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Hobbies

I painted a picture of myself

The last time I painted I was about 14. I used oil paints back then. Recently I read a book about painting and got excited again. Luckily there were acrylic painting sets and canvases on sale in Lidl (the pan-European cheap grocery store chain) so I bought them. Then I took a picture of myself, drew that and colored it. Drawing took about half an hour and coloring about two hours. So here’s my first painting in adult age and the first ever acrylic painting:

Cultural aristocrat

It’s name is “Cultural aristocrat”. I think it’s pretty damn good considering that it’s been twenty years since my last painting. Reading the book really helped.

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Transsexual cake

Last autumn my wife and my friends’ girlfriends decided to celebrate the very first men’s day and surprise us with this cake:

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DIY Solder Gun

One of my hobbies is stained glass. I heard somebody had said, when told about my hobby, that it’s not very masculine. He changed his mind when he was told that I had made a picture of a motorcycle with stained glass (actually that picture – it’s a window, in fact – is still unfinished).

I’ve noticed that in some cases you would need a third hand when soldering. Generally those situations are when you’re working on 3D objects and edges of plane objects. It would be nice to just hold the pieces of 3D objects in your hand and solder with the other one without having to make a styrofoam support or taping the pieces together first. And it would be great to just hold the picture you’ve made in your hand and solder the edges without building support to make the picture stay vertical and edge horizontal (solder is an easily flowing fluid and drips as little hot drops otherwise). But no, you’ve got a bar of solder in the other hand and a soldering iron in the other.

These problems in mind I made a soldering gun for stained glass. There are references of this kind of guns having been for sale but they’re out of market (I guess they couldn’t sell them enough?). There are guns for electronics but I suspect their solder wire is too thin for stained glass.

And here it is – after some planning, making it and making some refinements:

Soldering gun

There’s the iron on the top and the solder wire goes through the thing to the tip of the iron. Frontmost clamp – attached to the trigger – moves the wire forward when trigger is pressed and the rearmost clamp stops the wire from moving backwards. On the side of the gun there’s a syringe which has a piece of cloth at it’s tip. It’s used to apply soldering fluid. You fill the syringe and use the cloth at the tip to spread it on copper foil (stained glass edges are coated with a special copper foil before applying solder).

spreading soldering fluid Spreading soldering fluid.

Soldering Soldering.

By the way, I used a similar small flower, than the one I’m holding in my hand above, to make a birthday gift for my sister (it was the 40th). I put some white led lights inside and made the basis and leafs of rusty old iron sheet metal and the stem of an old greenish copper pipe. It’s a poor picture, sorry:

stained glass flower

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Sitting lady birthday cake

Nonpareil art again (this post is a little bit late). This time it has two colors:

Sitting lady

My friend gave me a “nice” present. A small action hero figure. Later I noticed that there were chocolate easter eggs for sale which had those figures inside them. The bastard had eaten the chocolate and gave me the toy!

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Midsummer festival

Here are some pictures from midsummer trip me, my wife and my friends made to Luosto, Lapland, Finland. We celebrated also my friend’s 30th birthday there. Congratulations, Keijo! And thank you for beautiful accommodations!

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Hippie guitar

I made this guitar a while back and actually it took a couple of years to finish. There was a long period of “idling” in the middle though, and finally, tired of looking at the half done guitar, I just finished it in a zap. First I bought a used Jackson Charvette guitar (looked pretty awful – somebody had painted a “nice” spider web thing on it) and took it apart. I painted the guitar with base paint and sanded it. I looked up 60’s spirited pictures from internet and printed them with a laser printer and then glued the pictures on the guitar. Finally I put clear plastic with glue on the other side on top of all (the same stuff that you use to cover books). Sounds simple but it took two years. :) The explanation is that I was going to look for more pictures for some empty spots, but because I never got around to it, I thought heck and just covered the guitar with the plastic… The empty spots don’t stand out much, since the base painting is black and white as are the pictures. Here’s a picture (this time it’s a bit bigger than my usual pictures, so that you can see at least some details):

Guitar

Oh yes, and the guitar is ok to play. :)

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Jimi Hendrix birthday cake

I made us a birthday cake, because it was my birthday recently. I make them always the same way (the best way): I bought a cake base from a grocery store, wetted each surface with peach juice (the juice that’s in a can of peaches… it’s mostly sugar water), put jam (strawberry is good and raspberry too), banana slices and peach slices on each layer. On top of all I put whipped cream (remember to put sugar in the cream). But this time I also made an especially nice decoration. I drew Jimi Hendrix’s face from a poster we have on paper and cut the “mask” off with scissors. Then I put the pieces on the cake and threw some nonpareils (colored sugar balls) on it. Then I picked the nonpareils off the mask and drew the pieces of paper carefully off. Here’s the poster:

Jimi poster

And here’s the cake:

Cake

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About blues

Quite recently, by some influence of my friends, I’ve been introduced to the world of blues. We’ve been playing some too, even though some say you can’t play blues unless you’re black, fat, old and blind. This can’t be true because e.g. B.B. King, although black and fat and old, is not blind. And Johnny Lee Hooker was not fat nor blind. We are, however, non of those things. We are white, slim (well…), young (about 30 and less…) and we still see fine (I have glasses, though).

