Sunday, March 20, 2011

NOW IN 3-D!!!

During our vacation, Troy experimented (and had me experiment) with taking "3-D pictures." Most people are not aware that one can produce "stereo pairs" of photographs with ordinary cameras, film or digital. Further, most folks are not aware that they can be viewed with no special equipment right here on your computer screen.

Taking them is easy, so long as the subject is holding very still. Method: take a picture. Move the camera 6 cm (2.3") to the right. Take another picture. Pow, you just took a stereo pair. Sure, there are fancier ways, like mounting two cameras side by side (6 cm apart) and triggering them simultaneously, but the results are the same, if the subject will hold still.

Viewing them (without equipment) takes some funny skills that are easy for some, and difficult for others. It's basically the same skill as viewing "The Magic Eye" posters. (These pictures should be a easier than the "Magic Eye" because your brain already knows how to see regular things in 3-D. You don't have to look for the mystery picture.) It is also the same "skill" you used as a kid while looking through the "ViewMaster" to see ultra-3D images of Disney characters and the Grand Canyon.

The stripped down version is to look at the left picture with your left eye, and the right picture with your right eye. Then relax and stop thinking about it and let your brain do its three-D trick. There are many websites dedicated to teaching you how to do this.  This Wiki article is fairly exhaustive in the many possible methods to simulate 3-D.

For a nuts and bolts discussion of HOW to accomplish this without equipment, click here.

Now that you've read up on the theory, and practised up on the dots, you can try these scenes:

In the woods on Asbury campus:

Also on part of the Asbury campus:

Tree roots consuming a rock at Natural Bridge State Park:

A twisted off tree trunk at a rest stop in along I-65 in Indiana:

I hope you've got the trick now, and have had some fun! Troy and Isaac can do this very quickly now and find it very amusing. I am much more challenged in this area, and can only manage it with the dots. I haven't gotten any of the pictures to work...yet.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Startups

Troy and Isaac did some work yesterday on the wood that was dropped off a week or two ago. (Slab wood--I don't know if I've told the story here, but I'm not going to right now. If you're curious, ask Troy about it.)

Of course, to pull the trailer of split wood around, they needed the lawn tractor to be running. First up was to replace the dead battery. Then it started up but didn't sound right to Troy. He stopped the engine and looked under the hood. And found this:
A very impressive mouse nest in the cooling fan housing.
The mouse bolting out of the tractor when he started it was another clue that this might be a problem.

They managed to clean this out and get the tractor running smoothly.

After this experience, they checked the splitter before starting it. Sure enough, an even bigger nest in its engine housing. It was much less accessible and harder to clean out than the lawn tractor, but they got it done.

Between yesterday and today, Isaac got half of one of racks stacked with wood. Great! Now it'll be my turn to finish what he started...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Yay, Spring!

It felt so warm (outside) when we got home yesterday that I went out and looked specifically and carefully through all the front gardens for signs of tulips and daffodils. Nothing.

This afternoon when I went outside, I saw our first crocus. I love crocuses.

I looked at the gardens again: the tulips and dafs are about one inch high. Yay, spring!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Under Kentucky

We made our way over to Mammoth Cave and did the "New Entrance" tour on Wednesday. Mammoth is the longest known cave but it doesn't have a lot else going for it. There are not many formations in the cave to see, but we got a few sights:

Lots of flat ceilings and tumbled down rocks:

The famous "Frozen Niagara Falls"
(This is just the very top; they "flow" down for quite a ways.)

Troy caught a cave cricket in his flashlight:

And just at the exit we finally got some traditional stalagmites/stalactites:
When down there it's hard to imagine that you are 250 feet below the surface and even harder to imagine being one of the first to go down with a lantern and no knowledge of what you might find. (Creepy!)

After the tour, we met Tammy, a friend who moved from South Bend a few years ago and now finds herself in Bowling Green. We had a great visit which included walking around the downtown square.

Someone had decorated the statue of "Flora" with daffodils that were blooming:

I caught a bird on top of this statue, which I thought might be Fauna, but was not.

I got five family pictures on this trip which has to be a record. (I've gone a whole summer without getting one!) This, however, was one of them, taken by a stranger in the cave:
This is why you have to take five! Fortunately, the other ones are a little better.

And now we are home. A couple more days off work for me (one more for Troy) and then back to what we call normal. Maybe by then I'll be ready to eat--I am so stuffed after this week of eating, eating, eating!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kentucky: rain and shine

We've been having a good time in Kentucky. We've done a lot of hiking.

First with David and Lisa and family on part of the Asbury campus

and today at Natural Bridge State Park. The rain didn't get worse until our way back.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Journey of a Thousand Paper Cuts

Oh wait, that's not how that goes, is it?

In any case, we continue to take steps to getting the kitchen done. Troy is this far on the floor joists and insulation:
Less than half way. The third one is lower because that is where the plumbing for the sink will go.

One thing that I helped with last weekend was putting one-inch foam in the bays of the outside walls.
Troy doesn't want the cellulose insulation sitting directly on the concrete floors because IF the concrete ever gets wet it will transfer to the cellulose and do bad things. With the foam insulation, the dampness won't be able to get to the insulation.
I did a very good job, I must say! ;-)

A final "big picture" view:

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Simple Update

Troy was very happy to have the level bubble float right between the lines when he checked the first half of the slab.

But we're not surprised, are we? We know Troy does good work.

The week I was gone, Troy poured the first half. He said it went quite well by himself.

The next week, he did the second half with only minimal help from me:
Here's our picture proving he used rebar, in case we should ever have to prove such a thing. You can see he mixed the concrete right in the kitchen. He dumped each batch into the purple tub you see in the background and then poured that in the form.

It was a lot closer than he expected on the gravel; there wasn't much left by the time the slab was done. But all we really needed was enough and we had it.

We cleaned up the tools and cement mixer by 10:00 that night (and it was a cold and rainy night, too) and the slab was finished!!

This week we have had pressure treated 2x8s stacked in the kitchen drying out. When Troy bought them, he wondered if they would be stored outside and wet. He was so happy to be directed to the covered storage area to load them up. Well, apparently they had just been moved there because they were wet and frozen. (He had a horrible time tying them into the truck because they were so slippery!)

A week with fans on them has fixed them right up.

Troy has the first floor joists in and one bay filled with foam insulation. Go, Troy, go!

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