Archive for July, 2005

I’m a color most men can’t even see

(Memesteal from mephistakitten. Real entries coming soon, I promise! Big nasty BRAKE work-project finished up tonight, so my calendar is finally starting to look slacker-riffic for a little while. (we hope…) )


you are paleturquoise
#AFEEEE

Your dominant hues are green and blue. You’re smart and you know it, and want to use your power to help people and relate to others. Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people’s conflicts well.

Your saturation level is low – You stay out of stressful situations and advise others to do the same. You may not be the go-to person when something really needs done, but you know never to blow things out of proportion.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.

the spacefem.com html color quiz

Note: link removed due to seedy music-playing Flash popups; copy-paste the following if your browser is wearing protection: you-know-the-protocol://spacefem.com/colorquiz

edit: apparently livejournal automatically links stuff you intentionally didn’t link. Maybe that fixes her little red wagon…

…does this count as humor, or not?

One of the guys on the camerahacking.com forum pointed this out:

Google’s top result for the search query "failure"

Attack of the evil puffballs…?

Really! I don’t dream this much. Maybe it has to do with my messed-up (lack of) sleep schedule lately. Anyway…

The part I remember was of entering an ordinary living room (no living room I recognized) containing, among various other usual living-room furniture, an old B/W console TV set with the big clicky channel-changer knobs and rounded-edges CRT. There was some kind of Twilight Zone-ish show on, and it seemed as though there was a hole in the bottom of the TV, because the stuff on the screen was also spilling out from beneath the set:

A bunch of cute-ish little creaturey things spilled out from under the TV; they kind of resembled those big glass-jar scented candles, except squishy, some furry, and with big googly eyes on them, playing with each other and making cute little sounds. And, following the premise of the show playing, a big plump trollish hand also appeared from underneath the set, and began poking the little creatures to death.

“…but little was it known that THEY were in fact evil incarnate…”

(…so I guess the troll-hand was heroic in a morbid kind of way, doing the poking that no one else would. Never did find out what kind of unspeakable evil came from the little puffballs, though.)

Another segment (presumably) of the show followed, causing a small radio-control helicopter to appear on top of the set. Or more specifically, a water bottle in the shape of a helicopter, with working rotors. It started up and flew to the sink where it (somehow) filled itself, then (after a bit of a rough start, since it was now heavy and full of water) began lazily, maybe boredly, flying around the room. Until it caught sight of the family cat. With a strong vibe of “Aha! Now I know what my mission is!” it began following/chasing the cat around the house, repeatedly annoying it with a bright camera flash.

QOTD: Stone wheels, n. : stupid round things possessed by ignorant rednecks who spin them endlessly in a feeble attempt to grind useless metallic crapola, ie. car parts, springs, precision military tech etc… -H.A.L.

I vow never to fly Northwest Airlines again.

All right, I’m doing this evil out-of-order blogging thing because I’ve been too busy to actually write stuff here (starting with Chicago trip of um…several weeks ago, still not mentioned), but right now I’m pissed off and need to vent my spleen. I don’t get pissed off very often.

NORTHWEST AIRLINES … are a bunch of fuckers who have lost my business permanently. Did I say fuckers? That doesn’t really imply a negative association…heck, I’d like to be more of a fucker myself, but girls who tolerate wierd nerds (and, simultaneously, want a fucking) are hard to come by. Motherfuckers? Well, these days, with half the population over 25 already having pumped out a crying little unit, that’s hardly stigmatized (/ avoidable) either. How about “fuckers of their very own respective mothers”? Yeah, that’s more like it.

We were booked to leave Sunday afternoon, giving us plenty of time to set up our equipment for the next day, check into our hotel, have a nice dinner and maybe hit the pubs of Ann Arbor for a bit. A few hours before the flight my coworker CL, the brains of the whole project, gets a recorded phone message that our flight has been cancelled. But NWA have been nice enough to rebook it for…6AM Monday morning. Woohoo, alarm clock set for 4:00am, hand-soldering teeny DB-44 connectors Monday morning/afternoonish (after our intern did them with all the wires swapped, and we found out about it that afternoon) with bloodshot eyes and the clock ticking. By the time we get all set up, it’s been a long nasty day and we decide we may as well piss off for the day and start spinning bright and early tomorrow.

