Older blog entries for The Swirling Brain (starting at number 46)

10 Dec 2004 (updated 10 Dec 2004 at 13:43 UTC) »

I'd really like to make an X Y computer controlled Laser cutting table with this thing if I had the money.

I have uploaded my VBS in 3D Proposal Document that I will be presenting to my church's education staff. Hopefully they'll go for my VBS in 3D idea. You can see pics of my kids in 3D on this page too. :-)

23 Nov 2004 (updated 23 Nov 2004 at 19:02 UTC) »

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10 Nov 2004 (updated 10 Nov 2004 at 14:50 UTC) »

It's been a while, so I guess it's time to post another entry. Too bad nothing in the way of robotics.

I have finished editing two of the 5 wedding videos that we did. I'm so far behind it's not even funny. My dad has been wanting to help, so I gave him one of the weddings to do but it doesn't look like it's helping. The second wedding I did of this 5 loved the video so much they wanted 25 more dvds. That's good and bad. Great that it's more money, but bad that I'm so swamped it's not good timing. Anyway, it's nice to know they like my video work that much. The guy went on and on how good it was and said he'd be a reference if we needed, etc. It was encouraging.

I bought a 35mm 3d camera on ebay. It's supposed to not need any special processing. I took a roll of pictures and dropped it off at walmart. When I went to pick it up, they said they don't do 3d pictures. I explained that it's just normal 35mm processing and they said they'd do it at their more expensive in-house price. ugg. So anyway, the in- house had scratches and pits and such. I'll not be taking these to walmart anymore - they stink at photo processing. Anyway, the camera was all over the ballpark, either too bright, or too dark, or all sorts of weird stuff - like I guess I'm used to super automatic self-adjusting, and this sure ain't it. Anyway, the 3D looked great! I took one pic of my daughter with her hand waving and it just pops out. My family sat in a row and I would put the next picture in the viewer and look at it then pass it down the row. I scanned some pictures into my computer and converted them to red/blue anaglyph and they still look pretty good. We'll probably use this camera to take pictures during VBS so that we can have a 3D slideshow afterwards for the VBS closing Sunday. Anyway, I also need to make a homemade 3D lens for my video camera so I can take 3D video for the VBS. I'll probably try to do that with foam core board and mirrors.

I've updated my 3D VBS document that I will present to my church's education committee probably early next year. A few key people, like the pastor, and the education director, know about my proposal and I'm pretty sure it's locked in, but I'll need to educate the rest of the committee. I'm hoping everyone will go for it. The theme will be like the 50's creature feature type movies. The idea will be like when a person is saved they become a new creature in Christ. So the topics will be Spiritual Birth (salvation), Spiritual Food and Care Instructions (bible), Spiritual Life (discipleship & living), Spiritual Habitat (church & heaven). We'll have song videos in 3d that will include Fishzilla, and other creature features.

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but for the VBS workers T Shirt I'm wanting to make it 3D too. I created an anaglyph red/blue image and uploaded it to Shutterfly and they made a really nice image t-shirt for me for only $11. The shirts were very cool and I think that will work out great.

So for one of the crafts for VBS, I was thinking of an aquarium of sea monkeys for the kids. Basically, they're non-toxic and if they don't live long it's not a big deal. They can be put in 12 oz water bottles. I figure if we just give each kid a few sea monkeys and let them decorate a bottle, it may work. So, with that in mind, I bought some brine shrimp eggs and some artemia food for about $5 off ebay. That's less than buying a prepackaged sea monkey branded item, and I get about a million times more eggs. I got a 3 liter bottle, filled it with tap water, added 4 oz of rock salt, 2 oz of epsom salt, and a teaspoon of baking powder, mixed it up, waited a while and added about a BB sized amount of eggs. The first day, nothing, The second day nothing. The third day, I had more baby sea monkeys that I could shake a small stick at. There were millions of them, and I still have like a couple ounces more eggs (trillions more?)! Anyway, my expirament with hatching my own sea monkey worked. So anyway, I'll hopfully be able to raise them to adult hood. If that works, I'll do it again about 6 weeks before VBS so all the kids can have some adult brine shrimp for their "new creature" craft in VBS. I know, I'm weird. Another thought was to get some clear tubing and make bracelets with sea monkeys swimming around in them.

