Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Neighbor kids learning checkers on a board I made with another kid.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Faceless man - round 2

I tried a different way to make faceless makeup. It uses a bald cap, nylon stocking, liquid latex, and flesh colored makeup. I put some cotton on either side of the nose make the nose less defined. I'll use more next time I do this. The discoloration on the front is where I didn't put the latex on enough to close the holes in the stocking so I could see and breathe.

I did slather my eyebrows and beard stubble with Vaseline to make sure the latex didn't stick. It worked fairly well. I pulled the mask away from my face after the third layer of latex and before putting the make-up on. Even with the Vaseline there was some pulling, but nothing painful.

Problems: This looks pretty good from the front, but from other angles there's a problem. I fixed some of it by taking pictures and patching them up blind. But, really, I needed a cast of my head to work on or some volunteer to help me beyond a certain point. Or wear a wig.

And I may need to do the neck first, when I can still see reasonably well. I gotta hide the band around my neck.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Links: September 25

Russian Winnie Pooh.

A special breed of dog that just turned a spit. [link]

30000 year old virus is largest one ever discovered. [link]

Dust from the Sahara causes a carbon sink in the Bahamas. [link]

A mission to save a  Soviet satellite in 1985. [link]

The long rift between Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. [link]

Frogs and an iPad.

Live webcast of the radio station played at and for NASA. [link]

India has something going into Mars orbit next week. [link]

Reliability of contraceptions over time. [link]

Dancing spiders and the beat they're dancing to.

Artificial sweeteners mess with the intestinal flora of mice. [link]

The new insulting term for ISIS/ISIL. [link]

18 kinds of people who comment on recipe posts. [link]

Adult playground. [link]
no, not that kind of adult playground.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Links: September 19

My garage was here a minute ago.

Johnny Carson can't keep a straight face.

A breed of fish that doesn't live in the water. [link]

Ghostly gifs. [link]

The wild cattle of Hawaii. [link]

Men being raped in the military. [link]

Aztec Batman. [link]

99 Luftballons played on balloons.

Goodnight, Iron Man. [link]

Doctor Who Dodecahedron. [link]

"In the Mood" on ukuleles.

What kind of messed up upbringing is this?

Why America refrigerates it's eggs when most of the world doesn't. [link]

Creepy and sweet. Same coin, different sides. [link]

"5 Things I Learned as a Sex Slave" [link]

An Iraqi girl tells of her escape from ISIS sex trade. [link]

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Links: September 12

A car design you normally only see in Europe is finally going to make an appearance in America. [link]

First peek into hidden chambers in the Great Pyramid of Giza. [link]

Stockbrokers really are worse than psychopaths. [link]

This is interesting, but how are they getting electricity from the algae. [link]

The horror of SpiderDog.

Video of a volcano exploding. [link]

Marc Maron chatting with Robin Williams. [link]
This is how Gandolf found out Robin Williams was dead. She was upset. "No way. No good. What? What? What?"

Light brought to a stop. [link]

The man with 3 legs, 4 feet, 16 toes, and 2 genitals. [link]

Jupiter used to be much larger. [link]

What dessert is your state known for? [link]

How to call in sick for minor illnesses. [link]

Light spitting fish. [link]

Jack the Ripper identified by DNA. [link]

Hit men who specialize in getting Jewish women divorces. [link]

Pictures of California's drought. [link]

That's not a telescope. THIS is a telescope! [link]

The first stand-up comic. The racist everyone looked up to. [link]

Going into yourself. [link]
People who have seen me programming report seeing the same thing. 

Pictures of a hitchhiking genet. [link]

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

faceless makeup experiment

My makeup fell to the side for a bit as I worked on my aquaponics system and assembling my Christmas light controller (more on that some other time). So here's something I threw on last night. This was experimental. I'd seen someone else do it, but I knew there'd be kinks to work out. So I did one that would be incomplete just to see how it went.

