Thursday, September 1, 2011

Eve's Oasis #7 - The New House

So we are pretty much moved into the new place and Eve wanted to show off her new garden. I started to take some video shorts to make a new "Eve's Oasis" video for her series, but she said that I cut too much out... and that she wanted to let people see how we interact.

So... I shot about an hour's worth of video... and selected the best 1/2 hour or so to share. It covers the old place, lunch after the move, and a detailed tour by Eve of her new gardens.

Eve's Oasis #7

Here is a 360 Degree view of the back yard with the trees planted.

CLICK HERE ... you will need to have Quicktime installed.

Don't forget to leave us your comments below so we can make your visits even better.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Me in the movies???

In the movies...

So today I was Tyler Stapleton... and you might ask... "Who the hell is Tyler Stapleton?" They are filing a movie here in Austin by Andrew Bujalski called "Computer Chess" and on a whim I sent in a picture and offered to be an extra since I know my way around "vintage" computers... I actually owned about 3/4 of the machines they had there... I'm such a geek.

Here are some background references...

Anyway... the movie is set in 1979 or 1980... they have wardrobe there... it's all set up... show up and they dress you right? So I throw on a pair of blue jeans, a comfortable shirt, and my favorite black shoes and drive on down for the filming. I arrive and they say that I need to go to wardrobe... I walk in and they look at me, hand me a pair of oversize glasses and say "Your wardrobe is perfect."

My wardrobe?

Damn... I gotta get some new clothing!

They tell me to go two rooms down to get my hair done... my hair is a mess... as usual... so I find my way to the the hair dresser, she looks at me and says, "Oh that's perfect! Head to the waiting area."



I guess I need to update my haircut too. :-o

There I was all decked out in my "wardrobe" with my "80's hair cut"... ready for shooting. They handed me a name badge and suddenly I was "Kent Stapelton"... one of the electronic maintenance geeks. (Wanna take a wild guess what I do for my real life job? Yeah... Systems Technologist... aka... electronic geek.)

Art imitates life sometimes I guess.

We were at the hotel set from 8:00 in the morning until we finished shooting about 10:30 in the evening. Really, that was a long day... I didn't think I could have any modern devices so I left my phone in the car and my laptop at home... ugg.

They must have liked me... I go back for another day of shooting in the morning, and this time I'm bringing stuff to do between shooting. I met some very interesting people... and I have already been asked about another upcoming film... so if it doesn't interfere with work I may do that too. Who knows... perhaps I'll pick up a real paying gig.

If I get the chance to share any images or other information I'll keep you posted... so now my daughter Rebecca Rutherford won't be the only one in the movies. (Cheesy grin.)

In other news...

Hurricane Irene is pounding the Eastern seashore including the area where my sister Helen and brother Vincent live. Vincent is fairly inland... but Helen's house is only about 3 blocks from the beach... so I am concerned how her home will do against the storm which is due to worsen in the next few hours.

That's all for now... I'll add more as events unfold.

UPDATE: Got a text message from Helen... they are all okay.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Our Big News... The New House!

Well folks here is the story...

Eve sent me an email which simply said, "I love this one." The email had a link to a house for sale... we had figured that it would take us about 5 years to save enough to be able to move into a new house. (We were currently renting a house.) So I was a bit surprised... but I told Eve that we should go look at it... if for no other reason than to get an idea of cost, interest rates, etc.

Eve called up to see about it, and they said that we needed to be pre-approved for the loan... I guess to keep people from wasting their time. We filled out the paperwork just to see where we were... and within a day or so they wrote back that we were approved. That was very encouraging so we set up a date to view the place.

Eve was totally in love with the place... at first I wasn't sure... but I warmed up to it once I started to look around... and the garage would make a very nice workshop... so that was a real plus. (It is slightly larger than my old garage in St Louis.) We put in a bid and it went very well... we needed about $7,000 (4,875 Euro) as a down payment. That was going to be a bit tough to come up with... but we figured that we could do it somehow. Then the lender looked closer at the paperwork... asked us a few questions... and told us that the property was in a RURAL area. Well that really surprised me... there is a swimming pool only 1/2 block away... and a golf course at the end of the road... RURAL area?

Apparently... the old lines on the map had not been changed for decades... because of that little line... we were eligible for some sort of government program... so we could get it for ZERO down payment. (Wow! I know!)

We couldn't pass that offer up... so we went through the loan process... it's official now... we go to closing on Friday, July 29 and start to move on Saturday, July 30. Life is seldom boring around us... so just to make things interesting... I got an email the next day that said that I have classes for work... and needed to fly in on Sunday, July 31st for the week. We have to turn in the keys the following weekend... so it is going to be very busy here on Saturday!!!

