Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Report - Music - Book Club - Aquarium

Whew. I worked those neurons a bit today, trying to remember the name of a song. It is a remake. I was sure it was redone by The Damned. I was right, and finally tracked it down on an obscure imported album.

The song is called Alone Again Or, and was originally done by a band called Love. It was also remade by UFO, who are pretty darn good, and then another of my favorite bands remade it - Calexico.

If you haven't heard of Calexico, then try "Alone Again Or" or "Si Tu Disais" by Calexico for a feel of their music.

Other stuff that happened today: I had an excellent time going to the park and meeting up with some other moms, who actually were having a book club, and it was really fun. Yay! Moms that think!

This made up for the absolutely disastrous attempt at going to Scripps Aquarium this morning. Four tantrums, shoes thrown at the other patrons, running, pushing, shoving, biting... we left about 11 minutes after we arrived. The only good thing about the visit was the giant octopus was moving around, and changing color for us. What an amazing creature.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Roger Ressmeyer Lecture 27 August 2005 Palomar College, San Diego CA

Last night Eric Blackhurst (local astrophotographer) and Roger Ressmeyer gave lectures at a local college. The food was great, there were demo scopes set up outside, plenty of camera geeks wandering around eating the amazing food, and the lectures themselves were astounding.

Roger shot for National Geographic for years. I gained a tremendous amount of respect for how much was and could be done inside the body of a film camera. The crossover point for film/digital quality parity, which happened about two years ago, was foreseen by Roger, and he described feelings of at first great disappointment as early versions of photoshop "took all the fun out of" photography.

After a hiatus, he came back with a vengeance, and became an almost unrivaled science and space photographer. His career includes quite the eclectic assortment of subjects. He seems to have an almost preternatural knack for talking his way past the palace guards to take photos of scientific experiments, apparatus, and people, all while being places he shouldn't be and all while getting shots that shouldn't have turned out as well as they did, as often as they did. It's hard to figure out what kind of exposure you need for high-powered lasers, for example. Or how long exactly you need to expose for the radiation from spent fuel rods in nuclear reactor storage pools to show up on the film.

An engaging, open, honest speaker - he describes being a photographer as requiring an enormous ego. He describes himself as someone that no one would want to know, during the absolute height of his career. He mentioned personal stories along with the professional ones, and explained how in the course of time he came to a different way of looking at the world, and that over the next 10 to 15 years, he plans to revisit and reshoot some of the places that have given him his best photos. This is truly exciting, because his photos are some of the best of the large telescopes, scientific and space places, and natural events.

I was most impressed by the fact that he got to see all of the color mags from all of the later Apollo missions. These are originals. The crispness and clarity are breathtaking. The personalities of the astronauts, the views of the surface of the moon, the earth from the moon, and spacecraft shots that simply are not published and have not been seen since the film was locked away in a freezer... well, it made permanent goosebumps on my arms. My mouth dropped open and I felt the entire lecture hall audience lean forward in their seats, their attention completely subsumed in the images, when these shots were projected on the massive screen behind Roger.

Some people have a knack for photography. Some people have a knack for social engineering - the art of talking their way in and out of things. It's a rare person that combines them, but this is a feller that did.

A fantastic lecture delivered in down-to-earth, gently irreverant and honest style was perfectly accented by selected photos. The inspirational effect that this lecture had on the people there will be remembered for a very long time I'm sure.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Little Tikes MagiCook Kitchen Update

After playing with it for a few hours, the oven RFID receiver didn't appear to work. It has a stovetop and an oven mentioned on the box as both being "interactive", so I feared a defect. Returning stuff is never fun.

So, I wrote to the company, and got an almost immediate reply. Here's the scoop.

"Dear Michelle:

Thank you for writing to Little Tikes.

Unfortunately, there is a misprint on the 440Y MagiCook Kitchen box. The original intention was to have an antenna in both the stove top burner and the oven to recognize the IntelliTikes food. However, when this
was tried out, it was found that the antennae were too close and interfered with each other so that neither worked well. It was decided to keep the burner antenna since it would probably have a greater play value
than the oven.

Since the boxes that this kitchen came in had already been ordered, the printing couldn't be changed in time for this year's products and the kitchens were packed in them.

If you no longer want this kitchen because of the above situation, we recommend doing a store return. Or, if that's not possible, write back and we will arrange to have you send us a copy of your receipt and a photo of the product destroyed so we can either refund your money or send you a redemption check.

