How I spent my vacation

I took some vacation to coincide with the kid’s spring break, and to get some work done on the house (still hail damaged) while the weather is good.

If you remove the ugly siding from my house, the turquoise cinderblock beneath  is even worse. BUT my backyard is now a more organized landfill with my new shed. If you build a pre-fab metal shed, you have to get it square and level, or the holes won’t line up. But after 8 hours, you really stop caring and just screw into the metal wherever you have to. It’s a shed. It keeps the rain off the lawnmower and the sun off of the plastic sawhorses. Relax.

That said, beer does not make the roof assembly go any easier.

I am studying for my ETCP rigging certification. Really. So I’ve been covering basic force calculation and remedial pythagoran theorems. to wit:

If you have a weight (some big stupid moving light) hung from a truss supported by two motors, and you want to know the weight held by a particular motor, the formula is:

F= D2/span x Wt

Where F is the force

D2 is the distance past centerline (or in this case, the point the weight hangs from)  opposite from the motor

span is the entire span between the motors

and Wt is the weight of the thing.

I won’t get into the algebra and the special cases and such, but a few things to remember:

This formula also works for bridles

Remember to include the weight for everything in the air

When figuring bridles, its helpful to know that they reduce themselves to triangles, and all sorts of remedial geometry applies.

When calculating a circumference, PIxDiamter = (2PI)radius. This isn’t a secret, I just never realized it.

For the writers:

Duotrope’s Digest lists “over 3325 current Fiction and Poetry publications” online and free and search-able.

One writer’s encounter with “gastronaughts” and blood pork.

And fat may help us live forever after all. This National Geographic article splits the difference between scientific journal articles and pop-news coverage.

(These topics all came up at our Thursday Night Writer’s Group)

Did I post this already?: Mike Brotherton’s hard SF resource page

And finally,

Neil deGrasse Tyson explains why religious fundamentalism is the opposite of progress.

You Tube teaser – if you don’t have time for the full talk:

Now you know

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Hold my beer – blog this…

I stare at the screen

so many thoughts to share, still

I play solitaire

Even though I haven’t updated this blog in some time, it has still drawn a reasonable amount of traffic, and

Even though no money changes hands over this blog in any direction, I am still grateful for the attention.

Never write e-mails angry. You squander the one advantage they give you over personal communication.

Take your time. Think it through. Figure out what you really need to accomplish with your reply, and for the love of God get your facts straight.

I am pleased to report that I believe I have just taken my own good advice for once. But we shall see.

Some more links of interest to writers are up at Writing Made Visible. And you can all scroll down for some Haiku nonsense.

Brazen Wonk:

David Frum explains how in terms political productivity, social progress is over-rated.

David Walker talks like the civics professor you wish you had listened to – but as he explains on NPR’s Fresh Air, our folly has real consequence:

“What threatens our [country] is the structural deficits that will exist after we are out of the recession, after unemployment is down, after the wars are over, and after we get past the current crises,” he says. “Structural deficits represent a fundamental imbalance between projected revenues and projected expenditures even when the economy is growing, even when the wars are over, even when unemployment is down. And in that circumstance, we face — because of known demographic trends — the retirement of the baby-boom generation primarily and rising health care cost — large, known and growing structural deficits that could swamp our ship of state.”

Writer’s Group:

The purpose of Haiku:

“The primary purpose of reading and writing haiku is sharing moments of our lives that have moved us, pieces of experience and perception that we offer or receive as gifts. At the deepest level, this is the one great purpose of all art, and especially of literature.” (Bill Higginson)

Japanese Death Haiku

And finally, as once heard on NPR’s Car Talk:

Four-wheel drive pickup
I remember his last words:
Hold my beer, watch this!

Mike and Vicki Stroeher

Leading inevitably to this:

“Told ya I shoulda gotten my cooler outta there…”

Now you know.