I was just a skinny dad Never knew no good from bad But I knew life before I left my shop dusty Left alone with big fat fanny She was such a naughty lassie Heap big woman You made a bad boy out of me
I was focused on her bottom last night when Spotify served up a classic. Coincidence? I think not. Just me and my fat bottomed girl havin’ at it in the basement. And my wife doesn’t seem to care, unless things get too loud, but even then she just calmly asks, “can’t you do that when I’m not home?” Reasonable request. She walked in on us a couple days ago when I was nailing her with the pneumatic gun. I apologized profusely for that indiscretion, as I appreciated that it can be shocking when not expected.
Thanks for the sign, Freddie. Enjoyed your movie earlier this year. Rock on and tell my dad I miss him.
Yeah, I know, it’s been awhile since my last update. In between that work thing and summer pursuits, my time blocks for the shop are short and less frequent, but I’ve been chipping away at the iCe rocket. (No, that’s not the boat name, but it will be a subject of a future blog). My internal mechanicals are now complete, and I’ve been doing lots of sanding on the cockpit carbon to make it look all purdy. I’ll give you the full tour in my next blog.
My nightly ritual this week has been laminating carbon to form the “saddle” which will attach my rocket to the launch pad. At the center point of the plank I laid out a layer of peel ply, then formed the saddle around the plank. I lost track of how many layers, but it was a great way to use up my scraps of both uni and cloth, interspersed with full size pieces. My technical consultant advised that the saddle needed to be stronger than the hull itself, so I just kept adding layers each night until I got to a thickness of about 3/8”. Once there, I rough trimmed the saddle and cut a matching profile in the bottom of my hull to prepare it for glue on. After I glue it on, I’ll reinforce the attachment with carbon fillets on the inside and outside of the hull. The outside fillets will cover up the mounting plates for the titanium axle that holds my exit block in position.
It was noticeably cooler this morning for my sun-up open water swim. Ice is a good way off yet, but the seasons are starting to sniffle. This cowboy is excited to break in a wild mare branded M-177!
I imagined it would be like Frank Lloyd Wright stopping by to check out our Convention Center. He’d be wearing the half circle reading glasses occasionally glancing over the top and then returning to the precise plans which captured his vision. The pockets of his finely tailored suit coat would be filled with measuring devices—a digital caliper, a laser guided tape measure, an atomic plumbometer—all calibrated by NASA. He’d pace around the structure, all too frequently grumbling a seemingly agitated “hmmmm,” which could only be interpreted as, “did this epoxy sniffer really think THIS is what I had in mind?” I was prepared for a tirade.
The night before, I had that dream where you’re supposed to be taking the final exam, but you realize you never went to class. Not one time. Or read any of the books. I needed something to relieve my anxiety. As luck would have it, a CBD store opened in my neighborhood. The proprietor is an old hippie, who goes by the name “Moon Dart.” He somehow rationalized that cashing in on people’s physical and mental struggles didn’t make him “the man.” Looks and smells like a capitalist to me, but in my hood we’re even left of Bernie, so that’s worse than calling someone the other “c” word. Yeah, that one. I went right for the highest potency, figuring it was like DN runners—more is always better.
Turns out, my anxiety was completely unnecessary. Inspector Heppert was very kind. At least in-person. When he gets a few beers in him, he might have the entire bar giggling like 7th grade girls at a slumber party, showing pictures of my incompetence on his iPad. But at least I won’t be around to hear it. After I slap a bunch of carbon on the outside, most of my infractions will be hidden anyway. And I know a good painter. So, I’m counting on at least “looking” fast. By the way, Moon Dart says the CBD oil is great for stoning runners. He advises stopping at 420. Makes sense.
I’m going to need new business cards, After completing my pre-glue test fit, I realized I’m not just a “Builder” anymore. I’ve gone vertical, so I must be a “Developer.” My basement projects have consumed all the available horizontal space. Anything more and you might see me featured on an episode of “Hoarders.” Is anyone else amazed at the kind of crap people will watch on TV? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly what you’d call “highbrow.” My wife has been training the Oconomowoc hillbilly out of me for 35 years, with limited success. But come on, “Moonshiners!?” When subtitles are necessary to understand a show’s characters who are speaking something that resembles English, that might be a good indication of a waste of time.
Back to development. As is typical with construction projects, my staging was a bit off. An unforeseen problem with my Sitka supply chain left me one board short. Not wanting to idle my high-priced labor and delay progress, I charged ahead with the available materials. Fast forward to today, and I’ve got a mostly completed frame, but nowhere to glue up my second side board. Hmm…what would a Developer do? Yes, that’s it, bring in the crane and scrape the sky!
At this point in my build, my mechanical equipment was collecting dust, so why not put it to use? With my Harken powered crane in place, I hoisted my frame out of the way and created the space I needed to glue up my second sideboard. Whoa…and when I cut her loose from the oppressive chains of the building table, if she didn’t go into an immediate hike, like she was rounding the top mark in a blow! This frozen filly may be a hard one to tame. Daniel Hearn
I’ve been receiving AARP mailings now for 8 years. To add to the insult, it started before I even officially hit the big 5-0. It’s a mystery how they even found me. When we were hunting Bin Laden, we should have put them on the case. If you were born before seat belts were required, they know where you are.
As we get older maybe we do get stuck in our ways. I’ve been shaving the same way for decades. Good News Plus razors with the lubrication strip and the cheapest cream on the shelf. Two blades were always good enough for me, and as far as I was concerned, any white cream would do the job. But shampoo? Nothing but the best for me. Not for what the fancy fluids do for my locks, though I’m sure you’ve noticed the sheen, bounce and manageability. But because when my daughters were all home, they would move on to the next miracle liquid before the last one was gone. I may have a lifetime supply of wounded soldiers. And I smell like a sorority house.
Before Amazon, my wife picked up my shaving supplies at an actual store. Now they’re delivered to my door with a single click. Making it easy has made Jeff Bezos 158.1 billion. But now Harry’s has made it even easier. And better. I don’t even have to click. Not one time. The blades just show up when I need them. They’re probably using a top secret algorithm to calculate the precise speed of my facial hair growth and the corresponding life span of each blade, based the Rockwell rating of my whiskers and my shaving frequency. I may be on the cutting edge of shaving (I’m slightly embarrassed about that pun), but I’m at the dull center of fashion. I still wear socks with my dress shoes. And see no need to sport pants so short that my ankles show. Who decided “floods” were a “look?” Plus, MY suit jackets actually fit ME. When did it become fashionable to look like the “oops” of a Catholic family–the boy who was last in line to wear the First Communion suit, when he was much taller than his older brothers at the same age.
The razors from Harry’s have like 17 blades and they stay sharp for a long time. MBAs who want to sound smart would call this a “core competency.” Me, well, my MBA is a Mop Bucket Attitude, so I’m thinking they should get into runners. Perfectly profiled and optimally sharp (or dull) for the upcoming conditions, delivered right to my door the day before the regatta is even called “ON”. This may be the next move for Amazon. I’d better call a patent attorney to protect my “intellectual property.” When you charge $900/hr., you have to use expensive words. Translation for those of you with an MBA like mine—my “good idea.” If I don’t, Amazon, Google or Apple will most certainly steal my good idea. And I think they’ve got enough money.
All the DN planks I’ve built were “close enough” planks. I’d bend them up following all the conventional wisdom, then start eyeball hand-planing until I thought they looked cool. Then I’d add glass in search of deflection that would match what the fast guys said would be calibrated to my weight, and called it good. But with my C-Skeeter project, I thought I needed to break from my old ways. So, the first thing I did was look up NACA foils. I don’t even know what that stands for, but I stumbled upon the section with foil shapes that were neither lifty or draggy. (These are highly technical terms beyond the scope of this recap). I sized one to the width of my plank, built a router jig to create shape reference cuts, estimated the declining depth of my cuts to account for the ½” tapering of the plank from inboard to outboard, then made lots of sawdust. Not as precise as a CNC router, but a sophisticated shave for me!
I’ve never done any metal fabrication to speak of. My few attempts with a hacksaw and general purpose drill bits always led to cussing and much shorter bits. But look at me now! I’m cranking out metal like Ozzie with a mountain of Marshalls. He might even give me a bro-nod. Not familiar? Spend some time on any college campus. It’s a form of “subtle” acknowledgement, when you’re too cool to acknowledge anything. Popularized by privileged, white males who grew up in McMansions in the suburbs, but still think the persona gives them street cred. Usually executed with the head slightly cocked to the side, squinted eyes and a subtle backwards tipping of the head. Often paired with the word, “yo.”
OK, so far, my functional and artistic output has only been from aluminum stock, but for a guy with metal phobia, my therapist tells me we’ve just had a breakthrough. And my sponsor, Pat, has been like a cheerleader at a wrestling match—appreciated by the singlet-clad gladiator, but sort of awkward for everyone else. “Gimme a G, gimmie an R, gimmie an I, gimmie an NDR…Grinder…Grinder…will take you far! Man, I can send the shards flying when I hear that one!
With all this encouragement, I may be getting over confident. I’m throwing around terms like 6061-T6, 304 SS, needle bearing, naval bronze, #10 rivet nut, and more into casual conversation. And I just ordered a pair of steel-toed Red Wings and purchased the bulk pack of Gojo with the convenient, dispensing pump. Livin’ large!
Not sure my confidence will extend to stainless, though. I tried to machine stainless once. As in “once-upon-a-time” or “one-time-only.” Your choice. I may have to call on Izzy the metal wizard. He left Oz some years ago and is rumored to live near Pewaukee. Locals say he grew tired of uninvited guests showing up wanting help with this and that. And that the roads were annoyingly bumpy. Some believe him to be Mark Isabell, the DN and A-Skeeter guy, but of course, no one has ever seen the Wizard. Legend has it that he’s got this magical machine he keeps behind the curtain that can cut metal with water. Yeah, I know, right…cutting metal with water? That sounds plausible. Not! But maybe that’s why he’s the Wizard?