Saturday, July 30, 2005


I saw this site in my page referral statistics: "Nick Carter Overweight Information and Resources" and I cried and cried.

Hot today and Henry is happy just playing in the house so I think we'll chill out here unless he gets really bored.

The Art of Motion Control is having a lot of fun using stepper motors for art.

I was doing some book keeping yesterday and noticed that one customer's bill was $48.02 and the other's was $42.08

The Canada-America society must have my name via UofT, I received an invitation to a Black-Tie "Canada Gala" in Seattle. I don't think I'll be going.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

email problems

"Dear PEAK customer,PEAK Internet engineers will conduct ongoing maintenance on network servers during the hours of 12:01 am and 5:00 am each Wednesday morning. This window is designed for engineers to conduct periodic system checks, improve efficiencies, introduce new hardware and generally expand and secure all services.During these windows short interruptions may occur, but we use this low traffic time to minimize downtime. Interruptions will be limited to a few minutes."

Which is why I have no new email messages after 1:00AM wednesday and my email is still down as of 9:36AM. You would think that Saturday night would be better as they could then spend all of Sunday (a non-business day) catching the cascading errors that are bound to occur.

Hey, it's not like people run businesses on the internet, right?

A least I can access the Web, last wednesday morning I kept getting kicked off every couple of minutes.

I guess the upside is it does cut down on spam, what with not receiving any messages.

The Brooks "Steam Up" is happening over the next two weekends, we'll be going on Sunday.

What with all the fun people have been having with Google Maps, I found this neat USGS site with the national map (slow, but exhaustive). Why I can't download free USGS maps is beyond me - I did pay for them with my taxes after all.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Nothing Much

Henry is cute these days. The other night he was dancing and singing to Haydn's 68th symphony in B flat. He later stood at the piano and pounded on the keys while singing "Happy, Sad, Happy, Sad..." His funniest moment was when he woke up in the middle of the night and screamed "Stella!" for no real reason...

I took Henry into the shop last night and had him turn a part down on the lathe, and drill a hole with the drill press. He doesn't have quite enough strength to turn the lathe handwheel so I had to help. It was a bit of juggling as I also had to hold his safety glasses on his head and keep his free hand from zipping into the spinning chuck.

I guess it's stupid to observe that children are cute. But they are! When they're not trying to kill you.

Make magazine #3 was delivered to me today, with my article, somewhat cut down as I sense they didn't want to waste the space on my (insane) magnum opus, although they have (as I said in my previous post) put the rest of it up online. It's nice to see my name in print. I hope that the link to my website will drive some traffic.

I had a customer come by this afternoon to pay me for a CNC mill and see the one I have running. The part I was making came out ok, and while usually I get a spectacular crash whenever I demonstrate the mill, nothing went wrong.

Here's a good article on polishing aluminum

Friday, July 22, 2005

A Shop Too Far

Well I received a quote from my contractor for the shop building I'd love to have. The quote was unfortunately a little high when weighed against the amount of money I actually have. So it'll probably be a year or more until I get the funds together. What's really terrible is how rational the quote was, each item alone seems like a good deal, but none can be excluded. Oh well. I could afford the shop if I did without electricity, doors and a roof. And that would be good, because electricity without a roof is kind of dangerous.
Sales have been up this year, so we'll see where I am in the winter...There really is no rush, at least until Henry and sibling are old enough to demand more space.

On a positive note, Make magazine has published my article on square holes as bonus website content, so you can read it here.

What with it being so hot lately, here is some trance music made by a distant cousin of mine.
This morning wasn't hot, it was distinctly cool! We had thunderstorms all night that scared the dog and watered the lawn (as well as cutting down on the road dust). Now it's back to the 80's which makes me happy, as that seems the coolest weather in the country.

We went to yard sales this morning, I bought a tenoning tool, a threadbox, a 1/2" drill chuck, some punches, a dial test indicator with magnetic base and a small Lego Technics model/set/kit. I better list the stuff on Ebay to have any chance of ever having a shop.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Yes, it's hot. Not as hot as Death Valley but still quite hot. Yesterday I had to take Henry to the park while Felice had a doctors appt. She had arranged for me to meet another mom there. I waved at this mom and acted like she should know me, but it was the wrong mom. I think I scare people sometimes. The right mom showed up and all was well. She actually publishes a magazine about moms. In spite of this we got along quite well and the children played.
The rest of the day I spent sweating, motionless.

Today isn't as hot as yesterday, so I'm actually able to work without fear of sweat-related electrocution. My to-do list is uninspiring, I did all my book-keeping, backed up some files, faxed some orders and only had a couple of customer e-mails. I need to bake more muffins but I think I'll wait until the evening. I like to have a muffin for breakfast as it's quick and easy. It is not quick and easy to bake 24 muffins at a time. I figure it all averages out.

I read a great book over the weekend, Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker's War, 1941-1945 by Leo Marks. It is about the code-makers of the SOE during WW2, the problems they have with "indecipherables", that is messages that they receive from agents which are garbled and unreadable in some way. Written in a lively, personal and somewhat profane tone.

Oh, by the way, did I mention what a nerd I am? I was delighted to watch the premiers of the latest season of Battlestar Galactica, SG and SG Atlantis. As others have said, the two SG shows are like candy, but BSG is like steak. I'm a vegetarian but I still concur. BSG is the best show on TV today. If you're a nerd.
Which I am.

