randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-07-20 08:46 pm

(no subject)

apologies for TMI but I keep injuring myself in ways that leave scabs like Lake Baikal and within a few days the edges are all ready to be done but the center is still very strongly attached.
Maybe I need body armor.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-07-16 10:34 pm

(no subject)

So let me tell you...
No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
Today was my grandmother's 100th birthday party.
N was feeling awful so I did some cleaning around the house, pulled fistfuls of hair out of the tub drain and grape-sized clots out of the sink drain, and then headed down to the middle of nowhere, where my aunt and uncle live in a very expensive house in a gated community, and my grandmother lives in their basement.
She was really together. She's been getting foggy the last couple of years, but she and I got to have a couple long conversations that stayed on topic. She gets a bit aphoristic if I don't lead the conversation, but I think that's because she hangs out with my aunt way too much.
My very conservative but pleasant uncle got into another long intense conversation with my very liberal aunt (from the other side), which seems to happen every time everyone gets together. He's conservative as in his brother made a half million dollars writing Left Behind imitations and his family disowned another brother who announced he was gay but going to spend his life celibate so as to not sin. Apparently celibacy wasn't good enough. My aunt is liberal as in got a degree in Chinese history in 1970 at UC Berkeley. Again: no idea why the two of them talk so much.
I got to see my cousin's ex-wife for the first time since the divorce four years ago, as she brought their kids over to drop them off. She's looking like a tired redhed-going-grey housewife, which is an improvement over last time I saw her, when she had jet-black hair, a very short skirt, and knee-high combat boots, as part of her effort to keep the marriage together. (Which must have driven her crazy: literally her entire immediate family works for James Dobson/Focus On The Family.) She took off pretty quickly when my cousin showed up with his new girlfriend, who has jet-black hair, a very short skirt, and knee-high bright green leather boots.
anyway. Grammy was okay. We talked. I talked a bunch to my cousin's kids, who are all really cool.
I drove home and went out to the shop to start working on machining a test fixture for a new product for Mad Scientist Hut. I set up the thousand-dollar sprinkler while I was doing that. (You know those old sprinklers like tractors that drive across the lawn, following the hose? I found one in an alley, brought it home, we used it, then we had one of those springs where it's 35C and the grass is all brown and dying so I water it and the next day we get a knee deep snowstorm and while walking the compost out to the pit I managed to step on the free trash sprinkler and break one of the arms off, so I went and bought a metal lathe and fixed the free trash sprinkler, so it's the thousand dollar sprinkler, yo.)
So the sprinkler's running and I stick my head out to make sure it hasn't gotten stuck and there are three kids half-running through the yard, sobbing, which means a dog has gotten away and they are trying to catch it. This is a regular event.
Of course I join in. These kids are really young. Well, everyone less than 18 looks like they should be wearing diapers, pretty much. But I think these kids were really young since they couldn't jump off the retaining wall between my house and Ray's, and it's only a meter and change high.
We all piled through that and headed towards the church, where I saw the dog.
It's a huge german shepard. Huge. I think I could have put two of these kids on it.
I can't outrun a german shepard.
I tried, though.
And I'm a lot more canny than it, because I've caught 30-something dogs over the last few years.
It of course ran straight to the main road where all the traffic is and started running down the side of the road. I crossed the road and started running along behind/beside it, because it was definitely scared of me. That way, it wasn't going to run INTO the road.
I paralleled it until it got distracted by a smell, then got ahead of it and started moving back towards it, so it reversed course. My thought was either I'd chase it back to its kids or up the hill away from the road. We did both at various points. Eventually the three kids, two joggers, and I managed to corral it in someone's yard and one kid got her hands on its collar and we all headed back to the church.
Where we found kid number four lying in the grass making horrible noises.
She claimed she was having an asthma attack.
As a long-term asthma person, I'm pretty sure what she was having was a panic attack.
But not the time to screw around.
So I chucked it back into high gear and ran home, got the car, and drove back, at which point other family members were there, but she couldn't walk and nobody in her family had the oomph to do much about it.
I picked her up and carried her to her mom's car, and they drove off.
Whew.
About ten minutes later, the first three kids showed up again. One of them had lost her cellphone in the shenanigans and they were retracing their steps.
As we were looking around my yard, another kid said "what do you have in that weird little barn?"
I said "a bunch of broken bikes."
She said "huh. Can I have one?"
I had to explain they were all 40 year old bikes, too large for her, with no wheels or seats.

