Friday, January 16, 2009

Playing with Fire

Tuesday I started a welding class. The course is offered by Pratt Fine Arts Center. As you might guess from the name I'm the lowly laborer in a room full of artists. The class began with introductions.

The other students: "I want to incorporate steel into my wood-working art." "I need to make metal molds for my glass blowing." "I want to learn to braze my custom jewelry."

Me: "Uh, I want to weld stuff."

The first class was filled with safety lessons and introductions to the equipment. But near the end we did get a chance to light the oxy-acetylene torch and "weld" some scrap.

Mom will be happy to know I still have all my fingers.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The American Dream

"A chicken in every pot, a car in every garage"? Uh, no. Sorry Herbert, guess again. A single car?! Don't be ridiculous.

"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"? Eh, not bad. How about more feeling.

"Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"? Well, yeah, that's pretty much it.

My American Dream is ... "To be a motorized hobo." (I know, I know, a Reverend-King-quality orator I'll never be.)

To reduce my life to a small bag, toss it on a bike or in a car trunk, and go. Anywhere. Everywhere. Sleep when you're tired, eat when you're hungry. If you're bored move on, if it looks interesting stay a few more days.

12 years ago I took a small trip that might fit that description. 4 weeks and 6600 miles in a TR6 with no real plan to speak of. It's one of the best months of my life.

I'm happy (and more than a little jealous) that my cousin is headed out on a much larger hobo-trip in the Spring. So far his plan seems to be "See people. Go places. Come home when the money runs out."

Sounds like a solid strategy to me.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Snow, and Why No Sane Person Likes It

Yesterday I was victimized by snow.


I guess the Snow God didn't think bursting two water pipes and taking half of my vacation days was enough.

Of course, being an idiot, I figured the Snow God had been vanquished. It was, after all, over 50 degrees and had been for several days. In my 6 years as a physics major at Caltech I'm pretty sure someone said something about the melting point of snow being much lower than 50 degrees. But hey, that's just scientists blathering, what do they know?

How does one become the victim of snow when it's over 50 degrees? Well...

1. Start with some snow. Alot of snow.
2. Mix in cars that can't handle the snow.
3. Add tire chains.
4. Take your newly chained-up car onto a freeway.
5. Drive until the chains snap off.
6. Wait patiently until it's raining like Niagara when TJ will come by, run over the chain fragments, and blow a tire.


Wasn't that fun?

On the plus side, I do highly recommend a remote tire pressure monitor. They come in handy occasionally.