Friday, April 08, 2011

Assembly skills required (or just desired)

I just got a great new computer desk (see pic below) yesterday and Glenn and I spent a couple of hours putting it together. Well, mostly I handed out the parts and felt confused. I remember in college taking those vocational tests that rank your aptitude and interest on various tasks. Assembly jobs and working as a plumber were dead last. It's depressing. I wish I had those skills--building stuff is great, feeling confused when looking at diagrams is not. Is there a talent you wish you had, but don't?


Blogger Ern said...

This will probably seem a bit odd, but I really wish that I were better at hammering nails. I'm quite handy in general, but I'm almost totally inept when it comes to hammering nails.

8:53 AM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger Sixty Grit said...

In order to drive nails, you must drive nails. Another option is to buy a nail gun. Both methods result in well driven nails.

A useful skill around here would be the ability to move utility sheds. I will gain that skill in the next month or so.

9:22 AM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger Stormbringer said...

Because I worked at a major office supply chain, I became the designated assembler for the family. Many of those furniture companies have horrible instructions. Even after my experiences, I still had to take things apart and reassemble sections because they were backwards or upside down.

By the way, quite often you can get out of using the 4,720 tiny nails to keep the cardboard woodgrain backing on with a good staple gun.

9:42 AM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Dunk a basketball. I have had dreams of it, but only in my dreams!

Of more serious skill deficits, I have real trouble sitting through out of key music. It is my own little sensory integration disorder, off key music just makes me SO uncomfortable. Even with little kid musicals and the like, it is a pain. I always threaten to get tipsy before I go, but that has its own drawbacks. So I go and clench my teeth.


9:47 AM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Playing musical instrument(s). Only vaguely though, I sing well.

10:33 AM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Olig, I can play most instruments, but the drums give me fits! I can't get my left foot to do anything by itself. It is obviously codependent.


11:28 AM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger LPF said...

I love music, but have no musical talent whatsoever. Really, it's pathetic: I can't even keep time when clapping. Sometimes I wonder if there is something fundamentally wrong with my brain.

On the other hand, I can assemble/ build/ fix just about anything mechanical. I've saved thousands fixing my own appliances & doing my own routine maintenance on my vehicles.

11:28 AM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

There are two activities I don't do well. First is organized dancing and the other is operating a camera. I have never explored singing so I can't weigh in on that.

The business with the camera really bothered me. I joined a photography club and insisted that I surmount this hurdle. With photography, what makes complete sense fast to everyone else takes me 20 times longer to learn. However, I was persistent and spent many many many hours learning the basics about photography and now take a marginally good picture. It's just harder for me, that's all.

I could probably do the same thing with the dancing if I was motivated enough. As far as the computer desk is concerned you could blindfold me and throw the instruction book away and I'd have that thing put together in the space of 10 minutes.

11:39 AM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

If brains were computers everyone would take theirs back for one that worked.

I have never met someone with a perfectly working brain.


1:43 PM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

I used to yearn for a certain skill, but Roissy fixed me right up.

2:44 PM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

Seriously, though, I have seen professional tournament Argentinian Tango dancers and if I could do that my life would be complete.

2:48 PM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

...and play a Gibson Les Paul like Jimmy Page.

3:59 PM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger missred said...

1) music, i wish i could play an instrument - especially the piano. cant to do the right left hand thingy. i have a bodhran and no matter how much i practice, am still hopeless. i have been told i have a sweet singing voice, but i guess it is only within a certain range.
2) maths, although i have the basics and understand some theories, there are times when i am just out-logic'd

9:00 PM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger eb said...

I wish I possessed some musical talent. At this point in my life, I can't carry a tune in a three-handled bucket.
Seriously, I would like to be able to sit down, play a piano and add a vocal rendition of something good with the music; the same for the guitar.
I have always thought the ultimate personal creation was music, played and sang and visual art, such as painting, sculpting, etc...
Maybe one day...

9:05 PM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

Learn French, Czech & Russian
Morse Code
Custom wood floor refinishing (I already refinish furniture)
Fly an R/C airplane
Cook Italian like Giada DeLaurentiis (COOK, not LOOK)
Aikido (as good as Gozo my dreams)
Throw a knife into a tree and watch it stick
Fire a Springfield .45 TRP better than my brother, who teaches cops how to shoot.
Magic tricks to impress kids
Learn Thai massage
Memorize every wisecrack Groucho Marx and Mel Brooks ever said.
Levitate and/or master invisibility
Learn automotive evasion tactics & techniques.
Learn Chopin's Opus 54 in D Minor on piano
Bake almond croissant like the French do in their sleep.
...and master that thing that begins with C and sounds like the name of a Roman Emperor.

That's it.

1:50 AM, April 09, 2011  
Blogger Russ said...

