Dorking Out Graphics Stuff I Like Stuff I Made

dlc bird

I signed into today and suddenly was completely over my arbitrarily assigned cut-rate-space-invader knockoff:

codeacademy_spaceinvaderSo I whipped out the photochopper and this appeared:

dlc_birdAnd then this post appeared.  Crazy.

Channeling Escher’s Day and Night, although didn’t realize how much till I just googled it.  Hah.  Oh well.

Bicycles Dorking Out Stuff I Like

Aptos Polo Grounds Bike Jumps

Post Office jumps have outgrown me so I went and hit the Polo Grounds jumps a mile away.  These were a challenge for me, but doable.

Slow motion is fun to watch, especially interesting watching the deflection in the tires, even on “smooth” landings.

Bicycles Dorking Out Stuff I Like Stuff I Made Technology

Bike Skate Parkin’

Finally got around to getting some slo-mo of me at the skate park.  Considering the park is 2 blocks from my house and I’ve had the camera for a year, it was time.  210 FPS from a point n shoot?  Too cool.

Dorking Out Graphics Stuff I Made Technology

Sketchup the House

Since we became home owners (and incidentally, debt owners), my wife and I have been wanting to “do something” with our blank slate of a yard.  For me, that meant make a 3d model of the house and the grounds.  Of course!  Right? I like to plan things out, sometimes to the detriment of actually doing them, which is a source of friction.  Too much planning and playing on the computer, not enough actual landscaping / painting / doing.

However, because I’d never played with Google Sketchup I figured now was a good opportunity to learn it.

I measured all the dimensions of the house and the property and it came out pretty well. Using the Google objects 3d warehouse was really helpful.  Modifying the objects from the library was more difficult.  Which is why the windows aren’t quite the same as the real thing.

Here’s a screenshot from Sketchup,  no rendering or anything.  A little photochopping to get rid of some shadows that looked weird.  Which reminds me, the shadow feature is pretty cool.  Set the time of day, time of year, and Sketchup will put the sun in the right place in the sky and render the scene appropriately.  Pretty slick for a free application.

Now to actually do some landscaping modifications and then do actual landscaping.  Pretty sure this was the fun part.


Cars Stuff I Like

Video – MR2 Autocross practice lets you take your car out on the track for $30 for a day of tearing up your tires..  I went out last year and here’s a video of the fun.  1985 Toyota MR2’s are rear wheel drive, mid-engined and enjoy a reputation for having sudden oversteer.  I can verify that.  Check at 1:07 🙂

It’s exciting, especially for having so little power.

Dorking Out Rambling Stuff I Like

Just Bunches Cereal – For people who can’t admit they like granola

My morning “epiphany”, staring into my bowl of on-sale-so-I-bought-it “Just Bunches”.

You might recognize this cereal from such cereals as “Honey Bunches of Oats”.

Or granola.

Bunches. Of Granola.

I laughed.


One Year Later: reCAPTCHA Works Well

I installed reCAPTCHA on the comments system March 15, 2009, and in that time I’ve been lucky enough to receive 1826 spam attempts, with zero false positives.  reCAPTCHA

Although you’d think the spammers would go after a site with a bit more traffic.  I know, it’s probably automated, but still.  I mean, as far as I know, nobody reads this.  Which is fine.  I don’t think there’s much in the way of compelling content here.

Maybe it’s time to change that: throw google analytics on here, get some affiliate links going, and start monetizing this shitzle!  Oh hell yeah.  Though that might require updating this site more than “whenever I feel like it”:  7 times in the last year.  So maybe not.  That sounds suspiciously like work.  I am wary..

Either way, reCAPTCHA’s got me covered.


Multiple-Entendre! double-entendre. single-entendre?

If “Bike” Was A Synonym For “Penis”:

Rob gets paid to ride other people’s bikes.

My bike got scraped up after I rode it drunk.

When my bike isn’t working properly sometimes all it needs is a few drops of lubricant.

You can hear my bike coming a block away when it’s wet.

Putting a little fresh grease on my balls makes my bike move faster.

Now, Imagine if “My Sense of Humor” Was a Synonym for “Actually Funny”

Dorking Out

Personal time dilation

Time slows down sometimes.  Seconds are minutes, and you experience “eternity in an hour”.

I’ve had it happen while riding my bike, playing tennis, playing computer games. The perception is that time has actually slowed.  The difficult game becomes easy, the bike slides across the dirt, and you feel every grain gripping and releasing.  Everything is automatic.  It feels like an altered state of consciousness.  In a good way.  I’ve heard it called The Zone.light_green

Drive at high speed on the freeway for a while and 20 mph feels slow enough to get out and walk.  But go 20 mph for some time, and suddenly 60 feels like you’re flying.  So it’s almost like we adjust our internal clock to mesh properly with our surroundings, to properly display our reality.  But why can’t we move around in slow motion all the time?  Why can’t we turn our perception clock up to 11, at will?

If we have our own personal time (observers don’t notice anything slowing down), and yet it feels like the world is slowing down, what’s going on?  Are we slowing down our version of the universe, do we each have our own copy, which occasionally goes out of sync with everyone else’s, and we experience an unfortunately brief moment in the zone, then snap back in sync?

That would be cool.  But most likely, it’s just focus, pure concentration on a single task giving us the illusion that we’re temporarily breaking free of time’s grasp.

So, our perception is altered, but observers notice nothing.  Isn’t that what general relativity is about?  A mystery for another day.  My brain hurts.

Books Stuff I Like

On the Beach, and not as pleasant as it sounds

I just finished a book that belongs to a class of entertainment that I call “fetal position” stories.  As in, it’ll leave you curled up and longing for the safety of the womb at its conclusion.  Leaving Las Vegas and The Constant Gardener (movie) are good examples, and the first book that I’ve elevated into that pleasant little club, On the Beach, by Nevil Shute.on_the_beach_book

This story felt like crushing a flower at the peak of its beauty, not through spite or pain, but because it is inevitable that as it flowers and blooms, then it must fade and fall, either to you or to time.  From the first quarter of this book, you know how it must end, and you know that it will hurt, but like watching that beauty as your hand closes around it, the last sliver of light is still as beautiful and luminous and engaging as the whole, so you cheat only yourself to look away.

I don’t know why the author closed his hand tight around his characters except that to tell this story he must’ve known that it had to end this way.  Not with a bang but a whimper.

T.S. Eliot’s famous poem The Hollow Men is quoted on the cover page, and it’s safe to say it was the more poignant for reading after finishing the story.  Eyes were not dry and I struggled to hold it together for the last thirty minutes of reading.  Being reduced to an embarrassingly weepy mess by a book is a new experience for me, but the gentle ferocity of this story sanded down my emotions with fine grit paper till suddenly it was pulling me apart, lovingly.  Gently.  Expertly.  To devastating effect.

This story is wonderfully sad.