Another Successful Launch

September 18, 2009 by

ScrantonSpace

While home to visit the family a week ago the Scranton Space Program convened for another launch. The last time we were together we launched three rockets each with pretty different designs. One burned in half upon launching, one had bits of its fins break off, and one went into the sky never to be seen again.

That last one kinda bothered me. It had two engines in it and it was the first time I got both engines to ignited. Of course since it was lost to the woods I didn’t know that both engines went off  until I got my film (yes film!) developed. This time I hoped it would be different. I whipped together a dual engine rocket in a day and a half. I also converted another one to use some D engines I had laying around. They weren’t pretty but they’d work….I hoped.

They actually did launch pretty well. We seemed to have trouble keeping nose cones attached but we didn’t lose a single rocket! The double engines went off and were recovered. Check out the photos:

Check out the rest of the photos and some videos here.

Blast Off

August 9, 2009 by

Launch Pad Close Up This past Easter I got to launch a few model rockets with my niece and nephews. It was a pretty interesting launch for a couple of reasons. First of all I was trying some new designs and materials for the rockets themselves. The other difference this time was I set up my holga right next to the launch pad in an attempt to get some cool pics. Since I have a cable release for it and I didn’t really care if the rocket burned a hole through it I figured my holga was the perfect camera for the job.

The picture to the left is the only one that came out. I took about 4 or 5 shots total. The other ones were either blown out or my timing was off and the rocket was already out of frame. I’m pretty sure that this shot was actually taken by my niece or one of my nephews. I’m really glad this one actually came out good. This rocket had two engines in to. I shot off like a bat outta hell and was gone. It was a fairly cloudy day and once it got high enough the rocket vanished from sight and was never seen again.

Now THAT’S a Motherfucking Party!

August 7, 2009 by

Several months ago while I was in my hometown for a little vacation I did a photo shoot with some friends. This photo shoot. Explaining it doesn’t seem to help. I tried that a few times and the looks I received in return were even more befuddled. Long story short: I used to work in a warehouse where we had a lot of time on our hands to come up with weird ideas. The cool thing about it is that the series  got a lot of views when I posted them on Flickr. Well a lot for me anyway. And yes I’m one of those people who constantly check their stats. What can I say, I like to know that somebody is looking at my work. It was during one of these regular ego checks that I noticed this photo:

was linked to by an outside website. I clicked on the link and was kinda floored. Somebody randomly found one of my goofy photos and felt it was goofy enough to include. Well whoever you are, I’m honored. I also gotta say I’m interested that, that photos was chosen. First of all it is one of my favorites from the series (although I will confess I have a lot of favorites from that series) but also I always felt the duck looked a little sad in it. Like he regretted whatever it was he just did. To think that’s the one they picked as a sexy ducky bedroom party.

So I’m a Little ADD

July 13, 2009 by

So I haven’t been writing much lately. Quite frankly it’s hard. Coming up with new, witty things important to geeks to write about. But I’ve got this blog and I’m paying over $8.00 a year for the domain name ( DAMN YOU GODADDY.COM) so I might as well post something. So here’s something. About a week ago Amy and I were going to go see Trixie Little perform out on Coney Island. While killing time before the show Amy saw some theater makeup I had laying around. This was the

result:

You can check out the rest here. I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out. Response from those I know has been pretty positive. The blood looks pretty fake but the bruise looks real (which it wasn’t). According to Amy she had to take it down from her Facebook because to many people thought it was real.

Saved? Polaroid

January 31, 2009 by

As we all know by now Polaroid stopped production on Dec. 31st, 2008. For over a year now people have been preparing themselves and mourning the loss. “Why is this happening!” we kept asking ourselves. The answer is simple. Artists, hipsters and a few of my relatives who think computers are evil (they don’t just not like computers, they really think an evil witch lives inside) were the only ones left buying Polaroid film. The rest of the world had moved on to digital. Who could blame them. Digital cameras are getting cheaper and cheaper and since nobody prints out their photos anyway you save on development costs. 

But Polaroid’s fate might not be sealed yet. Recently while checking out the Photojojo forums I saw a post that linked to this site. Could it be? Somebody bought a Polaroid factory and plans to begin production again? The page itself seemed kinda cryptic to me and for a few moments it seemed as if the news wasn’t spread that far. Of course within a day or two I started to see the news in all of the places I go for Polaroid news (polanoid.net and the flickr polaroid group). So the news looks good. The one thing that I’m tripping on a little bit is that it’s just integral film (I’m more a fan of pack film but I guess I can buy the Fuji pack film). I’m also cautiously optimistic about:

The Impossible mission is NOT to re-build Polaroid Integral film but (with the help of strategic partners) to develop a new product with new characteristics, consisting of new optimised components, produced with a streamlined modern setup. An innovative and fresh analog material, sold under a new brand name that perfectly will match the global re-positioning of Integral Films.

The idea that the project isn’t trying to recapture the past but instead move towards a future with a “Polaroid ” film that is modern is great. Of course sometimes when you mess with a good recipe the final dish sucks. But since the kitchen was closed before this chef showed up it doesn’t really matter. 