First, I need to get contacts before I do this again. I could see out, but the world was a blur.
If I could see better, I think I could have put on the tape better. That is, with less wrinkles.
I should have put cotton balls over my right eye just to add structure to that side. Some of the issues with the wrinkling was due to that eye socket collapsing.
I put most of the tape on vertically. A few horizontal pieces would have helped with the structure and the wrinkles
I might just want to put nylon stockings over my head and put latex on that.
I can see out of that tiny slit, but I'm going to need nasal breathing tubes or something so I can close up the mouth.

I've heard some talk about sanding latex. I need to figure out how.

masking tape with one layer of latex

more layers of latex and my friend

6(?) layers of latex?

with makeup in poor lighting

dang. Better lighting doesn't help

longer shot

Monday, September 08, 2014

Fiddling with acylic

Last week I posted about the fish tank that I patched up. Didn't read it all? I don't blame you. I blathered on for pages. The plan was to make it a small aquaponic system. I could cheap out and put a plastic tub on top... in fact that's what I did do, eventually. But before I resorted to the tub I had a dream. I wanted a custom made tank that fit perfectly over the aquarium and was decorative as well as functional. After all, I'm putting this in my front window for anyone to look at. I'm making a museum piece... out of a ugly, patched fish tank... perhaps not my best idea. Today I want to tell you what I did, where I succeeded, and where I went wrong.

There's my design. It sits on top of the aquarium with 3/4" legs hanging over the ends to keep it from slipping. The long edges hang over the front and back of the tank by about an inch each way. The gap at one end was where the automatic feeder would fit and hoses would come out.

I'm not sure if you can tell, but the corners of the long ends isn't square. It's rounded. Back in college I was shown how to use this strip heater to soften plexiglass so it could be shaped into a small picture holder. That stuck with me and I've been wondering for years if I could do the same thing with a heat gun. Turns out you can.

The trick is to control where the heat goes. You want only a narrow band heated. I accomplished this by putting aluminum foil over the plexiglass with only a millimeter or two exposed between sheets. I used masking tape to hold the foil in place, but put the tape on unheated side so it wouldn't melt or catch fire or something.

only a mm or two exposed.

I clamped the plexiglass to a bench, slowly waved a heat gun back and forth over the gap, and gently lifted on the unclamped side. After a few minutes I was able to lift the loose end further and further until it was at a right angle. The outside of the curve had the same arc as the edge of a quarter.

At a right angle.
The second curve didn't go quite as well. It wasn't bad. But it didn't curve as smoothly. There were flat spots. I think I rushed things. Since the first corner went so well I got cocky and lifted with too much pressure. The plexiglass bent, but wasn't as soft as I might have liked.

If I were doing it again, I'd have a dowel rod handy to wrap the plexiglass around to make a nice curve.

The ends were cut out with a band saw. It was all sealed up with silicone aquarium sealer.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Friday Links: September 5

Global warming to make England to become penis shaped. (humor)

Taxonomy of climate change deniers. [link]

When the Beatles met Elvis. [link]

A cockatoo feeding the dogs.

This is what's replacing Clone Wars.

An intestinal microbe that prevents allergies.  [link]

Man arrested for waiting to pick up his kid in a public place while black. Video of the incident included.[link]

The Daily Show comes back from vacation and does a nice bit on Ferguson and racism in general.

Related to how that previous video ended, here's a story about a black movie producer who was detained while heading to the Emmys. [link]

Pros and cons of police body cameras. [link]

New information on the moving stones of the Devil's Racetrack (a.k.a. Racetrack Playa apparently). [link]

Game: Bring peace to the Middle East. [link]

The disease that causes "demonic possession" identified and treated. [link]

Home is more stressful than work. [link]
You'll notice that most of the reasons are child related. Which is why I don't have any.

Make your own rooting hormone for growing stuff from cuttings. [link]

An elephant playing with a ribbon.

33 facts that are total bull. [link]

Horseshoe crab blood detects bacteria. [link]

Robin Williams named his daughter, Zelda, after the Nintendo character.

