Saturday, December 27, 2008

A case of the *Blearghs*

So 3 out of the 5 people in the house either have the flu or food poisoning.

I'm one of them.

My morning has not been the most unpleasant ever, but between weakness, nausea, and the emergency dashes to the bathroom I'm not a happy rabbit.

Going back to drinking my saltines and drinking my ginger ale thank you very much.


Who in the name of GOD thought that cherry flavored Pepto Bismal was a good idea. I mean... generally you are already queasy and now you have to drink sickeningly sweet artificial maraschino cherry mixed with Peopto?

I actually felt worse after taking it.

Oh and my toilot is REALLY clean. Because... you know I was sitting there for so long waiting for things to happen and stop happening... and the box of lysol wipes were right there...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ring a ding ding

I finally got the camera and the ring I made back in October in the same place at the same time.

Ring shank is cast bronze, cogs are brass and the stone is a Tsavorite Garnet.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Carmel popcorn and Cold snow.

It has been a while since my last update and I thought as the semester winds to a close I might reassure people that I was still alive and in control of all my limbs.

First, followup on the stair tumble nothing broken, nothing strained but I did have amazing set of bruises the size for grapefruit and rugburn down the entire length of my right side. It slowed me down for a couple of weeks but no permamant damage.

Classes went well with the exception of my final assignment in metal-smithing which has proven to be an unmitigated disaster.

We are doing organic/plastic burnout casting and whet doing a burnout each sprue of things to be cast is placed in metal collar (to protect the investment plaster) this is called a flask. For this last assignment I generated 13 flasks and sprued up over 50 things to be burned out. 2 of them turned out, none of which were my primary pieces. I needed at least 6 of my secondary pieces to burn out to follow back-up back-up plan.
Thursday we did one last hail-mary burnout where I sprued up an additional 30 pieces. The end result: I now have a grand total of 4 pieces that cast successfully, 6 or so that were partial casts and 20 that well... they cast... sorta.
So I have until Tuesday noon to take what I have and turn it into something.

Wetherwise it's been mildly ambivilent here with most of the fall/winter been in the mid 40's. We got on brief spit of snow after thanksgiving but that soon melted. So it's been mild and not to stressfull.

Until friday night. Daytime temps on Frrday were in the high 30's, but by night fall that had dropped to -8 and there was a solid curtain of snow. It coninued that way all day Saturday and today, though it appears the snowfall has slacked off. At this time there is maybe 8 inches of snow on the lawn and it is currently mostly clear and -10 degrees.

There was more that was uspposed to go here but it looks like that early onset alzheimers is kicking in again or perhaps a profound lack of coffee this morning. Got any quetions about what going on? Post em in the comments and I'll try to answer them.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Steampunk Jewelry

Here's a quick picture taken by my prof of my most recently finished pieces. I'll try and get picture of the ring soonish.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ow... ow... ow...

So I just fell/slid down the carpeted stairs from the main house to the gym.

Good news... I didn't hit my head
Bad news... I hit my hip shoulder blade and right wrist really hard.

I'm off to find some epsom salt I think...


There WAS epsom salt. Unfortunatly it was Lavender and Chamomile empsom selt...


I smell pretty... oh so pretty...and witty and in FRIKIN pain.

Okay the pain actually is must better post bath in all honesty.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I think I'm turnning fuzzy, I think I'm turning fuzzy, I really think so....

So the girl and I were trying to decide what to do with the evening and she paused in thought and firmly declared " Rock band. However, given how badly we did last time* we need Josie and her friends." She then ran upstairs.

I was confused, that confusion soon passed.

Does the fact I really like the outfit mean I'm turning into a furry?

Bonus: The reason why the screen looks big... is because we're using a projector to project it on the wall of the gym. Rockband on 30' wide screen is niiice...

*We didn't do badly, I did. Something was wrong with me and I got motion sick while trying to play the drums, and it persisted through switching back to the guitar, I actually had to drop out of the band and go to another room.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kenpo and metal

Passed the Kenpo test, hurt my ankle and wrist sparring. Not bad, the ankle basically feels like it needs to be "popped." The wrist is a little swollen from my upward blocking a front kick and hitting Sensai's heel pretty hard.

I need Epsom salt. ( A quick google to make sure I spelled it right revealed a variety of other uses besides sore muscles I was not aware of. Some pretty cool. Some pretty scary.)

My casting last week went well (still no pictures) and I am doing a second round of casting this Thursday. This of course means I need to spend tomorrow (nominally my day off) in the lab doing finish work on my waxes and investing for Thursday's burnout.

Now I am falling asleep and am going to bed.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Minor update with flaming metal...

I wish I had thought to bring my camera to class as were are about to cast a mess of stuff.

For the record, I am severely sleep deprived and about to pour 200+ grams of molten broze... but no worries...



I pretty certain one of my classmates will have camera I'll get him to take some pictures.

*Edit* Oh and I did not pass my Kenpo test tuesday. But it was by s lim margin. Basically I hit the same 5 techniques (out of 40) that I always get jumbled in my head... and they got jumbled.

No worries I'll pass next tuesday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Frikin cold!

So, yesterday I was complaining that it was only the 3 or 4th birthday I could remember snow free.

Mind you, I said this while sitting outside in 45 degree weather with a 5mph gusts on an otherwise clear day. is now snowing, 29 degrees , with 15mph winds gusting up to 30mph.

I forgot my hat. (But remembered my gloves.)

I even got a relatively close parking spot to campus but walking through the campus core with the wind gusting between buildings was not a lot of fun.

Other News: Tonight C and I are having a combined (mine yesterday, hers today) Rock Band Birthday party. I'm excited.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Goodbye Kate, You'll be missed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Architecture Quote

If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

William Morris

Good Quote. Thank you Materialicous.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Blog Micro-update

Fin-aid: Still Screwed up
Internet: Still no Workie
Kenpo: Stayed Home
School: Math prof had a copy of the book reserved at the library and someone walked off with it. And since I have to wait for the Fin-aid to get unsnarled before I can buy the text book... Grr

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First School day.

After a stressful weekend trying to get moved out of the house early, so the new tenets could paint before moving in, I was happy to spend labor day recovering (in theory.)

The reality is: I had to go digging through all of my boxes looking for my text books, which I thought I had kept out. I had a 50% hit rate. I found my Japanese text books but didn't find the math text book I needed, so I had to go to class without. However, it wouldn't have mattered since it appears that there is a new version that I would have had to buy. Correction... have to buy.

That sorta set the tone for the day. MSU financial aid is actually not screwed up anymore but the AK student loan is. More paperwork might unsnarl it, but it might not. Also, I apparently neglected to withdraw in a timely out of my one summer class I had signed up for LAST summer at UAA and I'm on the hook for $431 (coming out of my dividend.) I called and double checked with the UAA lady in charge and apparently I withdrew a week after the final date (I was already in MT at that point.)

No internet at the house as of this morning but it's supposed to be working by tonight (fingers crossed.)

I'm supposed to be testing for my purple belt tonight, but I think digestive problems (and funds) are going to keep me home tonight.

Only other thing of note is the dog seems to be adapting fine to the new digs, likes the big yard and hasn't tried storming the fences yet. Thus far when I'm home she's got run of the yard, comes in at dinner for a couple hours, and is only on the dog run at night or when I'm at class.

For the record, she has once again proven to be a true malamute... she get's the chase part of chasing stick (and ball and Frisbee and tire and...) but the retrieve portion is mostly hit or miss. Actually it's mostly miss. Though sometimes she substitutes "bite enthusiastically" for "retrieve."

Otherwise life continues. Mostly stressful, but with some bright points.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

In Montana

Quick post to say I am back in cowboy-land and am simultaneously trying to juggle packing, moving, work, and figuring out why the financial aid office hates me so much.

The trip to Alaska was productive, and it was fantastic to see my friends and family again. I feel a little guilty that I didn't go fishing at all... but 1) I don't actually enjoy it and 2)I've been skunked the last 5 or so times I went. I think I just miss having fresh salmon.

The Omnivore’s Hundred

Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.

Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich

14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes

19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects

43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more

46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin

51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer

55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho

72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Friday, August 1, 2008

In Alaska.

So after ~11 hours on planes I arrived with all my limbs intact.

Here it is a lovely 60 degrees, cool and overcast. It makes me realize I haven't really seen overcast in almost a year. In cowboy-land if there are clouds it's raining.

I am also mobile and will be in the valley running errands and visiting family Fri-Mon, and in Anchorage from Tuesday onward.

