Friday, September 05, 2008

They got me!

I'm on hold with Verizon. I'm calling them because instead of burying the FiOS cable like they were supposed to, they have it drooping low from the pole to the house. It's hanging through the tree and even resting slightly on the shed roof. That won't be good when the winds come. But while I'm waiting on hold, they Rick-Rolled me! It was a highly intrumentalized Muzak version, but I still recognized it. Now it will be in my head all day long. Good one, Verizon!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Watch Dr. Horrible

Here it is, the three act, Dr. Horrible. It's just a bit over 40 minutes long. You can watch it for free now courtesy of Hulu or buy it in iTunes store for $3.99. Seriously. It's really good.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dr. Horrible

I know we should be blogging about our wedding and honeymoon and posting pictures with comments and so on like that. And we will soon. Really. But we got distracted by amazing internet production! Joss Whedon, the genius who brought us Buffy, Angel, and best of all Firefly, brings to us an internet event. A wonderful piece of imagination and skill. A supervillain musical. Go forth and view Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Today's the Day

Today's Wedding Day. Less than 12 hours from now we'll be married. I think we both started freaking out a bit yesterday over all there is to do and details and stuff. I know I feel much better after getting some rest. I imagine Maegan does, too. And extra bonus! I found my iron and ironing board last night, so I won't have to wear a wrinkly shirt. I'm sure that will be nice.

By the way, the Trebuchet idea didn't pan out. It launches the little wooden balls the kit came with. It may launch golf balls well (I didn't have any to test). But it won't launch water balloons. They keep falling out of the sling barely before it swings around. And while this kit has great detail for the winch, it has a fixed release pin. Next version I'll need to have something adjustable for items with varying weight.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Test Fire - Day One

Day one of testing the Bouquet Trebuchet:

The goal was to launch a small water balloon from Matt's patio, across Prestonwood Road, and into the parking lot of an office building. However, we ran into a bit of a problem early on. The ammunition kept falling into friendly territory. "Incoming!"
We spent several hour tinkering with lines, adjusting the launch pouch and adding to the counterweight. Yet it kept releasing too early. Finally we used a small wooden ball and it launched correctly.
Apparently water balloons are not ideal for trebuchet ammunition...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Origins of Wedding Traditions

With Wedding, Wedding, Wedding stuff on the brain I was not surprised to stumble across an article on Mental Floss about the Origins of Wedding Traditions. This part about the Best Man caught my eye.

The original duty of a "Best Man" was to serve as armed backup for the groom in case he had to resort to kidnapping his intended bride away from disapproving parents. The "best" part of that title refers to his skill with a sword, should the need arise. (You wouldn't want to take the "just okay" member of your weapon-wielding posse with you to steal yourself a wife, would you?)

The best man stands guard next to the groom right up through the exchange of vows (and later, outside the newlyweds' bedroom door), just in case anyone should attack or if a non-acquiescent bride should try to make a run for it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Trebuchet: Part 11

Here I have attached the trolley block to the end of some twine which has the other end wrapped around the winch axle. The line goes down and traverses the length of the trebuchet underneath where the trough will be.

Here is the trigger system. The closest dowel has a loop of twine tied to it. The further dowel has a lever with a pin on it. When the arm is down, the twine will go over it and hook onto the pin on the other side. To fire, the latch gets pulled, the pin goes up, and the twine loop is released, which releases the arm.

It is completed! The sling is now hanging from the end of the arm. The trough is now lying along the centerline. I'll try firing it tomorrow after the firing mechanism has had plenty of time to dry. I bought about 500 water balloons for four bucks. By the way, the winching system isn't really necessary for the operation of this small size trebuchet. This is just table size, so it's small enough that it's easy to just pull the arm down. But it's great to see how the arm was pulled down on full size versions back in the day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Trebuchet: Part 10

I stayed up later than I probably should have working on the trebuchet. But I got a lot done on it. Prepare for a long post.

Here are the smaller dowel pieces I cut from the very long ones. These will be used as tread dowels to combine the two sides of the winch wheels.

Here I have a few in place. I'm just using glue for now. That's why the rubberbands are there. I'll take those off after a day or so after the glue has fully dried. Eventually, I may use some twine to lash the dowels to the wheels. It would help a lot structurally, but it would mostly just look really cool. But the glue should do fine for now.

