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So we went a bit mad and bought a 1963 Mini, intending to rebuild it and enjoy driving it. Except we haven't made much progress in the actual rebuilding stage, because we've been buying all the tools and upgrading the workshop.

First up we needed a parts washer, so an old dishwasher was modified to do the job. Then a media blasting cabinet was built, which meant we needed a larger compressor, and of course all the fun air tools (air chisel, flanging tool, drill, die grinder, etc).

The old MIG welder has been upgraded to fan-forced cooling, and a giant Argon/CO2 bottle installed. A Mini is mostly held together with spot welds, so we bought a handheld spot welder.

Upgrading the wiring in the workshop to handle all the new toys meant putting in a dedicated 30 Amp circuit for the welders, plus a bunch of extra power outlets, along with double the number of fluorescent lights.

It seems every time we start working on something, we come up against the lack of another tool. So much so that we're talking about doing another Mini once this one is finished- the second one should be much easier.

Int eh US

May. 23rd, 2012 06:24 pm
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Hullo all! We're in Seattle for a brief holiday, so far we've been camping with the Border Riders and one Rainbow (Wayne), been to the Microsoft campus where all the happiness was drained from our souls and my Nexus phone crashed and needed rebooting (it's NEVER done that before. Spooky.)

The next few days are a bit hectic- still plenty of people to catch up with and lots to do! And then we're in Napa for relaxation. Yay!
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I just saw Martin Scorsese's "Hugo". For a film giving tribute to the early pioneers of the medium, is sure goes out of its way to ignore established conventions of character and plot development, and wholly disregards current film language and pacing. The whole thing, from beginning to end, is a plodding, plot-defying montage of cameos and set pieces, drenched in the highest of fructose eye candy.

(I'd warn you of SPOILERS here, except the plot is so disjointed and secondary to the pretty images that it's pretty much spoiled from the start.)

The writing and dialogue is execrable: for example, if someone takes the most important thing in the world from you and wants to know why they should give it back, "Because it's mine" is a terrible answer. (Admittedly, saying "Because it was my dead father's and means a lot to me, and it's the key to finishing the restoration of a very complicated automaton" would have effectively ended the movie then and there.) If someone said "You're a thief!" to you, perhaps "My Father is dead and my Uncle is an alcoholic, and I have kept the station clocks maintained and running for months on my own- I only take food to keep myself alive" would be a more believable answer than shouting "No I'm not!" and running away. Again, if you have to resort to this sort of pathetic dialogue to keep the plot of your movie going, perhaps you need a better writer. And maybe a director who can stop wanking to the pretty pictures long enough to ask if the movie makes any sense.

Modern film has a language- you tell the story to the audience as much through camera work, pacing, and shot construction as through dialogue. Modern audiences are very aware of this, and when a director ignores that film language and relies on dialogue, it comes out sounding clunky and contrived no matter how visually compelling the associated images.
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Much business around the house- in the last 2 days I have:
-Installed an extension to the kitchen shelves
-made a coffee whacker (for emptying out the coffee grounds from the espresso handle)
-cast 2 more garden steps (4 to go!!)
-cast 5 more pavers (273 to go!)
-Modified the first of our 8 window sashes to accept modern double glazing units and draught excluders.
-Installed a rack to organise the pan lids in the kitchen drawer.

There's plenty more fun things to do (like re-wiring the lighting circuit, installing the ceiling fan, and vast quantities of dirt to be shovelled in the garden) but I might take a break tomorrow.
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I'm working on projections and graphics for another play (Theatre, dahlink). It's fun to see that I haven't lost any of the old skills, all my hotkeys are still in muscle memory, and I still have a huge library of stock footage, fonts, and effects.

Unfortunately I've also been reminded what it's like working with your typical creative director who thinks in words and concepts, not in pictures. Translating and negotiating a mood or feeling into something I can put on a computer screen is slow going, and with the play only 2 weeks away I'm beginning to get alarmed. Which means I'm starting to procrastinate.

Hell, I'm even posting to LJ. It must be bad.
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Well hello internet, yes it has been a while, about a weekend I believe. I didn't miss you all that much. Sorry.

Badger was awesome this year. 50 will do that (Hi Jason!), and I'll say more later, but there's something special about being able to bawl your eyes out in front of 200(?) dirty leathery bikers and receive nothing but support and camaraderie. Beast missed a good one.

Sous vide

Jul. 20th, 2011 11:46 pm
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From Instant Upload

Brian has gone mad. He's ordered a bunch of parts and assembled them into a smart temperature controller capable of keeping a water bath at a VERY precise temperature for hours on end.

Perfect for sous vide cooking then. Tomorrow we shall have perfect eggs for breakfast. Or salmonella poisoning. (We've read the books, done the research, and are doing it properly, so not much chance of that happening.)

Speaking of reading the book: Douglas Baldwin has an excellent online guide to sous vide cooking here. Lots of geekery inside. Very excited.

(In the photo above we're testing it with the kettle as a water bath, but for reals will be using the deep fryer or the crock pot.)


Jul. 14th, 2011 11:18 am
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We have the technology!

Well, half of it. The PID temperature controller is still on a rowboat from the US, so our sous vide ambitions have been delayed. In the meantime, I shall vacuum pack EVERYTHING IN THE FRIDGE just because I can.
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Having recently been assimilated into the Apple borg I still haven't reached raving fanboy status, and probably never will.

