Bullseye

September 29 2020

Oof, it’s like 1:30 in the morning here. I don’t really have much to say, or the time to say it. But I just finished throwing this thing together for the evening and I wanted to show it off to somebody. I guess that somebody gets to be you, dear reader.

Addendum

I originally had bulls-eye nipples, but bullseye is already a marvel character. Crap.

Dwayne

September 27 2020

I’m pretty sore, oof.

Barn

So progress on the barn has been delayed somewhat as a result of recent rains. If all goes well, the building process should start by the end of this week, or at the beginning of next week. So basically, we should have posts put into the ground sometime between October 1st and October 7th.

It’s a couple weeks later than we expected, but when does construction ever happen on time?

In order to actually get the posts put into the ground, we’ll have to rent a skid-steer with an auger bit attached, because our land has a fair amount of buried rocks that need to be dug through. That’ll be fun. I’ve never rented heavy equipment before.

Rocks

So with that in mind, I’ve been reading up on the rocks on our property, and it would seem as though we basically have two ‘types’ of rock on the land. About half a foot underground (at least in the areas we’ve dug so far), there’s a layer of limestone. This is pretty common in our area. It’s basically a soft, brittle, crumbly rock, that is really old marine sediment mixed with poor-quality clay. I’m sure if we did some actual digging we’d find some harder limestone that is actually hard and more pure. But mixed in with all of the limestone, dirt, clay, and plant matter in the ground, we have a significant number of flint rocks.

Which, honestly, is pretty cool. Flint is a hard stone that takes so long to form, that it is estimated to be 100-200 million years old. In human history, flint is the primary crafting material of the stone age. It was used to make structures, tools, weapons, etc. In American history it was most associated with being used for making arrowheads.

And we have a lot. Literally tons. And tons. And tons. Just all over the land.

So, long term, we’d like to see what we can use these rocks for. What’s neat is that some of these rocks have been sitting on this property, untouched by any human beings, forever. As in, there are rocks just sitting on the surface or sitting just under the surface that have been undisturbed since their creation. Obviously a rock is a rock, but there’s something about ‘harvesting’ hundred-million-year old building materials that is just so cool. I’ll have to take some pictures of some of the cooler looking rocks when I get a chance.

Addendum

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Blaze

September 17 2020

Took a mondo duke today, no bueno.

Animation Work

So years ago I was really big into stop motion animation. It was a long, exhausting process involving moving characters around, piece by piece, until I was able to create a smooth animation. Here’s a short clip that I put together at one point, which is probably one of the shorter videos I’ve ever made in stop motion. Please note, this video literally has a cannon, so sound warning.

Now that I’ve retired from stop motion, I’m doing a lot of 3D animation work, which hilariously enough, involves basically the same thing. I have to render a bunch of frames, and between a lot of them, I have to adjust the position of hands, arms, legs, heads, eyes, facial expressions, etc. The main difference is that so far, I’m preferring the 3D animated work, because it’s cheaper (so far) and I don’t need an entire table covered in supplies to work with. But it’s genuinely hilarious to me how much work goes into the animation process, in a manner that feels so similar to stop motion at times.

One thing that does make it easier is that the computer software can sort of ‘fill in the gaps’ that I would have to do manually when I was doing stop motion work. Take a look at this animation, for example:

In this animation, I really just had to ‘key’ the fists at the two different positions where they pause. The computer filled in the motion for me. From there I just added a slight bounce to the body, basically doing the same thing.

The current animating work on my mind right now though (and that which has inspired the whole thing behind this post) is the fact that I’m currently working on rendering a full dance sequence for Kate’s game. I’ve never rendered dancing before, and I’m not sure if I’m any good at it, but it’s taking a considerable amount of effort to make the movement and flow look right. I can’t wait to show it off some day!

Land Stuff

So yesterday, I spent time on the land, digging dirt from a big pile, and using it to fill a bunch of holes from clearing out posts. I realized just in digging this pile that without machinery, digging a bunch of dirt up for an earthbag house would be cheap, but it would likely destroy me over time. So I’m glad we’ve decided on this whole pole barn idea instead. It costs a bit more, but it’s still cheaper than a conventional house, and we’re perfectly comfortable with the concept of living in a barn. It’s going to be a nice barn. A really nice barn, honestly. It will be insulated, it’ll have power (and water, long term), and generally we’re happy with the expectations we have set for ourselves.

Anyway, here’s some picture highlights from yesterday’s dig.

Here’s the pile of dirt that I dug out of. The top of the pile is about 3.5 feet (or 1 meter) tall, for the sake of reference.

