So it’s February and I haven’t posted since, oh, I don’t know, December?

Yeah. I win the flaky blogger of the month/year/decade award. I have this superpower where I just kind of fall off the radar for a while. It’s completely unintentional. I think when you are naturally a loner even a simple blog post is being too social.

I’ve been doin’ stuff though!

Check this sweet guitar I painted out! I got the old mexican made fender from my friend Cody. It was a bit beat up, which made it the perfect candidate for my first guitar re-haul project.

So I sanded it down.

Sanding in Process.

And painted it.

My Strat

Now you might be asking, “Jenny, why those colors?”

And I say, “ROCK AND ROOOOLLLLLLL!” But seriously, I’ve wanted a gold guitar since I fell in love with The Band watching The Last Waltz. Robbie Robertson played this shiny gold and black guitar and I thought that was awesome. But being me, I couldn’t copy it straight, I had to do it my way and I really like that color blue.

To cap off my geekiness I altered the headstock. The Fender F is a lot like the way I sign my J’s and I just couldn’t resist.

Yeah, I'm a geek.

So there you go. That was my big project for January to keep me away from the interwebs. And it worked. Perhaps a little too well. Next I’m working on a Gibson Les Paul style guitar kit. The thing comes with the wiring complete but the body and neck of the guitar unfinished. All you have to do is figure out how to make the body beautiful and stick it together. I’ve decided to go for a subtle steam punk look which I haven’t ironed out yet. I’m really excited to hammer out the style and design but first I need to do this revising my book thing.

*sigh* my life is so hard.

…I was being sarcastic if you couldn’t tell. I’ve got a sweet deal. 🙂

So yesterday my dad surprised me with a ride in a super sweet 1929 Ford Tri-Motor. The first real production passenger aircraft. Isn’t it gorgeous?

I felt like I should have brought my fedora or bowler hat. My first thought was of the Waco seaplane Indiana Jones boards to escape the natives. I really love old planes. Actually I love ALL airplanes, but old school prop planes, military or otherwise, hold a special place in my heart. There is nothing like the sound of a prop, and nothing like the feel of the ground being left behind.

Man, I miss flying…

That was the sound of my girlish excitement escaping in the form of an imitated balloon squeal.

If you like either or both of these Great Brits then you have got to watch the interview. You Have Got To.

Just in case you’re left in the dark… *le gasp!* … I don’t know you, heathen.

My favorite Gaiman book? Stardust

My favorite Ferguson Sketch? This one. (skip to 1:06 to see why)

So yesterday I had an unexpectedly awesome day. My dad is helping out with a group called Minddrive. Its a really cool program that takes a group of underprivileged city kids and with the help of a group of professionals they build an electric car. This is the second year of the program and one of the cool things they do is go to a bunch of trade shows to show off their work. Here’s what they’ve been working on for the last couple of months. It’s pretty awesome. (please excuse the bad picture of the awesome car)

So yesterday they were down at Union Station for the KC Maker Faire. I love Make Magazine, its in my RSS feed, and I read it everyday but somehow I missed that this weekend was the Maker Faire in KC.

It was a lot of fun. Tons of different kinds of projects and groups were showing their creations. My favorites were all of the 3D printers. I really wish I had the need for a 3D printer for prototypes but alas I’m not a mad scientist yet. Soooooon, but not yet. And yesterday I took another step toward scientific villany, or heroism.

I learned how to solder! Soo awesome, and really easy! Now I’ve just got to spend some quality time with my electronics kit so I know what I’m doing.

The comic you see in the corner of the picture was an incredibly helpful and informative how-to for beginner solderers. I found it online at MightyOhm. One thing I adore about the maker culture is the general desire of makers to help everyone around them hack their world.

It’s a good thing. Check it out!

The last couple of days have been project time for my dad and me. We finally cleaned out part of the unfinished section of our basement and have started setting up a nice little workshop. I’ve always loved making things, I just usually don’t have the equipment/space/money/time to do a whole lot. Well, I guess I have the time, but I do try and finish the important things first. i.e. the second Mercator book.

The space is perfect, it even has a garage door to wheel in and out ambitious future projects. (I have my eyes on our aging riding lawnmower.) I’ve even used the space before for cool projects. Back in 6th grade we were required to come up with a project for our Egyptian History unit and I built a four foot tall sarcophagus with a mummy and scepters painted gold with researched hieroglyphics and everything. I had a lot of help, but I had a blast. Needless to say, I aced it. I even made the local paper with the project. I wasn’t trying to over achieve, I just thought it’d be fun.

