SuperCraftsmen I: Abrasha

I decided to do a little series about amazing craftsmen I’ve learned about on the Internet.

I think of myself as a of a tradesman. I work right next to the jewelry district, but my work is less refined. I’m more of a plumber. A very neat and sometimes even artistic plumber, but a plumber nevetheless. Web develpment is like that. Web developers sometimes fancy themselves architects and artists, but almost never are. We are all engineers and craftsmen though, and as such can appreciate work of other craftsmen.

Once, looking for a titanium menorah, of all things, I found a website of Abrasha. Even though he does not list his prices, I clearly can’t afford his work. I’ll have to fashion my own titanium menorah, out of titanium tubing, like a jedi knight building his(or her) lightsabre.

While I was browsing about, I watched an amazing video that he has on the website. In it, he says:

“People call me a jeweler, I don’t. I call myself a goldsmith. To me a jeweler is a merchant, a person who buys and sells jewelry. I don’t. I design and make jewelry as it was done hundreds of years ago. I feel myself almost like a modern day fetish maker or a shaman, people come to me personally and get my work for other reasons than they get work at Tiffany’s or Macy’s or through a catalog. There’s a quality of my work that speaks to people.”

Boy, is he right. His work speaks, and it speaks directly to me. There are just so many things that are resonating with me: he is working on a series of 100 pins, just like I work on my 100 Views of the Empire State Building. He uses titanium and other unobtanium, which is a minor obsession of mine. He is inspired by Japanese art. He pays attention to the parts of his work that nobody will ever see, just like I always try to.

I highly suggest that you watch the video and look through the slideshow of Abrasha showing the process of making jewelry. This is pure engineering erotica. In particular, the slideshow for making the Pachinko Ball Bracelet is amazingly clever. I especially liked the part closer to the end where he makes the gold rivets line up. The gold rivets are my favorite feature of his work – I love elements of construction that are both structural and decorative at the same time.

Global Warming

A couple of cherry and plum trees in Brooklyn Botanic Garden blossomed prematurely. I took these pictures last Saturday, January 6th.

This reminded me of the article that I’ve seen in the Fantastic Story Magazine for Winter 1953, in fact the same magazine from which I liberated the masthead of my website.

Dr. Bartlett’s company is still in business and “this theory about the more carbon dioxide the warmer” is still around too.

Another Disjointed Post In Which The True Owners Of America’s Senior Citizens are Revealed

I have about 30-40 very exciting posts planned, but don’t have the time or willpower to actually sit down and write them. Besides, I should really be working on two very interesting projects.. Three very interesting pro.. No, actually five. The Spanish Inquisition should really give me some Ritalin. Anyways, meanwhile I need to dash off a small observational post. I mean without these and cat pictures a blog is not a blog, right?

I am using SharpMT, a very nice little Movable Type client, to write this. I hope having a client that is similar to awesome Semajic will improve my blogging frequency. But I am very much annoyed at the fact that in this day and age almost all of what The Joel calls “real-time spell checker(s) with wavy red underlines” do not understand html markup and wavy-underline all a href= ? I mean, the spellchercker in this MT client is bad enough to not understand the word “blog”, but Outlook and Outlook Express are not any better.

Hmm.. Where was I? Oh, right, observational post. Last Monday was a miserable rainy day. I was already a little late for work when I boarded my train. The train was slow as usual – people who are already late are not in a hurry, right? And then the conductor uttered the two words that make every NYC Subway rider groan. “Sick passenger”.

You see, if somebody faints on a train the train usually stays in the station until an EMT arrives. The EMT arrival times are amazingly fast in NYC and MTA even has a few of its own paramedics stationedat major stations, but the delay in getting the “sick passengers” of the train makes the trains stack up and forces the dispatchers to rerout them sometimes causing major delays. There is a passage about the “sick passengers” in Randy Kennedy’s awesome Subwayland : Adventures in the World Beneath New York. One of the interesting observations there is that the highest percentage of “sick passenger” incidents happens on Modays. Amen to that.

The train that I was on was rerouted to Penn Station. I got out right next to the theater that plays “Monty Python’s Spamalot”. The street was full of actors dressed up as knights and there was a SPAM truck involved in distribution of free Spamwitches. As I was already pretty late I did not even have time to indulge in taking a picture with the knights or in free luncheon meat.

Later in the week I finally had a big ol’ titanium screw screwed in where I used to have a tooth before. Now I have a titanium wedding ring, titanium watch, titanium glasses, titanium coffee tamper and a titanium implant.

Next day I was standing in front of a drugstore counter waiting for my antibiotic and painkiller prescription to be filled out. The drugstore had a really cool ScriptPro Robotic Prescription Dispensing System. It works kind of like one of those mainframe tape retrieval systems – a robotic arm moves around in a glassed in cabinet, scans compartment barcodes and dispenses pills into bottles. To think of it, I think I’ve seen modern backup handling systems like that too. I always wanted one of those for my bookshelves.

Two oldtimers seated in the corner were obsessively discussing their prescription plans. What drew my attention was an interesting choice of words they used to describe their relaionship to the plans – it was always “belong to”. Not once did they say “what plan did you have” – it was always “what plan did you belong to”.