• My sister locked herself out of the house. She called me, with her kids panicking in the background, to find a locksmith who worked on Sundays.

    I suggested that I just drive down and get the spare key from somebody. It would probably only take 30 minutes, less than a locksmith.

    Unfortunately, the KeyMaster wasn't where she expected him to be, so I arrived without it.

    Her little daughter was very disappointed.

    Continue reading "The Man Who Opened A Door"

  • Hey, Honda, can I use your logos to make T-shirts? Please?

    I want to sell some T-shirts, so I'm experimenting with Inkscape to produce vector graphics for the designs. I once spray-painted a tee shirt with some Volkswagen logos on it. The results were extremely attractive. Now I want to reproduce that with vector graphics.

    It's surprisingly difficult to make blotches. Although I couldn't get a spray paint effect, I finally got a wet paintbrush stroke to work. Continue reading for my method.

    Continue reading "Inkscape Paintbrush Strokes"


  • Yesterday we had to say goodbye to our cat, Neplehu.

    The name means "mischief" in Czech. We got him so young that his gender was not easily determinable. He couldn't eat from a food bowl without a boost. His face was flat, not fully developed; he had to dunk his whole head in his food, so we had to clean him after every meal. We knew he was a "Hemingway", a cat with extra toes.

    We didn't know he would be so lovey-dovey. After a few years, he unfortunately developed the bad habit of urinating on our clothes piles, so we put him outside. We got a canopy to protect him from the heat and rain. He took to it with dignity, refusing to even step indoors except to get from one end of the house to the other. I gave him some attention every evening during feeding time, and our kids would occasionally go outside to pet him.

    He was an old cat; he'd had trouble breathing for a couple of weeks, so we took him to the vet. It turned out his intestines had herniated into his diaphram. He was suffering pretty bad, but like a cat, refused to let anyone know.

    We brought everyone in to say goodbye. He got a lot of petting, even if it was from a bunch of crying girls. We took a bunch of pictures. Then the girls left the room and Neppy left his pain behind. We buried him beneath a new pink lemon tree in our back yard.

    Goodbye, Neppy. You will be missed.


  • In short, it doesn't work.

    I drove through a giant puddle caused by ex-hurricane Fay. Eri has been really worried about that; she seems to think it'll destroy my car or something. (In reality, the water isn't conductive enough to cause a problem in the motor. In fact, it would help cool it. The dirt in the water is problematic, but not a huge deal.) My engine compartment is organized so that nothing important got wet.

    But it got in my spare tire well, which is where my charger resides. It apparently got wet, because turning it on tripped my GFCI.

    I let it dry out for a day or so. I planned to use a hair dryer on its fan ports if it wasn't dry, but yesterday morning I started charging as usual. Today I'm all full.

  • Kayla turns 6 today!

    Despite the "hurricane" stalled overhead, we had the room decorated and a big pile of presents ready for her to open when she woke up. She was thrilled with the presents, which included a new table and chairs (from Omi and Opi), a beautiful rug (from Mommy and Daddy), paint pots and brushes (from Melissa), and a teddy bear (from Tatiana). I don't intend to list all the presents or anything; she was happy to turn 6, and everybody got a big hug.

    She didn't want to go to school, but we took her anyway. When she comes home, she can clean up her room and give away enough old stuff to fit the new stuff in.

    Happy Birthday, Kayla!