Dragon lifts off

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Good luck!

Elon Musk’s Space-X Dragon capsule heads for space. A joint venture between Space-X and NASA and the first manned rocket from the USA since 2011. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are on their way to the ISS.

WOW! That was an impressive take off and not to mention the landing of the first stage on a ship, almost as astounding as missions like the Sputnik, Gagarin and the moon landing.

I had written a long piece about despair, which I was about to post but that will have to wait for another day.

Great work!

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Elon Musk talks to the astronauts shortly before their first weather aborted takeoff.

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Inside the Dragon capsule waiting for take off.

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Lift off! … and the Dragon capsule heads for the ISS.

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Bathroom

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Sometime ago I posted the developments of my kitchen design and the final results. Now the bathroom is near completion, after much work and a few disasters. Above photo shows the starting point, so everything had to be done including replacing the window.

Blender:File:/home/janfe/Pictures/3D/BLENDER/Blend/flat/flat2.blend

There were various design proposals created in Blender 3D and this was just one of them. This design proposal had a large mirror over the sink, which is something that is still being considered. The shelving and glass shower curtain have yet to be installed.

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Comparing the starting point with the functioning bathroom, though still incomplete at this stage.

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Almost finished. Here the bathroom is 95% complete with its curvy sink surface created from leftover chip board and then painted with a thin coat of white acrylic paint. Finally a coat of clear resin was applied to seal all the surfaces and give it a glossy finish. This technique allowed the interesting wood chip patterns to show through but made it look very different to the kitchen work surfaces, which used the same wood chip boards.

All it needs now is a big interesting poster on that blank wall.

 

Pizza janfe

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It’s only the second time I have had homemade pizza but I have to say both were better than anything I have ever had in restaurants. In my twenties I spent many lunchtimes in and around Munich eating pizzas and have had them in Turin and Milan, although I have never eaten one in a Pizza hut or similar establishment. Once in Turin I ate one that was claimed to be the best pizza in the world. None of these came close to my homemade ones. So here is my recipe:

Firstly, NO Mozzarella! … The long rubbery strands of chewy cheese I can really do without and maybe that is why I prefer my own homemade ones to those in restaurants. The only way to eat Mozzarella is sliced uncooked with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, basil and vinaigrette together with a buttered French baguette.

My pizzas may not be 100% authentic but who cares if it tastes better.

Homemade dough:

Plain flour, yeast, salt, sugar, oil, water.

Topping :

Tomato: Tinned squashed whole tomatoes*/ whatever, fresh, tinned, sauce…

Cheese: Cheddar, Parmesan, Allgäuer*/ variable, whatever, just no Mozzarella

Onion: Shallots*/ or whatever type you prefer, red, white, green, spring …

Salami: Chicken salami*/ whatever … pepperoni

Chili: Chili peppers aka peperoni*/ whatever, depends on how hot you like it.

Black olives and capers*

* Indicates ingredients in the pizza pictured.

Normally I would have also added oregano but as I had none I added a few fresh basil leaves instead.

Had I known beforehand that I was going to post it on my blog I would have spent a bit more time on its visual appearance but that’s for another time.

Masken pflicht

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It looks like from Monday onwards I’m going to have to wear a mask when shopping or traveling by train or bus. But hey Corvid-19, I am ready, I have made my T-shirt mask complete with filter. I was wondering what to do with all my old T-shirts, now I have an endless supply of masks in all colours, shapes and sizes. Let’s face it I look a lot better behind a mask and so much for face recognition, that’s history now, at least for supermarkets and public transport. Every cloud has a silver lining. 😀

BMW GS80

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I came across this extremely rare photo today while sorting out my clutter. It is a Polaroid photo of the BMW GS80 prototype in the BMW design studio in Hufelandstrasse, Munich. It was my design proposal ca. 1979 and the only one at the time. The colour proposal was a bit extreme, especially the engine, but there were some nice details, I thought. I particularly liked the battery cover, which was intentionally shaped to look like a race number plate. The front curve was eventually lopped off by another English designer to line up with the seat/tank split. It completely destroyed the effect and owing to other similar incidents I left BMW Motorrad not long afterwards. This photo is probably nowhere else to be found on the Internet.

Below: The production version retained my black headlamp and instrument module but little else, a typical day in a design studio. Your work goes in the bin and no one ever gets to see what might have been. But hey, here at least you get a glimpse.

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Shape

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With nothing better to do than wade through old slides, which I am scanning, I came across this image. I had been searching for it for years and assumed it was lost. It is a design I proposed in 1987 for a single-handheld camera for Design Club International in Japan. This was long before the digital age, as can be seen by the analog film depicted in the technical drawing and long before smartphones.

Less is more … just call me a bore.

The kitchen

Some time ago I mentioned that I was working on a kitchen that I had designed and modeled in Blender (3D software). Well, it is finally fully functional, even if not 100% complete. Here is a brief run down in pictures showing the transformation.

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This was the original room with the kitchen area located to the right corner next to the bathroom door. The door to the left is the main entrance to the flat.

