Thursday, September 27, 2007

Keeping Busy

I've been very busy lately. My day job has me in classes for becoming a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). I'm studying at home on my own, too. If I get it I'll be much more marketable. I'll take the test at the end of October so hopefully things might settle down after that. In the meantime I'll be infrequent here, but hopefully not as infrequent as the Saints are in the end-zone.

Those poor Saints. Maybe their strategy is to go for the first pick in the draft next year? After losing our best running back for the year with a knee injury that may be our best hope. The good news is that we won't lose again this weekend; we have a bye.

I've been having lots of fun at FIbber's, and have even gotten into some of the Celtic stuff at the Blarney Stone. It used to be that I could take Celtic only in small doses but I guess I've built up a resistance because I'm liking it more and more. Ajay, Alaska and Isobela are often there. Coleen DJs there Friday afternoons; I had a good time last Friday but was too worn out to go to Fibber's afterwards.

Another day I showed up at Fibber's in a nice vest, dress shirt and pants and tie, and that nut Anutte gives me a hard time all night about looking like a parking-lot attendant. Silly things like that gives Fibber's it's draw for me; the people and the conversation. And the tunes.

I've turned my creative habits towards making ties. I made a green one with the word "Fibbers" in white running down it. I want to tweak the font some, and try to give some type of fabric texture to it. It may very well become the first halfway decent thing I've made. I may want to modify the base texture to give it a pointy-end, too; it's flat now. In making the tie I've also learned how I might be able to adjust some shirt-collars that have never fit well. There's always something new to see, learn or do.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Semper Fi!

I'm looking more at making shirts. I had read an article by Natalia Zelmanov asking people to vote for her in the 12Avatar Contest, whatever that is. I would have voted anyway, but since she was donating to Action Against Hunger for every vote she received I made it a priority. On my way there I stopped by her store, which specializes in wonderful hairstyles, and saw she had many helpful hints for people who want to make their own clothing. I copied some of the links for further research and went off to vote. Afterwards I looked at the high-level, getting-started link and this clothes-making thing is becoming clearer.

I've also found a clothing item that I want enough to keep me engaged in following it through. In high school I had a favorite shirt that I wore everywhere, well except to prom; the young lady I asked to accompany me would not agree until I had shown her a tuxedo-rental receipt. Smart girl! The shirt was my Marine shirt. I had joined the Marine's delayed-entry program right after my junior year and went off to boot camp 4 days after graduation. My recruiter gave me the shirt right after joining; it was red with a gold Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem on the front and the word "Marines" on the back. It's still in the bottom of my shirt drawer somewhere, but repeated washings have shrunk it so much that it doesn't fit any more.

I've looked around and found some good templates for the Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem. In the process I came across many other insignia that I would like to incorporate into clothing some day; the 1st Marine Division and my regimental and battalion emblems, a POW/MIA flag, the Culpepper Ensign ("Don't Tread On Me") and a funny math problem. I might even do something for SPAWAR, and there was a bulldog that might make a good tattoo. There's just not enough time in the day.


I went to a sand box the other day to start playing around with making stuff. I had seen a fireworks display earlier and had liked the effects they had achieved. I thought that even bigger would be better, and since I had not seen any true artillery pieces around I decided we needed some. I started off small with a medium-sized mortar. I made a cylinder and shrunk it down to be the baseplate. I made another cylinder and hollowed it out to be the tube. I attached the two, tilted the tube to about 60 degrees (1067 mils), and made a couple of legs for it. I painted it the color of asphalt and voila! In about 10 minutes I'd made something that anyone could easily identify as a mortar.

The next part was the ammunition. I'd purposely made this larger, with the intention of shrinking it down to the correct size once I was done. It was much trickier to make than the mortar. The body of the round was pointed on the front and tapered on the back, there were stabilizing fins and a fin guard along with the propelling train. This took about an hour, but I learned much more while making it. I painted the round the same asphalt color but when I tried to shrink it it would only go down so far, too big to fit in the tube. I probably could have fiddled with it and gotten it to fit, but I decided I'd had enough fun with that for the day, saved the round in my pack but left the mortar there to be recycled.

"She's new here..."

I've been showing an old friend around for the past two days. Everything here is new and exciting to her. I've helped her building out her wardrobe and with hair advise. It's kinda frustrating sometimes because she'll seemingly at random stop and go into a trance; I'll be like "Hello, are you still in there?" After a minute or two she'll snap out of it and say sorry, she was checking out that thing over there. I'll look where she was looking and see things with a whole new perspective and appreciation. This place continues to amaze me.