Eve and I are packing things now... Saturday we will cram as much as we can into a truck and start bringing as many large things as we can to the new place. We really are fairly lucky... it is only 1.3 miles (2.1 km) away. We will need to get all the big stuff over there Saturday the 30th so that Eve can move everything else while I'm away for work. (She is really going to be tired by next week!)

Once we start moving there will be pictures and videos I am sure. We are putting out the HELP! request to all our friends for next weekend (July 30/31)... it's a tight schedule... but I think we can do it with some help.

Here is some info on the new place...

Subdivision : Plum Creek, Kyle, Texas 78640
County : Hays
Price : $160,000 USD 111,400 Euro
Size : 1892 SqFt 175.7 Sq Meters
Year Built : 2000
Lot Size : 0.177 Acres 716.3 Sq Meters
Stories : 2
Bedrooms : 4
Full Bathrooms : 2
Half Bathrooms : 1
Garage : 2 Car, 20 x 22 Ft 6 x 6.7 meters

As soon as we get moved in and have the chance... we will post pictures and video with details on the move. We are very excited about this... so wish us luck, or even better... if you can help with the move we would really appreciate it!

The house came with all the appliances... washer, dryer, stove, refrigerator, etc.. so we don't have to move any of that. (Yeay!)

Monday, July 18, 2011

July - Lots of things going on.

This has been a very busy month for Eve and I, she is working on several major artistic projects with her sandblasting and I have been doing some traveling again. This month I went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to do a survey for work. The actual job only took a couple of hours to perform which left me with almost an entire day to explore the area. Having never been there before, I decided to take the ski lift up to the top of Snow King mountain to see the view. If you get out there I really recommend that you do that... it is really nice up there, and there is a great trail that you can walk. It starts at about 7,800 feet above sea level and goes to 8,000 feet. Here is a short video that I made of the trip... some of it was recorded with my new smart phone. I didn't realize at the time that if I share video (live stream) it records in a much lower resolution... so some parts are smaller.

The live streams are online at: if you are interested.

Jackson Hole, WY

Back in Texas Eve and I decided to spend some more time back in San Marcos and she tried out her new wetsuit. She has always had a problem with getting cold... so this was the perfect solution. We had no sooner got home than my friend Wolf called and asked if I wanted to go swimming. Since Eve had mentioned that I carry on more like a 16 year old than a 51 year old... I jumped at the chance to show off, have fun, and make another video. For those of you who thought I was kidding about swimming under the rapids, I wore the brightest shirt that I own so you could actually see me do it... enjoy!

The fun and excitement doesn't end there however... my daughter Rebecca had another child... my first grand daughter... so now I have three grandchildren plus Eve's grand daughter for a total of four grand kids! (Wow!)

This is Karmin, she was born July 1st.

Here is Jody, Rebecca, and Karmin all doing very nicely.

Josh (left) and Colby (right) love their new sister.

And here is the whole happy family!

Unfortunately I had to work so I haven't been able to travel out to New Orleans for a visit yet... but I am hoping to be able to visit before too much longer.

Eve and I have a huge project going on... it's all top secret until we know for sure... so stay tuned for more information! We should know in the next week or so... keep your fingers crossed for us!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Can you believe it is already June?

Time really flies lately... I just had a 51st birthday... no party, but we did have a nice breakfast at IHOP. Eve and I have been doing so much with getting her artwork completed and designing new illuminated frames that there hasn't been time for much else lately.

I just got a new certification for work, and R56 Auditor. Basically, it's a 518 page book that tells how a communications site/center is supposed to be grounded and wired. You don't get a lot of time to view the location, so you need to photograph everything, make notes like a madman, then later in the hotel you start writing up very detailed reports. It takes much more time to do the report than the inspection.

The reporting is taking up about 70% of my time now, Eve taking another 20%... so that leaves 10% for everything else... like blogging.

I did make some progress... finally went through the hours of video that I had from Baltimore... about 12 GIG worth... and compressed it down to a YouTube video. So here, finally... are parts 1 and 2 of the April trip for your enjoyment!



I hope you enjoy them... to date this is the largest video project I have worked on.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

First real Animation with Xtranormal

I have been playing with something called Xtranormal... an animation package that allows you to type text which is converted into a movie. It is a lot of fun... and with some practice you can create some interesting stuff with it.

This was my first real attempt... I wanted to make something for my grand-kids to watch... so I pulled out an audio book from Dr. Seuss and decided to have the "performers" read it to the kids. I think it came out rather nicely... but YouTube already blocked it in Germany... so if they squalk about it too much I may need to delete it.

For the moment... it's here... so enjoy!


Note: I did list the video under the terms of "Fair Use"

This is for personal use, no copyright intended.

"Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Much going on... but not much time for Blogging.

