::::: : the wood : davidrobins.net

My name is David Robins: Christian, lead developer (resume), writer, photographer, runner, libertarian (voluntaryist), and student.

This is also my son David Geoffrey Robins' site. He has been abducted for 2268 days.

A wizard hat for David Geoffrey

News, Technical, Baby ·Sunday October 29, 2017 @ 12:02 EDT (link)

David Geoffrey is about ten pounds now, and at or over two feet tall. Lately he's learning that those arms and hands attached to him are his, and it's making him a little grumpy. Today he went on some errands with us (mostly involving diapers/nappies) and he was mostly happy. He has another checkup Monday, including some vaccinations which we hope aren't too hard on him.

Facing a great rent in my pajama bottoms and guests arriving, I decided to look into automated sewing equipment, as hand-sewing had proven both tedious and ineffective. At first I tried one of those portable battery-operated machines that look a bit like an upside-down stapler, but it was all kinds of terrible (poor build quality, dropped stitches) and I returned it (and I must say the Amazon return experience was extremely painless) in favor of a Singer 4423 Heavy Duty regular machine, which got good reviews and was presently discounted to just over $100. That its dials were mechanical and it had no LCD readouts was a plus to me—I know what can go wrong with embedded peripherals, and would rather keep it simple for my first machine.

So, I mended the tears, and hemmed the pants too since they were large and I was always tripping over them. But that's not all….

Looking for sewing tutorials I found Zab's channel, which, as well as her intro series, had a video on making a Gandalf hat. How could I not make wizard hats for my son and me?

(Me: I also found this video for making a Jedi robe. If I can manage the Gandalf hat, it should be easy!
Honey: Somehow I thought you'd see it that way [instead of starting easy and working up].)

So, for the first time I walked into a fabric store voluntarily, and picked up some felt and lining fabric—and online I added a set of Gingher fabric shears, tape measure, interfacing, and other necessary sundries. Fortunately I had just brought some boxes back from my parents, and as well as Transformers they had my (English) mother's sewing bag, containing useful things like pins, needles, and even some usable thread (unfortunately the first section of the tape measure had faded from use).

The first hat I made was too small. I learned from that, and did better on the second, the construction of which is shown above (the smaller hat is the one sitting on the sewing machine). I had made insufficient allowances for the way is brim is tilted (to give it concavity) and the seams. It's a nice decoration. I also hadn't properly gathered (no pun intended) the idea of pinning and sewing the two curves together, and perhaps tried to flatten them too much, and had to cut some fabric later.

I laid out my sewing equipment on the new kitchen table (my parents' old dining room table, which I rescued from being sold to strangers on Kijiji, which is how Canadians say Craigslist), and there's a TV inset in the wall connected to a computer (a respectible i7 with 8Gb RAM as it turns out—left by former owners) accessible via the hall closet behind. We'd never had occasion to use it yet, but having the video right there while making the hat was as useful as I expected it to be; I installed Arch Linux (over Windows 10), LXDE, and Chromium on it and we added Algaria to our internal network (when I installed cat6 soon after we bought the house, we included a connection to the closet).

So, there's the finished hat on the unfinished wizard; I didn't get to mine in time for Hallowe'en (but will still make one), and I expect by the time it rolls around next year it won't fit any more and I'll need to make another one. I am very happy with how it turned out. And now that I can sew, Honey expects me to hem all her pants, but I'm more the "teach a man to fish" type. If I recall correctly, my grandfather, (H.) Geoff Cater, was also competent with a sewing machine.

David Geoffrey: the cuteness continues

Baby ·Monday October 23, 2017 @ 18:27 EDT (link)

Rebecca (Penner family) visits

News ·Sunday October 22, 2017 @ 12:00 EDT (link)

My sister Rebecca, her husband Theo, and their two boys, Zico (6) and Tiago (4) came to visit us for a few days, arriving Friday evening and leaving Sunday morning after breakfast. It's the first time they've been here (maybe their first time in Indiana?), and Rebecca is the first sibling to visit us out here.

I admit I had some concerns about entertaining the boys, but as can be seen we found plenty to do. Theo and I built a fire in the pit out back—the boys helped gather wood—and we all roasted marshmallows. They also had a lot of fun playing with my old transformers, which were out from some boxes we'd brought back from my parents' place (they are selling). I had expected they'd be curious about them as historical toys, but apparently some toys are timeless.

After breakfast Saturday morning, Honey and Rebecca went shopping (picked up at least an Instacrate, which are great). Theo and I went back to the range and shot my RRA AR-15 rifle and a Springfield XDM pistol (the boys came back, but were a bit young to shoot). Everyone helped load magazines. Rebecca shot the AR-15 the next day.

We also took some rides on the riding mower, with the boys steering but not quite able to reach the pedals; down the drive almost to the road, and around the back yard a little. I also hooked up the wagon so both could ride (it's a small tractor, so one on a lap and the other on the wagon, then switch). They also enjoyed playing in the playhouse out back, and playing tag.

We found that GameCube controllers work on Mario Kart Wii (and one source compared and found them the best for karts and second for bikes), so we were able to race for a while and Honey showed us all how it's done.

We hope y'all can make it back sometime, and other siblings can visit too. Mother and father are expected to come by in November.

David Geoffrey: a month old

Baby ·Wednesday October 11, 2017 @ 22:01 EDT (link)

David Geoffrey: week two

Baby ·Saturday September 23, 2017 @ 19:16 EDT (link)

A couple with high-ISO and natural light (high for the D300, which maxes out at 3200—the D850 goes 8x higher to 25600), which works well, as does bouncing the flash (even better than a diffuser) for smoother skin tones. His first bath, in his Batman shirt, and a lot of resting comfortably.