Anyway, one thing after another with the test stand and related hardware (and a scare with our DAQ cards threatening a dirt nap at the exactly worst possible moment), but we finish up a day early and call in to bump our return flight from Friday eveningish to Thurs. morning, so as to get back to Boston and actually get some stuff done on a different project (final report due THIS SUNDAY, so it um…kinda has to be working by then, which it isn’t.) No problem, flight changed, $100 charge to do this, but it’s well worth it to get back and get some extra lab time in (and besides, it’s not MY project paying for it ;).

So we’re headed to Detroit Metro Airport bright and early, optimistic even, thinking we might even be able to catch one earlier if there are seats available. About 10 miles out CL’s phone rings. “Bet it’s those Northwest fuckers cancelling our flight again”, I quipped. Nope, just CL’s wife on the line, and we’re breathing easy. Then it rings again. It was those Northwest fuckers cancelling our flight again.

“Cancelled?”, you say? “But flights get delayed or cancelled all the time, predicting the weather isn’t an exact science.” Except this wasn’t cancelled due to the un-Detroitlike bright and sunny weather, but, so far as I can determine, to cut costs and freeze out workers as part of an ongoing labor dispute, screwing over everyone else (also known as “customers”) in the process.

So anyway… we get rebooked on another at 1:00pm. Booked standby, but they don’t tell us that. That flight is about 2x oversold, because of course, the who-knows-how-many other passengers on the same cancelled flight wound up the exact same place. Needless to say, we weren’t on it. To top all, ticket-counter guy starts giving CL attitude when trying to find out what our other options are.

Ticket Counter Douche: “I don’t see what gives you the right to be upset, Sir, this isn’t even the flight you originally booked…you were supposed to be on the xxxx.”
CL: “You cancelled the xxxx.”
Ticket Counter Douche: “Oh…” <shuts up>

So rebooked standby on the oversold 3pm. Wait around, wait around, thumbs up asses, I’m curled up in a seat at the terminal with a laptop, oscilloscope (surprised as hell we got THAT past airport security), and the prototype boards I need to get working by Sunday night. It was a pretty sad little sight, me sitting in the terminal with a Digikey box of electronics parts sprawled out in the seat next to me, trying to mod a board without a soldering iron (didn’t even TRY to get one of those past security). Speaking of which, have you noticed how airport restaurants, even comparatively ‘good’ ones, have to give you a plastic knife and fork? CL seemed mildly shocked and appalled. They did have heavy glass salt and pepper shakers though, which would be almost equally as effective when directed at the base of a hypothetical pilot’s skull. But I digress.

And then rebooked standby on the 5pm. Nope! No dice there.

But there’s another one at 7-something.

When we got NAK’ed on the last one, we ran like little running bastards to be first in the standby line. Good thing too, because it turned out to have exactly two seats available. The rest of those poor fuckers from noon (and probably other cancelled flights we didn’t know about) would have to try their luck at the next one, 9pm.

At least we have seats, but for one last little kick in the nuts, they’re both middle seats. I hate the middle seat! Sandwiched between these two fat old birds overflowing their seats and armrests.

So let’s recap:

* Flights cancelled: TWICE (To stick it to workers threatening a strike. Apparently a little collateral damage is acceptable)
* Charge to rebook on a flight to get us home earlier, that didn’t get us home earlier.
* Forget about a simple apology; instead, snotty attitude from staff.
* Three times standby roulette, shuffling our mountains of crap from terminal to terminal.
* Eight hours sitting on our numb asses in the craptastic airport, listening to the sounds of deadlines approaching.
* 2 overpriced airport meals of balancing luggage on seats and plastic forks.
* Hacking and bootloading broken firmware onto bare boards amid dirty looks for hogging both of the only electrical outlets at human-reachable level (one for scope, one for wall-wart that just happens to fit the DC socket I added to the board layout as an afterthought).
* More oversized old bats sitting in my seat than me sitting in my seat.
* Hunting for our checked luggage at Logan after it beat us there by 8hrs (all torn open by security, of course. Because everyone travels with handmade helicopter rotor blades with bundles of wires sticking out of them).