The only way I can assemble anything is to lay every part out and then go step by step and pray that the instructions are good. My 11 year old son just glances at the instructions and puts it together while watching TV and listening to his ipod.

3:40 AM, April 09, 2011  
Blogger Sandeep said...

I have the same problem - totally clumsy with assembling things etc.

Back when I was at school in India, there were all these laboratory courses where in spite of my efforts (and I wasn't comfortable with the idea of fudging things), I used to do a poor job, and some times finish late. Many of the instructors were "all nurture, no nature" bastards, and they dubbed me as uninterested/non-sincere (while in truth at least some of the others who got away did so by fudging).

One thing I have greatly come to appreciate about the US is that they don't make you feel bad for lacking certain skills. They reassure you that skills are distributed differently across people. And of course, that comforting reassurance is all I ask for - not any special "disabilities" consideration.

12:32 PM, April 09, 2011  
Blogger Brett said...

Strip for money. I hear it pays well..... ;)

4:17 PM, April 09, 2011  
Blogger Brett said...

Oh, and draw. An artist friend of mine is a great sketcher. He actually does classic museum restoration for a living, hates sketching. But he's good at it, and back in the day it was one of the best ways to pick up women. Just go to a bar, and start drawing women. He never left the bar/club alone.

4:20 PM, April 09, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I have never met someone with a perfectly working brain.

I have a theory of life that goes something like this: Imperfection is what makes life perfect.

We find meaning in life by overcoming obstacles. I've found the most meaningful obstacles to overcome are my own "shortcomings." How can I overcome being too short, too tall, too slow, not a good singer, average looking, not smart enough, bad with arranging objects in three dimensional patterns, etc.

Finding ways to live successfully despite our limitations brings great meaning and satisfaction to our lives. Enjoy creating light instead of cursing the darkness.

6:23 PM, April 09, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

BTW - I've always been good with assembling pieces, three dimensional patterns and mechanical stuff. I taught myself from a book to tune up a car before I was old enough to drive. My father never tuned a car in his life, but he was glad to let me do it.

6:26 PM, April 09, 2011  
Blogger Kim said...

Ballroom dancing. Can't dance to save my life.

11:16 PM, April 09, 2011  
Blogger bsprowl said...

I would love to be better at languages. I'm tone deaf to the point that I can't separate anything closer than a half tone and therefore don't hear the rise or fall of the endings of many sentences. I've studied French and Itakian and while I was able to learn the grammar I failed the oral dictation because I could not hear the nuances.

But I'm also just not as articulate as I'd like to be. I know the ideas but can't get them out as effectively as I like.

12:28 AM, April 10, 2011  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

I often wonder if the problem is focus--I don't "hammer nails" (unless I making old-fashioned square nails, or horse-shoe nails), I drive nails with a hammer.

1:37 PM, April 10, 2011  
Blogger dave said...

Someone really should invent furniture that is already assembled, I mean it is the 21st century for crying out loud!

2:52 PM, April 10, 2011  
Blogger gutless said...

I would trade my world class skill at policing dog poo in my back yard for the ability to play Lady of Spain, just once, on an accordion.

3:00 PM, April 10, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

My uncle pays people to come to his house and assemble his Ikea furniture.

Since he's moving he has offered to give me some of his almost-new Ikea furniture. He asked me how I planned to get the pieces to my house. I told him I planned to take the big pieces apart, put them in my minivan and reassemble. He was impressed that I could do that without hiring his little band of furniture assemblers.

3:03 PM, April 10, 2011  
Blogger Ripleigh said...

I wanted to learn how to sew. So I bought a machine, a book and found one person who knew how to do it. Now I'm moving up from the basics! You're never too old to learn anything. Now if I could just find someone to teach me guitar and piano!

3:10 PM, April 10, 2011  
Blogger DKWalser said...

Assembling furniture is how I started dating the woman who became my wife. Her parents had given her a bentwood rocker for Christmas that needed to be assembled. She had heard that I was paying my way through school by working at a furniture mill, so she called and asked if I could come over to her apartment to help put her new rocker together. We started dating that evening. The rest, as they say, is history.

I'm glad she didn't feel comfortable taking on that task by herself.

3:32 PM, April 10, 2011  
Blogger JorgXMcKie said...

That would appear to be the exact same desk I have. I got mine a couple of years ago.

Despite multiple attempts at rebuilding it, the keyboard shelf has never extended out as far as it should. It is about 2 inches less that is convenient.

I've examined and figured, and gone online for help, and taken it off and put in on in different configurations and it still isn't right.

Ah, well.

3:36 PM, April 10, 2011  
Blogger wyo sis said...

I can assemble furniture, but not when I'm with my husband. He can assemble furniture, but not when he's with me. I guess the skill I lack is sitting still and letting someone else do things their own way.

4:24 PM, April 10, 2011  
Blogger Troy said...

