Monday, September 17, 2007

Stir fry crazy

Living in a sardine can has its merits; you don't have much area to cover if you're looking for a misplaced object and you're never unsure of the location of a ringing cell phone. It's not under a couch cushion, because there is no couch. Nothing is more than an arm's length away. However, the accompanying limitations tend to drive me a bit crazy. I've nothing to do that goes beyond sitting on my computer. At LeTourneau I'm always constructing this or that or down at the machine tool lab working on yet another doodad to make something go pop. While half of the time all the effort does not meet its planned end, the exercise is not futile. It's nice to build things. It's fun. I can't do that here. HGU has no lathes, no mills, no welders. So far as I know, there is no machine lab at all. Yes, it's an engineering school, but it's not as hands-on as LETU. Matter of fact, its not hands-on at all. Not being able to actually do something is making me slowly insane. So far, I've done intense research and planning on: A new 3lb robot, a neat homemade toolchest(including detailed CAD model), electric skateboards, electric vehicle conversion, propane engine conversion, El Caminos, Toyota light pickups, building a house inside of a 53' dry van trailer, and auxiliary power units/idle reduction technology for tractor trailers.
I can hear you now "such a nerd!" Yeah, well today's nerds fuel the future. What has your Xbox playing ever accomplished? Shove it. We do not exist to entertain ourselves. Accomplish something.

Anyway, my point is that I am going absolutely nuts from not being able to actually do something. I can stay in my room and sit on my computer or lie on my bed. There's no room for anything else. I can leave and do the same in someone else's room. I can go downtown, but I have no need to and there's nothing to do there except shop. You don't want to get me started on shopping for its own sake. There's little more dangerous to the human race. It's not that there aren't activities to do, but I have a need to do something productive with my hands, even if I all manage is practice.
Sweet! My 'The Best of Woodworking' download just finished. In doing research into dovetails to make my sweet toolchest, I sparked an interest in woodworking. I've never done much of it, but I'd like to learn. I surmise that woodworking for utility would be much more relaxing and potentially useful than machining for fun. Undersizing your part by 0.002" isn't going to destroy all your effort thus far. Not that I don't like machining. I'd like to learn how do some basic utility woodworking. I know that woodworking is as complex as you want it to be, I just want to build something. I'll probably be in Boston for Christmas, and I have a cousin in the area who(from what I remember) comes from a long line of German flutemakers and has a sweet wood shop. I haven't seen him in ages, but maybe I could coax him into teaching me to dovetail or make a mortise and tenon or something.

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