Monday, March 07, 2011

Recent Happenings on the Homefront

It's been awhile since I've hit the blog. A few things I've been doing around here of late:

Chess: I was recently asked without being asked to be the chess coach for the school where I work. Being a chess nerd, I volunteered myself to teach the kids the game and give them some structure. The first lesson went swimmingly. I spoke for 20 minutes, fielding a ton of questions, and kept the kids from going all out zoo. I am using Fred Reinfeld's book, "How to be a Winner at Chess" as my guide.

Reinfeld is a superb author, having written over a 100 books on chess in his lifetime, in addition to other works on coins, history, and checkers. His style is emminently approachable with most of his books oriented toward the beginner. The first book I read of his while in high school, "The Complete Chessplayer", completely changed the way I played the game, giving me an edge ever since.

In an effort to sharpen that edge to razor sharp in my down time, I ordered 6 more of his books, including "Winning Chess: How to See Three Moves Ahead," "1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate," and "1001 Winning Chess Sarcrifices and Combinations." I am also looking into a part time gig of coaching chess after school for other schools. We'll see what happens.

Wood: The weekend before last, I spent a large amount of time behind a chainsaw, cutting downed wood from our locust trees into digestable bits for the woodstove. The lion's share of this work is done. However, most of the remaining wood that I had delivered also needs to be down sized, as well as a good portion of the locust previously cut and split. My goal is that by the end of this sping, more or less, I will have 2 years worth of firewood, split, cut and stacked, for the upcoming winters.

To that end, I am checking into a new wood source, a local saw mill that sells 10 ft. pieces of slab wood by the truck load to the tune of $25. Yes, I will have to cut the pieces to size, but considering I have been doing that anyway in the winter, what's the difference. I will be giving the mill a call today to see how quickly I can arrange 10 truck loads. I think that will set me up nicely and keep me more busy than I want to be.

Woodworking: A couple of weeks back scored a sweet deal on a Jet jointer. I just couldn't pass up. This has given me the edge I need in woodworking, no pun intended, as now I can mate two pieces of wood properly (seemlessly). My first project is that of small stool for Anastasia and Isabel for use in the bathroom. At present, they are using their plastic princess privy as a stand. I've cut and jointed the stock for the top and I will begin doing the skirts when I come home from work. I will glue up the top and glue and pocket screw the base skirts into the top. I think.

I say that because I am still very new to woodworking, almost totally green to fine woodworking. The structures I've built that resemble furniture, such as shelves, are crude by aesthetic standards but strong. Next on my list is a kitchen table, provided I actually obtain the lumber. It's on order--it is available, but getting it planed (a service for which I am undoubtedly grateful) is taking some time at the moment. In the meanwhile, I will finish my practice stool first.

Spring: There are so many other things to put in order for the year, it's overwhelming. The garden. The compost pile. Landscaping. Remodeling. Staining. Painting. The list is endless, or close to it. Occasionally, it simply feels overwhelming and thus really hard to stay focused. I love Spring, especially in Virginia. It's magnificent. I intend to enjoy it, even while doing all of the above.

Peace Out and Prepare.



Martin Schap said...

Dude. When you are out here in May you can give me a savage beating in chess. It's been some time since I played, and last time I got my pride ripped to shreds in about 2 moves by a math professor. Funny story though. Remind me to relate it sometime.
Woodworking is a worthy hobby. It's easy to see how some guys get totally consumed by it.

Nick-dog said...

Alright man. I will unleash the dogs of war on the chessboard. I will remember to ask about the math professor.

I love woodworking, but like everything else, it's hard to fit in. Today I spent a good portion of my day, working with my neighbor down the street, building a table out of reclaimed barnwood and runs a successful Etsy shop.

Anyway, he tears down barns and scored some wormy chestnut from an old local barn. Seeing that stuff come out of the planer as I was getting engulfed by wood shavings was quite mesmerizing.

The charms wears off, though, when you blasted by a wood chip.

Nick-dog said...

Man, I need to edit my comments before I post them.