Blood Red Super Moon (by )

Blood Red Super Moon

I photographed - the camera is broken, I got the kids up for about 20 mins when it was looking good, Jean appreciated it, Mary seemed confused, I hope I got some good shots but... meh camera is broken.

Weston Super Mare and The Yellow Sky (by )

Alaric! Don't like the sand sculptures!

We went to Dismaland thanks to my friend Becca who nabbed us the tickets - it was interesting and not as disturbing as I was expecting though Alaric reminded me not to look in the Cruel Bus - there are photos but you wont see them yet - possibly not before the end of September as I kind of think if you can you should go and if not then you can wait to see my pics :) Also I've written a poem - part of my Found Poems of the Concrete which will accompany the images.

What you do get to see is the rest of our day at Weston which includes a strangely yellow sky!

Yellow Sky at Weston Super Mare

It was not sunset - the sun is up in the white bobbly clouds!

Yellow Sky and railings

Suggestions have so far been pollution and sand storm - I think the sand storm is most likely it was quiet a windy day and this part of the country actually has proper sand on it's beaches and that is more land over there in the distance!

Yellow sky and island Weston Super Mare

We also found Yoda!

Yoda Graffiti

And a tea room with only cow milk and no gluten free stuff who basically ignored us and doted on the old people who were spending £40 a pop. I was not impressed and they are not going on list of recommends especially as they do not have a sign saying high teas need to be booked in advance and informed us it's all frozen and needs defrosting. I think this may make me now an officially old person.

On a brighter note we also found some epic sand sculptures which are part of an annual festival. :)

Space invader sand castle building

We got to watch this guy working on a space invaders section of what appeared to be a giant gamers birthday cake!

Under water archeologist in sand

This underwater seascape was my favourite!

The reef in sand

For a start it's underwater, then it is archeology and it was EPIC!

the reef of statues in sand The Diver in sand Boat on the beach in sand Sand fish

Then there were these 3D portraits from around the world which were stunning!

Portrait in sand 4

These were really beautiful.

Portrait in sand 3 Faces in sand Portrait in Sand 2 portrait in Sand

There was an oooooook written on the walls of Dismaland and a walk around the sculptures down the road revealed the culprit 😉

The ook sand castle

He was sitting by a big book of jungle creatures.

The jungle in sand

It appeared to be coming to life!

The Jungle Book in sand

I posted it in one of the Discworld groups I'm in and several people pointed out that the Liberian does not have cheek pouches - I pointed out it was actually just the remnants of Horace's hair 😉

orangotang in sand

I also took some amazing 3D pictures which I need to work out how to get printed as I still can't afford the 3D screen idea I had when I first got the camera!

With all the photo taken, everybody else wondered off but it was ok because they found a tea party for Alaric to join in with 😉

A birthday tea?

Though he did seem a bit confused!

Alaric being confused by sand castles at Weston Super Mare

Anyway - here is a butt load more pics :)

King Kong in Sand Campsite in Sand Sand tent World of sand sand castle building on a different level Sand frog prince Fairy Tale Wood in sand Minion in Sand Rainforest frog in sand Camelion in sand Sand castles on a new level sand sculpture Big Ben in Sand Heart Birthday Bear in sand Koala and humpty in sand The tea party with gorilla and friends in sand Lego and Sid and the dino egg in sand The Wild Things in Sand The thistle and the flower dancing in sand Alice and the catapillar in sand Octopus comes to the party in sand From our bedrooms we dream in sand The Catipillar in Sand

I think Alaric liked this Virtual Reality guy.

Alaric and the virtual reality of sand

He seemed to be trying to strike up a convo!

Alaric finds a geek of sand

Games, and fairy tales and fiction seemed to be the theme. And the angle on this chess board is amazing.

A sand castle for gamers

And last but certainly not least - the Sand Dragon! On a horde of sand gold!

Sand dragon on a bed of sand gold

School Bear (by )

School bear waiting to read

This is School - a little bear Mary came home with from school. As alot of you know unlike her sister Mary is finding going to school hard even though she is about half a year older than Jean was.

The mornings are filled with screaming and tears and thrashing about as we have to physically carry her out of the house. Things that have helped are her hello kitty shoes and School - her school bear.

She reads to him and takes him on adventures.

This is the duo waiting at Ribston Hall for her sisters play.

Mary loves her school bear

Mary has always been clingy I've been assured this is normal with milk intolerant babies and that's fine each kid is their own person. This morning - day 6 of school - I sang everything we were doing in lite opera/musical style and this worked really well for calming her down though earnt me an elbow in the ribs once Jean's friend turned. I think it might be slightly uncool to have a singing mummy when your 10. It also resulted in Mary singing to the tunes of Les Mis how much she didn't want to go - I was impressed to be honest!

She still cried but over all we are getting there.

Did I mention she loves the bear?

Mookie and her bear

The Stubbon House of Stubbon (by )

And this morning in the stubbon house of stubbon - I was well pleased with myself as I told the girls to get their PE stuff together last night and it was all easily findable in the wardrobe. Jean announces I never said such a thing and only half her kit is in the wardrobe... obviously she's gotten distracted last night but wont admit this, can't find the bag or her t-shirt (so they are together in the void of lost things). I shout at her over how much clothing costs, she tells me she hates me, Mary tells me I am naughty, I tell Mary if she gets down from her breakfast ONE. MORE. TIME. it's going to the chickens, Mary bursts into tears, Jean hugs Mary whilst glaring at me. I go up and get the too large for Mary spare Mary PE t-shirt and make Jean put it on - it fits but isn't baggy Jean has melt down apparently she is not doing PE, I tell her she is telling the teachers that and why. Whilst dressing and tooth brushing the Mary I get kicked as she flails to get away, I sneeze and head butt her fortunately not hard, fortunetely she saw the funny side of it - convo about how every body hates everybody in the mornings because in truth we all hate the mornings except Alaric who is just in despair as his family is all shouty at each other, Jean's friend mean while is making sarky comments from the sofa where he is playing minecraft. I think I am Dragon Mummy in the mornings, I don't know why Al thinks it helps having me around I feel I just snark at everybody including him (salsa he made for dinner left out on the side).

There is nothing quiet as grumpy as a pre-hot beverage me in the morning especially when morning is grey.

Worse still - my stubbon kids are both being me in the morning so it really is like running up to little bundles of chaotic fury who just want to be asleep and know the world is unfair. I try not to be hypocritical - I think I failed this morning but we were all hugging goodbye in the end and forms for school all filled in and Mary was desperate to come back at lunch time to have our living room picnic.

She really hates this school marlarky and the three days she has done so far she is whirly dervish when she comes home - she's had to sit still and quiet so now she is going to not sit still or be quiet AT ALL. Round and around and around. Though yesterday she liked school as they went outside and there was a squirrel - I was informed in micro-detail about the antics of said squirrel though the bit about the laser cannon beheading it I think was made up :) Not so sure about the cat and dog and goat in a tree bit though - this is the West Country after all!

I had a bit of a panic last night over the logistics of kids clubs as infants aren't allowed to do them which means that not only is it having to be co-ordinated with school run share, it is also going to result in two school pick ups on some days for the whole year - I think we've sorted it now but it was a bit of a headache esp as this stuff is not my strong point to begin with let alone at the tail end of concussion!

But other parents are amazing and the school is thinking of organising after school play which you have to pay for but receptions and the like would be allowed into.

This is not a critism of the school but rather of our school and work systems - economically everything is geared for both parents to be working full time, education wise it assumes there is flexibility to a level that gets tricky for stay at home parents as soon as there is more than one kid. It's kind of doing my nut in and yes it would be easier if I could drive but I can't I was working on it and will be working on it again but right now it isn't do able (still walking into walls here!).

It's that thing of the stuff that gives your kids oppurtunities are a logistical nightmare :/

I have tea now.

The family mainframe (by )

I'm in the process of consolidation the home fileserver and the public Internet server - currently two separate bits of hardware - into a single physical device, virtualised to support multiple indepedent machine images. Having a single family mainframe will simplify the management of the complex web of computers and services that support our digital life.