Then I finished the test fixture, went grocery shopping, made dinner (Marcella Hazan's chicken breast sauteed in butter/lemon/parsley) and am just right now finishing it, sitting down while not driving for the first time since about 11AM.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-07-12 06:36 pm

(no subject)

Our power was out all last night, so I didn't get a chance to update anything.
And I was just starting to make an adapter so I could stick a 12v DC motor intended for electric bikes onto a cycle trainer so I can generate pedal power. Unfortunately, it takes a lathe to make the adapter.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-07-09 03:30 pm

(no subject)

We went over to Old Town to visit the library, played a bit of Pokemon, and had a bit of ice cream. My main phone has died so I'm using my backup phone, which became my backup phone when the screen burnt out so it's visible in dark conditions but I can't see anything on the screen in sunlight, so it was sort of guesswork Pokemon. When we were in the library, there was a girl in there on a plastic tricycle, racing her brother across the library. Aiee.
Anyway, then we drove the Spitfire over to the grocery store, because I'd run out of eggs, potatoes, and other sundry items making breakfast. When we came out of the store there was a very small, old man trying to do something with his Lexus, which he'd obviously just rammed into the back of someone else's car, and then pulled into the parking lot beside the Spitfire to try to repair enough to drive home. The bumper was on the ground, as were some of the electronics, like the headlight module. He was trying to put the bumper cover on the hood and then attach a bungee cord from the steel subframe that had supported the bumper, up over the cover, around it, and back down to the same subframe. Of course, the result is that the bumper wants to hang from beneath the highest point at which it's attached. He clearly wasn't going to make much progress. I finally walked over, helped him hold up the bumper so he could try to attach it, and then grabbed a dropped bungee and attached it to the shock tower, well back in the engine compartment, around the bumper cover, and to the bumper steel, so it was at least held in place. He looked at it, sighed, and handed me the other bungee cord, which I did the same thing with on the other side. I hope he made it home.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-07-06 08:13 pm

(no subject)

My poor old samsung galaxy s4 is dying. It gets quite hot, quite quickly, and then the screen goes all sorts of interesting colors and blanks, and restarting means pulling the battery. I had a previous iteration of the same phone, in which the screen got burnt over time so it's impossible to read in sunlight, so I swapped the battery, with no change. Off to ebay to find another.

Awkward time at work, when my direct manager and the manager for whom I've been doing a bunch of work had a two hour closed-door meeting at which voices were raised high enough that I could hear my name come up several times. I think they're arguing about how to allocate personnel resources.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-07-05 11:20 pm

(no subject)

Still here, but I have nothing interesting to report. Sorry.

Owait I did think of one thing. When I set up the CNC mill, usually I write an entire file for the mill to run, and it usually works perfectly. When I use a manual mill, I run it by hand and get something done that is reasonably close to what I intended.
But when I try to run the CNC mill by typing in numbers, I completely screw up, because I repeatedly make floating point errors. If I mean drill down 0.05 inches and instead type in 0.5 inches, boy does that make a mess. I shot a broken-off drillbit into a wall tonight from a mistake of that type. Which, by the way, is a very minor argument for operating in metric: all my mistakes are only 1/25 as big as operating in imperial. Unfortunately, the plans I'm working from right now are all imperial and sufficiently complicated I'm not up for converting them.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-07-02 04:06 pm

(no subject)

[personal profile] threemeninaboat's brakes are squeaking a lot. I was going to take off the wheels and check the brake pads and see how they were doing, right up until I realized that her fancy racing car has fancy racing car wheels with fancy racing car theft-resistant lug nuts and I have nothing that can remove them.
Anyone have any ideas how to track down a lug wrench for custom-sized-and-contoured lug nuts?
Like this: Anyone know a lug wrench that fits these?
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-06-30 07:59 pm

(no subject)

Man, I have a lot of [really difficult question] "asking for a friend" going on in my reading list today.

This was a 200km of bicycling week (so far) and I'm kinda tired. Nobody do anything drastic, okay?

Also the space bar on my keyboard isn't working right. Bah.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-06-27 09:06 pm

(no subject)

What's worse, when a person who has in the past acted like a normal human suddenly starts posting racist things, or when someone with an astoundingly racist user name posts normal and even informative things?
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-06-27 06:45 pm

(no subject)

I went to the cardiologist this morning. She said a month of heart monitor showed nothing: my heart works fine at its normal 65bpm resting rate, and just as well during an hour of 170-190bpm bike riding. The echocardiogram showed no blockages or obstructed arteries, and no weird beats.
So it's back to the original theory, that my blood pressure drops when I stand up, and then I faint.

