FREE TUTORIALS

How to make a mechanical knitting loom using Legos.

Have old comic books that you want to get rid of but no one wants to buy because they aren’t considered “valuable” enough? Turn them into coasters!

A free tutorial on how to create a miniature garden that’s small enough to fit a teacup.

Browse other free tutorials previously mentioned in this blog (along with pictures) right here.

MISCELLANEOUS LINKS

The amazing works of art which were created in the world’s second largest refugee camp.

For those of you who have been posting NSFW content in your blog using Blogger, you need to read about Google’s recent announcement that it’s banning public NSFW blogs from Blogger.

And, speaking of which, the next couple of links are NSFW. A story about Cynthia Plaster Caster, who was known among certain rock stars back in the late 1960’s for making plaster casts of, ahem!, certain body parts. These days she teaches others her craft and, through her website, she still offers her plaster caster services but she focuses more on breasts than penises.

Yesterday was a major milestone in the United States because of the FCC decision in favor of Net Neutrality. The Internet should be delighted over this.

But, instead, there has been this major Internet explosion where websites, social media, blogs, forums, chat rooms, and the news media have been focused on one thing: Are the colors of this dress blue and black or white and gold?

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!? Syria continues to be a horrible battleground with ISIL terrorists chopping people’s heads off and, in some cases, putting them in cages then setting everything on fire. Parts of Ukraine continues to be a battleground with people getting killed as a result. The Republicans in Congress are more concerned with obstructing and fighting President Obama on every little thing instead of working on behalf of their constituents (which is supposed to be their job) while average Americans are still struggling to get by in a bad economy that hasn’t fully recovered since 2008. The East Coast of the United States continues to be in the midst of a colder winter than usual, which is not only adversely affecting the poor and homeless but is also the strongest signal that climate change is real. Police brutality against the poor and/or people of color continues to be a problem in the United States.

Instead of getting worked up over genuine important issues, people are getting worked up over the colors of a stupid dress.

A DRESS!!!

I’m not even going to bother weighing in with my opinions on what I think the real dress colors are because I just don’t give a damn. Based on the photos I’ve seen, I’m not even impressed with it at all. (I would really need to see that dress in person before I can definitely say whether it’s pretty or ugly because I’ve seen too many things that look better in real life than their online photos.) Stupid stuff like this makes me ashamed that I even share the same planet with these self-centered frivolous idiots who obviously have no lives since they are easily worked up over the colors of dress in a photograph that someone posted online.

Especially since today there is another news story that’s even more important than some idiotic controversy over some damned dress colors: The death of actor Leonard Nimoy, who’s best known for playing Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek. I watched that show a lot when I was growing up and I also remember when he appeared as the host of another TV show called In Search Of…, which was basically devoted to real-life mysterious phenomenon such as the Loch Ness Monster and the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.

I’m going to end this rant by showing a couple of videos. The first one shows another side of Leonard Nimoy as he sings (yes, he is singing!) the song “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.”

And here is Leonard Nimoy in another music video, except this time he doesn’t sing at all. He plays the chauffer in The Bangles’ 1984 video “Going Down to Liverpool.”

First, the bad news: my Goat Man plushie failed to make Spoonflower’s top ten in the Mythical Creatures Plushie contest. (This is despite my effort to let people know about this contest on social media.) I managed to get a few people to click the heart-shaped favorite button so that’s nice.

Now, the good news: I worked on the prototype for the Goat Man using the fabric that I received from Spoonflower.com. I finished the prototype and I made a few minor revisions. (Mainly making the handle on his axe a bit thicker in order to make it easier for people to glue or quickly sew the fabric edges before gluing the axe on a sturdy backing like card stock or bristol board. While I was able to sew the edges of the axe okay, it made the axe handle a bit on the skinny side and I thought that sewing an axe handle that thin might be intimidating to beginner sewers.)

I uploaded the revision online and it’s now on sale in my shop.

I plan on having a post dedicated to assembling the Goat Man (complete with detailed work in progress photos) in this blog soon. In the meantime, the general instructions on how to sew the Goat Man is printed directly on the fabric.

You can view a photo of my completed prototype here. I know it’s not a great photograph but it gives you an idea on the results. I plan on taking better pictures outside once the snow melts. (Would you believe that it snowed more yesterday? And the cold temperatures returned with a vengeance after one mild weather day last Sunday—which I documented here.)

Come and get your Goat Man here.

Benjamin Franklin

Nick’s passions grow fat and hearty : his understanding looks consumptive !

