Gashole Tuesday, Dec 23 2008 

This morning I stopped at my regular BP station to top-up The Grape and noticed the car at the pump next to mind was running.

It’s about10 degrees F and here in Wisconsin it’s not unusual for people to leave their cars running unattended when the weather is like this.

In this case however, the driver was present, and opening the fuel filler door.

I know that this may surprise some people, but gasoline is highly flammable. This is one of the reasons that every fuel station posts a sign that tells drivers to stop their engine before fueling their vehicles. In addition to the fire hazard other potential dangers exist when the car is running that can be avoided if you just shut off the engine.

As I watch her suspiciously I consider saying something, but I mentally run through each potential opening to predict the reaction and based on my expectations of her personality (the kind of person who puts their personal comfort above the safety of gas station attendants) I can’t find a combination that results in a definite win.

Looking back at the driver it turns out she’s not fueling the car while it’s running; she’s adding HEET.

For those of you outside of below-freezing temperatures HEET is a fuel additive which claims to make cars easier to start in the winter by displacing moisture which can accumulate in the fuel tank, resulting in poor running and potential fuel line freezing.

Heet is mostly methanol, and she is uncorking the bottle about six inches from the tailpipe…this just keeps getting better.

At this point I just duck behind my side of the pump and anxiously await the end of my fill-up. I head inside to pay and while I’m fetching a Monster (green) the driver enters to pay. I have one last chance to correct the behavior but I pass.

I’m not sure how to handle these situations. On one hand, I feel responsible because I’m not taking any action to remedy the situation but on the other I can never find a way to address the issue without becoming confrontational, and based on past experience creating a conflict only serves to reinforce the negative behavior. This coupled with the fact that anyone who can read knows that what they are doing in this situation is wrong indicates to me that pointing out this fact is going to have little or no effect.

I break rules as well, but I go to great lengths to understand the reason behind the rule first, and avoid doing so when the effects of this choice are felt by others.

An iPhone app in under an hour? Saturday, Dec 13 2008 

9:41PM – Firing up Xcode

9:56 – First build, fails

9:58 – Second build, fails

10:03 – Third build, fails

10:08 – Fourth build, success! (needed to add the audiotoolbox framework)

10:10 – Build and Run on device, runs but doesn’t work

10:25 – Runs and “works”, but update is too fast and sound is too long, I have to reboot the phone to make the hurting stop

10:33 – Shorter sound

10:38 – Tuning accelerometer sensitivity

10:42 – Sensitivity and interval are good, sound might need work but is good enough. Time to make it look like something

11:00 – We have a main screen and an icon, now for the flip side copy

11:09 – Not too bad, it took a little longer than I had expected but I had to screw around with the audio bits longer than I thought it would take.

TET Day One Monday, Dec 8 2008 

Last weekend we shot the first scene (not necessarily the first chronologically) for a new short we’re calling “TET“. I’ve stared using acronyms of tentative titles as a way to abstract away any inferences that might be made by using the work-in-progress title, which is really just a placeholder until we come up with a “good” name.

In any event, we went into the day planning on shooting the entire film (as we usually do with shorts) and after a couple of hours we broke for lunch. For various reasons we decided to call it a day (we did manage to get an additional exterior shot before heading out).

For awhile (really, since we shot The Mark) I’ve been noodling over the idea of limiting a shoot to one scene per day. It’s very satisfying to get everything done in one contiguous chunk of time, and at the moment for us that means getting everything shot in a day or two, but after The Mark I really felt the disadvantages of this were beginning to outweigh the benefits.

Yesterday’s shoot turned out to be a test that confirmed this theory.

Going forward I’m going to try and apply a schedule where we shoot one scene for the first part of each day, take a break, relieve the cast and crew and then spend the remainder of the day reviewing and logging the dailies. This way we make use of the time without burning everyone out and ending up with forced results and frustrated company.

We’ll see how this works, and make adjustments where necessary.

This post is mainly for my dad Tuesday, Dec 2 2008 

Over the weekend I mentioned a few cool things on the internet that he might be interested in.  First is Ponoko, where you can submit your CAD drawings and receive parts to build your design:

http://www.ponoko.com/make-and-sell/how-to-make

Next up is White Zombie, currently my favorite electric car:

White Zombie

White Zombie

http://www.plasmaboyracing.com/videos.php

Finally ToolMonger, apparently the web’s first tool blog, but I found out about it only a few months ago:

http://toolmonger.com/

Toolmonger has a podcast as well, which I started listening to this week.  It’s pretty good (although the segway music and the dialog could be mixed closer to the same level).  My father-in-law would probably dig these guys too.

This is a busy week… Tuesday, Dec 2 2008 

Matt and I are shooting a new short on Sunday (we decided this yesterday).  We really should be shooting interviews for The Yet Untitled Cafe Racer Movie but we’re both itching to do something that’s more fun to shoot, and it’s been something like a year since we’ve shot anything other than documentary footage so I think we’re justified in taking a break.

…anyway, we can’t “finish” the motorcycle movie until spring, so it won’t impact our schedule…

Thinking about this shoot made me think about The Reserves.  I don’t think I’ve ever written about that before so I’ll put that on my list for a future post.

On Thursday I’m doing an interview about DIY, Make Magazine and that sort of stuff, which should be fun.  I’m not exactly sure what this is all about but I read on the Make Blog that they were contacted by someone doing a story in the Madison area so I threw my hat in.  We’ve been trying to set this up for awhile but this time of year my schedule is impossible.  Hopefully nothing will change between now and then!

Tuesday (today) is Jamie’s birthday, so I’m making her dinner, wish me luck!

Safety First Monday, Dec 1 2008 

A surprisingly good deal from Restoration Hardware
German Goggles

German Goggles