I still remember you. A phrase from a song by the Who floats through my head:
There once was a note Pure and easy Playin’ so free, like a breath rippling by
I remember your passion for that one pure and clear note. It showed in the things you like to do. I loved how you were always wanting to learn more and went about ways to achieve it. Searching and seeking…
Once upon a time, there was a man who lived alone in a small house. He was mostly happy, but sometimes he felt lonely and sad. His dog, a loyal and faithful companion, was the main thing that brought him joy. The man loved his dog more than anything in the world, and the dog loved him back.
Every day, the man and the dog would go for walks in the park, play fetch with a ball, and cuddle on the couch. They would share their meals and secrets and comfort each other in times of trouble. They were happy and content.
One night, a fairy appeared in their room as they were sleeping. She was touched by the bond between the man and the dog, and she decided to grant them a wish. She said, “You two are the most loving pair I have ever seen. You deserve to be even happier. I will give you one wish, anything you want. But you have to agree on it, and you have to say it together. What do you wish for?”
The man and the dog woke up and saw the fairy. They were surprised and curious, but they trusted her. They looked at each other and thought about what they wanted. They realized that they had everything they needed except for one thing. They wanted to be more like each other, understand each other better, and communicate more easily. They wanted to be closer than ever.
They said in unison, “We wish to be father and son.”
The fairy smiled and said, “Your wish is granted. When you wake up tomorrow, you will be father and son. But remember, this is a permanent change. You can never go back to being a man and a dog. Are you sure you want this?”
The man and the dog nodded and said, “We are sure. We love each other, and we want to be family.”
The fairy said, “Very well. Good night, father and son.”
The fairy disappeared, and the man and the dog fell asleep.
The following day, the man woke up and saw a boy lying beside him. He had black hair and brown eyes, just like his dog. He was wearing a collar and a tag with his name: Jake. The man realized that this was his son, his former dog. He felt a surge of emotion and hugged him.
The boy woke up and saw a man holding him. He had long gray hair and a long beard, just like his owner. He was wearing a shirt and pants with his name: Eddie. The boy realized that this was his father, his former owner. He felt a wave of affection and kissed him.
They looked at each other and smiled. They said, “Good morning, father. Good morning, son.”
They got up and went to the bathroom. They brushed their teeth and combed their hair. They went to the kitchen and made breakfast. They ate pancakes and bacon, and they drank milk and coffee. They talked and laughed, and they enjoyed each other’s company.
They went to the park and played soccer. They ran and kicked, and they scored and cheered. They met other children and parents, and they made new friends. They had fun and learned, and they grew and matured.
They went back to their house and watched a movie. They snuggled and cuddled, and they cried and laughed. They shared their thoughts and feelings, and they listened and understood. They loved and respected, and they supported and encouraged.
They went to bed and said good night. They hugged and kissed, and they wished and dreamed. They were happy and grateful, and they were father and son.
They lived happily ever after.
I commonly refer to Jake as my son. When I first met him some 7 1/2 years ago, he immediately went limp in my arms as I picked him up. To this day, he always lets me hold him and rarely struggles. We spend all our time together, and as the pillow says, I mostly speak to him throughout my day.
So, I asked an AI to write an original fable about a man who wishes his beloved dog was his son. With only a few edits, this is what it wrote. I have to say I am touched. But then I cry during my favorite TV shows and movies.
I became interested in woodworking at a young age. I think it was as much about the tools as the process of designing and building something you could point to with varying degrees of pride!
Sears router from the 1980s
The first new power tool I got when I started graduate school was a router. I had picked up a couple of second-hand tools like a skill saw and a drill. I figured I could start doing some incredible woodworking once I had a router.
Wrong! I quickly discovered there are few things you can do with a router until you have other essentials, like a table saw. But more importantly, I learned there are only specific ways to cut wood with a router. I eagerly tried to create a simple nameplate with my initials, only to discover it was impossible to do anything freehand with a router.
I eventually became proficient at many operations using templates, a router table, and different fixtures and jigs. I could do things with high accuracy, but it involved a lot of setup work. It was tough to do small, detailed work. I was looking for an easy way to do inlay work without investing in CNC machines. These could do accurate work but were large and relatively specialized.
I had a project in mind to replace the top of the side table I built so many years ago in Colorado with a new one with a compass rose inlay. I had seen many examples of those done in wood over the years.
Then, one day, I noticed an ad for a new router showing up online. It is capable of precision-free hand routing using a camera system. I followed the ad to watch a video of a guy adding a compass rose inlay in the middle of the landing of a wood staircase. I pretty much bought it on the spot!
Essentially, a computer attached to a router with the ability to move the cutter head (parallel to the surface of the work) in real time. The operator follows a predefined path on the display while the camera looks at a pattern of user-applied graphical tape in the space above where the cut is being made. The motor is repositioned in real-time to ensure accuracy. The spindle instantly retracts if you move outside the track (roughly 1 inch in diameter).
