Friday, August 31, 2007

Changes, Travel, and other Miscellany

Posting is getting as slow molasses in an Alaskan January around here lately, and I'm sorry.
Jes and I will be moving to Connecticut very soon, and here currently for her Aunt and Uncle's upcoming anniversary... (Happy 50th, Barbara and Dave!)
We are doing some scouting around for jobs and domicile's as well.
Once we return to the West Coast, we will begin packing in earnest, so post frequency probably won't pick up until around Halloween.

Happy Labor Day, to all the Dragon's friends, family, and fans.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Onion on Wikipedia editing and DaDa

Hard To Tell If Wikipedia Entry On Dada Has Been Vandalized Or Not

This is sheer genius, :

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND—The Wikipedia entry on Dada—the World War I–era "anti-art" movement characterized by random nonsense words, bizarre photocollage, and the repurposing of pre-existing material to strange and disturbing effect—may or may not have been severely vandalized, sources said Monday.
"This is either totally messed up or completely accurate," said Reed College art history major Ted Brendon. "There's a mustache drawn on the photo of Marcel Duchamp, the font size keeps changing, and halfway through, the type starts going in a circle. Also, the majority of the actual entry is made up of Krazy Kat cartoons with abstract poetry written in the dialogue balloons."
The fact that the web page continually reverts to a "normal" state, observers say, is either evidence that ongoing vandalization is being deleted through vigilant updating, or a deliberate statement on the impermanence of superficial petit-bourgeois culture in the age of modernity.

Electric Jug PsychedloBilly

Roky Erikson and the 13th Floor Elevators: You're Gonna Miss Me.

thanks to bOINGbOING

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Scooterist Architect's Master Thesis

It's been a little bit since I've blogged any new scooter posts, but here is a hum-dinger for all you serious scooter geeks out there.

Stephanie Winters' Masters thesis for architecture at University of Cincinnati is supa-cool. (And when was the last time you heard that about a Master's thesis?) She has created a structure with the intent of being an immersive, interactive, scooterist's haven.
The first part of the thesis is a study of similar buildings such as a Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart, from which she obviously drawn a great deal of inspiration. This part was mildly interesting to me, as I am mildly interested in architecture in general, and the idea of creating a space suited for automobiles and humans is novel and intriguing.
The second part of the thesis is the really nifty part though. She has designed a space suited for habitation by scooters and humans. It is comprised of multi-levels, with many ramps for scoots, and includes areas for scooter sales, mechanical work, education, as well as a cafe and rally meet-up space for social interaction.
There is also a really cool appendix delving into the history of the motorscooter, going back as far as the 19-teens.

Ms. Winters' proposed site is in Cincinnati, and I'm not really familar enough with the area to know if it could support this kind of business venture, but somewhere certainly could. In the right market, this design, utilized by a shop with a diversified product range (say carrying new Vespa and Piaggio models, as well as say the Genuine and Kymco lineups, and catering to vintage scooterists as well) would really be gang busters.

Maybe it's just me, but this design writes it's own business model. It's generally well known that two-wheeler retailers have only razor-thin markups on bikes, the real profit margins come from accessories and service. Yet the kind of business models which are proven successes in regular retail and service businesses are rarely applied. Most two-wheeler businesses are only comfortable environments for a half-hour at most. They seem to if not discourage hanging out, at least they do not accomadate loitering. By creating a casual environment where customers can take classes in maintenance and repair, riding skills, and scoot customization, as well as a place to get spark-plugs and oil, sales of helmets and jackets which might otherwise be lost to internet retailers, can't help but increase.

Heck, once word got out, such a place would become a scooterist Mecca, drawing riders from well outside the local community.

Heck, I'll do it, if any venture capitalists out there wanna give me backing...

via Scooter Swag

and, hey, if anyone out there is really interested in starting a scooter business (or already has one they are tweaking) here are some thoughts from other scooterists on the issue.
"Where is the Scooter Market Going?"
Kind of silly, but some insightful answers, too: "Scooter co-location ideas"

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hokusai Sumi-e Dragon

33.75 x 15.75 ins ink on paper.
Just stunning.
Click on the image to get a much larger impression of it's spleandor.

