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    This play I'm working on has a lot of sound cues and only a couple light cues.  I looked around for a nice free, open-source solution but didn't find anything that did want I wanted.  I've always found that when there isn't any software available to do what you need, simply write it yourself.
    It wasn't the most round-about way of doing things, but I decided to see what Javascript could do for me.  I've seen webpages with background music and I've seen Flash-based players for webpages.  My guess was there had to be some Javascript way of controlling sound.  I came across this project, Sound Manager--a Javascript-driven Flash-based audio system.  After reading about it, I decided this would be the fastest way to implement some sound cue system.  The program had a demo application that setup a drum set, trigged by keyboard or mouse clicks.  It allowed multiple sounds to be played at once.  I figured this was a good place to start.
    I wanted a sound cue system that had two fetchers.  First, I wanted to be able to trigger sounds to start and stop from the keyboard.  I needed to have multiple sounds running at the same time and stop them independently of one an other.  Secondly, I needed to have a queue of sounds that would be played sequentially.  So by hitting some key, each sound in the queue would play and the queue would advance.
    With a couple hours of work, I had a fairly decent sound system setup with the Sound Manager scripts.  It's a mess right now, but I plan on cleaning it up and posting it.  One pitfall is that the system will not function without a web server.  That wasn't a problem for me since BRS WebWeaver installs and can be set up in under a minute.
    During rehearsal tonight I tried the system out.  While the system worked pretty good, I want an external keyboard.  Using a laptop keyboard is a bit of a pain.  The keys are too close together and it's hard to follow along with a script and hit a key on command.  I spend a good deal of time confusing actors on stage by ringing phones and breaking windows at the wrong time.
    Pictured is the stage as seen form the light booth.
    Pictured is rehearsal this evening.
    I learned most of what I thought I knew about making citations was incorrect.  Apparently, I use "endnotes" and used formatting for footnotes.  And what I thought was a pretty decent paper turned out to have a lot of problems.  Well, back to making corrections ;)
A Tasty Pizza

A Tasty Pizza

    So I built this pizza the other night.  I started with a flour and corn meal yeast crust.  I then let it rise while I prepared the simplest sauce in the world.  It was just tomato sauce, tomato paste, a bit of olive-oil and a bunch of spice.  I flattened out the dough into a 12 inch pie by first punching it down, then hand tossing it.  I haven't tossed pizza dough since my second job when I was 17 years old, almost 12 years ago now.  I topped the pizza with a generous portion of mozzarella cheese, black olives and artichoke.  Then, I based the exposed crust with an olive oil and garlic powder mix and baked the pie for 12 minutes.  I expected the crust would be pretty good, but I wasn't sure about the sauce.  To my surprise, the pizza was excellent.  I'm going to have to build one of those again sometime :)
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of corn meal
  • 1/3 cup of canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • approx. 7 oz watter
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Garlic, Italian seasoning and pepper to taste

1 comment has been made.

From Liz (


July 17, 2007 at 11:34 AM

yea, it was great kudos on the black olives first thing I noticed when I finally decided to eat the slice you gave me.

July 16, 2007

CRT repair



    My 19" Schneider brand monitor has been exhibiting flickering symptoms for quite some time now, and it has been getting worse.  The center of the picture intermittently gets a dark spot, which goes away with some physical vibration (slapping it).  This evening, the problem was really bad, so I decided to tinker inside the monitor.
    I don't play with electronics that have picture tubes too often.  Usually, there isn't much one can fix when a CRT starts acting up anyway.  Higher temperatures and high voltage aren't a good recipe for long-life, and playing with 20,000 volts in a device that can hold a charge for weeks after it's unplugged isn't really a wise idea.  But I've never been detoured from opening up an electronic device--even if it is dangerous and likely pointless.
    I have to say, this is the first CRT I've ever opened that didn't look like a three-year-old laid out.  I've been told that for RF reasons, CRTs often have chaotic layouts to keep down interference between singles.  This CRT, however, had a fairly nice layout.
    Nothing seemed suspect.  There was nothing loss, no brown spots caused by heat-exhausted parts, no leaky capacitors and not a huge amount of dust covering parts.  So I looked on the backside of the main circuit board to see if there were any obvious cold-solder joints.  At first, I thought I saw the results of dendrite formation on some traces.  This can happen if flux used in the soldering process isn't cleaned off properly.  On closer inspection, I saw that this was actually dust formations.  It was right below the high-voltage transformer, so likely caused by ionized dust being attracted to the exposed traces.  Some of these dust formations stood over a millimeter tall.  I decided to clean them off and used an old toothbrush for the job.  In doing so, I noticed how close the main circuit board came to the metal frame to which it was mounted.  Most of the through-hole components had long leads that protruded through the board, bringing them within a millimeter of the metal frame.  In all likely-hood, this metal frame is grounded. 
    After I reassembled the monitor, I turned it back on.  So far, so good-- no flickers and it's possible I may have corrected the problem.  My hypothesis is that the dust that had accumulated on long the high-voltage leads near the metal chaise were providing a path for current when dust moved the right way.  By hitting the monitor, I was shaking the dust mound and temporarily breaking the path.  But since the dust continued to accumulate, the path would reform.  As more and more dust built up, the path was formed more and more often.  Now that the dust has been removed the monitor should remain functional for a long time.  Dust will inevitably build back up, but it took years for the first symptoms to show.  So I should have while before I need to clean things again.
    Pictured are my battle wounds from the theater this afternoon.  I was working on the light and pulled an extension cord down on my head.  The connector must have stuck with some force, because a few minutes latter, thinking it was sweat, I wiped blood off my eyebrow.  Oops.  It looks worse then it is--my head is good at bleeding.  I can now say I bleed for this play ;)

