I often surprise myself by being fascinated by things that, had you told me I would be fascinated by them, I would tell you you’re out of your mind. I blame PBS’ This Old House for making me like this.
You see, for three years or so I worked for a fleet tracking/stolen vehicle recovery service called Teletrac here in the Detroit area as part of the graveyard shift. It was part tech support and part service job. Not only did I keep the computers that ran the system up and running, but when calls came in or a car was stolen I was the person who interacted with the customers and police. The system was pretty stable and calls were infrequent so there was a lot of downtime where my job consisted of breathing and trying to stay awake.
Fortunately we had a TV available to us. Unfortunately it was only over-the-air broadcast capable and at 3AM there wasn’t a whole lot on the big four networks worth watching. Hence my first real appreciation for PBS in general and TOH in particular. Keep in mind, this is a good 30 years before I would actually own a house and I and my co-worker had no real home maintenance experience, but it wasn’t long before we were offering our critical takes on the floor tile choices the people on the show were making. I don’t make a point of watching the show anymore, but when I did I really enjoyed it.
Which brings me to this YouTube video by the folks at My Mechanics which I stumbled across over at Boing Boing. It’s simply 26 minutes of some guy who bought a nasty old metal coffee grinder refurbishing it to pristine quality. That’s it. No real narration other than the occasional bit of text.
In this video i’m restoring an old coffee grinder. A few weeks ago I bought an old bench grinder to restore on eBay. The guy who sold it was actually selling more antiques, he had a room filled with old items. I took a look at his other stuff and this unique coffee grinder caught my attention right away. So I ended up buying it for $35. The one thing that really impressed me on this coffee grinder was the metal body, usually they’re made of wood. I also liked the colour very much. The restoration itself turned out to be a lot more challenging than I first expected. I’m very happy with the final result of this coffee grinder. I really like how the handle turned out.
I don’t know if it’s the fact that I have neither the know-how or the patience to do something like this that makes it so fascinating, but I watched the whole thing and was impressed with the results. The video doesn’t cover every single second, but it does appear to cover every step and meticulous is definitely a good word to describe the process. There is a part of me that wishes I could to this sort of thing, but another part that knows it’s not something I’d actually enjoy. Watching someone else do it on YouTube? Yeah, I can get into that because what was likely days — if not weeks — of work was compressed down into a mere 26 minutes. Me doing it myself? Probably not a good idea.
I came home to an unexpected delivery from Amazon yesterday. I originally thought it must be something Anne had ordered because she orders stuff all the time that I have no clue about, but she pointed out later that it was addressed to me. Puzzled, I opened the box and found a solar powered Maneki-neko or Good Fortune Cat.
A lot of folks think these are of Chinese origin as you will often see them in Chinese restaurants in America, but they are actually a Japanese lucky charm. I have a couple of porcelain figures in the house already, but I’ve always wanted one with a moving arm and so I put this fellow on my Amazon wish list.
I’ve no idea who sent it to me. The note that came with it simply read: “Hi Les, I’ve read your blog for a long time. We seem to be on the same page on just about every issue. It’s a small token, but wanted to say thanks. You’re a good dude. From – Just some Canadian guy living in the U.S..”
No, thank you, Some Canadian Guy! I’ve wanted one of these for a very long time and being solar powered means I don’t have to replace batteries in it all the time. I’d probably still be blabbing away on here even if no one was paying attention, but it is always gratifying and humbling when I realize folks make a point of seeing what nonsense I’ve spouted recently. It’s been almost two decades and that hasn’t changed for me. Thank you for dropping in.
This commercial for IKEA beds is pretty impressive:
What’s even more impressive is the work that went to making it possible.
The “Beds” protagonist, Max the dog and many of the beds were hung from cranes and suspended over buildings during the 3-day shoot in Johannesburg.
The VFX team at MPC (Moving Picture Company) collaborated with film director Juan Cabral and advertising agency Mother London to create a detailed matte paintings, adding CG beds and embellishments and compositing elements including the NASA rocket and plume.
Led by 2D Creative Director Bill McNamara, MPC’s 15-strong team utilized the innovative filming techniques – which captured a great deal of the action in-camera – to then create the VFX and embellish the shots. In order to build the bed staircase, Ikea beds were filmed against green screen on the ground.