My manager had a somewhat awful, stressful day at work, because we have a contract worth more than 3x our total revenue the whole time we've existed, so we are desperate to make it work, but they won't really tell us what exactly they want, because it's proprietary (and they know quite well that despite all the NDA's we've signed, we're developing a similar product to sell to their competitors.) My manager is in the middle of this, and is so frustrated he can barely think. I asked "want to go for a lunchtime ride?" and he replied "I might just keep riding." It turns out that when he goes hate riding, he is *markedly* faster than he usually is. This is the guy for whom I usually end up dropping off the back of the pack to ride with him for the rest of the ride. Today I had to slow down a little to get him in my draft and back with the main group twice, and he led for a lot of the ride. He was a bundle of energy. When we got back I asked him if he'd thought about work during the ride and he sat down on the floor, then flopped back on his back, and said he couldn't even remember his name. He was still there five minutes later when I went to do something else.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-06-27 08:02 am

(no subject)

I went on a solo lunchtime ride yesterday and encountered a large wild turkey in eastern Longmont. They invariably make me think, on first sight, that they are hideously disfigured Canada geese, like they've been caught in an industrial accident or something.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-06-22 09:39 pm

(no subject)

Nobody wanted to go riding at lunch today because everyone was tired and there was a lightning storm outside.
Wimps.
I rode over to Xilinx and rode with them instead.
We rode down to Niwot almost entirely offroad, because Bill has a brand new cyclecross bike. I was on my road race bike, sliding all over the place on the gravel and sand.
It was exhausting.
My coworkers DO all want to go out riding tomorrow, but I don't think I'll have time.

Pirate the bunny is so blind sometimes I feel like I need to hand-feed him to get him started on new food I put in his cage.

Monty got jumped by a posse of four chihuahuas today, all loose. We ran, because I don't want to have another chihuahua eaten.

My phone updated itself and has turned into Super Naggy Phone. "I see your battery is at 30%, would you like me to turn off Bluetooth?" Which gets really annoying when it tells me about six times a day that I have the ringtone silenced and might miss calls and would I like to change that. I'd like a NO FOREVER button.

We have milkweed growing like, well, weeds. We are cheering for monarch butterflies.
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Some architecture at Regis University, mostly for [personal profile] basefinder
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A sunset for [personal profile] elusis
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I have a friend on G+ who is in an awful situation: a lesbian dying alone of lupus in her mother's basement in the deep south. She wants a lightsaber. I'm making the drive electronics for a lightsaber acting prop. This is a sample board for fitment purposes, to make sure that one channel of lighting works correctly with a control board someone else is doing, and also provides a one-shot-producing microcontroller using a hall effect sensor. The intent is that when a magnetic ring she wears gets close to the system, it detects the magnet, sends out a single pulse, and the control board handles sequencing and colors, then when her hand moves away it sends out a second pulse. (It's a silly way to handle off/on, in my opinion, but I'm working with someone else's design.) The whole works is a three channel, 1 amp per channel, LED driver with high efficiency, all designed to fit in (while not overheating) a 22mm in diameter cavity inside an aluminum lightsaber body.
I found an old body washer and bored it out to 22mm to make sure it slid snugly over the board.
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The board is only about 1/3 loaded: one channel of LED driver and the microcontroller, and one big ol' coilcraft inductor to make sure it fits in the enclosure. It's missing two more drivers and another regulator to provide high efficiency power to the microcontroller. If I get the time I may port the code over to a TI microcontroller that uses 1/1000 the power of this one and costs 1/10 as much.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-06-18 10:57 pm

(no subject)

[personal profile] threemeninaboat and [personal profile] ivy and I were talking about the Myers Briggs Hell discussion, and as I couldn't remember what type I am I went and took the test and got my result.
ENFP – Every minute of the rest of your life has been scheduled for you – and it’s a long series of arbitrary, solitary tasks.

That is frighteningly accurate.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-06-17 01:09 pm

(no subject)

[personal profile] ivy is staying for a couple of days. We sat up late talking about the world, which is invariably a great conversation when she's involved. We also hiked through a bog, which was equally great.
Today we had brunch in a park with [personal profile] basefinder, who gave me a neat book about thin-shell concrete structures, and talked about geiger counters a lot. We were going to play scrabble but the wind was strong enough it would have blown away the board. Instead we walked around the lake and admired red-winged blackbirds and baby ducks.
Monty did not eat any little dogs. Success is sweet.
Now I'm off to modify some bicycle pedals.

Yesterday I rode this.


