Quick Book Review – Artemus

artemusAfter having read “The Martian” by Andy Wier, it felt safe to read his next book, “Artemus“.

I read The Martian before even knowing there was a movie version coming out.  I enjoyed both rather well.

Artemus is another Science Fiction Based on Fact book that holds up pretty well to my engineering fact checking side.

A young porter/smuggler known as Jazz, living on the moon city known as Artemus struggles to make ends meet until offered the deal of a lifetime to sabotage a mining operation.  Of course, all doesn’t go well…

I enjoyed the scientific explanations which mostly all made logical if not technical sense.  It could portray a realistic description of what life on a moon city would really be like in the near future.

Artemus is totally a good read that kept me interested.  A book like that is hard to find these days.  Get it on Amazon. I hope they make a movie.



Siding lift for replacing siding on a 2nd story wall.

The bottom of one of the siding panels on the North side of my house was starting to rot from the bottom.  The old siding is made of what feels like cardboard.  A number of years ago I got involved in a class-action suit against the siding manufacturer and receive un-remembered thousands.

It’s actually lasting fairly well except certain parts so I’m just replacing what needs replacing with Hardie cement board siding.  This particular one has been on my mind for a long time marked as rather difficult because it is on a 2nd story and I have nobody to help me.

I spent the last few months looking at it and designing ways to do it in my head.  I was set on using a hand cranked winch and using a pulley on the eaves to hoist it up.  The other day, while sitting in the hot tub, I came up with a better plan.

Using two 15 foot 2x4s, cross members and a pulley I could just crank a 80 lb panel up there and slide it right into position all by myself.

Yesterday I built the mechanism and today I removed the old siding and hoisted the new one right into place.  My plan worked perfectly and cost me around $50 for the hoist and $30 for the siding.

Damn I’m good.  Natural born engineer here.  Congratulate me.


Quick Movie Review – 9

A crudely made burlap rag doll awakens in a post apocalyptic world where he finds a small group of others of his kind. On a mission to find a kidnapped friend, he inadvertently turns on a large war machine.

They return to the factory to destroy the machine and find The Source where they find out that each doll contains far more than just stuffing.

This 2009 animated film is very well done. The cinematography is complex and beautiful. The story is nicely written. You might need to watch it a few times to really get it.

If you are a fan of animation, I highly recommend you check it out. I really enjoy watching it.  One day I hope to wake up and find other people like me.


Snow in San Antonio

sasnowIt has been a VERY long time since we have experienced snow in San Antonio.  The last time there was even a trace of snow on the ground was 1985.  That was 32 years ago.

Snow in San Antonio is a very special event. There are 30 year old adults here who have lived their whole lives without ever having seen what snow looks like.

It wasn’t much.  The official measurement was 1.9 inches.  It wasn’t even enough to cover the grass under the trees.  I enjoyed it though.  My favorite thing is to go out and sit in the hot tub as the snow gently falls.  I had to go to Colorado 10 years ago to do that.

The local news has been broadcasting continuously since 6:00 with hardly any commercial breaks showing the radar, talking about it and showing pictures that citizens have sent it.   I kind of like it.  It’s almost like a city-wide party experience.  I could hear children outside playing in the snow up and down the street.  It is likely to be their first and last ever snow.

It’s 10:00 pm now and the snow has stopped and is being melted by light rain.  There’s pretty much zero chance of there being any left in the morning.  This event could only have been made better by continuing through the night so I could have a Snow Day.  The temperature is just barely above freezing and it is unlikely for there to even have ice on the bridges tomorrow.  Bummer.  I might call in sick anyway.  I was already planning to do that before the snow started falling.


Windows 10 – The Dumbening

wndwstnWith each forced release of Windows 10, the operating system is slowly becoming dumber.  Maybe that’s good since the masses who use it are mostly dumb.  Maybe it is a good match.

