Extremely Average #67: Angry Pants and Pop-Tarts

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Blog entry by Ecocandle posted 03-10-2010 05:50 AM 1974 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 66: Monday Ramblings Part 67 of Extremely Average series Part 68: Too Tired to Type »

The DVD ‘Chip Carving’, with Wayne Barton, starts out with some Bavarian folk music as Wayne narrates about chip carving. Ok, I am not exactly sure about the music, but it is not terribly modern. It is pretty cheesy. I can’t say for sure, but I would guess it was cheesy in 1986 too. Despite the rather simple production quality, I think this is going to be a good video.

The tools required are a carving knife and a stabbing knife. I have only a carving, so stabbing will have to wait. The dimensions for the first instructional carving lines are 2 mm, 4 mm, 4 mm and 2 mm. Thus far, drawing lines is within my skill set.

Ok, this is going to be a short blog tonight. Apparently I was a bit cocky when I said, “drawing lines is within my skill set”. Drawing the lines on the wood, so I can start the video has pissed me off terribly. I am no longer having fun. I like the idea of chip carving and I am going to stay with it, but I am not going to write anymore for now. That being said let me write a bit more. I have become an ‘Angry Pants’. I love precision and the problem seems to be that my eyes are not as good as they used to be. I have reading glasses and they seem to be helping a little bit, but I am still not at all getting perfect lines.

I think the problem, nay the source of my anger, is not the silly 2 and 4 millimeter lines, it is the whole getting old thing. I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit. Who do I talk to about this? It is the freaking twenty first century and we haven’t solved this whole aging thing yet? Come on people! Surely there are some mad scientists, or at the very least, some mildly disgruntled scientists, who are trying to fix this annoying problem?

With each passing year I come to grips with what can’t be done. I am 5’ 6” tall. In my late 30’s I gave up on the thought that one day, I would become a rabid gym rat, work on my calves, and eventually be able to dunk. I am older than all the pro athletes, in all the sports, so the dream of suddenly developing into a world class tennis player has vanished. The list goes on, dating a super model, winning a noble peace price, finding the secret to alchemy, and dating another super model, have all been scratched off as being unreasonable.

Of course, all of these dreams were unreasonable from the beginning, and I know this. However, when one is day dreaming, before entering their 40’s, it is still possible to be delusional enough to imagine qualifying for the U.S. Open. Naturally this then leads to beating Tiger Woods on the 18th hole, by making eagle, with an 8 iron, from 154 yards. To say that I am a dreamer, well that is an understatement.

So, now that I have come to grips with all that is not possible, I ask you, is it unreasonable to dream of being able to draw parallel freaking lines? That is all I want. A few lines, equidistant apart. No supermodels, no U.S. Open, no saving the world, I just want to draw some lines. I am not sure if I can set the bar any lower.

Chip carving is now my sworn enemy. I will obsess with it, I will hunt it down, and I will make it do my bidding! I am so angry I could spit, ok, not spit per se, but I am angry enough to eat two pop-tarts. Yes, I know, that doesn’t sound very angry. Eating a pop-tart is hardly an act of a disgruntled woodworker, but truth be known, I am also too old to get very worked up, even when I am angry.

They are blueberry. They are delicious. I am going to try to draw some more lines.

-- Brian Meeks,

17 comments so far

View sras's profile


5034 posts in 3457 days

#1 posted 03-10-2010 06:07 AM

With some practice, you will soon be in the running for “most improved line drawer”! Thanks for sharing your frustrations – now if would just share your pop-tarts…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View patron's profile


13646 posts in 3668 days

#2 posted 03-10-2010 06:23 AM

brian ,
we are never to old for a treat !

i made this for parallel lines ,
it can also be done with any dimension you might use
over and over .

for carving , make copies of your drawings ,
and use photomount spray glue ,
crisp clean lines ,
and repeatability if you mess up ,
or want multiples .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Kacy's profile


101 posts in 3412 days

#3 posted 03-10-2010 06:36 AM

I like that a lot, patron … I’m pretty sure that I need one.

-- Kacy, Louisiana

View oluf's profile


260 posts in 3366 days

#4 posted 03-10-2010 06:39 AM

I am much much older than you. To compound the age problem I had a serious eye injury in Des Moines in 1940 which is making things harder in my advanced age. I can share my method of making straight lines on wood. I use a piece of wood for a guide and a pizza cutter to make the mark. The good news is that as you work through the stages and reach the point where you are working through your senility. You will be much calmer and forgiving. Or is it unaware?

-- Nils, So. Central MI. Wood is honest.Take the effort to understand what it has to tell you before you try to change it.

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 4318 days

#5 posted 03-10-2010 06:59 AM

I guess I can’t resist trying to solve your problem instead of just being there and understanding like my wife tells me I should. I’m sorry.

