Chewing Through the Straps

January 2nd, 2013

Observations From the Life of a Runaway Slave

More stuff is breaking loose in my life.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be able to use tools. I wanted to be able to fix things and make things. A few years ago, I started making it happen. I got a table saw, milling machine, lathe, welder, and a bunch of other stuff. I’ve enjoyed it tremendously, but it seemed like I was being restrained. I was never able to make myself come to terms with CAD software, and there were essential things I chose not to buy, because I was cheap.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve returned to the workshop. I’ve spent some money; a low four-figure sum. I picked up a few little things that made things much, much easier, and plans I had put on the back burner are beginning to come to fruition.

I also got started with CAD. Og and other Internet friends gave me advice about this a few years back, and I tried a few things, but I got nowhere. It was very frustrating. I’m not going to say what my IQ is, but it’s sufficiently high that you would think mastering a piece of software would not be beyond me, and I was completely confused. I could have fixed the problem by spending tons of money on training, but I already felt a little queasy about the money I had spent on tools.

A few weeks back, I started looking at the programs again. Og had recommended Allycad and Alibre Design, and I looked into other things, like Turbocad, Autocad, and Draftsight. I wanted 3D, because I don’t need the aggravation of trying to picture a pile of 2D drawings as an assembled machine, so I ruled out simple, free programs.

I signed up (again) for a free Alibre trial, and once again, I was utterly flummoxed. I could barely draw a line. If you ever want to fully grasp the meaning of the word “counterintuitive,” try this software, or any CAD software. Alibre publishes a book of step-by-step exercises, and I downloaded a few pages, but it turned out the book is completely obsolete. It goes with a user interface which bears little resemblance to the current version and is currently unobtainable. I was going to give up and get Turbocad, plus training, but then I found the Youtube video that appears below.

That guy does everything wrong. Anyone who produces training videos knows that you go step-by-step, and you include every detail. He doesn’t do that. He flies, and he leaves things out. And it WORKS. Watching the video, I managed to draw an oddly-shaped tub with chamfered edges.

That was a breakthrough. Using what I had learned, I was able to go through the first three exercises in the Alibre book. I managed to translate the old interface into the new. Here’s a useless and unrealistic part I created (but did not design).

01 01 13 alibre exercise crank

I say it’s useless because you can’t really attach the flat piece to the handle and axle that way. If it’s a press fit, the thickness of the metal can’t go to zero around the inserted portion of the metal, and there is also nothing there to allow a real-world weld. But that doesn’t matter. I drew it successfully, so now I have a foothold in the world of CAD. I’m ordering the rest of the design book. And I bought the program, which, “coincidentally,” was on sale for 50% off this week.

This may seem unimportant, but it’s a huge leap. The actual work you do when you make things is of trivial importance. What really matters is the design. Most of the act of creation is mental. The actual cutting and welding…that’s just housekeeping. I would rather design a thousand parts and make one than make a thousand and design one. If I can use CAD, I can exercise my creativity, and I can keep the results forever.

You can do all sorts of stuff with CAD. I don’t know much about it, but my impression is that you can send designs by email, print them, use them in patent and product submissions, have parts made from them, and even send them to machines that crank the parts out for you. Compared to anything that existed thirty years ago, that is godlike power.

So I’m happy about that. And I’m getting interested in 3D printers. They make actual parts from sturdy plastic, at a cost which is not prohibitive for a hobbyist. My gut tells me that as the technology advances, ordinary CNC may go the way of manual machining. Who knows what they’ll be able to do with lasers and plasma in the future? Today it’s plastic. Tomorrow, you may be able to cut metal on a printer, in your own house. And prices are dropping. In ten years, everyone will have a 3D printer, or they’ll have them at Home Depot, to be engaged at affordable prices.

This is exciting. It gives individuals a level of control they’ve never had before. Democrats are already wetting their pants over it, because it will make home gun manufacturing easier. There isn’t one thing they can do to stop it. They can pass laws, but we all know how well gun control laws work. And the First Amendment will guarantee that people will be able to pass designs around.

Sooner or later, technology is going to make us so powerful that Democrats are going to have to give up on controlling the means and look toward improving the man. And only God can do that.

