What Have I Been Smoking?
Some things I have smoked since my last Rambling Session that come to mind first are:
Caldwell Cigars Eastern Savage The Forty-Twos - This small batch exclusive was an interesting spin on one of my favorite Caldwell offerings - the Eastern Standard in a small ring gauge.
Stolen Throne Cigars Call to Arms Robusto - It had been a minute since I smoked one of these.. Why don’t I smoke them more often?!
Crowned Heads Le Careme Belicosos Finos Limited Edition 2022 - These are solid every year, but I was late in getting and smoking some of these. Another great year!
Patina Habano Precipitation - I’ve been singing this cigar’s praises since it was released a few years ago. I even named it my Desert Island Cigar. Yet, I haven’t smoked one in a couple months probably. There’s just so many cigars out there, but this is one I always come back to.
What’s on the Bench?
I finished up the Joiner’s Mallet a couple weeks ago. I had planned on rolling into fretting and finishing a couple necks, like I mentioned last Rambling Session. Before they made it on the bench, my wife and I visited her grandparents. While we were there I gathered some rough sawn Black Walnut that I am going to use to build a toy cubby for my daughter’s room.
The cubby became top priority, but since I have to hand flatten and square all the boards, I figured it’d be a good time to make a couple winding stick. I just used some pine I had lying around, some black fretboard inlay dots for my center marks, and edged one of the sticks with a black sharpie for contrast. I planned on making a nice set out of some hardwood, but I wanted to just knock a set out quick for this.
As for this walnut, I have some pieces cut to rough lengths and am working on getting the boards fairly flattened to see what usable widths I have. Once I get an idea of that, I’ll run them across the table saw to get some boards ready for squaring and then onto some joinery work. I think I am going to use dovetails for the outer shell, then some blind dados for the inner shelves and dividers.
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With regards to the toy cubby, I have had an interesting experience with working the walnut. Both times that I rough cut a piece to length and worked on planing it flat, I ended up getting a migraine about an hour after I finished up. Along with that I experienced some dryness and congestion. Now, both of these days were back-to-back, and I have a history of migraine flare ups, and in more recent years, the flare ups occur over multiple days. It is possible that this was one of those instances, however, I rarely recall dryness and congestion being a symptom. After some research, maybe I am sensitive to juglone in the walnut that is being released when cutting and planing? The only thing that I question with that is that I had no skin irritation from contact with the fresh sawdust and shavings. Either way, it looks like I will be using a respirator and establishing better ventilation when I am sawing and planing the rest of this black walnut.
In other news, my playlist for the past week or so has consisted of a lot of Jackson Browne and Adele. I am a huge fan of Jackson Browne and am truly inspired by his work. Some of my current favorites are “For Everyman”, “I’m Alive”, “Call it a Loan”, and “Barricades of Heaven”. Some of my all time favorites are “These Days”, “For a Dancer”, “Somebody’s Baby”, and “In the Shape of a Heart” (the acoustic version is spectacular).
The Adele thing is new for me. For some reason “Someone Like You” was in my head one day and I just let a playlist on YouTube play through. Wowza, I’m familiar, as most are, with plenty of her music, but I never really paid much mind to it. Lately “I Drink Wine”, “Easy On Me”, “Love in the Dark”, “Hello”, and the aforementioned “Someone Like You” have been frequent plays. Also, if you haven’t heard Josh Weathers cover “Hello”, please check it out. It was my introduction to the song, and I still can’t get over his performance of it.
I don’t have real strong opinions on the Celtics at the moment. They had a decent winning streak with some big wins, but they hit a rough patch in Florida with another loss to both the Magic and the Heat. I could justify the losses by pointing out their short handedness in both matchups, but in reality, they were just outplayed by an energetic Magic team. The Heat game, I think, was more impacted by the missing minutes from Jaylen Brown, Malcolm Brogdon, Al Horford, and Marcus Smart.
Also, as the All Star Break is coming up, I figured I’d give my picks. These are my opinions based on performance, preference, and bias.
East Starters: Jaylen Brown, Donovan Mitchell, Giannis Antetokoumpo, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant
East Reserve: Jayson Tatum, Pascal Siakim, Bam Adebayo, Tyrese Haliburton, Kyrie Irving, Julius Randle, Jimmy Butler
West Starters: Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lebron James, Domantas Sabonis, Nikola Jokic
West Reserves: Ja Morant, Steph Curry, Lauri Markkanen, Anthony Davis, Zion Williamson, Damien Lilliard, De’Aaron Fox
This is tough because there are a ton of deserving players and the injuries and games played argument is really tough, but I think the players mentioned above all are playing at an elite level and are difference makers. Some wild cards and honorable mentions that came to my mind were the likes of James Harden, Devin Booker, Nic Claxton, Jaren Jackson Jr., Demar Derozan, and Jalen Brunson. I think a legitimate argument could be made for all of those guys. I also think it's worth mentioning that the East was harder for me than the West.
Well, I think that’s all I really have on my mind right now. Thanks for reading, and please comment below if you have anything to say!