Two words:

These folks know lines and precision. They will also fulfill your need to purchase a quality tool.

-- Jim

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3393 days

#6 posted 03-10-2010 07:02 AM


That is very cool.


I love precision. Good suggestion.


-- Brian Meeks,

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3393 days

#7 posted 03-10-2010 08:20 AM

Hey Autumn,

It is good to see you are still stopping by ever now and again. :-)


-- Brian Meeks,

View Bill729's profile


241 posts in 3409 days

#8 posted 03-10-2010 08:54 AM

Well, thank you for introducing me to “chip carving”. It looks like it requires a lot of practice! Please post a pic of what you make for your curious readers! : ) On a related note, I spent a few hours learning about blacksmithing this week. The Internet really helps expand one’s horizons!


View deeman's profile


379 posts in 3408 days

#9 posted 03-10-2010 12:33 PM

Getting old aint for sissy’s

-- Dennis Trenton Ohio And life is worth the living just because He lives!

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3436 days

#10 posted 03-10-2010 01:07 PM

I feel your pain Brian. I recently discovered that my eyesight for very near objects has improved, so I am at the bifocal age. Right now I take my glasses off when reading or looking at objects very closeup. After decades of being half blind and half that time wearing the old plastic frame glasses with coke bottle lenses (which by the way is no longer a description that makes sense) my eyes have decided to kick it in reverse.

My brother and I were sitting down together and he was talking about fatigue and prostate issues and I am rattling on about my hip. I had to laugh, I don’t remember having these conversations before and I was wondering how long before we are recommending dentures and fiber supplements :)

And as far as parallel lines go, I feel your pain there as well. For years before I started woodworking, I thought it would be cool to make my own furniture. One hour after woodworking, I thought it would be cool to make a square cut.

Hang in there,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3723 days

#11 posted 03-10-2010 03:20 PM

Having passed all the usual key dates in growing old, and, officially, some years ago, becoming a card carrying geezer, and never having dated a super model, won the Nobel or discovered the secrets of Alchemy, I have great sympathy with your frustration.

I also used to be disgruntled, but attended a re-gruntling seminar and feel a lot better now. I believe I’m going to stay clean.

To get serious for a moment, however brief, I have some tips to pass on that deal with the frustrations of poor vision. I refer to the physical sense, not the artistic kind of vision.

At the top of the hit list, use plenty of good light. The eye, exactly like a camera, uses a higher ƒ number, increasing the depth of field. That is to say, for those not into photographic minutia, the iris of the lens gets smaller and you can see something that might have been out of your range of focus in dimmer conditions.

Don’t be afraid of magnifiers. If you’re at the stage where you can’t see what you’re doing, chances are things won’t be getting better. One of my favorites is the little gizmo jewelers use that clips onto the glasses. It has two lenses that can be flipped up or down, used in combination or not. An inexpensive one is carried by Harbor freight. Buying the cheap ones makes it less stressful when you drop it on the concrete floor.

I also have a good sized magnifier on an articulated arn which is lighted by a circle shaped fluorescent lamp. I have it clamped to my scroll saw, but it’s easily moved to wherever I need it.

And then there’s the woodworkers fall-back:
“Honey, can you help me find my widget? I dropped it and can’t see it.”

Here’s hoping you find good ways to deal with presbyopea.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 4040 days

#12 posted 03-10-2010 03:58 PM

Reading glasses ? Rx or off the shelf ? if Rx how old is the prescription. If they are not Rx or if they are and over a year old its time for a proper eye exam. Its not JUST about woodworking. If you do not need a change talk about eye exercises with your eye MD. Since you do close work, including on the computer you may well find the the answer is not that you are getting old so much as you tend to focus (eye wise ) in one area of vision to much.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View stefang's profile


16662 posts in 3662 days

#13 posted 03-10-2010 05:46 PM

Frankly Brian I revel in my poor eyesight. I can no longer see all of the imperfects in my projects and I’m much happier because of it. As they say, “ignorance is bliss”. Another tip to reduce your anger level is to lower your expectations a little when you are trying out new things. If anyone could do these things really well without practice and experience then the work wouldn’t be appreciated by others. In other words you should always be prepared to pay your dues. The problem with these cliches’ is that we are so used to hearing them that we forget the truth they contain.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2543 posts in 4285 days

#14 posted 03-10-2010 07:34 PM

You almost have to eat two pop tarts..they pack them two to a foil pack…and you cant let the other one sit around and get stale, once the foil pack is opened.


View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3393 days

#15 posted 03-10-2010 07:40 PM


Great response, I chuckeled, as always. :-)


Good advice on the magnifyer. I may look into it.


Actually they are not prescription. I think you are right about getting an eye exam.


I hadn’t thought about the advantages.


I DID eat both of them!!!

Thanks All,


-- Brian Meeks,

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