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A Tale of Two Platters October 23, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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I’m gonna have to make a few more of these I think (clicky to embiggen).

Behold! The White Tree of Gondor!

Behold! The White Tree of Gondor!

That snot really the White Tree of course, but another varient on my Spooky Tree archetype.  I made the second one a bit bigger.

A Triad o' Trees

A Triad o' Trees

These platters are dead simple to make actually. I just roll out a slab, cut it to the desired shape and then slump them on a curved form. After they dry up a bit I put a foot on the bottom and let them dry a bit more until leather hard. That black stuff is called an “Underglaze” and I put it directly on the unfired clay. It’s not really a glaze, but a colored slip. I then carved my trees with a small knife into the underglaze to show the white clay underneath. These pictures are the first fired state and they turned out pretty well. Tonight I sprayed on a clear glaze to seal it up and they will go into the second firing over the weekend. I’ll have them back next Tuesday (praise Kiln Gods) and I’ll show a bit more about the construction details. I’m particularly proud of the foot I put on the second one.

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Random Stuff October 16, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Home, Strange & Unusual.
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So when I was a kid and they had us all do the “Pledge of Allegiance” to the flag every morning for the longest time I wondered what Four Witches Stands looked like.  I found that part to be somewhat disturbing, but I was afraid to ask about it.  Nobody else seemed to be bothered so I let it be.  Quite some time later on when I actually found out how the real wording went I was greatly relieved I never asked anyone about witch stands.

This is really cool – Ice Bullets.

While trying not to nod-off this morning I had a vision of leather covered computer cables.  Why?  I have no idea.  They looked cool though.

Ready for some ceramics?  Here’s the latest out of the kiln:

Glazed Drop

Glazed Drop

 It’s ok I guess.  It warped a bit in the last firing and some glazed bits got fused.  Fortunately we were able to get the pieces unstuck though I have to grind some sharp spots out.  I’ll probably wind up giving this one away.

I’m working on a couple small platters now where I will carve some images into a black underglaze tonight and then we start the next project.  I’ll get some pre-fire pics up tomorrow.

Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!! October 11, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Home, Science & Technology, Science Fiction & Fantasy.
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No, that’s not a scream of agony, or frustration or anything like that.  That’s a sigh of supreme contentment.  I do it every time a fresh, cool breeze blows through an open window or door in my house.  Fall is finally here to break Summer’s searing death-grip on our weather!  Oh, we still have some upper 80’s temps as high for next week, but all the night’s lows are into the 60’s or even 50’s.  I am so happy!

I guess a few updates are in order since it’s been a while that I last typed at you.  Ceramics – the Drop survived it’s first firing ok and it’s probably done with the glaze firing by now.  I find out how it did Tuesday night.  Currently we’re working on some platters where we are to carve some design into an underglaze prior to firing.  As usual I’m running a bit behind.

Pool League – my team continues to struggle with disappearing members.  Hell the team captain has been AWOL for the last three weeks.  I’m guessing he’s not going to be back, so I’m defacto captain now.  whoot.  My own play is pretty good – I can hang with the toughest players and still win 60% of my games.  Now if I could only up my win percentage against the less skilled opponents I’d be happier.

Big-assed screen TV / Xbox – I continue to be enthralled with how good the games look on this thing, and <i>The Force Unleashed</i> in particular.  I finished the game on the easiest setting and so I started it again on the next level up.  I’m spending WAYYYY too much time on this thing but I just can’t hardly stop.  It’s SO fun just murdering tons of dudes in so many cool ways.  Speaking of which, go and watch this guy’s review of TFU on the Wii. All of his reviews are like that and they’re all hilarious.  Even if you don’t give two figs about video games they are still a hoot to watch.

That’s it for now boys and girls.  I have to go fold laundry now.  OH!  One quick DVD movie review – Tarantino’s <i>Death Proof</i>.  Holy cow that was terrible – easily his worst ever.  Avoid.

Tres Amugos October 2, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Art.
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This is how to drink with style

This is how to drink with style

The Kiln Gods were generally happy with my offerings and smiled upon my work.  Mostly.  One Kiln God was very angry and smited all that used a glaze that displeased Him.   There was a Great Running of the Glaze and yea verily a Vast Sticking to the Shelves among our works.  The red one was my victim.  It has large chunks of the bottom missing that fused to the kiln shelf, but at least it’s still intact.  It will make a cool brush or pen cup.

I’ll write more later but now I’ve got to see how our gal did against Biden.  My quick skim at AoS seems to be pretty positive.

A Prayer to the Kiln Gods… October 2, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Art.
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O Kiln Gods!  I pray that my mugs pleased You and You found them worthy of Your blessings as they passed through the final baptism of Your fire in Your holy vessels.  May my glazes have fired true and runneth not to stick my wares onto Your shelves.

Amen.

I’ll post pictures of the results (good or ill) tonight.

HDTV = WHOOT!! October 1, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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So last weekend I went around to the usual places one goes to shop for an HDTV and I wrote down model numbers and prices and sizes and whatnot.  I quickly made the determination that the 42 inch size would be the largest that would fit in the space that I have for it and so I generally confined my perusals to models of that size.  That was until the last store where I found a Sharp brand 46 inch screen that had almost the same width dimension of the other 42 inch TV’s I was looking at and it was at a very good price not that much more than the smaller ones.  I wanted to read up on some product reviews and also to have my Dad look at what was available at the base exchange at Nellis and do some price comparisons there.

Reading some of the reviews on Cnet.com gave me some concerns about the picture quality of Sharp’s models (problems with “color banding”) and also their reliability.  If I got that one I felt that buying the extended warrenty would be mandatory.  And those generally run $200 – $300 for the stores I looked at.  Monday rolled around and Dad looked at stuff at the BX.  The prices there weren’t noticibly better than the places I looked at so I decided not to fool around with the BX.  I also re-measured the place I was going to put the TV and decided that I could fit the larger 46 inch mostly regardless of the brand/model.

Anyway Dad & I went out that afternoon to re-look at the stuff and make a final decision.  Long story short I picked up a Sony Bravia KDL 46WL135 at Costco.  It was a good price ($1500 total with tax) for the main features (1080p resolution and 120 hz refresh rate) because it was a floor model.  Another nice thing about Costco is that they offer a two year extended warranty for free.  Hahaha – I just poked around and saw that this particular model is a Costco-only model.  This is old trick so you can’t do a direct price compare with any other store.  Oh well.  I don’t care.  Dad and I got it home just fine and set up was a snap (relatively speaking).  I have it hooked up to the Xbox and a home theater sound system (also Sony).

I had it scan the cable hookup for all the channels (I have just basic extended cable, no premium channels or a box) available and it found a few I didn’t know was available.  Regular definition channels look like crap, but the HD ones look amazing.  Even better are the DVDs I play on the Xbox.  Even better than that are the Xbox games on this set.  HOLY SHIT!  THESE ARE REALLY STONKING GREAT!!  I’m gonna have to replay them all now.  But not until I finish The Force Unleashed.  I’m having too much fun murdering tons of dudes in oh, so many interesting ways.  Unfortunately, for some reason my Xbox Live access has Xbox Died.  I’m not entirely certain what the problem is, but I think it might be my old modem.  If anyone out there has any experience with Xbox Live and troubleshooting problems drop a note in the comments if you wouldn’t mind.

Later ‘Gators.