Book Log – Funny Girl: A Novel

Funny Girl: A Novel by Nick Hornby

I’ve never not enjoyed a Nick Hornby novel.  The reviews I’d read of this one were all over the place, but with his track record thus far, there’s little possibility that I’m not going to read anything he writes.

And I wasn’t disappointed.  Though not as rich as his other works, it was still an entertaining and smooth read.  There’s a lot of flavor of the early days of British television, and interesting characters being drawn.

And, of course, funny.

Also, there was a girl.

Book Log: Spell or High Water (Magic 2.0)

Spell or High Water (Magic 2.0) by Scott Meyer

Scott Meyer, the creater of the webcomic Basic Instructions, turns out to be a pretty sharp fantasy/sci-fi writer.  I read his first book, Off to Be the Wizard, and enjoyed it quite a bit.

The fundamental premise of all three Magic 2.0 novels (and this is a limited spoiler, as it is revealed in the first chapter of the first book) is that there exists a secret file on a major corporate network, which contains the data on everything, and adjusting numbers in the file adjusts reality.

From that premise, Meyer explores the possibilities in an amusing and inventive way, doing a good job of balancing the need for story with the omnipotent potential of such a file.

It’s always nice to find a good, self-published work.

The Pantry Door Project

I hate bi-fold doors.

Hate. Them.

Any closet that has them I consider wasted space, because I will never open them, because the bi-fold doors will fail in some way and run up my blood pressure and life is too short, no need to make it shorter.

The pantry, former laundry area, had very tall metal bi-fold doors, I believe probably from 1959. The doorway is a non-standard door height, and finding pre-made doors just wasn’t happening. I could get some customs done for $600 a piece, but I wasn’t having much luck otherwise.

So. The plan. Metal frames with fabric stretched inside. I can weld the metal myself. Should be easy.

Ha!

But off I went.

“Temporarily”, I had put a curtain up, to reduce my frustration with the non-functioning bi-folds. The original:

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First step, purchase some 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 1/8″ steel angle from Metal Superstore (the only place I’ve found locally to get this stuff).

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Cut 45 degree angles using a newly purchased, really cheap chop saw. I wish I had splurged on a nicer one.

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I built a simple fixture to try and get the pieces to connect at a 90 degree angle. It worked… okay.

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Welding the corners together, one by one.

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Some welds aren’t as nice as the rest, because I am not proficient yet.

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For a little decoration, I got some scrap metal tube and rods. I chopped the tubes to make little circles, and connected them to the frames with the rods. Going for “funky”.

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Now the frustrating part: The fitting. My math was wrong, and my doors were too wide to put a substantial center post for the inner of the four doors.  Also, the extreme un-rectangularness of the existing frame caused some agita.  Furthermore, my welding caused some warping of the metal.  All in all, this isn’t going to look machine-precise.

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Adding some hinges.

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And making some other hardware: handles, and little brackets (made from more cut up tube) to hang the material on.

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Welding on the handle warped the metal some more. Do I need thicker angle iron? Less heat? Better clamping? Dunno.

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Polishing up the metal with an angle grinder with flap pad sander.

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The metal looks nice sanded. Shame I’m going to paint it. But I need to cover up the sins.

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Painted.

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Book Log : Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures By Kate DiCamillo

Thanks to my daughter Scout, we’re a big fan of Because of Winn-Dixie, and to a lesser extent The Tale of Despereaux, by the same author.

Our nighttime reading trio also really enjoyed this whimsical tale of a squirrel turned superhero.  It’s full of strong, eccentric characters and thoughtful pacing.  I especially like that it tells a good story without being overly reliant on the gimmick of the central premise.

No doubt it earns its 2014 Newberry medal.