I bet they don’t even refund our $100.

Videogames from vending machines…I see a business model here

Wierd, a dream that could, possibly, have been in linear time! Anyway, it starts out that myself and someone are walking down a downtown city street somewhere that is defined to be NYC (how do I know this? I don’t know…there aren’t any where-am-I cues around), and see a video game store. The window signage reads “La-Z-Bob’s Games … the laziest video game store in existence” or something to that effect. Sure enough, the entire game selection and purchasing process is entirely automated, the cartridges (etc.) come out of what vaguely resembles a snack vending machine, and the clerk (presumably Bob) sits behind a counter with his feet up, watching TV and generally not having any reason to pay attention to what goes on in the store, because it’s all automated and steal-proof. There are also some consoles set up Funcoland-style with playable games on them. So we walk in and are ready to dive for them, and “Bob” looks up and yells at us that this is a store, not an arcade. Rats, profiled at the door. So we leave, giving “Bob” copious amounts of middle finger in the process. Next thing I know we’re in the stairwell of an old abandoned-looking (from the inside) skyscraper, working our way to the top floor. For some reason it was our mission to knock out the phone service to the entire city, and the whole central-control something-or-other was at the top of this building. As we near the top, it’s becoming apparent that somebody doesn’t want people up here, large entire chunks of the stairway are missing. Somehow (with a lot of jumping and a little hanging/swinging) we get to the top of the stairwell, open the door, and… it opens into a hallway on the 2nd floor of a log cabin I didn’t recognize, and we’re looking around going “where is it, where is it?”. And my dad’s there, and he yells up from the downstairs to check the window in the hallway (which faced *into* the house, not out of)…so I go and look at it, expecting to see all sorts of switching equipment through it, but it’s the stained glass window from our cabin. I see my reflection in it (it was for some reason much more reflective than stained glass should be, as if there was another pane of flat glass in front of it) and notice that a) I’m this disheveled, crazy-looking old guy with hair going everywhere at random, b) whoever I was doing all this with, either ditched out just at that moment, or didn’t have a reflection.

And then I woke up.

tDocu

Well, today my BRAKE boards finally came in. No Zoran COACH chips, and no footprints carefully sawed off of them (in the world where I’m NOT a Viking), but I didn’t even have them all the way out of their little Fedex box when I noticed the first fuckup. All my text on the top silk was missing. No revision numbers, no hidden haiku(ish) easter eggs underneath chips, no amusing quotes encircling the board to add a little personality. Okay, not anything major…just a bad omen.

Take it down to the lab and start building up the power-supply stuff…testing….hello, what’s this? It’s not doing much to power the board, but it’s doing great at testing the current-limiting feature of the bench supply (and if I didn’t kill power fast enough, the smoke detector), so I start probing around and….wait a minute, there shouldn’t be voltage here. Or here. Here, either. I definitely haven’t shorted anything, but things are not where they are supposed to be. Poke poke …scratch head… WTF?! The signals on the IC footprint are all swapped around. Pin 6 is pin 12, pin 12 is pin 8, so on and so forth. I say again… WTF?

Pinch myself, I’ve been having bad board dreams lately. Nope, it’s still fucked…

Finally I threw up my hands and MacGyver’d the boards, bypassing all the onboard power stuff and running everything directly from the bench supply. But not before finding TWO other fuckups by the end of the day… (I’m ranting because two of them are guaranteed to be my fuckups, …the third I don’t know about…)

Wierd, dreaming

I don’t write about dreams much, because I don’t have them very much. Or at least don’t remember them very much. And way too often, I probably shouldn’t share them with the public anyway. But anyway, here’s what I remember of the one from last* night…it was wierd, because there was actual dialog in it, which is exceedingly rare for my dreams.

