Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Acidity and Alakaline

I have always loved fish.  Let me clarify, I have loved having fish as pets.  From about the time I was 12 I really studied up on them to learn how a fishtank worked.  During that time a lot of the equipment changed.  The good news is it changed for the better.  So I learned how to use a lot of the new equipment to make a better tank.

However, there was one weak point.  I was/am terrible at chemistry, which is kinda important when you have a fishtank.  Truthfully, I failed both halves of chemistry in high school.  I failed high school chemistry again in college.  When I took it a second time I would have failed it, but the professor took pity on me, and gave me a "C."

I worked at many pet stores.  They hired me due to my strengths in knowing how the big world of fish and fishtanks work.  Once I was there, I was the "go to" guy on all things fish.

So when I started having problems with my own fishtank lately I was a little more than upset.  I was switching my tank over from tetras, which I have had for almost 20 years to gouramis.  At first, I was suspect of the place I was getting them from.  Independent stores can either be really hit or miss.  It was when I brought home two beautiful gouramis that died within 24 hours that I started to suspect the problem was on my end.

Long story short, I got my acidity and alkaline mixed up on the PH scale.  I got them completely backwards.  Since I am pulling my water straight out of the well, it was really alkaline due to the limestone we have in the Florida aquifer.  My water was coming in at a 7.8 PH.  Now gouramis can live at that PH water, but when they come from the pet store with water at 6.6 PH, it tends to kill them.

When I realized my mistake I started testing everything.  The well water, the water out of the sink, the fishtank, and most importantly, the water out of the rain barrel.  Yes, my sister has a rain collection barrel for certain plants in her garden.  When I tested it, it came in at a perfect 7.0 PH, completely neutral.  So I changed my tank water over 70%.  When I tested it, it came in at 7.0 PH. 

So I went to the store and bought 6 new gouramis.  2 blue, 2 gold, 2 pearl.  A few days later I went to another pet store and bought 4 opaline gouramis.  So those ten, along with the original 3, plus the pleco are doing fine.  I haven't lost one yet.  They are getting along, and so far I haven't detected any problems. 

Honestly, I am mad at myself.  I know everyone makes mistakes.  But I hold myself to a higher level in that I was supposed to be a sort of "fish specialist."  But I'm glad I got it right now. 

So to end this story, here are the pictures and some video. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Falling in Autumn

I decided to paint a "Fall' painting.  I also decided to paint it Bob Ross style.  Really fast, and lots of paint.  I'm still undecided on it.

The first picture is with a flash.  The second one is without one.

There are things I like about it, but I think by getting in a hurry I put paint where paint didn't need to be.  I know you are supposed to look at paintings at least 10 feet away, so looking at them on the computer kind of defeats that point. 

I don't know.  I was happy with it, but the more I look at it, the more I am unhappy with it.  Maybe I should add some more paint overtop of other paint? 

This reminds me of a previous blog I wrote called, "I am a terrible painter."

That was followed by, "I am a terrible painter, part 2."

Of all the funny things that was followed by, "I am a sloppy painter?"

I guess the main point I was making is that, I am really bad at painting.  I'll have to think on which direction to go with this painting, even thought it is technically "finished."

Monday, September 15, 2014

Project 7, Part 2, Dusty Beginnings

Here's Part 1:

I have made quite a bit of progress so far.  More so than I would have thought.  So I will write about my progress along with the pictures I have taken.

First up is the three piece neck.  You really waste a lot of wood cutting a neck out this way, but it's insanely strong, and will last forever. 

That's all I can do on the neck for the time being.  I have to route a line down it for the truss rod next.

Next, I thought I would take a picture of the cut out neck and body.  The next step on the body is to route out places on it.  That's why it's only half cut out.

The next step was to start gluing the top together.  I was going to use this awesome piece of bookmatched rosewood.  However, after searching for a week, I couldn't find it.  So I gave up and decided to use this awesome piece of maple I've had for a few years.

So it glued up nicely.  Here's what it looked like when I cut it out.

Here's what the flame maple looks like when you put a little water on it.  It makes the grain "pop" out more.

Here are the top and bottom of the body pictured together.

Here is the black walnut with some water on it to make the grain "pop."

With wood, you sometimes don't know what you have until you cut and sand it out.  I think I lucked out with these pieces.

Next up was cutting out the control cavities.  I'm 90% there.  I honestly, just need more sandpaper for my spindal sander.

So next up I will doing more routing on the body.  And once I get some sandpaper I will be enlarging the holes to where they should be. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Came In Like A Wrecking Ball.... Only With More Clothes On

So I had an interesting day at work.  It seems like after six years at an apartment, the tenants finally moved.  And they left the apartment a mess.  A complete mess.  That's where I come in. 

The sinks?  They were going to have to go.

The cabinets that the sinks are attached to?  Gonna have to get smashed and thrown out.

The particle board whatever?  That's where I come in like a wrecking ball, only with more clothes on.

(Sidenote:  This is usually when I would show a picture of Miley Cyrus butt naked on her wrecking ball, but blogger sure as hell won't allow that so....)

Yeah, it was a mess.  What made it bad?  The bugs.  Namely various types of roaches that live in Florida.  This place had all of them.  And they weren't dead.  They were all over the place.  Say, do you remember that scene from "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?"  You know the one.  The one with the bugs?  Yeah, it was kind of like that. 

(Sidenote: Now normally I would post awful pictures of roaches, but even I can't do that on my own blog.  So, I will post what I kept thinking for all those hours.)

That's right.  I was dirty, nasty, with bugs crawling everywhere, including all over me.  It was important in times like this to think happy thoughts. 

I don't know why anyone would let a place get that bad.  The paint was scraped off the walls.  The walls were dented as well.  There was grease all over the kitchen.  The kitchen also needed a shop vacuum to pull all the debris and dust out of there.  The carpet?  Forget about it.  It needed burnt.  The smell was as bad as you would think.

But back to the wrecking ball.  The foreman said, "I want this stuff out.  I don't care what you have to do to get it out.  Take a hammer, take it out in pieces, I don't care."  So that's what I did.  I took a hammer, along with a song and dance, and started smashing the everloving hell out of those cabinets.  I had the roaches on the run. 

Honestly, it was all made of particle board and staples with very few screws.  And due to water and bug damage it came apart pretty easy.  I even got to try some old Tae Kwon Do kicks out on them.  I had a bit of fun doing that.

When I got home all I could think of was that scene from the movie "Tommy Boy," where Tommy is being hosed off while singing, "Maniac."  That should have been me.  I was that nasty.

But when you work a job like this, you can only keep your chin up, and of course, think happy thoughts.