Silverware Drawer Organizer

When we moved in, we bought some cheapo plastic silverware drawer organizers. They work ok, but they never really fit the drawers. I was looking for an excuse to use my new box joint jig and I decided the silverware drawer would be a good project.

I had walnut laying around and I wanted to use a nice hardwood for the box joints so this whole project got made out of walnut. It’s kind of ridiculous but it’s so much fun to work with walnut. I resawed it on the bandsaw and planed everything down to thickness. The Wixley digital planer gauge that I got for Christmas really worked nicely for the planing. I glued two pieces together to make the bottom, cut the box joints and then cut the dados for all the inserts.

My original plan was to glue it up but everything fit so nicely that I’m not going to glue the pieces in. This way we can easily remove them to clean the drawer out if we need to. I put on a bunch of coats of lacquer and then let it cure for a few days before sticking it in the drawer.

Is it overklil to have a solid walnut silverware drawer? Yep. But I love that everything fits so much nicer now and it was a good learning experience.

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Correlation vs Causation

criticalthinkingHow often have you seen a study which states “People who eat X have fewer occurrences of cancer”? If the study says that, the article usually says, or at least implies, that you should eat less X to lower your risk of cancer. Once you notice this pattern, you’ll see it EVERYWHERE. It’s a classic example of mistaking “correlation” for “causation”. Just because people who eat X get cancer less often does not mean that you can CAUSE yourself to have a lower risk of cancer by not eating X. It could be a multitude of other factors. Maybe people who don’t eat X also work out more, maybe they have less stress in their lives, or maybe it’s a combination of a dozen traits. I’m using the food thing as an example but it’s a popular mistake in articles about education, parenting and climate change too.

I often think about what it’s going to be like for Elijah to learn as he goes through school. He’ll have the entire knowledge of humanity at his fingertips. Learning facts is probably not as critical as it was when I was in school. But I think topics like correlation vs causation and recognizing those mistakes in texts will be much more important for him. He needs to be able to sift through the mountain of information to find actual facts that he can use.

I still don’t know how to teach him that skill, but knowing it’s a problem is half the battle, right? It’s probably a combination of logic, fact checking, basic statistics and a few other skills that I haven’t thought of yet. Hopefully I figure it out soon.

Skiing With Jay

Twelve years ago, Jay patiently taught me how to ski. I had gone a couple times in my life before that, but he took the time to really get me going. I still look like a drunken ogre awkwardly sliding down the mountain, but at least I can get down most slopes without falling and I can enjoy it. We’ve spent a LOT of time riding a lift together since then, but after I moved away in 2006, those chats got cut way down. This past weekend, he came out for a visit and we spent three straight days skiing. The difference between now and 12 years ago is, well, 12 years of aging. We’re not as young as we used to be and we were reminded of that with each run.

Jay’s original plan was to come ski Thursday through Saturday. That ended up getting changed to Saturday through Monday and it’s a good thing because it rained all the way to the top of the mountain on Thursday. On Friday night, it dumped snow and we had about 10″ of fresh snow on Saturday. We spent the day at Crystal and had a great time with some pretty good powder runs. Day 2 was also at Crystal, and even though there wasn’t any fresh snow, it had stayed cold since the previous one so it was still fluffy and fun. With Jay skiing beside me, I finally explored the Right Angle Trees run. It’s a very infrequently skied double black diamond area that I’m hesitant to explore without a partner. It took us a while to pick our way down the run but there was literally nobody else around. At one point we just plopped down on the side of the hill for five minutes and enjoyed the silence.

I always take Jay to Crystal when he comes because it’s my favorite ski hill, but I figured it would be fun to show him something else. We headed to Stevens Pass for our third day of skiing. This was a Monday so the crowd was very small. There were maybe a couple inches of fresh snow and we found a couple spots off the runs that were still deep and fresh for a few turns.

I owe big thank yous to Jay for flying all the way out here, and to Juliet and Tyla who watched our kids the whole weekend while we played. That’s a lot to ask and without them, this wouldn’t have happened.