• I am building a workbench using mortise & tenon joints.  Somehow, this is the first time I’ve attempted to do so, despite owning a mortiser and a tenonning jig for two decades.  I’m finding that they are both well suited to fairly flat tenons, one width of the chisel, or up to two if the mortise is symmetrical.  The tenonning jig can’t handle thick workpieces, and the mortiser must be readjusted for different distances from the edge of the workpiece.  I’m thinking now that I would have been better off cutting both the mortise and the tenon with a router, but it’s a little late for that now.  I should look into jigs for doing so in the future.
  • I’m beginning to watch The West Wing.  I suppose I understand the appeal.  Smart, fast-talking dialog with dry humor, combined with a very likable character for the president.  However, it is very short on realism.  They did an episode on a gun control bill, and it was all I could do to sit through the whole thing.  The writers don’t know about guns, and they probably don’t know about politicians.  Also, as a filmmaker, the Aaron Sorkin walk-and-talk shooting style is getting old fast.  I guess it is a logical choice for this situation, but it was already wearing on my sense of taste only five episodes in.  I’ll watch some more and hope that the series matures, but so far I’m not in love.  I will say one thing though: a show like this with a bunch of liberals doing good things in the White House couldn’t be made today.
  • I have finished doing sound for a third short film this year.  I’m relatively happy with all three of them, although in all cases I’m aware of how I could have done better.  I desperately need to practice wiring actors with hidden lavalier mics.  I am organizing a team for the 48 Hour Film Project.  I am trying to identify key crew persons, and then it should be all downhill from there.
  • My spring vacation has snuck up on me.  I had skipped weekend camping the first weekend in spring due to the weather.  That was two weekends ago.  I knew my vacation was coming up, but I wasn’t really paying much attention until eight days before I’m scheduled to leave.  Now I’m scrambling to get ready.  Fortunately, there isn’t much to prepare.  I just need to stage my gear and get my meals together.
  • For this trip, I’ll be camping on the beach.  There’s a good possibility that I will have to stake out my tent in sand.  It’s also fairly likely that my tent and screen room will have winds to contend with.  I figured I should acquire some better tent stakes to be prepared for sand.  I ordered some MSR Cyclone stakes, and also some MSR ToughStakes.  The ToughStakes are huge.  I ordered them in “medium”, but they are much bigger than I expected from the photos.  I guess if I need a small shovel at the camp site, I’ll have these.  Update: The ToughStakes work extremely well in sand.  They are quite amazing.  Gusts up to 39 mph against a big cabin tent, and they didn’t budge.  However, if the sand is more of a soil mixture, the top edge of the stakes get easily mangled driving them in, especially when using the metal MSR hammer.  The Cyclone stakes however are worthless in sand.
  • I went to see Ready Player One in the theater.  I really enjoyed the novel, but the film was very ho-hum.  Aside from the basic premise and most of the characters, they completely gutted the story and replaced it with a boilerplate one.  Nearly all of the 70s and 80s computer and gaming nostalgia was dropped, and the quest was dumbed down to something any remedial third grade student could figure out.  Without those things, the book would have been nothing, and that’s pretty much what the film was.  I highly recommend the novel, but you should probably skip the movie (unless you’re in third grade).
  • I ordered a t-shirt commemorating Brian Aitken‘s Pardon Shootout (which, sadly, I cannot attend).  While I was doing so, I thought about how I would explain the t-shirt if anyone asked about it, and I realized that the term “political prisoner” applies.  In the United States.  Over an issue about which I feel strongly.  And he’s not the only one.

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