It started out that I was following some poorly hand-scrawled directions….no street names, just “left turn, right at the next intersection, right again at sort of a T”…which seemed to sync up with what the intersections actually looked like, so I knew I was headed in the right direction; so far, so good. (And it definitely wasn’t in Boston, because it was always no more than 2 streets intersecting at once, and they were all named.) I came to some little commercial/industrial park, containing a huge sprawling apartment complex and a few other assorted buildings…now I just had to find Apartment 3B. OK, now I remember what I’m doing here. I’m meeting up with No* for the first time. Here’s where I realize the directions I poorly transcribed don’t specify any kind of an address or building name of any kind, just an apt. number. But I figure this sprawling apartment thingy has to be it, because I’ve run out of directions. But it looks like this area might have several different apt. buildings, this one seems to continue back into the landscape indefinitely (it’s very low twilight, nearly nightfall by now, so I can’t really see it well, but next to it is a different, unrelated, non-apartment-looking building, which the street/parking lot continues around.) For some reason, presumably to see if there’s more than one building I’ll have to search for this address, I continue around the corner where, sure enough, beyond the unrelated building there are rows and rows of apartments, but it appears to be all part of the same building from the other side, physically connected.

Here’s where it starts becoming a canonical Tim-dream. We jump instantaneously from me driving around and finding this other piece of building to (me presumably parking, getting out of the car and walking toward the only open door I see on this part of the building) while at the same time (I’m running as fast as I can toward that first piece of building, realizing I’ve almost certainly overshot the entrance / main doors, if any. That piece of building looked more “main” than the segment the other instance of me parked at. Running only because it’s a long way back around to that part. Next thing I know, running-me is starting to wonder why he’s running, when he drove here, after all. Running-me doesn’t remember parking and doesn’t know why he’s running, only that he should still have a car, and as far as he knows, still be in it. Running-me then starts wondering why he’s running toward this other segment when it’s all the same building anyway, and starts running back the way he came, toward where walking-toward-the-door-me is walking toward the door. Now, a little bit of reality is starting to trickle in from the world of non-sleep; running-me is realizing that I have known No* for quite some time now, and therefore wouldn’t be having to follow bad directions to meet her for the first time, and that she definitely doesn’t live here.) (That’s another rare thing, for the sleep- and non-sleep worlds to intermix like that.)

Walking-me walks through the door and into the hallway, looking for Apt. 3B, but the first door I pass is unmarked. The first thing I notice about this place is how poorly and eerily lit everything is…shouldn’t the hallways in apartment buildings be reasonably well-lit, and shouldn’t the light diffuse somewhat uniformly off the narrow, off-white walls and low ceiling? It was more like in my first attempt at creating my own Quake level, where the lighting parameters were a little goofed up and all sources were rendered as a radius of bright bright flickering light around the source, fading to almost total darkness within the span of maybe a foot outside that radius. The second thing I noticed was the carpeting. I’m not exactly an interior decorator extraordinare, but the carpeting together with the lighting made all the hairs on my neck stand at attention and gave me the feeling that I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. If you brought the paint-mixing machine at Home Depot home for the evening, fed it some bad clams and it yuked all over your carpet in several gaudy, vomitrocious seventies-remnant colors, that’s kind of what this carpet looked like, a full-body dinner exorcism in reddish-brown, vibrant orange and bile green.

Against my best judgment I continued onward (not far) and found myself in a dead-end, my eyes beginning to adjust to the lighting and make out the detail in the dark corners; there was a small bunk bed here and some college-student furniture. And a guy behind me, who came seemingly out of nowhere, welcoming me to his place. Apparently this narrow thing wasn’t a hallway at all; somebody actually lived here. Middle-aged, balding and undefinably but unmistakably not-all-there. I didn’t recognize the guy, but he claimed to have known me for quite some time… and was so glad that I had come here to be his friend. This man struck me as someone who didn’t have a lot of friends…and the ones he did have might well be cut up neatly in pieces and stored in Formaldehyde in a box of underneath his bed. It felt like he would be delighted to make me one of them.

