Western Flying

FlyerOutside_2.jpgCOMPUDAY –


Thanks to Supersmythe, the Linux Box will now play a DVD – he had to go to Romania to find the app that will mesh.

The Microsoft Comfort keyboard I thought busted (the b n & m keys would not work) has been repaired simply by taking it apart, staring sternly at the contents and then reassembling it.


I get to enjoy the rrrrRRRRRRRRuuuuurrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRuuuurrrrRRRRRR of a power washer across the street. All Day Long.

Downslack in The Shop, The Prize Cases are out of whack, the lids do not fit perfectly to the lop-sided corners. Fix unknown.

The six uprights for the Hoopla Troupe Case cannot be cut at 30 degrees on each side …. no that’s not true. The CAN, but I’ll be cutting through the glass. The Fix: Cut only one side at 60 degrees, which means I need to build a jig to allow this on the table saw, a jig that will securely hold the sides at 60 degrees to the blade.


Routing the blind dovetail on the inside bottom of the Prize Cases would have easier BEFORE case glue up.  sigh.

Routing the blind dovetail on the inside bottom of the Prize Cases would have easier BEFORE case glue up. sigh.

The sliding dovetail inserts for the Prize Cases were effectively formed on the inserts themselves, but not quickly.

The tops for the Prize Case Lids were formed, in rough.


After a provisioning run (gas, O’boom, comestibles, hedge funds) it was to The Shop and the Case Mod. Specifically, affix the pattern jig to the walnut oak faux front and route the hole through which will protrude the naughty sticking out aspect of the DVD player.

Here, just before Lift-off, the trim router sits atop the jig all clamped securely (we trust) to the case mod front.

Here, just before Lift-off, the trim router sits atop the jig all clamped securely (we trust) to the case mod front.

There must be a better way to ineluctably secure the jig to the workpiece and both to the work bench than that which I employed.

But it did the job, nothing I didn’t want to move moved. And the route was as perfect as anything ever attains here.

Next: fit and glue on the flanking the top oak trim. On better traveled ground here.

And less all-day power washing.


The day, at least in The Shop, was devoted to finishing the computer case mod. The urgency was to get this self-indulgence off the bench and move on to other, more altruistic projects.

A. (not the grade I’ll get from Mr. Christman) remove the superfluous inner structure of the computer to allow better access to the back stage where I intend to fasten the faux face in from.

B. site the likely locations for screw in from back stage and then pre-drill the faux face.

C. Discover that I cannot get a screwdriver to drive due to internal impediment and so pre-drill other holes.

D. Locate and drill holes for the two LED’s, a lovely blue one that shines happily as a sort of Yes I’m Powered On, and the other (computer made in China) an intermittent glaring RED Flashing job when the hard drive is accessed.

(Semi) precision sawing required because my table saw taper jig will not run left-handed.

(Semi) precision sawing required because my table saw taper jig will not run left-handed.

E. Taper the two flanking front edges. This was a bit of a sticky wicket, eh What? I can employ my taper jig on the table saw for Flank Left, but cannot for Flank Right. Right then, what to do? Do: Clamp the face into the bench, lay out the cut line, clamp onto the face a ply saw guide and saw.

It woiked! Woiked so well I hesitated to bust out the table saw taper guide, but better valor prevailed and so I did.

F. The eventual grade I will get from Mr. Christman as yet AGAIN, I Failed in gluing the trim properly – there was a gap in the northern mitre. Don’t look there but F is to lam onto the walnut oak miscegenation three coats of Wildman’s Especial Elixir, its drying hastened by the fierce sun making the Slack Deck nearly insuperable to near-human life.

Case mod on the Linux Box - what say you?

Case mod on the Linux Box – what say you?

G: Assemble. So let it be written, so let the cables be connected.

Just when I thought the coast was clear arrives The Prof with a hard copy of Charlie Hebdo. He wants a frame for it. Akin to a picture frame but with two interesting requirements.

1. the paper must be accessible – the frame has to open

2. portability. He anticipates using it in his classes and wants the frame to be light-weight.

Can do.

Don’t know how, but I’ll think of something.