After we had browsed some stores and made some purchases for her she wanted to do something fun. Naturally, we headed for Fibber's. Daddie was DJing, Anutte was hostess, and Ajay, Alaska, Case, Mac, Jocelyn, Ivy and many others were keeping the place lively. It took a while to get my friend to dance with us, but after 15 minutes or so she was telling me she had no idea it could be so much fun! Unfortunately she had to leave early, some nonsense about "work". I'm sure she'll be back.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A City Mourns

What has happened to the Saints? They got the stuffing kicked out of them again! I guess last year may have been a fluke and they're back to being the same old Saints. In Saints' very first game back in 1967 John Gilliam returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown, and it seems they've been going downhill ever since. I should have known better than to wager on them, but like most Saints fans I'm eternally optomistic. Ajay was very gracious about her victory, she even offered to help me find a Buc's shirt. Since I already have one the only thing left is for her to decide a time and place.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Birthday Party at Fibber's

I spent most of the day yesterday at a Birthday Party for Eria at Fibbers. It was massive. There was a huge birthday cake, the place was packed to the gills and it took teams of DJs to keep the music going. The second DJ and her hostess even brought food for everyone, these awesome burritos that were each about as big as my forearm. Sure tasted good, but had the expected gastro-intestinal consequences. I lit my lighter to try and clear the air a bit, and in hindsight that probably wasn't a good idea. I could have blown Dublin all the way to San Francisco! As it was, these burritos seemed to tend more towards sulpher than methane so I'm still alive to make this post.

For desert we all had birthday cake, and I washed mine down with cold draft beer. Yum! The music and dancing seemed to go on forever; the songs were great and the people even better. Towards the end the crowd started thinning out, and I finally had to leave around dinner-time. I was too exhausted to do anything else that evening.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Be Careful What You Search For

I was out looking for a Tampa Bay Buccaneer's shirt. The football wager between Ajay and myself for this weekend has changed to if the Saints win she'll wear a Saint's shirt to Fibber's, and if the Buc's win I'll wear a Saints shirt to Fibber's. Observant readers will note the carefully placed "Tycho-typo" I put in there - I didn't say I would wear a Buc's shirt. Ajay has already agreed to the above verbiage, but will likely protest once she notices. So being the true gentleman that I am I'll wear a Buc's shirt if they win.

Anyway I was looking for a Buc's shirt, just in case. I enjoy logistical challenges, even though some might call it "shopping." The place I bought my Saints jersies didn't have Buc's ones for some strange reason. I went to the online classified ads, did a search for "NFL", and was frankly amazed at the results returned. In the US the acronym NFL has just one common meaning. Since the classified ads are world-wide it would be expected that the term "NFL" might mean different things in different languages and bring back a variety of search results. I certainly did not expect the variety that I received. How "NFL" is related in any way, shape or form to, well, never mind; but you get the picture. I've learned to phrase my searches to carefully target the type of store that I want, not the items. Searching for "Sports clothes" brought me to the store where I eventually found a Buc's shirt.

Wings over Fibber's

I stopped by Fibber's a couple of nights ago. We were anticipating the return of a much-loved DJ from a two-week hiatus. Unfortunately she called in and was running late; then called back and said she was running really late. I never did get to see her. She wears fairy wings, so in her honor a couple of the people wore their wings as well. As we were waiting DJ Elwe played some tunes for us until she had to leave. When new people stopped by and asked what was going on, the explanation was that we were "winging it" until the regular DJ arrived. This led to most everybody there donning their wings. I wore my dragonfly wings; their color best matched my Saints jersey. I'm also wearing my Conspirator moustache; I was in disguise!

Last night it was back to Fibber's as usual. I got there a few minutes early as the hostess, Spook, and the DJ, Rose, were still setting up. For the first 5 minutes or so we were about the only ones there, seems others were having some transportation issues getting to Fibber's. There was another guy who was in and out, I think his name was Mad or something? He was chatting with Spook while Rose was trying to get her music stream set up. Rose asked Spook to switch something, but I said Spook was busy flirting. I think the guy may have misunderstood, I
wasn't upset that their chatting was delaying the setup, I was just teasing Spook. I hope Mad's not mad at me. Shortly after a young lady showed up wearing a shirt that said "Flirt with Me". At least I think that's what it said, it was kinda hard to read; that's one young lady that'll never drown! Mad immediately homed-in on her.

I had been shopping earlier and picked up another Saints t-shirt, along with two for the LSU Fighting Tigers: one purple with a gold logo and the other gold with a purple logo. At Fibber's there was a lady dressed all in purple; a nice dress, good for dancing, and I didn't think much of it until the song she requested came on. Apparently she's a fanatic about the color purple; said she has nothing else in her wardrobe. I had never heard her song before, but the chorus was "Everybody wear Purple!" This cry was taken up by most everyone there, so I whipped off the red dress shirt I had been wearing and put on my brand new purple LSU shirt. There was a hectic scrambling about as everyone who had something purple with them put it on while trying to maintain as much modesty as possible. After getting my shirt on I cried out "L S U!" to which Alaska, bless her dear heart, came back with the proper response: "Geaux Tigers!" I gotta start using that phrase more, we're looking real good this year.

I received a nice compliment last night, too:
[19:57] Spook: I was just thinking
[19:58] Tycho: uh oh
[19:58] Rose: whatcha thinking?
[19:58] Spook: If there weren't bugs and lag, what would we talk about?
[19:58] Rose: lolol
[19:58] Rose: how cute Tycho is? :D
[19:58] Tycho: LOL
[19:58] Kya: pans over to Tycho and agrees

Here's me with the ladies:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Man With Two Last Names

I have known people with multiple first names, Jim-Bob, Jay-Roy and even Mary-Sue-Ellen. I've not known anyone with two last names until I met Heath. Sometimes he goes by Heath Vercher, and other times by Heath Elvehjem. It's very confusing. I think he may be trying to run some sort of tax dodge. I'll just refer to him as Heath.

Heath is kinda the reason I'm here now. I was on a walkabout one day, feeling down and aimless; like I had to move on to somewhere else; anywhere else. I found myself in Nantucket thinking to catch a ride on one of the of old-time sailing ships. Near the river I saw a crowd had formed off in the distance, and I decided to go check out what they were doing.

They were gathered in a shallow amphitheater, and on the stage in front these was a guy playing the piano, Heath. I stood there a while listening as he was finishing up his song. He chatted with the crowd a bit and then started playing again. I vaguely recognized bits and pieces of the opening, but the way he jazzed it up it was hard to identify the song. Finally it hit me - Scarborough Fair! It's not that I'm a real big fan of that song or ones like it, but the way he was playing it really caught my attention. I sat down and listened to the rest of the performance. As the sun went down over the Mystic River the sky and river turned red, a couple pulled up to the dock in a sailboat and got out to listen, and it was just cool.

I joined his fan group. He usually does 2-3 performances a week and I would make them all. Sticking around to listen to him is what kept me here long enough to find places like Fibber's and all the wonderful people there. After a few weeks of hearing him play the same music I got a little tired of it, and he's been having technical problems that have been keeping him off of his regular schedule, but I'd like to go back and listen to him again.

Heath has a myspace page with some sample music, I like Hymm:

There's also a schedule of his at:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Club Sappho

I was wandering out and about one day when I got a message from DJ Jocelyn that she was DJing somewhere. Having nothing better to do, I copied the directions and headed there not even looking at the title of the place. Turns out it was Club Sappho, a female-exclusive kinda place. Since they did have entertainment they let in people who were not their usual clientele, like most places do, but it was kinda weird with just 2-3 guys among 20-30 women. I made sure to be on my best behavior!

Joce was spinning tunes at Fibber's the night before. I had tried to pop a tip into her tip jar but missed. The person who got it asked "Did you mean to give this to me"? I explained I was trying to tip the DJ so she laughed, said she did the same thing all of the time and gave my money back to me. I maneuvered through the crowd until I had a better shot at Joce's tip jar and made sure I got it in the second time. Well at Sappho one of the other guys did the same thing with a tip, realized he missed and immediately apologized to the person who wound up with it explaining he was trying to tip the DJ. The person who wound up with it, one of the locals, was obviously psychotic. She ignored his apology and explanation and started jumping all over his case saying things like "Is this all you think I'm worth?" and "It'll cost you a thousand times more than this for Me!" He tried to explain again but then just ignored her as she ranted on for another 5 minutes. Eventually Joce got her tip and the psycho bitch left. The club owner had shown up at some point; hopefully she had words with the psycho bitch and asked her to leave. Just reinforces my belief in all of the wonderful people you meet at Fibber's.

One thing about Sappho's is that it has the very best "Dance" sign in any universe. If you've been to Fibber's you may have noticed their "Dance" sign above the Juke box. Right now I can't recall exactly what Fibber's "Dance" sign looks like, just where it is and that it's a contrasting color from the wall behind it; it's mostly a functional thing. Well the "Dance" sign at Club Sappho is a thing of beauty. Multiple things of beauty as a matter of fact. It occupies a place of honor right next to the dance floor, 15 feet tall and 40 feet wide. I'm at a loss for words to describe how awesome it is. Just go see it.

T-Shirts and Tattoos

I tried my hand at making a Saint's t-shirt. I came across a good logo, but just couldn't get it to the right size and position on my shirt. The cost of materials for every try was starting to be a bother so I decided to read up on some helpful hints - but I'm still not reading the directions! The reason I was trying for a Saints t-shirt is because the Saints are playing the Bucs this weekend and one of the many wonderful people I've met at Fibber's, Ajay, is a Bucs fan. We're trying to get a wager placed on the game; if the Saints win she has to accompany me to a Heath Eversham concert, but she hasn't decided what she would like if hell freezes over and the Bucs win. Heath is a very good jazz/new age pianist who has had an impact on my life, I'll try and write more about him in a future post. I need to remember to let Ajay know that I intend to wear a tux to the concert so she can plan to dress accordingly.

