Bass on Bass

Friday, October 28, 2011

Zen & the Scythe

    Almost everything about the use and maintenance of a scythe is zen like. From the actual act of mowing with a scythe to the maintenance of the super keen edge a scythe needs to be as efficient as it can be, everything about them is a matter of highly controlled repetitive movement. 
    First there's the "dance" required to properly use a scythe to mow.
    Then there is the peening of the blade that along with use of a stone is required to maintain the ultra keen edge required to keep the act of mowing a useful, productive "dance". 
    There are 2 different sets of techniques for the peening. One is free hand using only a hammer and anvil. The other is using a peening jig. 
    You'll notice both methods of peening are very similar in most aspects but the jig requires less  highly practiced physical technique.  
     Be sure to follow the links to additional videos for "free hand" and "using a peening jig".
     The "art" of the scythe, in both the mowing and the maintenance, is a pursuit that is mentally satisfying in a way not entirely unlike cycling. It is a completely repetitive motion exercise, a highly concentrated, possibly zen - like experience. It is just the kind of meditative process that has the potential to soothe the troubled soul these trying times can so easily produce. Is it any wonder then that there are so many scythe related items on the internet right now?  
     My personal fascination with the scythe centers on it's obvious combination of efficiency and simplicity.    
      This post merely scratches the surface. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bye bye to keyboard, mouse and display

     The video above says it almost all on it's own. 
     I see a fixed unit mounted to the overhead shelf of my computer desk though. 
     Just imagine this coupled with a PC with Dragon or whatever speech recognition. The keyboard, even a projected one then becomes a minimally used part of the system. It's then a matter of 90% + voice and graphic user interface.
     Another application would be as a variation on the overhead projector as control of a regular PC display projector for large or small group presentations with group interaction including  immediate inclusion of group input in the presentation content. 
     For those interested in (or capable of understanding) more details of the design concepts see the video below. It's a bit over my head.

Monday, October 17, 2011


          What's the ultimate superlative that can be used to describe any experience? Usually it's something like "breathtaking" or "it takes your breath away". Why is that? The answer boils down to the question, "lack of what can kill you the fastest?" Everyone knows the answer is breath. 

                                              Breath  is life!
    That pretty much explains the terror asthma inflicts on it's victims. With each victim, in every attack, death from loss of breath is felt to be on their doorstep. 
     I'm relatively lucky. My asthma is not as severe nor the attacks nearly as frequent as with most victims. Still, it gives me some basis for sympathy towards Tina, my wife Jeanne's mom. From before we were married in 1977 to her death in 2001 she suffered from COPD involving periodic asthma and emphysema. 

     Anyone seeking more information on this growing worldwide health problem can begin with The American Lung Association

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs and all of us

        There are very few truly universal “facts of Life” for Humanity. Three of them are Change, Death. and the uniqueness of each and every human being. Steve Jobs in his life and passing brings that into focus for many of us. We all make choices every day that relate to all 3. None of us know exactly when death will take us. We either accept that and behave as if it is today, as it certainly may be, or we live in denial of that fact of human life. Choosing the former dictates that we be true to the role of our own uniqueness in change in our world. That daily choice is possibly best described by Steve in this video of his commencement address in 2005.