My family’s sawdust furnace

We’re having the furnace replaced today. The old one was 20 years old, and while it hadn’t failed yet, a number of people who know about furnaces have looked at it and told me that it should be replaced Real Soon Now. Last winter I watched the neighbors enduring a furnace replacement during rather cold weather. I’d really rather avoid doing that, so the new furnace is going in today.

This event brought back memories of the furnace in the house that I grew up in. It burned sawdust. There was a room in the corner of the house that served as a huge storage bin. Once or twice a year (to my recollection) a huge truck would arrive and blow a load of sawdust into the room through a covered hole in the wall. After that the house would smell of sawdust for a few days. read more

Another Front Mission 4 Paper Model

I completed another paper model of a character(?) from the Front Mission game series. (The previous one is described in this entry if you haven’t seen it before.) Its name seems to be Blizzaia L.

You can download the PDFs for building it with these links:

I actually finished this model some time ago but just got around to putting up a photo here. My current project is the SD Force Impuse Gundam from this site. (It’s in Korean, so navigation involves a certain amount of guesswork unless you happen to read Korean.) It also seems that the link I purchased the plans from the author but haven’t gotten beyond the first step. It turns out to be rather difficult. All of its joints (shoulders, neck, etc.) move, so building it involves making lots of little paper cylinders that fit inside other little paper cylinders. I think I’m going to have to start from scratch; what I’ve done so far really doesn’t fit together very well. It seems to be easier to make cylinders from a couple layers of regular printer paper than from cardstock, so I’ve re-printed all of the cylinder parts on plain paper and will start afresh with those. read more

“Something ‘good enough’ had long since been accepted by our race.”

My friend and colleage Richard mentioned The Machine Stops by E. M. Forster to us recently. It’s a startlingly insightful short story describing a dystopic future in which all of humanity is tended to, and communicates through, one giant Machine. In its 12,000-word span it touches on a number of topics of contemporary relevance, such as dependence upon electronic communication and technology in general, the significance of direct experience (vs. second- or nth-hand accounts), the malleability of history and “fact”, religion as a psychological self-defense mechanism, and even obesity. The most startling thing is that it was written in 1909, decades before even the television was invented. read more