Welcome! I am an engineer, programmer, designer, and all-around geek. You may be interested in some of my electrical and mechanical projects. Take everything you read here with a grain of salt and remember to wear your safety glasses.

Publishing My Reading List

Inspired by the personal websites of Silicon Valley autodidact Susan J. Fowler and Estonian parliamentarian Kaja Kallas I've published a reading list of books I've completed recently. I intend to use this published list as a way of motivating myself to read more and better works and to give myself a place to write a bit about some of them. Compiling the list for the last three years has already suggested changes I should make. Check back often as I'll update the page with each new book I read.

Skyscraper Doodles

In recent months I've been edging closer and closer to taking my love of architecture a little more seriously. What with October's trip to Dubai and consequent gawking at some absurdly fanciful (and yet actually realized!) designs for towers, a few mildly architectural home projects I'm working on, and my fascination with Netflix's new show The World's Most Extraordinary Homes, it's time to indulge in publishing some old architectural fantasies of mine. Here's a page of doodles from last January, mostly playing with the terraced idea that's been so important a part of skyscraper design since the beginning:

Sharpie pen in Moleskine sketchbook

Of Jackboots and Tumbrels, and Other Not-Nice Things

In the 1940s, George Orwell, fighting a long campaign to keep the English of his contemporaries clean and honest, directed some of his fire against the word “jackboot”, denoting a type of cavalry equipment that was already mostly useful only as a symbol of totalitarianism. In his “As I Please” column (#62), he complained of being unable to determine what a jackboot was, exactly, and quipped that it must be “a kind of boot that you put on when you want to behave tyrannically”. Orwell's definition has stuck with me because it is obviously even more apt now that “jackboot” (and indeed, all the language used to condemn 20th century fascism) is even more stale and meaningless than ever, while showing absolutely no signs of being retired in favor of something fresher.

So it was a surprise to come across jackboots, as part of the ordinary equipment of some not-necessarily-authoritarian person traveling by horse, in Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities recently. It struck my 2018 ear and made me take notice, reminding me to think about the politicization of words and causing a brief moment of something like relief, because it brought me to a time before ideological warfare became quite so constant a feature of life.

Winter Vacation, with Lego

As a way of extending my Winter Olympics obsession for as long as possible, I built this Winter Vacation Lego Creator kit today:

Some joker set the slalom course on the roof!

There's a sort of sweet spot of Lego creativity for me. I don't like the sets that have lots of very specific parts that aren't very generally applicable to things you might want to design yourself (tie-ins with entertainment properties seem to have a lot of those). But I'm also not very interested in the other end of the spectrum, in the kind of Lego construction that treats ordinary bricks as generic pixels (or voxels really). Building to mini-fig scale really prevents that pixel method though; the scales just won't work together. I really like the Creator series of sets for this reason—they hit that sweet spot perfectly.

EV100 Logo Banner: A Gift For Estonia's Centennial

Feburary 24, 2018 is the 100th anniversary of Estonian independence! As one of their many good ideas, the organizers of the centennial year celebrations have suggested that anyone might offer a birthday gift to the Estonian Republic, anything from a new symphony to baking a special cake to planting an oak tree. Here's a small gift from me.

In the upper-right corner of this site, I've added an overlay banner displaying the EV100 logo (an absolutely brilliant piece of graphic design work, by the way) and linking to the EV100 website. Fortunately the official color palette is nicely compatible with my own! I'll leave it up here for the rest of this centennial year.