As good DJs pass through Fibbers I'll often join their fan groups and get notices when they're playing at different venues. I've of course joined DJ Jocelyn's group, she is a prolific spinster (tee hee), plus x5Daddie's group and a couple of others. I'll follow them to the other venues if I'm not busy, and often join the fan groups of these venues and get their notices too. I've been really getting overloaded with text messages lately, so I've gotten brutal with cutting back on the groups I belong to.

One of the venues that Jocelyn led me to is called the Nude West Nightclub. I'm not sure why they call it Nude as they get rather upset when people misunderstand and show up naked thinking it's a nudist colony or something like that. In any case it has a nice, large dance floor, stage, DJ area and tables and chairs around the edges. Their one concession to nudity is every Tuesday night they have Topless Tuesday. This is a costume-themed event; recently they've had Cowboys and Cowgirls, Oriental, and Beachwear nights. Last night was Tits and Tats - come dressed in your favorite tattoos! I went out and bought a new g-string type thing over the weekend to wear to better show off my tattoos; it was made to look like a tux and even had a little red bow-tie at the top. (And no, that's not the tux I was planning to wear to see Heath.) So I slipped it on and went through my collection of temporary tattoos trying to find the best combination. Nude West offers $1000 prizes to the best-dressed, in-theme male and female at the club each Tuesday night, and though I've never won I still keep trying.

I had about an hour to kill before the contest started so I found a Tiki bar with a live performer and sat to listen until it was time to get ready. x5Daddie was DJing at Fibber's but his show would go on well past the start of Topless Tuesday and I didn't want to miss that. I was about to start getting ready for the contest when I get a message from Ajay saying that she was at Fibber's, Daddie was playing and where was I? I bowed to the inevitable, said I'd be there in a bit, and headed over. Spent the rest of the night at Fibber's. Anutte was hostess again and she keeps things rolling. Alaska showed up too, and we all had a good time. Fibber's was crowded even though a large part of the usual crowd was over at Topless Tuesday. I sure hope Ajay appreciates the sacrifice I made!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Making stuff

I've been trying to think of ways to pick up some extra spending money around here. The first hare-brained scheme that I've come up with is a swing-set launcher. It will enable you to jump from a swing-set. Of course all swing-sets allow you to jump from them, but mine will utilize principles of specific non-Euclidean geometries to allow you to jump 10, 50, even 100 yards.

(A side note about English vs. Metric units of measure may be in order here. Now I'm certainly no holy-roller, and don't go about preaching, but if the good Lord had wanted us to use the Metric system there would have been ten Apostles, not twelve.)

I need to learn much more about the mechanics of actually making such a device. I've made note of various sources of documentation and technical training, and I'm sure that scattered about in these is all of the information I would need to construct my launcher. All it would take is a concerted effort to sift through the data, extract what I need, and come up with a good blueprint. This will never work. I'm a guy and I don't read the instructions first. When the mood to create finally strikes I'll probably just find a good sandbox somewhere and start getting my hands dirty. Of course writing about it here may lead to some hot-shot stealing my idea, but such is life.

In a previous life I had some limited success as a clothing designer, was even featured on a prominent web site. Clothing design is a very hard business to break into around here, though. What helped me before was identifying a specific product that was needed and grinding away until I was able to make it. I might start off by making a few simple things for myself and friends and see what, if anything, strikes me. If I can find a needed product in some niche market that I'm interested in I might do OK.

Fibber Magees Nightclub - Dublin

Went to Fibber's again last night, couldn't stay long as I didn't get there until late. DJ Jocelyn was spinning her usual fantastic tunes with Anutte as the hostess. Didn't have the spank-fest we had the night before, but there were a few good smacks. I got Anutte but still owe Joce one, the big chicken. Much of the usual crowd was there. Argus, Arguss, Rosie, Mac and Case were carrying on as usual, but I missed some of my new friends. Anutte said she had seen them at an earlier concert across the street but they had to go to work.

The theme for the music was girl power or female empowerment or some such; essentially song requests should only be for songs with female singers. I hadn't realized this rule before I made my request, luckily Starship had a female singer. When someone requested a song not in this category they were widely chastised by all present. This led to a side discussion. As with most side discussions at Fibber's the tone of the discussion went straight into the gutter. At issue was whether some nominally male bands should actually be considered as being in the girl-power category. Various characteristics were discussed, but no consensus on musical gender identity was reached. I of course kept myself above this base discussion, mostly because I was too busy laughing.

I headed out to the beach to look at the stars for a bit then went to bed.