This thread kind of ended there, but meanwhile, another me (how many of me are there?) had just finished climbing to the top of a tall hill on the other side of the parking lot, to find him(my)self standing in front of some kind of (in dreamland) unmistakably DOD building. Overengineered, full of superfluous glass and unnecessary angles. The architecture kind of reminded me of a stealth bomber made out of glass, wood and concrete. The scene was in the colors of the DOD’s SBIR site, with a blue, pink and gold sunset in the background criscrossed by an unlikely number of contrails. Interestingly, it seemed to be getting earlier and earlier, because it was pitch-black night when I was driving, barely twilight on reaching the apartments, and now brighter still. (The trivial explanation is that it was actually morning, not evening, but it really “felt like” evening, in the way that only dreams can feel like something.)

Same night, different segment, I dreamed that my BRAKE boards had come in at work, sometime when I was out (on vacation, or some kind of short trip). While I was gone, someone had carefully cut all the chip footprints out of the boards, leaving them full of neat little square holes where ICs would normally go. (Maybe this is the overworked engineer equivalent of the dream where you’re taking a final and realize you’re in your underwear.) There was a footprint for a huge Zoran Camera On A CHip, also neatly cut out and laid aside, making it pretty much useless. (Double bad, because having such a layout on the BRAKE boards to begin with means I would have been doing some extreme, employment-jeapordizing goofing off on project funds…)

*”last” night being defined relative to the datestamp I gave this (7/16/05)…now that I’m getting around to blogging stuff. Date on LJ may not be valid.

Chicago roadtrip

Wow…I think this is the longest time interval between doing stuff and writing about it, ever… anyway, as always, datestamp refers to the date stuff happened, not the date I wrote about it.

In the beginning…

J.R. came along for the ‘there’ trip, and kept me from falling asleep at the wheel with loud music and the nectar of the gods. After many miles we hit Niagara Falls.

(This is the EE’s version of sitting in Santa’s lap)

Hit Kristoff’s pad by the next day (uh-oh, I think we just lost J.R.!) … the TrashAmp, with its stylish heat fins and ghetto-chic avant-garde packaging, seemed to be gaining few fans, except for the 12-volt one blowing over the SMPS.

Onward! To the cabin. Or to All Night Auto (open ’til 6pm) after some unexpected car trouble, a couple short hours after my exhaust system disintegrated (leading me to wonder if I should change insurance agencies). Then to the cabin, for real! Fun in the sun, the lake, the pool, with a whole bunch of my extended family there, of varying levels of sanity. (And Kristoff, of no sanity.) Kristoff who, incidentally, brought an entire bottle of Cap’n Morgan’s Private Stock along for the ride. Um… we each drank half….then went for the pool shortly thereafter. I enthralled (frightened) everyone with my ability to hold my breath underwater for several minutes at a time… my little cousins did the same with their alacrity for actually holding me under that long.*snif* They’ll be such great serial killers someday…

I was a huge hit with the ladies … and the boys. (The fishes and the way-too-submissive frogs just kind of tolerated my presence.)

And somewhere along the line there was an incident involving my brother, the forcible removal of my swim trunks (not by me), and a beer bottle. Here is where I’m glad I don’t have such a great memory…

J.R. already has the first few days of the trip documented here, with many many pictures (including more cute frognosers). She had some lab stuff to do that week, so took a flight out early in the week.

More car stuff

I think I mentioned my car’s [ex]haust system? Yeah…rather than make the 16h return trip to the sound of loud engine noise, I figured I should, you know, actually get that fixed. This took the better part of 2 days, waiting around (a) a zillion hours for these guys to look at it and decide they didn’t have parts, then (b) some more the next day to actually change them. I visited my favorite La Grange foodery, El Famous Burrito Town Taco Taco, where the owner and management have changed 3 times but, luckily, the burritos haven’t, and got into a random conversation with a 40-something computer engineer lady also passing through. We talked for a while, which is exceedingly wierd (strangers don’t just come up and talk to me… I think I give off some kind of “don’t talk to me rays” without realizing it), and then I killed some time at the bookstore. Picked up In the beginning…, perfectly sized for sitting around a muffler shop waiting room.

Priority encoding, and places where logic doesn’t go

You would think the average person would prioritize seeing friends who are only in town a week or 2 out of the year over the friends who live 15 min. away that they can see whenever they want to. You would guess wrong.

I don’t know…maybe I’ve been away for too long, too far out of the loop, too out of touch. For me that would not be too surprising…I’ll be the first to admit I’m not that good at this stuff involving people. Of course, it could also be that some of my old Chicago friends just don’t make a habit of thinking much. I’ll leave the ultimate conclusion as an exercise to the reader.

Sarah Cenia

OK, not her real name, but I think it sounds pretty, and it’s a fitting one for a fellow plant person. (I tend not to use full / real names in the ol’ blog, what with the Intarweb crazies and all.)heh, there are approximately three people on the planet who will get it anyway

So I was kind of in the area, so I made a little run out to Portage, IN to meet this friend of one of my friends, who I sort of very briefly talked to on Livejournal once. (Speaking of Internet crazies, I was so worried about trying not to seem like some kind of possibly-chainsaw-wielding wierdo I did say that No* has "good taste in friends", not "good-tasting friends", right?…, that I completely forgot to worry that she, random LJ stranger, might be some kind of chainsaw-wielding wierdo herself.) But, no chainsaws wielded by anyone, it turns out she is really cool :-) we ended up at this little diner talking horticulture, and everything else under the sun (or technically, not sun, it was well after midnight when we split up to our respective houses). Definitely someone to hang out with again.

Whatever the crisis, whatever the price is, please don’t leave me to my own devices

On the way home from Portage, caught in the 30mph IL nocturnal construction, fielding drunk-calls from E* the night before the new hands-free cellphone law took effect. Nevermind those poor little cell minutes lost to barely-decipherable slurry words and repeated dropping and losing of the phone in the back seat of the designated driver mobile (and the 15-minutes-away people she ditched me for in the background), and nevermind that I was already up, but if I get calls at 1am, I kind of expect them to be….well, not even important, but at least purposeful, and/or coherent. “Hey, I’m having trouble sleeping and wanted to talk” is fine by me (I’m kind of surprised I’ve never gotten one of those from anyone), but “…heyyyy…I’m soooo drunk, teehee…who’s spanking me?…*urp*” is another matter altogether. Meh.

(thermal) Runaway. Everyone conspiring to get themselves killed, or live trying.
A small bullet, a piece of glass And your heart just grows around it.

Sometimes I feel like I have this sense of when Bad Shit is going to happen to someone close to me. Just as some unconscious spread-spectrum of things, a spurious flicker in the eyes, subtle waver in the voice, betray hidden emotion, perhaps some nondescript galaxy of miniscule preconditions gives away the path of things to come.

This week was not one of those times.

For starters, Wed. morning I woke up to the sound of my phone ringing, and aside from being annoyed at being woken up prematurely, all was right with the world. It was Kristoff; his GF’s dad, also his good friend, had passed away suddenly and catastrophically that night, from an aneurism. Or more specifically, from the local brain damage that it incurred on a critical temperature-regulation section, causing him to literally cook to death.

Nobody saw it coming.

We still hung out that weekend, and had a few people over to his house in Coldwater, but it was for obvious reasons a really subdued thing, not the big party originally planned. I had never met him, but sadness kind of has this way of jumping hosts.

