Tuesday, July 22, 2014

LED Zepplin... lamp.

So I'm not that excited about the lamp currently in our front hall, and I wanted to steampunk it up. I decided a while ago to make a zepplin lamp. It'll be lit with LED bulbs.. so.. it is technically a LED Zepplin.

I started with a three and a half foot dowel and many two foot lengths of 1/2" x 1/16" basswood. I glued and threaded the pieces together with brown fishing line (Power Pro!) to make ten 5 foot struts.

Close up of one of the joins in the basswood

I cut out end pieces from brass sheet and screwed them into the dowels, and then used machine screws and nuts to attach the struts to them.

I also cut a propeller out of the brass and used a longer screw and some wooden spools to make it look pretty good.

I used basket reed for the ribs, again gluing them and tying them with fishing line.

Close up of the join
This is where it's at right now, after adding the inital wiring for the lights inside.

I still have to cover the frame with rice paper mache, and make the gondola. I have a good start on the net that will go over the top and attach to the gondolla:

Waxed linen thread net
I'll hopefully update after this weekend with a much more complete LED Zepplin!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Good logo design tips

I've designed quite a few logos over the years, but I can't say I've seen the rules about logo design put better than this.

A few highlights:
  • "Logo designs become iconic and memorable: they're not created that way."
  • "Don't use more than two fonts"
  • "A logo design represents a business's professionalism and poor visual jokes don't work. Use fonts which sum up the 'brand mood'. "
  • "As soon as a client begins suggesting things like, 'Let's make that text a bit bigger, and try this typeface', your mark becomes diluted. It's your job as the designer to make this clear from the start." (Good luck with this one.)
  • And, of course, a link to LogoThief, which is just brilliant.
Original at CreativeBloq

Monday, July 07, 2014

Thought of the day: Sheeple

I think I'm tired of the word "sheeple." I hear it from those on every side of every issue, to deride those that disagree with them. The thought is that if someone disagrees, they must be being led by "things they were told," by sinister forces on the other side. Usually this is followed by a call to "do research and wake up!"

The problem I have with it is, many people who disagree *have* done some research, but sometimes they put inordinate weight on anecdote and unverified claims (and many times the person using the "sheeple" term is the one who has fallen victim to this.) It also instantly dismisses any opinion other than one's own, and makes me tune out because it makes me think you aren't amenable to discussion.

Now, I'm just as vocal in my opinions as anyone else, and it is human nature to believe that everything you think is correct. For example, I can't think of an idea that I hold that is wrong, even though it is necessarily true that I am not right about everything.

If you want to really analyze someone's argument, you should see if they (or you) are committing logical fallacies. I personally am vulnerable to the slippery slope argument in certain contexts, as well as the no true scotsman.

In the end, don't worry about being a sheep, a guard dog, or even a wolf.  Be a honey badger.

Honey badger still don't care.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Save our cheese!

In case you haven't heard, the FDA has ruled that artisan cheesemakers in the US can no longer age cheese on wooden boards (a necessary part of the cheesemaking process for many types of cheese.)  Forbes has a great piece on it:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an executive decree banning the centuries old practice of aging cheese on wooden boards.  One bureaucrat within the FDA, without surveying all of the scientific literature, and without public commentary, has rattled hundreds of small businesses across the United States.  Consumers who eat any kind of aged cheese shoparmigiano-reggianould prepare for a potentially catastrophic disruption in the market for artisan, non-processed cheese.
This will effect local cheesemakers; in some early reports it was talked about how the wonderful, global award winning, local Marieke Gouda was aged on wood boards, for instance. It will cost jobs locally - almost any small producer of cheese will be affected.  And forget finding parmigiano-reggiano at the grocery store - if this is applied to all cheese you won't be able to get pretty much any cheese from Europe (or Canada for that matter).

There is a petition on Whitehouse.gov to review this poorly thought out, job-killing rule. Please sign it and help stop this... inanity.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Maleficent, Ursula, and disappointment

OK, so I've had a couple of days to digest why I was so disappointed by Maleficent. Obviously, *SPOILERS* follow.

I think it had to do with two things:

1) They pulled back from the awesome woman wronged story to make Mal a good guy. Seriously, you could still have had her like Aurora (which would be a consequence of that spell of hers) but still have her not turn into a stereotypical good guy.  And that's a absolute disaster because...

The real tragedy is I will never get to see this.
Image by Jirka Väätäinen
I'm probably never going to get to see "Ursula", which in my mind is a Shakespearean tragedy about a woman overlooked for the throne because of her gender, which instead goes to her younger brother Triton (which was mostly in the original Disney script for the Little Mermaid...) even though she is more naturally talented. Her anger festers for years over this injustice until fortune puts Triton's daughter in her path, and she sees a way to take back what is rightfully hers.  The movie can follow the same story as the original just tell it from Ursula's perspective.  But no, Disney would probably make my favorite wronged sister into a good guy.. somehow. Bah.

2) Maleficent never turned into an awesome black and purple dragon. WAY TO RUIN FANTASMIC.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Another retro-futuristic postcard: The Cosmo

I've finished another postcard in my "Merrill of the Future Past" series, and I put it up on Zazzle as well if anyone is interested. This time it's the Cosmo Theater (apparently they build a huge new addition in the next hundred years or so).


Next up? I think Chips, then maybe the old City Hall.  Any other ideas/suggestions?

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Star Wars Holiday Special in Van's shoe commercial

My mind has been officially blown. The "new" (yes, it came out on May the 4th, but WHY WASN'T THIS BEAMED DIRECTLY INTO MY BRAIN) Star Wars commercial for Van's Star Wars shoes stars LUMPY. His name is conveniently not said, but if that doesn't look exactly like a teenage version of Chewbacca's son from the infamous Holiday Special I'll eat my hat.

I guess this means that Disney is willing to acknowledge the Star Wars Holiday Special's existence.  Maybe we'll all get a real DVD/BluRay release of it... well, ok, mostly we just want the cartoon.

So is the Holiday Special canon now?

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Please stop being scared.

This guy fears nothing. OK, he maybe takes it a bit far.
Look, I know, I get it. You hear about the latest massacre, how something online is bad for your kids, how big pharma is out to get you, how the world is so much more violent than it used to be. I know, hearing all of that over and over and over is *scary*.

Only, none of those things are true.

Violence in the United States is down about 40% from its high in 1993.
The internet really isn't bad for your kids.

Vaccines save way more lives than they hurt -- and before anyone says, well, what if you're one of those they hurt?  I WAS ONE OF THOSE.  I went into anaphylactic shock after my first dose of pertussis vaccine and nearly died, and was unable to be immunized.  THANK GOODNESS everyone around me at the time was immunized, or I would almost certainly have died when -- not IF -- I got pertussis. As it was I got it as an adult, broke my ribs from coughing, nearly suffocated several times, vomited from coughing, and was very, very sick for three months.

You're way less likely to be sexually assaulted than you used to be. (And you're actually safer with strangers...)

Predators are not very likely to steal or hurt your kids.

The world in general is safer than it ever was.

If you want to worry, worry about poor nutrition, lack of exercise, wearing seatbelts, and driving while distracted.  They're more likely to kill or hurt you and the ones you love than any movie, video game, rock band, stranger, or even the internet (never tell me the odds). About other dangers, take obvious, basic safety precautions (firearm safety, awareness training, swimming lessons, learn CPR, monitor your little kid's usage of the net). But really... the world isn't nearly as dangerous as you're being led to believe.

(Now, why are we being led to believe everything is so scary?  That's a whole other topic...)