I've been doing quite a bit lately... out of town a bunch, working on new software, and playing with something called STATE. State is a software package put out by XTRANORMAL... it allows you to do animations without needing thousand dollar software. It has some limitations... but it's pretty kool. You can do the animations online without the software too... but you won't have as much control as when you do them with State.

I have been playing with putting live or image backgrounds into the animations using Vegas Video, another software package that I use for most of my YouTube work.

I was in Baltimore and took a great deal of video to make some posts... I completed Part 1, but still need to do Part 2. My laptop crashes from the large file size... so I'll need to compress them before I finish the second part. For now however... here is part 1.

I'll have more news when I get a chance to post it... hopefully I'll have some very interesting videos to show you with both real-world and animated actors interacting on the screen.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Houston Rodeo and Mutton Bustin' Time

I was able to get to Houston this weekend to visit my grandkids and my daughter Rebecca who just finished up from doing a movie shoot. We all got together at Rick and Terryann's to see the Houston Rodeo. The main event for us is the Mutton Bustin' which if you ever have seen the cowboys riding a wild horse, is a scaled-down version for kids 4 to 6 years old. Instead of using a horse, they use sheep (Mutton) which is a lot of fun, and can get pretty funny sometimes. My grandkids, Colby (6) and Josh (5) were both riding this year... so I just had to be there.

I had to let you all know that Terryann acted as co-producer on this video... it was fun to put it together and I hope you really enjoy it! The next day Rebecca informed us that she had an ultrasound scheduled... so we went with her on that... the new technology is called "4D" and makes a live 3D image from the data... it's pretty impressive. In this short video... you can see that some kids develop bad habits even before they are born.

We all had a good laugh when we saw that part... so I decided to share. The baby is doing great and should be born this July. The timing works out well... Rebecca has another movie role at the end of July, so she should be back in form by that time. They are shooting the trailers now... with baggy clothing... so it's all good.

I'm in Baltimore for another couple of weeks... the Cherry Blossoms are about ready to bloom... so I may have some video on that soon.

The following video is not mine... but i like his style. I want to save up the $600 in order to get Sony Vegas Video Pro so I can do all sorts of special effects like that. Currently I have the basic $50 version which has a few neat effects... but not quite the vast number of the Pro version. Anyway... check it out, the producer did a really interesting and creative video.

If you like his video... you should check out his video page... he gets a bit wild... but I like his style. ODDBALL's Video Page


Monday, March 14, 2011

Baltimore - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

I'm working a project in Baltimore for a few weeks and needed to get out of the hotel for a bit. On Saturday I decided to take a drive to visit the Air and Space Museum. Here is a 15 minute video I put together to show you what is there. You can do a search for "Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center" to find out more about it. It's a huge place with hundreds of aircraft and spacecraft inside.

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

I also found another video put out by the Smithsonian which is posted here for your enjoyment.

I am going to try something different on this blog... I have added a 360 degree view for those of you with Apple Quicktime installed. If you click this link: CLICK ME  you will be taken to a 360 degree view of the main area that I created from over 16 individual images. If you want to see more virtual reality views please let me know!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Catching up on events - Sandblasting & Canada Trip

I have been swamped with travel the last few weeks... and most hotels will tell you that they have "High Speed" internet. Well... when you attempt to upload a YouTube video and it says "1084 minutes remaining"... that's NOT what I would consider "High Speed".

Anyway... I got back home this Saturday, and before I bolt back to Baltimore for another week... I wanted to get the latest video uploaded. (Plus the remaining Canada Christmas videos.)

Eve got interested in sandblasting... and I don't mean a little bit... she purchased a professional blasting cabinet, a CNC stencil cutter, a photo-exposure setup for photo-resist stencils, and much more. She is starting up a whole business, "Eve's Creations" which she is hoping will allow us to do really well in life. Here is a short video showing the arival of the equipment as well as Eve's first time cutting stone. As you may recall in our last video... we picked up some nice round stones from a local vendor.

Eve Gets Into Sandblasting

And... at long last... here are the four videos from the Canada Christmas that we had with Eve's family. Some of the videos may be a bit long... we had hours of video from our time there, enough that even after edits and such we broke it into four videos!

The Christmas Videos

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Have a great day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Robots, Rocks, Chairs, and some Snow too.

It's been a very busy month for us here in beautiful downtown Kyle TX. There have been a lot of things going on, and we have been gearing up for spring and all that it brings with it. The other night I was at a robotics meeting ( ) and taught some folks how to program microprocessors.


I really like to teach people about electronics and such. Most times they feel that it is likely over their head... that they would have a hard time learning and mastering it. But the truth is that if you start slow... it's not really so bad.

We started off by putting a microprocessor into a breadboard (Atmel Tiny-26) and connecting up some LEDs. We made them blink on and off... then we used a Red, Yellow, and Green LED to make a traffic signal. After that I taught how to connect an LCD screen up and make it work.

