Archive for May, 2014

super pamcakes

If anybody knows how to make these crazy things? Let me me know. I saw them on a Japanese review site, thanks to someone on Twitter, but it was a review site and not a recipe site. This is crazy and I must have.


yesterday I took down a sign

Yesterday, I took down the “forced hiatus due to eye surgery” notice on the shows page, and added a couple of events.

It’s been a while, I have to say. Feels good tho’, even if I still have another round of eye surgery yet to come. Hopefully that hiatus will be shorter.

So! Six shows in two days and what do I have for it, photographically? Very little! Because I was too busy playing my zouk. But I have a few.

I bought a new vest at the fair. I love this vest. It is what Utena would wear in this situation. It is utterly unlike what Utena actually wears but is exactly what she would wear. That is my story and I am sticking to it. 😀

The vendor who sold it… I felt kind of bad for them. They’d arrived in the heavy rain and set up way off from the main event, one of the few places they could get a cement floor and cover. It was off by the performer’s lunchroom and next to nothing else. I hope this wasn’t the only thing they sold, because they had some nice clothing.

The new piper. I did not retain his name, which is criminal, because he was not just good, he was incredibly knowledgable. You don’t even want to know how old those pipes are he’s carrying around, either. Lots of fun to listen to.

Another one that’s best viewed larger at the Flickr page; this is the view from the… south stage? Facing away from the fair. An interesting backdrop to be sure, but very difficult to shoot photos as a result. SO BRIGHT.

Saturday Evening Dinner at Mo’s, presumably not related to Moe’s, except actually I suspect actively related to Moe’s. That’s Shanti, Zinger, Tabitha, Darlissa (Shanti’s mom), and me.

The Pearwood Players! Doing a randomly-reassigned-roles version of Robin Hood lore. Pretty funny, for real.

Doctor Who Wait and What Now? I suppose he makes more sense than the Captain America who showed up, though.

Harbour sea lions, in Newport! And they are big animals up close. They’d been reasonably quiet until Shanti and I set them off by accident, walking down Bay Boulevard singing General Taylor at the top of our lungs. We weren’t even drunk! But that didn’t stop us. We watched them barking and make an incredible racket for a good half an hour before calming down for the night.

As I said, I don’t have any proper photos of performance, but I do have an audience photo – this was from a video shot by ShantiMom, and is a frame grab. It’s a little j-peggy (is that a word? It should be) but not bad otherwise:

And that’s what I’ve got. Small festival, only the second year, hopefully it’ll pick up a bit over time. We did pretty well; I was happy and enjoyed myself, even if I was Squinty McSquintyeyes half the time. Next up… I dunno! We’ll see. Check the show schedule page. There’ll be something soon.

tiny bud and droplet

I got too distracted by work and semi-work to write up the second picspam post today, so instead, have this week’s flower picture a day early.

I enjoy this kind of macrophotography. The bud was about… 5mm tall, I think, from memory? Something like that, anyway.

picspam post: and south to oregon

It’s another picspam post! Yay! As always, much larger versions are over on my Flickr feed – the panoramas in particular are good to view larger.

It’s been a couple of years since I had any dates in Oregon, so I jumped on the chance to play with Leannan Sidhe again. Shanti’s good about letting people play a couple of their songs, which means you can sell some CDs, and all around it tends to be fun. As it was!

We met up at King Street Station and took the train south. This is the first time I’ve been in the new higher-capacity Cascadia Rail cars. They’re nice enough – the chairs are a new thinner type, which lets them add a new row without sacrificing person space – but they’re now a 50/50 orientation split, and I don’t like that.

Too Much Backwards

The new dining car style itself is fine, but the serving car has lost its booth, and I miss it. On the other hand, they have speed trackers in the cars, and the outlets are easier to reach, and there are other nice parts as well.

Vancouver the South has a train station too! It’s smaller than Vancouver of the North’s, but tidy and attractive.

And a bit hard to shoot, even in panorama

Shanti’s mom picked us up there, to take us down to Newport. They’d been wanting to get together for Mother’s Day anyway, so that worked out well. I’m afraid I don’t have a good picture, which makes me feel bad. But here, welcome to rural Oregon:

Really Quite Lovely

We kept stopping to take countryside pictures, since the next show wasn’t until 12:30 the next day. I’d brought both my phone and my old Canon G9; it’s kind of telling how far digital technology has progressed that most of these are from the phone. Still, there’s some thing the phone can’t do that the G9 can.

