Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Pressed for time

A really useful tool

It's been two weeks since I posted an entry, and I'm not exactly sure where the time has gone.

Finally finished sorting through the 1+ GB of pictures I took on my trip, and posted them up to Flickr in this collection, which has everything broken down by day. Some of the pictures have been added to other groups and sets already, but I know I have a lot more work to do in sorting them.

One thing I have been doing is cooking a lot: it's not that I didn't have a kitchen to putter in when I was in Pennsylvania, but I had neither the time nor the energy to do more than the scullery basics there.

And I've been thinking a lot about what I did, how I did it, and perhaps most importantly, why I was creating the work I was doing.

A project I've been doing a bit more than simply thinking about is one that I had done a preliminary sketch (in this case, I wrote a title and a list of constituent parts down on my growing list of planned projects). Found the picture I want to use, priced out one of the components, and am trying to figure out the best way to put them together. How would you attach a picture to a metal rail?

Last weekend's nice weather meant I was able to get out and put a couple of coats of polyurethane on my new bookpress (that's Don's in the picture above): I really got a lot of use out of his when I was there, and he presented me with two pieces of baseboard cut and drilled before I left. Four dollars' worth of carriage bolts, washers, and wing nuts at Home Depot later, and mine is now ready for use.

Speaking of Don, he finally got around to blogging about my adventure there -- check out his perspective of my time in the wilds of northeastern PA....

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Creature of habit

Little Lizard Guy

Aristotle said We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

While I think I'm getting better as a bookbinder, and the two intense weeks I spent with Don Rash have certainly helped, I don't think I'm quite up to excellence yet.

But with a well-equipped studio, and enough time, I think I could actually become pretty darned good, at least by my standards. grin

I used to travel a lot in the bad old days, and developed a number of what these days gets labelled as "coping strategies" but which I've always referred to as "road habits" -- they helped me keep my sanity when I started to lose track of what day it was or what city I was in.

Oddly enough, they all kicked in again pretty quick once I got to the airport to head east, even though some of what one now has to do to fly into the United States didn't exist the last time I did so (like taking off your shoes to pass through security).

It was more than a little silly to see supposedly seasoned travellers futzing around with shoes that looked like they needed a 52-page manual to lace them up trying to hop around on one foot either trying to take off or put shoes on.

And then there was the almost surreal experience of going back to New York City, and finding my way through the underground maze that is the subway under Times Square, and knowing where to go, even after more than twenty years, not to mention being a pedestrian again and ignoring street lights to cross Fifth Avenue.

You can take the girl out of Da City, but you can't take Da City out of the girl, I guess....

The little lizard guy in the picture above is also a creature of habit: he was sunning himself peacefully in front of the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center when I was there Sunday morning, but quickly dropped out of sight between the cracks when I approached on my way in.

Sure enough, by the time I left, he had come back out again: it was far too nice of a day to hide in the shade.

He's got excellence down to a fine art: I should be so lucky.

(And by the time I sort through the gigabyte of pictures I took over eighteen days and get them posted up to Flickr, I should be back into my regular groove too.)

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