GT South's with Honey's mother and sister Emily:

Few more of wee David:

David Geoffrey: the first week

Baby ·Friday September 15, 2017 @ 23:08 EDT (link)

David Geoffrey Robins

News, Baby ·Wednesday September 6, 2017 @ 14:27 EDT (link)

Born September 6, 2017 at 1427 (originally scheduled for the 13th); 8 lbs. 7 oz., 22 in.

Mother and baby doing fine. Honey's mother and sister came to stay with us to help take care of the baby in the first few weeks. Since the baby was early, they just made it after the (C-section) surgery and were waiting in our room (which was very nice) after we got out. All tests fine so far, including a hearing test.

14 years

News, Baby ·Saturday September 2, 2017 @ 22:36 EDT (link)

We celebrated our 14-year anniversary today at Peterson's Restaurant (it was actually on the 30th). It will be the last with just the two of us1, as Wee Tiny will be arriving soon.

I'm also trying out a new image plugin, lightGallery. Here are some of the preparations made for Wee Tiny's arrival:

On the last picture you can see (on the far left) a camera we bought for use as a baby monitor (thanks to Chan from work for making a fix so that it works correctly with exacqVision's ONVIF support).

The table on the left is the dining-room table (and chairs) I grew up with; my parents are selling their house and were getting rid of it, and some other pieces, so we rented a panel van and brought it back with us. We put it in the nook and moved the existing table (a unit I bought from CORT when in Memphis, maybe the first piece of furniture I owned) upstairs, below (with solder station).

1 Later to be known as David Geoffrey Robins, after a large number of David's, my father and Honey's grandfather first among them, and my grandfather, Harold Geoffrey Cater, who went by his middle name.

Books finished: Rogue Lawyer., The Righteous Mind, Grey Mountain, For Us, the Living, The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge, The Iron Web, Mightier Than the Sword, Cometh the Hour, Mentats of Dune, Navigators of Dune.

Shanklin/Lowry housewarming in Minnesota

News ·Sunday August 14, 2016 @ 21:38 EDT (link)

Fairly late last week I learned about a housewarming party (private event link) a few states over held by a long-time libertarian (voluntaryist) online friend I'd never met. At first I joked about making a road trip there, but he encouraged me to come, and I thought it would be fun to actually meet up, and I hadn't driven in that direction (in fact, I'd never been in Wisconsin), so I decided to go for it and took a half-day Friday (I would have taken the whole day, but I had a few things to finish up for work that I didn't want to leave undone). I packed everything up Thursday night, including a tent to crash on the lawn, so I'd be good to go straight from work Friday. I got in early and left a little before 1100.

The drive was pretty, but uneventful. I was surprised at how horrible the tolls were in Chicago; I don't object to tolls (users should pay, non-users shouldn't) (although the gas taxes they already take are supposed to cover road maintenance, but Chicago likely needs more due to all the corruption), but it was so inefficient: every couple miles, another set of tollbooths. Cheryl (Lowry) had nothing good to say about Illinois either (if I recall correctly she's from there); best to move through quickly and not stop.

I hit a few traffic jams, and arrived at 1919, and had no trouble finding the house, which I'd already looked up on Google Street View. I parked in front of a house opposite where nobody lived yet. When I went in, I was with a crowd of neighbors so I don't think Michael (Shanklin) realized that I was the crazy chap who drove in from Illinois. (I could say I did it because Honey is out visiting her parents, but she would have been up for a short-notice road trip too; we almost took a short one to northern Indiana when friends were stuck there for a little bit last week.)

A lot of neighbors turned up, and a few people from both of their workplaces/former workplaces, and there were games (bean-bag toss and beer pong, and I played poker with a group and then spoons), hamburgers and corn on the grill, a decent time. Mike was very appreciative that I'd driven eight hours to stop in (something that at one point and state of inebriation he repeated every few minutes, which was pretty funny).

Since the party who had "reserved" the couch didn't show, I slept indoors on the couch (very comfortable) instead of in my tent (fortunate, since it rained), got up fairly late Saturday and the family grilled corn, hamburgers, and hotdogs for lunch and then I headed out. There weren't any traffic jams on the way home; I did stop briefly at a couple parks but decided not to hike and just head straight back, arriving back before midnight.

I really have neglected this site, in favor of social media or just from being busy with other work, but I'm trying to make the occasional post.

AR-15 maintenance

News, Guns ·Saturday August 6, 2016 @ 22:57 EDT (link)

I thought I needed an "AR tool" (AR-15 multi-tool, something like this) today, and so that I could accomplish what I wanted to do I bought it locally at Bare Arms (sic.) here in Noblesville. They had one, by UTG, and I paid about $40 for something I could get online for about half that.

It turned out I actually needed a handguard removal tool—or, what I eventually ended up using: (the grips of) a set of pliers.

With Bare Arms, all sales are final. I don't begrudge them this, especially in "these parlous times" where gun (rights infringement) scares abound and people might regret a purchase made in fear when they're thinking clearly again, although I do consider it customer-hostile. So I couldn't return the tool, but I consider it a $20 lesson/reminder (to double-check the return policy for small stores, or to be sure of the tool I need first, something like that). I'll probably have a use for it eventually.

The issue was that one of the bolts for the add-on lower rail I had installed had come lose inside the handguards, so I needed to pop them off (something I hadn't done for a while, but fortunately found a few videos to remind me), and reinstall the screw (and tighten the other one). I had a bipod installed there, but I left it off for now since I hadn't been using it lately and it's easy enough to reinstall. I'm also considering switching out the EOTech red dot and 3x magnifier for a single Trijicon ACOG (green horseshoe reticle like on my SCAR), for weight and convenience.

Books finished: The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages, The Elfstones of Shannara, Elantris.

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