Once we reached 101, the Coast Highway, the cameras really started coming out, in between cloudbursts, which we kept seeing. As it turned out, we were probably wise to get a hotel the first night – tho’ we could’ve camped the second, as the weather turned fair.

Hey, That Island Looks Like a Submarine!

No, really, it really looks like a submarine

Oh Look, it’s Commander Crane

The light was all over the place as the clouds whipped around – bright sun, dark clouds, changing at little or no notice. This makes for excellent photography if you can keep your kit dry. This one really needs to be seen on Flickr tho’.

The Sandy Beach.

Shanti’s not popping her hood up; she’s trying to keep it on her head. #windy

We stopped at a couple of particularly rocky beach areas for sunset. All of these photos come from those stops. I have video of the waves in the bay, but I don’t really have a good place to put them. I really should make an account at the appropriate services, I suppose, but who has time?

Big Beach Sky

Big Beach Bay


Heathcliff, Is That Your Hotel?

Waterfall Into Ocean


Once the sun went down, we made pretty good time, snacked in the hotel room and headed pretty straight to unpacking and bed. But I took a picture to tweet successful arrival, so here that is:

Who is the Comfiest of them All?

Tomorrow, some pictures from the fair!

well, that was fun – now back to work

Tremendous fun in Oregon – thanks so much to Zinger and Tabitha for the ride back, to Shanti’s mom for hauling us around, to Glastonbury for having us in, to all the people who came to the shows and a zillion people and HI EVERYBODY! if you come up here and say hi!

I’ll post some pictures tomorrow, after we get done unpacking – Minion Paul got some cargo in from Starfleet, apparently. I have no idea what he ordered. But if you’re going to have cargo from and organisation starting with S, I’d rather it be Starfleet than Strexcorp.

Transporter Fully Operational

unsurprising discoveries of the week

Unsurprising discovery of the week, nr. 1: people really like posts about glowy things. I cannot blame you.

When I mentioned this elsewhere on the net, Fishy replied that eventually the entire world will look like Burning Man at night. I can’t really argue with that, with the possible exception of less fire. Or more fire. Hard to say.

Unsurprising discovery of the day, nr. 2: I should not have been trying to do timing edits while recovering from eye surgery. Past me did not save current-me any time by pressing on while medicated. Sedated me had a… questionable sense of rhythm, apparently.

The biggest fallout from #2 is not realising it was happening until I nailed duplicating the iffy timing on mandolin. I thought it seemed funny at the time, but the mandolin part for this song (Song for a Free Court/Anarchy Now) is actually quite difficult, so I thought it was just me struggling with what I’d written. But no. So I got to fix it twice yesterday.

Not helping matters: apparently when I do this live I… kinda slip in a couple of 5/4 measures and slide the note timing around to make it work. It’s as if I was just slowing down for part, but I land right back on the original beat when I hit the verse, just at a different point in the measure count, so I don’t think that’s it.

Either that or I’m just slowing down and speeding back up very precisely, even when sedated.*

That’s not going to happen in the studio version, and that’s a little weird to my ear right now. So, twice the work, half the fun, but fortunately, all of the awesome. It sounds really good now.

Whelp, rehearsal time. Catching a train down to Oregon tomorrow for six shows subbing for various members of Leannan Sidhe, and today is final rehearsal. Anybody gonna be in Toledo this weekend?

*: Given my history of successful! hax0ring while anaesthetised, paranoid, and hallucinating, a thing which I am not making up and can in fact prove happened, this does not surprise me.

last sakura of the year

Sakura season is pretty much over here. Anybody still have blossoms?

century separated technologies

I decided I liked how the LEDs looked where they were in the photo from yesterday, so here’s how I made a more permanent version using 100 year old knobs from knob-and-tube wiring!

The turns are knobs, pulled out of a 1911 house. The supports between long horizontal sections are foam core. To show a bunch of the colours, I decided to try panorama mode on the phone while the LEDs were in colour-cycle mode. It kinda worked, but really does more “look where Apple takes its samples” than describe how it looks in person. Still, it’s kind of cool:

And here’s what it looks like with the baffles put back into place. Only, not actually rainbowy all at once like this, it’s cycling through each of these colours as I pan the camera. Still, you can see how the shelf underlighting section works:

Finally, here’s a still shot, with only one colour, in this case GREEN! It’s actually greener in person than this, but my cell phone amps that up to white because it does and I can’t stop it.

People asked in comments yesterday how much power it draws. Well, it depends upon the mode. The green above is drawing about 10 watts. It draws as little as 5 watts while on, and 1.2 watts when “off” but listening for remote. At full brightness white, it draws nearly 40 watts. The colour-cycles draw anywhere from 18 to 38 watts, so that probably averages around 28.