So there you have it. Polaroid may be back..soon..sort of.

Bad Marathon

October 1, 2008 by

To those who want to check out Breaking Bad, AMC is running a marathon of the award winning show. The meth madness begins tonight at 8:00 on ABC. The one problem with this is that Pushing Daisies second season begins tonight at 8 as well. Both shows are great so if you have Tivo or DVR now would be the time to use it.

Geeks Get Their Due

September 25, 2008 by

Chemistry is the study of change and this past sunday there was a change at the Emmy’s: a really deserving actor got recognition. Brian Cranston won Best Actor in a dramatic series for his portrayal Of Walter White on Breaking Bad. I’ve been a fan of Cranston since Malcolm in the Middle and am a huge fan of Breaking Bad. For those of you who haven’t seen it, Bad is the story of high school chemistry teacher Walter White who after discovering he has lung cancer uses his chemistry skills to create/deal meth in order to pay for his treatment and make sure his family is provided for. The show is pretty dark, surprisingly funny, refreshingly honest and incredibly brave. Despite the fact that John Hamm deserves an Emmy just as much I feel justified in Cranston getting it since Bad was robbed of a full season due to the writers strike and needs to get some attention.

Also want to give a well deserved pat on the back to Tiny Fey and the 30 Rock crew who won pretty much every category in which they were nominated. Tina Fey is completely brilliant on that show and it’s been a long time since something that well written has been on tv. I think it’s funny that there was all this attention around Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and 30 Rock which was just that other behind the scenes show is the one that is still around. Alec Baldwin is amazing as well and I can’t wait for the new season to begin in October.

Alec Baldwin’s award winning performance

And Finally congrats to Barry Sonnenfeld of Pushing Daisies for nabbing Best Director for a Comedy for the episode “Pie-lette.” Daisies (which was just released on dvd last week) is sweeter than honey for the homeless (it’s a joke from the show). Lee Pace and Kristin Chenoweth (who looked pleased as punch when Sonnenfeld won) unfortunately didn’t win their respective categories but I’m sure they’ll have plenty more opportunities. If you haven’t seen Pushing Daisies yet definitely check it out. It does require that you can tolerate a certain amount of whimsy, but if you can it’s awesome.

The season 1 promo for those who missed it

Th tv season has begun people. Grab some popcorn, set your Tivos, and check your local listings.

When I Was Cool

September 12, 2008 by

Way back in 1993 during a blizzard I became an uncle. I was 15 and this would be the first, but not the last, time my sister would give birth. I didn’t know what to expect. Little did I know this was my chance to be cool. As I look back now this is right about the time that I began my development as a geek. This was slightly counteracted by the fact that by the time this kid would start to develop a personality and begin to look up to people I was the only immediate relative living in a big city. Definitely cool. Plus I had long hair, something which most guys in our town weren’t really into.

By the time he was able to talk I was the cool uncle trying to be an artist in the big city. A had a lock on the whole cool thing (at least as far as he was concerned). Whenever I would come to town he was a ball of energy wanting to do everything all at once. The kid would tire me out and when I would ask my sister how she keeps up with him she would tell me it’s because he’s so excited to hang out with his uncle.

I must admit it felt good to have somebody look up to me. I was the youngest in my family and never had this happen before. My reign of coolness went on unabated for years. It even continued when I gained a niece and another nephew. Even they thought I was cool. It was great. But then something began to happen with the oldest. It was so subtle that I didn’t even notice it at first. He became interested in skateboarding. No problem. I had began to skate and although I didn’t know much I knew enough to retain my coolness. Then he began to play guitar. Wonderful. Every kid should try the arts. But this kid was good. Really,  really good. The real red flag was when he started playing football. I can’t speak to the talent in my brother-in-law’s family, but nobody in my family had ever been good or even interested in sports. We were all in Little League at some point but football! That was unheard of! Plus he was good at that too! High school football coaches were calling his house to make sure he would join the team when got to high school. Things progress quickly here. Suddenly the kid is a great skateboarder, a talented athlete, and has formed a band. Before I know it he’s organizing a gig for his band to play at the local VFW (that pull a decent sized crowd) and has a girlfriend. At this point he’s probably the most successful person in my family and worse then that he is definitely cooler than me.

Meanwhile I continue to collect action figures for both my girlfriend and me. I can barely do the most basic of skateboard tricks, build model rockets,  and am starting to actually like Dr. Who. The coolness bestowed upon me by my uncle status is fading fast. What little I have may have vanished when I gave him a t-shirt I made myself with the logo for our imaginary rocket club on it. My coolness will soon be gone and then I’ll just be his uncle. I imagine he’ll still humor me when I invite him along on some geeky adventure but it won’t be the same. Rest in peace, My Coolness. It was fun while it lasted.

