Communion Of Dreams

Watch out for the vertigo.
August 31, 2010, 10:41 am
Filed under: Architecture, Art, tech

Here, have some fun with this toy: Sistene Chapel.

But watch out for the vertigo. You might fall out of your chair.

Jim Downey

So, what happened was . . .
August 30, 2010, 5:31 pm
Filed under: Architecture, Art

Never underestimate the power of art to distract.

I just sat down to have a drink and relax from working on those Russian maps this afternoon, having just gotten back to that. When I hear the front door slam shut, and Martha hollering at someone.


I set my drink down, got up, and went to investigate. There was a white car in the driveway, going around the front circle in the reverse manner from which most people do it. Martha was on the far side of the car, looking down, shouting instructions to the driver.

I went out, down the steps, and joined her. It was obvious in a glance what had happened: the driver had gotten off the gravel driveway, and into the grass in the center of the circle, in the process driving over one of the large (about 14″ on a side cube) limestone blocks and snagging his car. He was quite stuck.

“I’m *so* sorry!” he said as he got out of the car. “I was looking at the house . . . ”

‘. . . and wasn’t paying attention to your driving.’ I thought to myself.

Well, these things happen. I got down on my knees and investigated the details of the situation. The rock was wedged under what passes for a frame on a modern car.

“It’ll have to be jacked up,” said Martha. She understands these things. Just one of the reasons I love my wife.

“Have you got a real jack?” I asked the guy, as he started to open the trunk.

“Um, no, just the little one for changing tires.”

“OK, let me go get mine.” I went and grabbed my hydraulic floor jack and a thick piece of plywood to stop the jack from just sinking into the ground. I came back, positioned the plywood, then slid the jack into place. In just a couple of moments I had the car high enough to clear the rock. We got it out of the way.

“Gosh, I’m sorry for the damage to the grass.”

“It’ll grow back, no worries,” I replied.

“I was wanting to get a picture,” said the guy, pulling out a nice photo of a stairwell out of the back of his car to show us. “This is what I do.”

“Nice,” said Martha and I.

“Sorry about the grass.”

“Don’t worry about it. But you might want to pay attention to how your car handles for a bit,” I said.

“I’ve got insurance. But I’m not sure they’d believe this.”

‘I am,’ I thought as he drove away.

Jim Downey

I think it’s time for a road trip.
August 29, 2010, 7:57 am
Filed under: Humor, movies, Science Fiction, YouTube

Actually, I’m planned to go to Chicago in about three weeks, to check out a show of marbled paper ebru. I’ll definitely have to check out this place:

Gotta love someplace that has that sort of sense of humor.

Jim Downey

(Via TR.)

New round of .380 ACP tests.
August 26, 2010, 3:54 pm
Filed under: Ballistics, Guns

Well, it was a fun couple of days this week out at Camp BBTI – doing a new round of testing, primarily focused on the .380 ACP cartridge (9x17mm). This has become an increasingly popular cartridge used for small self-defense guns, so we decided to expand the different ammos we tested using the BBTI ‘chop tests’ as well as a dozen real world guns. You can see the guns here:

And here’s a great pic of Jim K and Keith at the shooting table, getting ready to shoot the 4″ barrel:

We also did the full chop tests (as well as a real world gun) on 9mm Makarov and 9mm Ultra – two cartridges which are between a .380 and the 9mm Parabellum in terms of power/performance. We’ll post the full data on the BBTI site as soon as everything is crunched and ready – but for now let me just say that heretofore I haven’t been a big fan of the .380, but with the right ammunition I’d consider carrying a gun in that caliber. We were all surprised at how well the Buffalo Bore rounds performed at even the 2″ barrel length.

Jim Downey

Cross posted to the BBTI blog.

August 26, 2010, 10:03 am
Filed under: Ballistics, Gardening, Guns, Habanero, Health, Publishing, Writing stuff

OK, it’s been a while. But not due to anything bad.

First, I am feeling a lot better. I’ve communicated with my doc, and it looks like the last round of antibiotics finally did the trick with the pneumonia. I still have some recovery to do – minor lung pain and whatnot – but I am at least sleeping normally again and have a lot more energy. Now I just have to ease back into getting decent exercise and enough rest, and then I can start on making up for all the stuff that didn’t get done in the last month.