Make sure if you do this that you’ve got a power supply capable of handling that 40 watts, and test it – the supposed 52-watt Radio Shack 12V power supply I had on hand blew out in 10 minutes! Badly done again, Admiral Shack! This one seems better, despite being rated for less.

I definitely want to order more of these, they are awesome. And they really do set a nice mood. If they blow up, I’ll be sure to post about that, too. 😀

somebody, by which i mean me, has led light tape

I may already be addicted to these. I want more of them. SO MANY MORE OF THEM.



They also do normal colours like radioactive green, daylight, warm light, and OH GOD I LOVE THESE THINGS HOW CAN I PUT THEM EVERYWHERE?

They’re pretty bright, too. I am not disappointed on that front.

I’ve got this strip colour cycling now (fade/slow transition) but it can be set to specific colours and and yeah these are awesome. They’re like $16 for five metre lengths with controller but without power supply. I have plenty of power supplies sitting around, so that’s just fine by me.

Honestly right now I just want to put them everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

return of the microcomputer

A couple of months ago, I bought one of these little ASUS atom-based all-SSD microcomputers that are basically the size of a network hub. It’s now our media server and house file server and we have those again, which we haven’t had for a while and I’m really glad to have back.

There is a story here, of course.

A long time ago we had… a… geez… this is a while ago… a 20/8mhz 286-based computer that came from the surplus store at Microsoft. It even had a TURBO button, which we of course always left on, because TURBO. It ran DOS, and was our voicemail server, which we so hugely did not need because c’mon, seriously, what. But it was cool, because it was the 90s and nobody had digital voicemail at home yet. It looked something something like this, because they all looked something like this:

…but without the 3.5″ disk drive, because 286s didn’t know about threes.

Then we upgraded it to a 386 of some sort – I think, could’ve been a 486sx – when we got our first CD burner, and started running on Windows 95 instead, naming it \strongbow, from Elfquest. Once again, this was the 90s, so kind of cool, even if the CD-R burner was an external box the size of a peculiarly thick laptop. You could’ve killed a dog with that thing, I’m just saying.

But the software that came with the burner wasn’t smart enough then to notice you were trying to burn too much to a CD. It would just fail, then tell you, after coastering your $3 CD-R. THANKS, HP! (Pro tip: never buy software from HP.)

So I set up a tiny partition called stagingarea that was exactly the size of a CD-R to get around this problem; you couldn’t overfill it. And I shared it out (\strongbowstagingarea) so it could be loaded over the LAN for CD burning.

Over time, hard drives wore out, like they do. The replacements were, of course, larger, so I added a media share for downloaded audio and video. By this time, we were using stagingarea for passing files around within the house instead of burning CD-Rs – even our laptops could do that.

Eventually, that got upgraded to a Celeron-ish refurb Compaq, as strongbow-the-286-box’s power supply blew out and old-format AT power supplies were really expensive. But for a while the new box was running off the last \strongbow drive, so it’s still a direct descendant.

From a 286. But we aren’t finished.

A couple of years after that upgrade, I started recording. And I needed a digital audio workstation, so I upgraded the Compaq’s motherboard/processor/drive and started dual-booting it to Linux for my DAW, making the server – now \kimo, also from Elfquest – unavailable when I was working.

Kimo, on right. He’s pretty, but a little dim.

And then \kimo was in DAW mode a lot, and I’d forget to reboot into Windows. So media and stagingarea were usually not up, and fell out of use; we started shuffling around files via flash drives and email. But \kimo’s shares were still around – just hibernating.

About six weeks ago or so, I upgraded the Windows partition on my DAW to Windows 8, which involved wiping that part of the drive. But, of course, I pulled off all the data first, including all that old \strongbowmedia data.

At roughly the same time, someone online was talking about a tiny ASUS they’d bought for like $140 that was all-SSD and not super-high-powered but who cares, right? Turned out that was a special refurb deal no longer available, but I got a similar one for $200, because we’d actually been trying to get to that media stuff again, and with the upgrade, it was on our minds.

So now we have all that data back up and running on this box, \kimo. media and stagingarea shares are both up, and with some really old files on stagingarea, I mean wow. It uses the TV as a monitor, draws hardly any power, and works like a champ – well, after spending a day inspiring me to come up with new ways to kill all the humans, like y’do.

Now, if I could only find some way to hook that old 286’s 5.25″ drive up to the new server…

Great-Grandmother Floppy’s still alive!

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