The only one piece of weirdness is although my phone works, I get two rings before calls go to voicemail. So if you call expect that and expect me to be calling you right back if I missed the call.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Only 7 toes to go!

Today I was over at C's house to give her a ride to the airport. While C finished getting ready I had let the dog loose to run around the fenced back yard.

Once it was finally time to go, I wrangled the dog who gave little yelp when jumping into the back of the car. A quick examination revealed a little blood on on of her toes.

Airport shuttle was completed and the dog was taken back to the house for a more thorough examination.

Seems that one of the toenails she had cracked doing a superman impersonation had been filled with blood and weakened. Somehow during her romp this morning she managed to peel the toenail back off the regrowing toenail stub so it was only connected by a thread.

The toenail underneath was, of course, grody and covered with month old rotting blood. However thorough cleaning revealed healthy nail and flesh beneath, but I'll still be keeping a close eye on it.

This would be the third toenail she's lost in 4 months... so only 7 more to go to complete the set!

Here's a bonus picture of her enjoying the afternoon sun.

Dumb Dog in Sun

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dumb dog part... 3? 4? 5? I've lost count...

So miss Cin has finally been showing sign of being on the mend, moving without any particular difficulty except when she's being lying/sleeping in one spot for some time. Even then the creakiness goes away pretty quick.

The toe on her front paw that she had over-chewed and then split on her recent swan dive appeared to have been healing well and miracles of miracles she stopped chewing them without me having to cone her.

However, tonight I was at ye lasses house for Kenpo review and afterward when we went out to visit the dog and she noticed dried blood on Cin's face... a quick inventory showed one of Cin's right rear toenails was twisted 180 degrees and covered in blood as was the portion of the deck she was lying on.

All I can figure is that she got the toenail caught between deck slats and did not extract in particularly graceful manner.

It still to well attached to hope it will just fall off like the dewclaw she chewed and the snagged on the rug when I first moved in here, but loose enough that it doesn't stay put when rotated back to where it's supposed to be.

I would take her to the vet if I had more then exactly $53 to my name, instead all I can really do is hope.

Oh and did I mention she reeked of manure? Apparently the local deer have been browsing on the much over-grown vegetable garden and Cin took this as an opportunity to apply some doggy perfume.

So she's got a serious limp again, and having trouble jumping; which meant I had to lift her into the claw-foot bathtub for her feces removal bath...

This is exactly the sort of stress I crave in my life right about now. No. Really.

*Update* Screwed up my courage and cut the nail off. Poor wee beastie would flinch and whine at every step and the nail caught. Looks like the nail was only held on at that point be the blood vessel which was thoroughly evacuated.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Vampires Beware.

Maybe about two months ago I made a batch of Alton Brown Firecrackers. Which are homemade spicy pickled baby carrots. Since my geek girl can't handle hot/spicy food I omitted the peppers and stuffed 8-10 garlic cloves in the jar.

A week later there were sufficiently pickled. They were fabulous. Sweet but tangy, crunchy with just a hint of garlic. She loved them and I loved them.

Then I forgot about them.

Today I finally got around to doing a Summer Fruit Pickle before the batch of pears and plums I had went wonky.

Problem was there was still 1/2 a jar of them carrots. I shrugged, saved about 1/2 for a snack and put the rest in a different smaller container.

I finally got around to my snack round 7ish.

They were still sweet, tangy, and crunchy; but the garlic flavor was anything but subtle. As a matter of fact the garlic flavor was so intense it actually caused pain. They were sublime.

As I write this 7 hours and two tooth brushing later I can STILL taste garlic.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mystery of the flying nun... err... Dog.

*Cross posted to me other blog as well.*

So I came home from seeing the Incredible Hulk to discover Cinnamon the wonder dog in the yard. This was bit odd because I left her in the house when I left. Furthermore she was limping.

A quick interview with the downstairs neighbors revealed the following:

Apparently he was sitting on the front porch talking to his father on the phone when he heard a tremendous clatter from the eaves, he stepped out, looked up in time to see my dog finish climbing out the second story window, onto the eaves and then jump the ten feet down onto the cement walkway.

A slightly fumbled landing with a minor faceplant later she ran over to him excitedly. He didn't see any obvious injury and he put her in the yard while he called the landlord to see if he had contact info for me. I arrived mere minutes later.

My quick survey showed what appeared to be superficial damage, and she wasn't exibiting any pain as I poked and prodded. Nonetheless, I arranged for after-hours veterinary service and off we went to meet her new doctor.

Good news: Scrapes, split lip, minor contusion of the jaw, bruise on the eye, and maybe a minor sprain of two ankles. Not enough of sprain to do more then slow her down a bit.

Bad news: She's gonna be really sore and slow for the next two weeks at least but nothing the the strong doggy aspirin she was prescribed shouldn't take care of, and of course these sort of visits are not inexpensive.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

When it rains it... WHAT??? HAIL!

So in addition to all the other fun and excitement, my computer with all my software and data files on it just died.

I'm typing this on my newer computer which I have yet to install Office, Photoshop, Sketchup, InDesign, AutoCad, etc... because They were allready installed and registered on the other (now dead) computer.

It looks like the power supply has gone, and it was the only Shuttle model to use non-standard proprietary connectors. It is also old enough that it is effectively impossible to order a replacement power supply for it.

There are lots of sites purporting to sell replacement power supplies for it, but it's actually the newer model with different (and standard) connectors.

It is also so old that using the parts that are probably still good (2.5ghz CPU, Memory, Video Card etc) I will have to buy a new motherboard and case. However, it appears that I basically cannot get reliable motherboards for the processor from my normal vendors.

I found a reputable vendor that carries a decent motherboard, but I'd be looking at spending $200 + shipping and hoping that when the power supply went kaplooee it didn't damage CPU, memory, video card...

Alternately I can go buy a normal replacement power supply, splice the ends onto the proprietary connectors and hope I don't electrocute myself.

Not a happy rabbit.

Physics ruminations

I really don't understand how my brain can go squirrelly when I try and figure out simple vectors, but like figuring out Newtonian motion (which requires vectors) just fine.

I mean I'm really struggling to grok the first two chapters of the physics text, but chapters 3 &4 are no problem.


*Financial Aid Update*

There is none. The person I need to talk to wasn't in yet before class and was in meetings after class. I will stop by again after my physics test this afternoon.

Color me Mr. Crankypants Red.

So the unending saga of summer classes has sorta gone like this:

You have Full Funding.
No you Don't.
Yes you Do.
No you don't, but are getting WUE, find alternate sources for the rest.
Alternate funding source verified.
WUE canceled.
WUE reinstated
WUE canceled, and the plan administrator is MIA.

I'm already in hyper-stressed state as this semester is only six weeks long, and in fact my first Physics test is tomorrow and my first math test is Friday... so this sort of additional fun is greatly appreciated.

I am tired, stressed out, currently unable to sleep because of this and not at all prepared for tomorrows test.

In fact I have to be "up" in 4 hours to go to physics class.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Academic time management...

So the author of our pre-calculus book, and head of the math department wrote a little "How to study math" handout that advises us how much time and energy we should spend studying.

He says that for every "academically rigorous" field of study like math, physics, chemistry, architecture, etc we should spend 2 hours of of time outside of class for every single actual hour spent in class (not credit hour.)

He states that since we spend 8 hours and 40 minutes in our pre-calculus class we should spend 18 hours and 40 minutes out side of class studying and doing homework. Now... I'm not a math teacher but 8 and 40/60 * 2 = 17 hours and 20 minutes when I do the math...

He then states we should be expected to be spending 27 hours and 10 minutes total in class and out on each 4 credit class. (Again.. with the weird math 8h40min + 18h 40min = 27hours 20 minutes...)

He also states that we must get 8 hours of sleep no matter what to function at peak efficiency, otherwise we are wasting ours and the instructors time.

There are a 168 hours in a week.
Using his numbers...

If we get 8 hours sleep every night there are 112 left over.

My summer schedule of 8 credits of math and physics I should be spending 54 hours and 40 minutes a week in class and out of class academically.

Which should leave me 57 hours and 20 minutes a week, or 8 hours a day to work, shower, eat, etc.


But lets say you had my past spring schedule of 12 credits.

Why then, you should be spending 82 hours academically, leaving you with 30 hours a week, or 4 hours and 20 minutes a day to work, shower, eat, etc.

But lets suppose you are an architecture student taking the recommended 16-18 credit load.

At 16 credit it a 109 academic hours, leaving you a glorious 2 hours and 40 minutes a week, or 22 minutes a day.

