When it comes to technical puzzles, I have an obsessive personality. I like to dive into any problem that catches my curiosity problem swiftly and intensely. Until I start to figure out how XYZ ticks, I will dream about it, think about it all the time while idle, sketch diagrams, check out stacks of books, research dozens of online resources, and run experiments.
A part of this is that I have a strong DIY streak—not to save money, but because doing everything possible yourself is for me at least the most efficient way to crack apart a puzzle get at the tender, juicy marrow of understanding the underlying processes and mechanisms.
If I’m interested in pottery, for instance, I could buy store bought clay and follow precise instructions about how to fire it in a commercial kiln. This will get me making pots as quickly as possible, but it won’t get me understanding pottery as quickly as possible. Usually, I’m more interested in the latter. I want to know the chemistry, the physics, the engineering issues, the variables that matter or don’t, how people did in in the 1300s versus today, where the ingredients are sourced from and what it’s like to locate and mine them, etc.
The purpose of the blog is mainly to help organize my own thoughts as I go about learning these things. Of course I also want to share what I learn with you, and hopefully inspire people to get away from their TV sets and get their hands dirty more often while learning more about the world around us!
Currently or in the recent past, I’ve been interested in all of the following topics and will probably make posts about all of these projects later on:
- Computer programming – lots of projects, usually modifying, cheating at, or writing my own computer games
- Pottery – making ceramic items from scratch using local materials
- Homemade perfumes – not for parties but for triggering memories, like leather scents, brass, pies, playdough, etc. (although kudos to anybody willing to wear brass perfume to a party)
- Music – making a homemade pipe organ
- Photography – including several homemade lenses, optical experiments, and cutting and developing my own repurposed X-ray film
- Homemade Glass – making my own glass, starting from local wood, sand, and limestone
- Typewriters – collecting and repairing
- Seaglass – I made jewelry for awhile before I started trying to perfect chemical processes for manufacturing completely convincing duplicates from fresh material.
- Lots more stretching back to my college days! Sadly, I don’t have very good photos of such older projects as: laser tripwire water balloon traps, a land sailboat, a wooden laptop casing, a vacuum mylar parabolic solar death ray with welded rebar gimbals, and others.
Due to the wide variety of topics I plan to cover in this blog, I will add category banners to the tops of posts to let you know when/where you are in a related series of thematically-linked posts. There is also an index page with groups of links, which you can find on the navigation bar at the top of the blog.
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy!