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Friday, January 18, 2019


Just in case there’s any doubt. #TrumpShutdown

Sunday, January 13, 2019

I had this crazy idea to make a skating penguin for my annual holiday display.  I searched for ideas, but really couldn't find anything close to what I was looking for - either ready made, or a DIY thing that worked.

My grand plan was to have a skating rink with several penguins.  And that sort of thing just didn't exist.

After much thought, I decided to make the penguins with papier-mache, with an internal chicken wire structure.  I would then "somehow" light them....

I started with a roll of chicken wire.  I got a balloon penguin that stood at about 2 feet to use as a shape guide, and to help me best determine how it would look in 3 dimensional space.  Since the wire was about 2 feet wide, I needed to cut enough to make it get the full effect.


So I cut off about 3 feet and set about bending, shaping, and folding.  I now had a rough penguin shape that would serve as my base.



Since he was going to be standing on skates, and standing upright, I needed to create a way to help him stand solidly.  So I came up with a PVC pipe skeleton.  It provides that structural support and allows for an easy way to attach the wings, which were going to be a cardboard.  Also the skates could easily be attached to the frame giving the illusion of the penguin standing.

I have a second one more complete in the background of the photo.


Skates were another matter.  They needed to be constructed somehow.  I thought about more chicken wire, but decided that it was easier to cut and shape some foam tubing I had leftover from another project.  I made them shoe-shaped and added a blade out of cardboard.


Then it was time for papier-mache.  I first inserted a piece of the foam tubing at beak height, and then proceeded to do the flour-water-newspaper process.  

I did some re-shaping as I sent along, as I wanted it to look "right."  I covered the skates as well.

I used a screw through the pvc at wing-height to attach the cardboard wing, and put the mache all around it to both hold and cover it.  



 Once covered, it looked like this.  Hey! Its nearly a penguin!


Alright, now it was time to consider how to light it.  I realized that LED lights produce very little heat, and could be affixed to the surface without worrying about whether it might be a fire hazard.

One thought I had along the way was to put lights on the cage before the mache, but I wasn't sure how that would come out.  So instead, I wrapped the entire structure in an LED strand of lights.  I selected a bright white light.

I also wanted to be sure the eyes would work.  For those, I decided to put part of the strand inside the structure, and poke them out.  Then I would put a plastic lens on top to complete the eye.

Two things I did to improve the effect.  The first was to build up what amounts to an eye socket that would give enough room to have the bulb and keep the lens in place.  The second was to color the bulb. From a quick search, I learned a very simple and very effective technique: use a sharpie.  


Next up was to put a top cover to make it look like a penguin.  For this, I decided on tissue paper and crepe paper.  Again, I used the papier-mache technique, but added glue to the mx to give it a little rigidity and to further protect against the potential for heat to simply burn the paper.

For the skates, I used tin foil to give them the look of metal.


And voila.  I have what looks like a skating penguin.  Now lets turn the lights on and see how he looks.



I like it.  I think it will be fine as an outdoor display that will still be supervised.  I don't want to have a problem. 

One last thing I did was to coat it with a clear water repellent. 

And later, I'll also put it under a canopy to keep it dry.

But there you go.  Skating penguin!

DIY penguin decorations

Friday, December 14, 2018


How to calculate the day if the week #MakeAmericaSmartAgain

Friday, December 7, 2018


New - and totally awesome - @RandyRainbow video

Friday, November 30, 2018

Be wary of stories that seem to run counter to what you know. Payless showed off how it easy to be duped if you suspend your disbelief.

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/11/29/business/payless-fake-store/index.html

Payless fools influencers with a fake store #FakeNews at its finest

Saturday, November 10, 2018

I simply can't believe that my vote - the one thing that separates us a functioning democracy - will be viewed through the lens of lawyers and lawsuits.

And worse still - this is not the first time we've seen that in Florida.

What's the point of voting if I can't just trust that my vote countered and matters?

Stop the insanity!

I'm not sure if anyone outside of Florida knows how the voting process works here. We fill out ballots like the ones shown on this post, though obviously this wasn't the one used last week.

You bubble in your selection, then walk over to an optical reader that scans your ballot.

As far as a count - or recount - there's an easy way to eliminate possible fraud or "new ballots being added late"

When you walk into the polling place, you swipe your license or id, or fill out an affidavit, which is recorded.

Absentee ballots are likewise recorded, and they track when they were received back.

A paper ballot is printed and it has on it a code that matches to that ID swipe or request for a ballot.

The first step in any recount would be to compare the totals - how many were swiped, had affidavits, or had been received back - and compare it to what you have. If there was a discrepancy, or a concern about what you see, then you could match them up by code, and see what happened.

And that would eliminate the possibility that there were new ballots added.

And count away at that point. All that really matters is that every vote gets counted. I live in this county. I want to be assured that it was free and fair, and that my vote actually did get counted.

There are a couple of douchebags (a technical term) who are saying it's a liberal conspiracy to undermine the election. If the vote totals match and don't show anything unusual then this is utter nonsense. It seems that they are trying to disenfranchise ME to gain power. Not cool on any level. It's personal.

Now you could rightfully ask the question of what happened: incompetence, an honest mistake, or something more nefarious.

But that should happen after we get on with the counting.

As far as possibly being nefarious, we could read about or build conspiracy theories, but mostly they don't make sense.

As a mental exercise, I tried to build a few that involved cheating by either side, one that was for personal gain, and an elaborate few just because...

Some ended in a why/for what purpose. Some ended in a "yeah but it would be easy to spot if anyone looked, and they are." And the rest were just so wildly silly that they were unlikely.

I would argue it's incompetence at some level. But that's just me.

Broward County voting

All about "the witch hunt"

The lame list

Stupidity is something I can not tolerate. Here is my current list of dopey attitudes that chafe me. Don’t be stupid. Don’t be one of these:

  • Anti-science
  • Flat earther
  • Faux patriot
  • Blind supporter of anything, or anyone
  • conspiracy theorist
  • Doubt the Moon landing, or call it a hoax
  • Anti-vaxxer
  • Believe in a deep state
  • Pretending to understand something that is enormously complicated, and just oversimplifying it