The problem is that they are slowly phasing out all the tools that administrators use to make modifications.  The ubiquitous Control Panel is almost impossible to find if you don’t search for it.  The Printer control panel is also hiding.  So many important tools are fading out and will soon be gone with the wind(ows).

Yes, there are big fonted, dumbed-down, push button and switch-like alternatives but where are all the options we need?  Gone or hidden so deep you will need a shovel to find them.  Fortunately the registry and the group policy editor are still there for power admins.

Personally, I don’t like it.  Yes, it’s partially because the old way was perfect and the new way is…dumb.  I feel like we are losing control of Windows.  Soon it will be like Apple’s OS.  Few options:  “You’ll eat what’s on your plate and like it!”

Linux is still out there but it will never replace Windows no matter how dumb Windows gets.  Go watch the movie, “Idiocracy.”  That’s where we are going really quickly.


Hell is other people’s music

bdmskHave you noticed that no matter where you go these days, they are playing music at you?

It’s on the horrible commercials that I am fortunate enough to be able to skip.  You go out for lunch and it’s blaring in your ear.  It’s in the elevator, the lobby, the restroom.  I HATE IT!

Now they just finished installing a music system in the office that I spend 8 hours a day in.  At least I have access to the volume knob. What a colossal waste of money!  It costs $100s of dollars a month to subscribe to a music service in an office building when a radio costs nothing.  I should probably invest in these musak companies.  They really have the public brainwashed into thinking they need such an overpriced service.

My ears need rest.  It’s like some kind of electronic harassment that nobody cares about except me.  If I want to hear music then I will listen to some good music.  Don’t force me to listen to your crappy shit.  As a musician, I know how to appreciate music and I know what sucks.  Your music sucks.

As we get older, and new music comes along, it is inevitable that it will be weird and horrible.  It happened to our parents and it will happen to us.   It IS happening to us.  Today’s pop music is…. Well… Indescribable.   I can best put it as unintelligent, corporate, computer generated, soulless, repetitive and annoying.   I’m beginning to think they do it on purpose just to piss people off.   I guess that was the point of Rock & Roll in the first place back in the early days.  To be rebellious for the sake of rebelliousness.

I think Homer said it best.

I just want quiet.  Is that really too much to ask?  Make the world a better place and keep your music to yourself.

Bitcoin Awesomeness!

btcnI was a lucky man who bought a single bitcoin back when it was $800.  In just a short time it has gone up to $11,000.  Nice profit, huh?

Forecasts set it to hit $150,000 in two years.  Very nice for my early retirement.  I don’t need it to retire but an extra $150,000 would be some seriously nice padding.

I also bought 19 Litecoins at $50.00 each.  Now they are up to $100.  I don’t expect Litecoin to be as meteoric as Bitcoin but more is better.  I’ve already doubled my money in one month.

There are two schools of thought on Bitcoin:
1. It is a bubble that is going to pop soon.
2. It is the future.

People in the “Bubble” camp are either the media looking to make up some news for you to click on, or those who wish they bought it when it was cheap and are now very sad and bitter.

Those of us who are owners are more in the line of future awesomeness.

Personally, I don’t know.  I’m certainly hoping for the awesomeness.  I don’t see where it is a bubble.  It is just going to become more and more scarce as mining becomes more difficult and more companies are adopting it.  With scarcity comes value.  Some are predicting it to be worth 1 million.  🙂

At most, I have only $800 invested in Bitcoin so there’s not much to lose and all to gain.

It’s not too late for you either.  Surely you can’t afford to buy a whole Bitcoin at $11,000.  I wouldn’t either.  You don’t have to buy a whole coin.  You can still buy any amount you want.  If you had purchased $500 worth on Friday, you would have made $100 by Monday as it went up 20% over the weekend.   It’s not getting any cheaper so you better hurry!

Go to coinbase.com.  Sign up. Buy Bitcoin and/or Litecoin.  Profit.

Get in on the ride!  It certainly is fun.