Foreign Hands, And Other Parts

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m building a cigar box guitar.  Mark, my own personal Virgil on this quest, has provided me with tools, materials, pizza, and advice.  Last time I was at his place, the topic of shaping the neck came up, and he recommended a tool and a technique, but I misheard.  I love it when I mishear. The tool is called a four-in-hand.  It’s basically a glorified file, but since a file can be a frickin’ awesome tool in the right job, and this tool is not one, but FOUR files, it is apparently just to tool I want.  But what I heard come out of Mark’s mouth though was “foreign hand.”  In the context of his sentence, which was not in the context of anything else because there was beer involved, he told me what I needed “rape” the back of the board with a “foreign hand.”  I worked on that thought for a few minutes before I asked for clarification.  I’m glad I did, because there will be no raping by any hands, foreign or domestic, while I build my guitar. Anyway, that little exchange makes me feel bad for anyone who lives here and for whom English is not a first language.  Because I’m pretty good with words, and I’m still pretty dumb with English.  Even beloved Theodor Geisel, Dr. Seuss himself, wrote on the topic.   My favorite entry in his early works is “The Tough Coughs As He Ploughs the Dough.”  Every single one of those “ough”s does something different, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg. I was...

Because… Why Not?

I’m building a guitar.  Not because I can’t afford to go buy one, but because I want to.  A few weeks ago I saw a guy selling guitars and ukuleles made out of cigar boxes, and I decided I could do that.  Actually, I decided that my friends are all enablers, and any idea I can come up with that won’t end up in me getting maimed has their support. Actually, now that I think of it, I have a couple friends who’d still help me do anything, even if it’s ill advised.  Mark is one of those friends, but he’s also helping me build this guitar. Here’s a picture of the guitar neck as it was on my kitchen counter last night.  The “Dynasty” logo is from an old Dodge that molted its nameplate in the parking lot, and for some reason I picked it up.  I’m pretty sure it won’t go there in the long run… but why not? I think a lot of my life can be filed under the category of “why not,” and probably yours too.  After all, there are people who grow up to be firefighters and police men (like every little boy thinks when they’re 5), and people who make a living putting together Lego displays.* There are farmers and doctors and service men and women.  And they all pretty much ended up there because they wanted to, and the “why not” was never all that much of a concern. But I read recently that up until about 2 years before he actually did it, Wilbur Wright didn’t believe machine-powered flight was...

Because I Needed Caffeinated Breakfast Cereal…

I went to Brevard this last weekend to visit with friends at the Music Center.  I also visited with friends in Hickory along the way.  I also stopped at my house in Asheville to weed the garden and work on the motorcycle.  Just for the record, my tomato plants are 6 (six) feet tall.  And my motorcycle doesn’t start. It should come as no surprise that after a weekend of couch surfing and catching up with every friend I could find that I’m a little muzzy.  So this morning, I was well into my morning routine of making coffee, washing dishes, stubbing my toe when I woke up just a little bit.  It’s that sort of waking that happens when you don’t realize you were asleep in the first place.  Kind of like realizing your fly is down as you are giving a presentation to a room full of people.  You are just suddenly aware. But my awareness struck as I poured milk onto my cereal, and observed that my milk was in fact coffee.  I paused and looked at my steaming bowl of wheat-bran-cardboard flakes for a moment.  Then I shrugged and moved to pouring coffee into the proper receptacle.  When my attention was back to the cereal, I poured actual milk and ate it, just like any other day of stubbing my toe. I suppose it all ends up in the same place anyway.  And just to confess, it actually tasted pretty...

Don’t Feed The Trolls

Inspired by a blog post I read, and accompanying movie post, I got to thinking about people.  But maybe not the way you’d think.  Sure, other people can be a pain in the ass, what with their strange habits, questionable judgement, and OTHER PERSPECTIVES.  But the most disruptive person in my life is the one typing this blog post right now. In brief, the article, which is titled aptly enough, “If You Respond Only to Ass-Hats, Your Life Will Soon Be Full of Ass-Hats” touches on a truth of the internet age: trolls.  There are people out there who thrive on conflict, and in fact need it to feel happy, healthy, engaged, whatever.  These are the sorts of people who seem to operate under the understanding that if someone isn’t wrong, then something must be wrong.  If you need proof, you need only post something on any site on the internet with any amount of traffic.  This can net you an inbox full of responses that start with, “Well, actually” or “ur so dum.”  The video talks about it too, and approaching the human element of the problem to defuse the problem. I got to thinking about it differently this evening as I was out for a walk.  Walking always puts me in a better mood, and loosens my head for thinking.  I talked on the phone with a friend as I walked and mentioned a book I’m reading called Stumbling on Happiness.  It talks about how we quest for happiness all our lives, but that quest is based on our memories and our understanding of the present.  And...