Yesterday we cleaned out all the junk, re-organized, got rid of cobwebs, and swept out the mouse poop. Today we bought a nice heavy vice and grinder and mounted them with bolts on the work table. There is still a lot to do, but it’s a nice start. Soon we’ll have all our tools organized and join the table to the wall for stability and with a little extra lighting we’ll be in business!

I’m not a train nerd, but this video of replacing tracks is pretty darn awesome. I’d love to see a resurgence of train use in the US. Perhaps in the post oil days we’ll rediscover how awesome rail travel can be. I know that while I went to school in Wheaton, one of my favorite things about living near Chicago was the light rail system. It might take a few extra minutes to get downtown, but you didn’t have to mess with traffic, and you could zone out and just enjoy the ride or get some work done.

And I’m sure everyone’s seen this video of a certain Pulp Fiction/Snakes on a Plane Star reading a bedtime story that parents can relate to by now. I’m sorry if the language offends, but I think once a word can be used in a children’s bedtime story without major backlash it has lost it’s bite. (NSFW or kids, seriously if you’re not old enough for Pulp Fiction don’t watch. I don’t want to get in trouble with your parents.)

Welcome to the future where we live in pods on the top of buildings. I think it’s a great idea, I’ve always wanted to live on a space station. But where would I keep my books?

And lastly, but not leastly, I ran across this insightful article on “How To Steal Like An Artist.”

The more I art, the more I realize that all art is in some way derivative. Like the Bible says, “There is nothing new underneath the sun.” It’s not nearly as depressing as you think. The way a great artist steals you might not even recognize what it was they stole. It may be an idea or just an element from the work of another artist, and it’s usually re-purposed and twisted into something shiny and new that has little resemblance to the original. Think of it more as recycling. If you know who the artist/author lists as their influences then you might be able to see the stolen bits. Art builds on what came before just like science, engineering, and everything else.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to go hack out a lung and get to writing.

Found this while surfing the interwebs.

Let me see, how do I put this?


Let me count the ways…

1. Viking
2. Face warmer for Midwestern winters
3. Pure Awesome
4. Do I even need another reason?

Unless you’ve been living on Io (one of Jupiter’s 16 moons) since 2003, pirates are super cool right now. At least they have been ever since Johnny Depp donned on a wig and swagger (I like this word right now) and climbed aboard ship. As freakishly awesome as Jack Sparrow is, my first pirate love was Guybrush Threepwood. And as awesome as the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are, there is another pirate movie I’d rather spend my gold on.

Muppet Treasure Island is in my opinion the best pirate movie ever made.


Well, I’m very glad you ask.

First we start with an awesome theme song. Possibly one of the pirate songs ever produced for film. It’s right up there with Yo Ho.

As long as we’re on the subject of songs, all the songs are pretty awesome, but none more hilariously amazing than Cabin Fever.
I feel like this sometimes. 😛

And in case anyone noticed, Hanz Zimmer wrote the score for Muppet Treasure Island some 7 years before he penned the score for Pirates of the Caribbean. Sweet, huh?

But what about star power? How could its cast compare to Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Kiera Knightly? I’m pretty sure the Muppets alone are not only bigger stars, they’ll still be around when Orlando Bloom is back in diapers. But if it’s human star power you need, how about Tim Curry, Billy Connolly, and Jennifer Saunders? What? Not convinced you say. Their names might not be as recognizable, but their talent surely is. Then by all means check out these clips.

Tim Curry – Awesome, and that’s all I have to say about that. If you don’t know Curry, your life could use some spice. (Lame pun)

Billy Connolly – Couldn’t find the death scene 🙁 But this scene will still make your sides hurt … from laughter.

Jennifer Saunders – One of my favorite comedians at the top of her game. Brilliantly funny.

Ok. Ok enough with all the video posts.

The point is, I love this movie. Everyone I know who has seen this movie loves it. Growing up on Seseme Street and Muppet Babies, I can’t help but love those furry puppets. Gonzo was my man, just like he’s Jim Hawkins’ man… er… whatever. Muppet Treasure Island is a pirate romp you can show to any kid without having to worry about there really being any of the downsides to piracy. If you haven’t laughed until tears seep out of your eyes by ten minutes in, there must be something wrong with you. I’ve got nothing against Pirates of the Caribbean movies, I’m a fan, but I only need to see those once, I’ll watch Muppet Treasure Island a hundred times. In my opinion that’s the mark of a great movie.

Maybe Muppets aren’t your thing. But if you like funny, and you like Pirates, you’ll loooove Muppet treasure island.