John Carter

Apr. 6th, 2012 11:59 am
rcking: (hal9000)
My wife and I went to see the movie John Carter at the cheap theater. As several people have reported, it's actually a pretty good movie. The story is well modernized - it keeps with the spirit of the book, but changes the parts which would seem painfully dated to most viewers. There are a couple of minor plot holes, but it's not any worse than most other SF movies.

Disney just decided that they needed a tax write-off and when the movie didn't rocket quite as high as they wanted, they just pressed "self destruct" and told the world it was a flop after it was out only three days.
rcking: (Swiss Army Knife)
OK - Most of my techie friends seem to still be here.

With gas heading towards $5.00 a gallon, I'm starting to look at alternatives.

A pluggable hybrid is one possibility. The purchase price of a Chevy Volt is high. Very high.
But there are several competitors in the pipeline that may drive the prices down.
One of my friends is itching to modify his Prius to be pluggable.

But thinking differently, I'm also interested in the practicality of CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). Not to be confused with LP Gas / Propane.

Kits are available for certain car models that can get you running dual fuel (gasoline or CNG) for only a few thousand dollars.
I know the range of a CNG tank is rather low, but if I only use the CNG for local driving and refill (with special pump) from my domestic gas service, it might pay for itself more quickly than an expensive electric hybrid.

Thoughts?


Edit: Yes, yes, I know, google is your friend. I dug a little harder and found Popular Mechanics had a fairly good article on this.... http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/maintenance/should-you-convert-your-car-to-natural-gas
rcking: (Default)
After two weeks of temps in the 70s and 80s, I have come to a dire conclusion.
I need to mow my yard. In March.

But I really hope we don't get a late hard freeze - that would kill or stunt so many of these plants which have exploded into life.
rcking: (Default)
Spring has come so early! This morning we have five Crocuses in bloom and one of the Daffodils has opened.

Surgery

Feb. 28th, 2012 12:44 pm
rcking: (fox1)
I had some minor surgery on my left wrist and right hand on Friday to remove some bad spots. Everything went well and the incisions are healing up properly.

When people ask about them, I'm so tempted to tell people "I'd show you, but the doc says I have to wait two weeks before I use my new cyborg implants."
rcking: (fox1)
Hey Folks,
Just a note that I'm still alive and have not abandoned LiveJournal. But I have been fighting a combination of overcommitment, chaos, and low motivation which has kept me from posting. Sometime soon I will post my detailed MFF report.
I'm also present as Samantha Kemple on Facebook, but she doesn't post much there except pictures.
I'm also distracted by Ponies. So Much Pony! I admire how creative that fanbase is - wow!
More later, really!
rcking: (Swiss Army Knife)
No, that's not a questionable snack.

My house was being targeted by woodpeckers. Two corners in particular on the second story were starting to look like swiss cheese and the jackhammer sound was not really welcome either.

So, I bought one of those plastic owls. The instructions say that you need to reposition the owl every few days for continuing effectiveness. NOPE - I'm not going to climb up a ladder to the second story and reattach this plastic bird to the side of my house every three days.

Then I had an idea - I took the owl and duct taped it to the end of a long pole. I then leaned this against the house near the problem area and the woodpeckers beat a hasty retreat. A couple days later, repositioning the pole was easy. Finally, I took the pole down and stored it in the garage. Still no woodpeckers - they seem to have moved on. And if they come back, I'll just redeploy "Owl on a stick" for a few days.
rcking: (Tesla1)
Yesterday I continued my yearly tradition of meeting trick-or-treaters in Tesla, my fox costume. Much candy was given out and also several happy hugs. I was almost joined by [livejournal.com profile] hazardous_roo in his roo costume, but his workplace refused to give him the time off. Hazard was missed, not only by me, but also by the children as one cute little girl asked "Where's your friend the big bunny?"

The kids always seem to decide to call my fox "Foxy" - and that's OK. Some of them remember me from several years in a row. Also, this year one of the neighbors came by to chat and told me that the kids look forward to seeing my fox each year, so that was satisfying and heartwarming to hear.

