Mr. White’s Neighborhood

12/06/2012

I recently had the opportunity to travel from Portland to Houston. Since I had the time to waste on it, I decided to alter my route to visit the city of Albuquerque. Yes, we all know this to be the city of fame because it’s the only word to feature 3 U’s. That is a pretty impressive achievement, but I’m not going to denigrate that fine city by pointing out its inherent vowel-fouls. I’ll just go with the obvious.

I took these pictures:

IMG_1052 IMG_1053

Fans of Breaking Bad need no explanation. The first photo is that of the White residence, and the second is that of Saul Goodman’s office locale, sans giant inflatable Statue of Liberty. Incidentally, Saul’s office is located a mere six or eight blocks from the house, which made this detour easily reward-able.

I had help from this site in finding the locations, and there are many more, but I had to get to Houston for my new job pronto, and couldn’t stop for a car wash and some Pollos Hermanos chicken.


Fired Up

01/22/2011

photo: Kelly Smith

I’m pre-cooked, I’m pre-stamped, pre-set and post-dated. I’m ready to go, and ready to get slated. I’m ready to burn, and ready to earn; and despite what I know, I ready to learn.


Tower Climb Imminent

11/13/2010

Well, it seems as though I won’t have to wait until February to climb the 75′ tower, after all. In fact, my class was told yesterday that we will be doing our climbs on Monday. In this segment from a local news team, the school’s coordinator/HMIC, Mike Merrick, explains everything that will be involved.

There’s not much to it. Two fall protection configurations, and up you go. The reporter has some really appropriate boots for the task.


Amped Up in Electrical Class

11/11/2010

My class (great group) is finishing electrical training tomorrow with our written and practical finals. It’s been a long four weeks trying to cram all this knowledge into 16 heads. But we’ve maintained our sense of humor, as illustrated below by Tim- the class clown. If you look closely, you’ll see the safety glasses actually have the packaging model’s eyes inserted. This configuration has been used by at least one of my classmates to catch 40 winks during a lecture.

Our classroom is surrounded by electrical trainers, designed to simulate components of series and parallel circuits, logic circuits, and small motors. Lately the best part about the class is the view, which happens to look out on the school’s newest addition: The Tower. Students started doing test climbs this week.

I’ll definitely be posting more about this 75 ft. tall toy when I get to climb, which won’t be until February… but here’s the valiant Vancouver Fire Department drilling for the contingency of someone failing to climb down, and being in need of rescue.

Finals tomorrow, then on to Programmable Logic Controls… should be a real hoe-down.


In the Movies: Elevator Shafts

08/14/2010

Shane Gorski under Creative Commons

Settings in movies tend to be places the average person doesn’t spend a lot of time in, be it a beach in the South of France, or in outer space, or elsewhere. The exotic nature of a particular scene stimulates the imagination, and pulls the viewer in deeper. Our interest perks up when the characters on-screen find themselves in strange locales; and one of these locales is the dreaded, beloved, and mysterious elevator shaft.

Found almost exclusively in the action/thriller genres, scenes involving elevator shafts take us into the forbidden area above and below the cars we generally ride in when traveling tall buildings. While it’s true that the concept of a mechanical lift has been around for centuries, modern elevators (and the dangers associated with them) sparked the imaginations of filmmakers since the days of black and white. And although the typical elevator shaft is not a grandiose space that would allow for such dramatics as Hollywood would like us to think, many timeless classics have portrayed them as such.  Let’s take a look at some.

Death by Shaft

In John Farrow’s classic, The Big Clock, Charles Laughton’s character Janoth plummets to his death when he steps into an open shaft; this is after killing his accuser, so it’s justified. Things don’t end up so satisfying for Emilio Estevez’s character in Mission Impossible‘s opening sequence, as the car he’s hiding atop takes him to the top of the shaft, where he meets a steely, gruesome end.


There’s even a horror movie starring Naomi Watts about a killer, evil, possessed elevator called The Shaft: YouTube Link

Surviving the Danger

20th Century Fox

Detective John McClane is pretty well-versed in dispatching the villains he encounters via elevator shaft. Whether he’s dropping C-4 down the Nakatomi Plaza’s well, or battling a henchwoman in a power station’s, he definitely “dies hard” in a hostile environment.