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Everything had to be redone from rewiring, to laying central heating pipes, plumbing, plastering and of course painting. Below the heating, plumbing and electrics can be seen along with the final location for the fridge.

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The initial concept (below) modeled in Blender 3D software shows the general layout which the final kitchen closely matched.

Blender:File:/Users/apple/Desktop/3D/Blender/flat/Worktop-frame.blend

Below shows the basic construction seen from behind with a materials list of wood.

Blender:File:/Users/apple/Desktop/3D/Blender/flat/Worktop.blend

Below: shows the basic frame construction (front view) with the panels and structure of the wooden frames.

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The final proposed 3D model showing the extendable breakfast table/worktop.

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Below: work under construction with the lounge area to the right of the picture.

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… and (below) several months later the final kitchen. (day time view)

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Below: the kitchen by night, lit by LED strip lights for 11.00 euros from Bauhaus.

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Below: a view from the lounge area. Still some detail things to do (e.g. extendable work surface) but it all functions well, it is compact with everything to hand. I am particularly happy with the rubbish area in the far corner as this has made that dead area very useful. Also the work surfaces came out fantastic as we used the cheapest chip board but covered it with epoxy resin, which cost just 30 euros but it looks super expensive and unique.

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Wood work

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Photo of my Grandfather’s house taken from the driveway of a similar house he built for his sisters.

This house was built by my Swedish grandfather, a master carpenter, at least so the story goes within our family and he also built a similar house across the road, which was just a gravel track back then, for his four sisters. My father grew up in this house in a small town not far from the coast in northeastern Sweden. In the cellar my grandfather had a carpentry workshop but my father was never allowed down into the cellar.

As such my father lacked confidence in making things and struggled even to put up a shelf, much to my mother’s endless dismay and despair. Nevertheless he had an interest in technical things and bought a Sinclair Spectrum computer when it arrived on the market in the 70s. He was still typing emails and using Facebook into his mid-nineties before passing away a few years ago.

I on the other-hand learned all my woodworking and metalworking skills at school in the UK, mostly before the age of 14 and I can still remember all those lessons vividly. I passed my woodwork O-level at another school, where strangely I cannot for the life of me ever remember doing woodwork there, but that’s by the way. While teaching at a university in Taiwan I drew on many of those early secondary school lessons while instructing students on their design models.

A kitchen I designed and am presently in the process of constructing got me back into woodworking and I was reminded just how enjoyable working in wood can be. Unfortunately being impatient and a bit of a bodger much of it has been a bit of a pig’s breakfast. Still, undeterred I am making progress and look forward to posting pictures of the kitchen once it is completed. After years of torturing myself I have come to accept my mistakes and to learn from them, a useful attitude for all perfectionists and even non perfectionists out there.

As a footnote: Both those houses mentioned were pulled down by the local council back in the 70s or 80s and new blocks of flats were built in their place. My remaining grandparents and great aunts were rehoused into new apartments, no doubt reluctantly as none of them survived much longer after that upheaval. The whole area was redeveloped making it impossible to recognize again and now it’s just another typical ‘modern’ characterless urbanization. Thankfully I can still remember how it once was and enjoy those memories. Even the distinctive smells of the wood, polish and something else that was unique to Sweden. No idea what that smell was but my memories of that old house were triggered on a visit to Kalmar some years ago, almost 1000 km away.

Bikes galore

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I was planning on a Sunday walk blog post today, which I have not done for a while but after a week of working my butt off I simply did not have the energy. So here instead an old photo from 2015 of bikes parked on Fuengirola bridge, Spain, during an annual biker meeting. Many of these bikes were Harleys but there were also a few custom bikes demonstrating the beauty of one off specials. Even if you have no interest in bikes it is still hard not to appreciate the artistic effort and detail that goes into many of these designs.

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Temples & towers

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Where has all the craftsmanship and artistry gone?

Pictured, part of a temple roof in Taichung and beyond Hotel One, a modern day skyscraper. The turquoise-tinted all-glass Hotel One is certainly an impressive sight and easy on the eye, mainly due to its curved shape and breathtaking height. However the detailed coloured carvings of the low wooden temple could be viewed for hours whereas a brief glance at the skyscraper and you’ve seen it all, just about.

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Just one of the many intricately carved sculptures found on temples.

Many skyscrapers are simple geometric forms clad in mirror glass, which if nothing else has one advantage of reflecting the sky, making them semi invisible and slightly less oppressive. However the majority of office and apartment blocks are just plain grey rectangular concrete boxes with uniform square windows placed at regular intervals with about as much aesthetic appeal as a brick. That’s it! I would hazard a guess that covers around 80% of high-rise buildings worldwide.

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A tall tower block rises from the city almost obliterating the view.
Skyscraper mirror glass reflects concrete apartment blocks a common sight in every city.

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I wonder how this affects our moods as we wander through sun-shaded cities of grey concrete and glass, looking for some greenery and a place to sit, rest and chat.