Monthly Archives: July 2014

Stepping outside of my comfort zone

I wanted to put into practice some of the subdivision modeling tips that I’d picked up here and there recently. I picked a completely fictional steam car because that’s well outside of my genre comfort zone, and that sort of subject would have a lot of little details and gnarly bits and bobs that are well-suited to giving my somewhat-atrophied-from-too-much-coding modeling muscles a workout.

I didn’t get as much done over the weekend because of the amount of research I had to do first, but here’s the start:


I did the wheels, underframe, boiler, firebox, wheels, feedwater tanks, coal bunkers, and roughed in the floorboard before running out of time. Next weekend, I’m going to tackle the steam condenser, suspension components, and a number of other parts like the firebox doors and coal bunker covers, and hopefully get a start on the steam piping and the motor.


I want it to look like some kind of ridiculous, thoroughly impractical, dangerous, mechanically unreliable, over-the-top prototype put together by some wacky inventor/tinkerer type. The gonzo size of the boiler makes me giggle, and I want to add a little afterthought-like 2 wheeled covered trailer for luggage and stuff because the absent-minded inventor didn’t even think about it beforehand.

It’s been pretty fun so far. Steam powered vehicles and their history make for some fascinating reading, and is an interesting change of pace from the more futuristic stuff I normally do.

Some random stuff

After I had some teeth pulled last month, I had a nagging fear that I’d be condemned to a diet of  mashed potatoes and pudding for the foreseeable future, but I’m pleased to report that that particular fear turned out to be baseless. My mouth is healing up nicely, I no longer have tooth pain, and it’s really nice being able to eat solid food again.

I’ve also apparently been adopted by a cat again. I have no idea how this happened, but now I have a little buddy hanging out in my office with me all day. 😆

The last 2 weeks at work have been a rather interesting study of contrasts. Last week was one of those incredible table-flipping shitshows where it felt like absolutely nothing was going right at all. Flaky hardware, balky tools, script conflicts, gremlins, and a bunch of other issues just boiled over, and it was horrible.

I ended up gutting the offending subsystem, completely redesigning it from scratch, and then things started to finally fall into place nicely. The week after that was the polar opposite–I had success after success and things were just behaving wonderfully again. Weird.

I also found out that one of my favorite modeling tools, Silo, had been updated recently and managed to get in some 3D modeling time. I’ve been slowly building up and detailing a spaceship model, adding a little bit here and there whenever I have a few minutes to spend in Silo.

lancer_bow lancer_stern

Man, I really missed being able to push some polygons around for fun. I wish I had a 3D printer so I could print out my stuff in plastic and push it around on the table while making wacky spaceship noises.

Mumblemumble mumble mumble

I went to the dentist for a broken tooth in early June. They found that I also needed to have some wisdom teeth and back teeth pulled at the same time as the broken tooth, so they had to refer me to a specialist oral surgeon for the extractions. It took four weeks for the dental insurance company to authorize the procedure and inform us by mail, even though it was a dental emergency. 😮

So, I spent the past several weeks dealing with varying degrees of tooth pain, which is kind of not an experience that I care to repeat. We checked the mail every day, and finally received a letter from the dental insurance company on the 27th. The following scene occurred:

Mrs E: We just got a letter from them! ::hands me the letter::

Me: YES!!! ::opens letter::

Mrs E: Well?

Me: It’s the July bill.

Mrs E: ::facepalm::

We got another letter on June 30th or so, however, and that one was the authorization for the extractions. I don’t think people normally get excited about being able to get their teeth pulled, but it might as well have been Christmas as far as I was concerned. The oral surgeon’s office had received the authorization on the same day and set us up for an appointment on July 3rd, so wheels were finally turning.

I didn’t really have much idea of what to expect. I’d had a total of two dental experiences in my entire life that I could recall–one as a kid where I got my teeth cleaned and received a coloring book extolling the virtues of flossing 144 times a day, and then the initial appointment that I mentioned in the first paragraph of this blog post. For all I know, the oral surgeon throws on a blacksmith’s apron and an executioner’s hood and then goes to town on the offending teeth with an angle grinder or something.

The actual process was, surprisingly enough, rather civilized and there was far less blood, screaming, and power tool usage than I expected. They put me in the chair, wired me up to a blood pressure monitor, stuck an intravenous line into my hand, and shot me full of antibiotics and anesthetics. Once my brain was firmly convinced that I no longer had a face or a head to speak of, they pulled all six offending teeth in less than 10 minutes. All I felt was some vague crunching and snapping sensations and an occasional spike of very minor pain. My mouth was then stuffed with gauze pads and I was discharged with a prescription for Norco and some gauze pads.

My entire jaw was comically swollen and I had absolutely no sensation whatsoever. I drove Mrs E crazy by constantly poking my numb cheeks and giggling. My tongue felt like it was four times its normal size whenever I tried to move it, and I had to communicate exclusively by writing down my comments on paper or texting.

Once the anesthetics wore off, I felt like I’d gone a few rounds with a professional boxer and lost badly. 😆

I also spent pretty much all of the first day and a half with teabags and gauze pads stuffed into my mouth to control the bleeding. By Friday evening, I didn’t need the gauze anymore and was able to eat chunky soups and soft foods, so things are going well. I’m really happy that I won’t have to deal with that toothache anymore!