This is a fabulous day in Internet history. Net Neutrality guarantees that the viewpoints of everyone have equal access online without discrimination based on wealth and the ability to pay. Had Net Neutrality gone down in defeat, the ability of America to continue its online innovation would’ve been jeopardized and other countries would’ve surpassed the United States in terms of such innovation.

Only a corporation concerned with short-term quarterly earnings on Wall Street could’ve come up with a numbskull idea like “Fast Lanes” and “Slow Lanes” on the Internet in the first place. I’m glad that idea is being trashed by the FCC!

Here is the twenty-third video in a series of computer animations called The Unicorn With An Attitude that I did back in the 1990’s in an ill-fated attempt to show off my abilities as an artist and a computer whiz in the hopes of either 1) get famous or 2) get a higher paying job than the office administrative work that I was frequently offered.

I created this animation way back in 1998 and I actually uploaded it on various BBS as well as CompuServe. I originally created it as a QuickTime movie using various software for an Apple Macintosh. I have totally remastered it in high definition video using Apple iMovie. As for the music, I used one of YouTube’s royalty-free songs.

As the original write-up for this animation puts it:

Three ultra-paranoid critters decide to start an underground militia movement after they think they see a United Nations black helicopter flying in the air.

I did this animation at a time when the right-wing militia movement was getting media attention, especially in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, which exposed the existence of these groups in the first place. I did a parody featuring the real attitudes of those on the far right at the time.

The sad part is that there is still this extreme right wing paranoia that’s fueled in large part by right wing media outlets like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

So, without further ado, here is “Paranoia.”

Today is the last day to vote for my Goat Man Stuffed Doll in Spoonflower.com’s Mythical Creature Plushie Pattern Design Contest so if you haven’t already done so, go on over there and vote. No purchase is necessary to take part in the voting process. Here is what my design looks like.

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Thank you in advance for your vote. ;-)

With Valentine’s Day over with, the local Target near my home is clearing the way for Easter stuff (since it’s the next holiday that’s also a money-maker for the retail industry).

For years I’ve heard about this Australian sweet called Tim Tam but I’ve only found them in stores that carry imported items. Target is carrying Tim Tams in two flavors (original and caramel) for a reasonable price. Maybe I’ll finally try a Tim Tam one day.

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When I was a kid, I only saw Peeps at Easter. They were on sale during that time then they disappeared until next Easter. I first remembered Peeps being available only in yellow chicks but then they eventually came out with yellow bunnies then they came in other colors besides yellow. By the time I was an adult, Peeps started to expand into other holidays besides Easter. Now Peeps is coming out with chicks in flavors besides plain marshmallow with really interesting looking colors.

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I spent the bulk of the Presidents’ Day holiday eating what turned out to be a combination lunch and dinner (I ate a 10-inch pizza by myself, which made me too full to eat dinner later) at Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery, and General Store in Hyattsville, Maryland with a few friends. It was a fundraiser for the STEM center Makerspace 125 in Greenbelt, Maryland and basically the restaurant donated a portion of the proceeds from each purchase where the purchaser shows the receipt to the hostess in the front of the restaurant and utter the name Makerspace 125. It was a fun leisurely meal. The only downside was that a major snowstorm dumping about 3-6 inches came through shortly before nightfall so I left once I finished eating my meal and briefly browsing the adjoining General Store. I took a few photos during my time there as well. Here’s a worker making sure that the brewery is well-maintained.

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Here are some tin soldiers that grace the top of Franklin’s front door.

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Here are just a few of the wines and sauces that Franklin’s sells in its General Store.

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Given the popularity of such Internet celebrities as Grumpy Cat and Keyboard Cat, it’s inevitable that someone would’ve published a book like this.

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It’s pretty interesting that the hit TV show Project Runway has inspired a line of paper dolls.

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There is a Doctor Who version of the game Yahtzee, complete with a Tardis.

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Then there are the Spirograph kits. I used to love Spirograph as a child. I thought drawing those intricate patterns was so cool. Not only is Spirograph back but there are also paint kits and scrapbooking kits as well.

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I purchased the Spirograph Cyclex kit on impulse. (It was another receipt I could give to the restaurant hostess on behalf of Makerspace 125.)

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Here is my first drawing using that kit.

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The weather has gone crazy recently with the snow and the Arctic chill that has plunged temperatures in the Washington, DC area to new lows. The only good thing about this weather has been the gorgeous nature photography opportunities. Here are a couple of photos of the wooded area near my home.

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And here’s a photo of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.

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Finally, here’s a photo of a sunset over snow-covered ground that I took yesterday.

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