The Big Think

August 30, 2006

Shop of Dreams

Filed under: Mad Science — jasony @ 9:20 am

In Menlo Park, no less.

Make magazine has opened their TechShop. and I feel a little lightheaded. The TechShop is:

a membership-based drop-in workshop in Menlo Park on the San Francisco peninsula that provides members with access to a full range of hand tools and machines to safely perform practically any task any DIY project. The equipment at TechShop includes welders, milling machines, lathes, drill presses, band saws, sheet metal equipment, a 3D printer and laser cutter, vacuum forming system, presses, an electronics lab, sandblaster, air tools, and just about every other tool that a Maker would ever need.

TechShop also offers a wide variety of classes for members and non-members of all ages and skill levels in topics including soldering, welding, machining, CAD, 3D printing, laser cutting and etching, electronics, robotics, hacking, Legos and VEX, programming, green materials and design, sheet metal fabrication, plastics, and so much more.

The most exciting part of TechShop is the community that is already springing up around it. With nearly a thousand people on the mailing list for membership and classes, and over a hundred people who want to teach classes at TechShop, there will be a lot of really smart and interesting people hanging out there all the time.

How much is a membership, and will you open one across the street? I’ll never leave. Hey Sean, how about a plane trip to Menlo Park?

I should go lie down, I’m hyperventilating.

August 28, 2006

Duck and Cover

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 4:28 pm

A thoroughly depressing read on the future of the Middle East if Iran goes nuclear.

That’s Entertainment

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 3:13 pm

Entertainment, or cruel and unusual punishment? Either way, I’m glad this is happening. 🙂

August 27, 2006

Cast Picture

Filed under: Audio — jasony @ 2:11 pm

Here’s a cast picture from the short film I ran sound for yesterday. It’s entitled “The Body” and you’ll be able to see a snippet here in a month or so when we’re through editing and posting it.
You can see more pictures here (link fixed).

August 26, 2006

Sound Man

Filed under: Audio — jasony @ 9:54 pm

Another great day as a sound/boom man today. 14 hours, but with a fantastic crew, a great director, and a funny story (in a beautiful house, no less). They went Cadillac with the equipment list and I got to work with some truly high-end stuff (it may not look like much, but that little beauty is two thousand dollars. The wireless mics (2) that came with it were three grand. Each). This is all pro-est of the pro and worth it for when you’re bashing around a set. All together, I had about 10K in audio gear hanging around my neck all day. And we got great sound.

It’s so nice when the director gets it. Excuse me while I go and replenish the five gallons of fluid I lost today in the hot texas sun.

August 24, 2006

Simple Courage

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 4:46 pm

I just finished listening to a podcast by Moira Gunn (Tech Nation). She interviews author Frank Delaney about his book Simple Courage. It’s the story of an amazing rescue at sea.

I was sitting at Barnes and Noble while listening (yes, I’m one of the Pod People) and was absolutely rapt for 36 minutes. If you love stories like Shackelton or Peary, you’ll love Frank Delaney’s Simple Courage. Do yourself a favor. Take 30 minutes and listen to this amazing story.

Simple Courage podcast direct link.


Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 9:50 am

Just a link for my own edification. Search multiple online sales sites (Amazon, craigslist, etc) on Mpire.

August 23, 2006

Life is Too Precious to Be Enjoyed

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 3:02 pm

via the Onion.

August 22, 2006

Potato Cannon Revisited!

Filed under: Mad Science — jasony @ 12:02 am

Sean has edited together and posted the video from our most recent Mad Science Experiment: Potato Cannon!

Say, I just realized that this is episode 3 of our Mad Science chronicles. Sean is talking about theme music, and I think we need to upgrade to lav mics (which I may be getting in awhile for film work). What about a better camera? Could syndication be in our future? Or are we too late?

August 21, 2006

Dark Matter

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 9:34 pm

Proof of Dark Matter discovered.


Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 8:54 am


August 18, 2006

The Grapes of Wrath

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:35 am

Well, the freezer isn’t any better, unfortunately. But that’s been the least of my worries the last few days. It seems that our old friend staphylococcus aureus decided to pay us a visit. We had bought some grapes from HEB that ended up being… tainted. They’re at the HEB lab right now to confirm it, but they were the only thing that I had to eat in about 10 hours. The HEB folks were very understanding and nice about it and agreed to have the grapes tested and get back to us in 72 hours, but according to all the info we’ve been able to glean from online, my symptoms are consistent with a bad case of food poisoning. I’m on the mend now but it’ll still be a few days before I feel really normal. Ugh…
In the mean time, I’ll stay away from the grapes.


August 16, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:35 pm

I guess the penalty for a vacation is housework. We got home to a disaster of a lawn (it’s been dying for months as a result of some strange grassy disease that the ATT people spread around the neighborhood with their tools…. seriously. Most houses on our street have some variation of it). Not only was this disheartening, but we got a letter from the homeowner’s association telling us we need to re-sod our lawn. I sent them back a nice note telling them I’ll gladly do it when I can be sure the new grass won’t face the same fate.

I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time flaunting the watering restrictions lately trying to get our grass back in shape. So far it’s only prolonged the agony. Now instead of dead grass, we’ve got a yard of pitifully dying brown stuff begging to be put out of its misery.

To top it off, I went to the freezer tonight and discovered that it wasn’t working. What should be a nice crisp 0-degree compartment is a balmy 30 degrees… and rising. Oh well, we’ll eat the chicken soon. Luckily, the freezer is still about 2 months inside of its five year warranty. If I can only find the receipt. In the attic. In one of several boxes… on heat-sensitive paper. Uh-oh.

Tomorrow, I anticipate that my car won’t start and the fish will die. Stay tuned.


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 7:46 am

Just when I discover a great new blog, the writer goes on indefinite hiatus.

August 15, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 8:41 am

Yes, it’s been awhile since my last post. That’s because Erin and I took a road trip up to Nebraska to see her best friend Anne. We also stopped by Robert and Amy’s place (that seems like such a long time ago!), and dropped in on a friend of mine from my Eagle Lake days. More stories and some pictures once we get all the laundry done and get some sleep. 2050 miles. Hooray for the Honda!

August 2, 2006

Grandma Bea

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 6:54 pm

I was lucky enough to grow up with both sets of grandparents. My paternal grandparents (Nana and Grandpa) lived in Parker, Arizona, not far from the Colorado River. I have fond memories of summers spent exploring the desert hills, riding with grandpa in his red dune buggy, and shooting old beer cans with a .22 rifle. We lost grandpa to cancer when I was around 8 and it’s the very first funeral I attended. Military funeral. Even now if I see a military funeral depicted in the movies or on TV I get choked up.

Mom’s parents lived a more peripatetic life. They would routinely travel the retiree highway every summer from their home in Bakersfield, California to Lake Klamath, Oregon for Grandpa’s beloved fishing trips. To this day, if I picture them, it’s in their motor home with their little lapdog Scooter. Going on vacations with them was great for a little kid, and I’m sure my desire to drive around the country in an RV was sparked back then.

Grandpa Tiny (long and hush-hush story behind that nickname… we kids only knew to NEVER call him that to his face!) and Grandma Bea were the ones who sent me those “Congratulations, you’re [age]!” birthday cards in the mail where you would turn the spinning round wheel to get your age to show through the little window. When Grandpa Tiny died some years ago, Grandma continued the tradition, simply writing a number next to the wheel on the card so that I could still get my correct age. Guess she bought a bunch of them years ago and didn’t want any to go to waste.

“Congratulations! You’re (3)6!”

I always looked forward to her little kid cards, even when I got out of college. Like all grandparents, she believed in sending the grandkids money for their birthday, and I laughed when I got a check for $1 when I was at Baylor. I kept that check around for a long time until my mom finally made me cash it. She was afraid Grandma Bea would worry that it got lost in the mail and send me another one.

Grandma Bea and I had written more letters in recent years as I grew into adulthood and as she grew gracefully into old age. She moved in with her sister when her husband died and she always had lots of things to tell me in her letters. Mostly trivial stuff about how she and Angie liked to go play bingo, or how they would go walking at the mall. Nothing special. Occasionally she would include a doily that she’d knitted. You can never have too many doilies, I guess. She was always grateful for my letters to her. Erin and I started printing out pictures to go along with the letters, and I even used some software to make an “Erin and Jason Newsletter” with pictures and faux news “stories” a few months ago that told her what was going on in our lives. Nothing special- just a letter from her grandson. I got a letter from her a few weeks ago. Weather’s hot. I enjoy living with my sister. We walk around the mall. The flowers are growing in nicely. Looking forward to September.


Grandma was planning a trip to Texas this September to see everyone. It would have been the very first time she had met her great-great grandkids (my brother’s children), the first time to meet my wife Erin (who was, in turn, fascinated to meet her), and her first trip to Texas in over 20 years. My mom and dad tell me that it was all she talked about for the last few months. She was going to fly into Dallas and spend some time up there seeing everyone, and then she and mom and dad would drive the 200 miles to Austin where we could show her around town. We were really looking forward to it.

Unfortunately, life had other plans. Grandma went in for a checkup a few weeks ago after suffering from some unusual memory lapses and some other symptoms. The doctors discovered a tumor on her brain. She opted for the risky surgery-and-hope-for-a-full-cure approach instead of the inevitability of the do-nothing-and-wait-for-entropy-to-win approach. I admire the fact that, at 82, she was still proactive about her life, approaching each decision with a clear head and a strong faith. When the surgery didn’t go as planned, she and my mother (and mom’s brother) decided to let nature run its course. Dad told me that Grandma passed away this afternoon about 3:30. I was thinking about her at that exact time.

I’m sad that I won’t get to see Grandma Bea again. I’m sad that Erin will never get to meet her or that grandma will never get to meet her great grandchildren (“this side of Heaven”, she’d say). Even though she didn’t play as big a part in my life as some grandparents do, I’ll miss her.

Goodbye grandma.


Digital Acting

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 12:30 pm

An interesting article about how choosing to shoot a movie digitally effects (affects? I never can remember) the acting process. I’ve never been on an actual “film” shoot, personally. All of the projects I’ve worked on have been on that thar newfangled digital stuff. I can say, however, that not having to worry about $2.50/minute stock running through the camera relieves some of the time pressure on set. And it’s nice to be able to redo a take for some small reason, or get a safety take. I think it makes directors more willing to fix stuff at the recording stage (door slam off camera, airplane, cellphone ring, etc) rather than say they’ll “fix it in the mix”. Argh. That’s always LOTS harder/more time consuming/more expensive than doing it right at the shooting stage.

I’m posting a project right now that we shot a month or so ago. I was the sound recordist on set and tried hard to get clean sound in the middle of downtown Austin by busy streets. It was frustrating at the time waiting for the lull in traffic in order to get as quiet a shot as possible, but it’s paying dividends now. There’s only one shot that will need some sort of major surgery/fix/workaround. Every other shot (there are about 35) is relatively clean. Thanks to a patient and understanding director, my job is much easier now, and the project will ultimately be better.

August 1, 2006

A Teacher’s Revenge

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:28 pm

I have an education degree from Baylor University. I’m certified to teach K-12 in music/choral/band/orchestra/whatever. One of the reasons that I don’t teach is because of the ridiculous state of our schools, bad student discipline, and the increasing handcuffing that our teachers put up with when the state (or some recent lawsuit) scares teachers into backing off on discipline (give ’em the ruler across the knuckles, I say!). Anyway, I love what I do now so much more than being trapped in a small room with 50 kids all day.

I always laugh when I come across stories when the teacher wins a small victory. John Christian Hoyle’s, a teacher, tells this most satisfying story about putting a school bully in his place. Beautiful.


Filed under: Games,Macintosh — jasony @ 9:10 am

TUAW has the skinny on the new Apple 1984 ad that is being recreated in a Lego set! Complete with a backlit movie screen (and screaming head, apparently- it’s Byad Man!)

There are only 100 of these custom made kits available and they’re selling for $198.99 each. That guy is going to make a killing on these things and they’ll probably sell out in a few minutes.

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