Friday, March 29, 2013

We're Going on an Adventure, You Guys!

Packing List for Adventurin':

iPad or Other Electronic Gismo that Contains Books
"I like stories with magic powers in them. Either in kingdoms on Earth or on foreign planets. Usually I prefer a girl hero, but not always."  I should really memorize this line from the enchantingly quirky Moonrise Kingdom so that I can respond to people who ask about my reading habits.  

Portable Power for Electronics
While it wouldn't help me since I'm usually near electrical access, I really want to buy and try a BioLite CampStove for those rare times when I am without electrical power.  Heck, I remember there being a blackout in San Diego on the opening day of the NFL season last year.  With this little guy I could have powered some piece of electronics long enough to watch the entire game.  Here is the link to where one can purchase such a device.

Based on looks alone, I want one;
the fact that the BioLite does stuff is just a bonus.

Who doesn't think that expensive electronics, the dirt and grime of being outdoors and open flames shouldn't be combined?

Here is a video review shot in HD:

If my current house hunt does not work out, I may buy land and build my own home relying on one of these things to get me through the sleeping-outdoors-until-I-can-pile-up-enough-stuff-to-have-my-own-indoors period.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I'm Making Something This Weekend

Come hell, high water or something truly nasty, I will be making something this weekend.

Friday - Establish What it is That I Will be Building
Here is a link to a site that appears to have good step-by-step instructions on how to build things:

A coat hanger or a shoe rack would work well at my place.

I do not really need a desk but this one is really well built.  I like that it appears to have plenty of leg room and a nice clean, flat surface:

Most likely whatever I build will not be nearly as cool as this guy's machines:

Look, a Working Archimedes Screw!

Saturday - Get to Home Depot / Lowe's if Need be and Build The Thing!

Sunday - Post Results or Progress on my Clean Sheets and Dirty Girls blog (CS&DG)

This is a really aggressive schedule given that I have other things I do as well.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Plan B
Visit San Diego MakerPlace and check out their
4 axis CNC mill 
manual mill
metal lathe
pipe notcher
brake (16 gauge)
planishing hammer
English wheel
TIG welder
gas welder
MIG welder
shear (16 gauge)
metal belt sander
horizontal band saw
metal and wood bandsaw
permitted paint booth
wood belt sander
3D printer (abs plastic)
Corner Notcher
Shrinker/ Stretcher
35 Ton Press Brake
Grinder/ Polisher
metal and wood drill presses
Saw Stop table saw
15" planer
miter saw
panel saw
cnc router with vacuum table
assorted hand tools
integral sawdust management
VIC Engrave
Corel Software Suite
EagleCAD, Rhino
Fritzing, Alibre
Mach3, V CArve Pro
Cut 3D, SketchUp
Buzz 2 Stitches
Arduino, PCB 123
large format laser cutters
laser engravers

function generator
variable power supplies
soldering irons
large format vinyl cutter
industrial sewing machine
6 needle embroidery machine
large format inkjet printer
CNC router
sand blasting cabinet
free wireless internet service
conference room w/projector
4 color silk screen and dryer
and much more...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Yarr! It Be Me Captain Joaquin Gorrión!

Captain Joaquin Gorrión is back!  This morning I exchanged the following messages with him on my Droid phone.  His answers are in red and my questions are in black.

Arrrrrre you there, matey?  It is I Captain Joaquin Gorrión!

Q: Really, we're doing this again on the six month anniversary of International Talk like a Pirate Day?  OK.  

A: You rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr right, matey.

Q: Now that we have gotten the fact that pirates like to roll their Rs even when typing to someone else out of the way, could you tell me what you have been up to for the last six months?  Last time you hijacked my blogger account you had just escaped from a Mexican jail and were trying to find your way back to the high seas, right?

A: I went to Singapore and am tapping out this Q and A session on a Chinese knock off of an iPhone 5 which I liberated from a shop full of counterfeit goods.

Q: I see. So, have you ever met "Cap'n Slappy" and "Ol' Chumbucket" the two guys who invented International Talk like a Pirate Day?

