Day 102: Ceti Alpha Five

With radios in our cars, Christine, Shannon, Tanja and I hit the road, on the way to the Playa. It’s about five hundred miles, and it’s slow going, but we’ve got radio chatter on our side. ::Everyone here?:: :::Here::: ::::Here, we’re right behind you:::: We’ve got three vehicles, and one of them is pulling a trailer. And we drive as it gets dark. …and drive and drive. And I learn some things about Burning Man. ::::So what about critters?:::: ::Nothing lives there:: ::::Mice? Beetles? Scorpions? Mosquitos?:::: ::Nothing lives there. It’s like Mars, but with more dust. If you see a … Continue reading Day 102: Ceti Alpha Five

Day 101: Baskets of Glass

So you already know some of what happens today, but not all. I wake up to her eyes, but also to the realization that the fire wasn’t a dream, and even if I could repair the damage to the robot, I’d never have time to troubleshoot the problem today. About half an hour later, she had done what a muse does. I still can’t remember exactly what she said, but without even looking at it I knew the cause of the failure, and how to fix it. Geek Details: The drive power circuit is basically an H-bridge, with power transistors … Continue reading Day 101: Baskets of Glass

Day 100: Day One Hundred!

Speaking of the Castro Theatre, check this out. West Side Story, The Godfather, and sing-along The Little Mermaid. All on one marquee. How awesome is that? I’m leaving town tomorrow afternoon, and my muse can’t come with me this time, so we’re spending today and tomorrow playing in museums and working on fun projects. This is SFMOMA, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. They’ve got an exhibit of Frieda Kahlo‘s work currently. We spend a long time enjoying that, as well as some fantastic Chinese contemporary art. There’s one piece by Sui Jianguo of Chairman Mao sleeping on a … Continue reading Day 100: Day One Hundred!

Day 99: Fupfupfupfup

After picking up the car from the shop, I stop to get the rest of the parts for SP187. On the way back from the electronic component shop is a small airport. Right next to it, there’s a Burger King with a real (non-operational) helicopter instead of a jungle gym. You can actually sit inside it and eat your lunch. I would never do such a thing, of course. And if I did, I certainly would not make “fupfupfupfup” noises and mess around with the controls. The warning sign is important, though. About 300 feet away, I see what it’s … Continue reading Day 99: Fupfupfupfup

Day 98: Fog and Sparks

I’m back in town and oh, there’s so much to catch up on. Spending time with good friends, disabling a smoke detector, crashing face-first in a blinding sandstorm, giving the robot its first test run, and acquiring a fuzzy pink hat. So here we go. Let’s wind the clock back a few days. Woke up to crazy-thick fog. The car’s in the shop, so it’s a good day to wander out without one. I’ve got a few stops to make, and one of them is to get some parts for Secret Plan 187. First, there’s time to kick the day … Continue reading Day 98: Fog and Sparks

Day 97: Placeholder

Note: I’m packing in a hurry, so this entry will get significantly expanded when I have time. Here’s the 10-minute version of what’s going on: Secret Plan 187 is well underway. I put everything else on hold for a couple of days in order to give it a try: Found parts in the garage, including an old (broken) radio controlled toy, and bought some parts I couldn’t find. Built a small yellow robot, and programmed it with a jumpy paranoid personality. Took it apart, threw out some parts, built it again. Used pliers to carefully crack the circuit board, removing … Continue reading Day 97: Placeholder

Day 96: Symmetrical Rescue

My muse has had a wardrobe malfunction at work, and could use some help. I’m bringing her a new blouse, which puts me in a strong bargaining position. For you honey, special price. …but then right afterward, I’ve suddenly got what appears to be a major vehicle malfunction. Yep, the car will be out of commission for a day or so. Time for her to come to my rescue, but this time the bargaining advantage is hers. “Special price, honey.” Whoops. Also, today I get the spark of an idea for Secret Plan 187, which is going to involve building … Continue reading Day 96: Symmetrical Rescue

Day 95: Chutes and Ladders

(Author’s note: Something’s happening soon which might make me vanish for a few days, so I’m going to quickly get the past couple days posted.) Most of today was spent writing telescope software for Secret Plan 174. Geek details: I moved the code over to Linux, since that’s what the actual telescope computer will be running. I’m using Xubuntu (chosen via bake-off for simplicity and fast boot time), but found a flaw in it (light-blue screen of pain and immobility). It took a few hours to figure out a workaround (deleting all of my .* files). If you know the … Continue reading Day 95: Chutes and Ladders

Day 94: Sketchy Camera Placement

Most of today is spent in acrobat training, doing my best to collect broken bones and scars, or at least get very very tired. First I talk to my instructor for some new skills and pointers. He’s so glad I’m wearing a helmet. Gentle reminder: Do not attempt acrobatic activity without professional instruction and safety equipment, or you will die. For warmup, I’m doing the same monkey-work as last time, except I’ve very carefully set the camera in a place where I should be able to roll over it without shattering it into a thousand pieces. Let’s see how it … Continue reading Day 94: Sketchy Camera Placement

Day 93: Flatland Uni

Today my Muse and I are laying low, working on ID cards for a secret project of hers, and taking in some Olympics action. We also took a walk, and found this sign. Poor little lost ball. I hope they didn’t lose it on one of these hills. So in 93 days of posts, you haven’t had to put up with my crazy ramblings about things that don’t make sense. No really, you haven’t. Usually my muse has to put up with those nuggets of questionable reasoning. Today it’s you. She says to say “Thanks, I owe you one.” Crazy … Continue reading Day 93: Flatland Uni