How Not To Rush A Model
My plans to finish the Galileo shuttle model before the end of May are still
on track, despite two very serious setbacks over the last two days.
The first involves applying a dullcote over top of Future Floor Finish.
It's my first time playing with Future, and it takes longer to completely
dry than expected. In this case, applying the dullcote caused the whole
finish to crack, creating "trees" all over the place. That took a few hours
The second setback was much more serious. In an attempt to fix the
dullcote, I wetsanded the most heavily affected areas, which are those over
the massive decals supplied with the kit. Bad idea: dullcote saturates with
water, decals saturate with water, decals expand and unstick. Only one large
decal was strongly affected by this, but it still took over three hours to
fix. I had to carefully cut parts out of the decal and recreate them using
paint applied with a very fine brush. Then, the dullcote had to be carefully
matted back on top. There are still some scars from this and they will stay
to remind me never to screw up like this again.
On the bright side, I constructed the rear support leg out of brass and
it turned out extremely well. Photos coming soon.
] | posted @ 03:57 | link
Movie, Movie, Model
The weekend started off on Friday with Star Ward Episode III (funded by
Xandros). I liked it. Particularly, the opening sequence, a
several-minute-long rendered shot following two fighters, was excellent.
Also, the final moments of the Anakin-ObiWan battle were well done. The dark
aspect of the movie really set this one apart from the last two, in a good
Movie number two was Hackers. I cannot believe I went 10 years
without seeing this. Very funny. I now get all the references I've heard
over the years about "hacking the gibson." The part that made me laugh the
most was when they were showing off the "P6" laptop and were drooling over
PCI. It was all so godawfully bad.
The highlight of the last week or so must be the progress I've made on
the Galileo shuttle model. I have work-in-progress photos of it going back
to 1999, and it's been collecting dust on my bench for a long time. The
procrastination point was always the interior. However, because the sides
have warped from sitting around so long, that problem was solved; no more
interior. Instead, I put in a reinforcement structure. It's been primed,
further refined. I'm waiting for a warmer day so that I can do another coat
of primer. The goal is to finish the model before the month is out. Then I
can start a more exciting ship.
] | posted @ 05:41 | link
Friday demanded exercise. So, seeing as I needed a new stabilizer bolt (just
like May 31st last year), I got on my bike and decided to bike to Carling
Motors. Five kilometers in, my rear wheel got wobbly. At first, I thought
the wheel had shifted, but when it got worse, I got off and noticed that my
tire had actually split in several places and tube was sticking out. Not a
good way to start a trip.
Not willing to give up, I stopped at a friend's house along the way and
asked for duct tape. He brought out that, and fabric tape, which is even
better. We released some pressure on the tube, wrapped the fabric tape
tightly around the wheel (through the spokes), then covered that off with
duct tape. After that, the trip had 29km left in it, and the tape patches
I recently tried something new. I poured some Baileys into my pocket
flask and ordered a large ice-cap at Tim Hortons. I proceeded to drink about
a centimeter of the slush, then poured in the contents of the flask and gave
it a good mix. In terms of good alcoholic beverages, this could definitely
be a winner.
While yesterday was a day of relaxation, today required attendance to
church. My sister had her first communion at St. Isidore's. I don't go to
church much, and when I do it's almost always the Polish church downtown. It
always strikes me how much less formal the English churches tend to be. The
whole atmosphere of the mass at English churches is more light hearted and
less serious-feeling. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I'll take the pipe
organ to the guitars. The quote of the day comes from the priest himself:
"What this church needs is more people who are on fire." Context or no
context, that sentence stuck.
The big event of the weekend has to be the finale of Enterprise.
Did it live up to my expectations? Not quite. Did it disappoint? Not quite.
I liked the Next Generation nostalgia, but I felt the
Enterprise plot was a little weak. This seems to be the general
reaction in all the reviews I read. At the same time, a lot of people seem
disappointed by Riker looking at Archer's career to help decisions. They
say there is no connection between the two. At first I would agree, as
perhaps it was not made completely clear, but this comment really cleared it
A laughable review...
I just watched the episode. Riker's decision is supposed to parallel Trip's
decision, not Archer's. That massive misunderstanding on your behalf
completely voids your review. Get it?
Picard ~ Riker
Archer ~ Trip
Hence the final scene with Trip and Riker.
It was also nice seeing the CG Enterprise-D. Last time we saw a CG Galaxy
class starship was in DS9 in the big space battles where they had to keep
the vertex count and texture resolution low. The end result was a ship that
looked worse than the physical model used during Next Generation
Now, they had a significantly better version of it. The last scene ("These
are the voyages...") was perfect.
Wow, this one wins for length.
] | posted @ 03:59 | link
Free But Keeping Busy
I meant to post this image Tuesday evening, but wasn't in a writing mood.
Tuesday afternoon I decided to challenge myself and see how quickly I could
put together a mechanism to take digital photos remotely with my old camera.
In this case, I wanted it to be on my RC boat. Turns out it can be done in
roughly an hour, using a servo, some 14-gauge wire, and a few blocks of
I have been hacking on Evince lately, trying to get document properties
to show up in Nautilus. I have Nautilus behaving properly, showing a tab for
PDFs and anything I want in the tab. However, Evince's structure is not
sufficient for this because everything is contained in the main binary. So,
to make this work, things need to be more compartmentalized; importing the
whole binary into the library for Nautilus extension is not right.
Finally, I did some follow-up research on the Enigma, and the sign in the
museum was correct. Polish mathematicians had previously cracked the
commercial, 3-rotor Enigma. The Brits took this work and extended it to the
5-rotor version, thus cracking it.
] | posted @ 03:51 | link
Today was Mother's Day. I did the usual bit with roses and
Part of this involved going to see the Tulips around Dow's Lake. As
usual around this time they were in full blossom and drew large crowds from
all over the world. Of particular note were these bright orange ones. I
can't say I've ever seen orange tulips before.
Later, we went to the newly-opened Canadian War Museum. I had been there
yesterday for the first time, but I thought the rest of the family might
like to see it. The place has some really interesting architecture, and I
like how it doesn't completely focus on national military history. Most
national war museums would do this. This museum includes more bits from
around the world than most. I was quite satisfied with this, my father was
not. He's ready to go complain about how they got several facts wrong,
including a label that implies the Enigma machine was cracked by the
British. It was cracked in Poland by Polish people. Therefore, it was not
cracked by the British. Still, the museum is quite unique and worth the
I just made myself a good alcoholic lemonade.
- One lemon, squeezed.
- Four teaspoons of sugar.
- Liberal amounts of rum.
- Top off the 50cL glass with water.
- Two icecubes.
] | posted @ 03:55 | link
Next item on the agenda: new tires for the previously acquired rims. I had
my doubts when I got these rims because of their apparent condition: they
were very dirty, had a few nicks and scratches, had all of the middle covers
broken, and were of a different size than stock rims. Still, the price was
Today, I bit the bullet and had them done anyway. I am actually extremely
impressed with the results. They were cleaned back in the fall, which helped
their general appearance greatly. The tires now hide a lot of the scratches
along the rims. The wheels look just fine without the center pieces. The
higher width-to-height ratio feels excellent when driving. They also look
far better with tires and on the car than I predicted.
Two marks that I have been holding my breath on are finally in. I got a
B+ in DSP and an A+ on the final-year project. Certainly far off from the
F's that were circulating in the back my cerebral cortex. Tonight, I
] | posted @ 00:02 | link
The next item on my to-do list was to finish my brother's Polar Lights
Enterprise kit. So I did. It involved a glosscote, decals, and a dullcote on
the engineering hull. I am not terribly pleased with how the decals applied,
they left more silvering than I had hoped. Anyway, I was never a terribly
huge fan of the original Enterprise, and now I don't have to build and light
my larger version of it. I'm putting photos up in the Models section of my
site. Then, I can get back to the Enterprise-D, as well as numerous other
Tonight was the 350th Simpsons episode. I really feel they should have
canned Simpsons rather than Futurama...
] | posted @ 03:49 | link
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