17 Jan 2008 The Swirling Brain   » (Master)

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I still love my roomba vacuum. My wife loves it too and she's been telling all her friends and family about how much she loves it! Wow! I thought I'd have to be the one to extol the greatness of this device but she's totally sold on it. We joke about when dividing up the house cleaning work that, "I'll do the vacumming!" I highly recommend it!

We now have two albino hedgehogs at our house. I bought the first one (a male) and my daughter bought the second one (a female). We've been going pet crazy and buying pet stuff for them. My daughters are so happy. The only thing, is they mostly sleep during the day so they don't really do anything until about 10pm at night. That's about when the kids have to go to bed so they don't get to play with them much. They are interesting and cute and we wake them up and play with them anyway. Last night we put about 1/2" of water in the bathtub and let the girl romp around in it. She seems to like playing in the water for a little while then she gets board and wants out.

The hedgehogs love mealworms and they're about $4 at the pet store for about 35 large ones. I found on ebay a mealworm farm kit for $10 that's supposed to supply endless mealworms for next to nothing so I took the plunge. Mealworms are really the larval stage of the darkling beatle. So the process goes that the mealworms grow to the pupae state then to the beatle state, they lay gobs of eggs then die and the eggs hatch as the cycle goes. You put some bran or oat flakes in the bottom of a tub with a apple or potato slice every so often and that's about all there is to it. My wife's already wanting me to count all the worms to make sure non get out. Yeah right. I've been joking that I will be keeping the farm under her side of the bed.

So anyway, this pet stuff is what mostly has been keeping my attention lately.

I saw that RobotsAustralia was going to Pololu.com for some of his supplies and body plastic. I checked it out and what really took my notice was the laser acrylic cutting he was using. That seems very useful. Looks like a $50 minimum, tho, but could be cool for lots of exact, intricate, or many parts that need to reproduce exactly.

My truck broke down. I think it's the starter. I went to a few auto parts places and no one had it. My wife went to a place near her work, and they didn't have it either. I finally found one but wow, I didn't think it should have been such a problem to get a starter for a GMC pickup. I thought that was strange.

Our washing machine broke down. I've been trying to figure out the best one to get that will last the longest and be the most efficient. After talking with a bunch of people we decided to go with a front loader model. Uses less water & less electricity, the clothes come out dryer so the dryer machine doesn't have to dry as much saving electricity there too. The clothes are supposed to produce less lint since side loaders are supposed to be easier on your clothes, so your clothes last longer. Since it uses less water, we're hoping we won't have as many plumbing troubles as we've had in the past with clogs and slow draining. So it's more expensive but we're hoping that all those positives will make it worth while. I'll probably break down in a week! :-)

I still have a job but I'm wondering how long this company will hold on. Actually, the company has a military side that is doing well but our civilian side is doing poorly. We've had another layoff and this time it really hit close to home. I'm hoping they will move us to the military side or my time here doesn't seem to have a future. It's the best I have for now but I have my feelers out. There doesn't seem to be a lot of jobs out there so I'll probably go down with the ship. That's adding a lot of stress.

I'm wanting to work on stirling engines again. At work, me and another guy watched a bunch of youtube videos about them and I just keep getting the bug to play with them. It seems like they would make great little electric generators. Anyway, they are still on the back of my mind even though I don't seem to have time for them.

I'm still hoping that we can do the 3d vbs. I'll probably do a presentation of what I have come up with at our February church business meeting. I'm still hopeful it will work out. I've got a lot to do.

My mother in law got married. We filmed her wedding and I have to edit her wedding video. It's just another thing on the plate but I want to do it. I had a person call our house last night asking if we'd do their wedding video. Alas we turned them down and told them we are not doing it anymore because there's just no money in it. I really enjoyed doing wedding videos but it seemed we were making less than minimum wage so what's the point. Plus every once in a while there was always some weirdo bride-zilla bad apple that reared their ugly heads that really made you think it wasn't worth it. I'm glad I told the lady no, but I still have those fond memories and wish it could have worked out because most times I really enjoyed it.

I keep wanting to make electronic or robotic stuff but I just don't seem to have the time for it. Plus, after it has been a few weeks or months, all my good stuff seems to have been cleaned out of existence. It takes me so much time to locate it all again that by the time I have everything I need again (parts, pic burner, breadboard, etc) I no longer have the time for it again. It's like at one time I was wanting to build another grandfater clock rolling ball sculpture. I had the 6 foot frame built and the starting of the clock parts. I had the cpu board, electronics and even the software with multitasking and rf remote controller and i2c networking all all working. But then, life got in the way. Now it's just seems about impossible to get back to as everything has been moved around and I'm not sure where everything is anymore. Distractions are a killer of projects!

Some days I feel so smart and on the bleeding edge and other days I feel stupid and worthless. Is that normal? I may not impress anyone else, but some days I manage to do things that impress myself so I guess that's good enough.

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