All the dowels are on the first winch wheel. You may notice the edges of the dowels are a little rough. That's because they came from a much, much longer rod. After measuring the length I needed, I scored it a bit and snapped it off. On the dowels used other places I sanded the ends after doing that. But there's just too many to do that here. Besides, maybe it makes it look more authentic? If I need to, I can always sand down the ends quickly with a dremel. Depends on how it looks once it's all together.

Both winch wheels assembled and sitting in their approximate final place.

A few of the axle holes needed to be reamed out a bit. These axles will be involved with the pulley system, so they need to spin freely. Note to self: when using a manual round file to make an existing hole a bit bigger, be careful where placing the bracing hand. When the file suddenly released on the other side, it grazed the top of my knuckle a bit. Just a scrape, but I figured I better band-aid it up. I'm guessing it wouldn't be good to get sawdust in a wound.

Good news on the A-frame width! While reaming the holes through the A-frames and holding the sub-frame, I accidentally loosened the glued connection there. And with a little more wiggle and prying, I was able to separate it. Then I sanded down the tops of those outrigger supports that were pushing in too hard. This time when I glued it all in, I used a level. Success!

Additions to the subframe to hold the winch wheels. That longer horizontal dowel is the axle where the winch wheels will attach. It will move with the wheels, but spin easily within the A-frames.

Both winch wheels attached. There are axle struts on the frame to solidify the stability of the wheels.

The trolley block. The twine from the winch axle will eventually lead to here. This will go on the trolley line on the arm.

I forgot to put a trolley line on the arm! So I redid the lashing near the arm axle and left a loop on it. I then just tied a line between that loop and the bit of loop I left when lashing on the release pin at the end of the arm. In this picture you can see that line hanging there. And the arm/counterweight box sits on the axle between the A-frames just fine now. I think this is going to work!

Lots of the pieces together, and it looks like a trebuchet! Just a bit more for completion. The main thing left is the trigger. Once the arm has been winched down, it will be held down by some more twine going across the top of it. Then the winch line can be released. That way, when it's fired, there won't be the drag of the winch unwinding. After the trigger, I think all that will be left is the sling and the trough. Seems like I'm missing something, though. The winch wheel axle is held in place with spacers which are glued onto the axle. But the rear and front dowels have nothing like that. As it is now, they can slide out of the holes. I could put some kind of stop on the dowel inside the frame. Just need to figure out what to use.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Mi deziras ludi sonojn en la paĝo. Do, mi recordis kanton, alŝutis la dosieron, kaj lernis la kodon ludi ĝin en la paĝo. Mi pensas... Kaj mi bedaŭras pri mia voĉo. Mi konas, ke mi bezonas praktikadon. Sed por nun...

En kanjono, ĉe la mino
Esti povas iu ajn.
Labor-mastro estis patro
De l' filino Klementine.

Ho, mia kara, mia kara,
mia kara Klementine.
Malaperis por ĉiame,
Bedaŭrinde, Klementine.

Elefante ŝi gracias,
Pezas kvazaŭ longa trajn'.
Pakaĵ-kesto – taŭga vesto
Por pied' de Klementine.

Ho, mia kara, mia kara,
mia kara Klementine.
Malaperis por ĉiame,
Bedaŭrinde, Klementine.

Anasidojn al rivero
Kondukante, laŭ verŝajn',
Falis glite, kaj subite
Subakviĝis Klementine.

Ho, mia kara, mia kara,
mia kara Klementine.
Malaperis por ĉiame,
Bedaŭrinde, Klementine.

Savi emis l'amatinon.
Riska tamen – tiu gajn'!
Mi kuraĝis, sed ne naĝis,
Tiel dronis Klementine.

Ho, mia kara, mia kara,
mia kara Klementine.
Malaperis por ĉiame,
Bedaŭrinde, Klementine.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dancing Around the World

Everyone loves dancing! All around the world. By the way, that is a different Matt in the video. It's not me. But many of those places look mighty cool to visit. And I do dance kinda like that...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Trebuchet: Part 09

Well, after putting slight stress on the A-frames, they did separate a bit. But shortly after removing the separating blocks they started leaning in again. I went ahead and attached the axle guides and the gusset underneath to help support them. I have placed the arm behind the axle guides here to show the width variance. The bottom part is non trimmed. The top half has been trimmed. So, if there ends up being too much friction to allow the arm to swing well, I can just dremel off some of the bottom pieces.

Here are the rim parts to make one half of one of the winching wheels.

And the same parts for all the rest of the wheels before my knife, round file, and sand paper get to them.

Ah, much better. That's something I can work with!

And work with it I did. These are the winch wheels. They attach together in pairs with dowels separating them. Then an axle runs through the middle that is part of the winching system. In full scale ones, people would get inside and climb up the wall like a hamster in a wheel. This would provide slow, but powerful winching strength to draw down the swing arm. But more on that as that part gets built. One of the harder parts of building this will be to lash the dowels to the wheels. There are 26 notches in each wheel, so two sets will be 52 dowels. Each dowel connects to two wheels, so that's 104 miniature lash weaves. I may just go with glue for that part.

A Guide to Cat Ownership

Sometimes YouTube can be a scary place. Sometimes owning two cats can be a scary thing. With both you never know what might be lurking around the corner.
Today I ventured in to YouTube and found this little jewel.
An Engineer's Guide to Cats

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Trebuchet: Part 08

I attached the counterweight bucket to the arm.

But then a bad thing happened. I was lining up the fit for the gussets and tracks which help support the axle and keep the arm from wobbling. I realized there wasn't enough room between them for the arm to swing. I thought maybe there was a problem with them, so I started grinding them down. But then after more measuring I found the true problem. The space between the A-frames at the bottom was 4 inches, but only 3.5 at the top! Apparently when I was putting on the diagonal braces, they created too much inward pressure. If I had known that, I could have put a 4 inch block or something in there to stabilize it in the correct position until the glue dried. But all is not lost yet. I've wedged some blocks in between the frames to spread it to about 4.5 inches. I'll leave it like that for a day, and see if that helps out. If not, I can go back to grinding axle holders. But it's not the most elegant solution.

Trebuchet: Part 07

Here is the arm. This is the main swinging part that flings stones, horses, or bouquets. The large hole is where the main axle is going to be. There's a smaller hole near the left end where the uprights from the counterweight box will attach.

Here's a closer picture of the end pin lashed to the arm. It's not exactly round. But it's pretty close considering I sanded it down from being square. And it's smooth for a cleaner release of the sling.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Trebuchet: Part 06

Today I completed the counterweight bucket. As you can see, each side is made up of three slats. Each slat has a tenon on the end which goes into the mortises on the end caps. The bottom is a solid piece which has two tenons on each end. The uprights are held in place with ¼" dowels. They are braced to help lessen tension caused as it swings around. Between the uprights is a partition. With this in place, the two chambers are roughly square. Items can be put in to serve as a counterweight and be relatively jostle-free. The holes in the top of the uprights are where the box will attach to the arm.

Each half of the box should hold nine stacks of pennies, forty pennies high. This is about four and a half pounds. That is a quite a load. The model is 1/20th scale. So, if it were full scale, it would multiply by 20 in each of three dimensions. So 4.5 pounds x 20 x 20 x 20 = (pulling up the handy Windows Calculator) 36000 pounds! That's 18 tons of scaled counterweight! Not sure if we'll need that much, but it's good to know the power is available.

Here's the counterweight box with the frame completed so far. I checked the width, and the box does fit between the uprights. There's a little bit of wiggle room, but not much. When the arm goes onto the frame, I'll have to make sure it swings back and forth, but not side to side.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Beautiful Morning

I stepped outside this morning to take out the trash and was greeted by a beautiful sight. Two blooming day lilies! These come from my Grandmother's garden and every time my Mom comes over she tells me I'm not watering enough. So hooray, I have found some hardy little guys that can survive apartment living.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Trebuchet: Part 05

It's been too long since I've worked on the trebuchet. But with all the wedding planning and trying to figure out timing of moving and getting everything planned, it's a bit hectic. But I got more done today. I hope I can finish it and test it before the wedding.

I cut the dowels and put them in to reinforce the security of the bottom crossbeams. I then attached the upright A-frame assembly to the bottom Sub-Frame along with some side bracing.

Here we see some rubberbands bracing the assembly while the glue dries.

This shows a bit more detail. You can see that I used short pencils with the rubberbands to be the anchor that pulls up on that center beam of the sub-frame. With those side angled braces pushing up at the top of the A-frame, it was wanting to separate from where it's being mounted to the sub-frame. Thus the need for these rubberbands to help keep it connected. In this shot you can also see the mini dowel pegs I used on the A-frame cross beams.

The Rings Have Arrived

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Whistle while you work...

I realized today that I haven't posted anything on the blog in a while. I guess I've just been a busy little bee doing my boring day-to-day thing. Home to work, work to home.
As we get closer to the wedding I'm starting to panic! No, not over the whole lifetime commitment thing. No, it's the one thing that strikes fear into every women...moving! Why must the packing of ones things be such drama? I'm starting to wish I could have a Disney moment. Just clap my hands together and inspire all the little birdies to pack my belongings while I sing a two minute song...

"When there's too much to do
Don't let it bother you, forget your troubles,
Try to be just like a cheerful chick-a-dee"

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ordered the Rings

Well, I never heard from the local guy yesterday, so I bought the rings online today from Titanium Era.
DiorThis is Maegan's, except the stone will be a Ruby. The inscription inside will say Proverbs 31.
MatrixThis is mine. The inscription inside will say Psalm 128.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Looking at Rings

Maegan and I went to look at rings last night. We got our current exact measurements and looked at the widths we would each prefer. It was a good time to do it because during that time of the day, when it's hot and muggy, is when the fingers are most swollen. That way we were able to choose something tight enough that it will not fall off when we're cold, but not so tight that it cuts circulation when hot.

We're wanting Titanium rings for our wedding rings. The guy at the shop didn't have many in stock right then. His supplier was closed by this time. We got there just barely before his store closed. So he's supposed to call me back this morning with availability, prices, and delivery eta. He hasn't called back yet.

After I dropped Maegan off and I got home, we got on the IMs and started looking online. We found the perfect rings for us that we both REALLY love. They don't "match" eachother as far as design. But we figure if each of us has to wear them forever, let's get what we like. So we looked and looked at various options. After selecting what each of us wanted on each of our rings, I put them in the "shopping cart" ready for checkout. I didn't checkout completely because I'm waiting for the local guy to call back with pricing options. But I think the online place is where we're going to go. They're very nice rings for a very good price.

Monday, June 02, 2008

My Tux has Arrived

My tux came in today. It's pretty awesome. I got a good deal on it, too. Combo came with the Jacket, Pants, Shirt, Bow tie, & Cummerbund. The pants are unfinished at the bottom, so I need to get those tailored. The jacket needs a bit, too. It's just an inch or so long in the sleeves. But it's pretty close. Especially considering I bought it online.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A small plug

I just had to do a plug for my favorite new website, Etsy. If you haven't heard of it before, it is a website for crafters and artists to sell their wares. Every time I visit I am amazed at the beautiful things that people can create! If only our marketplaces were still filled with items like these...

Pepper(ed) Bacon

Maegan and I were watching Iron Man a few weeks ago (amazingly well done), and noticed that the woman's name in it was Pepper. Maegan said to me, "Pepper. That's a pretty girl's name." I started wondering why would someone name their daughter after a spice. But then she said, "Oh, wait. Pepper Bacon. That won't work at all." At which point I started laughing. Hmm... Pepper Bacon. And we could name a boy Hammond Bacon. And there's the ever popular Chris P. Bacon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fred FredBurger

This is Fred FredBurger. He made himself at home on my doorstep a while back and seems to be under the impression that I'm his keeper.

Matt named him after a character on The Grim Adventures of Mandy and Billy. Fred FredBurger is sweet, enjoys food and is very, very talkative. I think that about sums up my little friend here.

If you happen to know anyone looking for a cat let me know. This little guy needs a better home then my apartment stoop.


Well, not exactly presents. Where I work, they have a reward system in place where if you do something really great, they award you "spirit points" which can be redeemed in their "spirit catalog". I ordered an 8.1 MP camera, a 7" Digital Photo frame, and some flatware with Bamboo handles. At least they look like bamboo. They arrived yesterday.

I've been sticking with film cameras for quite a while because the quality was so much higher. But as digital cameras have gotten better, it's not that way anymore. And it sure is nice to see if the shot worked right then. It's also much more convenient to just plug it into the computer to get the photos there, rather than developing them, getting the CD, and moving them from the CD. I'll probably still keep my film camera around though. Some things I wonder if you can do digitally. Maybe it depends on the quality and features of the camera.

Monday, May 19, 2008


My favorite quote of the day:

"They are dorks, and they are happy to help other dorks make a living off their shared dorkitude."

I don't normally read the Dallas Observer but this weeks cover about Monster Hunters at Scarborough Faire caught my eye.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

47 days and counting...

