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October 21, 2011


shine on you crazy diamond

Come on you painter, you piper, you prison, and shine!

Because you could. Wow.

I look at this with envy and longing. Here in Japan, space is limited and carving out a space for a workshop like my dad's (lovingly decorated with the plywood that you see in Tony's pic) is, along with the ready availability of Dr Pepper, are the two things I miss here.


There are a couple of ball bearings in my crude-looking contraption. I happened to have them among the junk in my basement because I had bought them on a somewhat exuberant shopping spree in Tokyu Hands, in 1997, and never found a use for them til now. I've never seen a DIYer's paradise to equal Tokyu Hands anywhere in the US, so Japan does have some advantages.


One of my least successful attempts at a DIY project involved putting a new battery into one of those battery operated Barbie cars that kids can drive.

Typically, this is not hard: you buy one and put it in with the snap on connection.

However, I had an unused motorcycle battery that was 12 volts, and the car needed 12 volts, so I figured this would be fine.

Unfortunately, the way a Barbie car battery goes in is with a snap on battery connector, so I had to modify the connector by clipping it off, and connecting it to the motorcycle battery with some aditional wiring. This would have worked fine, except that my Barbie car battery was actually two 6 volts, and the connector connected them in parellel.

My 12 volt car battery was therefore actually double connected to make 24 volts (at least, I think that is what happened).

My son sat in the car (after painting over the Barbie stuff-he is not enlightened), put his foot on the gas, and the battery promptly caught fire.

The upside is that he was able to observe how efficient fire extinguishers are.

Once I fixed the wiring, it worked great, but he was afraid to get in it.

Pardon me while I wander in a totally different direction.

With Qaddafi dead, I expect to hear a renewal of plaints that this will reinforce the determination of people like Assad to hold on to power at all costs. And to try to get nuclear weapons to keep outsiders from helping their people if/when they revolt.

But why doesn't anyone suggest the alternate lesson? If you look at Tunisia and at Libya, the lesson appears to be:
- if you take the money and run, you may get a nice long, comfortable, exile.
- if you insist on hanging on as long as possible, all you will get is dead.

Assad may not be able to see that. But why can't supposed experts outside?

I'll toss up a post for Libya, thanks for prodding me

For the benefit of those who didn't know:

TonyP is an engineering genius.

I am in awe of people like Tony P. who can think design this way. Had a friend who was something like this - also a pack rat who could make what he needed out of the stuff he had laying around or found. We built a recording studio together, and he designed, and mostly built, a floating floor for it using old tires from the alley. Worked great. He made the air flow system for that studio too, for just a few dollars. He built sophisticated fan systems out of junk. Could fix anything electronic, too. Problem solving! I'm in awe.

Two words: Maker Faire.


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