I am not interested in printing guns, but the possibility shows how powerful the new technology will be. The printing principal is packed with potential. It provides mankind with a type of leverage that rivals the mental augmentation of computers. In fact, it’s the reason computers exist. If we couldn’t print circuits, the PC would be impossible.

So the CAD thing is good news.

Here’s another thing: I’m getting more original music. I used to have a constant flow of variations on existing tunes, but I wasn’t really able to write original music. Common sense told me the same gift had to be the source of both types of music, but it wasn’t happening for me. Lately, that has changed. I get original tunes more and more often. I got several over the last few days, and they’re not bad. Composition is like cooking with sound, so if you know what tastes good to the ear, you should be able to write good music. I’m going to write some worthwhile stuff, if God stays with me.

I used to be bummed out because I didn’t receive original tunes. Now I realize there’s a new danger. Soon I’m going to receive more tunes than I can finish. What do I do then? I keep reminding myself that it’s better to waste than to want.

It’s wonderful to be able to budget and economize, but truthfully, I don’t think that’s what God intended for us. I think he wanted us to live in such abundance that things would serve us, instead of lack that requires us to serve things. If you have too much, you can focus on what you’re doing. If you have too little, you have to focus on getting more. You shouldn’t serve the dollar; the dollar should serve you. I would rather have more than I need and have to give things away or even throw them out than not have enough. It’s better to receive a hundred tunes and write three than to receive and write one.

Here’s a hard thing to accept: God is not against waste. Or at least, he reckons waste differently than we do. That’s my opinion, based on my observations. Consider the loaves and fishes. Did God pass out just enough? No, he gave the people so much, they had baskets of scraps left over. Consider Solomon. God gave him so much, he really didn’t know what to do with it. Consider the way America used to be blessed. We fed the world, and then we let crops rot, because we had no place to put them. God told the Jews not to harvest every square foot they planted. They were ordered to leave crops untouched, in case the poor wanted them. What we call “waste” is a symptom of abundance.

This principle is found over and over in the Bible. We are told that he who waters will be watered. We’re told that being stingy will make us poor. We’re told that when we’re asked to carry something one mile, we carry it two. God ordered the Jews to give up about 14% of every work week, plus holidays, in times that were very, very hard, when every penny counted. I believe we’re supposed to have and give more than we need. Otherwise, there will always be gaps that aren’t filled.

I don’t think God wants me to work hard. I think he wants me to have ample time to pray and minister every day. I believe that every hour I spend in prayer saves me hours of work, just as the sabbath made the Jews more successful. And I think God is going to give me many more tunes than I can complete. I am an heir, and this is how heirs live. Our cups run over, our yokes are easy, and our burdens are light. Or God is a liar.

I think excessive devotion to work is a Satanic notion. It seems very natural to expect people to earn things. The problem with that is that God wants to give us things that are greater than what we can earn. I believe we limit him when we insist on earning.

Think of the beggar the disciples healed. They didn’t ask him to do their laundry or make a pilgrimage on his belly. They touched him and healed him, for nothing, and he got the use of his legs back. If he had had to earn that, he would have stayed on the ground for the rest of his life.

A while back, some Obama underling told the press the Bible said, “God helps those who help themselves.” Clearly, this person was not familiar with the Bible. The Bible does not say that. It says you shouldn’t be lazy. But it doesn’t say blessings come primarily by, or with the prerequisite of, great effort. Not unless you’re cursed.

Adam didn’t earn the title to the earth or his life of ease in Eden. Noah didn’t earn preservation in the Ark. Lot didn’t earn his angelic rescue. Samson didn’t earn his strength. Gideon didn’t earn his improbable victory. These examples are shown to us to make us understand that faith, submission, and humility are what bring us blessings and power.

Offhand, I can only think of one person in the Bible who thought he had earned his blessings, and that person was Job. And God set him straight, but good.

Satan wants us to think we have to earn things. With this lie, he gets us to devote way too much time to work and way too little time to prayer. And then we don’t get what he promises. For example, you may get rich, but your family may be messed up because you weren’t around to pray for them and teach them.