However, the pile of dirt was not right next to where I needed it, so I used a wagon to cart the dirt back and forth. Because I was tired of walking through taller grass (and I was nervous of chiggers), I mowed a path from one end to the next, which you can see a part of here:

Sometimes I feel like it would be neat if I could make a nice stone path.

I know these pictures aren’t much, but they’re little tid-bits of my life, so there you go.

Addendum

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Perseverance

September 15 2020

I’m moving forward. This is a good thing.

Land

So at the moment, things are sort of at a minor standstill. The barn can’t be built without the concrete put down, the concrete can’t be put down without the posts being put in the ground. The team that is supposed to put the posts in the ground is pretty crappy at communication, so I’m sort of just waiting for a bit for them to get back to me so we can schedule a post burial date that should take place within a week or so.

Meanwhile, I had to dig some old concrete posts out, and boy was that exhausting. I had to use a shovel, pick axe, and breaker bar to break a bunch of rocks out before I could even get the concreted posts out of the ground. Now there’s just a whole bunch of holes leftover, which I need to fill and tamp down really well, so that some dudes can come in and dig new post holes in different spots. Conveniently, there’s a big dirt pile about 100 feet away that I can use to fill the holes, so I figure I’ll either use a little dump cart that I have, or I’ll back the truck up to the pile, fill the bed up, and then dump it into the little holes. I’ll just have to see which method seems the least inconvenient.

Once I have the holes filled and the area tamped down, I’ll post a picture of the flattened surface!


I’ve marked all of the poles and concrete I had to remove. The concrete rectangle in the middle originally housed a hot tub.

So yeah, tomorrow I’ll be headed back out to fill holes and probably just hang out a little bit, I guess. There’s something somewhat peaceful about being up there, alone. Bat and I typically go together on the weekends, so far I’m the only one who’s been there by myself. I kind of wish she could have time to experience it by herself, too. Thankfully it’s a big enough property that at some point, we could both feasibly be on the land and still have time and space to ourselves.

As another added bonus, it turns out the previous owners buried an electric line that runs out to the barn spot, so we can easily run power some day when we need to. Based on the length and gauge of the line, it’ll probably only be able to run 30 amps, which at 230 volts (~10 volt drop because of the distance) is a bit under 7000 watts, which is probably enough to run all of the shit we will need to run out there for a while, but I guess we’ll have to do the math when we are living there. Bat and I figure we might put our computers in the barn until we have our full house set up, and if you combine that with a fridge, freezer, ceiling fans, lighting, and possibly a washer, dryer, electric stove, heater, and any power tools we might need to use intermittently, it’s entirely possible that we’ll have to turn some stuff off in order to use other stuff, unless we take the time to bury more line.

Venusians

So I recently read that scientists discovered abnormally high levels of phosphine gas on Venus, which under the currently known circumstances, has the highest likelihood so far of being something in our solar system that is actually caused as a result of a biological process.

In other words, there’s a stronger than usual possibility that there is actually an alien life-form living in our own solar system, and not only that, but literally one planet away from us. This is staggeringly amazing news. I hope it pans out. The idea that we’re no longer alone in the universe would change everything we know about life on our world and in this plane of existence. I hope we get some answers at least in the next few years.

Addendum

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Voice

September 10 2020

Today is going to be a long day.

Land Happenings

Today I get to head up to the land for a solo trip. There are some concreted poles that need to be removed so we can lay the concrete and put in large wooden posts that will hold up the main structure of the barn. We’ve actually been trying for weeks to remove these poles, but unfortunately, one of them is concreted into the limestone underground so it has required and will continue to require a pick-axe to pull it out. It’s buried about 2 feet deep, we’ve so far dug about 10-12 inches down around it. So hopefully today I can finish the job.

Afterwards, I’ll be filling in a bunch of giant holes leftover from all of the digging, which means I need to dig up dirt from elsewhere and tamp it down. So that’s fun, I guess. I’m prepared to be thoroughly exhausted today. Really looking forward to it.

Dobie

So Dobie’s not coming out here for the foreseeable future, and I’m not sure if she’s coming out here at all. I feel obligated to post something since I know at least a few people must read this, and would wonder why I’ve suddenly stopped talking about her.

About three or four weeks ago, after an ‘event’ happened in her life (which I won’t explain because it would be a little too personal), things sort of just changed. She then got a job, and I guess some other personal stuff happened, but I’m not really sure what is going on anymore. The pickup was called off, and she insisted she just needed time at this job to make some cash.

