And in other home maintenance-type news, the house is just about done being prepared for painting. This has involved a lot of scraping old paint off --- it seemed to have gone on forever, although it's really only been ... well, two months, I guess. The bare wood looked great, and since then has been a lot of hammering in loose shakes and caulking up whatever it is that gets caulked up in a home painting project like this. Following that's been putting on a layer of primer paint that's a light grey and close enough to the previous paint scheme that it almost looks like the house has been repainted.
Last week, in fact, we had people walking up the neighborhood compliment us on the repainting. We're not sure whether they meant the good job that our house painters have done on stripping the old and putting the wood in good order to be repainted, or if they thought the primer layer was the new scheme.
The work's been inspiring other people too. The neighbors up the street got new rain gutters put on, and the guys doing that work took time to say how impressed they were by the old paint being cleared down to the raw wood, and wondered how it was the painter got the old paint off. We're not exactly sure about that. It was some kind of gadget that resembled a canister vacuum cleaner that we think heated the paint so it melted off, followed by a lot of sanding. They said they thought it was really paying off, that it was going to be fantastic, and also that we should get some rain gutters put on to help protect the paint job, because of course they were building to that. (They're probably right about that, but the setup was just hilarious.)
They also professed admiration for my car and asked about who made it (the Toyota corporation, under the Scion marque). They find it pretty sporty, and it is. It's really an uncharacteristically sporty vehicle for my personality, but it's good to do a few things that are a little out of character, and buying a sporty car was one of mine.
We've also done some fiddling around with Photoshop and a Sherman-Williams web site to try estimating what our house should look like in new color schemes. The Photoshop thing seemed promising except there's no way (I can find) to make a given area a set RGB value color, and instead we have to shift the hue-saturation-lightness from the original, so I had to fiddle with approximations to what the paint chips we have look like without ever quite hitting it right. The web site was more promising, particularly since we had the exact names and paint numbers to match; but all the colors look drastically brighter on screen than on paper. I know colors look different in pixel and in paint, but the result is a loss of confidence about both.
Trivia: Britain's King George III provided regular entertainments for Eton boys, including an automaton dancing on a rope and a ``species of phantasmagoria consisting of dancing figures'', along with regularly attending the triennial festival of Montem. Source: George III, Christopher Hibbert.
Currently Reading: The Yugo: The Rise And Fall Of The Worst Car In History, Jason Vuic. The book is equal parts enlightening and horrifying and exasperating and makes one really wonder whether if a long track record of failures actually just encourages investors to leap into the new plan.
PS: Complex Experiments with Grading Mathematics, about a summer course in which I tried grading in a new and weird way, and it didn't work.