Archive for the ‘Misc Interests’ Category

Valentine’s Day Gift, Wasps, and Bees

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

It has been over a month since Valentine’s Day, but I really liked my gift. It was not jewelry, flowers for the garden, or candy.

I was given this–

Wasp Nest

Yep, it is a paper wasps’ nest.

wasps nest

Detail of Wasps’ Nest

Wasp Nest.

Flip Side of the Wasps’ Nest.

The wasps’ nest was found at the airport, under the wing of this plane–

plane

Fouga CM.170 Magister is a 2 Seat, 2 Engine, French Military Plane

plane

The Yellow Arrow Points to the Previous Location of the Nest

Wasps can be particularly dangerous for 3 reasons–

Wasps like to build nest in air vents. When the plane is in flight, if the pilot opens the air vent the result can be a swarm of wasps inside the cockpit.

Wasps will make their nests in fuel vents preventing air getting into the fuel tank and the engine starves. If you have no gas in the engine it will stop running.

If wasps make their nests in a pitot tube, there will be no air speed indication. What does this mean?

The way you get an airspeed indication is that air pushes into the pitot tube and moves the dial in the airplane. If no air gets into the pitot tube, then airspeed reads zero.


Plane Seats

The interior of the Fouga is quite small, a bit claustrophobic. It was a plane used for instruction, with the instructor seated behind the student.

The plane was most likely built in the 50s.

Volvo

The interior reminds me a bit of my 1968 Volvo.


The plane information was supplied by Touring Machine. I supplied graphics for the site, including a six pack simulator for Unusual Attitudes.
Six Pack

I made the six pack instrument graphics in Flash. Each instrument has multiple layers so they could function properly. I handed off the graphics to the programmer, Michael Whipp.


Last week I read a CBS News story about bees causing a flight delay.

This is a screenshot of the image that accompanied the article.

Bees Delay Flight

Yep, bees can be just as dangerous as wasps.


Beyond the Pale

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Recently the expression, “beyond the pale” has been used numerous times in reference to numerous things said by the republican presidential candidate. Yes that is numerous and numerous.

I knew what “beyond the pale” meant in the context, but did not know the origin.

Of course I did a google search. I found this great site, The Phrase Finder.

According to the site, beyond the pale is defined as the following:

This ‘pale’ is the noun meaning ‘a stake or pointed piece of wood’, a meaning now virtually obsolete except as used in this phrase, but still in use in the associated words ‘paling’ (as in paling fence) and ‘impale’ (as in Dracula movies).

The space within the paling fence was safe. Beyond the pale, not so much. Unless, protection becomes a trap.

I do like sharp and pointy things, so I am delighted with the definition. Several years ago I made the series Tools for Rent. It consisted of 11 bronze daggers, each bound into a cedar box.

Tools For Rent Dagger 2

The Phrase Finder is a truly fun site to find meanings and origins of phrases you may be using and to find phrases you might like to add to your future conversations.

Pale is also a homophone (pail), so that could have possibly lead to some confusion. Loads of words when heard can be confused for other words.

A few confusion words in the previous paragraph:
so (sew)
Some (sum)
heard (herd)
for (four)

I will end with this quote from The Phrase Finder site bulletin:

The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones.

From Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare


Agave

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Agave Leaves

Current State of Many Agave Leaves

Top of the Agave

Top of the Agave Has a Tilt

Agave Seed Pod

Inside of an Agave Seed Pod


There are loads of critters living on and around the agave. The spider in the following photo has a huge web between sections of the agave. When the spider saw me, it tucked in its legs. When I moved in for a closer look, it skittered to its hiding space among some seed pods.

Agave and Spider

Spider Living in Agave


Powdery Mildew

Friday, August 28th, 2015

A month ago I bought a begonia boliviensis. Very beautiful plant. I had’t even popped it in the ground yet, when I noticed the flowers were dropping. According to what I read that is not uncommon.

Begonia

Then I noticed powdery mildew. A small bit of powdery mildew can be seen in the upper most leaf. I couldn’t remember how to treat it, so I googled it. Everything I read stated that the plant should be destroyed.

I contacted a friend and he suggested:

“…a mixture of 8oz isopropyl alcohol (70%), 8oz water, 1 Tbsp Dr. Bronners Peppermint castille soap. It works really well on arthropod pests but also has a slight fungicidal effect. Fairly non-toxic to boot.”

I do love peppermint soap, so I gave it a try. Shortly after the application all of the leaves dropped.

This week I started to feel a bit positive about saving the plant. There are a few new leaves.

Begonia after treatment

The leaves appear to be healthy and clear of powdery mildew. Now I wait.


The Agave Today–August 28, 2015

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Agave

This is How the Agave Looks Today.

Agave Pod Litter

Agave Pod Litter

Agave Seeds

The seed pod was not mature, but I took a look inside.


Don’t Piece in Progress

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

I started the Don’t piece after watching Blink one of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who. The episode introduces the Weeping Angels, sculpture that isn’t really sculpture. When you blink or look away the Weeping Angels move. When they move they are dangerous.

In the episode Weeping Angels also known as the Lonely Assasins are explained:

“You die in the past, and in the present, they consume the energy of all of the days you might have had-and your stolen moments. They live off potential energy.”