Kwan Yin on a Dragon

Though Kwan Yin on a Dragon is a very common image in Asian devotional art, this Chinese sculpture from the 5th-6th century AD seems slightly unusual to me. Kwan Yin's posture and gestures don't seem to have quite reached the standard poses found in later examples. Somehow this version seems rawer and more energetic.

Could just be me, though.
from the Madison Museum of Fine Art

Odilon Redon's Buddha

Redon (who has one of the best names in the history of art, sounds like a Jedi master or something) is kinda hit or miss for me.

This piece really captures me, though. Fantastic, in all senses of the word. (click on it for a much bigger version.)

Buddha Taming the King of Dragons

Again, not mine, "borrowed" from a Buddhist site.

I like it.

Dragon of the Universe

Don't mind me, I'm just doing some image research for an upcoming project... Archiving some inspiration.
Maybe you'll like the pretty pictures, too.
If you really like this, prints are available here: Art of Paul Heussenstamm

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The 21st Century Hybrid Solar Log Cabin

Hybrid Solar House > Science > How It Works

Came across a link to this North Carolina builder in a recent interview with Steve Wozniac on that's worth checking out.

Apparently he was a judge for the History Channel's Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge (dang, that's a mouthful). The winner, a home built by Enertia combines passive solar energy, with the heat retention and release properties of solid wood construction as well as designing the entire house to be a heatpump. The result is a kit-house that is energy efficient to manufacture, assemble, and inhabit. They're easy on the eyes, too.
Just how does a house, or office, or any ground-based structure get turned into a natural energy machine? The secret is an air path, or "Envelope" just inside the structure's solid wood skin. It is a heat path on a sunny Winter day, a continuously recharging convection loop. A heat source, and extra insulation for a cold Winter night. A miniature biosphere, oxygenated by Sunspace plants. A fresh air-to-air exchanger with walls that breathe. A buffer zone to noise, wind, and outside pollution.
It is a ventilation path on the hot Summer day and on the cooler Summer night, when it is open to the atmosphere. It is the dehumidification system when its permeable outer wall is hit by the sun. And always, an access channel to otherwise unreachable parts of the house when it comes time to update, add new wires, cables, pipes, or technology.
The Enertia® House works because the walls have the ability to gain, hold, and release heat. They do double-duty as structure and storage. Their thermal mass and thermal lag leads to "Floating," where stored daytime energy cancels out night-time need. Floating can last for days, keeping the house comfortable during periods of little or no sun. Massive houses experience seasonal "Float" as well, and can coast a month or longer when lightweight houses need artificial heating or cooling. Enertia® Houses float right through heat waves and arctic blasts that would endanger occupants of other buildings.
This page on their site shows some detailed shots of constuction, and more information on the nature of their kits. Basically the pieces are notched laminated timbers of Southern Yellow Pine, a highly renewable resource. It's a pretty cool idea, with environmental advantages from several angles.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Truth

Never let it be said that the Dragon let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Or vice versa...

1) Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.
2) Forget the health food. I need all the preservatives I can get.
3) When you fall down, you wonder what else you can do while you’re down there.
4) You’re getting old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.
5) It’s frustrating when you know all the answers but nobody bothers to ask you the questions.
6) Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician.
7) Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.

Common Sense?
Well, as the great American Bard, S. Clemens, once said, Common Sense is neither.
Click the title link for more "funny 'cause it's" truisms.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My Future Papoose Pack

That's right folks, when the Dragon decides to ensure his posterity, he's found just the thing for toting a tyke whilst riding a bike...

That's a joke of course... I wouldn't carry a hatchling on the scoot, unless I had a sidecar.

Actually, the whole thing is a bit of a put-on. This is a gorgeous hand-made leather backpack. If you click the title link, it will take you to an amazingly talented Russian gent's Live Journal page. He's posted many more pictures of this piece, and if you scroll down you will see that you can get one crafted for about $450 USD with about a month turn around. Though I imagine shipping from Rus might take a bit longer. Those folks at customs always seem to scruntize dragons very thoroughly...

via Neatorama