Womack Report

May 20, 2013

Clever workbench finished.

Filed under: General — Phillip Womack @ 11:00 am

Last post, I mentioned having a clever idea for turning my failed charcoal grate into a workbench.

That’s finished now.  Behold in amazement:  (Who am I expecting to behold in amazement, actually?  As far as I know, I’m the only one who reads this thing, and it’s purely for my own future amusement.  Behold, future me!)

Clever Workbench complete

Not that impressive, I know.  It’s basically a small wooden table, with a small metal frame sitting on top of it.  That’s pretty much what I need, though.  The individual components fit together snugly, but there’s nothing permanently fixing the metal frame to the table.  Just four wooden blocks inside the angle of the legs.  And the wooden top drops into place on the frame, but likewise is not permanently affixed.  So, it can be taken apart:

In three parts


Which makes the whole thing semi-portable.  Notably,  all the individual pieces will easily fit in my vehicle if I want to take it somewhere.  And it’s not incredibly heavy, even though it’s very sturdy.  A horse could stand on it, assuming it was a very coordinated horse.  Also, fully assembled it’s the same height as my other workbenches.  Not by coincidence.  That’s also a convenient height for me to work on stuff in general, instead of sitting on the floor like I have been doing.

Which is all peachy, but the real benefit of the thing is that it’s got a lot of places to clamp stuff.  All those metal bars are ideal for attaching pieces at different angles and holding them rigid in relation to one another.

Clever Workbench Topless

Good clamping makes everything easier.  I’ve known that from woodworking in the past, and my recent welding practice has only reinforced the lesson. 

All the individual pieces of this setup are really durable or easily replaced.  Both, actually.  If I drop hot metal or wood glue on any part of this guy, I’m free to not care.  That’s handy, since I’m not always neat.  The top can be swapped quickly, so I’m planning to make several with different goals.  Keep a blank one for a flat workspace, but also have one with a bench vise bolted on, probably one with a chop saw for future metalworking projects, maybe bolt my drill press to one, and so forth.  Plus, built an extension that’s even with my tablesaw’s top surface, to be a sawhorse.  I’ve needed that for a while now.

May 14, 2013

Welding for fun

Filed under: General — Phillip Womack @ 12:51 pm

I’ve been practicing my welding over the last couple weeks.

Took a short class on it with Dad and James after Christmas.  Then, I borrowed Papa’s old arc welder from the farm to practice with.

My plan was to build a little stand with a grate on it that would fit in the smoke box of my smoker and hold the hot charcoal up off the floor.  Improves air flow a lot, and lets the ash fall down out of the way.  Right now, I’ve got a metal grate propped up on bricks to do the job, which works just fine, but isn’t very elegant.  Plus, hey, I needed a project to weld on.

Seemed like a good project.  Lots of little straight short weld, lots of joints.  Nothing really long, and nothing that would be really hurt if it turned out a little bit ugly, as was entirely likely.

Took four or five nights of plugging away at it after I got home from work.  Those nights were spread out over several weeks, though.  Stuff kept coming up.  I improved rapidly at it, which is nice.  About half the work took place the last night, because I had gotten so much faster and better at welding those joints.  Didn’t have to re-do every weld three times.  Looked a lot nicer, too.  Other major factor:  I’ve improved my clamping procedures considerably.  Both by getting more clamps, and by being smarter in how I use them.  Mostly, I’ve switched to using cheap sets of vice grips and bars of scrap steel for my clamps, instead of C-clamps.  Much faster.  Also, I found cheap vice grips on sale for $2 at Northern Tool and Equipment.  So, I have eight sets to work with.  Which makes me a lot less concerned about getting them too close to my actual welding and melting them, which makes for better clamping right there. 

Only hitch in this whole project is that somehow the finished piece grew larger than my plans accounted for, and it won’t actually fit in my smoke box.  So, now, it’s about to become a workbench/clamping table instead.  I have a really clever idea for that.

April 17, 2013

Been a long time since I’ve updated this

Filed under: General — Phillip Womack @ 6:19 am

More than a year, this time. 

Picking back up.  I’m trying the online dating thing.  Signed up at a website called Plenty of Fish. 

I’m optimistic.  We’ll see how things go, but it’s definitely worth a shot.  I literally had a woman contact me before I finished filling out the user profile.  That seems awfully quick.  Surprised me, but, hey, it’s why I signed up.  I’ll message her back, see what develops.

January 18, 2012

Learned something new today

Filed under: General,Work — Phillip Womack @ 10:01 pm

Ginger Smith called me.  I helped set up a domain server for her and the Mission Centers of Houston a while back. 

Now, just recently, all the users passwords expired.  None of them had changed them, ever.  And worse, the administrator password expired.

So, I spent my evening breaking into a domain controller, so that I could change the domain administrator password and unlock the account.

It takes some time to do, but if you have physical access to the machine, it’s not as hard as you might fear.  There are some useful tips floating around on the internet, too.

January 16, 2012

Lori Jones died.