A: You would have to ask them.  My memory is as addled by rum as my liver has been abused by it.

Q: Gotcha.  Well, good luck to you with the whole pirating thing.  I have stuff to do myself.  

A: Until next time, limey.

A: Hey, I'm only part English.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Nice Things

Once I Own My Own Home and Have Tons of Money to Spend on Upgrading it, I Plan to Use Some of the Following Services and / or Buy Some of the Following Items: - custom metalwork made in the U.S.A. - a fancy new chair - some awesome clothes hangers - a basketball court with some serious style - a concrete tent to go on my grounds - a zen garden - a fancy birdcage with a sculpture or plants inside, birds are noisy creatures

and, finally - big ol' maps on the walls

Friday, March 15, 2013

Here is the menu from the Turf Supper Club:

One of my hobbies is to try to replicate the dishes served at fancy restaurants at home.  Number six on the menu about looks like it could be fun to try to replicate.  I do live in San Diego.  I could even compare it to the real thing at Turf.

I Found the Following Blurb Recently and Think it's Worthy of Sharing:

As the father of a high school junior, paying my tithe to the test prep gods while preparing to sacrifice most of my worldly goods on the altar of the liberal arts, I can’t tell if I’m part of the intended audience, or if the ratings board should issue a special warning for sensitive parents like me. How could anyone make light of the brutal, capricious system by which our young people are judged and sorted?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Art to Ponder this Weekend

This weekend I plan to explore the nature of power as depicted in art.  Join me if you like. is the site of the artist who created the following image:

The Silent City: Digitally Assembled Futuristic Megalopolises by Yang Yongliang digital collage China

The image above is actually a still from a 9 minute long video available here.  I really like the dysutopic feeling evoked in me by this work that depicts an endless series of buildings and new construction that blots out any green from the landscape.  Skip ahead to 6:20 into the video to see when it starts to get weird.  I see the beauty of this work.

I found the following image on a tumblr that should come with a warning:

[Insert warning image here]

If the guy in the photo above were in a video game, 
he would be one of bosses.

According to some, the black leather jacket is a symbol of power.  The EMP Museum is doing an exhibit on the black leather jacket.  Their website points to The Wild One as the origin of the rebellious nature of wearing a black leather jacket.  Here is the scene that made it famous:

Skip ahead to the 38 second to get the famous
exchange regarding rebellion

Also, here is a link to four online shorts that might be worth watching.

Since computing and using a computer is almost always on my mind, I wonder how art can influence the act of computing to a greater degree.  I spend a lot of time typing in Microsoft Word because it has a good spell  check function and the formatting options for printing to a single piece of standard sized 8.5" x 11" paper make sense to me.  What I would like is for smoke to rise on the screen as I type growing more intense as the words per minute count increases and for the smoke to curl and change colors when the computer senses that my punctuation and the length of my words are used correctly and with great complexity.  I would like visual feedback the way Guitar Hero provided feedback when one was on a streak of notes.  Smoke is, of course, only one example of the type of visual feedback I would like.  Growing trees, intertwining chains, mountains or all sorts of visuals overlaid on an opaque background.

Game for the Weekend
Here is a link to a free game that revolves around growing your power as an artist living in 19th Century Paris, which can be played online - no download required:

One of the first challenges of the game sends the player to his or her atelier!  Anyone who uses that word is cool with me.

Updated on March 18, 2013: I really like this game!  All I have managed to do in the game is get drunk on absinthe, plunge deep into debt and produce mainly sub-par artwork, which is probably what being an artist in the 19th Century was all about.  Still everyone I have told about this game gets a kick out of the concept.  The way I heard this game described is like Oregon Trail for the art world and that seems to me to be a very apt description.  Congratulations to the creator(s) of this gem!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Not Cool North Korea

On Thursday, March 7, North Korea threatens nuclear attack the United States of America and South Korea.  Guess what?  They get hit with sanctions within hours in a 15 to 0 vote at the United Nations.  China, the biggest supporter of North Korea, even helped write the U.N. sanctions against the North Koreans!

