I sure don’t use this much anymore

Between work, school, and my other interests it has become difficult to put together lengthy blog posts about much of anything. In fact, it has mostly slipped my mind that I even run this thing. Most of my thoughts end up posted on G+ but even those are generally only what I can tap in from my phone.

The Fall 2012 semester went well, and I left with a 3.0 for the semester. Work is also going well.

Life is good.

I do believe this will be the last post I make here. I’ll leave it around for the sake of reflection.

School and other things

The semester has been chugging along for nearly half the term at this point, but things are going well. Fluid mechanics makes much more sense having already taken it once. Solid mechanics is a good deal easier after you’ve been exposed to materials, fluids, and experimental methods. Since I will only be taking two courses a semester, I’m also working. My job is pretty cool, and I get to see big pieces of raw material as they transform into a finished part and then get assembled into heavy lift equipment. Yesterday, I watched my first critical lift where two cranes picked up a 70+ ton test deck and set it down on top of its piled in deck legs. The crew made it look easy.

Last weekend, I went out and tried my first public land hunt. I saw a lot of mosquitoes, a very large squirrel, and a redneck named Dale. My GPS got snapped off my gear somehow so I also got a little lost for a bit. Dead reckoning skills saved me, and I found my way right back to the road. Tonight, I’m going up to the forest again and will try to get into a tree on my new tree stand early tomorrow morning. If something tasty walks by, I’ve got some broadheads for it.

Aim small

Miss small.

image

Kristin D.

A few weeks ago I met up with Kristin and Jessa for a quick shoot on South Congress in Austin. We did not have very much time between the first frame, and the last bit of sunlight, but in that short time we managed to get some great shots. Kristin is a wonderful model, and with Jessa there to coach, do makeup, and keep the ideas flowing it’s hardly a surprise that the shoot went well.

Kristin

Kristin

Kristin

Kristin

Kristin

Kristin

Kristin

Kristin

Kristin

Kristin

Castles Made of Sand

Castles Made of Sand

I had intended this to be the first in a series of photos to chronicle my 29th year, but realized I don’t have the time to do that and do it well. Castles Made of Sand is one of my favorite Hendrix songs, and it came to mind the second I saw this sand castle on the beach in Destin the week of my 29th birthday.

Yossuana

These are all kinds of late being posted but they need to be shared with anyone who happens by this page. In the span of a few short days I shot several rolls of film, and some digital, with Yossuana Aguilar and had about the most fun you’re allowed to have in public. She’s dynamic, her sense of style is outstanding, and by the end of the first roll of film I knew I was going to have some serious keepers. I was right.

Yossuana

Yossuana

Yossuana

Yossuana

Yossuana

Yossuana

Yossuana

Yossuana

Yossuana

Yossuana

Yossuana

Things to Come

The horrific end to my first go at fluid mechanics has shifted my graduation back an entire year. At first this seemed to be a crippling blow, but more careful analysis reveals that it is probably the best thing that could have happened. Instead of killing myself with six engineering courses in a single term, I will finish school without having to take more than two classes a semester. My GPA could use the help a lighter load will provide. A lighter load will also let me tackle some personal projects I have in mind. What are those projects you might ask?

Project 1: Digital Hydrometer

An Arduino based project to determine the specific gravity of a fluid is first on my list of things to do. No longer do I have an ounce of faith in my analog hydrometer, and instead of doing things the easy way I intend to apply some of the years of science I have studied to build a better mousetrap. This will include a datasheet with my calculated uncertainty for specific gravity values, and a calibration mode to verify that my calculations are as relevant as possible. I may include some memory features to store previous S.G. values (and temperatures) in order to present the calculated percent alcohol by volume.

Project 2: Darkroom Rebuild

The powers that be have required the deconstruction of my darkroom to facilitate the renovation of the vanity area it had occupied. Redesigning, rebuilding, and upgrading the darkroom in a standalone structure is on my list of things to do. This will have to be a carefully planned build, as I do not intend to have to go back and reinvent the wheel again when I move to my own place. Modular construction will be key, though maintaining a well insulated and light tight modular structure will present some challenges. If I am going to build another darkroom it will include a much larger sink area, and one capable of serving as a thermal bath to maintain appropriate temperatures in my development chemistry. I anticipate the use of  an Arduino based control system inside the darkroom as well. As it stands the timer for my enlarger is an Arduino project I need to re-code, creating more control systems shouldn’t be difficult at all.

Project 3: Lagering Fridge

There is already an undesired freezer in the house, and it would do nicely to serve as a lagering or cold-conditioning closet for my beer. As a bonus, if it lives in the darkroom shed, it could also store my paper and film. Its refrigeration cycle could also be used to reduce temperature in the development thermal bath with some creative plumbing and of course another Arduino control circuit. In fact, running the temperature controls for both systems in a single device should not be rocket science at all. I may even be able to fit the AC requirements of the shed into the same Arduino sketch and have a one-stop shop for temperature control of three different systems.

Project 4: Automated Brewery

One day this will happen. It may end up a senior design project, or it may just be something I tackle on my own. My goal is to increase my extraction efficiency and maintain a system that allows for precise control of my mash temperatures whether I do a single step infusion mash or use protein rests and the like. Brewing is fun, but sometimes I just want to set and forget. As of this moment I am unsure exactly how much of the process I wish to automate, but there is a lot I certainly want to actively monitor and control. Arduino may be the way I go, but I could also see a Raspberry Pi or perhaps my old Soekris net4801 pulling the control systems lifting.

My intention is to have completed each of these projects before I can finally, after way too much education, claim to have completed a degree. Stay tuned.

Finally an A

Engineering Alloys is complete, and I finally got an actual A. No curve required, I knocked that class out of the park. Perhaps my brain still has some use left in it.

Going to California

Any excuse to listen to Led Zeppelin is good enough for me, thus the post title. Really though, I figured I ought to write something about my Memorial Day weekend trip to the Los Angeles area. Frequent flyer miles got me there with minimal cost. I actually spent less on my motel room and rental car than I would have on the flight itself without frequent flyer miles. Of course, I more than made up for the difference trying to find the bottom of every bottle of Booker’s bourbon within 20 miles of Glendale.

The real reason for my trip was to visit my childhood best friend, Andrew. We figured out that it had been eight years since we had last hung out while drinking some local IPA in a bar he frequents in Burbank. Fortunately, it was like we never missed a beat. He is doing well for himself, and his family. I will not let another eight years pass between visits.

A secondary mission was to shoot a ton of film with several models who had contacted me about working together. Every single one of them flaked. I am not impressed, California. Rather than waste the 13 rolls of film I brought with me, I just finished the roll of 35mm film that was already loaded in my favorite little rangefinder on a walk around Glendale.

In the end, I enjoyed my time in California. The weather was great, and I didn’t swat at a single mosquito the entire time I was there. I got to see Andrew, and a few other people I have met online over the years. I got to experience first-hand just how awful traffic is in Los Angeles (home to some of the slowest drivers I have ever encountered, no wonder the motorcycles lane-split there). Next time I go, I will be on two wheels to enjoy the twisty bits.

Around

Jessa

How I went this long without shooting my lovely friend Jessa again is beyond me. Austin is not that far away, and school is what it is. From now on, I will not make the mistake of staying so distant. Here are a few shots from our first reunion in far too long, a spontaneous after-lunch shoot with a few of my film cameras I don’t travel without.

Jessa

Jessa

Jessa

Jessa

Jessa

Jessa

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