Anyway, here is a great page all about Emmert vises. If you are shopping for a birthday present for me, look no further. Then again since no one bothered to buy me a BB machine gun last birthday I'm not holding out any hopes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Terrible Ending

I like to read Sci-Fi novels when I have a minute or two, so I picked up my copy of Fred Saberhagen's "Century of Progess" (50 cents at the thrift store) and gave it a read. The book was great, right up until the climax when the novel abruptly ended. The novel ended so abruptly I scanned back through the last chapter to see if I'd passed over something or if a page was missing. But no, it just had a terrible ending.

My other reading, in cloaca, is "'Chips' and Slivers, 30 years of Logging Recollections" by Jim DeSautel. It's more a collection of tales, tall and otherwise, with salty language and ethnic insensitivity. It is a good little slice of a lifestyle that is vanishing in the Northwest.

I was able to pry myself away from the computer for a couple of hours today and went into Corvallis with Felice & Henry. I walked from the gym (where Felice and Henry stayed for an hour) to the OSUsed sale where I purchased a trackball mouse for a buck. I should have bought the other one there as they are worth money (I looked it up on Ebay when I returned home). They had some very cool classroom charts from the 30's of human anatomy but I couldn't figure out where the heck I could hang them up in the house so I didn't buy them.

Speaking of 3D computer graphics, look at this gallery of 3D models. They aren't real objects, just computer graphics...

Speaking of WW2, here's a great history site.

Ok, I wasn't speaking of either, but that should be obvious as you are reading this blog.

We have some birds nesting in our woodstove (probably chimney swifts) and the little babies are incredibly noisy (presumably) every time they get a feeding. It's like they built the nest on top of my head it's so loud. I guess I should rig up a webcam-on-a-stick and see if I can get some shots of them...

Friday, July 08, 2005

Too Busy

Geez I've been busy. I spent yesterday in the shop making a ring arbor and writing it up for my site, the day before was a fun day of grocery shopping. Monday and Tuesday? I have no clue what I did, but I must have done something.

We watched the movie "Hitch". Wow that was a boring movie. Felice loved all the romantic (crap) elements. Tonight we're having the neighbors over for dinner. I have a bunch of ingredients but no clue what I'll make. I better just make a whole bunch of unrelated side dishes.
Or frozen burritos.

Today we went to an annual yard sale. I bought a new spot welder for $65.00 which is a steal, and then traded it to Kent for a smaller one he had that will be of more use to me. I've always wanted a spot welder. Yesterday I scored a horizontal milling spindle for my benchmaster milling machine. (link is to James Riser's site, very cool, you should surf through it).

Anyway, here is a big timewaster of a stupid web game

And Here's a site on scanning Michelangelo's David

Sunday, July 03, 2005


I have completely gone through, reorganized and reshelved all the books in the house. I purged about 2-3%, which still filled up about two large totes. I have also inhaled several liters of dust and expect to shortly go into some sort of total histamine shock. But it won't be as bad as the shock of actually discarding books.
I have a rather large reference library, most of which is redundant given the ubiquity of the internet in my life. But when a huge EMP pulse (caused by a martian invasion) destroys all the computers in the world I'll still be able to look up the atomic weight of molybdenum.

Why would I look that up? It's the intelligence test the invading martians will be using to determine who to eat(fail) or enslave (pass).

There are still a number of books I don't want, but are valuable enough that I won't flog them off on the local book pirates (dealers). I'll store them for a time such as I need money enough to list them on Amazon. Or I'll give them to the martian overlords to use as toilet paper, because believe me, they use a lot of TP after eating humans all day.

Henry has delighted me by becoming interested in Tintin. I took Adventures of Tintin: Cigars of the Pharaoh out of the library and he is obsessed with it. It's not the greatest cartoon, but relatively faithful to the globe trotting adventure of the book.

Speaking of Anime, which I wasn't, strictly speaking, I am obsessed myself, with "Paranoia Agent" Which I can't really describe. If you like to have NPR tell you what to think, here's their take on it.

If you are as dull as I am, you'll enjoy these manufacturing videos.

I'm sorry if I offended any Martians. You guys are ok, it's the folks from Uranus who I can't stand...Which is why you need the TP. Ha! Please don't vaporize me.

Friday, July 01, 2005


Well I'm waiting for a customer to show up here, the third visitor to the shop this week. It's fun to show people things and help them out, but I am (as usual, mom) a bit tired today.
Henry is dreaming a lot now, and often shouting things in his sleep. Two nights ago he started shouting "Jump! Jump! Jump!" in the middle of the night, and jump we did. If we put a time lapse camera on him in the night you would see him orbiting all around the bed, and orbiting around his own center. The boy is active, and I think he burns more calories as he sleeps than when awake.
The neighbors are having a yard sale and I was compelled by the imp of perversity to buy a $20.00 dulcimer. I used to play the dulcimer a bit in my hippy(loser) days, and I figured it's a good instrument for a kid, as it plays in tune, just like my other fave kid instrument, the harmonica. A kid will make noise when given any instrument, but it's best if the noise is not dissonant. I hope I can maintain a no pennywhistly/recorder/violin rule as Henry and the sibling grow up.
Speaking of the sibling and of waiting, we found out that our paperwork is delayed by a spelling error, not of our making. The agency tells us not to worry, that it will all get ironed out, but we'd like to start being a two carseat family before Felice and I get put in an old age home.