On the way home, back to Boston, I eventually got tired of listening to my brother’s industrial playlist on the No*mad and popped in some No Doubt, which toasted my newly-finished TrashAmp almost immediately. (Granted, it’s got a little bass, but through the week it survived VNVNation’s entire catalog on JR’s IPlayOGGsRiver, Technotronic and my Earthquake Simulator CD compilation at midday in no air conditioning.) I would later find the MOSFETs of the power supply melted to their heatsink, but I kind of already knew what had happened, as soon as the bass cut out.

A little thing about MOSFETs, they have a positive temperature coefficient. What this means is the warmer they get, the more their resistance increases, and pumping electricity over a resistance generates heat. So they get hotter, and the resistance increases more, and… you get the idea. Happily, the hotter they get compared to ambient, the more effectively heat is dissipated away, so up to a point, them getting hotter just means they’re easier to cool…but somewhere, there comes a point where this self-limiting factor is overpowered by the temperature coefficient, resulting in thermal runaway and a very quick, catastrophic failure.

Sometime later, Bon Jovi’s “Runaway” came up on the radio, and as he belted out one of those canonical rock ballads I thought of thermal runaway, and of a friend in Boston. Some remembered reference to running away, needing to get away. I didn’t think too much of it. I think about things too much.

And when no hope was left in sight, on that starry, starry night…

Things happen, and other things happen, the load is never known, nor are the ambient conditions. What’s never known is when those things and those conditions will converge in such a way as to nudge you over that edge toward that runaway condition, an irreversibly catastrophic state. With an electronic or mechanical device, you could at least in theory save it by turning it off just in time, if only you knew what was happening.

(and if you think I’m writing about amplifiers and MOSFETs here, well, you can continue to believe that..)

I didn’t even see it coming.

for(seconds($$1 in $1))

Heh…I can hardly even concentrate on work right now, thinking about going *sproing* out of here at 5:00:00’00” for the roadtrip to Chicagoland. With car stereo hacked for iPod/iRiver/Nomad input (Pioneer…add-on market protection by “funny plug” method) and the TrashAmp finally finished (ok…functional, but not pretty) at about 3am today, turning my trunk into an in-car butt massage parlor. Mmmm, driving music…mmm, bass…

The lake is cool, the pool is warm and the hot tub is hot. My folks and family are nuts, but that’s the way I like ’em. Crystal-clear snorkeling, fish that come right up and look at you curiously, fire, BBQ, meat on a stick, Smores. Illegal Indiana fireworks. Woods to roam around in and wild berries to snack upon. Possibly some good loud music outside at the pool, with no neighbors for 1/4 mile in any direction. It’s going to be good.

For everyone who couldn’t come but wanted to (all one of you ;-) ), we’ll be sure to take many pictures and provide plenty of blogumentation…and promise to drag you out here one of these days!

A place to hang my towel. Following me around like a Hitchhiker, won’t be beat into submission, and won’t stay gone for more than a couple minutes

It must be the heat. Probably something to do with the expansion of blood vessels, or stuff like that. What manner of fucked up am I? Here I am blogging about spurious hard-ons* , one after another after another, and about cranking it. (A fair number of people I know won’t admit to it, let alone publicly document it…) So yyyyeah… I was taking care of business, and… during this time most guys have, you know, visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. In the middle of this process, here’s the thought that pops into MY head:

Accelerometers. Whether a detected terrain dropoff should be considered a hazard depends on its angle relative to gravity, not relative to the vehicle. So there will need to be some kind of well-filtered accelerometer/inclinometer source in addition to the sensor arrays feeding into the decision… that’s so stupid, why didn’t I think of that already?

Fuck. Can I stop being a nerd for 15 minutes?

*when I was barely a grade schooler, I learned this term from a kid who seemed old at the time. But he’d apparently misheard it as when a boy sees a pretty girl he likes, he gets hearts on. I thought it sounded rather subtle and gentlemanly at the time, not to mention romantic…I thought it meant the aspiring suitor might signal his affection by wearing those boxer-shorts-adorned-with-hearts worn by anyone who ever gets pantsed in a cartoon