On March 7, 2013 the rest of the world officially, and in writing, said this to North Korea:

At least a crudely drawn extended middle finger is what I imagine the official resolution from the United Nations said.  I tried to look at the document to find out what specifically North Korea is no longer allowed to import after reading that the blacklist of items has been increased in this resolution.  Unfortunately, the official United Nations page only lists the following instead of the actual text of the resolution:

How ironic that the North Koreans can't import
more things I'm not allowed to know about
and, if my understanding of the word embargo
is correct, I'm not allowed to import the announcement.   

Here is the link so you can check it out for yourself.

I heard on NBC's Night News broadcast of March 7, 2013 that the items that the world has told the North Koreans they can no longer import includes luxury items, a move aimed at annoying the elite in North Korea.  In other words, Kim Jong-un would no longer be allowed to roll around in fancy cars, yachts, or wear designer items.  So when a country with nuclear weapons threatens to fire them at Washington, D.C., our reaction is to take away their Prada and Louis-Vuitton?  I don't think this goes far enough.  I suggest the United States level the entire country of North Korea overnight to send a message about just how unwise it is to threaten nuclear attack on the United States.

Cool New Word of the Day

Claque - a term for a professional applauders.

Example of the word in a sentence: President George W. Bush only spoke publicly in front of his claque because an audience comprised entirely of members of the military have to applaud the statements of their command-in-chief.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The End is Nigh! - Part 1 - the Robot Apocalypse

I spend some of my time thinking about how the end of the world will occur.  We have all seen Terminator, Terminator II: Judgment Day and The Matrix (you're missing out if you haven't) so we all know that once machines start thinking for themselves they will decide that they no longer need humans around.

The BigDog from Boston Dynamics has been on my radar screen as a potential aid to the military of the United States.  It would be an advantage if our troops didn't have to carry around hundreds of pounds of gear and could instead tell a robot were to haul the stuff for them.  Now that I have seen the video below of the BigDog tossing a cinder block almost as far as I can, which was uploaded to YouTube in February of 2013, I now think of this machine as the harbinger of death.  Behold its awesome power:

Why must robots inevitably be programmed for
destruction?  Can't we teach them to love?

The time was that having a moat* around my place was enough to prevent robotic death machines from storming my one room hovel.

The joke is on them.
I don't have anything worth pillaging.

Now as you can see from this other video, all these creatures need to do is fling cinder blocks into my moat until they create a land bridge and simply walk over them.  The BigDog has been able to walk over cinder blocks since 2009:

Skip ahead to the 1:28 mark to see how it can
walk over cinder blocks

Stay tuned for more ways in which I envision the world ending.  Who knows, you might even learn something.

*My moat is still largely in its conceptual phase.  However, a dog did dig up some of the dirt around my place in the middle of the night several years ago.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Movies I'm Looking Forward to in 2013

Today, I will take you on a journey to the future!  I'm presenting my list of the movies that I am officially and looking forward to watching in 2013.

The new version of The Evil Dead:

The Hangover Part 3

What I am looking forward to most in 2013 is the film adaptation of the novel Ender's Game, a fantastically well written story of a young boy torn from his parents and pitted against the most badass future military officers in the world in a school that is part West Point and part Spartan training arena.  Sadly, there is not an official trailer or website for the Ender's Game move out yet.  Below is a still from a blog that is tracking the production of the movie:

Look, the official poster:

Below is a fan made trailer for the film:

According to NPR, the novel Ender's Game ranks #3 on their top 100 Sci-Fi books of all time just behind The Lord of the Rings and The Hitchihker's Guide to the Galaxy.  Here is the link to the full article.  Below is their list of the top 100 with lines through those books I have already read:

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
I read one of these books.
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
I started it but didn't finish.
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
I started reading this but didn't finish.
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
I love Snow Crash and am surprised that it is not ranked higher on this list.
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
I started reading this but did not finish.
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
I found the lack of proper punctuation in The Road to be distracting.
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
I played the computer game when I was much younger.
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
I started reading this.
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis