Saturday, April 30, 2005

Weekend Diversion

OK, Here's your weekend diversion. Follow this link and DO NOT click on th button!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Is it just me...

I saw a mini cooper today, and for some reason I couldn't stop staring. Not only that, but I was struck by the thought that I had never before seen a car with such large headlights.

But maybe I'm just imagining things.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Model Railroading...Illini Style

Apparently having a winning basketball team has some advantages for model railroaders like myself. There is now a "special edition" Illini train available in HO scale.

Never mind that it's probably a really cheaply made model that will run poorly for about 50 hours of operation and then quit, It's kind of a cool idea. I think the railroad club ought to have one...or at least some engines painted like that.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

"Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious."
Brendan Gill

Saturday, April 23, 2005

When blooper's aren't funny

I almost feel sorry for this policeman, but right now that's being overpowered by my concern about a little detail in the picture

A heavily armed New York City police officer stands guard outside the New York Stock Exchange... (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

What bothers me is that little thing called an "aimpoint" mounted atop that M16/AR15. Here he is looking strong and invincible, and the very device used to aim his rifle IS ON BACKWARDS!! He probably isn't to blame for this (it's most likely his armorer's responsibility) but it means that this man is carrying a rifle which has probably never been sighted in. Heaven help him (and the people around him) if he ever has to use it.

Leave guns to the "professionals". . . I think NOT!

Weekend Diversion

It looks like this could be a nasty weekend in C-U, so here's a chance to go shoot some pool. No, I mean really SHOOT some pool!

Friday, April 22, 2005

A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy

Once in a while I think the people of academia deserve a collective slap in the face. But I've NEVER seen anyone do it better than this!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Engineering isn't a career...

I was once told "Engineering isn't just a career; it's a way of life." At the time I doubt I really appreciated how true the statement was, but over time I have learned how true it really is. I'm quite serious about that too! How else can I explain the compulsion to sketch boiler schematics, plumbing layouts, pneumatic systems, and circuitry on napkins at the dinner table?

In many cases the "engineering lifestyle" means the continual search for knowledge, especially when it means disassembling gadgets and various interesting items. But for some there is the strong compulsion to build as well. I just stumbled across one of the best examples of this instinct that I have ever seen.

Over at there are all sorts of projects online. This page covers everything from a home-made CNC milling machine to an 8,000 rpm (at the propeller) turboprop.

What's even more amazing is the amount of do-it-yourself work that went into these projects. For example the 9-cylinder radial engine has a custom cylinder head design. The heads weren't made at some shop and shipped in! No they were cast by the builder himself (through a process he had apparently never been trained in).

All I can say is that I am impressed! It must be an incredible feeling to go from having a pot of molten metal to having a beautiful little piece of machinery like this!
9 cylinder, home built, radial engine.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Hobbies are interesting things. In my case they're rather cyclical, which is to say, I'll get really interested for a while before my interest tapers off. The good hobbies are the ones that re-spark your interest every little bit.

In this case, my daily (online) reading over at the Nation of Riflemen has really given me the itch again. For those of you who aren't familiar with his blog, Mr. du Toit frequently presents pictures of firearms for enthusiasts like me to gaze at. This time he's come up with a shot of three pieces of high caliber artwork. Of course I usually prefer revolvers in a nice shiny stainless finish, but in this case I'll make an exception. Those are some real beauties!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Finally the weekend

I haven't felt much like writing lately, so I skipped the Friday Funny, but here's a little something that made me laugh in a different way.

"UNITED NATIONS, April 13 -- The 191-member U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday unanimously approved a treaty outlawing the use of nuclear weapons by terrorists and their supporters."

I'll wait a moment for that to sink in...

And now for a few words of wisdom

It is useless for sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism while wolves remain of a different opinion. -William Ralph Inge

Am I the only one who sees a connection here?

Hat tip to Sondra K and The Washington Post

Monday, April 11, 2005

Time for some professional help

I decided to take an inkblot test the other day, but I didn't really want to set around making my own pictures all day, so I just did a google search for inkblot images.

I didn't see anything particularly surprising. Just a pair of birds on a nest, a naked woman pouring milk on herself, a necklace... Wait a minute! That doesn't seem right.

Maybe you'll see something different.
(nudity alert) Of course they'll probably, change the rankings and make me look like some kind of a perv, so check it out before it changes.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked." -- Bernard Meltzer.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Weekend Diversion

You're on your own this weekend.
It's beautiful in C-U right now so I suggest that everyone spend as much time outside as possible.

