19 Sep 2005 The Swirling Brain   » (Master)

Today I got another Stirling Engine working. So I was able to reproduce my procedure. My design is sort of a mish-mash of different designs that can be found on the web using aluminum cans. I sort of took what I liked from the various designs and made something I was happy with. Although the second doesn't appear to work as well as the first, it does at least work. It was kind of cool to see them both running at the same time. I've got three more in the works. I really don't know a good reason for making them other than I'm having fun doing it. I want to try to make a bigger one. Don't know when I'll get around to doing that, though.

So far, I'm not sure the small aluminum can stirling engine is powerful enough to run an elevator for a ball trail, but perhaps a few in series or a bigger one will be powerful enough. I think I'll try to design and build something that may work, now that I have a little experience with them.

I enjoyed the new comics page on the robots.net website.

We've started practicing our Christmas cantata at church. my choir is sort of small this year but I figure it will grow some as we get closer to Christmas. Everyone seems to like the cantata I've picked out.

Again, this year I may try to make some video for the cantata. If it works out it'll be the first time we've had actual video with the cantata even though we've planned it and planned it for years now. I give it about a 50% chance of me getting around to it.

Teresa and I went to a craft fair this weekend. We went more to check out how the booths were configured so we could figure out what configuration we may use when we sell ball trails at my first craft fair. Also, I need to build some sort of peg-board wall thing to hang my wall hanging ball trails on for display. I have a few metal shelves for the regular ball trails. I'll likely display a few stirling engines running and perhaps try to sell the plans in booklet or CD form (I don't know if I really will yet). My wife has started making some christmas tree ornaments that she wants to sell at the booth also. They sort of look like cloth pine cones. They're really a nice item. The craft fair is at the end of Oct so we still have about a month and a half to get ready. I need to make a bunch more ball trails if I'm going to make it worth while. I probably need to make like one every day or two. It's hard for me to stay with it because either I get distracted easy by other cool stuff I want to do or because I'm lazy (I'm not sure which I really am yet but I hope I'm the former).

Still no job. I've had several head hunter calls that either turn into nothing, they say I'm overqualified or they say they're looking for an SQL guy and when I say I know SQL then they say they don't want me because I don't have experience with their flavor of SQL or something. I mean give me a break - what's really the difference. SQL is pretty much SQL - you can learn the minor differences. Actually now I feel it's been a while and I've probably forgotten a lot. Programming is like riding a bike, though, you get a little rusty but you climb back on and get going in no time. I've had a few weird calls too. I had one the other day where a friend recommended me. I felt like the HR lady called me out of obligation but already had someone tagged for the job and was just calling me so she could tell my friend she called me but it didn't work out kinda thing. It was a weird call. Oh, and did I tell you about the call where this guy said, "My fellow HR guys say that you're not worth hiring but I want you to tell me why you are" I was polite to him but I wanted to tell him, "Well, I think you're an $#@$#@ but I want you to explain why you think you're not" is what I really wanted to say to him. It's amazing what dark weirdness really lurks in HR departments - I'm sure half of it I'll never know.

I got a reply back about the food stamps. They said call them on Sept 26th for a phone interview about it. I'm so amazed at what hoops you have to go thru to get some help. I'm wondering if taxes actually go for help or just go to pay people to deny help. Let's see, I can't get food stamps and I can't get unemployment benefits and so far I haven't been able to get CHIP insurance. Yet the gov throws around my tax money like there's plenty more where that came from.

Ok, yeah I guess lately I've been trying to fend off attitude and many other things. I'm really hoping I make some serious cash off this craft fair or I'm not sure what we're going to do. We'll probably have to sell the house if things don't turn around soon. I don't believe it will come to that, but I'm concerned that I'm starting to face that reality.

Some rental movies we've watched in the last couple of months?

  • The Sixth Sense 4.5 out of 5 swirling brains! I really enjoyed it. The kid can see dead people but it's not too gruesome and keeps you interested. It's more about how a Psychologist deals with the kid's reality. Pretty cool twist near the end. Leaves you with your brain swirling. Cool.
  • Saraha 2.5 out of 5 swirling brains. Mediocre at best but at least it was entertaining. Sort of a saturday afternoon matinee type movie.
  • Appleseed 4 out of 5 swirling brains. Great Japanese anime. A little violent but good. Runs long - could have been trimmed some but has great eye candy. Cool stuff about synthetic humans that protect mankind and how they deal with the two races humans and synth-humans. (forgot what they were called). This one has a few human brains in robot body stuff like Ghost in the Shell has.
  • Guess Who 4 out of 5 swirling brains. This one surprised me. For a race relations type movie I thought it was pretty fun and entertaining.
  • Steam Boy 4 out of 5 swirling brains. Great Japanese anime. Robotic steam stuff - you got to love it! Runs long - could have been trimmed some but has great eye candy.
  • Hitchhiker's Guide 1 out of 5 swirling brains. Don't bother. Rent the BBC video version it's tons better and that's not saying much.
  • XXX State of the Union. 3 out of 5 swirling brains. Another great entertaining movie for a boring saturday afternoon matinee. This is a sequal. It's missing vin disel. It was still ok and about as good as the first.
  • Epoch 2 out of 5 swirling brains. This is like a made for TV type movie sci-fi flick. It was ok for that type of stuff.
  • Ghost in the Shell. 3.5 out of 5 swirling brains. It has some great swirling brain moments. Great Japanese anime. The episode series is even more swirling brainish with human brains in robot body stuff taken to the extreme in every story. I think I like this series but like all japanese anime all the women are too racey. They could tone that done and it would make it better. No I'm not gay, it's just really out of place and makes it stupid.
  • Chronicles of Riddick. 4 out of 5 swirling brains. I really liked this but it ran too long and could have been trimmed quite a bit. You really need to watch Pitch Black first to understand some of the stuff about the cat girl but it was a pretty cool sci-fi flick. Vin Disel always acts overly macho overconfident bad guyish but it doesn't ruin the flick. I hope they have a third.
  • Chronicles of Riddick Dark Fury. 4 out of 5 swirling brains. This is an animated movie of riddick stuff. Has Vin Disel's voice. Great Japanese anime. It was a welcome next story for the Riddick stuff. Too dark and too violent but good. Still hope they have a sequel to Chron of Riddick.
  • Training Day 1 out of 5 swirling brains. Too dark too gritty and dirty. I wanted to wash it off me after watching it. Too much yucky to deal with for me. Don't bother unless you like bad street violence/drug stuff movies. I'd rather see something entertaining not a sick world.
  • Of course my wife rents chick flicks too but I'm usually on robots.net during those. :-)

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