Refer to your phone number if you write back and make sure to include your complete address. Thank you.

Little Tikes"

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Little Tikes MagiCook Toy Kitchen

This toy kitchen looks like most any other toy kitchen playset. Until you notice all the FCC ID numbers on the toy foods.

I thought to myself as I was putting it together. "Gee, those have to be RFID chips in each and every toy food thingie."

Guess what? It looks like they are! This has to be the killer app for RFID. Yeah, ok, fine, RFID chips help factories get more efficient. But WOW what a fun toy kitchen.

The stove talks to you about what foods you are cooking, and throws in pithy comments. If you put two foods on top of the stove or in the oven, then the software identifies the two foods, and will make comments about your choice of groupings, which I found truly amusing. Apparently, eggs and ice cream are not as appreciated as a food combination as I would have predicted.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

TM-D700A Installation in Nissan xTerra

13 August 2005 001

After passenger seat removed, before vacuuming.

13 August 2005 005

Checking for metal beneath carpet. Don't want to drill through xterra wiring!

13 August 2005 007

Rough fitting. Seat back in to check dimensions of space beneath the seat.

13 August 2005 008

Radio back into house for installation of the voice synthesizer circuit.

13 August 2005 009

Voice synthesizer goes in on the right.

13 August 2005 011

Voice synthesizer installed. See the flickr photo for the notes that show exactly where the daughter card is located.

13 August 2005 013

Angle brackets installed. Fit re-checked.

13 August 2005 014

More things installed and connected.

13 August 2005 015

External speaker and microphone hook installed.

13 August 2005 017

Final radio placement. Power supply brought out and radio turned on after a final inspection....

13 August 2005 016

And it works! Hooray! Mobile rig installed!

Friday, August 12, 2005

ARRL 2005 Section Emergency Test SET

This thread is for discussion of the Section Emergency Test Preparation.

I've never participated. Have you? What were your experiences? What could improve the SET? Is it better/worse/totally different than Field Day? Should Field Day be more or less like the Section Emergency Test?


Originally uploaded by Abraxas3d.


Originally uploaded by Abraxas3d.

Goldstone and MG Midget Parts

11 August 2005 022

Came across this bolt from the Goldstone Complex while cleaning the garage.

Today's Adventures

I'm sure many of you appreciate a good hardware store. Today, I found one. I'd been procrastinating a trip to Marshall's Hardware here in town. Today, since I was going to lunch nearby, I decided to take the plunge and see what all the fuss was about.Now, I'm a fan of old-school hardware stores. I'm also a customer at Harbor Freight, Ace, and other places that sell implements of destruction. However, this hardware store was choice! Wow, was it big. And boy, did it have some of the neatest stuff.Here is a view down one of the aisles.


(Child not included)Here's today's haul from Marshall's. Work on the helmet will begin shortly.

The next stop was the Hobby store. I successfully purchased more paints than I needed along with a few backup projects in the form of plastic model cars. You can never tell when you may need an emergency backup project.Here is the cover of one of the emergency backup projects.

Next stop: Gateway Electronics!

Miniature LEDs, triangular LEDs, protoboard, and two photo-transistors. The plan is to make a lighty-up circuit for the commpad. I might have things light up when it's dark. I did forget to look for a small switch. I don't have anything particularly small in the parts box. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Project Sleeper 1

Empty wheel wells mean only one thing. The MG Midget is getting worked on. Kicking off this project again after a multi-year hiatus. Cleaning is the only thing that's happened so far. Next step: Inventory parts on hand.

Green Cotton Dress

This one was a bit easier than the Green Tunic. It's a simple A-line child's dress. I really like the fabric. It's by Coventry, I believe. I put small fabric bows on the sides, and used green buttons. The only thing I would change if I had to do it over would be to not use white thread for the buttonholes. I ran out of the green, and didn't think it would be much of an issue to use white. It does stand out a bit, but not much. The buttons are in the back.

The Green Tunic

This one was supposed to be "average" difficulty. I managed to get it to "advanced" by the choice of fabric. Sheer, synthetic, slippery. Work in progress on the left.

On the right is the inside of the bodice, before the underlining went in.

I chose a black and white squared-circle themed ribbon for decoration in honor of flickr.com.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Brain Lateralization Test Results

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (58%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (54%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?(word test)
personality tests by similarminds.com

Visual Test

93rd percentile.

