Another year older

It’s been a year since I started doing this blog, so I thought it might be a good idea to go back over all 96 of them to tie up any loose ends.

Back in February I detailed my worst shop habit of getting things out as I need them but not putting them back, resulting in tools piled on top of tools. I’ve gotten much better. I still need to stop from time to time to put things away, but I can actually go whole hours now between those times. Hooray for me.

Also in February, I revealed that my most valuable shop tool is my computer. That’s no less true today, especially since I am now a two-computer guy after buying a Mac, which sits right next to the PC. I’d like to add that my second most valuable shop tool is my digital camera.

Still in February was the first of my “Stupid” blogs, detailing truly stupid shop-related things I’ve done. That was followed with additional “Stupid” columns in April and July. No additions for the last five months, though. Dropping a router on my head last month doesn’t count because, well, that could happen to anyone.

In March I introduced you to mystery writer Dick Francis. He had a new book this year, titled “Silks.”

Also in March I introduced you to my lunatic neighbor who mows her lawn every day. Now that winter’s here and the temperature is in the 20s, she only mows once a week. She still uses a leaf blower to dust the entire street three times a week, though.

In April I revealed my definitive pet peeve: the use of the prefix “pre” when it’s not necessary, which is usually never. I implored the woodworking world to stop using the term “pre-drill.”  You don’t pre-drill a hole; you just drill the doggone thing. You haven’t improved on that, so please stop it.

May 13: I did NOT get a steak for dinner.

Also in May, I whined and moaned about the weird hatchback on my car which can be locked and unlocked only with a remote. It went several months permanently locked, then a few permanently unlocked. The cycle repeated itself a few times, but it’s now back to normal. One of the few times that the phrase “Maybe it will go away” worked out just fine.

In June I bought an extension bed for my lathe. It is STILL in the box. Just no time to get it out, set it up and play with it.

I discovered a new source of wood in June, a large cabinet/millwork shop that deals lumber on the side. Since then I’ve become a regular, first-name-basis customer.

In July I talked about the death of comedian George Carlin. With my recent shop re-do, I can now say that I have a place for all my stuff. George would be proud.

Also July: I asked the question, “Is pine sap an idiot shopping for lumber?” Judging from some of the clientele around the lumber racks at the local Big Box stores, I’m thinking that the answer is yes.

In August I began a series of blogs detailing the building of the new storage shed that allowed me to re-do my workshop properly. That was a rewarding experience in two ways. First, it gave me the best shop layout I’ve ever had. Second, I managed to milk the topic for more than half a dozen blogs.

Finally, in my Nov. 14th blog, I began playing a little game. I incorporated a phrase or term from “Star Trek” in that one, and have done it in every blog since then. One person – an admitted Trekkie – caught on after the third one. Did you?

So as we round out 2008, let me wish you all a very Happy New Year. Live long and prosper.

Till next time,

A.J.

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