At this point, I’m happy for her, she has a job, she gets to work with dogs, it’s great. Even if it means Texas doesn’t happen for a while, good for her.

But what sucks is she isn’t really the same person to us anymore. She never talks to us, only texts, and she never really tells us about what is going on in her life, other than job stuff. Bat and I have tried to reach out in different ways, but she just doesn’t respond how she used to. Ultimately, she said she’s distancing herself from everything, and apparently everything means us, too.

So… yeah. That kind of feels like a punch to the gut. Kind of feels like all that we built up, the friendship, the getting to know each other, the effort we put into just being there for her, all for whatever this remnant of a friendship is supposed to be. Definitely hurts.

Either way, I’m glad we had a fun trip and fun memories a few months back. I don’t regret anything that has happened so far. It sucks that our friendship has devolved into texting updates like you’re talking to someone you knew way back in school who you catch up with just enough to hear the basics of ‘so what are you up to these days?’

Addendum

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Refurbishment

September 1 2020

It’s been a long few weeks. I considered typing something a number of times, but wasn’t exactly sure what to say. Let’s see if I can get the words out this time.

Future Planning

So, Bat and I have decided to make the plunge.

We are moving to the land by the end of this year. We have determined that the best course of interest for us is to build the barn, insulate it, and use it as our main storage / crafting space while using the trailer on the land as our food / living space. We’re pretty excited about it. The barn is bought, it will be built in stages and should be done by November at the latest. At that point, we’ll slowly move everything from our house to the land, and live on the land full-time, and we’ll then list the house for sale.

The sale of the house will cover the costs of the barn, and with some money leftover, it might cover the cost of other improvements to the property. In some ways, we might even be able to use it to help fund the construction of our primary house on the land, after we’ve been living there for a few years.

So with that, by the end of this year, it’ll be the start of our new lives. Bat and I will officially be homesteaders. We’ll grow food crops and plant trees and raise animals, and live the farm life we have wanted for so long.

The best part is, we’ve tested the internet options out there and we’ve come to find that the internet speed is fast enough to handle our needs. Bat can still do her work, I can download the files necessary for mine, we can still occasionally stream movies and stuff like that, it’ll be great.

Addendum

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Lunch

August 18 2020

I’m taking a break.

I’ve been dealing with too much in my life to keep up with this for the time being.

I will come back to it soon enough, maybe in a month or two.

Thanks for reading.

Sirloin

August 10 2020

I’m still here.

Bear

So with Bear’s passing the house does feel a little bit more empty, but with the passing of time and the occasional sadness that comes back from time to time, eventually we’ll all move past it and feel a little bit better. It’s just sort of weird. We have so many different animal types in our house at any given time, so losing our last ferret, losing an entire species is a big thing around here.

We can leave more doors open, because we don’t have to worry about him sneaking into rooms he doesn’t belong in, we don’t have to worry about stepping on small lumps in blankets, we don’t have to worry about stepping on poop in the middle of the night (or day, to be honest), and there’s suddenly a lot less cleaning + medicating to do.

I miss Bear, but I’m happy he’s no longer struggling with his life, and if I’m to be quite honest, I’m also happy that he never really suffered too much before we decided he had had enough. He didn’t seem like he was in pain, but his quality of life was definitely struggling, so I’m feeling like it sucks that he’s gone, but it’s also good that he’s finally gone, y’know? I just hope there’s a better place for him.

Dobie

Well, it’s official. Dobie will definitely be moving in with us. At this point it’s just a matter of when it will actually happen. It’s pretty cool! We’re already planning out how we’ll sort of change the routines up around the house to help merge her family (herself and 4 dogs) with ours (Bat, myself, and all of our animals).

Right now, it seems like the timeline is basically as soon as September or as late as December, and honestly, it’ll be a heck of an ordeal to figure it out. The hardest part isn’t so much the act of getting her out here, rather it is the act of sort of closing loose ends and managing her affairs back at her home.

Otherwise though, I’ll basically be driving out to Dobie (an 18 hour drive! Wow!), picking up her and her dogs, and bring all of her stuff out here (at least the stuff she’s keeping). I imagine the trip back will be longer than the trip there, purely because of the fact that we’re going to have to stop for potty breaks for the doggies and other things of that nature.

In any case, Bat and I will be happy to have her in our lives on a long-term basis. We get along, we’ve been video chatting for upwards of 14 hours a day, fucking every day and we’re just sort of itching to be all back together again. It’ll be lots of fun.

Also, I’m tired as hell. I woke up way too early today after going to bed way too late last night.