This whole wedding thing finally feels like it's coming together. This week I got both my dress and the invitations! I would love to share photos of my dress (it's so pretty) but it has been deemed propriatary information. ;P The invitations are also awesome. Matt and I designed them ourselves. I guess they will be revealed on a need to know basis!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Getting to Know You

Yay to first posts! *High Five*
In honor of this momentous occasion I thought I would complete 27 Random Questions to introduce myself.
  1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Yes. I think Maegan was from my Moms favorite soap opera. Ann is my Aunt Sherri's middle name and Elizabeth is my Grandmother Mary's middle name.
  2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Earlier today. I am transportationally challenged at the moment. It stresses me out to think that I might have to take a 2 hour bus ride to get to work after we move.
  5. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? No (hehe)
  7. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? No. I'm accident prone enough. I don't think I should dare God by tying a cord around my waist and stepping off a cliff.
  9. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Yes. Helps save wear and tear on the back of the heel.
  10. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I'm like a weak kitten. Strong only in voice. ;P
  11. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Ben and Jerry's Phish Food. Mmmm chocolate fishies...
  12. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Chipotle! Burrito bowl with chicken, although I had to get some help from Matt to finish it.
  13. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? My cat Jack crying for attention and Imogen Heap Goodnight and Go on the ipod
  14. FAVORITE SMELLS? Fresh cut grass. The Mediterranean.
  16. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Hockey. Baseball is great live but boring on TV.
  17. FAVORITE FOOD? Mexican
  18. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings <3>
  19. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Iron Man. (It was awesome btw)
  20. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer. must have sun and heat.
  21. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters. (It's a great series if you're looking for fun summer reading)
  22. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? World of Warcraft map. It came with the Burning Crusade expansion pack.
  23. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? a bad Time Life Soft Rock infomercial before I fell asleep. I think i was singing Total Eclipse of the Heart in my sleep...
  24. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? humm, the Beatles have better music but I love Wild Horses by the Rolling Stones; and the Stones starred in the best concert documentary ever- Gimme Shelter.
  26. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? Combustion! Increase critical strike chance with fire damage spells by 10%... oh wait that's my World of Warcraft mage.
  27. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Dallas, Tx

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

NY Times Article on Steampunk

Maegan sent me this link a few nights ago with the comment that I was once again ahead of style. I love this quote from the NYT article: “Steampunk is not dark and spooky. It’s elegant and beautiful.” While I don't own much in the way of steampunk clothing or >accessories yet, I've always been a fan of that high-tech neo-victorian style since reading Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. It's often envisioned as having mechanical and steam based technology instead of electrical. Or if there is electrical, it's along the lines of Tesla coils and jar capacitors. And of course Airships. Gotta have Airships! It will often have a Victorian look (turn of 19th-20th century) with lots of bronze, wood, gears, and cogs. But it's not just historical re-enactment. It's much more a "what-if." Plus, it has lots of overlap with another of my favorite genres, space cowboy frontier.

On the web: a keyboard modded to Steampunk style over at Steampunk Workshop.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Trebuchet: Parts 01-04

I'm trying to build a bouquet trebuchet for the wedding. I've been taking pictures of the progress so far with the little camera in my phone. This post is to show the story so far.

Part 01: (03.20) The Sub-Frame

Part 02: (03.21) 1st side A-frame. The rubberbands have same function as clamps: to hold until glue dries.

Part 03: (04.02) The other A-frame

Part 04: (05.13) A-frames together with bottom cross beams. I need to make pegs out of that long dowel rod to hold in the cross beams.

Quick Answer to Prayer

I already understand that God answers prayer. It's happend so often in my life and the lives of those I've known, it would be impossible to ignore. But sometimes there's such a quick response that it reminds us how amazing that really is.

The past few days I've been looking at tuxes to either rent or buy for the wedding. As I was thinking about that this morning, along with other wedding, honeymoon, and moving expenses, I prayed for help with my budgeting and an increase in funds. My boss just offered, on behalf of another department, a chance to work an additional eight (8) hours Saturday for the next four weeks. Not only is that extra work I didn't have before, but it's all overtime pay, too.

Not only is this a great reminder that God answers prayer, but also of God's sovereignty and goodness. The other department's desire to bring in additional help for the weekend did not just start today. God set into motion events and hearts to answer my prayer before I even prayed it. He knows our desires even before we do. And He brings about what needs to be brought about when it needs to be brought.

Monday, May 05, 2008

First Post FTW!

Maegan started working on a Wedding web page last night. I thought it might be a good idea to even continue it after we got married. A work in progress. She came up with a good idea of having a separate blog for that. It's a great idea. I just hope we will remember to post more often than once a year.

Anyway, so here it is. I'm sure starting out it will have lots of info as we plan our wedding. But after that, I'm hoping it will fill with our lives' stories.