The weather was ideal. I don't know how many kids visited - they arrive in packs and I never have time to count. No real problem teens this year, and several toddlers. The toddlers are so cute as they have to work so hard to find the courage to go up to the enormously oversize fox. They finally get close enough to receive their candy, then they don't want to leave and have to be towed away by mom and dad -- looking back at me the whole time.

----

My apologies to everyone for whom I seem to have disappeared. I've been busy with three big time sinks : MFF Preparation, Work load increase, and Ponies. By ponies, I mean MLP fanfics - I've read Past Sins and Fallout Equestria, two very awesome stories. Fallout Equestria is highly recommended for Fallout fans or anyone amused by the idea of ponies surviving in a violent post-apocalyptic wasteland. But beware - Fallout Equestria is now longer than Lord of the Rings and it is still growing.

But I'm taking a break from ponies for a while - MFF prep is now all consuming.
rcking: (Default)
Hey - I'm 49! That's 7 squared, easy to remember. And one year away from the half-century mark. Woo-Hoo!
rcking: (Default)
Wow - I fell way behind. I'll keep this short.

This weekend we focused on work - lots of yard work was done on Saturday, and Sunday we concentrated on getting the family ready for heading back to college. Summer vacation is over.

One weekend earlier was IndyFurCon. The centerpiece of IFC was the wedding of [livejournal.com profile] leasara and [livejournal.com profile] tincrash. It was a beautiful wedding and it had just the right amount of furry accent.
I also got to wear my new satyr pants around the con and at one point I loaned them to [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus. So now everyone says "Have you seen Linnaeus's cool new satyr costume?" *sigh*
But it was fun combining it with his Tux from the wedding.
Also, special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] cmdr_kitsune for the gift art!

Two weekends earlier was a big lifecasting session for [livejournal.com profile] michel_mephit - we made a head lifecast for him, two hand lifecasts, and a duct tape dummy. I think it all came out all right. We had help from [livejournal.com profile] treads_lightly, [livejournal.com profile] thegeorgiabelle, and family members.
[livejournal.com profile] cal_foxx also made a surprise visit as he just happened to be in the area for the weekend and he helped out on Sunday as well.
rcking: (Swiss Army Knife)
Wednesday afternoon, [livejournal.com profile] treads_lightly came over to my house to have a head lifecast made. I had assistance from [livejournal.com profile] thegeorgiabelle and my son Alex. The work was about 2 hours of prep, 3 hours of casting, and 2 hours of cleanup. Quite the workout. The casting took some extra time since Treads wanted to pull two positives from the alginate negative. The second positive was slightly warped, but still usable as a display stand. Problems with second positives are common, so we were not too shocked.

I tried to take better notes this time - when you do a complex job like this about once a year, that is just long enough to forget all the little details, tweaks, and lessons from the time before. I call it the "perpetual novice" problem.

First weekend in August we do it all over again for [livejournal.com profile] michel_mephit! (We did this one first to get back into practice)
rcking: (Swiss Army Knife)
Like road construction, kitchen construction seems to take forever.

Over the last few months, we have removed an old floor, installed a new floor, installed a new dishwasher, removed wallpaper, painted a wall, started painting the pantries, dealt with a refrigerator problem, and now the oven just stopped working. Sigh. Looks like a new stove might be in our future. And with the former kitchen contents spread randomly about the vicinity, I'd really like to see this start to wrap up. But this money/time pit is still far from done. Oh well, at least we can work on the inside where the AC is working.
rcking: (Swiss Army Knife)
Yesterday morning, strong thunderstorms came through and we lost power just before I went to work.

When I got home from work, I pulled the generator (Hi [livejournal.com profile] aeto) out of the garage. It wouldn't start at first, so I had to disassemble the carburetor and remove a tiny speck of dirt from the bottom of the float bowl. This fixed it and the refrigerator/freezer is now safe if I fire it up for a while every 8 hours or so.

