Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Light up the Darkness

I watched "I am Legend(imdb)" again last night, so the above quote comes from Bob Marley, through Will Smith, me, and onto you...

With Christmas guests all but a memory and my famous post-birthday-blues(2006 post) setting in, I've embarked on a number of projects to keep myself busy. Todays tidbit is on my grow-table. In the fall of 2008 a theatre friend gave us a grow-table that her father had made for her 30 or more years ago. It had been sitting unused for more than a decade and she was trying to find a good home for it.

Mission accomplished. We used it to start our garden seedlings last spring, but I thought I would try a few things earlier this year. I grabbed some soil, perlite, and plant food and got busy.

In November, garlic was really cheap. It made sense at the time to buy one of those big bags with a dozen bulbs of garlic in it. By making a lot of pizza I managed to get through most of it, but some of the bulbs began sprouting towards Christmas. I put it into the cold storage room and brought it out a couple of weeks ago.

When I went to the Police concert in Vancouver, one of my most memorable food moments was eating garlic pea-shoots and hand-pulled noodles(2007 post). Wendy has since become a fan of pea-shoots and has had me buy them a few times. They are quite expensive. considering their biomass and I am attempting to grow my own from untreated garden-pea seed. I soaked them for 24 hours and then rinse/drained them several times a day for 3-4 days.

Once well sprouted, I spread them out onto a bed of soil with a humidity cover and have misted them with water for about a week now. The websites I read as research said you could have shoots ready to eat in a week total. I can get alfalfa/quinoa sprouts in 4-5 days. But in Saskatchewan in the winter -- Even with a bank of grow lights, I think I'm looking at 2-3 weeks for pea shoots.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Master Gift Getter

Perhaps there is a school you can attend that will teach you how to find perfect gifts for your friends. I haven't been there, but I know someone who should be lecturing. From the hands of the man who brought me lock-picks, Swiss army knives and countless...
Liquid Metal
...dangerous(previous blog entry)
Prince Rupert's Drops
...adventures!(another old post)

I give you Shape Lock, which is a brand name for something more generally known as "friendly plastics" or polycaprolactone(wikipedia). We had loads of fun with it the first day, but had to keep it on a shelf for a few days to allow me to speak directly to other humans. Even then concentration was difficult. My mind raced constantly thinking of cool uses for this stuff.

Eventually, when the Christmas hubbub was dying down, I settled on a project that I've wanted to attempt for a long time -- making a custom attachment for my Gorilla Pod.
Before we go any further, if at any time you find yourself asking why I haven't purchased any of the perfectly adequate retail versions of this stuff, you took a wrong turn at the google search box. Just follow the checkout buttons. I'm sure you find something.

The concept: A secure, comfortable belt attachment for my iPhone that will also mount to my tripod. I had been working out a magnet scheme for this, but I've decided that I don't like having to remove my phone from it's case to have the compass work. Here is what I've got so far...
iphone Belt Clip
The Picasa album is annotated, so I won't go into too much detail here. The belt clip works great, but I still need to strengthen one of the welds (which means it doesn't yet meet the 'secure' criterion) and I need to fashion a ball-joint attachment to allow me to aim the iPhone when it is on the 'Pod'.

[Begin edit Jan 13/10] I reworked the clip and it now seems quite strong. I also completed the Gorilla Pod mount. New pictures added to the online album. [end edit]

In short, if you love D.I.Y., you really ought to treat yourself to a bag of this stuff. If you keep it clean, it is nearly infinitely reusable. You can paint it, drill it...

I'll shut up now ;)