S’Mores and Ambush

Now I don’t recommend taking apart your barbecue; it’s hot and dangerous, and there are almost no user-serviceable parts inside. Still, if you can get it apart just enough to get access to some open flame with a skewer and a marshmallow, then you can treat some cute brunette to s’mores in the city. She’ll like that. After a night of chocolate and ghost stories, we’re more than ready to spend a day in the park with some urchins. We’ve seen the de Young Museum’s Chihuly exhibit already, but sharing it with kids is like seeing it through different eyes. … Continue reading S’Mores and Ambush

Day 110: Reflections

Author’s note: You may have noticed that it took me a while to get this post out. The real, actual from-the-heart reason for the delay is that I don’t want it to be over. By posting this, I’m breaking the news to myself. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this one. Second note: All of these thumbnails link to the post they come from. Just for fun. Although Secret Plan 158 is complete today, I’ve decided to keep writing this blog. For the past 3.5 months, I’ve been sharing a wacky and unstructured set of events with you, I’ve enjoyed it … Continue reading Day 110: Reflections

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 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 62: Zombie Phones and Baby Alligators

While my phone was busy finding the limits of the text messaging infrastructure, my muse’s phone has decided to turn any battery placed inside it into a lump of coal. Two so far this month. I want to stencil little battery icons on the side of it, like mini kill-trophies. She’s giving me that look. Side note #1: When her last phone died a few years ago, I took it apart, soldered in a bypass for the charging circuit, and kept it running for a full year. Yay zombie phone! The look She’s giving me now says “Oh no you’re … Continue reading Day 62: Zombie Phones and Baby Alligators

Day 58: Potential Energy

(Author’s note: I’ve got some catching up to do. I hit two days which were so crazy-full that there was no time to write. Here goes.) Right before the MechaniCrawl, my muse had just gotten back from a cross-country flight, so we’re ready for a day of rest and quiet relaxation. She’s finishing another knitting project. This one’s for her sister, but it looks really good on her as well. So it was a quiet day at home. Remember the rule? Any time there’s a quiet day without many pictures, I unwrap another Secret Plan. Secret Plan 118: Pressure Reducing … Continue reading Day 58: Potential Energy

Day 57: How to Impress a Tech Girl

To understand what happened today, you need to know this: My muse has a mechanical engineering degree. She loves machines. Big ones. She actually worked for a while in a truck engine factory, and can usually tell you an engine’s manufacturer by listening to it run. Here she is flirting with a combine the size of a house. So today I’ve got a surprise for her. The Long Now Foundation has invited us to an event called MechaniCrawl. It’s a tour along the North shore of San Francisco of, well, machines. First stop is the Long Now office. If you think … Continue reading Day 57: How to Impress a Tech Girl

Day 43: The Approximate Weight of an Angel

The beautiful Palace of Fine Arts, designed by Bernard Maybeck in 1915, is being renovated. The scaffolding alone is a complex and impressive structure. During the renovation, the site is closed for safety reasons. You can’t even get close to it without a hard hat and an escort. So this morning, we’ve got hard hats and escorts. Charlie says that one of the things he needed to do for the project was to calculate the weight of the concrete angels under the dome. Having these two as guides is excellent. Jan Berckefeldt is the executive director of the Maybeck foundation, … Continue reading Day 43: The Approximate Weight of an Angel

Day 39: Stunts in a Dress

Today was spent writing (trying to make headway on a cryptography project). In the afternoon, I had a great conversation over lunch with a filmmaking/software engineering/saber-combat expert I’ve known for ten years or more. I’m sure she spends her nights crime-fighting, but she never admits it. Amit doesn’t look dangerous, does she? Right. Ready for some wacky fun? A few weeks ago, I wrote about a stunt job audition. I didn’t get that job, so here are some pics and video from some stunt work I did a few years ago, dressed as a hotel maid. The job involved a … Continue reading Day 39: Stunts in a Dress

Day 37: Danger and Baking

I collect icons of danger. Maybe I’ll start posting them here. Here’s one I saw today: …so I’m allowed (maybe required) to shoot lightning from my fingertips, but am not supposed to explode televisions in other vehicles. So many rules. This morning, my muse expressed her love by making fresh scones. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. In the evening, we went to Alex, Ashley and Scott’s place for dinner and some helicopter-related electronics work. The wine is a special treat with a hand-made label. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. In case you missed it, water has been found on Mars. Cool, that’s one less thing we’ll need to … Continue reading Day 37: Danger and Baking