60 degrees plus or minus about 60 degrees.  Ferk.

60 degrees plus or minus about 60 degrees. Ferk.

Assembled and deployed the 60 degree slicing jig. Results: not so good. Unevenness in the bevel and worse, some slicing into the glass itself. Much hand sanding required to get the angles close to accurate.

The Saalman’s Arrive about 5.


On the Hebdo Frame. Since The Prof wants the paper itself to be extractable from the frame, I cook up a trap door for the back. And since the frame needs to be portable – to/from his classes, it needs to be lightweight, which means soft wood and small cross-sectional dimensions. This mandate runs contrary to movable parts, which the trap door is. Fun.

The groove on the right will hold the glass; the rabbet on the left will seat the trap door on the back of the frame.

The groove on the right will hold the glass; the rabbet on the left will seat the trap door on the back of the frame.

Rough out some 7/8” pine, then the trick part: form the complex (for me) cross section. One kerf to hold the glass, and a larger rabbet into which will swing the trap door.

Once the frame and glass was in glue-up, I could form the trap door, which is nothing more than a 3/16” thick section of ply, but braced with side runners that will provide sufficient thickness both to stiffen the ply and form attach points for the hinges.

Now, the ruins of the Hoopla Troupe. Why did it become FUBAR?

I deluded myself for nearly 47 minutes that I could make this mess work...

I deluded myself for nearly 47 minutes that I could make this mess work…

Answer – I detoured down the wrong path when I thought that I couldn’t form 30 degree angles on the parallel long sides of the six wood and glass panes. Of COURSE I can – I’m an idiot (although I’ll need a custom sled to cut the angle accurately along the 28 cm length of each pane.

And so, I’ll start over.


After the Hopkins walk-through – the good news that the video crew will set up and check out Friday afternoon, the bad the hatchet-faced harpy who will stop the entire show if a single symposium attendee is discovered harboring food or drink in the hall – it was down the skimmer handle to The Shop.

1. Unclamp the Hebdo Frame and Trap Door. Fit door and pre-drill for hinges and corner braces.

And that was the easy part.

The challenge was how to hold shut the trap door for the 99.9999% of the time the frame will exist. I settled in on matching holes – trap door and inside back of frame – into which will fit and slide brass rod. The dicey bit was matching the position of those two holes. Without using the drill press (the trap door is too wide to fit). Naked. In front of nuns.

Hoopla Troupe panes parts, Take II.

Hoopla Troupe panes part, Take II.

2. Re-start from the ground up the Hoopla Troupe Project. Specifically, lam out sufficient 1.5 x 2.0 cm stock to make the six surround panes for the ‘carousel.’ And did, cut to length.


Removed glass from the formerly known project formerly known as the Hoopla Troupe to now be incorporated into the New Hoopla Troupe. Only lost one pane.

New glue up.

On to the 1500 hour supervision of the AMP video troupe. They were 40 minutes late.

Not the A team. And The Boatworks at The Hopkins, while a good location close to Cannery Row, is not the host of choice. The hatch-faced termagant in charge of facilities was adamant that no food or drink were to be allowed into the auditorium. She doesn’t want her precious carpet sullied. There are other edicts about chair placement, use of the restrooms, frequency of permitted inspiration and exhalation, and hearbeat monitoring.

After it seemed that the junior varsity A/V squad had worked through all the possible potential problems, we walked across Ocean View Avenue to the former tin cannery and to the the Social Hour at a gallery upstairs where I met most of tomorrow’s presenters, laid down the 30 Minute Rule, and talked with one of the new owners of the Western Flyer.

I walk in exalted circles.

Later, wine and beer on the Castle Slackton Terrance with Mr. Event Director: Supersmythe.



My role as “Program Director” was the unenviable job of nagging the Presenters to confine their talk to the allotted 30 minutes. I would flash five fingers when they had reached the 25 minute mark. Only one speaker, Hemp, the organizers and Impresario significantly deviated, but hey, it was his show.

Symposium Synopsis

There were 8 presentations, 6 oral and 2 video.