At 18 credits you should be spending 123 hours, leaving you with an -11 hours with which to do all those distracting non-academic functions.

Even if you do you basic algebra correctly (which some professor are apparently not apt to do) according to his theory you should spend 26 hours total academically for every 4 credit class.

Which means I this summer I should have 52 hours free a week.
Last Spring I should have had 34 hours free a week.
At 16 Credits 8 hours free a week.
At 18 credits -5 hours free a week.


Monday, May 5, 2008

How very ... cosmopolitan...

I'm sitting here celebrating the end of the semester by watching a Kung Fu Opera flick from Hong Kong, munching on Ciabatta bread smeared with French pate and Greek truffle goat cheese, all whilst sipping Asian pear infused Sake.

Those people who think globalization is a bad thing can go stuff it.

I didn't actually intend to mix food and drink from four different countries whilst watching a film from a fifth. It just was what appealed to me from the ingredients I had in my kitchen.

What a small world... and it tastes good.

(Actually the sake is a bit overpowered by the pate... okay a LOT overpowered... but it's still tasty.)

Portfolio complete.

So around 11:00pm I had just finished printing out and assembling my portfolio for 2nd year admittance and I realized that I inexplicably had extra sleeves in the portfolio case...

Because I can't read directions.

I had been reading the instruction incorrectly and had been putting two assignments per page... instead of two pages PER assignment.

*face palm*

Fortunately I took a LOT of pictures, and was able to color-correct the remainder and stuff them in an only a couple of hours. I only had to photograph one model once more for a better shot and a single drawing that I had wanted to add anyways.

If I can get it to a reasonable size I'll post the whole thing here as a PDF.

In the meantime here is a picture of my final project.

My Meadow Music Room.

Metal-smithing Pictures

In spite of numerous set-backs, I actually got my final enamel piece done ahead of schedule. Most of the rest of class was still in the fabrication stage when I packed up, wiped down my bench and left early Thursday afternoon.

By numerous setbacks I mean I totally ruined the piece and had to start over again.

Twice. On the third attempt I nearly ruined it again but turned the mistake (melting all my silver cloisonns down) into a plus.

A quick review of my posts reveals that I only provided a teaser picture of my last enamel piece, and none of my goblet. So in order of completion...

Baba Yagga's Goblet. Raised copper bowl, forged brass legs and toes. (Don't ever try and forge brass... just don't)

Half-life Pendant. Copper tube and enamel on copper.

Catey's Mandolin. Cloisonné on copper, sterling silver hardware, pure silver back and pick.

For the record, I made the pure silver sheet and sterling wire used in this assignment. I'd also like to point out that the last time I had to buy silver it was $7 an ounce and now it is $17.50 an ounce.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Not a Weather Blog...

I swear there will be more substantive posts in the pipe but in the meantime I had to share some my daily amusement.

Tuesday morning woke to birds signing and warm sun shining in. I stepped out to 70 degree weather, green grass, and clear signs of spring.

Tuesday afternoon, some clouds had rolled in a bit, and there was pretty stiff breeze and it had dropped to a comfortable 61 degrees.

Tuesday evening, black clouds horizon to horizon, entered kenpo class it was windy and a little chilly but not bad, and hour later I walked out into a monsoon.

Wednesday morning (early), woken by bizarrely cold breeze from my mostly shut window. Quick glance outside shows about 6 inches of snow on a lawn that was bare yesterday.

What happened to "In like lion, out like a lamb?"


Oh, I passed my Kenpo test with only one flub. (I did the yellow belt technique that was similar to the orange belt one I was supposed to do.)

Purple belt looks to be interesting with over twice the number of techniques, twice as many katas and a lot more ground work. Sometime in the past I've done grappling (at this point I forgotten which system it was whether Capoeira or Kung Fu San Soo) so the re-introduction to ground movement was relatively painless. Well my knees hurt a bit...

Ye instructor also made noises that probably by the end of summer I should have my green belt, and would be allowed (if I wished) to instruct yellow and orange belt provided I can "pass" the tests again.
This is because every belt test from here on out I will get tested not only on the current belt but the previous techniques as well. Therefore, I am expected to know all of the techniques previously covered to the same degree of skill as the ones currently being worked on. You'd think this wouldn't be problem, but a quick glance at yellow belt (only two months in the past) and I firmly remember 1/2 the techniques and the others I probably know...

This will also be more and more... challenging ... as most of the belts will have similar number of techniques as purple by the time you hit brown your test consists of 300+ techniques. But, I think it will be good because the repetition will only serve to reinforce the techniques.

Anywho it's 5 am, and I need to be up in 4 hours to go play with fire in metalsmithing shop. so back to bed for me.

Friday, April 18, 2008


So... I finished my assignment at 3 am. Wonder of wonder that means I get 6 hours sleep.

Which was great until I had a panic-attack inducing dream about my design that I forgotten something. I have no idea what it was... but it woke me.

So here I am at 5am waiting for the adrenalin surge to recede so I can go back to bed.

Watching Anthony Bourdain in the mean time would normally be a bad idea because it has set up a powerful craving for whatever food he's raving about... in this case... lamb.

Fortunately... I HAVE lamb in the downstairs fridge.

Why you ask? Because thanks to Costco... a lamb roast is actually cheaper then steak or chicken. Last weekend I made Apple Cider roasted lamb and I still have couple of pounds of sweet succulent roasted fork-tender lamb meat waiting to be made into meat pie this weekend.

nom nom nom.

*Edit* I like Tony. Culinarily he and I normally see eye-to-eye. But he apparently love sea urchin roe. Which frankly tastes like fish flavored library paste to me. Bleh.

Back to lamb.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Busy busy busy

So as the semester draws to a close I am a little swamped with work. My final Architecture assignment needs to be done by Monday, with the jurying for my group occurring on Wednesday the 24th.

Couple that with planning for next year, my orange blet test, and trying to finish my cloisonné piece for metalsmithing...

Well I'm a bit swamped.

However in the near future you should expect to see pictures of my raising/sinking project (Baba Yaga's Chalice), the finished half-life bead necklace, my finished model from the last architecture assignment and my finished model for this final assignment.

Your patience will be rewarded.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Quick Note on the weather...

Sunday: Clear and sunny, with a high of 72 degrees
Monday: Clear and sunny, with a high of 72 degrees
Tuesday: Snow. High of 31 degrees.

Last night I went to sleep with the windows open because it was so flippen hot and I am awake at this unseemly hour because snow blew in the window and landed on my poor self.

Going back to bed now...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cooking with my Grandpa. - Your input needed

The other day I was stuck.

I needed to cook something fast and easy, but something tasty. Naturally I reached for my Grandpa's cookbook....

You see, Grandpa lived a wide and varied life growing up in Alaska; He'd been an Alaska State Trooper, fisherman, soldier, farmer, and yes... a writer.
As he approached retirement from the Troopers, when asked what he was going to do with retirement he'd respond "Write a book."

Eventually he found himself retired... and people started asking how the book was coming. This of course worried him so he sat down to write... and nothing happened.

Eventually he got hungry and once in the kitchen genius struck.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I learned to cook out his first cookbook, Lowbush Moose; and since then all fourof his cookbooks have been what I reach for first when I need direction.

With my favorite food blog French laundry at Home winding down with only a few recipes to go... I found myself thinking what on earth could fill that void?

Eventually I got hungry and once in the kitchen genius struck.

I would write about my explorations of his cookbooks, re-read them all. Recipes, stories, even the index. All of it. As I did so I would share them with you. Hopefully members of my family would also take this as opportunity to share their memories of his cooking, his laughter and love for life as well.

Why does this concern you?

Well dear reader there are two options for blog creation. I can start a separate blog with frequent cross-pollination between the two or run is as a "special feature" under the umbrella of this blog.

1) Which would you prefer to see?
a) New blog, new artwork new everything man Bring it on!
b) Keep this blog and deliver them as treats

Also, I am going to shoot for at least weekly posts, is that too little and should I try and do two recipes? I've got about *math is hard* 450 recipes I would guess?

2)So, one post a week or two? Or should I just "do whatever I can?"
a) One Week, One post
b) One Week, Two posts
c) One week, One post with occasional *bonus material*

*Edit* I remembered. Would you rather see the posts chronologically, as we progress through the cook books, random, or semi themed... as in seafood, red meat, side dish, dessert... repeat.

3) In what order
a) This Week: Book One, Recipe One. Next Week: Book One, Recipe Two...
b) Book One: Random Recipe, when Book One is complete start Book Two.
c) Book One: I choose the order, when Book One is complete start Book Two.
d) All recipes, all random, all the time.

