Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

I’ve been struggling to write this post for 2 weeks, but I can’t keep putting it off, so here goes.

Jack and I haven’t had many adventures over the past month because Jack’s gone lame. The problem is mostly with his front end somewhere, but we can’t quite pin down the problem, and his walking is continuing to deteriorate. It may be due in part to the return of Larry the Lump (warning – the bottom photo is gory), who has taken up residence in Jack’s Rt. elbow, but his left shoulder is also inflamed. We see the Dr. again tomorrow, and hopefully, an x-ray will give the vet a better idea of cause, effect and treatment options. He has been started on pain pills, and they allow him to rest comfortably at home, but he isn’t himself.

There is some small good news, however. We have successfully weaned Jack off of his steroidal allergy tablets and onto a plain cetirizine (Reactine) tablet, which means he’ll soon be able to take an anti-inflammatory to help with his arthritic hips and knees. Right now, it’s one day at a time, and I’m letting Jack decide how much he wants to do. On a good day, he goes to the end of the street and back, but on a rainy day like today, Jack only wants to go out to the yard.

About a month ago, when things were better, I took Jack to the wee woods for a walk and did some videotaping while we were there. I’ve put together a small youtube movie of our walk, and I’ll be releasing it on Saturday, Dec. 5th, as part of our Winterfest celebration. It’s my first attempt at videography, and there was a pretty steep learning curve, but I’ve managed to put together about a 5-minute clip that I’ll be releasing on Sat. Dec. 5th as part of our Winterfest celebrations. It’s nothing special, but I’m damned proud of myself for learning a new skill, and some of you might even enjoy it. I had hoped to add singing to the end of the clip, but Jack isn’t in the mood to sing right now, so that will have to wait for our next video. In the meantime, I’m hovering over Jack and waiting on him hand and foot. I’m also struggling with the existential crisis of figuring out what happens to Jack’s Walk if Jack can’t walk.

Back at the Zoo 2: Squirrely

Pics NSFI (Not Safe For Iris)

Some versions of squirrels/rodents/chipmunks.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved The chill one

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved NomNom

©Giliell, all rights reserved Who? What?

©Giliell, all rights reserved There?

©Giliell, all rights reserved Whoosh…

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved See ya!

Kitchen Knives Set – Part 1: Thoughts and Design

So, this is my next big-ish project, I have decided to make a basic set of kitchen knives – three knives and honing steel. I am not entirely sure about how useful honing steel is with knives from N690, but I have used it on my mother’s knives and it seems to work. It does not appear to hurt. If this small set works out OK, I will make more in the future and perhaps add some specialized knives along the way, but this basic set is meant for casual cooks like myself (and indeed most of my friends), who do not need a special blade for every task and will be probably very content with one knife for 90% of work.

And because this time I am preparing perhaps for more future projects, I have made templates in photoshop, printed them out, and laminated them in transparent foil for future use.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The grid is metric, with the smallest scale being 1 mm.

The “meat” knife is a de-facto universal knife, one that I expect to take care of that 90% of work. Medium-sized blade with a round tip, ergonomic handle for firm grip, suitable for slicing protein as well as fine-dicing herbs and vegetables. And for remaining tasks, there is a small peeling knife with a sharp tip for piercing and a relatively straight blade for scratching-peeling, and a big chef knife for tackling difficult cabbage and for those occasions when cutting a lot of big-ish vegetables or huge chunks of whatever is necessary.

The chef knife has holes along the blade edge, which should help with reducing the sticking of whatever is being cut to the blade. It is easier to make than hollow grind or S-grind and it does work too. The handle is ergonomic as well but it is formed with a focus on two main uses of such a big blade. The thicker butt with a hook end prevents the knife from flying out of the hand when chopping, and the thin front with a lot of space for fingers allows for a choked-up grip with the index finger and thumb on the blade for fine slicing and dicing with a rocking motion.

All these designs should work as expected since they are based on knives that I have already made in the past. Of these, the least tested is the chef knife, but I still do not expect any trouble. I won’t follow the designs exactly, they are just approximations and I expect to tune them up a bit during the work. Any thoughts and remarks on the designs are welcome, as well as any suggestions for further additions to the set ( I am thinking about fish-knife and cheese-knife).

