Monday, December 24, 2007

A Box of Our Own

I've been working on a lot of electronics projects lately.  The new DSCN5762programmer I bought recently is called a Dragon.  It comes in a really cool box, but it's a cardboard box.  I wanted a better case for it, but something that would still convey "Dragon".  To make the box, I bought a wood box such as this one. 

Using white glue (Modge Podge glue), a paintbrush, and some really cool, textured red cardstock I covered the box with the paper.  The results are really great, although it's difficult to tell in the picture.  My wife suggested using the ribbon trim.  The inside lip around the box is finished in gold metalic paint, which accentuates the dragon theme.


The dragon box was cool, but there was a new challenge.  What to get a 16 year old young man for Christmas.  Something positive, cool, and unique.  A trip through the Hip-Hop section at Barnes and Noble presented a great opportunity.  A book of poems by Tupac Shakur called Rose That Grew from Concrete.  Next time you're at the book store, find the book and thumb through it.  You may be surprised.

Anyway, what to do about adding a unique twist to this gift?  As my wife and I strolled through Michael's, it came to me.  What about a custom wooden box to book the book in?  Something unique, yet thematically aligned with the book?  The result is the box below.  It was made just like the one above, but instead of using paper, it is covered with a bandana.  There are a couple layers of paper over the wood, then the bandana.  Each time the glue dried, a carefully applied utility knife opened it back up.  This created very smooth, tight seams between halves of the box.

 DSCN5767In this picture, looking down on the box at an angle, you can see how the pattern wraps around the top of the box, and runs down the sides.

On the inside cover of the box, some words of wisdom from Tupac.


The Criers

It isn't often that we sit down and watch TV, however tonight turned out to be one of the rare occasions we turned on the tube.  Since we cannot justify paying for real cable, we have only the cheapest version of analog.  In other words, WKAR was the only station worth watching...that we can actually see.

The show was detailing some hearings in congress.  The footage from the hearings really shocked me.  It was like big time wrestling.  The guy asking the questions was loud and belligerent, the guy who was not answering any questions was loud and belligerent, and also, the fans in the bleachers were loud and belligerent.

The people watching these public hearings were holding up signs they made with markers and heckling the person being interviewed.  This would be inappropriate at a high school basketball game.  Why would it be happening in our capital?

As usually happens, the answer came to me a while later.  The signs were too imperfect, the heckling a bit too practiced.  I remembered that back in "the day" people had this custom (actually, they probably still do) where a family would hire professional criers to attend the funerals of loved ones.  Can't have people thinking that Uncle Louie was unpopular, now can we?  Then my "Aha!" light went on.  The hecklers in the audience were pros, and they were trying to look like amateurs.  No doubt, they worked for lobbyists.

Now I have to question this indictment of our "democratic government".  Literally everyone in the hearing was posturing for someone, and each was insincere.  They were just giving people such as myself a good show, so as to convince us that everyone is doing their job in Washington.

Yeah, they were all doing a great job.  Too bad they were doing the wrong thing, really well.  I wonder if they ever got around to finding the truth they were so desperately pretending to search for.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Too many homes?

A while ago I was lamenting the number of subdivisions that are cropping up.  They are everywhere.  It seemed as though anyone with a few acres was building a subdivision.  At one point I mentioned to someone that it seemed as though the housing market might become saturated with new homes.  The person smirked a bit and asked "Do you think people are going to stop having children?"

Well, no, but that doesn't mean the market can support an infinite number of new homes.  It appears that the National Association of Home Builders may share my opinion.  After the fact.  Now if only they would clean up some of the myriad of half finished subdivisions littered about.