Older blog entries for The Swirling Brain (starting at number 60)

17 Jul 2005 (updated 17 Jul 2005 at 19:35 UTC) »

I'm going to Bogg Springs Arkansas church teen camp with the teens this week (Monday - Friday). Yes, I'm 40, but going with the teens makes me feel young. So anyway I won't be around next week to post any articles so steve will be the only posting for the next few days. See yall next week and pray for us that there will be lots saved and lots rededicated!

I've sort of given up on the job search for now. I guess I've been too bummed after leaving my last job. Instead I've been making and selling ball trails on ebay. I do have a few ball trails listed on ebay right now. My userid is swirlingbrain on ebay so search for them and check them out if you get a chance and perhaps buy one if you want. I checked out going to the cottonwood festival here in Richardson to show my ball trails, but they stopped taking applications July 1st so I missed out for this time. Even if I did try they have a non-refundable $30 application fee and also a $300 booth fee if they approve your application. Of which they get like 800 applications and only approve about 100 of them so chances would be pretty good I'd lose my $30. I'll probably go to the festival and check it out to see if I feel I'm up to snuff for their next show in May. I think I'd sell a bunch of ball trails if they'd have me. It's fun to dream anyway.

See yall in about a week!

Well, I've finished the Grandfather Clock Rolling Ball Sculpture and have listed it on ebay. I hope it sells. I've sold a few ball trails on ebay now. Do that and other odd jobs has kept me going while I've been out of a job. It's not totally making the bills but it nearly is and it sure beats working at my last job by a mile. Anyway, take a look at it.

To read bvdborgh's Robot trade show info in English:

  1. Copy a url link from bvdborgh's diary posts.
    (right click on a link and choose copy shortcut)
  2. Go to babelfish.altavista.com
  3. Paste the link into the babelfish's web link field
  4. Choose translation language "Dutch to English"
  5. Click translate web page

And voila, you get to see the web page in terrible broken english, but at least you get a vauge idea of the what the pictures are about and what great fun he's having there.

Thanks for the great pictures and info bvdborgh!

Well, lost my job today so it looks like I have time to post entries on Robots.net again. :-) Hire me before someone else does!

I've been working on the grandfather clock project. I found one handmade clock on ebay that used a spring technique for making the gears. It's pretty cool, so I made all of the gears that way (actually the gears are only partly done so far). The trouble I've been having is getting escapement gear to work properly. It does the tick- tock thing, but it binds in one place and stops at that place every time. I need to redo the bushings so it won't stop at that place. So after I get that prefected, then I'll go on to assembling the gear box. Several times I've wanted to give up and just get a cheapo AA clock movement. I really want to get this working so I'm trying to be tenancious. It's quite a learning experience, and I'm enjoying it even if it has been a little frustraiting. I'm hoping to make it where it will drop a marble every hour down a ball trail to the bottom and thereby ringing a gong on the hour. My confidence that I can get it working is like a roller coaster, up and down, but mostly up.

Still havn't sold the flower vase ball trail but I'm hopeful it will sell eventually. I sold the Java Duke ball trail for $76! woo hoo! The Jesus Saves ball trail I'm trying an expirament of listing it for 99 cents and see how high the action goes. So far it's up to $10.50 but it has a few more days left. I'm hoping it will go on up to something more reasonable before it closes but expiraments involve a risk.

Big Red's head gasket is no further due to the rain and hot weather. I'll get to it hopefully. Not too excited about it.

Well, I sold another rolling ball sculpture on ebay! I wish it would make enough for me to quit my job, but I don't expect that will ever happen with about anything I do. The problem is insurance. I have diabetes and my daughter has CF. So I'm forced to at least have a job that will provide lower-cost insurance than what I can get myself. I'm wondering if I can work part time and do this as much as possible because I really hate my current job. I've made a small ball trail and listed it on ebay that is a cross and has the words JESUS SAVES as the track. Hope it sells. Anyway, my next project will likely be a grandfather clock rolling ball sculpture. It'll take a while, but it will probably bring in more money than the smaller ones would.

My dad's helping me change out the head gasket on my Big Red Isuzu Trooper. It's going to be a lot of work and a lot of dirty fingernail days. I'm guessing with the short amount of daylight I get it'll probabaly take a couple weeks or more. But, I guess it's cheaper than paying to have it done.

I'm still working on the termites. They seem to be slowing down now. They say that March through May is swarm season so perhaps I'm just seeing fewer swarmers. The good news is, I haven't seen any mud tubes going through the areas that I've put the premise down. So hopefully my efforts are working! I still have a lot yet to do.

