Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I think I'm going to call it Red, short for "The Great Red Shark". It's fast. Of course, I dropped it within 5 minutes of leaving the store, but scratches build character.
And it's recycled, kind of. At least the frame is. Most of the important parts are new, which is a good thing. Custom built by Brooklyn Bike & Board. Same day service, who would have thought?

All this (and a lock!) for $100 less than my old bike. I feel like I might wind up spending less on the bike, and more on locking it up... but that's the world we live in, unfortunately.

For more information on how to tell a boy bicycle from a girl bicycle, ask your parents.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

So it goes...

If ever I was going to eulogize an inanimate object, this would be the one. But a bicycle is hardly an inanimate object. A bike embodies the phrase "I want to go fast." In the words of the late Kurt Vonnegut, so it goes...

[Cue sappy music and "trip down memory lane" montage]

This was the day I rode all the way to the end of Bedford Ave. Note the boat in the background. Not pictured: the Applebees on the corner. Nobody wants to see that...

Manhattan Beach, same day.

The greenest grip truck in the city. Not going to lie, this was a little unwieldy, but I didn't have far to go.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Battery Stuff

Just a note- using a DeWalt XRP 14.4v battery for the "Backpack Mode" moon (portable & self contained, so the kid can run around with the moon lit up).

Ran most of the day. Forgot to meter the battery at the start of the day, but about halfway through the day, it metered 15.7v, and by the end of the day it was only down to 15.6v. I guess the LED load pales in comparison to the DeWalt drill motor... I have a feeling this will last for a while, despite not having done the math to confirm this fact...

Also can't find the mAh rating for the battery, but maybe I'm not looking hard enough.

Shoot day 2 coming up... just found out the moon has to get wet. That should be fun...

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Controls for the Heart of the Moon, v2.0

04:17am Sept 17- Finished the enclosure, and [hopefully] all the troubleshooting for the controls. Not taking it apart again, it took long enough to squeeze it in there...

I feel like I'm back in school pulling an all nighter to finish a project on time... which is pretty much what I'm doing, minus the school part.

I promise better pictures, and better writing, after I get some sleep...

Good night.

EDIT 00:43am Sept 18:

Four hours of sleep, then driving two hours to stay at a friend's house to make a movie for the weekend. I feel like I'm in college again... oh wait, I am.

Much progress tonight... figured out, in record time, how to get Processing to control the Arduino dimmer (and thus push my painstakingly constructed hardware controls into obsolescence, almost).

The manual controls will suffice for simple "breathing" effects loops, and they're key for self-contained Backpack Mode, but being able to control the finer aspects of the dimming cycle from Processing will really come in handy when we get into making the moon act like it's sick on the next shoot.

Figured out why the dimming has been so jerky- I've had it outputting a lot of debug data over Serial, which has been slowing down all the loops. So now that it's working, I don't need the debug data and now it's much smoother- italics used to emphasize smoooooothness.

The one issue I'm having (and it very well might be a software bug...) is that the new TIP31 transistor is not behaving the same as the old one... it seems like it goes from 0-100% brightness in the first 10 or so steps of the PWM (of 255 steps)-

MS Paint is probably the only thing I miss from my Windows days...

So we have the batteries charged and are gearing up for Shoot Day 1 tomorrow... time for bed.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Security Through Obscurity

Had to return the camera from the wedding today... Decided I didn't feel like attracting attention to myself carrying thousands of dollars worth of borrowed camera equipment through my neighborhood, after our rental car was broken into recently and we lost a lot of important stuff.

Turns out my hypothesis was right- people don't seem to pay much attention when you're carrying an awkwardly heavy garbage bag through Brooklyn. And if someone does ask what's in the bag, tell them it's stuff infested with bed bugs... that'll make 'em think twice before they try to steal it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

If Film Crews Ran the World...

I've discovered that having a background in show business really comes in handy when your best friends decide to throw a backyard wedding on three weeks' notice.

Compared to the long hours and stress of producing multi-million dollar films and television shows, a wedding is a piece of cake.

I did the lighting, video, and a significant portion of the photography for the event, as well as AD-ing (Assistant Directing, or keeping things on schedule, for those of you not in the biz), and impromptu sound reinforcement, and I must say I'm really proud of the results. It was also helpful having a TV producer on the bride's side of the aisle.

My elaborate spiderweb of rope and wire caused some palpable amount of anxiety for the bride and groom at first, and understandably so. Things aren't always pretty behind the scenes-

But I told them, "Hey, trust me, I'm a professional," with all the inflated self-assuredness I could muster, and a big wink at the end, to instill confidence and calm their fears.

We couldn't put up all the China lanterns until the day-of, for fear of rain (and hurricanes), so we didn't know how it would all look until it finally got dark...

The bar/dance floor, looking toward the garage. The ceremony was under the grape leaves in front of the garage, with a wall of French doors and beautiful silk drapery to set the scene. (I'll have to find pictures of it, as my eye was glued to the video camera for that part.)

Wide shot of the back yard/seating area, and the pool with candles floating in it. Surprisingly none of us drunks fell in, on purpose or by accident...

Roughly 580 watts of China balls... outside was actually brighter than inside. I actually threw out a quick-on plug and replaced it with a real 15-amp plug after realizing the tiny quick-on contacts were kind of a fire hazard... I think in total we pulled a respectable 15 amps... not bad for a bunch of Christmas lights.

The wedding cake(s). Pay no attention to the only dead string of lights behind it. The candlelight is prettier anyway.

The happy couple, and the presiding minister/brand new sister-in-law. I think they approve.

Eat your heart out, Nextel.