I do, however, keep noticing mind-boggling design features on my Macbook Air. I mean, apart from being as thin as a Ginsu and utterly rigid. Today I just noticed that the sprung retaining clips in the USB ports are not the usual cheap stamped steel things, they appear to be honest to god ball bearings with springs behind them.

The retaining clips on my USB ports will outlast religion. It's ludicrous, ridiculous, and factors beyond overkill- and it pushes all my buttons.

The ports themselves, however, are still full of dust.
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Just a quick update, we've arrived in Melbourne just fine, Matt is taking us around the city on an orientation tour. Saunas, gay bars, shopping- just the essentials.

I think we're going back in tomorrow, since I have Bear New Zealand flyers to distribute and gorilla feet shoes to buy. Maybe.

Posted via LjBeetle

Club Kooky!

Jun. 6th, 2011 06:09 pm
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Club Kooky, Seymour and Gemma's big bouncy love child, is 16 years old, and to celebrate they put on a wee shindig at the Sydney Opera House.

Club Kooky (at) Opera House. The statement itself is made of pure awesome, and I grinned all the way to the ticket store, and bounced all the way back. Figuratively speaking, of course, since ticket sales were online.

And just in case the Opera House wasn't cool enough, Sydney's Vivid festival of light was on in and around Circular Quay, with flame cannons, light shows, and the Opera House itself transformed into a psychedelic light art showcase, with a bank of giant projectors turning the shells into enormous displays. Perfect for Kooky's shiny happy presence.

Seymour and Gemma doing their musical magic

The foyer was packed with happy, huggy, chatty Kooksters bringing joy with all manner of outlandish outfits. The dance floor was heaving all night long, the music breaking for the odd outrageous burlesque performance (Glitta Supernova lived up to her name in spectacular and entertaining fashion, while the bar manager in me shuddered at the thought of cleaning up that mountain of glitter) which only served to work the crowd into a new frenzy.

The dance floor, going off.

You also meet the nicest people at Kooky. Diablo, Jonny himself, even a random Irishman who, like all Irishmen, seemed to know Robbie, and delighted in winding us up...

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Oh yes, apart from email or facebook or commenting here (all of which will be delivered instantly to my phone) you could try and call or text me on:

+61 450 732 924

But not right now. I'm going to sleep.
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Hello Sydney!

Yes, we made it in one piece, though the effects of 2 hours jet lag and getting up at the crack of 8am have turned us into sad old farts who have gone to bed far too early. We're missing the Sydney Leather groups "Cattle Prod" party, but with Club Kooky tomorrow we should make our quota of partying this weekend.

Oxford street hasn't changed much since I was last here in 2005. Still dark and seedy and full of drunk kids and beggars, with doorways that smell like wee. Reminds me of home.

Much like the Oxford, though the last time I was there my feet stuck to the manky carpet. Now it's all white terrazzo and colour changing LEDs, and a hefty dose of reverb to keep things interesting. Nice to see Grant's Harbour City Bears artwork on the wall and hanging from the ceiling though!

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Last minute packing! By tonight we'll be in Sydney, hoping to catch up with a few Sydneysiders before we leave on Tuesday. Before then though we're going to Club Kooky's big 16th birthday bash, being held at the Opera House. This is one I'm very much looking forward to- apart from the chance to see Jonny play on his home turf, Kooky parties have always been a heap of fun, and this one looks set to be exceptional.


I'll post my new Aussie phone number once I get there.
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Breakfast TV was rather tasty this morning.

In other news we're off to Aussie tomorrow, looking forward to a great Kooky party with Johnny at the Opera House, and then to Melbourne for Hibearnation and... Kylie! Woohoo!

Posted via LjBeetle


Jun. 1st, 2011 01:59 pm
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Wednesday at the AA (cars, not gin) is massage day, and if the massage lady chooses to play Casio keyboard elevator classics, I'm not exactly going to complain. I might mention it on LJ though.
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So it finally got cold enough to crank up the coal stove, though Brian insists on calling it a wood burner and freaking out whenever I put coal into it. Says it makes him feel positively industrial revolution or something.

Anyway, the delightful fireplace heats the house (as long as we point a fan at it to stir up the air) and boils the water in the hot water cylinder. Literally boils it, with a sudden and terrifying gu-BLUP! sound and accompanying screams from whoever is in the shower, as their flesh is blanched from their bones.

Posted via LjBeetle
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Actually I'm testing the LJbeetle Android app- I'll be impressed if the photos actually show up!

Posted via LjBeetle
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The last few days have been all about revamping the workshop- finishing the interior walls, adding as many shelves as will fit, and building a proper workbench.

It's kind of fun, and starting to take shape.
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Hello friend,

My name is Archangel GABRIEL, and I write to You today with great News.
I has come to My attention that due to an Oversight at the pearly gates (HEAVEN) that Your name was overpassed the list of Peoples to win a fabulous all expenses paid rapturing to HEAVEN.

On behalf of GOD and the great Pastor Camping I apologise for mistakes, but urge You to act now to remedy this situation.

While we are of course waiting abated to RAPTURE You at your Earliest Expediency, there is some small matter of paperwork needed for remedying the situation. At this junction we implore you to confirm in email:

you NAME,
and to provide a scan of your (signed) DRIVING LICENSE, PASSPORT, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program card.

this will allow our office to confirm your actuality and hasten the RAPTURING process.

I must use this opportunity and medium to implore You to exercise the utmost indulgence to keep this Matter extraordinarily confidential, while I await your prompt response.


Best Regards, GABRIEL (archangel).
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