If you'll pardon me, I think it's time to get away from this computer.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Friday Funny

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2" in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. "Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff."

"If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal."

"Take care of the rocks first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

But then... an engineering student then took the jar which the other students and the professor agreed was full, and proceeded to pour in a glass of beer. Of course the beer filled the remaining spaces within the jar making the jar truly full.

The moral of this tale is: no matter how full your life is, there is always room for BEER.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


Air rifle clinics will be held today in the basement of the campus rehabilitations building (corner of oak and stadium in Champaign). Show up between 6:30 and 8 PM to participate. Go to the westernmost door and ring the bell to get in

All I'm sayin'...

Somebody called me Dilbert today. Not because of anything I said or did, but because of how I looked.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Congratulations anyway!

For the last 30 seconds of Monday night's game you could've heard a pin drop anywhere across Champaign Urbana. One bounce of the ball cost the Illini a three pointer and the game, but it was a great game and a great season anyway! The team deserves a round of applause.

On a related note, most of the people of Cham-Bana should be congratulated as well for maintaining their composure after the game. There were a few people who caused trouble, but as I hear it, there was relatively little in the way of criminal activity Monday night. Nice going everybody.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to work so I can finish getting my degree.

Monday, April 04, 2005

That's great... but really!

I'm really happy that the Illini have made it to the championship game but I can only marvel at all of the commotion that it has started. Apparently there was a sea of people out on the quad and all over Green Street after the last win. Fortunately there was no major damage/fighting but there was plenty of energy.

Of course with the good comes the bad. There were some people who went absolutely nuts. I'm hoping tonight's festivities are not too rowdy, but I'm afraid that there could be much more craziness than before.

Here's a little hint for everyone, don't be like this guy and make yourself look like a monkey (and possibly get arrested)

Remember, have fun, stay safe, and GO ILLINI!

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate that's my philosophy."
Thornton Wilder

Sunday, April 03, 2005


Some people take instructions WAY too literally. At least he didn't see a sign that said "test pavement." He might have been there all day asking the road questions.

Moment of Zen

A good friend + a night sky + a car to get out of town = happiness.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain.
-Friedrich von Schiller, The Maid of Orleans. Act iii. Sc. 6.


“In victory, you deserve Champagne, in defeat, you need it.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

*from espn

I guess they deserve it tonight.

Weekend Diversion

I may not be much of a sports nut, but since the Illini are playing in this afternoon's final four game I think it's only fitting to have a basketball related diversion this weekend.

Enjoy folks!


Now here's a cool little gadget that I'd like to put together. It's a .357 borelight. For the uninitiated, a borelight is a very useful tool for examining the barrel on a gun (which can be very important when purchasing a used gun) because it illuminates the riflings.

Of course it also looks REALLY cool!

Friday, April 01, 2005


A while back I had the pleasure to view a presentation by Phil Davis, a militaria collector and reenactor. He focused on WWII era British reenactment which meant that he occasionally became involved in work for documentaries.

He told a story about a BBC documentary focusing on D-day in which the filming crew was not permitted to film him or his unit. Why you ask? Because they didn't want to show British soldiers and apparently didn't want to talk about their involvement in D-day. Upon hearing this I thanked my lucky stars that I didn't live in England, because it's one thing to be in a hoplophobic atmosphere (afraid of tools - in this case guns) but it's completely mind-boggling to think that people would want to completely isolate themselves from their heritage.

Worse yet, whoever was in charge of this BBC project seemed to think that it was bad for the British to use violence against the nation that was committing some of the most despicable acts of the century. Could you imagine avoiding all mention of Americans fighting in the Civil War? Yes it was violent, but the result was the end of an oppressive and often cruel system. I'm proud that people in the US are not the type to simply hide their past because of political motives or squeamishness about the topic.

At least I was until I found out about this little incident. Apparently some Hoplophobic decided that it wasn't acceptable for a school to display a picture of a marine holding a *gasp* GUN! "You mean the people who are trained and paid to protect the nation from military threats have to use g-g-g-guns!!??"

Let's face it folks, the world is not a nice place, and sometimes the only way to protect people is to use violence against others. It isn't pleasant, but sticking your head in the sand and hiding from such a simple and basic truth is preposterous.

Of course it's deliciously ironic that the school's mascot is a soldier carrying a sword.

Do I sense mixed messages here?

Some days I don't know which way is up.

This room looks perfectly normal, right?

Well then what about now?

Now THAT's a cool way to mess with people's heads. And just in time for April fool's day!!

If you'll pardon me, I'm off to buy 50 bucks worth of Epoxy.