Steampunk music. [link]
I like "Steam (Prometheus)" the most.

Monday, September 01, 2014

How to patch a crack in a glass fish tank

I came into a 10 gallon fish tank about a year ago. I came into it because it was cracked. No shortage of cracked fish tanks in the world. If you know how to repair them then you can build an elaborate system of scratch and dent tanks in just a few years1. I come across abandoned and broken-ish tanks at least once a year. And I always want to grab them. Until I moved to Baltimore I didn't have the room. But when I saw this one cracked tank in Grandma's barn I had dreams of a hydroponics system dancing in my head. The tank sat in my basement until about a few weeks ago when I decided to start fiddling with it. But I had only the vaguest idea how to repair it. And I'm betting you have the same issue if you're reading this2. And you're finding that when you start looking for "how to repair cracked 10 gallon glass fish tanks" (consider that a shout out to the Google webcrawler) you find a couple of guys filling their fish tanks after patching them and never telling you how they did it.

Before we start, I want you in the right mindset. If I have a crack in my wall I paste over it, smooth it, and paint it. It doesn't need to do more than look good. But here you need to have something that will hold back the pressure of 10 gallons of water or more. No problem? Go pick up 10 gallons of milk and tell me that's nothing. The patch I'm about to describe will go on the inside of the tank. If it were on the outside you'd have pressure from two pieces of glass pushing out at one point, right at the crack. The patch would either break or tear off. But if the patch is on the inside then the pressure is over the entire surface of the patch and all the surface from around the cracked glass is giving the patch extra strength instead of working against you. Or, how about this? If you were trapped in a big barrel with it's one hole closed up, would you rather have to reach through the hole and push off the patch or have to push the patch through the hole? Having the patch on the inside is better for keeping stuff in.

You're probably hoping that all you have to do is get some aquarium sealer and give the cracks a good once over. Alas, that stuff is flexible and will give the broken glass the wiggle it wants. You need reinforcement, first. Find yourself a piece of glass you can cut up. And you'll want to get a glass cutting tool. Available now at your local hardware store3. While you're there you need to get a tube of some aquarium friendly glue/sealer/caulk stuff. Silicone Aquarium Sealant most likely.

I had two cracks running from the bottom corner up the back of the tank reaching toward the middle. So I may have some bias towards my own personal fix. Deal with it.

You need to cut out a rectangle of glass. How big? Big enough to cover the crack. I don't mean cut out a piece of glass an inch wide and twelve inches long and place it over the crack at an angle. I mean measure how far it is horizontally from the far left point of the crack to the far right point. Add an inch beyond the crack. Add two if you like, but at least one. Do the same vertically from the top of the crack to the bottom. Since the crack probably runs clear from top to bottom that just means your piece will have to be the same height as the tank. If the crack hits or even gets close to the edge of the tank then you'll want your patch to go flush up against that side. Same with the bottom of the tank.

I couldn't mark my glass worth anything. Instead I measured and put a T-square on the glass. Then I pulled the glass cutter down the glass using the T-square as a guide. Ideally, you want to have some experience with glass cutters. I have and I still find them nerve racking. Not the sound they make as they score the glass (not fork scraping a plate irritating, but still enough to make your teeth itch). I mean actually breaking the glass. You keep applying more and more pressure and expect the glass to break at any second. If you're lucky you have a lovely piece of glass. If you didn't it could break anywhere and possibly throw sharp flakes around.

Oh! Are you wearing glasses? You should be wearing glasses.

If you did score the glass right you should be able to break the glass along the groove you cut. Please tell me you can see the cut. The whole thing? End to end? If not, do it again. Although, if you press too hard the glass will start to flake along the groove. Still, better it flakes than breaks in the wrong place. Dad has what are basically pliers with rubber grippers for doing his stained glass stuff. I had to put the glass on a table, put the score at the edge (facing up), and push down. And it worked! Alas, my second cut was less successful. I had much less glass hanging over the edge of the table and couldn't get the leverage. That's where I wanted Dad's pliers. Still, the break ran along the general area plus or minus a quarter inch. I just had to be sure not to touch the jagged part. Do I need to explain that jagged glass is bad? No? Fantastic. You're smarter than most of the neighbor kids.