More Personality Tests

Career Inventory Test Results

Extroversion |||||||||||||||||||||||| 73%
Emotional Stability |||||||||||||||||||||||| 80%
Orderliness ||||||||||||||| 46%
Altruism |||||||||||||||||| 56%
Inquisitiveness |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 90%

You are an Inventor, possible professions include - systems designer, venture capitalist, actor, journalist, investment broker, real estate agent, real estate developer, strategic planner, political manager, politician, special projects developer, literary agent, restaurant/bar owner, technical trainer, diversity manager, art director, personnel systems developer, computer analyst, logistics consultant, outplacement consultant, advertising creative director, radio/TV talk show host.
Take Free Career Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

Personality Test from Paul

Advanced Global Personality Test Results
Extraversion |||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Stability |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Orderliness |||||||||| 36%
Altruism |||||||||||||| 56%
Interdependence |||||||||||||||| 63%
Intellectual |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Mystical |||||||||||||||| 63%
Artistic |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Religious |||||||||||| 50%
Hedonism |||||||||||| 43%
Materialism |||| 16%
Narcissism |||||||||||||||| 63%
Adventurousness |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Work ethic |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Self absorbed |||||||||||| 50%
Conflict seeking |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
Need to dominate |||||||||||||||| 70%
Romantic |||||| 23%
Avoidant || 10%
Anti-authority |||||||||| 36%
Wealth |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Dependency |||||||||| 36%
Change averse || 10%
Cautiousness |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
Individuality |||||||||| 36%
Sexuality |||||| 23%
Peter pan complex |||||||||||||||| 63%
Physical security |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Physical Fitness |||||||||||||||| 70%
Histrionic |||||| 23%
Paranoia |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Vanity |||| 16%
Hypersensitivity |||||||||||| 50%
Female cliche |||| 16%
Take Free Advanced Global Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

Adjectives that apparently describe me:
messy, disorganized, social, tough, outgoing, rarely worries, self revealing, open, risk taker, likes the unknown, likes large parties, makes friends easily, likes to stand out, likes to make fun of people, reckless, optimistic, positive, strong, does not like to be alone, ambivalent about chaos, abstract, impractical, not good at saving money, fearless, trusting, thrill seeker, not rule conscious, enjoys leadership, strange, loves food, abstract, rarely irritated, anti-authority, attracted to the counter culture

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Iraq War Casualty Exhibit

Worth seeing.



D20a is in!

Home Page for the new camera.

Haven't taken it out of the box yet, but soon will. I got an email from Oceanside Photo and Telescope yesterday afternnon that cameras had arrived, and did I still want the one I had on reserve? I immediately drove up and got it. I spent about $6 worth of gas driving, but saved about $30 worth in shipping.

Going into the store was a suprisingly good experience. I was dressed in work clothes, which means I looked like a bag lady, both kids were filthy and tired, and instead of getting treated badly due to dishevelment, I was treated extremely well.

The store has a large round compass rose patterned decorative floor mat in the center of the store. They have a zillion different telescopes, and an overwhelming amount of camera supplies. They're right off the 5, for those keeping track at home.

I got the camera, a 1 gig memory card, a remote shutter release, a T-ring and prime focus adapter, and an extra battery. I now need lenses, but that's a whole other odyssey!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

And this is for Doug

When I was in college, the smart people were going into engineering, which had solid long-term prospects, and only we dweezils majored in English, and look what happened: Engineers are being laid off, America is losing its capacity to manufacture things (my phone was made in China, of course), but every day we turn out trillions of words about ourselves, bloggers blogging, floods of memoir, daydreaming, carpet chewing, and when eventually the Chinese repo men come to collect on our debt, they will find a nation of highly articulate self-aware people who can't change an oil filter but maintain wonderful Web sites. A nation of English majors.

Spotted on Salon

Lindbergh flew the Atlantic with no radio and nobody knew where he was until some fishermen saw his plane off the Irish coast, but I maintain constant contact as I roam the produce section shopping for honeydew melons. I used to feel superior to cellphone people and now I am one. And [now my phone is ringing], and it is my wife wondering about my plans for the day. I am fond of this little gizmo. Some people consider it an intrusion and goody for them, but I grew up in the sticks and know how oppressive silence can be and I am not romantic about isolation. I remember those flinty old guys in small-town cafes who wouldn't give you the time of day and I don't miss them at all. I miss my aunts. I think my aunts would've loved cellphones.

Ah, what a wonderful summary of cellular culture! And I don't mean the petri dish kind. This time.