Shelley’s Clouds

Mary Shelley, famous for “Frankenstein”, is known as the founder of the science fiction genre. For all these decades. A scientist built a monster who was the end of him (the scientist); the irony of the story gave it fame in Europe. The story has been read or seen by many since. On her birthday, bing presented a wallpaper of her castle. Here is a watercolor painting, a photo of one, inspired by the image of the castle. The background clouds were an attempt to utilize a gouche, brush, ‘cloud-making’ technique, of ‘perceived’ Asian origin. The flower in the clouds attempts to approach the semblance of an orchid. Thank you for viewing the photo; I hope you have the time to read a few of my stories, too. 🙂

photo of watercolor, "Shelley's Clouds"

Inspired from an image on bing dot com presented on Marry Shelley’s birthday, “Shelley’s Clouds” presents a slightly visible ‘orchid’ cloud attempted to be painted with ‘Japanese Gouche’ technique. She ‘founded’ the science fiction genre with “Frankenstein”, a story whose irony became its way to fame.

{  the diamond below links to a story i hope  brings harmless joy to many  🙂  }

A Chess Photo

About twenty two years ago I read a not-so-lengthy book on playing chess written by Gary Kasparov. I lost the book years ago, yet I think it was titled, “Gambit”. In the book it showed a few opening strategies, one of which I enjoyed learning to use better over the last twenty years while playing chess from time to time. I am an average player, for the most part; I still have a great deal to learn.

I am currently a fan of Magnus Carleson, hope he wins in NY in November.

As I played better and better players online, I started losing more and grew tired of chess about six years ago. These last few weeks I decided to learn to play better and not to worry about winning or losing. I have enjoyed playing the app Chess with Friends,” which can be played on iPhones or Smartphones (and maybe online).

Here is an engine I have yet to win against: nc3bb4.

There are plenty of openings in chess. This one is my favorite for quick moves early in the game, especially for ‘rapid chess’ – if necessary, the center four pawns are sacrificed for position and sometimes an efficient, safe checkmate.

Here is a photo of the goal of my current favorite opening in chess. It is not always easy to accomplish, yet does have its advantages. The four leading pieces are a bishop, two knights, and the other bishop. The queen has yet to move and white has castled. Of course, to get the pieces into this position, plenty of the opposing pieces would not be arranged as seen, as it takes plenty of moves to get the pieces to where they are in the photo. If one manages to get them there, however, again, it can be beneficial for mid and end-game tactics.

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I love the game and cannot wait to get better with it. There are plenty of ways to play chess online, here is one (over 15 million players play there).

Thank you for reading and have a nice day. 🙂

A File Handle Project

Recently, I learned a few things with woodworking. One project I did was a handle for a file. Here are some photos and a few words describing the process I used for the final product, which you can see in the first photo.

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The small grip notches sawed into the corners are stained with ebony polyurethane. The rest is coated with clear coat poly. This next picture is of the file from Home Depot and the block of wood I used for the handle. You can see the guidelines I drew on the handle with a .7 mm gel pen. The file itself is a nice one and worked great for what I needed it for, even came with a lifetime warranty. I used the pen lines for sawing out the grooves with a hand saw and also used the saw to make some small grip marks.

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The photo below shows the file and the handle after I sawed the block of wood and before I sanded it.

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This next photo shows the handle after it was sanded with a course sand paper a few times and then a finer grit sand paper afterwards.

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This next photo shows the handle with ebony poly on the grooves.

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After I took the photo above, I put the handle in a jar full of polyurethane with it wired to a weight. I customized the lid of the jar to hook up a break bleeder to it which uses a pressure gauge. Every six hours or so, I increased the vacuum to 17 pounds, for a day or two. The air leaked, gradually, however it was an attempt to stabilize the wood with poly. I let the handle sit in the jar under the vacuum for five days, even though it was not really under much pressure due to a slightly leaking seal.

The wood soaked in the poly, nevertheless. I removed the handle from the poly and wiped it clean with a napkin. I then cleaned out the hole for the file. I baked it at 200° f for an hour, letting out the air every ten minutes or so. I let it cool and sanded it with a course grit paper to remove the heat bubbles. I could tell that not too much polyurethane soaked into the wood, which is the hole point of stabilizing it, so it will last longer. While under vacuum, I did see bubbles come out of the wood, which means it was at least partially stabilized.

After I sanded it well to remove the heat bubbles, I could see that the poly did not fully penetrate the wood. The harder a wood is the more difficult it can be to stabilize it; I do not yet have a vacuum pump which runs off an electric motor, which may have been able to produce a stronger vacuum. I do have a pump of such a nature on the way, however I think my efforts with the file handle have come to a satisfactory conclusion.

I sanded it once more with a finer grit sand paper to get it smooth and coated it with clear coat polyurethane one last time. It came out smooth and glossy and is nice enough for me. Here is a larger photo of the final product.

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Thank you for reading this post; I hope you enjoyed the photos. This was a fun project and I cannot wait to learn more with woodworking. There are plenty of different wood hardeners and stabilizers out there, as well as many kinds of wood, some of it soft enough for proper stabilization. If I ever make a small wooden car or Christmas ornament, I will be sure to post some photos of those projects here on jcm3blog. Thank you for reading; we always appreciate your feedback. 🙂

 

 

Shelves

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The above photo is a picture of some shelves that I have spent the last couple of weeks constructing. I have wanted to put together a nice set of shelves for months now and I finally have. I got the 1×12’s from Home Depot, as well as the polyurethane. The shelves are 5′ wide and 7′ tall -huge for me. I cut the grooves in the shelves with a jig saw. I sanded the shelves really well with a course sand paper, then I ‘poly’d’ them. I coated them one side at a time, letting them dry over night, so they did take some time to do. After I had the first coat done, I sanded them again with a more fine grit sand paper and coated them once more, the same way, one side at a time, so they could dry well with no drips.

I put them together carefully by drilling small holes and using 5/8″ wood screws. In all honesty, they are not as stable as they could be. I may eventually re-enforce them with additional hinges. The small ones seen in the picture were found on Amazon. I like the way they look, for now. What started out as a quick throw together project to have something to put the few books I have on ended up being an effort for a new piece of furniture. I liked the way they looked, so I decided to share the above photo. People I know ‘endured’ my talking about how they were coming along, so now I can happily share these photos with them.

Thank you for reading and viewing my efforts in regards to these shelves. Now I have something to put my books on. 🙂 Let me know what you think. Now that these are complete I plan to continue with my study of literature and writing the novel I am working on specifically designed for the enjoyment of readers of all ages. It is a fantasy tale that leaps from reality to a magical, tropical world and back to reality again. My goal is to have it complete by the end of the year.

Below are some more photos I took to better see the beauty of the shelves. The wood is a ‘soft’ wood, which I believe is white pine. I love the way it looks. I also like the way the curves in the shelves came out. Surely there are plenty of structures that far surpass my skill. For me, however, these were a lot of fun to put together and I am proud of them. They are complete, for now. Click on the diamond at the end of the post to check out the ‘Your Story’ competition held by Writer’s Digest – it is one of my favorite contests. 🙂

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An Adventure of Anh

An Adventure of Anh

One time there was a female named Anabeth Garza.  She was nearing thirty-five; she was pondering her life, considering death.  She walked late in the night to a closed fairground.  So dark was the night, so quit in its loneliness, the moon lit her way, albeit.

As she found her way to the monkey-sized puppet in a box, she noticed a small orange bulb in the lower back of the “vending mechanism” to still be on.  “Anh” inspected the back of the large box, noticed it was not plugged in.  “The machine must have stored energy from a busy night,” Anh thought to herself, “That or it is magical.”

She reached into her pockets thinking she just may, by some crazed off-chance, have a coin.  She did not.  She looked below the machine and found one.  She deposited the coin in the machine and the small monkey spun around in a glowing light.  The monkey was well-dressed, as if ready for dancing on a stage.  It looked directly to Anh and said, “No one is looking.  What is your tentative wish?”

“‘Tentative’,” Anh thought to herself.  This was sure to be some form of hard-to-appreciate fun adventure.  “I want to be 12,” was the only thing she could think to say.  She said it before the monkey’s glow disseminated, and warped immediately to small school in Southern Mexico.

“This is a run-down heap,” she thought to herself, as she was surrounded by Mexican students in a classroom with a chalkboard and a clock on the wall.  “They have  a clock,” she noticed.  “Es ocho,” said the teacher, starting class at 8.  Anh only spoke English, though she may have known a few words from the Spanish language.

The day was sure to be an adventure.  Anh noticed that the other students mostly kept to themselves or distracted each other; she could stay mostly quite and say only  a few words like “Si” and “No.”  Lunch came and they all ate beans and rice with milk.  Anh was surprised that the small meal hit the spot.  Recess came.

During recess, Anh played on the swings with another young girl she sat next to and was close to from class.  They were swinging and not saying much.  Anh noticed, across the playground, a larger, heavy-set boy was taunting a boy and a girl.  Anh instinctively went over to see why.  The boy did not have much of a reason, appeared to Anh to be being mean for no real cause.

Anh tapped the boy on the shoulders and he turned to her as if he knew all about it.  “Leave them be or I will beat the breaks off of you,” said Anh.  The larger boy pushed Anh and she fell to the ground.  Her friend begun to run from the swings to where Anh was to try to stop her.  “Anh!” she cried, “Do not do it!”  Anh stood without brushing off her nice outfit, leaped into the blow she delivered to the bully, landing the blow with the lower part of her palm.  She made contact to his brow directly between his eyes, hearing his skull crack.

Anh landed on her feet, ready to see what the big boy was going to do, as he fell to the ground crying with blackened eyes.  Anh’s friend caught up with her and Anh apologized by saying, “Lo-ciento.”  Her “amiga” was disappointed, though somehow understood.  Their instructor found them and Anh endured meeting the principle of the small Mexican school.  He was bilingual, said that she should have informed the instructor and to conduct her actions differently next time.

Anh agreed, hoping the bully learned his lesson.  She warped back to the puppet in time to see light condense from its immense brightness to a small glowing orange bulb.  The monkey looked as though it went to sleep.  “Wow,” thought Anh, and she carried on.

Day 7, A Juxtaposed Contrast

A Juxtaposed Contrast

 One time, a pretty young girl, Rose, and her grandmother, Ema, went to an art museum.  It was nice – not too many people were there at 8:30 AM on a Saturday morning.  There was a curator and a college student, nearby.  The student was working towards a post-graduate degree in graphic design, took some time during the morning to go check out the local art museum.  “What, if you do not mind my asking, is your opinion on these works?” asked the curator.  He and the art student, Mathew, had already spoken together once or twice, before.

Rose and Ema were standing near enough to hear their conversation.  Rose was admiring a huge orange flower while trying not to be afraid of a scary cow skull.  “Well,” said Mathew,

“I have always enjoyed O’keeffe’s artwork.  It, like many things to me, has become too overly cliché to really talk too much about.  I am happy to see these works in person, do not get me wrong.  It is the whole life to death comparison idea, though.  This whole idea that we can compare good to bad, beauty to disgust, or life to death; put those things into a painting; and expect others to enjoy the picture or sing our praises is just not very impressive to me.  What makes her stand out are these vivid colors that radiate from her canvases; death can be a cool form of inspiration.  I like and appreciate what she knew how to do for what was able to be done, technique wise, during her time; her juxtaposition of life and death was a sort of cop-out, in my opinion.”

“I think I agree,” said the curator, “She could have conveyed a deeper message – I still like to see her paintings, too.  They far-surpass many, in my opinion.  At least she had a message.”  The admirers continued to look upon the various paintings in the large room, its polished marble floors were white with wavy grey lines.  “Grandma, what is a ‘juxtaposition’?” asked Rose, thinking it may be a tough question.  “That is simply a comparison of two ideas, pictures, or things that are usually perceived to be opposites,” said Ema, “Which one is your favorite?”  “Well,” said Rose, “I like the big purple orchid with the pink stripes, because I think it is pretty, however I also like the one there by it of bones.  I like the second one, because I know.  One day, we are all going to die.

“She speaks rather well,” said Mathew.  “Most prodigies can,” said Ema.  Rose looked over to Mathew and smiled; she was proud to have heard the complement.  Rose and Ema held hands and walked through the rest of the exhibit.  All four people thought about comparing things for the rest of the amicable day.