We programmed the whole thing in a simple to learn language called BASCOM BASIC. So far I have taught about 350 to 400 people how to program like this... and it makes me feel good to know I have helped so many people. The youngest I have taught was about seven years old, and the oldest was in his eighty's.

Not everything was about robotics this time around...

Eve and Sandblasting

Eve is gearing up to start sandblasting perhaps as early as this week... some of the equipment has already come in, and the remainder should get here this week. We are both so very excited about that. Here is a video that sums up our weekend... it's a short video... and I think you'll like it.

Rocks and Chairs
(And Snow too!)

Since we are on the subject of movies... I finally got around to making the first in a series of videos from our Canada vacation this Christmas. This is about 20 minutes long and has lots of family time... there are aslo interesting and amusing videos from downtown and sights to see.

Canada Christmas - Part 1

Enjoy and thanks for the visit!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Making Stuff Again

So today I had a friend call me up asking if I could make a part for his Cricket. I had no idea what a Cricket was... turns out it is a little machine to cut paper and such for scrap books.

 He wanted to be able to use it like a plotter to draw on paper. It has these felt tip pens you can get... but he wanted to use a fine tipped pen. Anyway... he came over with the machine, some pen holders, and a piece of aluminum rod stock. I grabbed a piece of graph paper and a pen and started taking measurements and drawing stuff. Before long we had a plan and headed to the lathe.  It feels great to have a lathe again... I REALLY MISSED being able to design and build stuff.

So anyway... off we went to the garage and started making metal pieces fly. (With appropriate safety equipment of course!)

Making the body of the pen holder.

Cutting the notch where the cricket grabs the holder.

Finishing the bottom with a nice 10 degree surface and rounded edges.

The original knife blade (top).
The Pen  (center). Should face the other way.
The finished pen holder (bottom).
The notch on the pen holder is actually perpendicular... 
but it looks angled in the image because of reflections.

From start to finish it was about 3 hours I guess... but we took our time, I explained what different tools did, and probably made it more fancy than I needed too. But it was great to use my hands and tools again. Sorry, no video of this project... I was too busy to operate the camera and turn metal at the same time. Perhaps next time! (I need to make a camera mount on the lathe... there's a project for me.)


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Setting up Shop (Shop 2.0)

You may have already seen my last blog where I went to St Louis to get my tools and such... if not here's the link: CLICK ME

Now comes the part where I take everything out of the boxes and figure out where to put it and what to do with it. As I'm going through my boxes I'm finding things I forgot I had... and I'm taking other things and putting them in boxes to go someplace else.

View looking from the garage door into the shop.

As you can see, I'm starting to get it all put together where I can actually begin to use tools and build things. I have already used the lathe and mini-mill to make parts to build some components for the benches I've constructed.

Getting things put away neatly so I can actually find them when I need them!

I still have to make a pegboard frame for over the lathe so I can start putting all the calipers and such in plain sight where I can grab them as I need them... but overall the shop is coming together faster than I had thought. I already had one visitor from the Austin Hackerspace come over to learn how a lathe works.

Here is a quick look around the shop... nothing fancy... just a short video to give you an idea of my progress.

Anyway... that's my progress as of January 23, 2011. It's getting late and I think I'm going to have a bowl of cerial, get comfortable, and relax a bit before bed. It's been a long and tiring day!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Jerry and EBo's Most Excellent Adventure

I moved out of my old house almost three years ago... and moved to Texas with Eve almost two years ago. During that time I have not had a workshop because everything was packed in storage in St Louis.

I'm not one to sit and watch TV all night, and since I work on the computer all day, at night I get tired of siting in front of the computer. Needless to say... I have been driving Eve crazy because I haven't been able to build stuff and be creative.

But thanks to EBo from the hacker space... all that changed when we made a last minute dash to St Louis to get my stuff. How was the trip? Have a look for yourself...

I'm in the process of sorting and setting it all up now... I feel a lot better having a shop again!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

After the Fire... rebuilt and operational.

Eve was cutting some materials and left the LASER unattended... that was a bad move, it caught fire and did some serious damage. (See my previous blog on that one.) Anyway... she ordered the replacement parts and assisted be with getting the laser cleaned up for the rebuild. The parts came in by 12:30 and we had the laser operational by 5:30... I even had time to go to my robotics meeting.

So... here is this week's video of the repairs... if you wanted to see the insides of a laser engraver you will like it. We are testing out new engraving methods now... gearing up to hit the craft fairs this spring.

I'm also planning a trip to St Louis to bring back some of my tools... that will be great... I'm driving Eve nuts because I have no way of building some of the ideas I have... more on that as it develops.