July 15, 2007

Two years of photoblog

    Today marks two year anniversary of my photoblog.  July 15, 2005 I modified the news page of so it became database driven and included an area for a picture with every post.  Since then, I've posted one picture each day-- that's 730 pictures.  The reason I started a photoblog was to make it easier for people to find pictures from events I photographed.  I already had a news page, which dealt with events specific to  I figured I could expand this to include my photography, which was growing much faster then any other area of  The blog also gave me more incentive to take pictures because now I had at least one solid reason-- I had to have shots for the blog.  I was pretty sketchy on starting a blog since that word has a lot of negative connotations and most there are a lot of really garbage blogs in existence.  But I think I'm happy with how this one has turned out.
    The picture today come from an 8 mile ride this evening.  I've been so busy with class and set building I haven't had time to get on my bike.  Felt good to get out and ride again!
    Played around today with Game Trees in Javascript.  It's gross how slow Javascript is.  A simple game tree for tic-tac-toe took around a second to compute.  I never did get the implementation fully functional.  Part of the problem is my understanding of the Javascript language.  Objects are strange beasts and rather picky.  I learned you can not have a member function of an object call some other member function of the same object if the function declaration isn't above the calling function.  In fact, it won't complain--it just won't work.  C will complain if you try this (you have to have at least a prototype somewhere before a function is called) and languages like PHP will simply look ahead.
function SomeObject()
this.FunctionA = function()
     alert( "Function A" );


   this.FunctionB = function()
     alert( "Function B" );
} // This will not work-- function B will never be called
    Pictured are Ryan and Crystal playing cards this evening at the Garage.


    Spent the day writing a paper and part of that time learning how to properly cite a web page using the Modern Language Association (MLA) standard.  I greatly prefer making web references because of how much easier it is to find information to cite.  Indexes in the backs of book are no comparison to Google and Ctrl-F.  The trick I suppose is finding reliable web sources to cite.  I like to stick to places like government sites (like NASA), .edu sites which often host studies and mainstream news sites when I want to cite an opinion considered general excepted (often for the purposes of attacking that opinion or dispute it's being generally excepted).
    Yesterday I had an exam in my History of the Atomic Bomb class.  Aside from working in the theater for a few hours, all my time from Tuesday night to Wednesday evening was spent studying.  While I feel I did pretty good on the exam, I forgot about a writing assignment for my English class.  I attempted to do it in the two hours before I had class.  I decided I would beg for forgiveness over writing a 2nd rate paper--especially considering the topic I chose.  Our assignment was to compare two articles that took an opposing position on some topic.  I chose the topic "belief in God" and I wanted to write this paper.  But I wanted to write it correctly.  Luckily my professor is very understanding and is allowing me extra time.  I expect this will be the first paper for a class I feel like publishing on my blog... so stay turned :)
    Today on the set I added sconces on both sides of the window.  Afterwards, I headed up to the catwalk to move some lights around.  The set itself I think looks pretty good.  We have more to add to dress it up, but the major portions are finished.  The lighting is an area I want to work more on.  Since the lighting requirements are simple--just illuminating the set--I want to experiment with angles and color tones to really give the set a warm and 3-dimensional feeling.

July 10, 2007

Anatomy of a myspace scam

    My standard disclaimer: I use myspace to post messages/pictures to people who don't have real blogs or websites. I put up with a variety of retarded myspace things. Once I've posted about are these friend requests from people I don't know. Their profiles are usually all the same. Picture of a cute young women, interested in dating, doesn't want kids, one picture and a friend's list of about 20 people. They make a custom style for the page that covers up their real friend's list, which usually contains over 1000 people.
    Today I got an other request and decided to do a little searching on it. So far, I can't find anything really malicious about this profile. Most of the people in the friend's list have various ads on their page for other posters, but none from this profile. I did check out the profile blerb about themselves and found an identical profile on an other page. This profile was setup the same way, hidden friend's like, little information, ext. The profile blerb was almost one for one. I checked though this "person's" friend list and found only a few comments posted on other's page-- none of which appeared like advertisements.
    I can't prove these profiles are scams. I've had at least 4 of them make friend requests, and all of those profiles disappear after a couple months. Perhaps they use personal messages to run the scam. If I were really interested, I guess I could start an other account and start bate them. But that requires effort for something I don't really care too much about. Sometimes it's just fun to try and discover how a scam works.