My net access will be limited to work hours until this gets fixed.

EDIT: Power's back! Yay! It was only out about 30 hours.
rcking: (fox1)
I was recently conspiring with [livejournal.com profile] treads_lightly about making some fursuit photos using a greenscreen and a variety of fun backgrounds. He rigged up a proof of concept system last night and it shows a lot of promise.

Do folks have an interest in making pics with this like:
--Pic of your fursuit in front of the pyramids of Egypt or similar exotic locale?
--Pic of your fursuit in a famous movie setting? e.g. Hogwarts castle
--Pic of your fursuit with friend driving cross country in a convertible? (yes, multi-layer does work)
--Pic of your fursuit in front of most any high resolution background you bring with you?

I know this can already be done with photoshop. But the special greenscreen software and proper lighting can make it easy, quick, and almost seamless.

Thoughts?

PS. We also have a bluescreen if your suit happens to be green ;)
PPS. If your suit is both blue and green - you're going to look really funky no matter what we do.
rcking: (Samantha1)
TLDR Short Version: I had a great con. Met many friends new and old. Shared a room with [livejournal.com profile] hartree, [livejournal.com profile] aerofox, and [livejournal.com profile] loriana. Samantha got out to party three times. I ordered some satyr pants. Saw the Yu Tashiro Japanese fursuits in person. Great fun, very few bad points.

Now the detailed version with juicy bits )
Wow - I've got so many follow-ups I'm still trying to catch up.
rcking: (Default)
On Feb 25th, I mentioned that I had just installed some home LED lamps. They started off well.
About a month ago, one of them decided to switch from "continuous on" to "strobe light" - Since we paid $40 each for these, we took it back to Home Depot and they exchanged it for a new one.

The replacement lasted about 3 days, then began pining for the fjords. It is an ex-lamp. I'll chock it up to infant mortality.
Next time we go by Home Depot, we'll exchange it as well.

The other two still shine on, unabated. But still, this is not an ideal start.
rcking: (Swiss Army Knife)
Last weekend I purchased and installed an LED light that is sold as having the equivalent brightness as a 60 watt incandescent bulb (725 lumens)

Result - Looks good. The color temperature (3000K) is nice and it doesn't look "wimpy". (Compact Fluorescents always seem to look a little wimpy to me - I can't say exactly why - but this thing makes my CFLs look pathetic.) No trace of flicker that I can see (unlike LED Christmas lights).
It consumes 15 watts of power, it's dimmable, and it is supposed to last 15+ years. The future is here!

The downside is it cost me $40.00 - ouch. It better last 15 years. Hopefully prices will be coming down over time.

Score!

Feb. 2nd, 2011 10:25 am
rcking: (Default)
This morning at 8:15 am central, I got a room reservation at the Westin for AC.
The room type I wanted was sold out about 10 minutes later. Wow!
rcking: (Swiss Army Knife)
I've been searching for over a year for a replacement laptop. Finally, I got a great tip from [livejournal.com profile] treads_lightly :

Acer Aspire AS5745G-7671 for $699

It's a good all around system with a big bonus -- Graphics are an NVIDIA Geforce GT 420M!

I'm not a big gamer, but I was sick of Second Life running at 1 or 2 frames per second.
So I install an SL client, fire it up and it pegs the frame meter at 60 fps - Whoa!
Then I turn up the quality and the draw distance and visit someplace complex. Down to 40 fps - Whoa again!
I'm seeing SL again for the first time. I've even stopped walking into walls!

Another plus - the big graphics chip only turns on when you want it on. When you aren't running your game, it uses the so-so built in Intel graphics chip and saves on battery life. Sweet.

Downsides? No Bluray, no Bluetooth, and the screen is only 1366x768 - certainly not the biggest out there.

The second video port can drive televisions at 1920x1080 and monitors at even higher rez. So if I want to paint a big canvas, I just pull out an HDMI cable and plug in.

Pardon me while I geek out for a while.
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