Bill Nye Environ-Guy

September 8, 2008 by

“When we do stuff, stuff happens.” That’s the basis of Stuff Happens, the new show from Bill Nye (the Science Guy, not the actor). So far I’ve seen two episodes of the show and I’m not too impressed. In fact, I’m a little disappointed since  I was super excited when I first saw the ads for it. It’s be far too long since his completely awesome show Bill Nye the Science Guy went off the air and since then, I haven’t seen a science show that lights my Bunsen burner quite like Nye’s did. Aside from my loving memory of the show, YouTube, and Bill Nye stalker articles, I rarely even see references to it. I mean even Beckman’s World is on in reruns and it isn’t nearly as awesome.

But I digress. My excitement for the new show began to wane when I realized Stuff Happens was on Planet Green, the environmental channel. I know our planet is important but I have never been able to get into conservation/environmentalism. I do my part. I reduce, reuse and recycle. I turn off lights when I leave a room. I cut up six pack containers. I turn off the water while brushing me teeth. Hell, I even sold my car. But I just don’t go for the full-on Begley Jr. Nothing’s been able to turn me around. Not Al Gore, not the joint efforts of John Ritter and Max Casella, and so far not Bill Nye.

The problem I have with his show is that seemingly everything I do is causing the end of the world. In the first episode of Stuff Happens, I learned that eating cheap bacon is causing the depletion of the anchovy population and thereby destroying penguins. The answer to all of these problems is to, of course, buy organic. You’d think the show was made by Whole Foods.

“..This exciting half-hour series engages the viewer with astonishing information, easy-to-follow science, lighthearted demonstrations, expert interviews and connective story-telling to amplify growing problems in the environment and important solutions we can all take to make things better. With trademark good humor, Bill Nye helps viewers get a grip on big topics and presents positive, upbeat solutions to the critical problems facing us all…”

The information is far from astonishing. I’ve been told the world was going to end any minute (and that we’re about to convert to metric) since I was a kid. Neither have happened yet. Plus I already know buying organic is better. Because of that, I feel like this is all old news and I’m not learning anything. Hecl I was more moved to be environmental after watching Batman battle it out with Ra’s Al Ghul on the beloved Batman: The Animated Series.

"Stop pigs from eating me!"

"Stop pigs from eating me!"

The one technique for saving the world (specifically the anchovies I mentioned earlier) I did think was more interesting was to eat more anchovies. You see they are in danger because they are a good, cheap food source for pigs. Pigs love them and will eat them as much as they can, which means farmers buy a lot of anchovies to get pigs fatter quicker. But if humans eat more anchovies, the price will go up and theoretically pig farmers will stop buying them. But even this solution has it’s problems. First of all anchovies are the universal symbol for something most people are repulsed by. Secondly if humans start to love them so much they’ll still get over farmed. Just for a pig that can talk.

So it seems Bill Nye’s return to television is quite as triumphant as I had hoped. I wonder what Beckman is up to…..

A Geek Watches the Olympics

September 2, 2008 by

I am not what you would call a sports fan. I’ve never watched the Superbowl, couldn’t tell you who won the World Series last year and generally would prefer to poke a stick in my ear rather than listening to any kind of sports discussion. I didn’t grow up in a sports watching family since my dad never watched sports nor did my grandfather (unless you count horse racing but that was more about the monetary rewards rather than any love of sports).

Strangely enough though, I always look forward to the Olympics. I’ve come to think of the Olympics as an event for people who generally don’t like watching sports. Although I think they have gone a little crazy adding sports that I don’t thing are really Olympic in stature (BMX Racing? Ping-Pong? Trampoline?), it’s fun to watch the best of the best in every country come together to compete every four years. And while I generally enjoy the Winter Games more than the Summer Games (maybe because I was born in a blizzard?), the Beijing Games have been riveting.

I will fully admit that this is because I been hit hard with Phelps mania. I don’t ever recall watching the swimming finals in Olympics past but I have been glued to my television all last week. Often before the Olympics, the media will pump up certain athletes as the sure to be stars of the games only to see that them crack under the pressure. And the Beijing Games have certainly served up their share of disappointing athletes. But Phelps has been amazing. I managed to watch all but one race live (I missed the nail biter race that gave him the 7th gold because someone who shall remain unnamed wanted to watch Psych instead. Grr Argh!). Sometimes he won by wide margins, other times by freakishly close ones but watching someone actually achieve 8 gold medals straight in one week makes me believe that Phelps must be part fish.

But besides Phelps, watching athletes like Dara Torres, Jason Lezak, Ryan Lochte, Aaron Peirsol, Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin has kept me up til the wee hours most nights (why NBC decided to save most key events until after 11 pm is beyond me). And when Jason Lezak came from behind to crush Alain Bernard in the 4×100 medal relay had me jumping off of my couch like an actual sport fan would. And I’ve been reading the sports pages instead of tossing them aside like normal.

But I know as with every other Olympics, once the closing ceremony is over and some athlete makes their debut on the Wheaties box (Phelps have a deal with Kelloggs so the field is wide open), I will once again eschew anything sports-related for my traditionally geeky pursuits. Which I guess is how it will be until the Vancouver Winter Games roll around in 2010. And then I will become a temporary sports geek once again.