For the 3D glasses, I asked my wife to buy some red and blue cellophane. She however bought the kind that starts out clear and they spray red and blue pigment onto it. That doesn't work because it's blurry when you see through it. So, I bought some "real" red and blue cellophane on MisterArt.com where the cellophane is thru-and-thru the color not clear with pigment on top. That was the kind I needed. I'm hoping that when we hand out VBS fliers in the neighborhood that we can add really cheap red/blue glasses from this cellophane so that we can add a sample 3d image to the vbs flier as a hook.

For my heating project, I have made 3 heat boxes 24"x8' that I hope I can get on top of my house in the next few days before it starts getting really cold. My dad said he'd come over tonight to try to help me get them on the roof. I ended up making them out of the thick foam core R- Max board, and corrugated clear polycarbinate and making them airtight with aluminum foil tape and foam sealant. I sprayed the inside with black heat resistant paint. They are super light and they look great. I put one on the hood of my Isuzu Trooper and it got very warm inside. I have a 1250 cfm fan already installed in my attic back in the spring and it will blow air up through an attic vent into these heat boxes and then back in a second attic fent that will be ducted into my house. So I bought a couple of vents one for intake from the living room and one for output to the living room. Basically, it will suck air from the living room, and blow it up to the heat boxes and then return warmed air back into the living room. I don't have it going through a thermal mass so it will only work during the day, but I may add that later. Hopefully, tomorrow, I'll find out if my little experiment works.

I've been buying and selling more stuff on ebay. I'm making a little money here and there, and it's helped. Nothing too exciting yet, but it's encouraging and has potential.

Nothing new on the job front. I'm still stuck at a sucky job. I've had a few headhunter calls and such, but nothing seems to work out.

5 Oct 2004 (updated 5 Oct 2004 at 21:39 UTC) »

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. :-( I've wanted to help Steve with posting articles, but I guess I've just lost my way for a while. I've resigned myself to just emailing him now and then a link that he can post as I find them. I hope he doesn't hate me too much for that. Sorry Steve.

Lately I've been working with my dad doing wedding videos. We got 5 gigs within 3 weeks. Yikes! I've been very busy doing the video editing. We have a Sony VX2100 digital camera, a Sony VX2000 digital camera and some Canon digital camera. We use Adobe Premier and burn the videos to DVD-R. We don't make much money, but it's been a fun family time getting to spend fun time with my mom and dad. It's been nice even if I haven't gotten much sleep. So far, the wedding videos that we've delivered, the people haven't called us back to complain, so I guess that's good. :-)

My day job shifted my hours from 2pm- 11pm down to 7am- 4pm. I have been like on Jetlag, but I think I like the hours better. They also took me off being a team lead and have dropped my pay down to $11 an hour. That really hurts. I show that our family finances will now tank by Jan 2005! Pray for us. We have nipped and tucked about everywhere and tried to make money in many ways, but it just ain't working.

My church is having it's people problems. I've been majorly stressed there too. It seems to be the theme of my life to be 100% stressed 100% of the time. Being the music minister, I get to hear all the gripes. I think it's getting better, but it's a downer anyway. Not that I believe this, but I must have done something really bad in a past life. :-)

Our church got new hymnals called The Celebration Hymnal. It's really cool and I'm really excited about it. We also got a new Christmas cantata called The Spirit of Christmas to work on, so I've been busy with that. It's not really a cantata, it's just a Christmas song book, but we are rearranging the songs and adding narration and making a cantata out of it.

