Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Favorite Debate Question: What Is It You Don't Know, and How Will You Learn It?

Talk about a good question to ask U.S. Presidential candidates in an unscripted debate forum, the last question last night was a simple one but a good one. It went something like this:
"What is it you don't know, and How will you learn it?"
Isn't that a great question for guaging another person's personality? Well, I can tell you that I'm not going to discuss the candidates and their answers, but let's talk about that question. What is it you don't know? How will you learn it?

Me? I don't know a lot of things. I learn them when the inspiration strikes me, for practical reasons or for totally off the wall reasons based on hunches out of nowhere. Also, be it a practical reason or one of those wild hair hunches, I am one of those bullheaded people who wants to figure it out for herself in most cases. Okay, if it involves the technical aspects of the computer, then just give me the freaking answer, don't tell me about motherboards or surfboards or whatever the heck is inside one of these cases. BUT if it involves creating something with glass or clay or wood, hand me a tool and stand back. Stand waaaaaaaaaay back, as a matter of fact, because I'm not a natural at much of this hand-eye coordination stuff and am just as likely to inadvertantly sling a glob of clay at you as I am to hit the nail instead of my thumb. Truly, you never know what to expect when you unleash me :)

So, it worked out that I finally finished my tall worktable this morning, while still mulling over that question from the debate. Now you know at least one more thing Angie doesn't know-- how to build furniture! Oh, dang, if I'd decorated this thing with a list of things I learned from scrapping this together, there would be no room left for all these cool paint decorations. By the way, those look funky because I freehanded all of them. They are far from perfect, but I got great satisfaction from doing them. Yep, patience has never ever been my defining quality (beginning with me being about 5 years old and sticking my hand in the still very hot bowl of homemade fudge my mom was getting ready to pour into a pan...mmm, chocolate!), and drawing or painting lines without using a guide is one heck of a cardiovascular workout for that single teeny-tiny patience muscle I have.

Hmm, where was I? Got distracted by the mention of fudge. Do you know that almost forty years later, what I remember about that night is not the pain but the image of that bowl of hot fudge and creamy and yummy it looked? Anyway, the list. The list of things I learned from this project includes:

  • You really should make a plan before you start cutting. All I knew was I wanted a tall table with a curved edge, so I cut the piece of plywood for the top and then hodgepodged it the rest of the way. The brace pieces aren't all the same size because I didn't want to head back to the hardware to get another wide piece of board for the bottom front. I went ahead and used the wide part on three sides so I can store my big boxes of clay down there and keep them corralled a little bit.
  • Certain size nails will split certain cheap pieces of pine! Finishing nails might be great for the visible surfaces but won't hold together two pieces of wood when one is slightly bowed! If you pull out nails, then a clump of spare polymer clay really isn't a very good substitute for putty to fill those holes!
  • After two cans of cheap spray paint, a couple of coats of the good red paint, and more than a few @#$@$'s, I actually heard what my brother and mother said about p-r-i-m-e-r. Well, duh. I was working on the cheap, so I thought those coats would do the trick. Eh-eh. After a coat of primer, the rest went on soooooo much more smoothly.

Ah, yes, how appropriate-- the labyrinth in this last picture. Growing is a journey, isn't it? The journey inward, the curves and turns that make you think you've found your way, the realization at the center that you're only halfway. . . the realization that there is enough to learn during the journey that you hope to never come to the end :)

P.S. I actually like the idea that made its way into the response of both candidates. What I don't know is what will happen in the future, but what I do know is I will find a way to learn whatever it is I need to know to deal with it.


Deb said...

Oh Ang - what an absolute fun & brilliant table. I love the freehand artwork - you done good!! I couldn't do freehand if my life depended on it! lol!
Your analogy about the labyrinth & growing - so true!!!

Tip time - lol! Things I have learned the hard way.... ;o)

Pre drill holes - it save's wood from splitting.
A bit of PVA mixed into a thick glob with sanding dust makes a good filler.
I wish there were surfboards inside computers.....I have my reasons!!!

angelinabeadalina said...

I was going to pre-drill holes if I used screws, but all the drills around here died, including my Dremel so I used nails and learned the hard way that's not the best idea. I never even thought of mixing sawdust with something to make filler-- thanks for telling me, as I'm sure there will be plenty of mistake holes to fill in the future!

rosebud101 said...

Mistakes or not, I think that is a great table! I love to learn by doing. I'm not a carpenter today, but then, who knows about tomorrow?

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

What a great table... will you put your torch on that table or is it for another purpose... You are so creative.

angelinabeadalina said...

Thanks, Mallory and Elaine :) I made it tall so short ol' me can either stand at it or sit on a tall chair I already had. I want to use it for playing with clay. I bought clay, dabbled a little, but didn't have a place to keep a project. I've already put the little turntable on there...we'll see.

Deb! Your tips jogged some memories of long ago and watching This Old House and New Yankee Workshop! Wood glue, biscuits, all that stuff is still up there somewhere in the sawdust that fills this skull! Thank you! Another "aha" moment!

ellen said...

My mom has always been my inspiration. "If you want to know how to do something - go find someone that already knows how to do it and pick their brain." Doesn't mean you have to do exactly what they say; take what you need and make it work.
I love the table: colors and designs. Of course, it's freehand. If you want perfection - go to a factory. If you want art - go to Ange!

angelinabeadalina said...

Ellen, I do believe you and your Mom are some very wise women! Listen, ask questions, take what you need and make it work-- got to be one of the best ways to learn anything!

Anonymous said...

Anfe the comment about picking someone else's brain you should have thought of , who called who last week when thier drill didn't work ? I could have told you to how to build it with out screws , but then you would need a wood working dictionary after I got done . I t look 's good , I have one question though if your using it as a work table why paint the decorations on the top , they will always be dirty , but that is a man,s theroy . That is if you use it

angelinabeadalina said...

bubby, i am typing this onehanded since i just kerwhopped two fingers on my left hand with the hammer. dumb mistake. anyway, are you talking about pegs and glue and biscuits and such? and if i bring the broken drill, are you gonna see if you can make it better? as 4 the top of the table, well, maybe a woman's brain creates even better the more good energy and ideas in the environment? (i.e. women can think about more than one thing at a time, so they look at design differently than men?) besides, the clay elf face on the table right now is on a piece of paperboard that's on a turntable-- no damage to the table :) and besides, did u really think i would be able to leave that much space undecorated??

Anonymous said...

As to the drill , I'll see what I can do about it , do you want nitrios or would you prefere a blower on said drill . There is no substite for cubic inches , if we do this you may want to take to lifting weights to hold on to said drill. As to fingers da!$%&**((*&%^%$ that hurts don't it !!! If you were to think about said nails you may try using needle nose pliers to hold the nail . Course if you miss the nail then you may get a blood blister from the pliers going out of your hand at sonic speed .