Update on Sister Shelf to Beth's

Hello anxiety, old friend.

Kind of a rough Saturday, friends.  To try and not dwell on that, I'm going to write about the project I was working on before the insane noise complaint the other day.  The sister-shelf to Beth's that I just finished a little bit ago.

After building Beth's bookshelf, I had some wood from the slab top left over.  Realizing also that I was really quite pleased with how her shelf came out, I figured "well now I kinda want one."  I also don't currently own any shelving of any sort; just some stacked old farm crates and a table I made to substitute for a headboard.  

I wanted this new shelf to be similar (i.e. draw from the same inspiration/sources) but be quite distinct from what she has.  They should be a pair, but not the same.  I knew that I wanted the wood choices to be the same since the maple/pear combination worked so well, although I will confess that I did not seek out any natural birch to accidentally "substitute" in certain spots.  I also needed this to be a little less labor-intensive than Beth's.  Haha. It's tough to convey the number of hours that went into that shelf.  Finally, it would have to be smaller because I simply didn't have as much wood and also don't have really any space currently for something the size of what I built her. 

What I settled on was two shelves, with a cantilevered slab top supported by a big chunk of cherry I had left over from my (still ongoing) chair project.  It's a weird design.  Weird enough that I probably wouldn't build it for someone else, but when I'm playing around with my own money and supplies to build something for myself, I can afford, and WANT to take a few risks I may not otherwise explore. 

Angled sides on the through-mortises.

I kept the radiating lines in the joinery, but instead of wedges, I actually shaped the through-mortises differently.  I also DRASTICALLY cut down the number of through mortises.  The bottom shelf only has one on each side and the upper shelf has two on each side.  While the shape made things a little interesting to chop, it wasn't too terribly difficult, and kept the "spirit" of the joinery the same as Beth's.

Shaping the slab using a Lancelot angle-grinder attachment.

Layout on a slab with no straight edges gets somewhat complicated.

Did I mention layout gets complicated?

One more of layout.

The angled edges of the mortised prior to cutting.

The slab top is joined to the base using some big old mortise and tenon joints, much the same as Beth's and I've started placing the dovetail keys with the same combination of maple and koa however it was in this process that I had to stop doing woodworking in the apartment.  This is really the last major step prior to finishing everything and doing the final glue up of all the different pieces.  Finishing is no small task, but I think it's reasonably quiet relative to everything else and I could probably do it in the apartment without anyone getting upset.  It has been nice having the loft be pretty clean though.  *Sigh* I neeeeed a workshoooop.  Ughhh.

Anyways, this is where it currently stands:

So friggin' close! Construction-wise all that's left is to reshape the cherry support in the middle to be a little less blocky and then finish setting the dovetail keys.

After that it's finishing everything (sanding, then applying finish) and final assembly.  I'm really pleased with how weird it is and how it's coming out.   One day, hopefully soon, it'll be finished. 

Hope everyone is having a good Saturday!


Doodle Dump

Minimal energy for a real post tonight.  I also pulled the "nuclear" noise complaint I had been afraid of and can't do any more woodworking in the apartment so haven't had that vehicle for stress relief lately.  I'm only now realizing how important that has become!

Instead of wood working I've been doing a little more reading (largely about programming) and drawing.  I've been fluctuating between really liking and really loathing the stuff that I've been doodling at work lately.  This is just a big old collection of all of it.

Enjoy. :-)



Sketchy sketch sketch

It's been a while since I posted much new artwork.  As I've been drawing more, I've realized how, well, not great I am at it? Haha.  Funny how that works, isn't it?    I have a bunch of hard-copy stuff I need to scan and post, but that's a lot of work, so for tonight, here are some doodles from my recently acquired iPad Pro done while watching MacGyver tonight.


It's also interesting how, you know, warming up actually makes a difference! I've numbered the sketches in the order that I did them and the 6 and 8 are by far the most natural and don't look totally screwed up if I flipped the canvas. I didn't really do a construction for 7 so probably shouldn't count that one so much. 

Anyways, early night tonight.  Hope everyone is doing well. 



Another day, another shooting

There have been shootings now at both of the universities I have attended.  I enrolled at Virginia Tech four months after a student decided it was his place to take the lives of 32 other students, and today I waited on lockdown in my office for text updates about a student who, apparently despondent over a grade (a fucking grade), decided he had a right to kill his professor and then himself.  I watched, even before the lockdown of my building had been cleared, as the Internet lit up with the same old tired "debates" that it usually does.  All I could think was just "can we... not?"

I feel a little defeated these days: I actually support people's rights to own guns and I support people's right to carry guns in private and in public.  I am fairly liberal. I think it should be difficult to get a gun.  Guns are not made to not kill things, it is in fact their sole purpose.  In all other aspects of our society, we do not let unqualified people handle such responsibility.

Truthfully, I actually don't care about that argument tonight though.  Two people are dead who shouldn't be.  People often die in the streets a few miles from where I live who never needed to.  Maybe it all would've happened anyway, guns or not, but as a country a loud, vocal, insane few made our beds for us and it's time for the rest of us to sleep in it. We get to sit back and watch as the body count climbs, and look over our shoulders as we walk to class, church, home, the corner store, a concert, or maybe to elementary school.

