Saturday, May 15, 2010


Last night was another Houston Art Nerds salon, and Snoo ordered many sets of goggles for people to modify.  Unmodified, they look like this:

which is already pretty cool.

At my request, Snoo ordered some mirrored lenses for me to put in my goggles.  I put them in front of the dark welders glass as they were pretty transparent; the dark glass behind them really improves the mirroring, and I like the HEAVY filtering of light.  I had some leather to add, so I carefully cut a swatch to cover each eyepiece and affixed them with the help of Gorilla Glue.  See the circular cap on the original goggles?  Not the one that holds the lens in place - to the left of that, on the eyepiece's cup.  That cap comes off, so I removed both caps and put eyelets in the appropriate places of the leather coverings.  Now I can simply glue minor embellishments to a cap, then affix the cap in its normal spot.

This morning, though, I thought of an even better addition.  Somehow, V. and I managed to fry one of these:

in a past lifetime.  That antenna?  It screws on to a copper post on the back of the router.  I unscrewed it and tried a few various ways of affixing it to the goggles, but none really worked.  In the end, I unscrewed the router's housing, cut the wire to the antenna post, and lifted the whole thing out.  I broke the plastic that holds those little caps and removed the leather covering's eyelet.  I then threaded the antenna post through the existing leather hole and fixed it in place with the nut & locking washer, just as it originally was in the router.

The post is now a permanent feature of the goggles,

or I can add the antenna for extra mad-science spiffiness.

I'm quite pleased with the results!

(Aside: I'm not sure from where Snoo ordered our goggles, but you can order a very similar pair here!)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

So Strange.

I had no plans at all for the day, and this is still not how I expected it to go.  I'm tired of being hurt.

Happy Mothers Day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sappy Friend Post

I read another blog this evening where someone was crowing about the excellent people they discovered while in Houston.  It made me smile, because I know the people of whom they speak.  They are my ultra-cool, loving, wonderful, geeky circle of friends.  I couldn't do without these people in my life - their support when things go wrong and their company when things go right helps sustain me.

Thank you, friends.

 You make living here in Houston worthwhile.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


My uncle, Rick Sartain, died yesterday afternoon.  It was quite sudden.  He showed no sign of heart problems, but while working at my grandparents' house on a little backyard garden, he went inside to escape the heat and had a massive heart attack.  His wife Gail, a nurse for as long as I can remember, administered CPR.  It didn't help; Rick was gone.

My thoughts are very disorganized right now.  I want to share what a great guy he was, but moments and memories keep jostling in my head, trying to get out first.  I'll try to get some of the better ones out and hope you forgive if the order seems awkward.

Rick and Gail weren't always my favorite aunt and uncle, but they grew on me a lot as I got older.  Rick was a tall man with a booming voice and a heavy Southern accent, and hair that I never remember as being BLACK, but always salt & pepper.  He and Gail were peas in a pod: southern hippies, smokers, jokers.  Rick was very laid-back.  He loved a good laugh and loved to hear others laugh, too, even if he'd smile & ask "What're you cacklin' at".  Rick always wanted me, his girls, and my other cousins to think before acting.  I think it pained him a bit to watch us be so DUMB in the way that kids are, and I certainly understand now that I'm a parent.  He was one of the first people to consistently say "Well, seems to me you've got yourself in a bit of a mess, huh, Timmy?" instead of just suggesting things would be all right.  I can hear him asking it and chuckling - his voice was distinctive and has always played easily in my mind.  He was distinctive.

I'm not sure what else to put here.  He was a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I already miss him so much.  Rick is survived by his wife, Gail, and his daughters, Kristin and Katie.  Please keep them in your thoughts during this sudden, unexpected time of loss.

I love you, Uncle Rick.  
Uncle Rick

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Smoking is bad, kids.

In the dream, I had a character on an MMO that had a particularly weird, powerful, not supposed to happen, magic item.  It was an artifact that I made quite easily, by chance, but that was strong enough to actually end the world by potentially crashing the game.  I was at a minor gathering/con, and lots of friends there also played the game, so I spent some time trying to show off my new, "really shouldn't be possible" acquisition.  I explained over and over how I slotted a found spell into a simple wand, causing general astonishment and disbelief.

There was a girl at the con on whom I had a crush, and I found myself talking to her in a semi-private setting.  My friend Kit somehow drove by in a wheelchair(?) and invited us to some gathering or party.  I was smoking a cigarette, so I finished it and hopped in the cute girl's van.  We decided to drop by a McDonald's for dessert briefly.  Cute girl kissed me, with unexpected but welcome tongue, then quickly pulled away in disgust at the taste of cigarette still in my mouth.

I lose a little of the narrative here.  Somehow, when I woke, the dream had me doing calculations, trying to figure out decimal places.  My best guess is that prices were amazingly inflated at McDonald's and I was trying to work out how much to pay.

My eyes didn't want to stay open when I woke.  For a while I lay in bed, my arm over one eye.  As I stared at the ceiling, I saw a near-transparent, cartoony flag fluttering in front of the ceiling.  It disappeared once both of my eyes were open.  The dream wanted to keep me.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Window Update & More

The workmen came today bright & early.  While V. was in the shower, two men and a woman came through the house, measured many of our windows to confirm their work order, and then promptly began scoring the appropriate panes.  Before long, they were tearing our windows apart and dumping the old glass into large trashcans.  After the glass was out of a window, they'd rip the frame to pieces and move to the next.  They were incredibly efficient; before I knew it, new windows were being installed.  E. watched a ton of videos on the computer and I read while all around us, our house changed.  The crew screwed and applied liberal amounts of caulk.

My eyes kept wandering back to the woman.  She was cute, and her shirt was just short enough that when she bent even a little at the waist, I got a glimpse of her lower back.  It was nice and troubling at the same time.  I knew I was the creep she might tell her friends or husband about at the end of the day.  At least I kept it to a glance every now and then instead of shameless staring.

I spent a lot of time putting the house to rights.

I'm losing steam here; it was a long day.  I meant to say more about this, but instead I'm just going to quote my Twitter feed:

Capsule hotels. We need a chain of `em to spring up near major airports & downtown areas, USA. This is the way it's got to be.
(Uh, here's a little info on capsule hotels.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Windows & Workmen.

When we moved into this house, I'm not certain that any of us realized how poor the windows are.  They're all single-pane windows of different styles, likely bought here and there when a batch of them dropped below a certain price.  These windows look a little shoddy, none of them have screens, and half of them seem to have different closures than the rest.  They bleed heat, in during the summer and out during the winter.  Put simply, they're crap.

Tomorrow, workmen will come and replace almost all of our windows.  I'm thrilled about having new windows.  The new windows will have screens!  Matching closures!  They will have been made in the past ten years!  It's going to be SWEET.

The part that WON'T be sweet is having workmen all up in my house tomorrow.  I will try to minimize stress, but it will be present.  Ideally, I'd take E., hop on our bikes, and spend most of the day at a park to avoid the noise, activity, and strangers.  I won't feel like I can, though, after the poor experience we had moving into this house.  The "professionals" hired to move all of our stuff ruined large portions of it through plain, simple carelessness.  Ever since then, I haven't wanted to trust workmen with my stuff, and that includes just leaving them alone in the house with it.  So, despite wanting to just remove myself, I will feel obligated to stay and protect the house's contents.

On top of all that, I likely won't be as productive as Mondays usually find me.  I do all sorts of things like sweep, clean dishes, wash laundry, and exercise on Mondays.  I won't be inclined to do those things while strangers tromp through my home.  I expect to spend a lot of time on the laptop or reading tomorrow, alternating with desperate attempts to keep E. entertained.  If I'm lucky, the workmen will finish early.  If they do, I will become a dervish, whirling about the house, trying to set things to rights.

My biggest, most fervent wish is that their assurances are correct and they will finish the job in one day.  I don't think I could handle two.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Twitter follows.

As anyone who uses Twitter knows, not all followers are your friends.  Some will be family; others will find your Twitter account through a blog or some other website.  There will inevitably be spambots trying to link you to commercial pages or phishing sites, but Twitter does its best to send those away pretty quickly.

Increasingly, there's another group that doesn't quite fall into any of these categories: companies.  They usually have a warm body at the con, so they don't quite count as spambots.  These companies also don't send wave after wave of tweets that point to their websites; they retweet mentions by other users and try to form a sort of Twitter product community.  Mention their product and you'll find yourself with a new follower, trying to drum up company hype by nabbing another community member.

It's not the smartest strategy, but it's not that bad, either.  People like being retweeted, and they increasingly seem to enjoy allying themselves with a brand or a product.  Users don't have to follow back, but I imagine many do.

I tend to mention things by brand name in my tweets.  As such, I usually get one or two company followers a day.  I ignore most of them.  One caught my eye today, though.  After tweeting about a shopping trip where I bought bubbles, glow bracelets, and leather, I was followed by @ravestuff.  I'm not sure if the ghost in that account's shell keeps up a search on one of those terms or what; could be they're searching all three.  It struck me because of a couple of things, the first being that I didn't use a single hashtag in my tweet.  The second is that I did indeed buy these things as not rave, but certainly party supplies.

Kudos to you, @ravestuff helmsman.  I'm not following you back, but you're certainly on the ball.  (Hey, you even got a blog mention.)