My house seems to be breaking down more and more as I run out of time. I still haven't painted the wall that we fixed, nor have I put down the termite treatment. My new neighbors didn't have a lawn mower or weed eater so I let them borrow mine. They kept them. Which doesn't bother me because they are nice enough to mow my lawn! Wow, ain't that great! They are great neighbors! Anyone who will mow my lawn for free just becomes my best friends! I hate mowing my lawn! My dad brought over some lavendar and wandering jew plants for me to plant. I didn't have time to mess with them. They died. :-(

I've been trying to teach my wife computers so that she can help me with video editing and scanning pictures for the wedding videos. She's actually learned a little and is a little help. I got wireless-g connections to my computers now so she can get the data into the computer and then transfer it to my computer. I got a 160gb hard drive thinking I could put all the wedding videos on my computer. I didn't realize that each wedding video takes over 60gb so half way through the third wedding my capture bombed out. It took me a sec to realize I'm already out of hard drive space. Anyway, so I decided to offload a wedding to dvd+rw disks. Yikes it takes like 12 disks and about an hour a disk to offload. That's not really a solution. I guess I'll just keep the videos on miniDV tapes for now and load them when I need them. Oh well. My wife likes having a computer and being able to get on the internet to look at buying scrapbooking supplies.

I'm still wanting to make a new solar heat box for heating the house. I need to do it this month before it gets too cold to make it. I already have most of the electrical done upstairs last spring. Now I just need to make the box. If only I had time to do it. :-/

4 May 2004 (updated 4 May 2004 at 14:56 UTC) »

So what has the swirling brain been up to? Awe, not much besides working and sleeping and swirling my brain. It's been too long so I have a long post. Sorry about that.

I sold our Diamonte Wagon and I bought an 88 Isuzu Trooper II. I only made about $50 on the Diamonte Wagon but I drove it for about 4 or 5 months so I guess that made up for it. I bought the Trooper for $1130 and I'm hoping to sell it for about $2500. Anyway, I've been driving it now for about a month or so. Natalie calls it "Big Red" and both kids love it. They climb around in it and they don't want me to sell it. Alas I need the money. Buying and selling cars has sort of been my hobby lately out of necessity to find something to (1) make money and (2) to get rid of a car before they conk out. So far I at least haven't lost any money, but it hasn't made as much money as I was hoping either. Part of the reason is because although my negotiation skills are improving, I'm still not the "sell a refridgerator to an eskimo" type person yet. I guess I"m too honest about all the problems and such. So much for "Honest Jim's" car lot.

My dad talked me into getting the blower fixed on the Trooper since I couldn't figure it out. It cost $346, but that wasn't the biggest problem. The problem was that the Trooper was in the shop for 2 weeks and my Dad had to pick me up and take me to work and back every day. It was great at first, but after a while he grated on my nerves a little. He came over to my house every day hours early to sit around and talk. Although it was enjoyable, all of my chores and projects suffered (big time). All in all, though it was plesant and we did a little bonding. It's nice to have my own car back.

I've been trying to sell stuff on ebay to try to make some money. I doesn't make much but it helps. What was surprising was I had some relays that I bought at the first Saturday sale for a quarter a box (each box has like 50 relays). I bought about $2.00 worth thinking they would be great as forward/reverse motor controllers. Well I haven't used them and I've been selling them by 10 at a time. Surprisingly someone bought 10 for $13.50 or so. Wow! And another bought some for $12.50 or so! Yeeha! Unbelievable! Anyway, I'd say I made my $2 back. I've tried to sell some old X-10 stuff to and that seems to sell ok. I'm not using them much anyway. I had grand hopes of using the X-10 stuff with my own computer program. It actually worked! However my house has dual circuits so to get the X10 signals from one side to the other you have to have a circuit, etc, etc, yada, yada, it just wasn't worth all the trouble. I'm keeping some in my bedroom, though because it's nice to be able to turn off the bathroom light from the bed. :-) Anyway, if you want to see what weird stuff I'm selling on ebay go here.

