Friday, November 27, 2009


Soo okay.. no picture to go along with this post (you will thank me). My first bit of time off work in a long time as well as my first Thanksgiving at my new house has gone well. Today is the first day in the last 4 days that I have been able to get out of the house. I have been *SICK* (a lot of good that flu shot did me). I will spare everyone the details but I was just short of going insane from cabin fever (and probably regular fever too).

My sweet (ahem) little puppy has really been a ton of help making sure that I don't ever get too comfortable. Despite that I was too sick to go into work Rags stills needs to be let out at 3 am to pee (I am pretty much used to this little fact of life now). She is also used to having at least one good sized walk during the day at some point. It has been nearly a week since I have been well enough to get off the couch much less go for a high energy walk. So she has been trying to entertain herself (un-successfully IMHO) for the last few days. We sound wonderful together. I hack and cough, she whimpers because I am not playing enough. So to compensate for not being able to take her for a walk, I have been letting her spend more time out in the backyard where I assumed (wrongly) that she would stay out of trouble back there and let me have some time to myself. She learned the fine puppy art of hole digging. Yep. A nice mud-drool covered puppy greeted my less than optimum spirits at the backdoor earlier today and after a short (about 5 second) investigation I discovered the source of the mud as being a grave she was digging for her tennis ball. A bath and related mud cleanup chores ensued and now a very grumpy flu-ridden Kristen are hoping that the bored puppy shenanigans are over for the time being.


Friday, November 13, 2009


Here's a cute update:

As you can see she is adorable. That bone didn't last more than an hour from when that picture was taken. She definitely didn't need any training on how to work through that bone. I have given her something more difficult (a Kong bone) that is posing more of a challenge.

She hasn't eaten any more of my things though which is the important bit.

Who can resist the cuteness?!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


So I got a new friend today. I came to the conclusion that my life was not complicated enough or expensive enough so I adopted a dog. I love doggies and have been wanting my own for quite some time. I had been searching the shelters and humane society web sites and visiting them for a couple weeks and today I met Rags. The one year old Shar Pei was just to cute and too lovable to leave and I had to have her. In typical Oregon fashion it was raining like crazy outside and surprisingly crowded inside. The under-staffed Oregon Humane Society people were very helpful but things went very slowly. A few hours after arriving though I had my new best friend and we were on our way home.

She slept most of the way home and was a perfect angel while we were around her. She doesn't jump up on people, seems to be pretty well house trained and was otherwise a big cutie.

I needed a lot of pet supplies (not knowing before then what sort of dog I was going to adopt I didn't buy anything before hand) and a trip to the pet store was in order. The problem was, what to do with Rags? The people at the humane society suggested not taking her with me until she had a few days to adjust to her new home and people and she was so sleepy I decided she would be ok for a short while so I could buy things like food, toys, and a kennel (emphasis on that last on there).

Upon pulling back into the driveway I noticed she had not been sleeping the whole time I was gone. She undoublty did not approve of my leaving and decided to let me know by eating my window blinds tearing up my door frame and leaving a big pile of poo in the kitchen.

Needless to say, I regretted the decision to leave her alone with free reign of the house and put together her new kennel. She isn't fond of it but she tolerates it well when I have to leave now. I gave her some food and toys and planned my attack on replacing the now somewhat sad blinds. A trip to Lowes was in order! I kenneled the dog much to her disappointment and then proceeded to lock myself out of the house. Yep. As if my day wasn't complete enough I locked myself out.

Fortunately, I had given someone a spare key and they were able to get it to me to get back into my house (after spending $$ at Lowes on new blinds) and I was able to spend a nice relaxing evening with my new friend, a cordless drill, and new window blinds. She is now currently back to being adorable and a couch potato.

Awwwww aren't they cute?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mysterium 2009

3 years ago around this time I made my first venture to Mysterium. A gathering of fellow nerds that meets annually to bring Myst fans together into one real (as opposed to virtual) place. Taking place in various locations around the United States (and often in other countries) the only two Mysteria I have attended have been in the same place, Spokane, WA. About 6.5 hours by car away from my current location Spokane is home to the creators of the Myst series, Cyan Worlds. While I am sure the Mysteria in other locations are a ton of fun aswell, the Spokane meetings have the added bonus of a chance to see Cyan headquarters and also generally (for probably the same reason) have the largest number of people show up.

Leaving for Spokane on Friday morning I looked at my hotel reservation one last time. I noticed in small print down in the corner that I had accidentally selected a smoking room when I booked the hotel. Argg. Not a good start to the day. Deciding that I would just wait and see what it was like when I got there would turn out to be a (another) mistake.

Upon arriving in Spokane I obtained my room keys and inquired about the possibility of changing rooms if the smoking room was too nasty I found out that they were booked up and no more rooms were available. I guess whatever room I got was going to have to work. After an elevator ride that lasted waaaay too long to make it to the 4th floor the doors opened and I stepped into the rather old, dark, and musty hotel hall way. By now I am thinking 'okay... if the *hallway* smells bad, what does this room smell like?' I plodded to the room with my bags and proceeded to open the door of my soon to be home for 2 nights and just about gagged. I am not a smoker and I normally am indifferent to the smell of most smoke. This room went far beyond that. I am guessing this hotel was built 30-40 ish years ago and it has old, stale, tar-ish tobacco product smell that must date back to the 70's to prove it.