Now go post your opinion!

Yay for Antibiotics!

So I've been feeling crappy this week, with a sore throat, joint aches, and touch of nausea.

I had assumed it was the head cold that was still rampaging around campus and didn't worry to much about it.

However... Tuesday night I finished my project early and looked forward to a luxurious 6 hours of sleep. This was not meant to be. It seemed that every time I'd drift off to sleep my throat would close up and I couldn't breathe. In my sleep addled state I assumed it was my trying to breathe through congested nasal apparatus. But it quickly became apparent that I was free of any such problems. Lots of drifting off, suffocating, mild panic waking, drifting... etc ensued. I eventually got a whopping 2 hours of troubled sleep.

Last night, if anything my throat hurt worse. In spite of my attempts to go to bed way early (9 pm) several hours of discomfort led me to google "sleep apnea" which I didn't think I had but it was the only thing I could think of.

Apparently there is "transitional obstructive sleep apnea" which can be caused by... throat infections! Especially if you are borderline candidate for sleep apnea already.

Some digging around revealed that the only likely way I was going to get any sleep was to do it sitting up... so I spent an mildly uncomfortable night in my recliner , not fun but some poor quality sleep was had .

Tests this morning reveled I have ferociously swollen tonsils, and strep throat.

So I get cortisone and antibiotics.

I also got kicked out metals class when they found out I was sick but still came to class.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

How geeky am I?

This geeky:

My first enameling piece.

If you get what game the symbol is from.... you win geek points.

If you know what symbol means from a physics standpoint... you win serious geek points.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Pictures my precious...

I have been remiss in posting Arch related pictures so... here you go.

Above model is from the 5 planes project.

Above is the current project. I'll try and take a better picture that show some of spiffy-doodle details on the back side.

Blood sacrifice redeux.

So I mention the tip of the finger... what I hadn't mentioned was later that day in metal-smithing class I managed to cut my left hand twice more and the right once. Fortunately nothing more then nicks.

Four band aids in 24 hours made me feel a little daft though.

Further proof of why sleep deprivation and sharp things don't mix... I greet you with the little surprise I discovered upn getting out of the bath.

Maybe I should change the name of my new shaver from Head-blade to Head-bleed?

For the squeamish... Just enjoy the cute kitten picture from Lolcats archive

Click Me to see dah kittens. .

THIS link is not for the squeamish. It will not take you to kittens. Only pain and suffering await you. Really.

My, but head wounds do bleed a lot. The red dots on my head were blood splashes.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Blood sacrifice complete

MMy apologies for the shortage of posts since spring break, but starting school back up sorta kicked my but.

However since I am sitting here with my arm elevated waiting for the blood from my slightly mutilated left index finger to clot (so I don't bleed on the project I was working on) I thought I'd take this opportunity to give a quick update.

1) I normally type with my left hand... so this is hard.

2) Because I cashed out my 401K as part of the divorce...taxes suck this year. A lot. A whole lot. If anyone wants to contribute to the Architecture fund this would be a REALLY good time to do so.

3) I need to get photos of my last couple of projects, hopefully I will do so this

4) I think my daily uke practice is on hold for a bit.

5) I think I just dripped blood on my head. Gross.

6) Kenpo is going well...however... I think sparing will be on hold for a bit too. We've finished orange belt techniques, I just have to learn the form and a bit more practice of the techniques and I'll be ready to test.

7) I have made a new friend over spring break, as readers of my other blog are aware of. She's a nice girl, who manages to occasionally out-geek me.

8) Between when I started this and now... I went and got a band-aid and latex glove and forgot what else I was going to write...

Back to work.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Saying of the week.

Aprendiz de todo, maestra en nada

Blood for the Blood god...

So I mentioned to my father that I was going to blog this and until my whacked up sleep schedule woke me up at 4:00 am I had forgotten too.

Some of you may have noticed that I periodically have mentioned exacto related injuries. When you mix sleep deprivation plus sharp blades bad things eventually happen. While most of my injuries have not been as bad as when I cut the tip of my thumb off last semester, some of them have been more embarrassing (yeah lap related accidents bad,) but usually its only little blood here or there. In my Arch class we jokingly have a pool to see if anyone makes it through a project without hurting themselves.

I actually would have won it this project. I managed to build 10 half-scale study models, 4 full scale study models, and one finished model without so much as nick.

Ironically, Friday morning I was to turn in my final project I completed it with time to spare and decided to take a hot bath before class both for sore shoulders and as an opportunity to touch up my recently shave head.

Remember what I said about sleep deprivation and sharp blades?

Now, normally in the course of shaving my head I nick myself about every other time. Usually I nick a scar on the back right side of my head.

This time however I managed to cut myself no less then 4 times. I didn't even notice until I put the lovely mentholated lotion on my scalp and the cuts well... they felt like I had rubbed salt into them.

Only one of them was bad, the others were piddly and I wouldn't have noticed them normally...

Sigh. I consider that my incarnadine contribution to the cause.

Spring Break plans

Since I am apparently neither going anywhere nor receiving visitors from abroad this spring break my plans are as follows:

Read - Dante's "Divine Comedy", Salvatori's "Why building stand up", Gibson's "Spook Country" and Dreher's "Crunchy Con" have all been started thus far.
Unpack - I need to finish emptying out the art room and move it upstairs so I can get serious about roommate shopping.
Kenpo Practice - Everyday.
Ukulele Practice - Everyday.
Contact Juggling - Everyday.

If the price is not to prohibitive I am going to look into building a computer desk that fits into the space better and hopefully includes places to stash paper and other art supplies.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Midterm Modeling...

So I'm apparently getting better at this whole model-building/drawing thing.

Although I still spent the whole night working on my project, I actually am done 3 hours before class instead of 30 minutes.

My axio almost self-destructed... but my model is purty.

Now ...should I sleep for three hours or just grit my teeth an suffer through it?


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

R.I.P Gary Gygax,

May you may you roll twenties on the ethereal plane forever.

I thought Penny Arcade had a fitting comic tribute . (Which is how I found out.)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Something catawampous in Denmark...errr... Bozeman

This project requires a lot of models. I've done five 1/2 scale study models and will probably need to do at least two more. I've also had to do three full scale study models and will have to do at least one more. Final model and drawing are due Friday.

So last night while working on yet another model, I could not get a my square planes...well... square. I'd measure both sides, but when I went to line up and cut using a T-square I'd be off as much as 1/4" on an 8" run.

After fighting with it for some time I finally realized either my t-square is off true or my work table is, and without both of them being square I cant use either. (*edit my worktable is not the lovely parallel arm table I got for Christmas... which is actually to big to fit upstairs until I either build a new desk or find a better arrangement.)

Fortunately, my cutting mat has a inch-grid and between that and a 12" ruler I was able to get things working. I should note that I have found my 30/60 triangle just when I needed it, bought a new 45/45 triangle and have managed to lose both of my 24" rulers.

Unfortunately, I need one of them to prep my base for my final model...

*edit* Found one 10 seconds after posting this.
*edit 2* Found the other.... 15 seconds later... creepy.

Design wise I am not floundering as much on this project as I have on the previous ones. In fact in a rare moment of turnabout I actually appear to be ahead of my compatriots as far as clarity of design. The initial design steps for this project were VERY restrictive, but precise and I followed them exactly. My classmates did not and have spent a lot of time backtracking. I do need to make the design more visually interesting now that we have been given some freedom to do so.

The Cake is a lie!

Beware the new drug hitting the market!

Pharmacutical mega-giant Smith-klien-becker is lobbying the FDA to legalize it as weight loss supplement! Act now! Contact your local represenative!*

Thank god for Brasseye crack team of reporting, otherwise I wouldn't know about the growing threat. Apparently their next report deals with the danger posed by "heavy electricity" and the horrible impact it is having on undeveloped countries that lack the shielding their modern counterparts possess.

*Don't actually or I will have to point and laugh.

Night with Wright

So there was an short but interesting little article about spending the night in one of Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian houses that is only 25 miles from falling water.

It seems like an interesting possibility and something to think about doing in couple of years from now.

It appears to be a mostly rental at $385 a night, two-night minimum, $770 a weekend wil have to wait for while.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Can't ... look...away...

Generally when I work on Architecture projects (like I am tonight) I watch Netflix on demand movies.

I've worked my way through a passel of documentaries, the entire first season of Heroes, and every Sci-fi film in their meager online available library.

