The Martian

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I bought this book because of a review I saw online recently, and I have to say I loved it. Its interesting, humorous, and a generally fun read with a story line that I haven’t seen before. Its refreshing to encounter a new author who has some genuinely new ideas to explore. I highly recommend this book.

The Martian Book Cover The Martian
Andy Weir
Fiction
Random House
August 28, 2014
369

The bestseller behind the major film from Ridley Scott, starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain. I'm stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Earth. I'm in a Habitat designed to last 31 days. If the Oxygenator breaks down, I'll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I'll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I'll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I'll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I'm screwed.

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Playing with alternate cameras: the GoPro Hero 3

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I wasn’t happy with the behaviour of the kit lens on my Canon 650d when I shot the Christmas bottle stopper videos. I therefore decided to try out a few other cameras I had lying around before just going and buying a better lens for my Canon SLR. First off, I gave a GoPro Hero 3 a try.

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A walk around Mount Stranger

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This is a walk around another hill a short drive from my house. The track was less well defined this time, so more bush bashing. There were these star pickets with white caps along the way which marked a join between two fire trails — I think they indicate where fire trucks should go if they need to, but I am guessing. Bagged another trig point this walk as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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madebymikal.com

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I’ve been doing a lot more wood work recently, and I decided I wanted to write that up somewhere. Instead of posting it here, I also wanted to play with wordpress as an alternative hosting solution. The wood working is therefore being blogged on a new site, madebymikal.com. So far I’ve made a Thien Baffle cyclonic separator to stop my dust extractor filling with planer shavings, as well as documenting the process of making home made vanilla essence with turned bottle stoppers for Christmas. Oh, and I found a source of cheap high quality bar clamps in Australia.

Not too bad for the week before Christmas I don’t think.

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Walk up Tuggeranong Hill

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I’ve had a hankering to do a bush walk for an while, and so I spent some time yesterday walking up Tuggeranong Hill. This was a really nice walk — the access road for the ACTEW substation provides parking with shade from trees, and its very very close to my house. The entrance to the fire access road for the broadcast repeater at the top the hill isn’t well marked, so I ended up going the long way. I think this made the walk more fun to be honest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Random tip: cheap bar clamps in Australia

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I’ve been experimenting a lot recently with making furniture out of MGP10 structural pine that I machine myself. The first few examples have been work stands for things like my Tormek in the garage. One of the things I need to do when making these stands is to turn a series of machined pine strips into panels. That’s where bar clamps come in handy. I recently discovered where to buy good quality clamps cheaply, and thought I’d share…

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Home made vanilla essence for Christmas

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Catherine and I decided to make home made vanilla essence as part of our Christmas gifts for 2014. This turned out to be pretty easy, and result is really good. As part of that I turned bottle stoppers for the little decorative bottles we gave the essence out in. I also needed to explore what glue would work with silicone stoppers, which turned out to be a bit of an adventure.

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Turning for December 2014

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I gave out a bunch of bowls at the work Christmas party, and to my embarrassment many people asked what wood and finish had been used. I of course didn’t remember because I made some of them over six months ago. I’m therefore going to try and do a better job of systematically documenting the things I make. This post is a first attempt at that.

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Building a Thien Baffle

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For a while now I’ve been meaning to play with making a Thien Baffle for my garage workshop. The motivation is that whilst I have a quite nice 3HP dust extractor (for those in the market for such a thing — don’t spend $1,400 with some retailers — I am super happy with my $500 unit from Leda Machinery), I want to keep the number of times I change the bags to a bare minimum. I see the dust extractor as a way of controlling potentially dangerous very fine dust, whereas some of the machines in my workshop create a lot of very large shavings — the thicknesser seems like the most obvious culprit here. It would be cool to divert these larger shavings into a bin where I can just use them as garden mulch, and then save the dust extractor bags for the fine and more dangerous dust.

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