Spiro-graph! Dexterity and Patience Required

other than the rip in the paper, this turned out pretty good
 
 
I remember as a kid being fascinated by some of the stuff my sister had.  She is very much into arts and crafts and had lots of stuff like that.  She had a glass making kit and a candle making kit.  She had a wood burning set and even a jewellery making kit.  The best part was that she was actually able to use most of it and she produced some pretty good pieces.

One day she showed me her Spiro-graph kit.  That was pretty cool.  She was older and had greater dexterity, so she was able to actually make the stuff they displayed on the box.  I probably didn’t hurt that she also had a lot of patience and was a bit of a perfectionist.

I was never able to create the kinds of things that she did.  I certainly didn’t have the patience or the manual dexterity.  That, however, did not stop me from trying.  In the end, if I messed up bad enough, she probably took pity on me and made a good version herself.

For reasons unknown to me, the thought of her Spiro-graph kit came back to me a couple of weeks ago.  Even more peculiar, the idea took hold in my brain and I had a hard time shaking it (kind of like a song you hear on the radio and can’t get out of your head).  I went so far as to look up Spiro-graph kits on Amazon and see how much they cost.  I even had one on my wish list for a couple of days.

Rather than go that route, though it is often my go to route, I decided to poke around an art store.  The clerk, who took pity on me, or was just really helpful, told me that they didn’t sell it, but that she had seen the same kind of thing at the dollar store.

two dollars is a good price for a box of fun.
Really?

Short contemplation reasoned that maybe this was the better way to go.  I doubt the thing could hold my interest for very long–it’s not as if years and maturity have really solved the patience and dexterity gap–who’s kidding who?  Maybe one or two dollars was better than twenty.

Surprise, surprise, they did indeed have a Spiro-graph knockoff at the dollar store.  So, to get that monkey off my back, I plunked down two dollars, plus tax, and brought home my very own not actually Spiro-graph, Spiro-graph.

It was kind of fun, and the designs are cool, but it was harder than it looked to make a perfect design.  the gears keep slipping out of cogs….or the cogs slip out of the gears, or….you know what I mean.

One week later, I think I have put it behind me.  It is no longer an obsessive need, but a curiosity in the jack of all hobbies scrapbook.  I am left wondering though, is there an app that can do this for you already?

The Perfect Christmas Beer

Is there a perfect Christmas beer?  Marketing people must thinks so.  Why else would the liquor store (LCBO for me) be stocked to the rafters with the huge variety of beer gift packs that normally don’t warrant all that shelf space.  Though they make attractive gifts and keepsakes, if I bought them all, I would have way too many glasses for my shelves.

Forgetting the novelty of these gift packs, is there a perfect Christmas beer?  I have sample some of the winter beers, and most often been disappointed.  They seemed more like wine, and less like beer.  I like strong beer, but I still want it to taste like beer.  I can only conclude that winter beer really isn’t the perfect Christmas beer.

 
Now, if this was fictional, I would list that the perfect Christmas beer got you happy tipsy, but never fall into the Christmas tree (or fireplace) drunk, doesn’t fill your bladder just when it is time to open the presents and it wouldn’t provide you with a hangover (the least favourite Christmas present) but the reality is a little different.  A perfect Christmas beer is one that tastes good, goes with all the Christmas foods, doesn’t make you feel stuffed and doesn’t have the bitter aftertaste which leads to bad Christmas photos.

I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on the issue.  Recommendations will be followed up as soon as I can go to the LCBO, or Beer Store.

Decals…..My Nemesis

I am not going to boast about my modeling skills–mostly because I can’t.  I am stuck in the intermediate phase and seemed destined to stay there forever.  On one of my current projects–Jacques Villeneuve’s Formula One car I had been making good progress until I met my nemesis.
My nemesis at car modeling that is…. my sink nemesis is this guy named Martin, and my bus seat nemesis doesn’t have a name, but he has sharp elbows that seem to stick me whenever he is texting someone…. whish is ALL THE TIME!  I seem to be digressing.
My nemesis in car modeling must be decals.  I have lots of good equipment. I have a good set of knives.  I have a steel ruler.  I have a really cool self healing cutting mat (not entirely sure what that is, but it sounds cool).  I’ve even got a full range of tweezers and some setting solution for the decals.  What I don’t have is patience for getting them on strait, judgement to know when to remove them from the water, and delicate fingers to stop them from ripping, folding or disintegrating.
I have, in the past, managed to get the decals on license plates, dashboards, air cleaner covers and manifolds.  As for this car, I have ruined a few, and now feel dejected.  I am not sure I want to finish this model, even though it started out with such good progress.
I wish I could blame the decals.  They seem very thin and fragile.  Maybe they are defective.  If I could comfort myself with that lie, I could probably tell myself the dozens of others that politicians and pseudo academics try to foist on me on a weekly basis.  Sadly, I cannot do that.  It is probably less about principles than practical honesty.
I had such high hopes for this car, but sadly, it may go back in the box to rest for a while.  A long while, if I can’t shake this funk and feeling of frustration.
I used to hate painting car bodies, but the airbrush has made that somewhat easier.  Of course, choosing the right colours and thinning the paint appropriately has also helped that, but I would rather thank the airbrush.  It is just simpler that way.
I used to hate taping walls and baseboards for painting, but the new tape (frog tape I think it is called–they must be competing with duct/duck tape.) has made that easier.
wiring up train tracks and lights used to be a pain, but that has been solved.
So basically, why can’t they make better decals for car models.
 
On a side note, as an ESL teacher, I am amused by the word decal.  Do you pronounce it /dee-kal/ or /deckle/ ?
these turned out relatively good