1. Richard Astro (cool name) a well known and established academician was not always such.  As a young man he had dumped into his lap by the Ricketts Keeper of The Flame Joel Hedgepeth, Chief Disciple after Steinbeck lo these many years ago when he was a young sprog looking to make his academic mark. This unexpected trove led to his writing and publication in 1974 “John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts: The Shaping of a Novelist.” He has ever since been one of the key non-marine biological acolytes of Church of Ricketts. His presentation consisted mostly of name dropping, all of them worthy I am sure, but was bereft of insight. Yet the most important thing about his presentation was not the presentation itself, but his being invited and attending. Thus he will be a supporter of future such Symposia, should there be any.

WestFlyer.jpg2. Robert Enea’s family was already second generation Sicilian fisherfolk when he was born in 1937. His expostulations were a family album showing the legacy that led to his uncle, Horace ‘Sparky’ Enea as a member of the crew on the Western Flyer – the purse seiner chartered by Steinbeck and Ricketts for their epic 1940 trip to the Sea of Cortez.

John Gregg all alone after tossing One Million for the hulk of the Western Flyer.

John Gregg all alone after tossing One Million for the hulk of the Western Flyer.

Enea’s presentation was the lead to the BIG announcement of the day: Two rich southern California businessmen (the brothers Gregg) had the cash to both purchase the derelict Western Flyer and the intentions to restore it and return it to Monterey.

3. A film by Dr. Eva Lothar, a beguiling Parisienne pushing 70 and still something of a hot tomato. The film was done on 16 mm in 1972 and contrasts the fecundity as seen in sardine cannery operations with the desolation wrought by overfishing. It’s a taunt, fast paced ’emotion-picture’ as Dr. Lothar calls it. Essentially a rapid montage ending in a depiction of the wasteland Cannery Row became in the 1970’s.

4. Michael Hemp, the founder of the Cannery Row Foundation skimmed through a selection of the Pat Hathaway (his motto – I OWN it ALL fee-based access only) photographic collection of historic Monterey emphasizing the packing industry. Here he fell willing victim to one of the gravest (and common) sins possible for a presentation: trying to stuff 350 pounds of goodness into a 30 minute bag. He was the only presenter who ignored my hand signals and went well over his time limit. But as it was his show, I let him live.

5. Dr. Stephen Ferdele has the uncoveted right-after-lunch time slot. His presentation  concerned the various permutations of Steinbeck’s story, “The Snake.”

6. Don Kohrs, Hopkins Marine Station Librarian roused the crowd with his expostulations, done in a friendly, knowledgeable, and engaging manner on the treasure trove of Ricketts extant at Hopkins. It consists of a sample of Rickett’s index cards and reprints. Dull you ask? Nay, for in examining the nature of Rickett’s database in the form of his various types of excellently cross-referenced cards one gains access to the workings of the man’s mind. But there was more. Kohrs showed through the record of correspondence currently available to him (and he’s piling up more all the time) that Ed Ricketts was not an isolated, out of the current literature hermit savant, but rather a man profoundly connected to marine biologists world-wide.

7. Steve and Mary Albert presented their film, The Great Tide Pool. I would have paid $25 just to see this. It’s a trip to the tide pool just west of Point Pinos. Always moving, ever engaging, lush and entertaining, and even more, enlightening. They take pains to show how Rickett’s documented his thousands of collection trips on a series and sequence of index cards (they and Kohrs are co-conspirators) and as if this bounty was not enough, they put together a flow chart that shows all the informational inputs that added to Ed’s database. He would have loved Excel.

8. The Fabulous Susan Shillinglaw ruined what would have otherwise been an interesting intellectual exercise.  Her topic: The Five Layers of The Grapes Of Wrath.  She presented PowerPoint charts completely filled with paragraphs of prose, and then proceeded to read them aloud. Two grievous sins at the same time.

In Sum

The best all-around combination of entertainment and enlightenment were the two videos.
All but two of the 6 speakers were engaging and informative.

Yet, all was eclipsed by The Big News: The Western Flyer is to be resurrected.

A heady day.wf_pttownsend_053114_pt_chris_chuhran_060314.jpg