on the day of her Citizenship ceremony... since she had dual citizenship, however, she didn't feel very American yet. Even so, during the Ceremony, it opened a door in her mind about what it actually means to be American... and she realized she still didn't really know, but for the first time, she really wanted to find out. Better late than never, I guess, but I think this might actually be pretty common. So few immigrants actually want to integrate and learn that becoming American comes with pride but also a sense of responsibility, that citizenship isn't a license to take free shit, but a license to trade- to give back and receive in equal measure- to earn a place and recognize that some things must be worked for. At the citizenship ceremony, my wife wasn't Americanized, but she became a patriot.


    "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

    Citizenship Day






     Of course it being Massachusetts, my wife was heavily pressured to join the Democrat party before we even made home that night. It didn't take, despite the hard sell tactics. As she explained it later, the allure of the party of All The Free Shit is absolutely amazing to people who grew up in the third world with so little. So she was registered Democrat for a while until she actually wanted to vote, when she went Unenrolled so she could vote the person and not the party. 

         In he runup to the last Presidential election, however, things changed. Our lives had changed, and my wife was now more invested in America. She's got a claim staked here, a dog in the fight, and her politics changed as a result.  Somewhere along the way, she started arguing with her friends who got concerned regarding the steady supply of All The Free Shit. Somewhere along the way, she Figured It Out, what it actually means to be American, and that as an immigrant, regardless of her political opinions, her vote was no longer for sale in exchange for Free Shit, and the act of trying to purchase it cheaply with stuff was actually a pretty grievous insult. 

     Somewhere along the way, her friends calling my wife an American as an insult lost its' sting and became something to be answered 'I am. So?"

     So today, along with a bunch of other Brazilians from her community, they're getting together to celebrate. They have good reason to. They've seen, and lived under a different system, and choose this one, not for the Free Shit, but for the freedom.




    Monday, July 2, 2018

    stocking up for time at home

    Even though I've got another week to go on here, I've been stocking up on wood and woodworking materials online, setting up delivery for the day after I get home.
         I got a line on some balsa and basswood planks in a size that should help with some planking issues I had with my current model boat project. I have been destroying plywood by trying to bend it past it's maximum bending modulus in order to get it to conform to the shape of the upper bow section on my boat hull. It just wasn't happening in one piece. Essentially, I had a 90-degree twist to take over a relatively short run, and even my standby tricks- soaking the ply in Windex and then using a steam iron to melt the adhesive glue at the spot where it always snaps the plywook... well, short answer, it wasn't happening, so I'm going to plank the hull. In doing that, this also means I need to restock sanding and shaping and fiberglassing supplies, so I had to buy that too.
     And then Amazon had a deal on plunge routers, so I got one of those too.

        The Coast guard issued my new credentials with my new higher-tonnage mate's license, so I'm done there, and with everything renewed recently, I don't need to go to the CG until I have the 360 days at sea to up from my higher-tonnage mate's ticket to Master. So I should have almost 2 years until I have to deal with the true rigamarole, although I will be messing with them again this fall when I have to take a leadership and management class. But that's another day.


     It's hotter than hell this week, with air temps in the high 90's and lots of sun. Pretty much the same as at my house, although my house will have higher humidity, I'm sure. But my house also has beer, wine and whiskey, so that's nice, those things being lacking here.

     I've been watching "The Wood Whisperer" a lot this week. I'm feeling creative.


    Saturday, June 30, 2018

    Brazilian TV is ...different

     From commenter Jon Spencer, who in a just world should receive many blessings for sharing:

    (Warning: SFW, but risque)
    thechive.com/2018/06/27/brazilian-tv-is-just-fantastic-15-gifs/

     Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife does watch some Brazilian TV at night when I'm home. Not much, to be honest. We usually spend the evening on the patio if the weather's good, although this past spring with all the rain, we discovered the TV show 'Flip or Flop' which we both took to for some reason. With my schedule, time together is at a premium, so we don't watch TV too much. We tend to shut the rest of the world out.

     That being said, Brazilian TV is still something else to see, when she does watch TV and I'm otherwise occupied. My wife will call me over to look at the ladies.

     Brazil's most popular show is probably Faustao,  named after a sort of a male-version of Oprah mixed with America's Got Talent. The titular host introduces a variety of topics focused on people. He also has beautiful professional dancers who stand in the background and dance a number or two every show, and for the audience during commercials. And, wow. Look.




     As I mentioned to my wife during a particularly forgettable interview with some Brazilian musician "I have not idea what they're saying, but I gotta say, I really like this show."







    After Faustao  comes a bevy of other shows, and soap operas, although the comedy shows often enough transcend the language barrier. Think Benny Hill at his best, but without the British reserve, and with a lot of beautiful women who often end up getting wet for some reason.

     One of the most popular shows last year was one where professional dancers and celebrities try to hold on to a stuffed duck while going down a Slip N' Slide set up on a very steep hillside with a ski-jump at the end. While wearing bikinis, of course. And the judging is Olympic-style, but the judges are in workboots, and often drinking.
     Riveting stuff.




    Of course, for the ladies, while it's not as blantant, the ever-popular novellas always feature male models in situations where their clothes get torn or are somehow absent. Equality.