The final piece

I have had a plan to replace the bookshelves in the living room— now, if you’ll recall, in the room that used to be the dining room– with higher-quality, real wood, 7 foot bookshelves for literally as long as I’ve lived in this house, and 2022 has been the first year in a long time that wasn’t utter shit, so we finally have the money to invest in something that’s going to last: thus these four new shelves, which magically match the paint in the living room perfectly and are finally going to give my books some breathing room.

Goal for 2023: write shorter fucking sentences. Christ. At any rate in the last couple of months we’ve recarpeted, bought a new sectional, and now put in the new shelves, so the living room looks completely different. And much awesomer.

I’m not close to being done to shelving these– that’ll take a day or two at least, and there’s a bunch of books I need to find, as the old shelves didn’t exactly get moved in careful order– but that can be my project for the next couple of days. I’ll post again when they’re done.

That Lego set on the second shelf was one of my son’s gifts and it’s there because we’re guarding it from the cats until he’s done building it. I’m going to need to find cool bookends in the meantime; I don’t want these to end up covered in knickknacks but I also want to leave some space on all of them. That’ll be a fun Amazon/Etsy search, I think.

The typical assortment of end-of-year posts will start soon; I think the book I just finished is going to make it to the best-of list, though, so that one probably won’t be for a while. I find myself in the odd position of having not hit my reading goal for the year, so I need to finish two books at least before I can write anything about what I read this year. I’ll find something else to talk about in the meantime.

New hotness alert!

Forgive me, for I have sinned; I spent money on Black Friday, the fruits of which arrived today in the form of that pretty-ass new 27″ monitor on the right there. The one it replaced was, in general, a capable device (and will continue in service, but on my wife’s desk) but was so old that I literally don’t remember when I bought it; it may well date to the computer before Apple switched to the current iMac setup, where the computer and the monitor are one piece. It’s possible that it dates back to my Chicago years, although I think it might be too thin for that.

Thing is, I have a new desk coming– it’s backordered, but it’s coming– and that desk is a bit wider and deeper than my current one, and has a spot underneath it where I can put the PS5. So I decided that meant it was okay to become the ultimate in geekery: a three-monitor person. And Amazon had these fuckers on sale steep on Black Friday; I saved about $220 on the two I ordered, one of which is just going to sit in the box until the new desk arrives in a couple of months and, when I install it, might go in oriented vertically. Why? Why the fuck not?

Also, it’s curved, and I don’t know if you’ve ever used a curved monitor before? I hadn’t, and while I can’t quite explain why I like it as much as I do, it’s kind of amazing, and between the curve, a more efficient stand, and the smaller bezels compared to the old monitor, it actually really doesn’t take up much more room on my desk– so even the one drawback I’d managed to come up with regarding spending the money & upgrading really didn’t pan out.

Next trick: figure out why the colors on that picture look so supersaturated. Which I think is the phone and not the (main) monitor.

On complexity

What you’re looking at here is the engine block of the Lego model for the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters. I’ve had it for a little while and wanted to get it built this weekend, so I’ve been been coming back to it intermittently for the last couple of days and right now I’m about halfway through the build. I’ve been really impressed with it so far, and it continues to amaze me how much entirely unnecessary complexity Lego builds into their modern models. First of all, they modeled the engine block. I don’t actually know if the hood for this thing is going to be removable or openable or what once it’s finished (if there’s a hinge assembly for it, I haven’t built it yet) but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they modeled the engine block carefully enough that you can actually identify individual parts of the engine and then covered it with a hood assembly that wasn’t meant to be removed. The grille in the front? Each of those little silver rectangles is an individual piece. That yellow X-shaped piece in the back with the yellow circle around it is attached to the steering wheel, which is actually set up in such a way that turning the steering wheel turns the front wheels of the car. There’s a whole steering column and what appears to be a gearshift next to it. There are stickers in places on the car that you will never see. The engine has belts, for Christ’s sake– you can see a bit of one of them, the red band next to what is clearly meant to represent the battery.

Do I want to find out what model of Cadillac the Ecto-1 was supposed to be and see where the battery actually is? Yeah, I kind of do.

I’ve been kind of in a funk lately regarding writing and the internet and a few other things, so this has been a nice change for me to focus on for a few days. The problem is these sets are expensive and they’re starting to kind of build up around the house and I don’t really need one more fucking thing to figure out how to display. But fuck it, that’s a problem for later, for right now I’m going to continue enjoy building the car.

EDIT: The hood does open. Entertainingly, the hood is one of the few actual flaws with the build, as it doesn’t quite close as tightly as I like and wants to be no more than about 98% closed. That doesn’t sound like it should be an issue but it means a few things don’t line up. I just need to make sure to display the car with the passenger side facing out, I guess. 🙂

EDIT EDIT: The hoses from the battery were in the way. I shoved them deeper into the engine and it’s fine now.

A project and a Project and a PROJECT

I decided that the basic, entry-level Rubik’s Speedcube that I have wasn’t as much of a challenge as it used to be– I still need the directions in front of me, don’t get me wrong, but I can solve it from basically any scramble to done in a few minutes, so I lost my ever-loving fucking mind and bought a Gan Mirror M Speedcube today. It took a good half-hour to solve from a pretty thorough scramble and broke my mind about halfway through. What the image to the right doesn’t really show you is that the colors will shift, going from blue to purple depending on your angle. It makes the cube absolutely beautiful to look at, but it means you can only go by the size and shape of the various sides to solve the thing, which is absolutely maddening, especially the first time you have to wrap your head around it and that one piece looks like it’s in the right place only shit it’s half a millimeter too thick so it can’t be the right piece.. I managed it, though, and once I can solve it as fast as I can a traditional speedcube I’ll start working on actually memorizing the algorithms so I can do it without the damn instructions on the screen in front of me.

I have been having a really relaxing break so far– recall that even if I hadn’t quit my job, this would be a four-day break because of fall break, and I’m technically employed by my previous district through next Friday anyway– and I spent a couple of hours a day working on the Lego set for the Space Shuttle Discovery that I bought a month or so ago. The thing is a beast, coming in at just over 2300 pieces, so naturally as I was moving it from my office to my room, where it will be displayed alongside all the rest of the NASA Lego sets (excepting the Apollo Saturn V rocket, which I haven’t built yet) I managed to knock half the fucking wing off by bashing it into the doorway. I got it fixed, nothing missing, but the torrent of swearing attracted attention all over the house. I think this will probably turn out to have been more fun to build than the Saturn V, which is probably going to end up kind of repetitive, but either way it was a blast to put together and I think the model of the Hubble Telescope that came with it is cool enough that I’d happily have bought it as a separate purchase on its own.

Also, somehow, my wife and I went from “Should we replace the carpet in the living room?” to having an appointment for a man to come out on Wednesday and measure our living room for our new carpet in less than 24 hours. Have I posted pictures of my living room recently? Because there are thirteen completely full bookshelves, a sofa, and a fucking piano in there. Guess who said the words “I have the next three weeks off, I can get the room cleared out!” out loud, like an idiot?

Sigh. At least I’m not gonna be bored.

Woohoo! I’m mediocre!

I have successfully solved the Speed Cube three or four times, tossing it to my son in between attempts to have him remix it, so now I can start working on memorizing patterns since I’ve got the basic vocabulary down. This was already worth the $18 or so I spent on the cube, honestly.

That’s all I’ve got at the moment. I know I’ve been boring this week; please accept my most sincere apologies for my lack of dedication. Maybe something fascinating will happen tomorrow! I have a union meeting with my boss after work that has all sorts of potential to go deeply ugly. We shall see, right? Presume positive intentions and all that.