I just about broke my collarbone, and now have cuts and scrapes all over.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-06-15 11:05 pm

(no subject)

We walk Monty very late at night now, because there are very few dogs out wandering around loose, late at night.
Two nights ago, we were up by the water tower and she was nosing around in the gutter looking for food because we STARVE HER MERCILESSLY she's only gained 12 kilograms since she started living here after all, and we noticed her jump back and then start nosing at something.
It was a small garter snake that was stuck in the gutter: not long enough to climb up the curb.
I tried to grab it. Between the darkness and her head in the way I got something closer to its tail than its head and as I swung it up out of the gutter it twisted around and tried to bite me. Not effectively: too small a mouth. But it startled me enough that I kind of threw it. Monty thought that was a great game.
Tonight, in the same place, she started snuffling at something that I thought was a bit of trash, and it squawked. It was a fledgling, all black feathers and an enormous wide beak/mouth. I picked it up and stuck it in some bushes immediately above where it was so it wouldn't be quite as easy for the foxes and coyotes that come out at 2 AM.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-06-15 09:04 pm

(no subject)

Anyone here know much about theraputic/pharmaceutical radiochemistry?
Palladium-103 decays by electron capture from an inner shell, which emits an electron neutrino, and subsequently emits an x-ray when another outer electron falls into the hole where the previous one had been.
But we are definitely detecting a ton of beta particles coming off my friend. (As in, the geiger tube with the beta window closed detects about half as many particles as when it's open.)
Scattering from subsequent impacts of ionizing radiation?
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-06-15 12:04 am

(no subject)

I managed to get my Geiger counter together with my friend who is full of radioactive palladium the other day. Since we were outside, we were trying to find a slightly quieter place. There's a space between two buildings that has no windows, intended as a smoking area, so we walked into there and he stuck the counter probe pretty much down his pants and it started clattering wildly: nicely radioactive, easily detectable. Just as he did that, a guy in a suit walked out of the building and turned towards us, and my friend, in a very smooth move, swept the probe out and over towards one of the picnic benches there, and told the guy in the suit, "we're checking for radioactivity in the cigarette ashes!" He's smooth.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-06-12 09:18 pm

(no subject)

I spent a chunk of the weekend reading Jason Stanley's book, "How Propaganda Works". It was tough going at points, but had a lot of insightful material. His focus was particularly on demagogic propaganda, but he spent the first chapter discussing several other types of propaganda, what purpose they serve, and why demagoguery is so particularly harmful to a democracy.
Some of the points that struck me:
A democracy is based on equality, specifically equality of voting and opportunity. A society that represents itself as a democracy but has serious inequality, particularly of opportunity, has an extremely strong incentive to rationalize that inequality as being the fault of the people who are deprived of opportunity. People who have the highest privilege are most apt to do this, but to a lesser extent, the people with the least privilege tell themselves the same, out of self-preservation.
People make assertions based on their confidence, and their confidence is heavily influenced by the risk they face by making the assertion. People who assert that the poor are lazy, for instance, have very little risk in their assertions, while people who assert that there are cultural and legal systems of oppression that create and maintain poverty get shot in Memphis. This strongly predisposes the cultural dialog towards the high-confidence assertions.
An aside: when discussions of inequality arise, in most of the places I've hung out, someone will bring up the Pareto Principle and say that 20% of the people are always going to have 80% of the resources. I wonder if the Pareto Principle is a statistical representation of the effect that confidence ratio of assertions has on culture.
The best propaganda uses implied terminology: use of an overt slur is nowhere nearly as effective as a word that is associated with a slur. Words like "welfare" have been successfully racially linked, for instance. Likewise, words like 'childlike' or 'savage' have been replaced by 'lazy' to justify lack of equality without referring directly to ancestry.
An aside, that was wholly new and surprising to me, was a quick discussion of prison gerrymandering. Prisoners in most of the US can't vote (which is specifically listed as a human rights abuse in the European Union, save for in extremely specific cases) but are listed as residents of rural areas where the prisons are located, which strongly distorts proportional representation, and strongly incentivizes those areas towards harsher sentencing policies.
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-06-11 03:42 pm

(no subject)

Las Vegas is weird.
It's a very windy weird, this weekend. It wasn't quite hot, but wowie was it gusty.
We went on an Ingress scavenger hunt, associated with the GoRuck tradition, albeit with only a little bit of pushups and scrabbling around under/over things. Mostly we hiked, looking for things. We didn't have the best communication with our team, but we managed to make it work out. Scavenger hunt items were things like cleaning up trash, finding a veteran and talking to the vet about war experiences. Ours told us a dirty joke instead.
I found this for [personal profile] basefinder, near the Las Vegas Central Library.
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I had grilled unicorn cheese sandwich for lunch before the hunt. Somehow I expected it would just be white, yellow, and orange. Oh, no, they went all-out, because it's Las Vegas.
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They have a ton of weird cool public art.
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(This appeared to actually be drivable.)
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We walked over to an art district about 2km from downtown. There were roughly two art galleries there. It appears to have been larger and more interesting at some point in the recent past. But the one gallery that was open was fun to look around in.
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randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
2017-06-05 08:25 pm

(no subject)

Man, once you've (well, I've) tasted the wonder that is caramel M&M's, it's hard to eat anything else.