Archive for the ‘Odds and Ends’ Category

So, Ron hasn’t posted for a while. A long while. So I, Otter, will post for him. Because I natter enough on my own blogs.

Last year at MuseCon, Ron wanted to do the stained glass class, but didn’t. This year he did, and assembled a rectangular panel from pre-cut pieces. That was Saturday/Sunday (sorry, he hasn’t taken a picture AFAIK).

The Thursday after MuseCon we were at one of the local shops buying glass and tools.

This is the result, a Prairie-style design from a magazine:


I didn’t quite like the design, which is kind of a Frank Lloyd Wright stylized wheat design, so I drew my own, which had three arms, and the ends of the arms vertical. Ron was playing with the beveled clear piece we’d bought for it, which resulted in a re-design by me, Ron, Xap, and Robin.
Here it is, hanging in my office window:

image.jpeg photo.JPG

He also made two versions (same design, slightly different background colors) of this design, from a different magazine (pre-soldering):


 He ended up with two versions because we massively over-estimated how much glass it would take, so he had plenty for two.

Ron did the soldering on mine and the two green ones last Friday, as well as patina-ing (chemically blackening) the metal on the two green panels. Wherein lies a story. I got home from a Windycon meeting, and noticed that the house was really smelly. Ron said it was the patina chemicals, plus the flux+solder combo. He took a shower before bed to try to shed some of the smell, but it was persistent, and pervaded the whole house. I mentioned it smelled kinda skunky.

If you read my blog, you probably see where this is going.

Our room was still skunky come morning, but the hallway, not so much (we keep the bedroom door shut to keep the dogs in).

Yes, you guessed it, the smell was skunk, not stained glass chemicals. Pippin went to the vet for a bath, and Robin washed bedding. In our defense, Pip was not nearly as bad as Elrond when he got skunked last summer. But it was still a headdesk realization.

Anyway, Xap liked my design enough that she bought glass for one for Ron to make her one (my ego, let me show you it):


Ron also did a couple-three smaller pieces. These are from a book of prairie-style miniatures. The vertical one is a bit under 11″ tall, the Transformers-ish-logo one is 4-6″ wide:

image.jpeg image.jpeg

Prairie style is nice for starting out on, because it has lots of nice straight lines.

I put together another small thing out of scraps from my panel, which looks a lot like mountains.

At lunch today I borrowed the office planimeter and was measuring the area of the parts for some more designs – some with lots of curves! And I bought an older mechanical planimeter via eBay. I was going to check and see what model the old mechanical one we had at the office was and look for one of those (since I know how it works), but it seems to be hiding from me. Hopefully not stolen, although we have a newer, fancier digital one. Locked up. Anyway, the one I got from eBay includes the manual, so it should be fine.

I think the plan is to go shopping for more glass tomorrow before the MuseCon post-con post-mortem. We’ll be going to Classical Glass, in Algonquin, who are very nice and helpful and totally sold Ron a grinder after letting him try one of theirs. Suevel Studios/Chicago School of Glass Art (two links for two sides of their business) are also very nice, but Classical Glass has a better selection of Glass. We won’t be going back to O’Reilly’s Stained Glass in Crystal Lake, the person who was there when we went was opinionated, and rude about it – no, using X size material is not “wrong”, thankyouverymuch, and it isn’t absolutely required to take formal classes to learn. The lady who runs A Glass Act in Elgin is opinionated but tactful, and quite happily gave Ron hints to get better patina results. No link only because she doesn’t have a web site.  And she’s not far at all from the Tandy/Leather Factory store, that I can hit from work at lunchtime.

No, I haven’t tried stained glass yet, other than putting the foil on my scrap/mountain suncatcher. I’ll stick to sorting pattern and glass pieces and maybe come up with another design at some point.

I figured out how to get WordPress to automatically recognize various mobile devices and to use a different theme so it is easier to read.

It really was not that hard to do all it took was installing a plugin.

well since is our playground I thought I’d play…

Now what to do…

Remember the wolf from about two posts earlier? Well, here it is, in the intended habitat, in color. You see now exactly why I spent mumble years futzing around with it.

This was taken immediately after completion Sunday afternoon (you can see the yellow ink smears on the one side). The skin around it is already red in the picture, but is fading today. The minor bleeding you can see in some of the yellow has cleared out, too. Still a bit ouchy, but not too bad.

The artist worked around two freckles/moles that are slightly raised – flat ones he’ll go over, but he doesn’t like to mess with anything that could possibly be a problem site. I can handle that (and Dr. Iza saw them earlier this year, along with the fifty-zillion other spots on my back and shoulders), although the one is the backs-side paw is kinda obvious. The other one not so much.

