June 14th, 2005

caillebotte_the balcony

Why, This Looks Like a Common Weblog Entry!

Via the jdlasicadarknet feed I created a few days ago, I found MakeZine, the web site of a quarterly magazine devoted to DIY projects of all sorts, but heavy on electronics and computer hacks. For example, from the large selection of links in their weblog, there is this set of instructions on how to hack a cheap Microsoft MN-700 router to run Linux. Being non-geek, I don't do that sort of thing, of course, but the Make weblog also has many links to sites featuring projects that are suitable for those as technologically inept as myself.

There is a link to a page by an Ohio college professor which tells you how to make your own root beer, for example (and at the bottom of the root beer page, you'll find a link to the professor's very informative cheese page, should that comestible's decayed delights be more to your taste than the traditional soft drink.)

Another link will take you to The Toyshop, a page filled with links to pages containing instructions on how to make a variety of rather grimly amusing paper toys (you need Microsoft Word and a printer to make use of the instructions), including such things as a mechanical bat, an original board game called Phantom's Vortex, and a dancing skeleton marionette, among more than twenty projects.

There are also a few links to other web sites that you can just look at, for those not interested in DIY projects. My favorite is The Museum of Retro Technology, which has virtual exhibits of such wonders as fluidic gramophones, heliographs, steam-powered bicycles, compressed-air vehicles, and analogue electronic computers.

This site proved to be such a rich source of links, that I've spent the last couple of hours poking about among them and yet remain far from exhausting them. Ah, another virtual pit down which to cast my time!

The night, by the way, passed without thunder, but the scent of jasmine has grown so overpowering that I would not be surprised should the morning light reveal a street littered with deer who have fainted dead away from the sheer sweetness of the exotic blooms. June, June, you shameless month!


Another sky of burnished vapors, the air again so heavy that it seems the fragile plants would be crushed by its weight. Heat browns the grass, and the arid soil sends up puffs of dust at each footfall. Strands of spider silk hover, visible only when back-lit by the hazed sun. Most of them, I discover only when I feel them brush my face. Small birds manage somehow to fly through this thickened atmosphere, but no breeze stirs it. The afternoon itself becomes lassitude.

The day's declining hours bring some relief, as the clouds thin, becoming patches of white cirrus floating in pale blue. The sun at the horizon is an orange glow, like a fire in the pine woods. Dusk deepens the lake of sky, the few remaining wisps of cloud flush pink and mauve. The evening birds chirp as a cooler air arrives, though as yet it barely stirs. The crickets have begun to sing. I place a hose to irrigate the drooping sourgrass, and the trickling sound is as cooling as the falling night. Together, they drive briefly from my mind the thought of the enervating summer's inevitable advance.
laszlo moholy-nagy_chx

I Didn't Feel It

From USGS recent earthquake info for California-Nevada region:
A major earthquake occurred at 7:50:54 PM (PDT) on Tuesday, June 14, 2005.
The magnitude 7.0 event occurred 146 km (91 miles) WSW of Crescent City, CA.
The hypocentral depth is 10 km ( 6 miles).

Surf's up! (Maybe. An undersea quake this size can cause moderate surges, but nothing resembling last year's Indian Ocean disaster.)

The odd thing is that the weather here today, which I described in my earlier post this evening, was of the muggy, sultry, overcast sort that my grandmother was wont to call "earthquake weather." Earthquake weather is superstition, of course, but I sometimes refer to it by that name, myself. It lends a bit of drama to what is actually something that brings merely discomfort. Nice coincidence, though.