Turning the air up to full power (probably just moving around more stale junk stuck to the innards of the A/C unit) and opening the window to attempt to get some oxygen into the nicotine rich atmosphere I also noticed that the windows do not have screens in them and as a safety precaution the window had a stop on it to prevent it from opening more than about 4 inches. Foo.

Well no time for this crap, I have stuff to do and people to see! Shortly after quickly arranging my things (aka throwing my duffel bag onto the floor and stashing my laptop) I headed out. This would be the re-occurring theme for the weekend. I didn't spend much time in that room. I went up to the 5th floor where the Mysterium goings on were happening to see if my friends were present and to try to get my badge/ shirt/ other convention related goodies. The registration table was closed temporarily when I went by but no matter. I got my things later that evening. I saw my friends just briefly and then headed out to meet with a good friend of mine who moved to Spokane a few years back.

I had a great time seeing Spokane with him. I hope I get to see him again sometime soon. It was fun to talk and see him again as well as getting a scenic tour of Spokane. (the picture on the left is a beautiful view of Spokane as viewed from the south hills) He dropped me back off at the hotel a while later on his motorcycle (which incidentally was the first time I had ridden on one, weeee) but before he left I asked him if he had a set of hex keys in his collection of tools on his bike. He did! Perfect. Now to take care of my window problem muahahhaaha.

With the window block no longer a problem (and falling out of the window now something to be avoided) I locked up my room and allowed it to air out and went to do Myst things. My friends a'moaca', Ashtar, Jane, and Gwyn were already back up on the 5th floor when I re-appeared. It had been a long time since I had seen them in person (along with meeting Gwyn and Jane in RL for the first time).

There were lots of fun planned events taking place in Mysterium but my favorite activity of all is just getting to hang out with my friends. Sitting at a table I pulled out my laptop and joined a'moaca' in enjoying the hotel's wifi. You can see how well it worked by the following picture:
Yeah... so.. okay, the wifi wasn't the most reliable thing on the planet.

Dinner followed, Ashtar, a'm, Jane, Gwyn, PigBristles , and myself went to a restaurant in downtown Spokane and on the way back to the hotel me, Jane, and a'm stopped by this awesome game store which contained just about every type of puzzle, board game, and table top card game known to man. I somehow managed not to buy anything and we made our way back to the hotel.

Later that evening came a good ole' fashioned URU neighborhood dance party. Well except my avatar dances better than I do so I just watched. ;) The Bevin "hood" contained most everything the URU hood has. Cones, Eddie (the beachball), lantern lights, fire marbles, and a fountain (which unlike the URU one is not for jumping in/on). Joined by GreyDragon and many others it was great fun to watch and listen too. People attemped the URU avatar dance animations, and cones were shuffled. The fun continued into the night until we were booted out of the room at around 11pm.

Saturday morning the 5 of us (Ashtar, Gwyn, a'm, Jane, and myself) went to check out Old European a resturant rumored to have yummy breakfasty things. It was true and I left much fuller than when I arrived.

On a side trip, I found a grocery store near by where I picked up a $3 set of hex keys to fix the window block I removed so I wouldn't leave the hotel without putting the block back. I am thinking the mini set of allen wrenches will just become a permenant part of my laptop bag supplies lol.

The Cyan trip follwed. Cyan has always been really wonderful to their fans. They opened up their facilities and fed us. We got a tour of the buildings, A Q & A session with Rand Miller (Atrus to Myst fans) and some of the DRC members from URU. Cyan also brought out shirts, soundtracks, books, posters, etc. for us to buy (I am guilty of spending more than a little on Myst related goodies over the two Mysteria I have attended). We had a big hot dog lunch, and Kierra made a lovely cake showing a relto book from URU, the Myst book, a KI from URU, and a Riven dagger. She really did an awesome job.
After lunch and the Q&A session things started to wind down. We hung out and just had fun being at Cyan with everyone. There are tons of things to just look at around Cyan. Concept art, Myst series related 'artifacts' used in the production of the game. Even just the buildings themselves and the area surrounding them are interesting. Shown in the picture on the left are some of the Cyan employees and a couple interns (I think) standing out in front of the building.

After Cyan and heading back to the hotel, The 5 of us went out to dinner and headed back for another night of Myst/ URU related goodness back at the hotel. This was my last night of Mysterium. The next morning I would be heading back home. Me and my friends staying up late into the evening working on Marten's (evil hehe) video puzzle and doing other computer-ey things. A great evening.