I haven’t been as active in uploading gameplay footage to my YouTube channel as of late and I realized I hadn’t uploaded anything from Black Ops 4. Considering I’m already at Master Prestige and have ground out the Dark Matter camo for my weapons I figured it’s probably about time I put something up. As it turns out I just had what was probably the best round of Hard Core Team Death Match ever so that seemed like the natural one to go with.
However, rather than just upload straight gameplay, I took the time to record a voice over trying to explain what’s going on. My buddy Greg told me that my best CoD video so far had been the first one I uploaded because I had commentary on it so I figured I’d try the same with this one. It’s not as good because things happen quickly, but it adds a little more to the footage. Frankly, I’m impressed I got the audio to line up considering I recorded it in real time while watching the playback and then overlaid it in the editor.
Being that I am currently in the process of house hunting and have had a long-standing fascination with Japan, this video from the folks at Life Where I’m From that gives us a guided tour of a brand new four bedroom home in Japan caught my attention. The limited available land in Tokyo requires building homes right next to each other and they tend to be expensive. This particular home is over $400,000.
Check it out:
Note: You may need to click on the Closed Caption button at the bottom right for the English translations.
There are some very cool aspects to this home such as the control panels for filling the bathtub before you ever enter the room and the video intercom to see who is at the front door. I also like how many things are tucked away behind panels. That said, a stove without an oven and the overall cramped aspects of this house (let alone the price) make me glad I’m not living in Tokyo.
Back in my early 20’s when I was big into anime and manga I would occasionally entertain the idea of moving to Japan and living the life of an expatriate. Then I looked into what it immigrating to Japan would require and opted to just live in Japan vicariously through anime and manga. The more I learned about Japan the more confident I became in my decision.
However, every now and then I wonder if I didn’t make the wrong decision. Then I see something like this video by Rachel and Jun and any doubts vanish:
In comparison to Japanese apartments (at least in the larger cities), the places I’ve rented are almost palatial in size. Which isn’t to say there aren’t a few features in this video I wouldn’t mind having in my own place. That control panel for filling the tub from any room is pretty wicked cool. That said, living in Michigan our earthquakes are rare and rather timid so all the earthquake proofing stuff is nothing I need worry about.
I only just discovered their YouTube channel and I’m loving it. They’ve been at it for the last 4 years so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, but they tackle all sorts of interesting topics from modern Japanese table manners to gender equality in Japan to how to get an apartment in Japan. Being a Japanophile who decided staying home was a better option, this scratches a long standing itch and is just generally fascinating.
A couple more that I found very fascinating:
There’s several forms of Japanese clothing that I’ve always wanted to try because of how they look or how comfortable they appear to be. I wasn’t aware there had been controversies about it here in the States.
There’s a lot of “trivia” about Japan that makes the rounds. This video takes on some of those claims and whether they’re true.
I don’t know how many other folks who drop by are as fascinated by Japan as I am, but I’m in heaven watching these videos.
According to Google photos, Cuddles came to live with us around this day six years ago. Here’s a few pics from back then:
And here’s a couple from a few weeks ago:
He’s grown into quite the handsome cat and he still likes to curl up in my arms despite being considerably more than a handful these days. He’s my buddy and when I’m home he’s rarely far from my side and he’s always ready to play.
And, no, I have no idea why I look so stoned in a couple of these photos.
Contrabass player Jun-Hyuk Choi from Korea was travelling in Florence, Italy when he happened upon some street musicians and politely asked if he could join them for a song. He kills it. Absolutely kills it. Particularly when you learn that he’s used to playing on a instrument with four strings and this one only had three.
I’m a huge fan of the show Mybusters and, in particular, Adam Savage and I’m sad that the series has come to an end. Thankfully, Adam is still quite active with his own YouTube channel and other projects that keep him putting out content. Recently he gave a TED Talk that was an open love letter to Cosplay and the people who participate in it:
My days of attending anime conventions are well behind me, but I remember well being impressed by the cosplayers who attended each one and the time and attention to detail in their costumes. There was more than one time I contemplated making my own attempt at a costume, but I never could decide on a character or concept and had neither the space or the skill to have done a proper job of it. To this day, however, I love watching YouTube videos of cosplayers from recent conventions around the world as well as the various galleries that get posted to the geek related blogs I read. To hear Adam speak so highly of the community makes me think perhaps I should have given it a go back in the day.