The router is used with a positioning plate. The domino-like shapes are read by the camera on the front of the router to position the cutter accurately.
The system comes with several workstations with pre-applied graphics for common operations on small pieces. Tape is applied directly to the work for larger work so that the larger cut area can be accurately made.
The display shows the cutting path with optical guides as you move the router over the work surface. You just need to stay inside the displayed ring and go in the right direction (as indicated by moving cut lines).
It is absolutely essential the workpiece can not move relative to the positioning tape once the unit has been set up. Two-sided tape is used to keep the piece from shifting while being cut. You specify the cut depth, press the cut button to lower the cutter into the work surface slowly, and then follow and route the path. Effective on-screen graphics help guide the cut. Several cuts at varying depths are made to ensure smooth operation. The unit is heavy enough with a large smooth base and is easy to control when following the path on the display.
The results of a cut on a larger surface. The graphics are applied using preprinted tape. The star-burst shape was cut out from the larger panel.
I am stunned at how accurate and repeatable the cuts are. Measurements can be entered accurately to one-thousandth of an inch. Offsets can be applied to provide for allowance on mating parts. Pieces can be cut and fit together like a jigsaw puzzle with stunning accuracy.
The triangular pieces were subsequently cut and fit in place with only a tiny amount of handwork on the sharp corners. The pieces fit astonishingly well!
A web-based design tool can create tool paths for mortising and inlay work. It also can import AutoCAD files. I use AutoCAD to do my design work for my projects. Exporting design files and importing them to the tool was easy.
Spotlight fixture design in AutoCAD
Web-based tool to create and simulate cutting paths. Animation shows direction the tool moves. The center area is a pocket cut where the cutter head can be moved anywhere within the enclosed region.
Wood spotlights. I used the router to make the hexagonal shapes, the swivel pieces, and the lid and base of the boxes.
I would guess this will become a big hit. One of my favorite tool designers and manufacturers, Festool, from Germany, has already acquired the startup. I own several tools they made and have found them to be of exceptional quality and reliability and have held well over the years.
Jake and I spent the last part of the year at our Valhalla Beach Shack. Highlights included:
50th High School Reunion
Celebrating high school reunions over the Thanksgiving weekend is a tradition. This year was number ‘five-o’ for me. It was a lot of fun, and I talked with people I have not spoken to since then. Thanks to the cheerleaders – still at it these many years later – for putting it on.
I went with many of the people there for all twelve years! Like me, their parents were brought in for the space program. I fondly remember walking single file down to the beach to watch the launches 🚀 with many of these folks. Interesting times indeed.
50th High School Reunion
Meanwhile, back at the beach shack…
Jimmy Buffett Highway
As immortalized on the album A1A released fifty years ago. RIP Mr. Buffett.
Winter Solstice visitation from the blessed Flying Spaghetti Monster!
Oh Come All Ye Pastafarians! Ramen!
Setting the mood at command central!
I finished the west wall of the living room to add some more mood lighting and a spot for my carved turtle.
Winter Solstice 2023
A stroll downtown on Winter Solstice. Cool murals are everywhere now in our little tourist town.
Panama City Christmas Time
Panama City Christmas 2023 – 8 Miles High and Ready for Dinner!
I spent Christmas with Dave & Lisa in Panama City. We got out in the boat several times, ate some delicious oysters, and feasted on Lisa’s culinary decadence!
Christmas Day Sunset over the Bayou
Falcon Heavy Night Launch
Elon and Co launch 🚀 top secret spy space plan into high orbit on a spectacular 🤩 evening!
Fall into WinterSunsets
Best Boy Ever!
Special Note: The Earth will be at its closest point to the Sun – Perihelion – January 3-4. The orbit varies by about 3% over the course of the year at roughly 92 million miles. Now you know 🧐
I have been working on some videos from our recent Excellent Adventure. I use iMovie, which is quite good once you get the hang of it. It has a good library of sounds, including music, but they really do not fit my style.
At the same time, I have been hunting for a good audio source to accompany my drumming. I can produce drone-like sounds typical of the Didgeridoo on my electronic drums. I like that it provides a backdrop without forcing me into a set rhythm or tempo.
Finally, I have been sleeping with white noise for many years now. I found that playing the background noise in the house adds a very pleasant yet non-intrusive touch.
Along comes myNoise. It was developed by a Dutch guy who is really crazy about sounds. Travels all over the world, recording and collaborating with other like-minded people. The result is like the answer to my dreams.
Sample Indian Drone
There is a catalog of hundreds of different titles. Each title can be manipulated to add, remove, or change the level of different components of the sound with slider controls. The slider controls can be animated to change levels over time cyclically. Pitch can be accurately controlled. You can play multiple titles together to create combined sounds. It is truly a remarkable piece of programming.