Since this is immediately after completion, the colors are as vivid as they’ll ever be. They were still that bright this morning, but I expect the skin to start peeling today, at which time the appearance starts to move to the less-bright fully healed state.

Click on the pictures to embiggen, BTW (embiggen – good word, thanks Yarn Harlot)

Hmm. Clever of me to call this Otter-Dracos Pictures instead of Photographs, as these aren’t photos (obviously). They’re drawings that Ron scanned in, brought into Adobe Illustrator, and traced/cleaned up (hence the awsome display of symmetry). So I probably should have put the copyright as belonging to both of us, but I doubt he’ll be fussed.

The first one is a Northwest Coast-style wolf’s head I was working on for myself. I forget how many versions I’ve gone through as I worked on it in the last mumble years, this time I finally got it right, I think. I think the key was getting rid of outlines. You may or may not notice that the bits are free-floating, not necessarily connected. But it works, you end up seeing the face as a whole. It would be more detailed, but for design constraints the final medium will impose.

As we were finishing the wolf face up, I had the idea to do a Thunderbird-Duck. Yes, with DucKon in mind. I couldn’t resist. I did it. Hence the second drawing, ThunderDuck with the duck face in the chest. More semi-detached bits, although less obviously than in the wolf face. More detail, too. I knew that I could put more detail in it.

Then Ron had fun, took out the duck face, and put in the wolf face (with some stretching and/or squashing to make it fit, but not obvious deformation).

In some ways, the ThunderDucks are just . . . wrong. But they came out so well! We also have colored and black-and-white filled-in versions, in which the moustache-y bit in the beak is gone, because it was waaaaay too much like a moustache.

If the DucKon leadership leaves me as Publications again, I do solemnly promise . . .
. . .
. . . NOTHING! I have the POWER! I have the SOFTWARE! I have the IMAGES!

Since LJ’s picture storage/uploading makes me crazy, and our other Blogger blog is for Otter Necessities, I’ve started Yet Another Blog for general picture-posting. And here it is, I’ll add links from LJ and Otter Necessities’ blog.

So, about these pictures: A while back I decided I’d like to take pictures in Hillside Cemetery, which is on Smith Street, about a block or two north of the Palatine train station, as there seemed to be some older stuff there. New headstones are boring. Old headstones (and footstones, it turns out), are interesting. So we finally got there on Wednesday. We went about 6 pm, because the sun is getting lower and so the light is more interesting.

I think Ron took the first picture, and a couple others, I took the other two posted, and most of them for the evening. And most of them had to be rotated counter-clockwise a couple degrees – but some had to be rotated clockwise – woo! drunk Lon! Straightening was made even more fun by the fact that a lot of the older stones lean. And the cemetery is hilly. Finding a good line to straighten on was sometimes entertaining.

I need to work on my composition. Perhaps that’s why I bought a book on composition a week or ten days ago?

Not sure these are the best of the batch, but they’re the ones I grabbed this morning.

just got notified that the product I am working on made it into Wired magazine.



on October 1, 2007 in Odds and Ends No Comments »

From Lon’s Live journal

You are like Scooter

People are usually taken in by your boyish charm and sewed-on good looks but beneath that silky jacket lies a devious soul who plays to win and will do anything to get what they want.
Which sorry excuse of a Muppet are you?


on September 17, 2007 in Odds and Ends No Comments »

Gee this is interesting.  Funny it puts me way south of any place I have ever lived (that I can remember).  

What American accent do you have?

Your Result: The Midland

“You have a Midland accent” is just another way of saying “you don’t have an accent.” You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The West
The Northeast
The South
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Well according to the item posted in Roxanne’s journal….

        1. Go to
        2. Put in Username: nycareers – Password: landmark
        3. Take the ‘Career Matchmaker’ questions at the upper left corner
        4. Post the top 10 results.

The initial list I got was as follows:
1.  Electronics Engineering Tech
2.  Electrical Engineering Tech
3.  Electronics Repairer
4.  Tailor / Dressmaker
5.  Industrial Designer
6.  Electrical Engineer
7.  Security Systems Technician
8.  Drafter
9.  Electrician
10.  Office Machine Repairer

After adding education I got:
1.  Industrial Designer
2.  Electrical Engineer
3.  Model Maker
4.  Animator
5.  Aerospace Engineer
6.  Mechanical Engineer
7.  Optometrist
8.  Mining Engineer
9.  Artist
10.  Database Developer

I have no idea were it gets Tailor/Dressmaker from.  Although I like some of the ones it came up with further down the initial list
11.  Cabinetmaker
12.  Locksmith
13.  Machinist
16.  Dry Cleaner  (another in the Where the heck did that come from catagory)
17.  Model Maker
34.  Heavy Equipment Mechanic
38.  Motorcycle Mechanic
40.  Optometrist  (yet another confusing one…)