Daily my wife and kids and I all talk about Disney World and what a great vacation we had. We all really want to go back. There's so much that we didn't get to do that we still want to go back to do. That was such a great vacation! It was wonderful. I'd like to live near there and get season passes and go all the time.

Well, I've listed my next rolling ball sculpture on ebay. It's a 6 red rose flower vase. It looks pretty cool. I hope it sells.

Well the ball trail didn't sell at first, but I relisted it and it sold! I've already started on another one that looks like a vase of roses. Of course all sort of cool RBS ideas are popping into my head. It's fun to get excited about something again. My wife is excited about the money so she hasn't been too negative about it. The kids like to play with the RBSs so they seem to be getting into it too. I have plans to use electronics and motors and such so it sort of lines up with robotic tenancies.

Been working on the termite problem. I've channelled around part of my house. I'm pleased as It seems to be working, but I still have a lot to do. It's certainly slowing them down. My wife seems happy that they quit coming into her bathroom! I can only dig about 10 or 20 feet before I get tired. I have a lot of earthworms appear when I dig. (I like earthworms) However when I poured in the chemical into the channel, the earthworms come out and they are bright red then they die. Poor earthworms. :-( I try to save them when I can and transplant them elsewhere. What has slowed my progress is holly bushes. I really don't like them and have tried to get rid of them many times. I have pretty Japanese Boxwood shrubs in front of them so you can't see the holly anymore but they're menancing behind keeping me from digging. I've tried to kill them with roundup with no success. I have a lopper now and have been trying to remove the holly bushes branch by branch. When I removed one bush I found a whole bunch of termites trying to enter my house which I immediately sprayed. die, die, die!

19 Apr 2005 (updated 19 Apr 2005 at 05:47 UTC) »

I had a surprise 40th birthday party! I went golfing that morning with some of the guys from church and when we got back to the church, I walked in and the lights were off, and cameras started flashing at me, and people were yelling surprise, wow! They got me, I hadn't a clue. My wife already had done a nice party day on the saturday before, so this surprise party was certainly a surprise! It was fun to see so many wonderful faces!

Well, my Isuzu Trooper is up and running again! The tune up fixed it. Apparently there was a broken spark plug wire that was making it run rough. There's still a slow leak in the radiator. I'll try to get to that before long.

Well, I created another Ball Trail (aka Rolling Ball Sculpture) and listed it on ebay. I hope it sells.

Got to eat lunch with Eric Yundt today, we had a good time chatting and eating at Dickey's BBQ. Our time is always too short. :-/

Trying to battle the termites again. It's termite season. I have some chemical where I dig a channel around the house and pour. It's supposed to do it. Hopefully, I can get to it before long. ePestSupply is in Garland near my dad's house.

Well, I created my first metal ball trail. It a modest sized ball trail that hangs on the wall. I looked around on the internet and everyone's calling ball trails "Rolling Ball Sculptures" or "RBS" for short, so I guess I'll have to start calling them RBS's. Well, so anyway it looks and works pretty good and I'm rather pleased with it. The kids love it and they don't want to give it up.

So anyway, I listed the newly created RBS on ebay. Sure enough, it sold for $200. Maybe I have started a new business! So I'll try to make some more and see how it goes. I'm excited! I'm trying not to get my hopes too high, but it's fun, and it makes some money so maybe I'll ride it for a while and it'll pay off some bills!

I already started making another RBS. This time I will be making it out of copper wire. I've started creating a chain out of the wire for making a elevator for hoisting the ball to the top. So far it looks good. Hopefully, I can complete it quickly and sell it on ebay too. My wife even offered to help me with them! I think she sees dollar signs and the possibility of going back to disney world sooner if she helps.

My daughter had to go back into surgery because her arm didn't heal right. However, this time she will get the pink cast that she wants.

My Isuzu Trooper's engine died last week so I've been driving my dad's truck to work. I found out it was just a simple heater water hose that needed to be replaced. A 5 min job, right? No, that hose clamp was way behind the engine and my hand could just barely squeeze back there with a little 1" long screwdriver. It probably took an hour and a half. Why does any 5 min car repair job always have one cantankerous screw that makes the job take an hour and half. ugg. Anyway, it's back up and running. However, I think I ruined a spark plug wire in the process because it's running really rough now. So I'll probably have to give it a tune up (plugs, wires, cap, rotor) to see if that helps it run smooth again.

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