09/15/04: John goes up 80,000,000,000 notches in my book.

So it's barely Wednesday, and I feel bad for writing an update so soon, but I cannot contain myself. I had to write.

I had the chance to rock out with Anna's early music group at Stanford tonight, so I was out of the house. John finally got a blessed night off. :-)

I got home around 11:30pm or so and as soon as I walked in I was greeted by a very happy John who led me into the kitchen and said, "Have a seat, I need to show you something." I had no idea what was happening.

He leaves the room and brings in his digital camera and begins to play me a video snippet he captured with it. I am expecting it to be 300 pigeons sitting on top of the plastic owl outside on the fire escape. But no, I am wrong.

Let me interject here by saying that I understand (though have never been afflicted with this myself, thankfully) that many women worry what their guys do when they are left alone. Some men have debaucherous parties, some guys download TBs of porn, some guys dance around in their underwear in front of the mirror singing Bon Jovi songs into a hairbrush. But John, he does this. (Warning, 4MB download. IMHO, the most worth-it 4MB you will ever see. Please do a Save Target As... my brother's server will thank you.)

After I saw the video, he brought me into the living room so I could see this in real life. I don't think I have laughed that hard in a million years. He and I just sat there staring at it, all hooked up to his laptop doing its thing, and the joy in the room could have been channeled to light up the city.

At one point in my life, I thought seeing a mid-thirties doctor chasing a squirrel around my apartment with a red plastic shovel was the funniest thing ever. And then I thought that seeing a mid-thirties doctor waving a giant stuffed snake at a fire escape full of pigeons was the funniest thing ever. But I've learned now that seeing a mid-thirties doctor sitting on a swivel chair emulating the movements of a servo-controlled piano-hammer-thwacked plastic owl is truly the funniest thing ever.

Are we pathetic losers that we must have sat for 15 minutes straight just watching this thing?

Don't answer that.

OK, I must sleep. Eyelids closing.... zzzzzzzzz...

For the geeks: John lists what what he used, and offers more pix:

- servo (craptastic one)
- piano hammer (Pirate store purchase)
- foam tape
- SSC ][
- surplus serial cable or two
- batteries and battery packs
- visual servo automation software by Brookshire

the result...well, a lot of time wasted. But you could check out the raw video and large pics here.