Now, get a razor and cut away the aquarium sealer in the corners of the tank where you'll be putting your patch. In my case I stripped out the whole corner from top to bottom and about half way along the bottom. Dig for it if you have to. I want you to be able to stick the corner of your razor (or a toothpick or something pokey) into the corner and push it along without resistance. Remember hopping on your first skateboard and faceplanting over a grain of sand? You want to make sure that grain of sand isn't hiding in the corner of your fish tank. Your piece of glass should sit flush along the bottom or edge. Cut away everything that prevents that. You can wrap part of the razor in tape if it makes it easier to hold. Double, triple, and quadruple check for debris, sand, old gravel, whatever. I did, and I still found colorful bits of rock after I sealed everything up.

Now put the aquarium glue on one side of your piece of glass. Be generous. You're looking for something that will hold and will also look good. So place the beads of glue close enough together so that when you press this to the side of the tank there won't be air bubbles left between the pieces of glass. I mean, you can leave some. I left quite a bit, actually. But it'll look better if you get rid of the air bubbles. And if you can't get rid of them, you at least want there to be more glue than air. When putting pressure on it, don't just push from one side. Push from both. Or, set it on a table and put something under it for support. Your tank likely has a top and a base that prevent the glass from sitting flush on the table. You want something that keeps you from breaking the glass further by pushing on it.

Once you're happy with how your patch is sitting, you need to seal the edges. Take the Aquarium Sealant and put a bead along the edge of the glass all the way around. If you have rubber gloves you can use your finger to smooth the bead and make sure there's no holes for water to get through. Just make sure that there's no way for water to get between the panes of glass. If you broke one edge, make sure you're covering the sharp bits, too.

I put a bead down the outside of the crack, too. Partially for support, but mostly I wanted to cover the crack so no flakes would come off and I couldn't accidentally cut myself on it in a raging fit of incompetence later on. I used the razor as a putty knife to spread the bead, push it in, and smooth it out. It's obviously still there. It's just safer. I'm not making a pretty tank, here. I'm making a beginners level aquaponics system.

Let sit for 24 hours. Heck, let it sit for 48. No need to push our luck. You'll want some kind of moisture indicator under the tank. Newspaper or paper towels or tissue paper or a layer of flour should work. Even if you only lose a drop and it dries before you look again the water mark should remain.

What to do if you have a leak
If you have a leak you need to make it visible. To do this I put red food coloring in the tank and started filling it with water. I thought that I had to build up the pressure before it leaked, because it only leaked after around 2 gallons were added. No, dipshit, that means the leak is between 1/10 and 2/10 up the side of the tank. I could see red water between my patch and the original glass and I could see where it left the tank, but I couldn't see how it got behind the plate. So I dumped the water out, put the fish tank in the bathtub, and started filling up the bathtub. Once there was a couple of inches of water I saw the water rush in the bottom of the patch, fill it part way, and burble out in the corner about two inches up. I hadn't sealed properly. I made a bead, but hadn't used anything to press it down. It shouldn't have needed that, but now I know better. And now I know where the leak is. Once things dry out again, I can close that up.

Another way to narrow it down is to add one pitcher of water to the tank, and wait. Mark the water level with some masking tape or something and do it again. When it starts to leak you know the leak is between those two pieces of tape.

Here is what I'm going for in the long run.

See also https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/aquasprouts/aquasprouts-aquaponics-self-cleaning-aquarium-and

1 The fish store I've been visiting for supplies sells damaged and used tanks cheap.

2 Note to regular readers: I love ya' but my most popular pages are those where I'm telling people how to make, fix, or harvest something. This page is likely to be getting hits for years.

3 Did you read that last sentence in The Voice? No? Then read it again!