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Wednesday, November 1

Shared Wisdom

Naval gazing aside, acting in a way which is wise is something I aspire to. I want to do the right thing where I can. I want to think of myself as an articulate and erudite individual with stunning insights into the way of the world. I want to be a satirist (hence recent updates to BurberryAndBroccoli) and I want to be a humourist (hence my entire stand-up career). Generally, I want to be above average in more than weight (something which I'm, at least, assured of remaining above average in for some time). In fact, I want to be greatly above average in everything EXCEPT weight and size where I'd like to be slightly above average and solidly in the category of RUGGED.

A friend of mine has notice me quoting his wisdom on this blog. I didn't pass it off as my own. I'll not pass this next piece of wisdom off as my own either.

Measure Twice, Cut Once
The idea that once something is cut, it's very hard to put back together and start again. Impossible, in fact... unless it's dough, but even that's a long-shot.

This was very useful last night as I set about creating an addition to the hutch for the guinea pigs. In each side of the now-divided hutch there was to be a box, approximately 1 foot cubed, with a hinged lid and a doorway through which they could pass into what would be a straw filled centre. This would allow them to shelter more easily from the cold. A good idea.

I designed the box, reasoning that there would need to be six sides for these cubes (such are cubes), each of which would have to be 300mm squared, EXCEPT two of them, which would need to be narrower than 300 by twice the thickness of the material - given that they're to be assembled in 3 dimensions. So four pieces needed to be 264 by 300.

I went to B&Q and worked out the wood I was to use and how to cut it. Then I made the very wise decision of asking the man at the woodcutting booth to do all the cutting. He suggested we use offcuts of wood, for which he'd charge only £1.50, plus the cutting charges. In a short amount of time I was holding a stack of pieces of wood which were measured and cut to exactly the right size.

There is a new piece of wisdom I'd like to add.

Count Twice, From Different Angles
I think you can guess that I didn't go home with 12 pieces of wood, as might be expected. Somehow I managed to go home with 10. Somehow I'd asked for 6, rather than 8 of the 300x300, though I'd accurately asked for 4 of the other size and everything did screw together into exactly the shape it should do when I got it all home and started assembly.

I noticed my mistake quite late on, but I can easily rectify it with another trip to B&Q and some more offcut butchery. I'll do that soon, no doubt.

Cut Down
I mentioned that it was wise to get the man at the cutting booth to work out how to give me the right wood. This was wise because my method (which may actually have yielded a dozen pieces of wood, as it was based around two rows of 6 - a count which somehow went wrong when I broke it down into a list) was based on buying a piece of wood for about £9 - a huge piece - and getting it cut with 7 different movements of the saw (costing an extra £1.50 after my first four free cuts). Raj, on the other hand, given the request to sell me 10 pieces (yes, I wanted 12 - get over it!) of a certain size, sold me £3 worth of off-cut wood, much of which I wouldn't have chosen to buy in itself, and did £5 worth of additional cutting to make it all the right size. That's £8 and no surplus wood to have hanging around and eventually dispose of because it was in the way. Cheaper and more to the point.

In fact, when I got to the till, Sinead was most aggrieved by the paperwork that Raj had provided me with. She didn't have a barcode for the cuts on there. She pondered, pondered and eventually just scanned the £3 wood charge twice. So my total wood charge was down from my £10.50 for a piece I didn't really want the remainder of to £6 for wood that I did want. Poifect!

One man and his drill cannot change the world, but there is fun to be had while the world stays the same.

Amnesty
Unlike the Chortle review, I felt that Sarah Silverman was incredibly unfunny on last night's broadcast of highlights of the Secret Policeman's ball. She seemed to be being deliberately and unnecessarily edgy, and I couldn't see the point of it. Nor could the audience. I don't always believe that a laughing audience is right - see a Peter Kay DVD for more on that - but I do often believe that a non-laughing audience is telling something.

Bad luck Sarah.

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