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I'd like to be a tree!

April 11, 2011 10:01 AM 4/11/11

So I heard from my friend in Tokyo and despite the radioactive tentacle monsters and zombies he’s holding on and keeping his sense of humor. To wit - “Signing in from bouncing Tokyo, where we havent felt a tremor in a half hour!”. Good to know because I was worried about him.

He did point out to me that I need to post at least something every so often simply because it keeps my stream of consciousness from fragmenting. And as usual the bastard is right on target. ;-) So I’ll try and post things in-between looking for jobs and house stuff but everything else unfortunately has to remain on hold.

As expected with gooberment functions unemployment got it wrong. (Or I did when certifying over the phone.) So they overpaid me by one week even though I had waived that week. This put me in the unpleasant position of calling them to arrange to give them back money. (I’ve had friends get really hosed in the past by not correcting this situation so I made damn sure I corrected it.) They’re sending me a form and I’ll send them a check when I get it.

In better news there’s still hope of me getting the Linux Admin job. I really really want that job because it sounds perfect for me. Supposedly it’s completely casual and it’s not far from where I drove to for a decade. I just hope I can get an early morning shift but I’m not going to argue if they want to put me on a different one. The place sounds cool and like a place I’d love to work at.

It’s strange. I originally said I didn’t want to go back into I/T but honestly that’s not true either. I love working with computers but the last decade really beat the tar out of me. This job sounds like a breath of fresh air. Hell even if they have a support rotation I’ll gladly accept.

I just hope being a greymane so to speak isn’t an issue.

I don’t know. Honestly like most recruiter jobs information is thin until you get to see the client. I think I can easily fit their needs though.

Went with a good friend to the local library book sale and got a good smattering of both fiction and non-fiction. Among the non-fiction was a beginning book on molecular biology which I’ve always been curious about AND two books on Structured COBOL by a guy named Tyler Welburn as well as a CICS programmer’s reference. Cool stuff! And there are free COBOL compilers out there so I can re-live the cramped hands/grid paper days of my youth if I so choose. I also got a book on Perl and some other things.

In the fiction arena I picked up the first two volumes of the Complete Hammer’s Slammers as well as a couple of Bill Baldwin novels. Most of what I got though was books to complete series I’d started in the past but never finished.

All-in-all it was a good haul for $10. Not that I have time to read really though.

I also took time on Saturday to drive out to Rockford, IL and pick up a couple of boxes of QBUS boards for a friend of mine. In the process I met a neat person who runs a consulting company that does VMS programming among other things. I gave him my card so hopefully something will come of that.

On the gardening front things are not started yet. I’m going to be starting seeds here this week hopefully in yogurt cups on window sills but nothing has been done in the yard yet. I figured out last night I’ll probably need to pick up a couple more rolls of landscape fabric and dirt for the raised bed in the side yard. I can’t till in that area because the sump pump pipe goes right through there and is grandfathered with the city so I don’t want to disturb it. A raised bed is better anyway. I just need to figure out where to get the black dirt.

Behind the workshop though I can till if I want to and might just do that. I need to stop by my friend’s house and talk to his parents. Partly to find out what his mom does when starting plants and partly to find out where they got their dirt from. His mom is an excellent gardener and a master one for vegetable growing even if she doesn’t admit it.

The sewing machine is pretty much repaired at this point though I still may replace the power cord eventually. Now I just need to get it into the house so I can start using it because we have a number of things to sew around here. For practice though I’m going to sew a bunch of completely geeky things. Dice bags. They’re simple, I can use different stitches on them, and I can give them away to geeky friends. The perfect thing for a beginning sewing geek to practice on.

Roomba repairs however are not doing so well. To date I have yet to complete one successful repair. I think I”m overheating the area with the iron. I haven’t had much practice but I think I’m going to try using the hot air rework station to remove the old mosfets on this last unit. If that works then so much the better. I wouldn’t mind repairing these for other people but mostly I want them repaired for myself.

But even if I can’t repair the charging circuits I may have other uses for them. I’ve always wanted a robotic lawn mower and for that I’d use a completely different charging circuit so I could easily convert one of the existing Roombas to do that.

In closing the heirloom tomato plant seems to have given up the ghost and not survived the winter but the cherry tomato plant looks like it’ll be just fine outside once the weather warms up. I just need it to be in the 50’s at night before I can start to put things out there.

In the weird ideas department I have figured out that you can make a house that looks like a giant tree. Check this idea out:

1) Use the same concrete pad+rebar method that people use for monolithic concrete domes for the base except bend the rebar out rather than in.

2) Weld cross-pieces and framework for support to create a metal structure two stories high that looks like a tree in shape.

3) Place a plastic Tyvek barrier on the outside and spray foam in the spaces between the framework.

4) On the outside bolt contoured wood 1” square strips horizontally to the framework from the bottom of the structure to the top. Place them far enough apart for proper shingle placement.

5) Spray foam in-between the strips.

6) Attach cedar shake shingles to the strips covering the outside.

7) On top for the roof create a metal domed framework and cover it with a simple wood roof. (Design in a roof hatch for maintenance.)

8) On top of the roof and on the ends of all of the branches take custom cut solar panels and arrange them as if they were leaves in the branches. Make sure they’re fastened tightly against wind removal.

9) Wire them back to a DC feed down to the bottom of the structure.

10) At the bottom inside the structure create a ring of boxed space completely around the base of the structure. Place the batteries, inverter, and charge controller inside that ring. (Remember to fan+vent to the outside.)

11) Wire all necessary A/C electrical outlets and lighting.

12) Install plumbing and all fixtures.

13) Finish off interior walls using carved wood.

14) Move in.

And there you have it. A house that looks like a giant tree. And if you did the steel framework right it would be more sturdy than most homes as well. For extra points grow ivy all over the structure so it has a living coating.

Honestly you could likely make the entire thing of rebar and sprayed concrete and it would be stronger but the spirit of the tree would be lost in the structure.

Well that’s well over a thousand words of babbling so I should stop and get dressed and pay some slightly late bills. Later!

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth ( http://nimitzbrood.dreamwidth.org/228706.html ) but feel free to comment here as well.




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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Apr. 12th, 2011 10:42 am (UTC)
Tokyo Friend
Glad to hear that Ken is doing well.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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