Saturday, May 30, 2009


I started to color Shel Silverstein pictures when in high school and picked it up again recently. I like having the oportunity to use the color in fun ways and not have to draw the pic myself. Plus it makes the poems pop.

This one I did a while back.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Book Review: "Genesis" by Poul Anderson

Don't let the horrid cover fool you. This was a good read. If you liked "Lungfish" and "Diaspora" you should like this. Takes place at various times in the human and post human future, ending a billion or so years from now, near the end of Earth's life.

The book brought up some interesting questions.

Is it immoral to create a civilization, ex nihilo style, and let it run with free will and all that entails? Love, joy, sadness, murder, cruelty. Some characters in the book seemed to think so.

Would it then be immoral to terminate your creation completely?

In the end I was rooting against the crazy AI that wanted to let earth die and for the ones trying to preserve the "birthplace of consciousness." The final reveal was a bit of a shocker. Just goes to show you should be careful who you side with.

Overall and easier read than Diaspora, and highly recommended.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mini Burl

Lot's of types of trees have mini burl or burrs. As far as I know no one out there does anything with the little ones only the big burl. I've shown what they look like on various trees below. I've also found them on pine and fir trees but they're usually are not round and are softer, but the shapes are interesting sometimes.

Tulip Tree

Some sort of Maple

Some type of Alder (I think)

Smooth Barked Oaks (Not so easy to see it in this picture, it's above the leaf)

After I pop them off the trees I skin them right away as it gets pretty hard when they're dry. Don't try to rush the drying of them as they'll crack. I just keep them at a constant temperature while drying. Some are harder than others but they are all very hard. They tend to shatter instead of splinter if they are smashed with a hammer. The grain grows spherically on these burl layer by layer like a pearl and they connect to the tree through thin little needles. They are pretty easy to pop off the trees with a screw driver or the like, using the same to remove the bark. Large burl are made up of lots of little burl all grown together making the amazing burl grain. Though only a few types of trees that grow burl will grow large clumps of burl good for turning and whatnot.

Assorted burl (before they are sanded)

I used to use a dremel tool to sand them one by one then with sand paper to finish them off. Now though I've made a bulk sander out of a grinder and a cardboard canister. It's kinda like a rock polisher but for burl.

Assorted burl (after being sanded)
Finlay here's some of the things I've made with the burl. A burl bead necklace made of various types of burl wood. A little fertility charm that Sarah commissioned after seeing one on a PBS show. And a skull charm likewise commissioned by Sarah.

Also I've mad some burl rings that I like. The wood is strong enough that I can sand them pretty thin but the kids still managed to brake theirs. Though mine is a bit too tight and It survives some serious pushing and pulling to get it on and off.

Sarah's (Maple), Aaron's (Oak)

The burl doesn't take a stain that well. I ended up just boiling the burl in bees wax and polishing them. Heating the burl like that caramelizes the natural sugars in the wood and brings out all the various colors.

The tools I have consist of a fairly recently acquired drill, a dremel tool with some attachments that came along with it that Sarah got me some years ago and sand paper. Also a hand grinder that I was given while helping someone move, this I used to make the burl sander.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Book Review-World War Z

Another Post Apocalyptic book for those of you that are fans. It is about the world having come to a near end through the spread of a disease that causes people to turn into zombies. I really liked how it was written in a documentary/interview style. The Interview style really allows you to get caught up in the conjured reality of the situation. It was a fun and easy read, made the new york times best seller list.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Long Exposure

Here's another attempt at a long exposure. I think I was just getting the technique down on this one when it started to rain.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Book review: The Postman

Hey I don't know we want to do this with this blog, but one post won't do too much harm I suppose.

I think it may be fun to put book reviews here. That way, our now dead book club, can be more pick and choose. If you see a book review that you find interesting pick up the book. Format the review any way you like.

I recently read, "The Postman" by David Brin.

What I liked.

Post apocalyptic setting. I am a sucker for the post apocalypse. Don't know why. I just think it is fertile ground for stories about human nature and such, and a good place to reflect on civilization and society. This book did a fairly good job of creating such a place.

The Protagonist's journey was interesting. He kept traveling West hoping to find the remains of civilization.

The location. He ends up in Oregon. It was fun to read about him visiting towns that I know of. Ending up in the Willamette valley. Too bad Portland was still in a cloud of radioactivity.

The idea that something as simple as resuming postal service could bring people together and give them hope. Even if it was all a lie. I also liked Cyclops, an AI, that was helping people around OSU rebuild civilization. Or was it?

What I didn't like

The Protagonist was so dense. Whereas he was good and all, he kept feeling guilty for telling a lie, but failed to see that the lie was helping people. He kept searching for someone to follow that was ready to lead people back to hope and prosperity, but never thought that he was the person.

The Antagonists were infuriating. But it was interesting that what killed civilization was not the Nukes, not the 3 year nuclear winter that followed. But selfish men tearing down in the aftermath. Getting their own, while hurting others. Trying to bring back Feudalism etc. I guess I actually liked this part of the book.

It was written in 1985 and took place in 2011. A little soon to happen 16 years after the apocalypse. But this is a minor annoyance. Nobody can predict the future. Kindof like reading 2001 and saying, uh what?

The ending felt rushed. But it was not bad

Overall the book was ok. It was interesting but didn't really develop the ideas too well.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Another set of long exposures with a flashlight. I'd really love a white laser for something like this (if they existed), a flashlight beam just can't be focused enough to hit only the parts you want.

Our wisteria vine.

An azalea that's in bloom out in the back yard.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Multiple Exposure

I've been experimenting with daylight long exposure settings. You can do this with a Nutral Dencity Filter (absorbes much of the light), but I don't have one, and it wouldn't allow you to get the ocasional distinguisable face. Everythign would be a cloud unless the kids held still for a few min. Any way I developed a technique to do it with out a ND Filter. Let me know what you think.

The living room was a little easier because it was not as bright as outside.

This on is of Noah and Joshua swinning on our swing in the backyard.

Joseph game me this idea of trying chess as a repetitive motion.
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