Second, we did another round of ballistics testing this week, focused primarily on a bunch of new ammo types in the very popular .380 caliber. Got some interesting results – more on all of that, later.

Third, got a rejection from the agent who had expressed initial interest in the care giving book. Here’s what she said:

This needs a lot of work. By “this” I mean both the proposal, which is really dry, and the material, which is uneven because of your source material. You need to put more effort into using the source material to tell a story, not sticking it into chapters and relying on it as the primary storytelling device.

Which tells me that she completely didn’t “get” the whole idea of the book. I don’t usually dismiss out of hand any criticism, but I also have enough sense to not over-react to the first response I get. We will continue to look elsewhere for someone else who may be interested in representing the book.

Lastly, got the first harvest of Red Savina habaneros out of the garden. Last night prepped and dried about two dozen. Here’s a pic of them before they went into the oven:

And here they are when I took them out this morning:

Once dried, turned them into about 3 ounces of delicious nuclear-powered spice. Yay!

So, things continue. Now I need to do a bit of yard work.

Jim Downey

Follow up:
August 21, 2010, 8:37 am
Filed under: Art, Health, NPR, Predictions, Science, Science Fiction, tech

to this post from Thursday. Saw the doc yesterday afternoon. The gold-plated antibiotics *seem* to be working, but we’ll see how the weekend goes. If I feel good by Monday, then all’s well. If not, then, well, it’s complicated. So hope for good. Besides, I have a new round of ballistics testing to do next week.

Take some time this weekend and browse these amazing photographs: Earth from Above.

Oh, and I’m a bit concerned what Communion of Dreams might inspire: For Creative Inspiration, Tech Geeks Turn To Sci-Fi.

Jim Downey

BLADE RUNNER revisited.
August 20, 2010, 12:56 pm
Filed under: Art, Blade Runner, movies, Ridley Scott, Science Fiction, tech

Via BoingBoing, an interesting artistic project: BLADE RUNNER revisited >3.6 gigapixels. From the description of the project:

An experimental film in tribute to Ridley Scott’s legendary film “Blade Runner” (1982)
This film was made as a unique picture with a resolution of 60.000 x 60.000 pixels (3.6 gigapixels)
It was made with 167,819 frames from ‘Blade Runner’.

1>first step : the “picture” of the film
I extracted the 167,819 frames from ‘Blade Runner’ (final cut version,1h51mn52s19i)
then I assembled all these images to obtain one gigantic image of colossal dimensions : a square of approximately 60,000 pixels on one side alone, 3.5 gigapixels (3500 million pixels)

2> second step : an illusion
I placed a virtual camera above this big picture. So what you see is like an illusion, because contrary to appearances there is only one image. It is in fact the relative movement of the virtual camera flying over this massive image which creates the animated film, like a film in front of a projector.

It’s less than 5 minutes long, and you’ll want to watch it in ‘full screen’ mode to get the best effect. I find it a fascinating reaction/interpretation of one of my favorite movies.

Jim Downey

A bit of an update . . .
August 19, 2010, 1:01 pm
Filed under: Health

. . . for those who don’t belong to the great Facebook collective:

I’m still sick. On Monday I saw my doc, and there was indication that my lung gak has just gotten worse. After the second course of antibiotics seemed to not do the trick, he put me on another round of something a lot more powerful (and expensive! Sheesh – $30 a pill is obscene.) I have another follow-up appointment tomorrow afternoon, to see what is happening. But while a touch of pneumonia is nothing to mess with (and I’m not – I’m trying to rest as much as I can, and have basically suspended trying to get work done), my baseline health is good and this is not serious.

Time for me to get a nap.

Jim Downey

The future’s so bright . . .
August 18, 2010, 8:02 am
Filed under: Music, Science, Science Fiction, tech


töken experience from yöyen munchausen on Vimeo.

Here’s their site directly:

Sorry I can’t get it to embed – my own future is suffering from ongoing lung gak and reduced clarity of thought. But it is a fun glimpse into the near future.

Jim Downey

Something all SF writers can aim for.
August 17, 2010, 7:53 am
Filed under: Music, Ray Bradbury, Science Fiction, Yoko Ono

Well. Fans are one thing, but the very Not Safe For Work video below the fold is something else altogether. And pretty damned funny.

But hey, it’s about Ray Bradbury, so cut her some slack.

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