September 04, 2012

The Cliffs of Dover

When I read history books, I make marginal notes, which I suppose connects me to the traditions of scholars for as long as books have existed. This evening, my pencil was getting dull, as the book I was reading was causing me to take more copious notes than usual. But I was at my GF's place, while my pencil sharpener was in my apartment, as were my pocketknives.

But earlier today, I had done some wiring work in her basement, fixing some of the hinky stuff the prior owners of the house had done. A very fine carpenter had lived here, and did a lot of great carpentry work. But as electricians go, he made a fine carpenter, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, while doing the wiring, I had noticed a pencil sharpener attached to one of his workbenches! It's a nice classic model of the sort that are probably still found in elementary classrooms all around the world, with the wheel on the front that lets you select the size of the pencil shaft to insert.

It was packed full of shavings, and the GF said she didn't even know it was down there. Those shavings have surely been there since the carpenter died, quite a few years ago. Spooky.

With the shavings gone, I inserted my pencil… or rather, tried and failed. Visual inspection revealed that someone had shoved a stick of chalk into the sharpener, and it had broken off in there. Who does that? I was told that, sadly, the previous owners did not have grandchildren coming to visit, so I am still mystified.

I spent about ten minutes trying to take the cutting cylinders apart to extract the chalk. The mechanism was not apparently designed with user servicing in mind. It took those ten minutes for me to realize that chalk is probably softer than wood. After than revelation, I just jammed my dull pencil into the appropriate opening and turned the crank until the chalk was reduced to dust, and got me a nice sharp point. Victory was mine!

This was the most interesting thing to happen today, because it's been pouring rain all day and I've been feeling cooped up.

On the other hand, there is likely to be big news Friday.

Posted by: Boviate at 11:16 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Posted by: hilary at Thursday, September 06 2012 05:56 PM (L1IVj)

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