Tonight I was in a strange mood so I started watching Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker!

I have actually paused working on my project (but still watching this movie) to type up this post.

I have discussed before some really bad movies.

This is a whole new strange world of badness.

Their tagline is "Low Budget films: Better then suicide."

I'm not so sure.

I mean, it actually makes Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter look high budget and professionally acted.


Sorry. Bit of liveblogging. This film contains most scarily dirty, depraved sexual suggestion I have ever heard. All without using a single profanity.

Dare I reproduce it here?

Okay, I will, but it is not for the faint of heart... or the vivid imagination.

Still here?



You can skip ahead.

Here it is.

Speaking: Crazy Kinky Lady wearing football shoulder pads adorned with antlers and a fur cape:

"Oh Jimmy-hat. It's time to come please me with your rendition of the Styx classic "Mr. Roboto" whilst you rub my bleeding hereafter."

I'll let that sink in for a bit as I go scrub myself with some caustic chemicals.

That is just a tiny little sample of how strange, surreal, depraved and painful film this is.

It also contains a main character so obnoxious as to make Jar-Jar Binks look like a good choice in ANY film.

And yet... I can't stop watching...


OMG. There is a sequel... it was actually worse then the first. But in completely new and different ways.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Good News...bad news...

Good News... The exacto blade I dropped into my lap doesn't require stitches. I think.

Bad News... I dropped an exacto blade into my lap.

Ow... ow... ow...


Real... good...


Kenpo... class...


Sparring was ummm... long. It's a joy to be sparring but it sucks to be so out of shape. Also, I kept blocking the instructor's punches into my left wrist, which inexplicably hurts now...

Naturally, we worked on more techniques as well, one of which starts with you smacking the opponents grabbing hands with an eagle beak strike.

It hurts.

A lot.

They let go. (I did.)

Must shower and then die.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A little slice of ...Heck?

I found a book of postcards including the oubliette where I spend M,W,F.

Please note the helpful labels in case you are confused about our place in the hierarchy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Orange Belt update. (Oh... and doggy opera)

Even though I am only two class session into the new belt we have already covered over half of the new techniques. Sensai seems really pleased with the speed that I'm picking them up.

Frankly, I suspect it because most of the techniques are just variations of the preceding belt or similar to techniques I learned in the other Kenpo style I studied.

Also after sparring session my instructor said that my aggressiveness, situational awareness, and technique were at green or brown belt level... my speed, stamina, and accuracy were about orange. He also said as I continue he expects that will ramp up swiftly as I get into better shape. Oh, he also has noticed that I've lost weight. He's the first person to notice... mind you he's been seeing me every week for 6 months whereas most people down here haven't.

Lastly, and most pleasingly, I have made a permanent mark on this style of Kenpo. A knife disarm I learned in my Tang Soo Do days is the center point to a new Green belt technique named broken reeds. Also a wrist escape I shared with my instructor may become the Anvil variant B.


As I was typing this Sarah Brightman was playing fairly loudly on the stereo. I realized that there was some weird crooning noise coming from near my elbow, and when I looked down there was my dog; her head tilting to one side and then the other staring intently at the center channel speaker and crooning in harmony to the opera.

Weird dog.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another Deadline... another sleepless night

Good News... my revised drawings are done after only... um... (math is hard) 15 hours or so.

Bad news... if I go to sleep now I get 30 minutes of sleep before I have to get up to get ready for class.

Worse news... Thus far this week I have got to sleep Wednesday night... and that it. Well... actually I got about two hours of sleep Monday night, but I was coughing so hard it was not restful. Anyway my time sense is completely screwed up at this point.

Also, I think it is safe to say I am in a seriously grumpy mood.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Public Service Announcement.

This is a reminder that sleep-deprived architecture students are not to be using the razor sharp kitchen knives.

This message is brought to you by your friend "Lefty" and the number "Nine."

Model done

It only took me 13 hours and 25 minutes to completely redesign my project from scratch and build two models.

That leaves me 10 minutes to sleep until my alarm clock goes off and I need to get up and shower.

But I should have almost 2 hours after class to study for my math test at 2:00... and then I get to sleep after that.

P.S. thank god for Mozilla's on screen spell check... there were 11 misspeellings in that post...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tired old phrase

Okay. I'm a computer tech. Apparently we tend to be literal problems solvers.

I am officially tired of being told I am not being abstract enough.

Thank you, I am aware of that fact. To date I have been told this by 3 professors, 3 TAs and 2 of my fellow students.

You can stop telling me it. I got it. Especially if you aren't going to give me constructive advice as either an example of what would be "abstract enough" or method reaching this nirvana like mental state... then you can just stop repeating it to me and shut the hell up.

BTW did I mention I have to complete redesign the project I've been working on for two weeks from the ground up... well basically tonight.

The final models are due tomorrow and the total package is due on Friday.

So complete a complete redesign + building all my models tonight, and then I get to redraw (with my new design) all of my previously completed drawings before Friday.

All while being more abstract.

Not happy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Symptom Rotation

I'm still sick. Oddly enough I seem to have an evolving set of symptoms.

Thursday: Fever, Dizziness, Nausea, Joint Pain, Constricted Chest, Headache.
Friday: Fever, Joint Pain, Back Pain, Headache, Sore Throat.
Saturday: Fever, Chills, Night Sweats, Headache, Mild Cough, Sore Throat.
Sunday: Sever Cough, Sore Throat, Congestion.
Monday: Mild Cough, Severe Congestion, Painful Sneezing, Headache.

This entire time I have been taking both prescription anti-cough and anti-congestive. Seemingly without effect.

Tuesday Prediction: Painful Sneezing, Stigmata, Congestion, Narcolepsy and Headache.

Dear God/Yawah/Loki/Coyote/Whomever...

Okay. I'm impressed.

I wasted two hours that could have spent doing homework looking for my graphic calculator. I will admit that some harsh accusations aimed my dog's way as far as responsibility went. I even began to doubt my sanity that it wasn't packed... but I used it just last Tuesday... so I was mostly certain it hadn't been packed in the move.


You can imagine my surprise when I found it by accident in my sock basket. I suppose I can attribute to you the fortuitous occurrence of knocking the basket it off the shelf and discovering it at all... but I have to ask... how did it get there? Four feet off the ground and in the closet it seems unlikely that the Wonder dog was involved.

While I have your attention... I would have thought I would have run across at least one of my eight exacto holders while looking for the calculator.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Verdict is...

Pnumonia. And the evil chest/head virus that apparently sweeping the campus.

I've got my anti-biotics, my anti-cough stuff, anti-undewear, anti-congestant, anti-Toni... wait no I don;t.

Anyway the Dr. at Health services was very nice, very thorough AND i'M NOT ALLOWED TO DRIVE AFTER TAKING THE COUGH SYRUP.

gAH... whee sorry.

When I'm outside the cold offsets the fever and everything is fine, when Im inside things are bit blurry.

It is unfortunate that I have to go use and exacto blade now...

Sick...ill...under the weather... kicking up daises...

So late last nights little chest cough turned in too tooth-rattling incredibly painful chest contractions of doom. Add to that a fever, headache, persistent joint ache, and feeling of exhaustion...

I am not a happy rabbit.

I have to go downstairs to get supplies so I can work on the homework that is due tomorrow... but I'm afraid because going down the stairs to let the dog out nearly killed me. Twice.

First I was week enough that I lost my grip on the railing and almost pitched head first down the steeper then normal stairs. The second time was climbing back up the stairs when my restricted air way put me in an oxygen surfeit state and when I reached the top I had to lie there gasping like a fish while my head swam.

Cinnamon was quite helpful and lathered dog slobbered on my face and ears until I moved. I was actually a pretty good motivator.

I crawled back into bed, and checked my alarm to make sure I would get up in time for class.

I slept through my alarm by almost two hours. And 2 phone calls.

Thing about my alarm is... it doesn't turn off. It keeps going until you manually turn it off. Which means I slept through it's raucous blaring until the dog stuck her cold nose into my feverish side.

The bizarre thing is I felt fine yesterday. I had a little soreness from the previous nights Kenpo class, but otherwise I had no problems. The only warning I had was that little cough right before I went to bed.

This has me worried enough that I am planning on going down to student health services. Something I would not normally do... well ever.

Remind me to tell you about OIT student health services trying to kill me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Worst move ever.

So the noise from the downstairs Super-bowl party motivated me to move my computer and art supplies upstairs. This also will conveniently empty the downstairs bedroom should I find a roommate. Until I do find a roommate it'll give me a space to practice Kenpo.

