Thursday, July 29, 2010

Metaphor For Our Times

I’ve been obsessed with the Gulf oil spill. Maybe because it’s a metaphor for our times – uncontained, a proliferation of problems and a constant stream of bad news.

At some level, my implicit belief is that once the spill is contained and the clean-up started, the collective psychological cloud we’ve been living under will evaporate as well. Spirits will soar, the economy will mend, employers will hire, wars will cease, the sky will turn blue and we’ll all live happily ever after. That’s my dream anyway.

Well, the well is capped, due to be fatally injured by the static kill on Monday, August 2nd, and put to death by the bottom kill on Saturday, August 7th.

Hooray! I feel better.

But even with the well capped and killed, Afghanistan lingers on, North Korea is nuts and unemployment persists. Still, the economy is slowly getting better and, somehow, I think a little good news from the Gulf can only improve the collective humor and instill a degree of optimism about the future.

With a little more good news, we should be able to break out of this economic blue funk and return to our characteristic euphoria. Here’s hoping we do so soon, but this time it’s rational euphoria -- tempered by memory of economic bubbles.

I have a glimmer of hope that things will take a turn for the better in the fall.

And I hope that I’m right.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Adventures in Wood

Here's a look at my my latest adventures in woodworking.

First, an "inside out" vase made out of arariba wood . Notice that it's hollow. What you can't see is there's only a one-inch hole in the top. It's my second attempt at one of these and it almost didn't make it. I was a tad too aggressive with the inside diameter and thought it would blow up on me.

It's not perfect, but it's not bad for a second attempt either. (It's not crooked -- the uncredited photographer was.)

My next adventure was to use my new electric chainsaw to reduce a 3+ foot apple wood tree trunk, imported from Vermont by my son-in-law and daughter, to turning blanks. It was quite a surprise.

I first cut off an interesting burl from the trunk. The surprise was that there was a hollow tube where, I assume, a branch used to be. The branch was long gone but the tree grew around it.

I was still able to get some nice blanks from it. Here are seven of the eight. And the wood was in fine shape. I only had to trim about a half inch off both ends of the log to get to the non-checked portion.

Looks like some nice material for future bowls!