Wednesday, March 3, 2010

strange days

The Resident Mad Scientist has seen some mad days indeed as those who know me can attest. Recent months have had their ups and downs, and the laboratory and workshop have suffered not only neglect but sometimes - gasp - even usage for other purposes. So this entry is going to be a stream of consciousness collection of random thoughts and information tidbits and handy shop tips.

(note from later: handy shop tips not included - will add to future post. Or, you could just buy all of Guy Lautard's books)

None of my hand tendons have bothered me much for weeks. I attribute this - scientifically or not- and aside from skipping a day or two due to sheer senility - to soaking them at least 5 minutes a day in a hot pot of Yan Jing Pharmacy's "Die da Jiao" hand-merinade -- sometimes twice a day on weekends. Judy also threw in some other stuff in there - Chinese "muscle oil" and something else.

Well, either whatever was wrong with those tendons healed itself abruptly or the hand-soak did it. I don't much care which. Sure feels good. You have to use good lotion afterward tho, this soup has a lot of ethanol in it to keep various essential oils in solution, so it has a tendency to dry out the hands something fierce because of the high alcohol and light weight essential oils content. Even if you have callused hands as I do, you'll only get something even worse than dried-out, cracked skin: dried-out, cracked calluses. They're the dermal equivalent of glacial crevasses. Cracked calluses can be painful enough to be crippling. Ask me how I know this - yeah. So learn from my mistakes. If you are reading this, you probably use your hands to make your living. Take good care of them. Enough of that digression.


As a result of the above, and as I've mentioned in a previous post, I've been cautiously allowing myself to do more and more work in my shop again.

Both the shop and lab got a once-over-lightly right before the monthly Mad Scientists Party, which didn't hurt. Well okay, in the case of the lab, it was more like a major operation, but it all got done, and now I once again have room on my bench to work -- sort of.

More clearing off and putting-away and identifying and storing and cleaning-up is needed (dammit) before I'll be able to make this one damned measurement which I've become rather obsessed with, then I can move on to other things, although technically I already have, since I am already simultaneously working on more bits for the brass fitting that joins the miniature Jacob's Ladder to the side of The Device.

This whole thing is going to be rather nicely put together once it is complete... and utterly pointless. I should make it so that it is easily removable. Someone else, somewhere, may want an utterly pointless thing after I am done with it. Which utterly pointless thing will be easily adaptable as a light switch for someone else I might add...

I've been toying with the idea of adding an override switch to the box. I might have to do that for full NEC compliance anyway, and doing so will provide an ultimate override should some one-in-a-million thing go wrong (what? with one of MY designs?!?) during our duration on this planet or at least at this address. Actually, now I think on it a bit more, there's no way in hell this thing will ever comply with code, but I think I have a hack for that in case I ever get inspected and someone doesn't like it.

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