I've been trying to do some heating and cooling projects. Previously, I made a little 2' x 8' heat box last winter. I actually was able to get about 110 degrees out of it but I only had a 70CFM fan on it so I wasn't getting much heat. So my project before winter is to build a huge heat box on my roof about 8' x 8' to generate heat. I bought a 1000 CFM fan (grin) and I built a box in my attice to enclose the fan complete with air filter slot and duct air out through the roof. During the summer I can open dampers to duct out hot attic air. During the winter, I'll change the dampers to duct air from my living room up through the roof to the heat box and then back down to the living room. I'll have a thermostat that I can control it on and off and a timer in the attic so it only will work during the day when the sun is shining. At some point I'll probably build a computer to control all of this in an intelligent manner with temperature sensors and such and electronic dampers.

For the Summer, I want to lay some pipe in my backyard to cool down some water. I want to build a box outside that will contain another 1000 CFM fan that will blow across a radiator to cool down air and duct that into the house. I'm doubtful this will work very well for a number of reasons, but it doesn't hurt to try I guess. My dad's all into all of these projects also, so he'll probably help me think about this more. My wife probably thinks I'm nuts, but she sees I'm having fun and I bother her less so she lets me have my fun.

For VBS this year I'm doing the video song thing again. I bought the latest verson of Music Maker 2004 and the DVD of tune loops. I've gotten about one and a half of the songs done so far (audio portion) that we plan to use. I'm also wanting to make some cartoon videos. The cartoons will be sort of like Kim Possible but not near that clevar I'm sure. Anyway, the kids are the voices and the videos will teach a quickie VBS lesson that goes with the VBS theme. Each night will be a cliff hanger leading to the next night. Hopefully we can do the songs and the cartoons withing 8 weeks since VBS starts end of June.

The CF walk is at Six Flags this year. If we raise enough money we get free tickets to Six Flags. From past amounts we will not have a problem going way over that requirement if all goes as in the past. If you want to make a donation to our cause please paypal me some money and let me know it's for the CF walk or you can go to my CF Strides letter website to read more about it, or you can send a check directly to the CF Foundation and let them know I sent ya! At one point Steve and I wanted to make a CF Walker Robot but I think it was too daunting a task for my piddly amount of spare time and piddly spare cash. :-( It would definately require grants or fundage for that to happen.

We also went to CFIT (Cystic Fibrosis Information TIme). What was cool was that Steve emailed me info about Curcumin helping with CFTR protein cloride transfer. When the Doc had his lecture all the parents knew about it but him. D'oh! But he had lots of other great info that sort of supported it.

In our quest to save money we found restaruant.com. I found it from xpbargains.com giving a discount. Basically you buy a 50% off coupon for $2 and save about $12 on dinner at participating restaurants. Anyway, xpbargains price went up and then I found them again hawking the coupons on ebay! I did a search on Richardson and found some restaurants. We've been to Ojedas and paid only $17 for the four of us, Sonny Bryans and paid only $11 for the four of us, and Austin's Grill and paid $30 on what would have been a $57 meal. We're probably going to use them more as long as the coupon prices doesn't go up. I already bought another Ojedas coupon. However you can't use a coupon at the same restaurant more than once a month. Hey, it's better than eating at Taco Bueno and for about the same price I'll do this if I have to.

More money savings, we're again refinancing our home. We have just about nipped and tucked everywhere we can to save money or make money. I'm guessing when I get a better paying job I'll be in good shape.

Timster: look for the red "pre order" button. It's not out yet, but Best Buy has it for $100 with free shipping when you preorder. You can go to Best Buy and search for "Robosapien" and then on the left it shows the price in yellow and black ($99.99).

It's interesting to note that in a previous robots.net article that the robosapien was supposed to be about $100. :-)

Sorry about the previous $100 RoboSapien link.

As roschler pointed out, go to best buy and search for "RoboSapien" to find RoboSapien for $100.

I found the RoboSapien deal on the XpBargains Website.

Here's a copy of their direct link to the $100 RoboSapien.

18 Feb 2004 (updated 18 Feb 2004 at 21:33 UTC) »

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BestBuy has the Robosapien for $100 today (Feb 18, 2004).

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