I managed to do the following:

Drop my computer - denting the frame, but it's working
Knock my scanner of a shelf - status unknown
Break my desk - Temporary fix in place
FUBAR my router - three hours to get it working again

Worst Tech Ever.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Life on Mars...

So I09 ran a poll on the most under-appreciated sci-fi show on TV. Someone mentioned the show "Life on Mars."

The premise is that British cop is struck and catapulted 33 years back in time where the case that haunted him in the present day haunts him then.

It's pretty good. I've noticed the following though...

1) 1973 was an ugly ugly time. Bellbottoms *shudder*
2) Linguistic drift between American English and British English is bad enough. Travel back 30 years of colloquial drift... well sometimes the dialog is impenetrable.
3) Did I mention the Bellbottoms? How about those polyester shirts with lapels that double as sails?
4) I realize that there is a limited number of high-profile actors filming for the BBC, but seeing a pivotal near-omniscient bad guy from Dr. Who play a frightened and confused policeman actually caused my brain to stutter step.

I enjoyed the first episode, but I'm not sure I can suffer the heavy-handed stereotypes and 70's fashion enough to continue the series.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Overheard in class...

Girl 1: "So like I totally went home this weekend, and my dad had totally made an all metal bong! He was so proud of it he wanted to make me one too."
Girl 2: "Gross! My dad did that once too, doesn't he know it makes like the weed like, totally taste bad!"
Girl 1: "Yeah and like who wants to be smoking in metal fumes from vaporized metal? Ya know he like made it out of brass!"
Girl 2: "That would totally kill your lungs!"

I almost turned around to point out that since they were sitting in a FRIKIN advanced metal-smithing class I would hope that they would know that would have melted almost 500 degrees before it vaporizes... and if the bong is that hot they've got a lot more serious problems to worry about.

Then I came to my senses and realized what an utter waste of my time trying to talk to the two of them would be.

Facinating Interview with Alan Moore.

On of my favorite comic writers is a bloke known as Alan Moore.

While his comics V for Vendetta and From Hell didn't always transition well to film... (least of all the execrable The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ) but his comics are sheer genius and potent socio-political analysis of society, culture, media and more.

There is a documentary about Alan Moore that you can watch online. I have learned the following things.

1) He is a fascinating and insightful speaker. With a very honest self-depreciating analysis of both himself and the world around him.
2) He and I are almost certainly on divergent political travels, but his insights into fascism, it's growth and implications are keen and worth paying attention too. The fact that in the early 80's he used ubiquitous cameras as a visible sign of "fascism in action" in V for Vendetta... and now the nanny-state of Britain has adopted them with great fervor is something he notes with a certain amount of irony.
3) In spite of his alluding to the contrary, I'm pretty certain you could call him a genius. I've never heard someone tie together quantum physics and Genisis so... beautifully before.
4) At approximately 30 minutes into the film he also appears to be completely barking mad... but in very peculiar and... dare I say... logical sense.

He starts talking about magic, shamanism, and the like and it seems very strange... but there are two key points to focus. Assume for the moment he is using magic metaphorically to describe the transformative process of bringing change (hopefully positive) into the world. That process is the means be which the artist, the writer and the architect uses to affect the world around them. To shape culture and society. He alludes to (at least in my mind) the concept of the Nam-shub and the power that the magi/artist/creator has.

The second point is about 37 minutes in, when he starts to talk about the soul... well it darn well could have been Joseph Campbell talking about following your "bliss." Alan Moore goes further to talk about a certain percentage of the population who seem to actively seek out and destroy their ability to fulfill that higher purpose. But then again he's a lot more cynical the Joseph Campbell was.

One last thought... that occurred to me while washing dishes. (hands occupied... brain free to roam.)

Humans are closest to the divine at two times: during the act of creation... and during the act of destruction.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kenpo details...

So someone requested some more details about the Kenpo test. This is a long post. You've been warned.


I had just narrowly avoided being set on fire when my phone rang. I had smelled the gas and heard the frantic scrabble of a striker as the lady next to me struggled with the recalcitrant torch. The sudden ball of flame was no surprise. I ignored the smell of burned hair. Likewise I ignored the grumpy stares, it was after class and they could bite me if they didn't like me using my phone.

It was my Kenpo instructor, he had a cancellation and wondered if I might make an earlier class. A quick glance at the clock showed that if I ran home, leapt in the car and drove like a madman I would make it just in time.

So I did, with 2 minutes to spare.

Small talk preceded the formal bowing-in, once done we were all business.

The techniques started simply enough Heelhook, being a simple defense against a rear bear-hug. The technique flowed smoothly enough, a settling into a deep stance then the dominant foot flashing up to strike one direction the the other, ending in a stomp on the arch of the foot.

This transitioned into the Japanese stranglehold defenses, blocking the kick, and headlock escapes.

Then Sensai called Crash of the eagle. My brain froze.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see the instructor grin. I hrmphed quietly under my breath. I always confuse this with Crashing Wings, a different technique from a different Kenpo school, a different life.

"Rear Push" he murmured, taking pity on me. Realization flooded me.

Dipping at the waist and lunging forward as if pushed from behind I swayed forward under the force of the imaginary attacker. Pivoting swiftly about my center I spun, left hand extended in a vertical in knife edge I cleared his pushing hands, my right hand in a palm strike hitting his chest. Pivoting back about my center I pulled him forward driving my left elbow into his temple.

I froze.

"Something wrong?" the voice broke my visualization of the technique. "I know I am supposed to back out at this point... but it feels wrong. Like I should be doing more."

He grinned. "Stop anticipating advanced techniques, you'll learn the extension soon enough. Remember yellow belt is hit and run belt."

I nodded and cleared out of the position.

Swiftly I ran through Tackle Techniques, Pushing the circle, and Opponent at the sides.

Without thinking I moved directly into Rising elbow not needing to be told. Grabbed from behind I slipped sideways, left hand driving forward and back into the now exposed solar-plexus. I used the inertia to rotate downward driving a hammer-fist into his groin, which left me perfectly positioned to lead my elbow upward inexorably upward driving sharply into the soft tissue of his throat. The parallel uppercut to the solar plexus, merely icing on the cake.

Backing out, even as I checked the position of my (hopefully) fallen opponent a voice called out "The Dancer." It meant a rear shoulder grab as if I was wearing hoodie and the like. I did a small cover step to clear the target area, and drove a hammer-fist back into my opponent's groin. Not satisfied, I extended that step out and pivoted under his arms and stepped into a horse stance facing him. Using the momentum of the spin, my change in height from low to high and distance traveled I drove a punishing ridge hand into a deep arc. I felt my fingertips brush the carpet as I brought it forward and up, a fast moving centrifugal whip that ended, again, in his groin. I continued to spin, hopefully tangling his arms if he managed to retain his grip after to punishing strikes to a vulnerable region. A region that almost half of the yellow belt techniques grace with at least one strike.

From there I found myself in a basic arm bar which allowed me to use the the paired techniques "Passing from the horizon" and "Retreating from the horizon" the only difference in them being intermediary strikes of different distances, both of which end with satisfying arm breaks. Satisfying not in the pain inflicted, but the sheer logic of their placement in technique; an natural punctuation to sentence of movement.

The techniques are getting more complex, and sweat has begun to stand out on my brow. I focus on advice that has been given, my techniques has been too rigid, too jerky between steps. Ed Parker insisted that every straight line become curved and every curved line become straight. A simple reminder of a fundamental principal of Kenpo, every movement has multiple purposes and you should flow between the steps not lurch.

Suddenly, an previously unseen opponent uses both hands and grabs me from the front, dimly I hear the technique name "Kimono grab", but I am to focused on the clear threat in front of me.

Reaching across with my left hand I trap the hands on my chest, I manage modified butterfly pin on the far right, but his left hand is only held with the pressure of my forearm. Moving swiftly before he can loosen himself, I sink back deepening my stance and locking his elbows just in time for my rising right forearm bar to strike them. Probably not break, but a distraction and disruption to the nerve centers for the arm. Not pausing, I rake right hand in a back knuckle across his floating ribs. It's a bonus shot really likely only doing distracting damage, mostly using the movement to set up my next strike. My right arm now cleared our bodies, I sweep back in an inward block to clear his arms and probably tweaking his already abused elbows a bit more. If I struck correctly it should also rotate his arms a bit out of line to foil any of his potential strikes. That sweep also sets up the right elbow and I lunge in striking for the throat, elbow shooting out while by left hand covers any wild swings from his hands. Strike completed, I pivot my body to the left using the rotation as fulcrum to swing my right fist downward to strike, of course, the groin.