What if you approached viewing art in the same way? Well, not with the fear that you might be sent back in time to die, but to really look. To see what is there, you must look. Not give the art work a passing glance, but really look at it. What about being a version of the Weeping Angels by snagging some of the energy put into the work by the artist…

I started a piece that has coded into it, “Don’t turn your back, Don’t look away, Don’t blink” some of the warnings in the episode.

Dont

I used color for the dots and dashes of Morse Code–rust yarn for dots, gray for dashes, and cream for spacers.

I cut the squares of mirror in half because after wrapping the hardware cloth with cream wool they were too large. And I like the idea of sharp edges.

Dont Code Detail

The frame will be bound to the coded piece. Actually the frame has code as well. The frame has the repeated word, see.

Dont Frame

The plan is to age and wax the coded piece and the frame. Then bind the two pieces together and the binding.

Dont With Frame


Wool and Safety Pins

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

What happens when you find a stash of safety pins? What do you do with them?

Safety Pins

Had just make a rope and wool yarn bowl for a birthday present.

Birthday Bowl

I enjoyed making the bowl. A nice break from making wall pieces. I wrapped rope with cream wool yarn so the cotton rope would not peek through.

Formed the bowl by binding it with cream wool. Added additional binding in cream, gray, and brown. It is code for the person’s name and their date of birth.

Back to the safety pins–I decided to make I-cords, full them, and then pin them together to make a bowl. I pinned the cream wool I-cord together and took it apart 3 times. Just couldn’t get it quite right.

Cream Bowl

While I was working on putting the cream bowl together and taking it apart, I made two smaller pieces.

The I-cord is made of gray and cream wool yarn.

Gray Bowl

The exterior of the bowl.

Gray Bowl

Then I flipped it inside out.

Gray Bowl

I tried the same process using two kinds of brown wool yarn.

Brown Bowl

Exterior of the bowl.

Brown Bowl

Flipped inside out.

Brown Bowl

Flipping the bowl inside out was the solution. After finishing the pinning of the cream bowl, I flipped it inside out.

Cream Bowl

Once the bowl is aged and then stiffened I think it will be done.


How to age the bowls?

Test 1 Rust Promoter
4.0 parts white vinegar
1.0 part peroxide
.5 part salt

Test 1

Test 2
1 Tablespoon epsom salt in boiling water. Submerged the piece. Then added another tablespoon of epsom salt.

Test 2

This really did not work. It seems to have cleaned the oxidation off of the safety pins. The result brought to mind the ugly surface of silicon bronze when it is sandblasted.

Test 2

Rust and bleeding onto the wool is definitely necessary.

When I finish adding some age to the bowls, I will most likely add an application of faux beeswax. Adding an all over application tends to help integrate the materials.

After the wax is applied a heat gun can be used. With some wax a hair dryer can be hot enough. It takes longer but, it is worth it to keep the integrity of the wool. I have found that microcrystalline wax requires a higher temperature and the wool can appear plastic.

I have attempted making cold wax, but still need to heat the piece to smooth out thick areas.


Rust Promoter Formula

It occurred to me that I did not give credit to the person who posted the rust promoter formula. I found the formula several years ago. I looked through my notes and sketchbooks, but I could not find reference to the formula or the fellow’s name. He made beautiful bells and used the rust promoter to give the appearance of age.

While writing this post, I googled bells and rust promoter, but did not find his site. When I find it, I will post a link.


Focaccia Mold

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

Apparently my focaccia with basil and black grapes do not go over well.

But what beautiful mold!

Focaccia Mold


Brain Injury and Donation

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Yesterday The Fussy Librarian and BookGorilla had an offer for a book written by a person who wrote about their brain aneurysm experience. I read the chapters posted on Amazon. Then I read the reviews. One reviewer recommended My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey. Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. is the author.

The first person I knew who had a brain injury was my nephew. He was 18 months old and while in a diabetic coma sustained brain damage. The second person was a woman I worked with who had a brain aneurysm. Members of my family have been diagnosed with dementia. Whether it is an unexpected injury or the gradual loss of function with dementia, brain injury does change the person. Their family and friends are altered by the injury as well.

Last night I started reading Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey. In the introduction she stated,

Within four brief hours, through the eyes of a curious brain anatomist (neuroanatomist), I watched my mind completely deteriorate in its ability to process information. By the end of that morning, I could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of my life.

That scares the hell out of me. The thought that people can be aware, but not to be able to do anything about it.

Scientists are researching how brain injuries occur, how to reduce the effects of the injuries, how to treat the injuries, and perhaps even how to prevent them. Brain donation, as part of organ donation, gives scientists the material they need to conduct their research.

In an interview with Jill Bolte Taylor, she was quoted as saying that when one becomes an organ donor the brain is not included. Special arrangements need to be made. The Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center was mentioned in the interview.

There is a list of brain and tissue banks available on the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website.

Two members of my family donated their brains for research–one was for dementia, the other was for restless legs syndrome.


Spiders and Spiders

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Not Dust on the Wall

The spiders have burst from their egg sac.

Spiders and Egg Sac

Spiders and Spiders

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