I have a funny story about B.B. King. A former colleague of mine, a physicist (I’m saying former, because I’m not working in that field anymore), was waiting for a visiting researcher with a friend of his, who is also a physicist, on Helsinki’s airport. A fat black man walked by and caught my colleague’s eye. He told his friend “hey, that man looked a lot like B.B. King”. Taking into consideration that it’s a bit odd to see B.B. King walking by in Finland, you may think that this is another white guy who thinks every fat black man is B.B. King. BUT a short while later, more fat black men walked by and they had a text “B.B. King” on their arms. So he WAS B.B. King.

Blues is flexible. Some are purists and just stick to the tradition (worst case of this when some bands just play the scale over and over again, basically creating songs which all sound similar). Some may be very good at it, but this doesn’t interest me, because of the lack of variation, except when done by Johnny Lee Hooker. Johnny Lee Hooker. He can say any shit he wants and it always sounds good. (I’m using present tense, although I know he’s dead. But he’s also alive, you know, through his music.) If I’d sing: “I heard my papa tell my mama, let that boy boogie woogie”, they’d laugh at me. But when Johnny Lee Hooker says it, the listener thinks: “YEAH! LET THAT BOY BOOGIE!” Boom Boom Boom. That’s street credibility at maximum.

The lyrics in blues songs are usually nothing special, but that’s their brilliance. It’s the beat and feeling that counts. If you listen to the lyrics with a critical ear, they sometimes sound even quite funny. In one song, by B.B. King and Johnny Lee Hooker playing together, they complained that this woman tore up their family by seducing them (they were singing as the man in this story). As if it was the woman’s fault :) But they were so serious about it that the listener feels sorry for them. In another song (I haven’t heard this one, but heard the story from my friend) B.B. King sang a duetto with a lady singer. B.B. King was married to the lady singer, his “wife”. The “wife” was complaining about something to the “husband”. The husband kept telling all the things he had done and sacrificed during their long marriage, but the wife kept knocking out his arguments, one by one. Finally, in the climax of the song, B.B. King howled in pain: “BUT I GAVE YOU SEVEN CHILDREN!” That was his final and strongest argument. HE gave HER the children :) A lot of this blues thing seems to be testosterone oozing dirty old men’s world. That’s fine by me. Although I consider myself a modern man, I still sometimes need that testosterone feeling.

Back to the flexibility. Blues has developed into a lot of things. The Yardbirds still sounded like a mixture of blues and psychedelic rock, but the yardbirds’ “chick”, Led Zeppelin, was considered the first heavy metal band. (Wonder if heavy metal got it’s name from “led”…)

Btw we thought that our band’s name should be “Led Light” (not sure if the other members of our band know about this). I and my wife gave us blues names, too. I am Papa Blues (guitar, vocals). My wife is Mrs. Hippy Mississippi (drums, vocals). The other members are Mojo Hand (guitar), Voodoo Daddy (metaphysical things, drums, guitar and vocals) and Sweet Lips Wookie Man (metaphysical things, harmonica; he has a beard, that’s why “wookie”).

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Autumn trip

See the pictures of my and my friends’ trip to Korouoma, Posio, Finland.

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Humane mouse trap

We were watching tv in our parents house and then we saw it. Mickey. Fievel. It ran behind the tv shelf. My wife tried to scare it from the other side and I was lurking on the other, planning to throw a cloth on it. No luck. We went on to watching tv and speculated that it surely would meet its end when my parents came back from abroad. My wife screamed: “There it is!” I jumped up, but before I could move, it was behind the couch we were sitting on. “Come on, come here”, I whispered to it on all fours, trying to locate the rodent. Blah. I stood up and then it ran again. I was right next to it and before I had the thought, it was behind the desk. Ok, it was way too fast for me. I browsed to google and typed “humane mouse trap” (humane, because I like animals – even mice). The first link was to this excellent site. I followed the intructions on the page and made this trap:

The trap(click to enlarge)

As you can see, the trap is simple. You have a bowl upside down on top of some kind of rigid plate (cardboard in my trap). You make a stick with a 90 degree angle on it (I re-enforced the stick with tape and a nail) and stick a piece of cheese to the other end of it. Then you support the bowl with the stick as the image illustrates.

It was time for bed by that time and I went ahead. My wife was to follow me right after. She put something in the trash can and mouse jumped out of it on the floor and ran away! She screamed and then laughed :) We put the lights off and talked about the mouse a couple of minutes. Then we heard a slam as the bowl went down. I took a peek and there it was! We went back to bed dreaming mouse dreams and in the morning took the mouse a good distance away from the house (about 300m/yrds is quite enough since the territory of mice extends about 200m).

Mouse underneath  Mouse underneath #2 It’s quite cute.

See how fast the mouse was: We took pictures of the mouse’s departure with fast successive shots, three pictures a second.

Zero... 0 sec

One... 0.33 sec

Two... 0.66 sec

 I became a great fan of this trap: it’s clean (no blood and guts sprayed all over as with regular traps) and it’s humane (sometimes in regular traps the trap recoils because of the spring force, catching the mouse only by nose or something, and the mouse dies a long and agonizing death).

I guess the mouse was pretty pissed at us taking it outside to cold autumn weather. But I’m easing my conscience by thinking that if it knew that we probably saved its life (until an owl or cat gets it), it would be thankful. Besides, at least it had a belly full of cheese when it left us (it ate the whole bate).

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