As we do all that we can watch the political battle unfold to nowhere, again... and again.  We can watch the dead be held up and paraded around as mascots for what should or should not have been done, and strip them of identity beyond their roles in agendas and political battles. We can watch as an important argument turns into a yelling match funded by rich backers on both sides with no room for the rest of us.  

But maybe let's just save all that for tomorrow, and let the blood and tears dry tonight.

Do PhD Students Dream of Sheep S*****g All Over Their Dreams? Yes.

I wasn't planning on writing anything tonight, but the "fates" seems to be aligning to make this happen.  By fates aligning, I of course mean Netflix is currently out for one reason or another, and I've been trying to keep a bit quieter with my woodworking for my neighbors' sake.  First, some garden photos:

This is the bushiest one I've seen around and there are maybe 50 of these orange blooms on it right now with at least 30 more getting ready to open.  They don't last long though, only a couple of days at most.

Hell yes!  Succulent garden!  That viney one on the far right there got yanked out shortly after this photo by some jerk cat...

The volunteer California Poppies are poppin' off, and my new succulent garden is a GEM.  I love that thing.    

At the crux of this post is the fact that I've been having crazy and stressful dreams lately. The first one I chalked up to eating a really salty pizza right before bed, which typically causes insane but mostly nonsensical dreams that I remember for about ten minutes when I wake up but then forget.  The second took my by surprise last night despite a healthy early dinner, and a reasonable bedtime.

Now, I know listening to other people talk about their dreams can be excruciatingly boring so I'll limit any and all description to one sentence per dream:

Dream 1 (the pizza dream): I somehow ended up at a party with Guillermo del Toro and Alex Hirsch (creator of the wonderful TV show Gravity falls) who were both incredibly friendly and genuinely interested in me, and yet I spent the entire time terrified about and wondering when they were going to realize that I wasn't supposed to be there.

Dream 2: My dad and I were going to go out boating on a lake (don't ask, I have no idea...) in Alex Hirsch's catamaran yacht (again, don't ask...) he had given us for the day, and while I thought I knew what I was doing I quickly discovered I didn't.  As soon as I had the realization I didn't know what I was doing a huge storm blew in the whole lake turned into a whirlpool that sucked me down; I woke up as my Dad was trying to save me.  

(I know that dream 2 description is two and a half sentences.  Sue me.)

I don't want to beat it to death (besides, Netflix might be back up and I'm wasting time here!), but I think I'm terrifically stressed out about my qualifier that I turned in on Monday.  It seems appropriate the Neil Gaiman also tweeted a link to a Slate article about how "imposter syndrome" is a normal part of development for most people.  In that first dream I was just constantly waiting for someone to find out that I wasn't supposed to be there, and the second was the genuinely upsetting fallout from finally realizing that I didn't actually know what I was doing only to, *siiiiiggh*, be rescued by a parent.  Sheesh.  I mean, maaaybe I'm ascribing meaning where there isn't any, but it seems preeeeetty effing on-point.  

More-so, while it was recently suggested that I have a "man crush" on Alex Hirsch (which I will not even pretend to deny), I think it's more that I see him as what I hope to be in three years (30 years old and creative, original, successful, kinda weird, wears a lot of flannel, pretty good beard, etc... why? What do you look up to people for?) and I'm terrified that I WON'T get there.  Specifically I'll go down in major flames in the process.

I won't pretend that I fancy myself to be on par with the Alex Hirsches and Guillermo del Toroes of this world, but it just seemed important to put this all down tonight.  I probably won't go down in flames, but I think as much as I fear that, I also fear fading into mediocrity and obscurity.  Maybe it's a young-person thing, but I think we all kinda fear that.

Eh, I dunno guys.  I don't have any answers tonight.  Just more questions.  But hey, here's a bunch of code I wrote today that does adaptive filtering of raw CT data on the GPU to remove streak artifacts:


Here's an example of what it does:

Left: unfiltered reconstruction. Middle: reconstruction with adaptive filtering. Right: difference image of left and middle showing all of the streak artifacts that have been removed.

On the left is the unfiltered (i.e. none of that code was used), middle is filtered (i.e. ALL of that code was used) and on the right is all of the streaky garbage that was removed from the image.

Doesn't have quite the same appeal as a beloved, wonderful, beautiful, amazing childrens' show, but it's kinda cool...  So here's a picture I drew of a badass girl giving the middle finger.  She doesn't have time for your shit, Alex Hirsch.  Your wonderful, flannel-clad, handsome shit.

One more where I tried to capture how apathetic I was feeling this morning at work.  Proportion quickly got away from me so I went with weird:

One step forward, two steps back... both in drawing and life.

Goodnight everyone!  Let's hope for slightly more calming dreams, or better yet, maybe a couple of nights without dreams.  I'm sick of following my dreams, I'm just gonna ask where they're going and hook up with 'em later.


P.S. Almost forgot: