Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Horse for Giggles: Part 2

There were those who commented that the recent photos I posted made me look very attractive. I personally thought they emphasised that I always look pretty much the same across the years.

So I thought for fairness sake that I should post a less flattering shot of myself. Fortunately I had just the right photo after about a day and a half this weekend sitting in my parent's garage and madly carving at a horse's head.

Martian or creature from the Black Lagoon? (Can you tell I'm smiling?)

And this was what I was doing. My Dad let me use his Dremel which made the carving a whole lot easier for the fine detail stage. Most of the major shaping was done with either a rasp or a sanding disk.

I was a bit concerned about the fine detail. I've often drawn pictures of horses, but only in two dimensions. And the photos in my horse books are also in two dimensions.

Unfortunately sculpture (by it's very nature) is three dimensional. So I had to do the best I could without a live subject to copy. It would probably be a bit excessive to buy a horse simply to finish a woodworking project. I ended up with three good photos (of different horses!). One from front-on, one side-on and one three quarters.

I was still incredibly worried about the eyes. Hours of hard work could be stuffed up entirely by a slip of the Dremel.

And here are a few shots of the end product. There's only sanding left to go, and I'm very happy with how he's turned out.

The chance that Giggles is going to actually get this present at all?
... Approximately None - I'm getting a little attached to him.
I accidentally named him.
And talk to him while I'm working.
And pat him.
And take him for trips to Toowoomba to meet people (when he's not even finished yet).
The chance that I don't have a few issues?
... You guessed it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Horse for Giggles: Part 1

Just like misery, hippomania likes company.

And in our family it is in the genes - so it is very fitting that Aunty Jenny feed, encourage and give every opportunity for Giggles' latent horse-loving gene to flourish.

I started with a Happy 0th Birthday present that included a soft rattley toy in the shape of a horse's head. Then tried to teach her to say "Daddy, can have a horsey please" from about the age of 3 months. Daddy would always counter with, "I think Aunty Jenny would love to buy you a horsey," so that might have back-fired a little.

Anyway, when I was a child I always wanted a rocking horse. A proper rocking horse like you see in period movies in some mansion in Georgian England. You know, with the stand and the horse swung from it. *Sigh* My repressed childhood.

Okay, so I got to have real horses for a few years while we were out west. The rocking horse would have been a much cheaper option, but Mum & Dad provided the Real Thing. This possibly downgrades the level of repression I can claim for my childhood - but I've never been one to let the facts get in the way of a good story.

So because I always wanted a rocking horse it becomes essential to give one to my niece Giggles (who is showing every sign of early hippomania - just like Aunty Jenny).

I found a book on wooden toys (that belongs to my Beloved who started out life as a carpenter).

I looked at the sizes and decided that it needed to be a bit bigger so that a child could sit in the right place, not precariously balanced on the rump - I'm not going to be responsible for Giggles having an incorrect seat on a horse.

So we scaled up the plans to get enough room for a child to sit and have a little growing room. It might have ended up a little bigger than anticipated. And this is the story up to now (and the reason that blogging has been a little short on for the last few days):-

Plans in progress. Trying to make certain everything was in proportion. It answered my question that the head they had in the book was just the wrong size, but I had scaled it down too much - so I made a few changes. The body shown was only a spacer, not the full width in case you're wondering about the poor thing's nutrition (or lack thereof).

The LBD is happy to help in any way he can.

Working title at this point should probably be "Blockhead". My Beloved laminated multiple boards together to get a piece thick enough for his head. Definitely a job for him, not me.

My very clever Beloved then uses a jig saw to block out the basic shape. Another job for him.

Then it's back to me and my rusty, I mean trusty, rasp - trying to get the basic shaping for the neck and head. I've got a little further than this now, but not looking forward to eyes, nose and ears - all of which are detailed and difficult. Every horse book I possess is scattered around the house.

First we had one leg...

Then we had fore legs (one more to go - oh the bad pun)...

Final leg is marked out, my Beloved will probably cut it out after work today.

So we're living in a house littered with dismembered horse limbs and much, much more work to do before the deadline (Giggles' birthday) in the middle of June.

Chance that it gets done on time?

... Approximately None - NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Flagman Index

I was reading this post by Bush Babe and it reminded me of another type of waving in the bush that just doesn't happen in the city.

I could have left a comment about it on her blog, but hey, when I get inspiration for another post there's no way I'm going to waste it on a comment on my own blog, let alone someone else's!

I've lived in Brisbane, I've lived in regional towns around the state, and I've lived in the dreadful conurbation that constitutes the coastal strip in South East Queensland. I've travelled a few miles during that time and I developed my little theory about "The Flagman Index".

Of course, these days they are probably known as "Traffic Control Officers" or something equally as swish, particularly as a growing number of Flagman are actually not men at all. These are the men and women who stand for hours in the boiling sun or pouring rain and turn their lollipop signs to either stop or let the traffic go through the roadworks without running into on-coming traffic or construction vehicles. Very important people.

Now see, in the real bush the Flagman will lean in the car window and have a chat with whoever is first in line as you wait.

A little closer to town and they will cheerily acknowledge the quick "thanks, mate" wave that Bush Babe described as you go past.

On the outskirts of cities they just seem to get worried about the fact that some people wave at them and try to hide themselves behind their walkie talkie and pretend that they don't have enough hands left to wave back.

In the real city they simply pretend that they don't know you exist - despite the fact you've been sitting face to face and within 10 metres of them for a good 5 minutes.

Now, it seems that the reliability of my Flagman Index is being eroded by the greater number of temporary traffic lights (that I have seen get out of sequence and show the green to both directions at once after a loooong time of no-one going anywhere) and the fact that these days they bring in traffic control from the city where they don't train them about bush courtesy, but it used to be a very reliable guide of how close to so-called civilisation I was getting during a long day behind the wheel.

And now you too can work out where you live on the continuum of the Flagman Index.

The chance that the Flagman Index will lead to very important life changes for millions of people?

... Approximately None - but hey, what do you expect from a blog?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Someone's got to go...

When I first started blogging I looked at more established blogs and I thought to myself, "I'm not going to have one of those blogs where I have a blog roll of thousands, that's just too many to keep up with!"

I set an ideal of a maximum of twelve. Fifteen at most. What self-respecting person has time to keep up with more blogs than that?

So I was quite ruthless at first -
* if a site takes too long to download - cull it!
* if a site gets a bit political or technical or sales oriented - cull it!
* if there is background music that keeps starting over everytime you change pages - cull it!
* if they don't update very frequently - cull it!

Then I slowly got sucked into the blogroll's wonderful capability of letting me know when a site has been updated, which means that I don't have to check them to see if they have been. And the fact that I can find the sites that I enjoy easily. And I made friends that I want to keep up with.

And now I'm nearly at 20...

And I can't cull any more...

And there are so many other sites that I want to add...

And sites of people who follow and comment on my blog that I want to check out...

And I can't keep up with them all...

And how many answers are there to my predicament?

... Approximately None. Unless I get ruthless.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

And Now for a Fun Game...

When I was a girl (all those years ago), my family used to play a regular Sunday morning game. We kids would get to run all around the house looking for hidden treasure.

The game was called "Let's find Mum's glasses before we can leave for Church". It never occured to us that if we couldn't find them we wouldn't have to leave for church - although I have a sneaking presentiment that we would have had to go glasses-less anyway (my parents were like that).

It was a regular feature of our week because Mum didn't need her glasses all the time, so they would be whereever she last needed them.

This morning I had a little walk down memory lane. I played "Let's find My glasses before I can sit down at the computer".

It occurs to me that I would now be approximately the same age as my Mum was when we used to play the game. Unfortunately, I didn't procreate early enough to have any help in my search. I always knew that kids would come in handy for something.

The chance that my Mum will read this?

... Approximately None! (she's away for a week - he, he, he)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Some things never change

A couple of times in the last little while strangers on Facebook have emailed me asking to be my friend and whether I was at a science camp or other school related event back in the dim, dark ages of, say... 2003.

I am very flattered to be asked because, well, let's just say I finished my high schooling more than 10 years before that.
Then I briefly contemplate updating my photo.
Current profile photo: about 2005 (no flash. I like photos taken with no flash and nice, soft light)

This image was taken only 10 days ago. It may be a contender, although it does use a flash.

In remarkable synchronicity I was seeking out some old college photos (by the way, fellow collegiates, our alma mater turns 40 next year and they are looking for copies of the formal college photos for 1987, 1988, 1992 and 1993 - so give them a call if you have one of these) and I noticed that I probably don't have to update my image because there are some things in life that never change.

Exhibit A - 1997

Exhibit B - 1988

Exhibit C - about 1985

Exhibit D - about 1976

Chance that there will be a significant difference in what I look like in the near forseeable future?

... Approximately None.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Little About the Wedding

My Cousin, whose real name shall go un-mentioned (save to say that she is named after old coinage, or one of my favourite classical heroines) got hitched on Saturday and it was a lovely day.

Bridesmaids - elegant

Bride - radiant (I'd love to post a couple of photos, but that wouldn't be fair as the bridal couple are away and haven't had a chance to share their own photos yet)
Groom - appeared just the right proportion of nervous and excited

Rain - held off until the end of the evening, but it was a little muggy for most of the day.

Family & Friends - had a great time - pity the bride and groom couldn't enjoy it as much due to photos and having so many people to catch up with.
I haven't asked anyone if I can share their photos in the den of vice that is the internet, but here are a few shots to fill you in...

My Beloved, looking a little less like Nicholas Cage than he did on Givinya's Blog at the virtual birthday party she threw for me a couple of weeks ago.
The reason he doesn't often appear is that he just doesn't photograph well - he pulls faces - hence the fact that the best of the photos is this one when he didn't know it was being taken. He has the kindest eyes of any man I've ever met.

My very pretty mother who helped me sew. Thanks, Mum.

You can tell that she'd stopped talking in order to be photographed. If she'd been talking her hands would be flying around, not folded neatly in front of her.

Mum and I wearing the results of our labours.

The chance that Mum would let me steal her skirt to add to my wardrobe?

... Approximately None!

But that's probably okay, given that you can almost certainly guess the chances of it fitting me!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad...

Thanks, George, for the catchy title. Anyone else have to read it at school?

I went downstairs to feed one Little Black Dog this morning and noticed that he was limping.

This is not unusual, and I was all set to get the anti-inflammatories out when I noticed that not only was he limping on his back leg, but he didn't seem to want to put any weight on his front leg either (this resulted in a very interesting limping action, given that both sore paws were on the same side).

Before I went into full-blown panic about more vet bills I decided to have a look and see if there was anything obvious that would cause his reluctance to put his front paw down.

Clover burr between his pads will do it everytime.

How much did the LBD resist my attempts to remove the burr?

... Approximately None.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's all Greek to me...

I had a little bit of a surreal moment just now.

I was leaving a quick comment on a blog and must have accidently hit the right combination of keys to turn my keyboard to polytonic Greek characters (I think I need to cut my finger nails, or put on my glasses, or both).

At first I thought my comment looked odd.

Then I recognised the symbols.

Then I deleted the characters and tried again - it was still wrong.

Then I couldn't work out how I'd done it.

Then I had to go digging through my study books to find my list of instructions of how to undo it because I haven't had the need to type out any Greek words for a while.

Swift Jan doesn't know how lucky she is that my ancient Greek textbook was not as buried as I had thought it would be. And that I decided not to leave the gobbledegook there as proof that I am certifiable.

Chance that I could have altered the keyboard without my cheat sheet if I had intended to do it?

... Approximately None.