Drawing... I would love to able to sketch my kids or do a comic strip. I don't even have "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" skills.

btw... those diagrams are a PRC plot to slowly drive up Americans' blood pressure and other stressors leading to all sorts of terminal illnesses. Sauder is merely their Manchurian Candidate.

4:50 PM, April 10, 2011  
Blogger anenergygeek said...

I'm an Engineer. My wife swears that things talk to me. I have the ability to visualize how things go together and sometimes can even visualize in 3D. It's a great skill.

However, I've been trying to learn to play the guitar for 2 years now. I can almost play Jingle Bells, on a good day...

7:06 PM, April 10, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

However, I've been trying to learn to play the guitar for 2 years now. I can almost play Jingle Bells, on a good day...

Playing a musical instrument is something I did as a kid, the piano, and wish I could do now but don't know if I could easily enough. In the third grade and completely on his own, my son joined the grade school orchestra and played the violin. The next year he played the stand up bass violin. In middle school he began playing the baritone horn, and then the guitar, bass guitar and drums. It just comes naturally to him.

7:33 PM, April 10, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

I would love to have a little foresight when I discuss things. I tend to quash even nominally liberal notions faster than most people can process the ten to twenty words I might happen to say. Then again, liberals shouldn't go around trying to bully agreement or looking for fellow idiots. Did I just say that? See what I mean.

Still, as is, it is sort of a gas. And, oddly, right after many feminists realize they have been run over by a mental Mack truck, they become highly flirtatious. Well, it has been known to have happened, true story. The liberal fools of other stripes tend to feel threatened by me just from speaking my mind and tend to shut it and skitter. I do remember one who thought to become threatening about my notions but luckily his girlfriend dragged him away. I didn't even realize what I said would make someone angry.

I think he was angry that Bush won the second election. And I said, don't worry, I am not happy either. I had to vote for the idiot socialist to keep the communist out. Oh well. But it is true, as I see things.

11:38 PM, April 10, 2011  
Blogger Josh said...

I can write a novel (and have), design and implement complex systems, build and race motor vehicles from scratch... but I can't do squat as far as music. Would love to, but I'm more musically reclined...

12:51 AM, April 11, 2011  
Blogger JP said...

Assembly is no problem for me. If someone made it, I can likely figure it out and fix it. I've even repaired "unrepairable" parts on my cars. I've pulled an ignition switch apart to fix it (not the key portion, though I've re-keyed lock cylinders as well)because I did not have the money to but a new one. Later it was part of a recall and I got a new one, but I had 10,000 city miles on the car by then.

I've made, from a board bought from Home Depot, and using only a folding knife, an Inuit style bow for traditional archery. I've since made several others of various designs, but would love to be able to make a Horn Bow in Mongol style.

I've done carpentry from rough framing to custom finish in old "Balloon" built houses in New Orleans. Renovations and restorations.

I've been a bicycle mechanic. I build wheels for them and have repaired internally geared hubs.
I've also built wheels for my motorcycle.

I'm currently a blending specialist for chemicals that get used in everything from fire fighting foams (our main business) to specialty inks, epoxy coverings (for floors etc.) and other things.

I do wish the artistic drawing talent had hit me. My sisters are good to excellent at it. My nephews, all are talented there as well. My great uncles were animators who worked for Walter Lance, Charles Schultz, and whatnot.
And I wish I could learn other languages. Tried Spanish and it really didn't stick at all. Oddly, I've always pronounced it well, just have no clue to what I an saying

2:35 AM, April 11, 2011  
Blogger redrajesh said...

I wish I got the talent to get people to listen to me. Honestly, I seem to be lacking badly in that regard. Also a sense of when to get mad at people and when to be nice to them so that they actually listen to me and do what I want them to do. I always end up feeling that I do a lot for people who never reciprocate it and always end up feeling exploited.

1:38 AM, April 12, 2011  
Blogger ken in sc said...

Graduate level experimental statistics, I struggled with that greatly. I earned the needed credit, but did not master it. However, my son and I once put together a piece of furniture together. He was a helicopter mechanic in the Navy and I had been an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force. It was almost a spiritual experience. We each saw what needed to be done next and did it without saying a word. It was a very satisfying experience.

10:37 AM, April 13, 2011  
Blogger David said...

Nonverbal communication. A trial lawyer in Cleveland once compared talking to jurors with "talking to the dogs," meaning that, like dogs, some jurors pay no attention to what is said but pay a great deal of attention to how it's said. That applies outside the courtroom, too.

I'd like to be better at "talking to the dogs." No one complains about my word choice, syntax, etc., (at least not after I repeat what I actually said), but I do get complaints about facial expressions, tone of voice, and other nonverbal cues.

5:28 PM, April 14, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

Ern, the pointy end goes down.

8:15 PM, April 14, 2011  

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