Brutus’s Gecko schematics…

So I realized that I have exactly *one* copy of the circuit I am using for the Gecko drivers. Normally I live out of my engineering notebooks but in this case they were unavailable when I put this circuit together. I am posting the circuit here as I want a backup and I am about to overhaul the electronics for my mill to add a bunch of additional safety features.

Circuit for gecko motors driving the big mill

Circuit for gecko motors driving the big mill

And the glue dries….

It seems I spend more time on this project waiting for glue to dry than on anything else.

Here you can see the tool well before I add the holders for the different pliers and wire cutters.

Need to permanently add the pliers tool well

Need to permanently add the pliers tool well

Despite a frustrating number of measurements and test fits I somehow still had the tools protruding higher than I would like. To drop all the tool heights by another 1/8 th of an inch I ended up cutting a hole through the support base and then gluing in side supports. Grrr.

And this is what going too heavy on the glue looks like

And this is what going too heavy on the glue looks like

I guess I went heavy on the glue here. Once it dries I am scraping the excess and adding more support pieces – so this first round of gluing was fairly fast and dirty.

The pearl merchant

Testing out another problem for my book. This is really just my trying to re-word a centuries old classic. So let me know if the wording is acceptable here:

On his twentieth year working for a pearl merchant Isaac was offered a reward. He was presented with three vases. He was told that each vase contains an equal number of pearls however the vases contain different types of pearls. One vase is labeled as containing white pearls, one vase is labeled as containing black pearls, and the remaining vase is labeled as contain an equal mixture of black and white pearls. The vases are opaque and have long throats the drawer has no way of seeing what the vases contain or the color of the pearl they have chosen until the pearl is removed from the vase.

The merchant tells Isaac that each vase is labeled inaccurately. The merchant suggests that they take turns drawing pearls from the vases in an effort to correctly re-label them.

As a reward for faithful service he tells Isaac that if he can identify how to correctly label each vase first – he can keep any pearls he has drawn. However if the merchant can correctly re-label the jars first Isaac has to return any pearls he has drawn.

The merchant offers Isaac the chance to draw first, should he accept?

Going to the dojo is a bizarre experience

I think one of the weirdest parts of going to the dojo is that from the moment you step in the door you senses start winding up. When you first walk in the door it is just like walking in any room with some muffled noise coming from the next room. Then some time before getting both your shoes off you realize it is positively noisy.

The muted noise from the next room has become a bunch of distinct noises; a regular thump – thump – thump coming from someone working the heavy bag, the shuffle of sliding feet from practicing Kata, and the especially distinctive noises of people sparring. People moving, falling, dodging, and striking – they all make distinctive noises. From the moment you walk into your brain starts pulling the initial swirl of noise into its distinctive and components.

Meaningful training requires being able to put the rest of your life and the outside world aside while you train. It is difficult at first, but the longer you train the easier it is to put the rest of your life on a shelf while you train. Eventually when you walk into the dojo you just automatically start shifting gears and getting ready to train. Before you hit the mat training is all you are thinking about – at least on the good days.

Today it just hit me, this bizarre combination – just as my senses were revving up and the number of inputs my brain was starting to track was exploding – my overall clarity was increasing.I only had a moment where I could observe the whole process from the outside – but it hit me with almost physical force.

It is the kind of thing that makes me sad that so few people train in any kind of martial arts. It is an amazing experience.

My grandfathers tool chest – right side test fit

Front view

Front view

So the test fit is a big load off. Everything seems to fit exactly as expected. Not looking forward to making all the little dividers and boxes for the left side of the tool chest.

Right side test fit
Right side test fit

Contents of the box as things stand now only have 22 things. I decided to not pack so much into the toolbox. It contains fewer tools but I can carry it farther. Right now the box contains:

1. Folding wood ruler

2. Zippo lighter

3. Razor knife

4. Back saw – crosscut

5. 12oz hammer

6. Impact hammer

7. Small lineman’s dike

8. Wire cutters

9. Needle nose pliers

10. Locking pliers

11. Two 1 inch chisels

12. 1/4 inch chisel

13. 6 inch pry bar

14. Try square

15. Speed square

16. Adjustable square

17. Coping saw

18. Hack saw

19. Panel saw – rip

20. Panel saw – crosscut

21. Metal tape measurer

22. Wrecking bar

There are a whole pile of other tools I still need to make holders for – but that is what is in the box so far. Now that I have the tool wells glued up I can check clearance and make the mounts for the lid mounted level.

Koei-Kan green belt test

So after two years I finally tested for my green belt. It probably didn’t hurt that somehow Sensai’s polite suggestion of “You should be at the test this saturday” had apparently become “Be at the test this saturday – or else”.  Ok. I added the “or else” part but I think it was fairly implicit from his tone and the look. So, yeah, I made sure I was at the test. Apparently Mr Moran was walking arround taking pictures, and posted them online. Nice of him – but it was weird – he must have been invisible for most of the test becuase I hardly noticed he was there at all. Then again – I guess that is a requirement for a good photographer.

So first, Mr Koons is officially the worst dance partner ever!



On some of the throws he did work in a sweet joint lock on the elbow. I think it was an accident but I am going to certainly want to go back and look at that technique later when I have more control with my Karate.

So the danger of working out of your garage and interacting with people over the phone and the net? Well if you are not careful you can end up looking like me in these pictures. Grizzly Adams gone wrong.
This picture made be immediatly go home and shave!
This picture made be immediatly go home and shave!

Oh, and the obligatory belt picture.