For various reasons, the best place to build such a thing is at the office end of my workshop. Even though it's at the "clean" end, this is still a room that is prone to having fine conductive dust in the air, varying humidity and temperature, and (heaven forbid) a leaking roof. Also, I want a case with extensive room for upgrades, and which makes it easy to replace parts. Having used 1U rack-mounting servers for quite some time, I am sick of highly compact servers that are difficult to work with, requiring extensive dismantling to get to parts.

Clearly, I needed a rather special chassis for this new family mainframe, so I bought a load of steel, picked up my tools, and got to work. I've been working on this for months; I initially cut up the metal at home, then visited a friend's workshop to borrow his pneumatic rivet gun and his MIG welder. Since obtaining my own TIG welder, I've been able to continue at home.

The chassis is nearly structurally complete; this weekend, I've been attaching mounting brackets inside it for everything to attach. All that remains is to finish welding the upper panel on, then the whole thing can be cleaned and galvanised, and the exterior painted. Then I can fix it to the wall and start fitting the electronics and electrical systems!

The first thing I did this weekend was to fit mounting brackets for the processor frame. This is taken from a standard ATX case, and is the base plate with standoffs to mount the motherboard, the frame to attach expansion cards to, and the frame to hold the PSU. This is screwed into the chassis, so that I can use an existing frame (rather than having to make one myself), and so I can replace it if needed. The frame is held in place by two locating pins that fit into holes in it, and then two screws through the upper-left corner (I drilled and tapped holes in the top left bracket), and a little spacer at the top right to stop it from flexing:

Processor frame mounting brackets

With the frame in place, it looks like this:

Processor frame in place

Next came the expansion frames. I may need to add additional hardware inside the chassis in future, but once it's holding a running server and painted and bolted to the wall, I can't really take it down to weld additional brackets into. So I cut off one-inch lengths of square tube, drilled and tapped a hole in the centre of one side, and welded them to the inside of the chassis. I drilled holes in the ends of strips of steel, so they screw into the pairs of brackets, creating a metal strap that can be removed, things mounted onto (via welding etc), and then screwed back into place, without causing major disruption. There are two - one beneath the process frame, above where the UPS will go; and another right at the top, above the environment management system.

Here's the upper one:

Upper expansion frame

And here's the lower one:

Lower expansion frame

The welds were quite difficult, as I had to reach right down into a corner of the chassis. As such, they were either OK or awful, depending on whether I had to use my right (dominant) or left hand:

Lower expansion frame (left hand bracket)Lower expansion frame (right hand bracket)

I also cut and drilled some mounting flanges, which will be what are used to bolt it to the wall:

Mounting flanges

When I made the sides of the chassis, I welded angle iron onto them, in order to attach said flanges:

Tabs where the mounting flanges will attach

(Note the plasma-cut hole, which will be where a removable plate with sockets for Ethernet, VGA, and USB will go).

The mounting flanges are quite thick (the wall is rough and bumpy, so the chassis needs to be spaced slightly from it), so it was good fun welding them to the much thinner angle iron. I think I did an OK job:

Mounting flange attached

Then I mounted the internal frame for mass storage devices, which goes above the processor frame, below the environment management system. It's a metal plate drilled for lots and lots of 3.5" disk drives, which attaches (with screws) to brackets I welded into place:

Mass storage frame

With all the internal stuff done, I started to weld the top panel in place, which I'd avoided in order to enable me to get access into the top:

Top panel

Annoyingly, I ran out of argon while doing the tack welds. A TIG welder without shielding gas is a lot like a plasma cutter, and I burnt a nice hole in a shower of sparks. It's only a small hole, so I'll be able to weld over it when I finish the job off.

Unable to do the final welding, I drilled a hole in the eaves, where clean outside air will be drawn in through a duct into the environment management system:

Air inlet

I also hefted the entire thing up to the wall where it will be mounted, propped it in position, leveled it, and drilled through the holes in the flanges to make the holes that will be used to anchor-bolt it in position:

Wall prepare for mounting

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