Sunday morning was a strange one. After getting my things all squared away for the pending trip back home and saying some good byes to people who were also leaving I found out that a strange illness seemed to be sweeping the group. of the 50-60 people attending Mysterium 15-20 were sick with something that sounded like food poisoning but was insisted that is was some sort of flu. (It had earned names like Fluru on the forums) whatever it was (is) it sounded like no fun at all. There was a planned trip to Silverwood amusement park for the remaining attendees but people were for the most part too sick to go. Some people as of right now are still at the hotel sick. I think just about everyone will be out by tomorrow (Tuesday) though. I (so far, knock on wood) have been one of the lucky ones not to have come down with this strange sudden illness but Ashtar for one wasn't so lucky. I hope everyone is over it soon.

Shortly after hearing the news it was time for me to leave anyways. I checked out (making sure to put the window block back in it's rightful place) and started heading back home. I had a ton of fun at Mysterium. I got to see a lot of friends I haven't seen in a long while and I hope I can see them again soon. I will definitely be more careful of reading all my options on selecting rooms next time! The drive home seemed to take forever but I made it back. Just in time to get ready for work on Monday.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Go Fly a Kite!

Playing with my new toy. A HQ Speed 2.5 parafoil kite. Tons o' fun! Now only if the wind would cooperate...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Trek in the Park

Combining two things I don't normally talk about in the same sentence, Star Trek and the outdoors, Trek in the Park is a live-action play featuring the original series crew in a re-enactment of the classic "Amok Time". Held at Woodlawn Park amphitheater in Portland this event drew quite a crowd. With live music and sound effects and a bit of imagination this performance was definitely one of a kind. A ton of fun even for a former hard core trekkie such as myself, I definitely won't miss it next year. Trek in the Park is still going on with aditional performances on the 25th and 26th at 5pm admission is free and is definitly not a show to miss.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Nerding at the Beach

SeaPac is a yearly convention of pacific northwest amateur radio operators (ham radio) That has been going on since 1982. I have been going on and off since 2000. It is a fun event for hams to get together and buy stuff, sell stuff, and just do all sorts of radio-ey stuff. There are lots of vendors selling radios, antennas, mics, keys, meters, electronic test equipment, books, and generally anything remotly related to the ham radio hobby. I also got the chance to see people from the Clark County Amatuer Radio Club (where I am a member) that I haven't seen in a long time, and had the chance to lose drawings for lots of cool prizes. When I wasn't busy geeking out over the large amount of radio goodies I was shopping around Seaside at the many small shops in walking distance. I even had time to wonder over to the beach. Oregon beaches are pretty but they aren't like beaches in California or Hawaii. They are usually like this (at least whenever I have been). cold, overcast, and drizzling rain. The water is too cold to swim in so to me they are more like beaches best admired from inside a shop or hotel looking through a window. Pretty but the weather isn't the greatest. I had a ton of fun at SeaPac and hopefully I can attend again next year. I will always hope for warmer brighter weather at the beach though.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

B-17 Liberty Belle

Earlier this week one of my co-workers handed me an article from the Oregonian It showed a picture much like the one on the left (only better and without me in it) and I instantly knew I had to do this.

Durring WW2 12,732 B-17 aircraft were made, today there are only 14 left that can still fly and one of those was going to be in Hillsboro this weekend. Being the airplane nut that I am, I couldn't let the opportunity to fly in one of these beautiful aircraft pass me by.

The 74' long B-17 Liberty Belle was a ton of fun to fly in. We spent approximately half an hour in the air which was plenty of time to tour the aircraft and enjoy the view of the area from the gunner positions and the cockpit.

The Liberty Belle is a restored B-17 maintained by the Liberty Foundation and has a very interesting history ( Sold for scrap, bought by Pratt and Whitney, and partially destroyed in a tornado before being wonderfully restored this plane has had quite the post war history.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

poor persons cnc

Well I started working on the controller for the mini cnc mill. Still have a lot of work to do. The DB-25 connector need to be put back and all its little wires re-soldered, everything tied down, and everything needs to be thoroughly checked out before I try it under power but it is starting to look like something. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

poor person's CNC

Well, I have another project now. Something I have been wanting to tinker around with for some time. A co-worker gave me a mini 3 axis CNC mill made out of common hardware store parts. Kinda cool but with a few small problems.

One: it doesn't work. Ok.. it DID work at one point in history but never very well I am told.

Two: It needs a lot of electrical work. A fair amount of the soldering work needs to be redone and some of the wiring fixed.

Three: I need software. This will probably be the least of my problems but it is also another obstacle.

So, there are obstacles to overcome but hey, that is why I got the thing. I like messing around with this sort of thing and I think it will be a fun project. I am still thinking about getting another 'real' CNC mill at some point but for now I have a new toy :)

This is the "ACK!" (well that is what I am calling it now because that was the noise that came out of my mouth when I saw it the first time) pile of wiring that I get to fix up. almost everything is there but I have a shopping list of supplies I need to obtain from the local electrical supply shop before I can tackle it.

Basically the 'hardware' side of the mill consists of hardware store aluminum rails with all-thread lead screws (20 TPI it looks like) and 3 DC stepper motors for X,Y, and Z axis. The spindle uses any sort of Dremel-like rotary tool. The electronic side of things is a controller box (shown in less than box-ey form above) and connected by parallel port to a computer. I just got it today so I haven't had time to study the design thoroughly but I am sure I will become well acquainted with it soon.