Monday, 29 November 2010

A Bunch Of This And That...

Black Friday/Cyber Monday

I hope you all found the fantastic deals you couldn’t refuse on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Strange, isn’t it, how terminology is adapted from one application to another, resulting in completely opposite meanings.

When I hear the term “Black Friday”, the first thing that pops to mind is that my already black and blue retirement plan just took another sh_t kicking. Instead, in this application it means that the retailers hope to be in the black part of the ledger by the end of this particular Friday, the traditional “lets get out and spend” day in the United States.

While not a thumper about it, I am quite strong on the idea of Canadians shopping in Canada, as Americans are about supporting their own economy. This year is a little different for me, though. This year I am advocating “Cross Border Shopping”. That’s right; all you Canucks should head over to your nearest state and shop your brains out.

Here’s why I say this…

I read an article in the paper the other day about a old guy who had to replace his clock radio so he went to the local Canadian Tire store, a chain that started life in automotive supply and over the past 100 years or so have spread out to carry just about everything, doing justice to none. The old man picked out a radio he could afford and went to pay for it. The price of the clock alarm was $9.95, Added to this price was the new Ontario Eco Fee, a fee for disposal at the time of sale, which added $2.75 to his bill. Then the standard “harmonized” sales tax (8% provincial and 5% federal) was added not only to the selling price of the radio, but to the eco fee as well, adding another $1.87 to his bill. This brought the total of that $10 radio to $14.56, almost 50% more than its purchase price.

All of this, to me, is just way over the top. Add it to all the other ridiculous ways our multi-levels of government here in Canada are reaching into our pockets and it becomes time to call a time-out.

Save the planet, please! I’m all for it and I’ll even help you. Doing so on the backs of some poor old guy on a fixed income, though, is beyond reasonable. I just think it is time the governments got taught a lesson.


Interesting Site

I was sent a link this morning for Yes, the name is a little out there for this day and age, isn’t it, but as the site’s owner explains, it is a play on his name that his parents gave him years ago, so it is not used to cause offense.

Ray, the owner, is seriously into woodworking and creates some amazing projects. He has made everything from a carving knife holder to  tables, desks and cabinets. It is not the projects that amazed me with this site, nor the craftsmanship that he obviously applied to each. It is the pure number of things he has created that blew me away. I have no idea how many he has displayed on this site, but whatever the tally, the number will be incredible.

Take some time and have a look around. He is extremely talented and amazingly innovative. It is worth the click.

Here is an image I lifted from his site. It is just a simple fence, but to me shows this man’s creativity. How would you like to wake up one morning and find this running along your driveway? I know I would, and I don’t even have a driveway.


Time To Make Some Sawdust

Things are slowing down for me considerably by the end of this week and I am going to have just over a month where there will be few demands on my time. To celebrate a slow work schedule for a change, I am going to get to work and enjoy myself. While the project at hand is not really my cup of tea, it will fit in with some of my wife’s other pieces and given it has been a while since I have really built anything, I'm looking forward to it.

Early this year I tried to get my wife interested in growing orchids. Not only has she become enamored with them, she is starting to try her hand at herbs and other green things. To me this is great, and to give her even more incentive, I want to make her a plant stand with grow lights.

For those of you that are not familiar with orchids outside of what you see in the florist shop, without flowers, they can be the ugliest things God ever created. When they flower, their hot. When they aren't, their not.

I should explain why the design of this thing is not something I would choose to build or buy. Shortly after my wife and I were married, my wife asked me to take her to an antique show which I agreed to do, but only if she agreed to leave her wallet at home. We attended that event as, surprisingly, she agreed to my terms, but what did I know at the time, I had just married the woman. Walking the aisles she came across a craftsmen styled sideboard which she wanted. I'm huge on the Craftsman architectural style but not enamored at all with the furniture style. Knowing that she didn't have her wallet, I figured why upset the apple cart. I told her that if she could figure out a way to pay for it, she could buy it. Man, I was so naive back then. I went off to look around some more and left her to her quandary.

When we hooked up again, nothing was said and we wandered around the show some more and did a little window shopping afterwards, as well. When we pulled into the driveway that evening, there was a rather large truck parked in it. It was the dealer delivering her Craftsman styled sideboard. The way she settled the problem of not having her wallet was to tell the dealer that when he delivered it that evening, her husband would cut him a cheque.

So this almost-Craftsman styled, solid oak monstrosity will sit in the diningroom. Even though it stands 6' 4" in height, there is only enough height for three shelves. This is because of the 4" facings along the underside of each shelf to hid the florescent grow lights. I will be 5' wide, though, so hopefully it will have enough shelf space to hold all her green-thumb endeavors. I included four doors across the bottom to give her some hidden storage for dirt, pots, watering cans and other sundry items.

I hope she will enjoy using it as much as I am going to enjoy building it. I started doing the glue-ups today, and here is what the end result should look like…




  1. Out here in BC the eco fee is even higher, 3.50 I think for an alarm clock. And we have the HST. And you don't even want to get me started on the dairy industry gouges us in Canada (or how I can buy $60 Canadian worth of milk and cheese in the US for $20). I really try to buy Canadian, I recycle, reuse, use up. But sometimes enough is enough.


  2. That is so sweet of you to do for your wife. Now I miss my dad... in the house my dad do the carpentry and what is so amazing she even made all our cabinets in the house. That is why no matter how old those cabinets we still hold on to it because it has sentimental value. Our father used to tell us if can do it yourself do it instead of buying expensive things in the store.