Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stuffs and Thangs

Well, it's been a busy week. We finally welcomed our daughter, Alice, into the world last Friday morning at 11:43AM. After watching my wife go through two loooong natural labors I am sure that she could kick my ass any day of the week and my admiration and respect grows for her even more every day. Everybody is happy and healthy and home. We're settling into new routines and re-arranging furniture.

I somehow managed to make it to the tie-one-on-athon Sunday. I have no idea how that happened, but I'm grateful it did. I had a blast and got to sit at the time out table with the trouble makers. I took almost no photos, so I've been stealin' 'em when I see 'em. Please and thank you.

I somehow managed to pull off winning the big fly contest. I have no idea how that happened either, although the jar of strawberry preserves may have had something to do with it. I won a really nice raft/drift boat anchor and promptly traded it to Brad for a lovely handful of dinosaur feathers and some swag.

Tying time has been minimal for me the last few days, but I will be posting some more of those feathers tied on hooks directly. Gotta go. Doodie calls!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

OM; The Chronicles of Peeber, Part 3

There’s something about a new boat that chemically changes the way my brain works. Since I’ve never had anything close to an actual ‘new’ boat, I’m forced to immediately assess repairs, and fumble my way through most of them since a new boat represents new problems… challenges….new additions to the scrap metal pile. I rush through basic repairs. It needs to float. It needs to run. It needs to get there. NOW. There’s no real long view or manifest destiny at this point. It’s all necessity. It’s all primal. I work fast. I neglect responsibilities. I neglect sleep. I neglect food. I neglect my wife and child. All I can do is fix. Chain smoking. Beer guzzling. Midnight. 2 AM. Fall into bed. 7 AM. Fix…..fix, fix, fix.

After a few days or weeks, I emerge into the spring/winter/fall/summer midday sunlight and yawn, stretch, and change my underpants. I can breathe for a few minutes. Time to re-group. Time to patch things up with my wife and son, and reflect on why the hell I was such a crazed lunatic the last little bit. It’s a short break, inevitably, and the lunatic returns promptly. He shows up after the family has gone to bed. He gives me refuge during work, dinner, and bath times. He is exhausted, but rests only a short while before regaining his strength. He begins his paced return in the form of Google. There’s a funny thing about having access to millions, or billions, or trillions of images via the internet……you can have the damndest time finding a single one that represents what you’re actually looking for. I know for a fact that I am not that original of a human being. Everything I’ve ever thought or manifested from thought has likely been thought and/or manifested hundreds, no thousands, no millions, billions of times before. It all comes down to knowing what to look for, and allowing yourself to see what is right in front of your face. Out comes the designer lunatic. He’s silent. Can’t afford to waste energy on moving his mouth to make sounds. He can’t afford to waste the energy to get off the couch to go to bed. So there he sits….still….silent….and absolutely mad. If I were to apply the same focus and dedication to any other part of my life that I do to fixing up a 400 dollar jon boat…..well, things would be pretty different.

Before I’ve even procured this particular boat I’ve been furiously formulating its existence in daydreams full of clear summer day secret flats pulsing with bait, waterfowl, and giant goldfish. The boat races smoothly through the upper reaches of some river chain lake, far from the ski boat wake and the bass fisherman’s trespasses(they’re always up earlier than me). I and it are free to zip around blind curves as the lake narrows and begins to appear as it once did…as it always did. Herons grawk and lumber into disgruntled flight as we temporarily break the silence and solitude of the ever-narrowing river inch by inch, foot by foot, mile by mile, entering deeper and deeper into wilderness, deeper and deeper into solitude. Standing on the bank listening to a 30-year-old outboard humming, then roaring, then screaming past in the wilderness is an awful experience. It’s trespassing at its core. It robs all other sounds and sensory awareness for the few seconds or minutes that it’s present. It leaves a wake behind that feels imminently destructive, as though it will forever alter the untouched banks of the wild river, and send all aquatic life fleeing in despair. Being in the boat has an unequivocally opposite sense of that same experience. That humming, now roaring, now screaming 30-year-old outboard is all OHhhhhooooooooMmmmmmm……… It wipes out all possibility of thought. You’re left with visual and tactile knowledge only. The brain’s only function is to admire and react. There is no thought about steering or navigation as your arm, the tiller, the boat, and the river feel as one, guiding the vessel upstream as effortlessly as a leaf glides down. There is no reading the river. The river is reading you.

That is why the furious, feverish, nuthouse of a mechanic and designer exist. They will work tirelessly to the brink of physical and mental exhaustion, push wives and clients and bosses and friends and children to the brink of total frustration, loneliness, desperation, anger. They will leave everything else in life behind for the possibility of startling a heron and a nice breeze on their face.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chuck....Vice Chuck......DIY

Back in December I took a tying class with Brad Bohen, and one of the many things that I left needing to have was a granite vice base. I remember thinking, why the hell didn't I think of that? When I was back in Charlotte during the boom days I could have bought a truckload of granite scraps for what it cost me to get the truck there. The thing that's kept me from doing it since the class is the base to vise connection. There's a machined brass part available that's really nice, but a little pricey, and the fabricated bases are really nice, but I'm broke, so even though 70 bucks is reasonable for something of that quality, it's just not an option. And, I absolutely hate spending money on stuff that I know I can do myself for pennies and minutes. I just don't usually get around to actually doing it. This time I did. I stopped by a surplus place in Asheville for work related things that I somehow didn't manage to procure....Anyway, they have mountains of granite scraps, so I picked one up. 5 bucks is kinda getting robbed for an otherwise worthless piece of rock, but it was the only money I spent on the project, so I guess I'm ok with it. I had in mind a somewhat complicated assortment of tubing and plumbing parts and thumbscrews and taps, and so on.....until I had a rare moment of clarity. Old drill chucks. I have many! Epoxy the thing to the rock and boom, done! So, that's what I did, and so's awesome!
I need to cut the standrod down a few inches since it's a clamp vice, but that's easy enough. Here's a very simple and helpful video that explains how to remove a chuck from a drill. I took a slightly different approach....although equally effective