20th Century Fox

The opening of Speed features a breathtaking rescue effort as a group of office workers are held hostage in an elevator car, Dennis Hopper’s madman ready to blow the cables at a moment’s notice. Enter Keanu Reeves and Jeff Daniels, who go into the shaft above the imperiled car and save lives in a most excellent fashion. Director Jan de Bont was the cinematographer for Die Hard, and the influence shows in this taut sequence.

Artisan Home Entertainment

Narrow escapes are plentiful in each movie about an unstoppable cyborg trying to kill the Connors, and Terminator 2: Judgement Day includes many, including this scene where the T-1000, having just missed the elevator going down with his prey aboard, deftly opens the doors and jumps down onto the top of the car. Multiple stabbing attempts later, he oozes into the elevator after failing to kill his quarry… again.

Other examples of surviving the danger include Backdraft, and I assume Salt. In the former, a firefighter is rescued from a burning shaft, and the latter ostensibly has Angelina Jolie eluding her pursuers in some acrobatic way. What can I say, I haven’t seen it.

Use it or Lose it

Some films have a scene in an elevator shaft for utilitarian purposes. There’s not a lot of danger, and nobody dies. The characters just need to use the shaft in order to do something.

Universal

In Sneakers, River Phoenix’s Carl uses the shaft to navigate into a service duct, where he can manipulate an office’s security measures. He spends about five seconds in the shaft, but there it is.

And finally, a scene involving an elevator shaft unlike any other.

Warner Bros.

Without giving too much away, this scene from Inception is hands down the most creative use of an elevator shaft I can think of. Joseph Gordon-Leavitt’s Arthur puts the shaft, the car, and the cables into a cinematic spin that completely makes sense… once you’ve seen the movie a couple of times. :)

Okay, here’s where I turn it over to you, reader. What did I miss? Sound off in the comments.


Wind Turbine of the Future

07/30/2010

Whoa. The Aerogenerator X Vertical Axis Wind Turbine is the strangest, most powerful design ever conceived, and should be completed in four years. Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo has the scoop on this exciting future, and the methods of repairing current turbines. Dig that groovy music on the video there.

I’m getting closer to starting school for this. The NW Renewable Energy Institute looks like a kick-ass facility, and all I need to do is pass a physical, and obtain financial aid. Six months from now, I’ll be interviewing with companies and probably relocating. This kind of future tech is inspiring, to say the least.


Apple of My Eye

07/02/2010

(Vimeo Link)

Majek Pictures presents “Apple of My Eye” directed by Michael Koerbel

Another example of the current technological revolution, you can now shoot beautifully rendered scenes, edit them, and upload them to the Internet all from one device. The iPhone 4G. I just may have to get me one of those, after all.

Don’t miss the making-of, following this delightful short.


The Ultimate Skydive

05/30/2010

(YouTube Link)

This guy will soon surpass Kittinger as the one who jumped from the highest altitude. I like his attitude.


The Kraken. Releese It.

03/24/2010

In anticipation of the upcoming blockbuster, Clash of the Titans, Urlesque posted some silly reproductions of the incomparable and iconic line: Release the Kraken! After opening up the readers to make interpretations of their own, they got a bunch of submissions. I love this one by Zeblue. If you have no idea what this is, well…

(YouTube Link)

It’s only a matter of time before Epic Beard Man gets a nod. See more at Urlesque.


ChatRoulette

02/19/2010

The new phenomenon that is sweeping the intertubes has a very basic concept, with a huge potential for inter-connectivity.  Yeah, I know from what I have read that Chatroulette is vastly populated by genitalia, and therefore I am going to refrain from trying it myself… for now.  There is another side to it, too.  Creativity, humor, art and music.  The platform is simple: plug in your webcam, go to the website, and see who else is out there for an impromptu video chat.  You can click away from anyone at any time and be redirected to another random stranger.

This is one of many fascinating examples of usage via Buzzfeed, where these guys had a little fun with the interface.  Here‘s a short blurb and video about the young Russian student, Andrey Ternovsky, who created ChatRoulette.

Ternovsky tells RT that he thought the site would get less respect from potential users if they knew it was created by one guy rather than a more sophisticated software company.

Another screenshot showing two strangers meeting.

And this example of a French band getting to perform to a bunch of strangers on a spontaneous platform such as this is outstanding.

(YouTube Link)

“Like in gambling, you take risks.  You may win, and get something interesting; or you may see something bad.  Well, you can always click Next, and try again.” -Andrey Ternovsky


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