Prayer is job one. I’m sure of it. Quite literally, prayer is an investment. It is the seed God gives the sower, and in your season, you will get the harvest.

I feel much freer than I did before. I feel like the restraints are being removed. In ignorance, I buried myself in curses, but God is washing me clean and killing their effects.

Spend time praying in tongues every day. Try to make it add up to at least an hour. And pray for God to guide your steps, leading you to the experiences you need to have. Good things will happen. It may take time, as a tree takes time to bear fruit, but it will happen.

19 Responses to “Chewing Through the Straps”

  1. og Says:

    Alibre is a good entry level 3d cad. It will and can do most of what you will want to do.

    CNC replaced manual machines the way escalators replaced stairs. Both are still going strong, and there are too many things made by CNC that cannot be made any other way just because of the metallurgy involved.

    If you get any good at Alibre you might try to get on the beta test group at Solidworks.

  2. Aaron's cc: Says:

    “I think excessive devotion to work is a Satanic notion. It seems very natural to expect people to earn things. The problem with that is that God wants to give us things that are greater than what we can earn. I believe we limit him when we insist on earning.”

    The key is excessive devotion, making the work of our hands into an idol. But we ARE supposed to work.

    Eccles. 5:15 “Behold that which I have seen: it is good, yea, it is comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy pleasure for all his labour, wherein he laboureth under the sun, all the days of his life which God hath given him; for this is his portion.”

    Chapter 4 also discusses labor. But it’s the kind of labor that is connected to rivalry with one’s neighbor. But if a man and his partner go into business with each other, that’s clearly a good thing.

    Chapter 3 is ALL about labor: plant, reap, sow, heal, rend, sew,…

    Verse 13 “But also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy pleasure for all his labour, is the gift of God.”

    Business is NOT how we see it. It’s a vocation, not a definition. Business is the means by which we interact with others made in His image. Living as a hermit, rarely seeing others, is NOT good.

    There’s a story about a despondent rabbi who, frustrated with his inability to motivate his congregation, goes to his rabbi and asks for permission to leave the clergy. The senior rabbi hands the complaining rabbi a single lengthy volume from a set on the codes of Jewish law. Then, the senior rabbi takes this volume and hands the complaining rabbi the other three weight volumes from the set. The point being made is that within biblical law, the ritual laws are dealt with in the first volume. The laws concerning business and other human interaction are in the three other volumes. The business world is MUCH harder than staying within the safe confines of a ritual life.

    The Talmud notes that one of the first questions one is asked at Heaven’s gate is “Were you ethical in business?”

    Yom Kippur can clear me of ritual mistakes. I tremble at the Heavenly accounting of what I do to support my family.

    It would certainly have been easier for me to have been born with an inheritance that would cover some basic necessities.

    As a Levite, I’m challenged by the notion that, for some, dependency IS part of G-d’s plan, that Levites don’t get real estate outside of their cities, and they derive no income except through donations. The reasoning behind this is that this would create a symbiotic relationship whereby the Levites would be benefiting themselves, indirectly, by praying for everyone ELSE’s prosperity. It’s a system that models smashing the coveting of property proscribed in the tenth Commandment. I don’t WANT anyone else’s property. My material well-being is linked to how much I want others to prosper. It’s the antithesis of the redistributive model of the Democratic party. G-d’s system models that the way to my getting more pie is increasing the size of the pie, not my getting more than a tithe. When only a few individuals prosper, that’s not good.

    On the other hand, the challenge of prosperity is “fatness”. Are we enlarging ourselves? Are the wealthy amassing or are they using the tool of wealth to aspire toward the highest form of charity… getting someone a job so that they don’t need charity.

    No… we get art museums and concert halls and sports stadiums and sneakers and whatnot (even houses of worship) named for egos who want to leave a legacy.

  3. Steve H. Says:

    Again, Judaism and Christianity are two different things, so to me, the Jewish position on things is informative but not binding. Like a case citation from a neighboring jurisdiction.

    I believe the amount of time we are expected to spend among the herd varies with the individual. God seems to set some people apart, and he gives some people abilities that can’t bear fruit in the midst of a crowd. I believe that when God calls himself “jealous,” he is probably telling us he wants a big share of our time to be spent in prayer, away from distractions and hindering voices. I don’t think he’s just jealous of false gods. I think he’s also jealous of people.

    Today was an amazing day. I wrote 2000 words, studied CAD with great success, worked on two original musical compositions, cut and cleaned crossmembers for a steel project I’m building, and still had ample time to rest and pray. And it’s only 7:06 p.m. Still have time to spend time with the birds and pray before bed!

  4. Mike James Says:

    “Sooner or later, technology is going to make us so powerful that Democrats are going to have to give up on controlling the means and look toward improving the man. And only God can do that.”

    This will not keep the Left from trying.

  5. Chalkie Says:

    On software. It’s written by software people FOR software people. A lot of software people have difficulty making things make sense for anyone who is not a software person. Honestly, some of them are terrible at relating to the real needs of their consumers. They’re ridiculously smart people, but some of them can’t relate to other ridiculously smart people who are not software people.

    That said, you’re doing good work, keep it up.

  6. Steve_in_CA Says:

    Wow, a post with both of my favorite, daily read bloggers, Steve and Og.

  7. Aaron's cc: Says:

    The Biblical models of Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David are pretty clear that time away can be time well spent in developing one’s character. But the measure of character is interaction with those made in His image.

    How do we really measure a man’s character unless we can see how he acts as an employee or how he created a business and employs others? How he marries and interacts with his wife? How he raises children?

    Monastic life is easier. To deprive oneself of the permitted is not His intent. The vows of a Nazirite end with a sin offering.

    No, Judaism’s rules are instructive but not binding… on gentiles.

    Yet it is hard to deny the universal intent for mankind to build families and to interact. Gen 2:18: And the LORD God said: ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.’ and later in verse 24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” This was given to humanity before there ever was a father or mother. And “Be fruitful and multiply” was given as a commandment to mankind before there was even an Eve.

  8. Steve H. Says:

    The concept of testing people to see if they measure up is actually not part of Christianity. We do not believe we are here to be tested.

    I am curious to know the Jewish take on Samson, since he sure looks like a permanent Nazirite. Also, what about people like Elijah, Elisha, Samuel, and Nathan? Do Jews believe they lived in cities and ran businesses? In the Old Testament, it seems like they wandered around alone, going to populated areas on occasion in order to do specific tasks. I wonder if the Talmud gives more detail on their lives.

  9. Steve H. Says:

    I decided to Google around, and I’m reading some interesting things. I found a site belonging to a Jewish “contemplative,” which is apparently a religious person who isolates himself to some extent, temporarily or permanently. He claims there were monastery-like Jewish communities in the ancient world. He also points out that Judges 13:7 says Samson was a Nazirite his entire life, so that question is answered. He compares the schools of the prophets to monasteries. I don’t know how well that lines up with Orthodox doctrine.

    Chabad’s site describes Elisha as a person who spent his days wandering around with a group of disciples, using his prophetic gifts to help people. Doesn’t sound like he was very bound up in business. I don’t know how much of his life was taken up this way, but clearly, it wasn’t just a couple of weekends.

    Elijah spent long periods on his own, and Ezekiel had to lie down for 430 days. That’s a long time. If you started today, you wouldn’t get up until March of 2014. You can’t really do much business that way, unless you have servants who run back and forth to your job for you.

    The question of whether there have ever been monastic Jews is off the topic, though. The issue we were discussing was whether a person should work hard enough to make life difficult and hinder his relationship with God. You don’t have to be a monk in order to make time for God. That’s extreme. The spectrum between monasticism and workaholism is wide.

    With the caveat that I am addressing Christians only, I will say that long workdays are not desirable for anyone, and a long workday is not a sign of virtue or productivity. If you can’t get by with reasonable effort that leaves you time to care for your family and attend to your religious obligations, something is wrong with your prayer life. The French novelist Simenon got rich working three hours a day, and he was extremely prolific. At 5 a.m., he got up and wrote, and at 8 a.m., he stopped. He filled shelves (and his pockets), and no one could ever accuse him of being unproductive or slothful. On the other hand, most Americans work at least 40 hours a week, die in debt, neglect their kids and God, and leave nothing of lasting value behind.