However, I will definitively introduce one new and relatively original feature right now. One that I have not seen used by another knifemaker (which does not mean nobody does it, I just did not see it done). As you can see, there are four-five holes for pins in each tang, which might seem a bit excessive and dorky-looking. That is because I need more pins – two will be wooden and two will be metallic. And they will not be visible. That is, the knives are designed as full-width tang, but the pins won’t appear on the outside of the handles. I have tested this idea on one broken blade and it seems to work perfectly OK for a kitchen knife that won’t get hit with a mallet or hammer too much. Or at all, as things should be.

So stay tuned for the following articles with a full write-up of my manufacturing process for this project. I am decently far already given that I only could work three days this week. And because a video was requested, I am filming (almost) all work as well. But I make no promises there – a future video is, at this time, uncertain and might or might not happen.

Back at the Zoo 1

On Friday both Mr and I had a day off. We cherish those days when we’re both at home and the kids are not, having some couple’s time. We usually try to get a few of them, a day or an evening, throughout the year, but you can imagine how that’s been going this year…

Now,usually we’d go to the spa or something, have a nice meal, too, but that’s crying over spilled milk right now, so we decided to go to the zoo, which is still open, and given that it was a foggy Friday morning, we pretty much had the whole thing to ourselves. The weather made taking pics difficult, since it was either grainy 6400 ISO pics or longish exposure, but some of them are still nice.

Let’s start with these amazing birds whose names I’ve forgotten. I remember they’re from India, though…

©Giliell, all rights reserved Enjoy your meal, little fellow


©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

It’s almost Winterfest and we want your photos

Ugh! ©voyager, all rights reserved.


The Freethought Blogs Winterfest is coming up on Saturday, December 5th, and we have all sorts of good things planned to entertain you. For the full schedule of events, you can click here or on the Winterfest logo at the top of the left sidebar on any of our blogs here at FtB. The schedule is still being finalized, so be sure to check back often to see what’s up and when, but there are lots of good things being planned. Here at Affinity, we’re hosting a Winterfest Photofest beginning Monday, November 30th, and we’d like to add your photos to the collection. You can submit your pictures to affinitysubmissions@gmail.com and please let me know what name or nym you’d like them credited to. That address is permanently in our left sidebar underneath the colourful, percolating head, and if you click that link, it will open up an email form for you to conveniently use.

Why do we do all of this? That’s easy; it’s because we love you. Also, we’re celebrating an important anniversary. It was one year ago that we celebrated our legal victory over Dr. Snowflake, Richard Carrier. We’re still digging out from under the legal bills of that mess, and we would greatly appreciate any support you’re able to provide. You can donate directly to our Paypal account here or with a credit card here. I know this is a tough time of year for many folks (especially in 2020), so an appreciative audience is also plenty of support. Please tune in and let us entertain you.


Loser Should Not Be an Insult

This will be just a short contemplation about one word. But before you proceed with reading, I would recommend watching this video. It is only tangentially related, but it sparked a few months ago the train of thoughts leading here.

English is not my first language and I have always trouble to understand some things. And one of those things is the use of the word loser as an insult. But it got appropriated into the Czech language in the late decades, and given how it is used, I do consider its use as an insult to be a symptom of a toxic culture, even if not necessarily of toxic masculinity specifically. As a prime example of this, I would like to point out that it is one of the most favorite insults that Donald Trump likes to throw around at anyone he does not like – and now some people like to use that word as an insult against him. I do not.

Using the word loser as a derogatory term in this way signifies that losing at something (usually at finding a relationship and/or financial independence) is always a choice and personal failure as if we all have full control over everything. It also values zero-sum games over cooperation. It completely disregards the huge influence of chance in our lives. Plus we are often pressured by society to try to succeed at the arbitrary and sometimes downright daft things against our will – there are people who are happy to be single, women who do not want to have children, men who do not want a managerial career, etc. It divides people into winners and losers and only winners are worthy of consideration and empathy.

So before you, as an SJW, continue to use the word loser casually as an insult, perhaps consider why you are doing it and whether you are not inadvertently contributing to the things you intend to oppose. There are better insults for shitty people who chose to do shitty things.