December 4, 2010

Mr. Snowman.

Mr. Snowman., originally uploaded by iMachias.

We purchased Mr. Snowman in 2003 shortly after we moved into this house. He has seen some pretty tough winters over the years, having spent one entire winter up to his nose in a snowbank. Earl and I did some reassembly last year, hooking all his important parts back together with wire-ties. Towards the end of last season his middle section went dark; perhaps he drank too much Slim-Fast or something. I did some rewiring today and got him all lit up again, and now he is shining brightly in the front lawn, surrounded by the dancing candy canes and the waving snow flakes on a stick. He welcomes all to the holiday season at The Manor.


I said something to Earl a little while ago that caused him to make “that face”. As anyone that’s a little bit off the beam (like me) and has been in a relationship for a while knows, you occasionally have to deal with “that face”, the quick look of fear that morphs into “here we go again” and is punctuated by a slight eye roll. A good partner will then follow-up “that face” with a look of “Yes, dear” and an air of interest in what is about to be said.

All of this takes place within a few seconds. It’s just the way it is.

I have mentioned before that I have a collection school clocks (that kind that clunk ahead once a minute) wired throughout the house. I have a fairly old server running Linux that has the sole responsibility of knowing what time it is and then clicking some relays as commanded by some programming I wrote in BASIC a while back. This arrangement keeps these clocks that are over 80 years old in time with modern technology and up to the second with the atomic clock in Colorado. I’m quite pleased with the way it works.

Before the server arrangement was in place, the clocks were run by a master clock that was built in 1957 and had previously lived in the now abandoned Middleville, N.Y. high school. The clock keeps time but the mechanisms that are suppose to do what the Linux server is doing, albeit in a significantly different way, are shot and replacement parts are very scarce and when they can be found, are quite expensive. There is a reason that educational institutions are replacing these old mechanical master clocks with electronic counterparts. I have kept the old clock around because it keeps time and I like the looks of it.

And “the look” was garnered by the fact that I’m going to bring it into the 21st century. This is going to be my project of 2011.

Since the insides of the old clock are no longer really functioning, I am going to take the best parts of my computerized setup and properly mount it inside of this old clock and make it look like new again and give it new life. It will look good and it will operate the way I want it to and ironically enough, I will be able to access it from anywhere in the world. And I’m going to use a first generation Mac Mini to run the thing. That way the assembly is fairly easy and I can still live up to my reputation as a crazy Mac guy.

I know this project is of a little interest to the majority of people that read this blog, but I am geek through and through and I am really looking forward to busying myself with this little endeavor. It’s a good little brain escape for me and more importantly, I am reminded at how much my partner loves me when he still cares enough to give me “the look”.

I will wait until later to tell him about my idea for the Cat Cam.