    To my fellow Christians, I would say, “Don’t spend your life counting the beans.” Spend your life tilling the supernatural ground from which the beans come. Jesus told us:

    No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

    Therefore I say unto you, Take no bthought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

    Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

    Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

    And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

    And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

  10. Virgil Says:

    “The concept of testing people to see if they measure up is actually not part of Christianity”

    Yet somewhere in the Bible I seem to remember reading about a man who went by the name of “Job”?

  11. Virgil Says:

    BTW…AutoCAD is the CAD equivalent of the Black and Decker Workmate brother Steve.

    I don’t know if og will agree but still…I had to mention it while remembering a long debate here from years ago.

    (been running Autocad daily since about 1984 currently using version 2012)

  12. Steve H. Says:

    I knew someone was going to bring up Job.

    When I say testing is not part of Christianity, I mean that God is not looking for good people who qualify for his help. He is not testing us to see who is good enough to serve. Christians believe in grace, not salvation by works. As you know, many of the most powerful Christians were chosen when they were mired in sin.

    I would also add that Job’s test (like Peter’s) came from Satan, not God. And the promises that were available to Job are not the same as those that are available to Christians.

    God definitely teaches us through adversity, but that’s not the same thing as testing to see who is worthy.

    Language is a clumsy tool. It is not possible, without taking up volumes, to speak with complete clarity and specificity.

  13. og Says:

    You can spend a lot of money on Autocad, or you can get Draftsight which will do everything Autocad 2d will do, and do it better, and do it for free. If you’re talking about Autodesk Inventor, you can go out and find a copy of Solidworks vintage 1998 which will do everything Inventor 2012 will do.Actually, Alibre is more functional than Autodesk Inventor in several key areas.

  14. Steve H. Says:

    I knew there would be sparks once the Workmate was mentioned.

  15. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    “We do not believe we are here to be tested.”
    Our purpose may not to be tested, but our very presence assures we will be,
    And our reaction will be measured.
    It will be measured by the world.

    I have a question for Aaron:
    I recently heard someone say that it is a Jewish tradition for a priest to say to his son as he enters the priesthood: “this is my son in whom i am well pleased.”
    I cannot google a reference to that.
    Can you help?

    Google Sketchup is an excellent free 3d drawing tool for the home enthusiast. It won’t output (that I’m aware of) to igs or to CNC code, but without a Solidworks license,
    I’ve used it at work to give the shop a 3d representation with dimensions of what I want, and I got it.

  16. Steve H. Says:

    When people say “semantics,” they mean “sophistry.” That’s not appropriate here. I am not trying to deceive. Christians do not believe there are a few good people on earth who qualify for God’s help, and that they are tested by God in order to identify them. This is a very real and important distinction between Christianity and other faiths, such as Mormonism.

  17. Steve H. Says:

    Maybe this will make it clearer. In Judaism, someone like Hitler could not hope to enter paradise. One of the Jewish objections to Christianity is that under our beliefs, Hitler could repent and be forgiven. To early Christians, Saul of Tarsus WAS Hitler. His job was to round Christians up and have them jailed and murdered. Yet we now see him as a righteous man and a pillar of the faith.

  18. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    When I said semantics, I wasn’t referring to twisting the meaning of words purposefully, only that words can have different meanings, similar to “Judge not lest ye be judged” and ‘Know ye not that ye shall judge angels”.
    Testing (trials) like assaying can refer to a purifying process.
    I understand your point and it is correct (as if you needed my affirmation).
    Do you think that life itself might be a test that weeds out those who will not have faith in God?
    In other words, not to get an “A” to show you are worthy, but to get a “Pass” because you asked for Mercy?

  19. Robohobo Says:

    To say I am glad to see you back somewhere in the innertubes is understatement. I wondered where you got to.

    Now, CAD programs are merely tools like any other. They provide the ability to visualize something – a building, an object, etc. – but there still has to be skill involved in the making of the visualization to something concrete. Patience, you will get it.