Sunday, December 13, 2015

Queen's Tear Flower

The Queen's Tear plant hand one bloom stalk this year. It bloomed on the week of November 23, 2016.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Repairing the Syma X11 Quadcopter

When unplugging a battery from the Syma X11 quadcopter one of the power lines became disconnected. The old solder and broken wire needed to be desoldered and removed. The wire was then re-attached. Since the quadcopter was open I drilled a small hole in the casing and let the antenna wire out to see if reception would be improved.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Abraham Lincoln Bridge Opening

It was a historic day in the Louisville area as a new bridge across the Ohio River was opened to allow people to walk its span for about a 4 hour period on Saturday, December 5, 2015. It was a cold and very foggy morning but I wanted to visit because I doubt transportation authorities will allow pedestrians back on this bridge unless there is a major emergency. If you look at the trees in the above picture, the fog has left an icy sheen on the limbs.

Only the Indiana side of the Abraham Lincoln bridge was accessible, so one had to get to Indiana to be able to walk on the bridge. After seeing the cars backed up on the Kennedy bridge going to Indiana I decided to park near the walking bridge on the Kentucky side and walk to the Indiana side. A lot of people came to that same conclusion as I joined the migration from Louisville to Jeffersonville, Indiana.

When we got to the other side of the Ohio River we were greeted by a 5 block long line of people waiting to gain access to the new bridge at around 10 AM EST. As it turns out the dignitaries were giving speeches or waiting for the bridge opening ceremony. By this time, 20,000 people must have been in the area of the estimated 40,000-50,000 that would show up between 10 AM - 2 PM to walk the bridge.

I finally made it up to the bridge by 11 AM and spent about 30 minutes walking to the Kentucky end and looping back to Indiana. The crowd was well behaved even with all the waiting we had to do. Once on the bridge decking there was a sense of awe and happiness that the bridge was almost complete after so many years of wanting another river crossing (52 years since the last bridge opening). Lots and lots of pictures were being taken and people dressed a Lincoln, Santa Claus were wandering around. The police, paramedics and fire department had a strong presence with helicopters constantly circling the bridge and at least 4 police boats patrolling the river.

It was a neat event to attend even with the huge crowds and the sun came out while I was on the Lincoln bridge. My impressions of the bridge were it seemed very solid and consisted of a lot of concrete. The metal supports are off to the side so hopefully a lot easier to paint than the other metal bridges we have now in the Louisville area. Hopefully by the end of 2016 the other bridge will be ready along with the retrofit of the Kennedy bridge and our days of traffic congestion will be behind us.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Passiflora incarnata Flowers

While visiting a great restaurant in Louisville Ramsi's Cafe on the World on Bardstown Road, there is very unique flowering plant outside Carmichael's Bookstore. I think it is a Passiflora incarnata which is a passion fruit plant.

The bees seem to really love the flowers on this plant!

Learn more here:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me Records in Louisville

The Louisville Kentucky recording of the NPR show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me was about 2 weeks ago. It is an entertaining and enlightening event to attend. Louisville chef Edward Lee is very witty and held his own with the host and panel they had on stage at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. The show lasts about 2 hours which allows them to get material for about a 1 hour show. They do retakes from time to time and have to screen some of the out of bounds content of public broadcast standards.

The crowd was pretty noisy so that seemed to cause some recording issues at times as well.

We could not take videos, flash photography, or audio recordings but were allowed still images. So my camera phone images are not the greatest especially since the Moto X is not known for its low light photography capabilities.

Before the show we walked around the riverfront and went up on the walking bridge. From it one can see the new bridge being constructed.

While waiting to be allowed in the auditorium, one could see WorldFest being set up on the riverfront.

Read more about that evening's show at Louisville Business First:

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend - Roasting Hot Dogs

It is a crisp Spring day in southern Indiana and a good time to get a small fire going in the fire pit. Once it was hot it was time to roast some hot dogs.

At the end of day, we had a small fire to sit around.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Antenna Modification for Syma X5C Controller

In an attempt to increase the range of the RF controller for the Syma X5C quadcopter controller I removed the 28 mm antenna with a Linksys WRT54 WiFi router one.

The new antenna works but I did not do a range test with the old antenna so I am not sure if it is about the same, better or worse than the new antenna. I did not modify the antenna in the quadcopter.

The router is 802.11b model so it could not be used securely anymore as a wireless router since it used only WEP. I could not flash upgrade it so I removed one of it's antennas.

The top of the antenna is threaded so it can be removed when storing the controller. In order to get it to fit in the snugly in the casing, the bottom section of threading needed to be wrapped in electrical tape to expand the diameter of the connector.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Frilly White-Purple Iris

Pictures of some frilly white-purple irises blooming Clark County, Indiana USA. Images taken in May 2015.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Louisville Free Public Library How-To Festival

I have always wanted to attend an event our local public library holds each year called the How-To Festival. In the past a schedule conflict has occurred and I have not been able to attend. This year I was able to visit for part of the day. It is a great community event. Their web site can be found here:

The presentations I got to attend were How to grow and appreciate heirloom tomatoes by Terry Gibson. He shared with an audience of about 30 people his expertise in growing tomatoes. From the questions from the audience he must have presented before because they were referring to tomatoes mentioned in an earlier talk. He mixed experiences and advice growing tomatoes with some humor. When asked what to do about animals such as deer or rabbits eating plants how garden. He said something to the effect in believing they are all God's creatures so we should send them back to God. It was joke of course. He talked about various scented repellents to ward off these types of animals.

I next attended the Maker's mobile lab to hear Mark Lorence talk about How to use a 3D printer. He talked about his experiences and those of associates to make artistic objects or machine parts. The printer was there with examples of items it had created. It was not running during the time I was there. He also showed us the 40 W laser cutters and examples of they they could do. They were used to etch words or logos into objects and to cut cardboard to make 3D shapes. The example we were shown was of a bust of Benjamin Franklin.

The last presentation I watched was How to get started with quad copters/drones and photography: flying demonstration. Al Wollerton was the presenter and he had a number of quad copters to show. The demonstration of the Phantom quad copter was impressive. The Phantom sells for over $300 and can be found on

He was flying a smaller quadcopter as well that reminded me of the Syma X5C I fly but it looked more aerodynamic. It could to the 360 degree loops as well.

Picture of a friend (Benjamin Franklin) of American libraries displayed at the Louisville Free Public Library on May 2015.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cereus Night Blooming Cactus

My smaller Cereus cactus bloomed the other night. I was hoping to put a webcam attached to a Raspberry Pi computer to time lapse photograph it opening and closing during the night. The night the bloom opened I only got the camera set up late in the morning so the bloom pod had already mostly closed.

I did capture a small about of video of it for several hours which I need to figure out how to edit and put on YouTube.

Interesting enough it looks like sells seeds for a blue variety of this cactus.

See my previous posts about this cactus here:

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Very Colorful Queen's Tears Flower

Pictures of the Billbergia nutans (Queens Tears) flowers. It bloomed in November 2014. The plant had it's most blooms ever in 2014. I believe there were 4 bloom stalks that produced 24 flowers during 2014. At the beginning of the year I placed in a more sunny place in the house. Maybe this increase in energy gave it more food to produce a lot more blooms. We will see what 2015 brings. I was not able to photograph most them due to my work schedule. 

Years ago I created a time lapsed video of the flower which is on YouTube for the viewing: