The Big Think

November 27, 2008


Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 1:29 am

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now go get stuffed.

November 26, 2008

Jane on Thanksgiving

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 9:57 pm

Ha! My old friend Jane Hampton (old in the sense of “I knew her in college”, not “aged and decrepit) got a few minutes on national TV plugging her book and talking about Thanksgiving. I knew her when she was “Janie”. She was responsible for hiring me to write my very first Sing act in 1991, so I have a soft spot in my heart for her.

November 25, 2008

Lord Dumpling

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 11:30 pm

Dean Kamen is at it again, God bless him.

Next stop, the basement. Now you’re in the heart of the machine. Here’s the vapor-compression distiller. The vapor goes through this hose and comes into the turbine heat exchangers here and there’s no noise and no consumables and no activated charcoal and no chemicals and no filter and no membranes. It makes a million liters of water in a thousand days with no human intervention. The goal is to get volume up and cost down. Maybe Wal-Mart can help? Coca-Cola?

I swear, the man is the technology Willy Wonka.

November 24, 2008


Filed under: Space — jasony @ 9:55 am

SpaceX tested their 9 engine cluster last saturday night! What makes this a killer for me was that they tested it when I was in Waco, and it was tested at the McGregor Muni airport where I did a lot of flying for my private pilot’s license. Man! I wish I’d have known. I never heard the rumble or saw the “orange glow” that the Trib reports on, though. It would have been great to have seen it.

November 21, 2008

Test post from ipod

Filed under: Apple — jasony @ 11:06 pm

Testing the Word press iPod blogging app. Neat! I can blog from wherever there’s an Internet connection! This’ll be great for traveling though I’m sure my posts will be rather short. It’s hard to thumb type on this little keyboard.


Filed under: Hobbies — jasony @ 3:26 pm

Check out the sexy new ICON Aircraft. I wants one.

November 20, 2008

Copernicus’ Grave Found

Filed under: Science — jasony @ 3:35 pm

I didn’t even know it was lost. Still.. cool!

November 19, 2008

Join the Dark Side

Filed under: Science — jasony @ 7:18 pm

Scientists may have the first direct evidence of dark matter found through the observation of Kaluza-Klein particles (pass the Klein bottle!)

Woo hoo! Shop Tiiiiime!

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 7:13 pm

Too long away. Way too long. Today I’d had enough of sitting at the desk. I’m on my, oh, eight hundredth consecutive 10+ hour day, so after working five hours today I hit a low spot, shut everything down, and went to play in the shop for four whole hours. It seemed like fifteen minutes. I got the entertainment center tops, front, and doors all set up and spent a couple of hours meticulously masking off the glass in preparation for the finish. Then I gave everything the first coat of shellac (a very diluted wash coat that helps the dye go on uniformly). After it dries a day or so I’ll mix and apply the dye.

Total time: 169 hours.

In the Footsteps of Galileo

Filed under: Space/Astronomy — jasony @ 3:09 pm

How about this for a nerd-tastic vacation?

Python Tube

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 3:04 pm

Monty Python officially comes to YouTube!
One more step in the mass on-line-i-zation of all media.

Debt Man Walking

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:26 pm

Really interesting analysis of the current financial mess.

A Show of Hands

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 11:02 am


More here.

Huge Medical News

Filed under: Science — jasony @ 10:55 am

Woman gets part of her windpipe restored using her own stem cells. Check out this two minute news report. Bring it on!

November 17, 2008

No, YOU’RE the Man

Filed under: Movies,Music — jasony @ 9:52 pm

This is awesome. h/t Scott.


Filed under: Computing,Hobbies,Mad Science,Technology,Woodworking — jasony @ 2:47 pm

The new version of Sketchup (v 7.0) is available now. If you’re a maker, builder, tinkerer, or designer, SketchUp is THE free design tool. I couldn’t have done as good of a job on my studio or the entertainment center (not to mention many props) without this program. THANKS, GOOGLE!


Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 2:09 pm

This looks promising: Thingiverse. It’s like Flikr for things. Now all we need are universal repraps and the open source “stuff” economy will take off.

And Ten Thousand Pieces Fall Into Place

Filed under: Audio,Movies — jasony @ 12:45 pm

Get the gig. Research equipment needs. Hold breath and buy new equipment. Train on new stuff. Travel to Colorado. Shoot B-roll. Set up interviews. Lights in place? Anamorphic lens attached? Move that light, it’s too hot on his head. Whoops, there’s a shadow- gotta shift everything. Put up a blanket to block the sun. Need a reflector over here. I’m only one person! Thank wife because I’m actually not doing this alone. Get to know soldiers so they trust guy with the camera. Interview soldiers. Try not to get emotional as you hear their stories (on and off camera). Feel burdened to do them justice. Travel back from Colorado with 13 hours of footage, obsessively protecting it from every stray magnetic field and cosmic particle. Spend days importing all the footage. Spend weeks logging everything. Listen through hours of music to get exactly the right cuts. Move clips like puzzle pieces around on the timeline to tell the story. Figure out what the story actually is. Decide that wasn’t the story after all and start over. Reduce 7 hours of interviews down to 15 minutes. Further distill to 10 minutes. Cut out all but the best 6 minutes. Put everything into a logical order. Now make it all work with the music. Now cull through the 7 hours of B-roll for relevant footage. Find a great shot but spend two hours fixing part of it. Fit it into the timeline. Repeat until the story is told. Endure days of crushing self-doubt even though you’ve done it before and know you can do it but still can’t shake the idea that the final product will be a steaming pile of donkey offal. Spend a day doing a full audio mix. Spend hours laboriously getting rid of every “uh, um, er” just because they couldn’t take TWO SECONDS to say it right the first time. Spend several days tweaking the visuals (what’s the editing “language”? Does this clip feel better here… or here? Should I stay on his face an extra five frames? How long should this fade last. How about this one? What’s the best ending shot?). Go back and do the last ten steps when the client sends you “new” stuff they want to incorporate. Realize that none of the new stuff was shot anamorphic. Try to fix new stuff. Give up and use amazing photos instead of bad quality interviews from new stuff. Spend two days fighting with Final Cut Pro to make it output anamorphic footage correctly to iDVD. Realize that iDVD ignores the anamorphic flag. Curse under breath. Repeatedly. Have moment of panic that it’s not going to work and the client will be furious. Realize you didn’t charge enough. Have Lee bail you out because you don’t know how to use DVD Studio Pro. Thank Lee profusely. Spend two more days doing final tweaks (color correction, smoothing transitions). Burn test DVD. Stand back and watch final product on big TV.



Burn 40 DVD’s and send to client with invoice. Get caught up on sleep.

Realize that, no matter how much time and how many decisions went into the project, someone on the client team will inevitably find something that’s not to their taste and request a “little” change that will mean you have to go back fifteen steps to correct it (honestly, it’s like taking the salt out of a cake). Be grateful that you built language into the contract that you’ll get paid a princely fee if this happens. Realize that you still don’t want do change anything.

But no matter what happens from here on out, the DVD is done and you can look on all the thousands of little decisions and know that you did a pretty good job and, even though you don’t know everything there is to know about this incredibly technical, incredibly creative field, you might not be a total hack after all.

Realize that you have not just a mountain of unrelated work to do, but an entire mountain range.

Pause to enjoy the view. Take a breath. Start climbing again.

November 15, 2008

Wee Play

Filed under: Games — jasony @ 11:05 pm

Any Wii friends out there up for a game, our number is 3193 7016 2384 5914.

Drop us a line!

November 14, 2008

Only One More Week to Go

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 12:16 am

Until Sean hits the one month no-posts-to-blog mark. Go, Sean, Go! You can do it, buddy!


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