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Archive for the ‘Hobbies’ Category.

Two Stories of Christmas Procrastination and Redemption

For a variety of reasons, I was pretty late going out to find a Christmas tree and did not actually begin the search until last Sunday  (I had a conference the week before and my kids were not in town and it is not that much fun to shop for trees without my kids).  Anyway, it turns out that there is some sort of Christmas tree shortage, at least in this area.  All my go-to inexpensive spots (the grocery store, Costco) were out.  The usually high-cost tent location at the plant nursery had trees but double and triple the usual costs -- starting at $250 for a 6 foot tree.  I am a big supporter of allowing price "gouging" during shortages and in this case the pricing mechanism worked just fine -- I passed on these trees at this price, presumably allowing someone who valued these trees more than I to find some still available.

Finally, I went to the k彩平台登陆 Depot and they were apparently out as well - they were just selling some miscellaneous branches to people to wanted to make wreaths.  But way in the back was one tree -- and a tall one at that, at least 9 feet.  No one had wanted to buy it because it looked like something out of Dr. Seuss -- it had nice foliage at the bottom, then a completely open 2 foot gap, then nice foliage, than another large gap, etc.   Anyway, my daughter the artist and the undisputed right-brain flag bearer in the family, immediately loved it and insisted I buy it.  The guys there thought they were out of business and did not even have their price list any more.  I said, "hey guys, no one wants this, you have to give me a discount."  We agreed on $40 and we had a tree.

It turned out great.  The large gaps in the tree have become more of a feature than a bug, allowing a 3D ornament display impossible on normal trees.  It is tall and thin and looks great in our tall room.

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Then, on the same day we had our tree adventure, we realized that no one had done anything about a Christmas card.  It was always my job in the past to design the card, but last year I passed the mantle on to my daughter.  But we had not explicitly assigned responsibility this year so nothing got done.  At this point my daughter disappears into her room with her laptop for what we supposed was a nap.  But she exited two hours later with our card design.  She didn't have all the fancy Wacom tablets and such she had at art school, only the trackpad on her laptop, so she said she just used the circle tool a lot but to my eye it came out great, and allows the Coyote family to continue its 25+ year run of never buying an off-the-shelf Christmas card.

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Bragging Rights

I think the table I built for our new hobby room came out pretty well.  Having only really done woodwork on speakers, I am most comfortable working with mdf so this is mdf with an alder veneer to match the cabinets in the room.  Because I knew the slab of marble (a scrap we found at the stone store on discount) was going to be super heavy (something like 400 pounds) the table is built super solid.  I will say that modern design is much easier to build than something antique-looking - really this is only rectangular boxes and frames so it was pretty easy.

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Taking in account the over-designed pedestals that are 3/4 inch mdf with interior baffles, this whole things weighs almost 500 pounds.  I observed to my wife, who wants to use it as a cutting table, that it would make an awesome beer pong table.  Perhaps when she is out of town we will have a coyoteblog get-together to try it out in that mode.

Next up, I finally have  small room to do my model railroading in so I will be boring you with updates on that particularly geeky hobby.

Postscript:  Yes, I run parks and I like model trains, like Ben in Parks and Rec:

  • Ben is a fan of model trains, Game of Thrones (his eBay username is "Tall Tyrion Lannister",a reference to a character from the franchise), Batman (he purchased a Batman suit when he joined Donna and Tom for Treat Yo Self), Star Trek (he writes Star Trek fanfiction, and had expressed a preference for Captain Picard over Captain Kirk), Fringe, Harrison Ford, Twin Peaks, k彩平台登陆land, and Star Wars (among other things).
  • Ben is a "nationally ranked" player of Settlers of Catan

I am comfortable with all of this except perhaps for the preference for Picard over Kirk.