Monday, August 31, 2009

Squirrels are evil

Today I saw a squirrel catch and eat a butterfly.
That is all.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Awesome clock is awesome

I did it! I built a clock! Well, I asked a bunch of questions and people explained a lot of stuff and offered help when things went wrong. I suppose I can say that I learned how to make a clock. This clock, in particular, which is the answer to, "What do you do with an extra half a pinball machine?" You make a clock out of the score reels!

(it's 14:46, FYI)
Now that it's actually working, I suppose it's time to find a nicer container than the cardboard box, as much as it adds to the do-it-yourselfiness of the whole project. Eventually I'm hoping to make the whole thing fairly steampunk in a nice wooden box. Of course, I'll have to leave some sections open or behind glass so everyone can see the cool parts.

A PCB would be a nice start, I think. I'll have to learn Eagle some time so I can make one. Maybe when I'm procrastinating midterms. I'd also like to replace the relays, if I can, with older ones that spark dramatically, for effect. I've kept some of the cloth wiring from the pinball machine for atmosphere.

All in all I'm really happy with this! Everything started out being so confusing, but now it actually makes sense, and that really is way cooler than just having a pinball clock.

Last week - where the heck do these wires go? And what does this picture mean?
This week - According to the chip pinout, pin 3 goes to the battery, 1 goes to ground, 4 goes to power...


Monday, August 24, 2009

Loose Ends

Last week of work. There are two things I want to accomplish:

-Draft a paper before my boss gets back
-Finish my super awesome not really at all work related side project (a clock made out of pinball machine parts!)

Supervisor returns tomorrow. Clock is almost finished, hurray!
Priorities might not quite be in right order. It's such a nice clock, though! Hopefully it can act as a distraction for a few days while I churn out something remotely resembling a paper.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fledge, damn you!

Sooner than I would like to admit, I'll be back in classes. Thus, I felt it neccessary to fledge the captain. Perhaps I should have anticipated the resulting destruction of lab equipment.

I'm somewhat irked. That load cell was my baby! It was a fusion of course material and theory with actuality, and it worked just as it should have. I was rather proud of myself.

At the meeting, I wanted to say, "$#%! was not diligent in his work and made a big, obvious mistake that broke the part and very nearly destroyed all the equipment." Instead, I said "Here is what I'm doing to replace the part and ensure that this won't happen again." Better! Then the captain chimed in with his ideas.

Unfortunately, it isn't practical to make the part stronger. It would lose the lower end of its range, which is where most of our measurements fall. Cpt. Useless said that if I can't make it stronger, I have to make multiple copies of the load cell for when (!) he breaks it again. At this point I lost my cool and sarcastically started suggesting that I order several copies of every single thing in the lab just in case he breaks anything else. He agreed with the idea.

Augh. I may have replied with, "Or maybe you should think about what you're doing and pay attention while you run experiments, you turd." Not a shining moment of professionalism, but not the worst thing I've said during a meeting either. Improvement!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Well, your sim is smelly.

My roomate got the Sims 3 and proceeded to make little sims of everyone we know. In the game, you get to pick 5 attributes to sort of describe the sim's personality. Apparently, my sim is clumsy, absent-minded, a genius, and some other stuff.

I watched my roomate play, and as soon as the game started, my sim walked into the house and promptly lit the toaster on fire. I protested, saying that I'm not THAT bad, and most of my clumsy incidents tend to be fairly minor.

This morning I lit the toaster on fire. I'm really not helping my case here.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Buried Treasure

In the big shared lab space, there's a bucket of oil sand. Large enough to hide a body inside.

One of the summer camp groups stopped by to ask me to help with their treasure hunt today. The kids are supposed to track down pirates who have stolen some treasure and hidden clues around the engineering buildings. I bet you can see where this is going.

I made them wash their hands afterwards, so it's all ok, right? My coworkers are looking at me like I'm some kind of monster.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Captain Useless did something useless again this week. Normally, I wouldn't mind, but I feel like I should keep him on track while his supervisor is away.

This would be merely disappointing, but he also decided to cover his butt by blaming me for his holdups in an angry e-mail to our entire group.Since he explicitly told me he had no intentions of running the experiment this week, I figured the time was right to update the software for some equipment. This has somehow turned into "unauthorized use, damage, and theft of expensive equipment". Still unsure of how the "damage" part got in there. I'm not sure whether or not to send a reply to the group e-mail or to let it sort itself out. Grrr.

Also, he's complaining about the "theft" of some wire (clothes hanger, if you want to get technical) that he stuck to the machinery. Right next to the rapidly rotating tooling with no brake. It wasn't theft, unless you count it as me stealing his Darwin award prematurely. Multiple times. I'm tempted to send a reply thanking him for explaining the source of our safety hazards.
Good old wait-a-day-before-you-reply-to-an-email-that-makes-you-upset rule. Please save me from myself and the trouble I would like to get into.

Maybe I'll just compromise and yell at him until I feel better.
I tend to veer off on tangents. Pick your tangent from the menu on the right.