Nov 012008
 

I may or may not have mentioned before that KrisDi and I were taking the Catholic church’s pre-Cana classes (pre-marital counseling). A couple weeks ago, the host couple gave us a candle and told us to “decorate it in a way that is meaningful” to us as a couple.

Such an open-ended assignment is never a good idea when you’re dealing with engineers.

As you may or may not know (but you probably do), KrisDi and I met working on the Rolling Airframe Missile system, and we worked on that system for about three years before moving up to the Seattle area. Consequently, the RAM missile launcher is meaningful to us as a couple. And that was all we could think of.

This design occurred to me almost immediately after after the assignment (sans actual measurements, of course). You might want to zoom in on the picture if you have a low resolution monitor.

Here are the pictures.

The two things about this design that I really love:

1. The guide/candle is mounted on “stub-shafts” and mounting plates modeled after the way the real missile launcher is mounted on the trunnion arms. The total width of the candle, mounting plates, and stub shafts is greater than the space between the trunnion arms — the additional space is the “socket” drilled into the trunnion arms. Consequently, we had to install the candle/guide and surrounding parts within the trunnion arms before affixing the arms to the rotating plate.

2. The rotating plate’s diameter is greater than the shortest distance between the “garden stakes” that make up a “retaining lip” of the stand, so you cannot lift the launcher off the stand. To assemble it, we had to install three of the four sides on the stand, slide the fully-assembled guide/trunnion arms/rotating plate into place, and then jam the fourth side in.

A few interesting things about our candle:
1. The guide/candle rotates freely in the vertical plane.
2. The trunnion arm/plate rotates freely in the horizontal plane (we used a layer of wax paper taped to the bottom of the plate and the top of the stand to reduce friction).
3. The counterweight which balances the guide (so that it will hold different different positions) is actually a spare part from the systems we used to work on.
4. I didn’t have short enough screws to to stick the garden stake “retaining lip” pieces on top of the 1/2″x1/2″ pieces, so I used vise grips and an industrial wire cutter to shorten the ones I did have.
5. I had to pre-drill and countersink for most of the screws because the wood was too delicate to compress for the screw heads.

Nov 012008
 

KrisDi’s little brother, P-Dubs, got flown out to Seattle to interview with the same company where her older brother, E-Dubs, works. It must have gone fairly well, because since then he’s gotten and accepted an offer from them. So, he’ll be moving out here shortly after KrisDi and I get married. Pretty nifty, eh? Congratulations to him. Soon we’ll have the whole Dubs clan out here!

KrisDi’s parents took the opportunity to make a family event out of it. While they were here, we went out and got pumpkins and carved them. I did my pumpkin based on the Deschutes Brewery logo this year, P-Dubs did a Molly memorial pumpkin, and KrisDi did a cute little monster.

P-Dubs did a completely freehand job — he didn’t even draw on the pumpkin first. KrisDi used a pattern, and I printed out the Deschutes logo and used that as a pattern. My pumpkin this year was much, much simpler than last year’s (or the year before’s).

We got fewer trick-or-treaters than we expected (we figured that ALL of our neighbors have kids). So, they only took about half of our candy. We got a bunch of Indiana Joneses, a mermaid, a dalmatian, a Darth Vader, a lion, and quite possibly the worst trick-or-treater ever. This little kid, maybe 2 or 3 years old, came up with a couple lollipops in one hand and his loot-bucket in the other. KrisDi held out our candy bowl to let him take what he wanted, and he threw his candy into our candy bowl and started walking away! KrisDi had to stop him and give him his candy back and give him a few extra while she and the kid’s mom laughed at him.

It’s a novel approach, at least.

Nov 012008
 

I’m going to post three times in rapid succession (hopefully). Maybe more. Who knows?

Anyway, this first one is obviously about the San Francisco trip. Our good friends in California successfully married each other, and although we were very late to the wedding/reception thing (I don’t know where or if the line was drawn), it was a lot of fun. Here’s pictures from the wedding.

They played games designed to embarrass the bride and groom: A line of ten people (male and female) walk across the stage and kiss blindfolded Jerry on the cheek, one of whom is his new wife; he has to guess which one. I think he got that one wrong. A line of people walk across the stage and let blindfolded Amy feel their hands, one of whom is her new husband; she has to guess which one. I think she got that one right. My personal favorite was the one in which Amy had to remove two eggs from Jerry’s pants as he stood on a chair on stage.

There was about a dozen courses, some of which were great (the chicken was really good, so was the jellyfish), and some were intimidating (I don’t even know how to describe the fish). They gave each table a bottle of cognac and unlimited beer and wine (which was nice). We were able to finagle an extra bottle of cognac or two.

While we were there, of course, we got to go San Francisco (day one and day two). The Boudin Bakery does cute (and tasty) animals, including this poor turtle. We went to see Lombard Street and pretended we were Asian tourists like everyone else there. We checked out Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower and generally had a good time. We also saw the fanciest yacht I’ve ever seen.

It was a lot of fun to see our California friends again. More of them need to marry each other, and we need them to get married in Seattle. That would be far more convenient. So get crackin’!