Coughing from the throat shot, and bent over from the last strike his nethers, his head has been temptingly lowered. But he is tall and I am not, rather then risk an upset I shoot a back kick straight to land squarely on his leading knee his bodyweight rests heavy on it and it buckles. I use the rebounding force to spin out range.

But he has brought a friend. Again some distant voice calls "The Lever" but I don't need to be told, I can feel him grabbing me with his left hand has his right draws back to wreak vengeance for his friend.

He should have learned from his friends lesson and not grabbed me, nor telegraphed the move so openly. A common mistake for those without martial arts or boxing training. Still he not a small fellow and the punch will hurt a lot if it lands. It's not enough to merely clear that grab, I have to prevent that punch from landing. Again I reach across and trap the hand, this time when I step back I do so a bit further and hold the trap tightly as I sink into stance. This has two effects; the first it rotates him off balance and puts that chambered fist off target and on the far side of his body; secondly it locks that elbow tight, a nice tempting target.

I oblige.

No simple tweak, I go for the break slamming my right arm into his already hyper-extended elbow. Unlike what I did to his friend I maintain my grip with my left hand, but that break has chambered my right arm for an elbow strike, I shoot it out aiming for his exposed temple. To help bring the target in range I fiercely yank down and back on the retained broken arm. His head lowers obligingly and meets the lunge of my elbow. The backfist I send as I retreat almost seems like an afterthought, a not so gentle kiss of knuckle to remind him of what he intended when he first grabbed me.

I pause and look for another opponent. From behind me I hear an amused "Inteeeeeresting." I blink the sweat from my eyes and as I control my breathing. UnsuccessfulyI try and discern what my instructor means.

"You kept hold of the left hand and pulled him into the elbow, yes?"

Not trusting myself to speak I nearly nod, trying to quietly suck in huge gulps of air.

"And you haven't been studying ahead on orange belt techniques?"

I shake my head, I barely have time to do my assigned homework, read ahead for Kenpo? Hah!

"It is not part of the technique." He says grimly. I wilt just a bit under his fierce gaze.

Suddenly he grins.

"It is however part of the 'The bridge', an orange belt technique which you will learn next week. I don't think any more review is needed, in fact that review was so good we'll just count it as your test too. Congratulations."

He shook my hand, and exhausted it was all I could do to properly bow out; to show my respect for my instructor, for the school and for Kenpo, a style which I so dearly love.

Good news... and Good News.

Today when I showed up for Kenpo class, the instructor had me do all the techniques for "review" and when we were done he said... "Well I don't think any more review is needed, in fact that was so good we'll just count it as your test too."

I officially am a yellow belt in a second Kenpo style.

After the test we started on Orange belt and I learned the proper way to apply the Sleeper and Guillotine choke holds. Fun and Ow!

Also on a lark after class I swung by the Snap Fitness and discovered that:

1) They are now open
2) I have almost 2 months left on my account.

Way cool.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bout to lose geek points...

I find Lolcats incredibly funny...

Case to point

Hopefully this selection will get me some geek points back.

I just spent 2 hours wandering through... this site

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tired... on many levels.

I ended up working all the way through the night and even then not getting all of the Architecture assignment complete. From the sounds of panicking from the other students I'm not the only one.

After class I went to my old apartment, loaded the rest of it and re-cleaned everything I thought wasn't quite shiny enough.

During the check out I discovered I'm apparently supposed to get the carpet professionally cleaned and apparently I forgot to vacuum behind the fridge.

You are supposed to vacuum behind the fridge?

Anyway by the time I got back I was to exhausted to unload the car.

Feeding the dog early and going to bed.

*Edit* Oh, and some lovely person sent me 4 oz of pure uncut Vietnamese Cinnamon. Even through 2 ziplocks and bubble envelope you could smell it. The stuff is about twice as sweet and 4 times as strong as most normal commercial Cinnamon (which is actually usually a related plant called Cassia unless it's labeled Ceylon cinnamon.)

When I unboxed it Cinnamon (the dog) had her nose practically buried in the cinnamon (the spice.) When I turned to look at her she apparently thought I was offering it because she tried to take it from my hands, very gentle as she is wont to do. No spice was spilled, the dog was startled and confused by the withdrawal of the expected treat and my subsequent amused laughter.

I shudder to think of the sneezing fit that would have ensued had she bit down...

*Edit 2* Even with Mozilla's on screen speel check my dune speel so good. Brain tired.

Late night break... erm.. #1

So my first Axonometric took me nearly 4.5 hours to draw. Lots of tedious measuring and remeasuring.

My second one, which was even more complicated took me 1.5 hours.

I had an aha moment. I thought it was enough to draw an Axonometric grid... but if you actually extend it into a cube... well drawing it becomes stupidly easier. Instead of measuring, you count grid blocks on plan and elevation drawing, sticking a point at the appropriate spot in the cube. Then you connect the dots.

This is apparently what is covered in my still missing text book.

So one more Axonometric to go, re-copying (and fixing) 3 plan and elevation drawings, and then only 21 sections to draw.


*Edit* oh and Pre-calc studying and homework... and tomorrow after I get done with all these fun classes I get to go move the last of my stuff out of my old apartment and do the final check out.

Add to that a pinched nerve in my neck/left shoulder, a misbehaving car, and sub-zero temperatures...

I think we can officially call this week "sucky."

At least the dog isn't as gassy this week... (not that you care I'm sure.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dinner Break Post...

Am I a foodie? Yes, I am.

So after feeding the dog and taking her outside, I observed pizza being delivered next door for the third time this week (that I know of.) My neighbor Mike* waved at at me and asked if I wanted to come over and split it.

I thanked him, but declined because I had dinner in the oven and ton of school-work.

Dinner for me being:

Saffron-butter poached chicken breast, Havarti cauliflower grautin, and spinach salad with and orange mustard dressing.

I'm actually in the mood for pizza and if I weren't 1) already cooking dinner 2) serious about the homework 3) doing Men's health TNT diet so little to no carbs... I'd have taken him up on the offer.

It just amused me that my standard fare is effectively snob food. Which is odd because it's not significantly more difficult or time consuming to make then mac and cheese, hamburger helper, or any other of the quick foods that people seem live off of. Certainly tastes better...

*I only know Mike because during that damn cold spell he managed to lock himself out of the house just as I got home from class. I invited him upstairs for coffee and we made small talk while he waited for his roommate to get home.

He seemed nice enough, but it became REALLY obvious in a short amount of time that computer geek and snow board instructor's lives have very little overlap.


Still alive.

30 drawings to redo tonight, plus study for a Pre-calc quiz tomorrow.

I think it would be fair to say that I am both "stressed" and "anxious."

So I'm turning of the computer (metaphorically ... since it's playing my music) and getting ready for a long night.

*Edit* I forgot to add there was lovely Dianetics flyer under my windshield wiper asking me is I was both "stressed" and "anxious" and offered to help me out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Guess what I'll be doing tonight?


The same damn thing I do every night.

What were you thinking?

Oh.. the mead... no I'm saving those for some unspecified date and conditions that are not likely to occur in this lifetime. But I had to buy it... it's mead...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Good News...bad news...good news...

So it's -15 f and dropping here with expected lows of -23 f tonight.

After discovering my remote start wasn't working I decided it would be prudent to plug my car in tonight.

Good News. The Remote start not working was just dead batteries in the remote.

Bad News. After Driving all the way to Walmart for an extension cord and batteries I get home to discover my car does not in fact have block heater.

Good News. I stopped for coffee. There was good news but that's all I'm going to say here.


"Sweeny Todd" (the movie) and "Light" (the Book) coming after I finish my homework.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mini Movie Review.

I can actually do this in a single sentence.

The Wolves of Kromer, gay British werewolves framed for murder in sleepy town soon roused to zealotry fury; low budget.

Okay is that not enough?

How about.... Arsenic and Old Lace meets The Birdcage meets ummm... right now I'm stuck.

Ya see, these are not foam at the mouth slavering homicidal werewolves. Really just a couple of lads with long nails, tails coming out of their trouser and seperated from their family for being "wolves."

As one commentator said... it is cute, with lovely views of the countryside... and definitely low budget.

Day Two... Magic 8 ball says....

Situation Snowy... ask again later.

Today's classes were Pre-calculus and Advanced Metal-smithing.