Filed under: General — Phillip Womack @ 11:23 pm

Happened a few days ago; funeral was today.

She was a great friend of the family, and a great human being.  Used to work with Dad at Graceview Baptist Church.  I was a little kid, then.  Cancer got her; all of the staff from back then have had some form of cancer, except Dad.  I’m told it was benzene contaminating the water in the area.

Lori was fun.  When she first started doing chemo, and lost her hair, she went out and bought wigs in all sorts of different hairstyles and colors so that she could look like whatever she wanted any day.  She showed them off to people.

She fought the cancer for 17 years.  She had a good run.  Helped a lot of people.  Take care of her, God.

January 9, 2012

Harvard process done

Filed under: Notes,School — Phillip Womack @ 11:25 pm

Tonight, I hit submit on the Harvard application.  All the essays are in, all the scores are entered, and now it’s just a matter of waiting to hear back.

James has his stuff submitted now, too.  We’ve done all we can do for this moment.

I feel good about it.

January 7, 2012


Filed under: General — Phillip Womack @ 10:16 am

Picked up a few inches of snow last night, and still coming down.  That’ll help the skiing.

Got some more work done on my essays last night.  It’s going faster now, but I still need to keep cranking on them.  Deadline approaching.

January 6, 2012

Skiing going well

Filed under: General — Phillip Womack @ 11:02 pm

Arrived at condo late last night.  Very late.  Had to drive from Denver to Steamboat Springs, which isn’t the shortest trip I’ve ever done, and we didn’t really get started until about 11:00 local time.  I was very tired.

Got in a half day of skiing today.  Somewhat less than a half day, really, because my feet started hurting after three or four runs, and I decided to call it an afternoon.  I think I’ve fixed my boots so that won’t happen again.  Not upset about that, honestly; it’s probably smarter to ease into it than to ski until I keel over.  I still have three more days to go, after all.  Better to pace myself.

I’m in terrible shape, though.  Feet started hurting, hips started hurting.  Everything was easier ten years ago.

There’s some kind of music festival in town right now, direct from Texas.  So, after I packed up the ski equipment for the afternoon, I stood around and listened to a band that was playing.  Can’t remember the band’s name.  They introduced themselves as a few names and”Gingerbread” once, and as something with a river at the end.  Maybe some reference to the night, also.  It was cold outside.  They had some fun songs, though.

January 5, 2012

Vindication! Or not.

Filed under: General — Phillip Womack @ 7:40 pm

Things are looking up.  See two posts ago, when I was disgruntled because, despite many things going wrong, I had no one to rationally be grumpy at.

Now, however, errors have been made.  Inconvenience has been experienced.  Yes, I went to check in to my flight at Southwest, and they couldn’t find my reservation.  Not terribly shocking, since I was squirreling around with the flight multiple times the day before.  I went to the full service desk for help.

Come to find out, the reason I couldn’t find my flight reservation was that it was scheduled for the 4th, yesterday, instead of the 5th, today.  The second guy who changed my flight information back, and who was having trouble with the computers, booked me on the same flight plan I had originally had, but a day earlier.  I didn’t catch the change, because all the flight numbers are the same.

Finally, righteous indignation!  Someone messed up, who is not me, and I can have a villain for this piece.

The woman working the check-in desk straightened it all out for me in about five minutes, and based on casual eavesdropping, was staying past her shift end to do so.  And was very polite about the whole thing.  I made it on the plane I’d thought I was supposed to be on originally.  All in all, it wasn’t even that inconvenient.

And I had enough contingency time to cover the difference, so I was still through security early.  Chalk another victory to conservative scheduling.  Rats.

GMAT results

Filed under: General — Phillip Womack @ 4:02 pm

Following up on the last post, I DID take the GMAT today, and have my results back.

Initial score:  660.

That puts me in the 81st percentile overall.  Not bad, but not nearly as good as I had hoped.  I’m annoyed with myself because I should have done better.  I basically went on a bloody rampage across the verbal section, but the quantitative/math part was unkind to me.

Verbal score put me in the 99th percentile of test takers.  Quantitative score put me in the 35th percentile.  Ouch.

I clearly should have practiced that part a lot more.  For one thing, I took too long finishing.  Ran out of time with five or six questions not answered, which is a really big hit to the score when you only have forty-ish questions in the first place, and unanswered questions hurt worse than wrong answers.  That’s not even being bad at math, that’s just terrible test-taking strategy.  It’s been too long since I’ve played the game, and it’s showing.

As mentioned, the verbal section was no problem.  It was actually suspiciously easy, enough to worry me towards the end.  I finished the verbal section with half an hour left on the clock, and it never seemed tough.  But that sort of thing has always been up my alley.

We’ll see how it affects my application.  I sort of wish I’d elected to not submit the scores and take the test again, but that way lies madness.  I’d have to let the application date slip to the third round, which seems like a mistake, and I’d lose all my momentum in general, which is deadly to me in particular.  Once you settle on a plan, you have to commit to it.  I’ve committed, and I’m not going to start chasing my tail now.

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