Addendum

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Science

August 7 2020

Bear

Bear, our beloved ferret, will be passing away today. He is suffering from two different terminal illnesses that most commonly affect ferrets, and they are both taking a serious toll on his body, his mind, and at this point, his spirit.

I’ll never forget how we found Bear. When we were visiting Austin in 2013 before Bat and I decided to move here, we visited a couple pet shops and took pictures of the ferrets, not really thinking much of it. They were cute little weasels, we were so happy to see them, and I knew that once we moved, we would get a few.

When we returned to Austin a few months later, we got two ferrets rather quickly, Mork, and Hoff. Months passed, with us enjoying the good times, then, as my birthday drew closer at the end of the year, we decided we wanted a third ferret. We went to the pet store, and saw that there was this rather large ferret in the tank, along with a bunch of little ones. This older ferret turned out to be Bear, who, purely by coincidence, we took a picture of when we first visited Austin at the beginning of the year.

Knowing that he’d been in this tank since January and my birthday was in November, I knew we had to get him. And so we did.

Right off the bat, we knew Bear was different. He didn’t care much for cuddles, as he had spent a year not really hanging out with humans. He also loved freedom. He spent as much time as he possibly could outside of the cage, happy to stroll around and fall asleep wherever he could. He was a happy ferret. He was also surprisingly obedient. After showing him the cage and his poop spot, and just scruffing him once when he pooped on the floor, he returned to the cage every single time, without reinforcement of any kind. He somehow knew that he was meant to go poop in his litter bin, despite most ferrets screwing up at least every now and then. But not Bear. He had a 100% success rate, for years, only pooping on the floor if we somehow managed to lock him out of his cage.

Before Hoff passed in 2017, Bear started showing bare patches of skin. Indications of adrenal disease, we knew that his time was soon. We decided not to get any more ferrets, lest they be all alone once Bear passed. However, bear survived over three more years. Alone. Had we known this would be his fate, we would have adopted others.

Still, we did our best to give him a happy life. We would play with him. We would tickle him. We would lay out blankets for him to freak out in. We would toss toys at him and watch him shuffle them around under his belly as he scooted back and forth across the living room.

When Bear passes today, he will be about 7 and a half years old. A respectable age for a ferret. He will return to the Earth, to join his old friend Hoff, where, if they’re lucky, they will get to play together for as long as they want.

I hope we were enough for you, buddy. Thanks.

Replacement

August 2 2020

I’ve been super busy lately. It’s made it harder to update this thing.

Truck Tires

So I went ahead and got the truck tires (or at least some of them) replaced yesterday. It was an easy trip, with a costly expense, since tires are just generally expensive, and it sucks that I had to replace some of them.

To hopefully mitigate this kind of disaster from happening again, we went ahead and ordered security cameras, which should show up in a week or so. It’ll be a whole nother challenge setting them up, but I guess I’ll figure that out when they get here.

But hey, I already talked about most (all?) of this shit. Let’s get to the real meat-and-potatoes of today’s post.

The Land

So after some consideration regarding Bat’s job and Dobie’s future here, we have all been talking about making a change.

Initially, Bat and I (before meeting Dobie) figured we’d buy this land, then save up money for a few years while we made slow progress on planning a house. Then, we’d sort of use this house to finance the initial deposit on building a second house, then sell this house while we refinance the land house into a normal mortgage. A weird and convoluted chain of events, that would force us to stay in normal jobs in order to pay off the mortgage.

Our second idea (more recently, after we met Dobie) was to take time to build a house by hand out here on the land and then when the time was right, we’d sell our house in Austin and move out to the land full-time.

Now, we have sort of a hybrid idea. The idea is to build a pole-barn on the land for storage purposes, sell this house, Bat and I will move into the trailer with Dobie (since she should be living out here with us by then), and basically use the pole-barn as storage and the trailer as a living space while we slowly take the time to build our main house. The pole barn would be insulated and built in a manner that makes it more habitable, and it’ll have roughly the interior space of our current house, so it’ll be more than enough room to spread our legs, especially if the trailer gets a bit cramped.

This is the barn we’re thinking of building:

As long as we build some good fencing in key areas, Dobie will have a good open space to let her dogs run around, Bat will finally be able to leave her job sooner (the expenses of living out there should be much lower than here), and we can finally move forward with our dream of living out on the land. And me? Well, maybe I can finally relax a bit. Just live out there, not worrying about people popping my goddamn tires.

I think we really just have to figure out what exactly it will cost to live out there on the land with fewer amenities. And yeah, sacrifices will definitely have to be made, but we’ll survive. We always do.

Addendum

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