The pre-calc class was fine, although crowded. Professor's explanations were clear and concise. However, she verified rumors that I had heard previously that the class is essentially self-taught out of the book and the instructor pretty much only answers questions about the previous night's homework and general introduction to topics covered in detail in the text.

Advanced metal-smithing was a class I was simultaneously dreading and excited about. Dreading because I would classify certain specific skills as mine as advanced and the rest as intermediate of basic.

However turns out there is no intermediate class, so if you took basic metal-smithing your choices are advanced or.... advanced. He stated that he is going to be treating people with less experience too not quite as high standard. I will have to see if I can finagle into that group... which I have already probably shot myself in the foot because after class we spent some time talking about small-shop mokume techniques and Japanese alloys and their patination opportunity.

Also, the first assignment is cool, and a new technique I hadn't encountered before. As a mater of fact it looks like this whole semester will be 3/4 be things I haven't done. (Like enameling and cloisonné)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's for my education... really...

I need to attend this.

"The Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA and the Caribbean School of Architecture, University of Technology, Jamaica will collaborate for the first time to present an international symposium on the subject of "Caribbean Modernist Architecture" from 29th February to 1st March 2008 in Jamaica."

Not just because it is 14 f and windy here in cowboy land.

Black is the new black....

I want t-shirt out of this stuff...

People were Kenpo fighting... school was fast as lightning... the books were little bit frightening..

After nearly four weeks off from Kenpo class (last week the instructor had to cancel at the last minute) yesterday I again went to class. It was good class, we reviewed everything over and over again as I hadn't practiced nearly as much as I should have over the break. We ran through all the techniques slowly as a reminder, and then ran through them over and over again 'at speed.'

I was sweating by the end of class but I had a happy endorphin glow. Sensai pretty much said that when I feel ready to test let him know.


Today I had my first class of the new semester and my only Wednesday class. It's the next in the design series but with a different instructor. Much as I really liked my last instructor he urged all the students to take a different instructor both for the change in teaching style but also to learn different things different ways.
My new professor is a great font of knowledge... but being older he doesn't exactly fill the room with his voice, and it's a big room. He also has a ... reputation... for VERY tangential explanations to questions. For example... last semester I got a short critique from him on the 4 line assignment that involved: fork design, the differences between Japanese kimonos and their Korean counterparts, and folk dancing.

Should be an interesting semester.

I ended up sitting with several of the same folks from last semester, in fact we also sorta drifted over till we were together. I'm hoping that we don't get split up as we work together well as team and they are pretty nice people. This includes a young lady I've mentioned before in my Livejournal post of embarrassment. However I must not have made too bad an impression as all three of the girls from last years group joined ours (sat next to me no less.)

If I keep sitting in the same spot I will also have the benefit of morning sun. Hmmm could be good... could be bad.


Mini Book Review:

I mentioned in my LJ quote of the week an author I greatly liked named Max Barry. I had only ever seen one book by him in the Sci-fi scetion. Upon discovering his blog, I discovered he has three books and the other two are considered mainstream fiction.

So dug out my 30% off coupon and bought the one my local bookstore had in stock... Company.

This book is actually difficult to review without revealing to much of the plot. The protagonist is fresh young graduate hired by well known firm... suddenly discovers he has in fact been employed by dysfunctional company hell. Irrational management, a mid-day promotion, and co-worker on quest for vengeance over missing donut... and the first day isn't even over yet...

The book is satire. This book however is so painfully funny and true at moments I started have flashback to working at the Railroad.

It was funny, it was brilliant, it was very very scary.

I heartily recommend it.

*If you can't get the links to LJ posts it means you are not in my LJ friends. If you think this is in error let me know.

Monday, January 14, 2008

What makes me laugh out loud...

Not a lot.

I smile, I occasionally snicker or chuckle.

I found by accident a webcomic that makes me laugh. These strips in particular. Make sure you read the title of the individual comic above the panel, it's put things in context)

Example A
Example #2
Example #3
Example = Yes.
Example #2

I'm stopping there... in fact I have to stop for the night or I'll be here forever. (laughing.)

*edit* Okay One more...

If you get this one I'm sooo sorry.

*Edit reduex* I have to reload music on my iPod, which crashed again... so it'll be few minutes before I get to go to sleep.


Typfaces, nut-jobs, books, and other

I just discovered that my Netflix account (Unlimited Rentals 1 out at a time for $9/mo) now allows me unlimited viewing of Netflix's On-demand movie service. While not as complete as their general inventory there are still some interesting things to be seen.

For example, I am currently watching the documentary "Helvetica" which is about the creation of the type-face it's impact on the world and various designers take on it. For example I did not know that it was invented in the 1950's as a Modern design as rebellion against the more stodgy traditional typefaces. It also means, literally, "The type of Switzerland" in Latin.

Thus far it's fascinating, if you have any interest in how such things work.


However, it reminded me of something I wanted to address. I have friends (bless their little Democrat hearts) who have from time to time expressed great concern at the irrational behavior of Neo-cons, while seemingly oblivious or at least dismissive of equally irrational behavior in their own party.

In this documentary they are interviewing a rather famous designer who's name I recognized, but had never seen her before. During the course of filming she proudly announces that she has never used Helvetica in her career because large corporations use it, and they were sponsors of the Vietnam war, so if you use Helvetica you are in fact supporting the war.

This is such completely irrational viewpoint I can't even begin to address it. (Not just because I forgot which logical fallacy this was nope...)

I see and hear this this sort of thing all the time and I never heard a liberal call other liberals on it.

You should.

I think zealots on both sides should not be tolerated, as ultimately people stop listening to what you are saying because the nut-jobs (be they Pat Buchanen or Cindy Sheehan) are tarring by association.

Lastly (as a dear friend pointed out) not all Conservatives are Neo-cons and you aren't winning friends or arguments by assuming that because I don't agree with you on issue X, that I'm a foam-at-the mouth bible-thumping zealot. Or... conversely that I'm a dope-smoking pinko commie bastard.

We and the issue's are more complex then that and if you let the members of your party polarize the argument so strongly there can be no discussion.


I have been watching a lot of movies, but I have also been reading a lot of books over this break. Sadly not enough hard sci-fi.

But I have gotten a couple of e-mails asking me if I have given up reading for movies. I haven't... and I suppose I should start including of the books I read too.

Assuming I have time to read in the new semester. We'll see.


Something else was supposed to go here... I've delayed posting for 20 minutes and I still don't remember what was supposed to go here... ah well.

Friday, January 11, 2008

On missied oppourtunities and movie reviews.

I don't intend to post to this blog salacious details of my love life (or lack thereof) but it occurs to me that occasionally being an egghead/geek/nerd is more of curse then people may realize.

Case to point. There is a fabulous little grocery store like a mini-Sagaya less then a block from my house. Last night I walked down to get dinner fixings and an attractive young lady held open the door for me. She smiled shyly at me and I smiled back walked in and began my shopping.

As I shopped my mind disassembled her outfit. Maroon pantaloons or perhaps belly dancer pants were tucked into knee high riding boots, a tight black velvet vest controlled a flowing black poets shirt, all of which was captured by... frankly a frock coat. It was a fascinating blend of English country, Edwardian, and maybe a touch of the steam-punk.

As luck would have it, I ended up in line behind her, and as she made small talk with the clerk ringing her up she kept glancing over her shoulder at me. Since I didn't want to alarm her or come across as a some cretin undressing her I studiously examined the large gourmet chocolate display.

Somehow she got delayed and ended up holding the door for me again, this time with my hands full.

I risked eye contact, smiled and thanked her.

She had dimples.

I watched out of the corner of my eye as she got in her truck as I began to trudge back to my apartment... wondering all the while whether if she was theater geek, gamer, a classical horse rider, or something else.

I was half way home when my brain translated those eye glances in the store not as alarm... but as interest.

She was flirting with me.

She was not in the parking lot when I got back.

I don't know what I would have said had she been there...

One movie I missed in the theater and didn't get a lot of press was Danny Boyle's Sunshine. Mr. Boyle is the director behind one of my favorite zombie/apocolypse/sci-fi films 28 Days Later. I had heard nothing but praise for Sunshine and eagerly awaited seeing it.

It was worth the wait. I was literally shaking with emotion after watching it, and would have no difficulty naming it the best movie I have seen in a year.

Things that I had problems with in the middle of the film became "Eureka!" moments later on.

As one other blogger put it the fact that Even Almighty is nominated for a Special Effects Oscar and not Sunshine is criminal.

I don't want to say to much about it because if you choose to see it I want it to unfold for you with no preconceptions except that I thought it was terrific.