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  • Halloween 2014: Rush, Polygons & Keyblades

    2015 - 01.14

    This year I decided to go as myself for Halloween. No, I wasn’t just being lazy and choosing not to wear a costume, I actually created a mask of…me.

     

    I found a printable paper craft mask on the cool website Thingiverse (click here to download). After printing out the files on good thick paper and assembling it, you have a very generic looking low polygon mask. I then got some flesh colored paint, some wire for the glasses and hundreds of black, white and gray dots later, I have me. This is my go to look when using FaceTime.

    Here’s Jacob being “me” While sitting at my computer. I think my spellcheck is broken…
    My pumpkin this year was a simple and classic Rush logo from their first album.
    Broken drumsticks were added for effect.

    Jacob and I created a very lifelike Keyblade from the great Playstation 2 game Kingdom Hearts 2. We bought a wig and transformed it to look like the games’ main character Sora. Here’s a comparison, I think we did pretty well!

     

    The Upcycled Mac Pro Bench

    2015 - 01.14

    Apple's aluminum Powermac G5 / Mac Pro case is definitely a thing of beauty. The case alone can be found on eBay for as much as $200, proving that people still find this case intriguing even with all the guts removed. Apple used this same basic case design from June 23, 2003 all the way until October 22, 2013 when they introduced the new trashcan shaped Mac Pro. That's over 10 years of the same basic case design. I've used a few of them in the past as stacking cabinets to store cables, extra hard drives and other assorted tech. But after seeing this creation by Klaus Geiger on a German website, I knew I had to have one of my own.

    So I mentioned this strange project to our amazing contractors Wayne and Jill who had just finished completely remodeling our kitchen. I provided the gutted Mac Pro cases and they took care of getting some seriously gorgeous wood pieces and expertly crafted and assembled the bench.

    Wayne used 3 types of wood to create this masterpiece: African mahogany, Wenge and Padouk. He chose these specific wood types based on the natural color of the wood (absolutely no stain was used) and the cool grain detail of the pieces.

    After picking out the wood, Wayne cut and glued the pieces together, sandwiching the reddish Wenge and purple Padouk between the lighter African Mahogany. After letting the glue set, he took the piece downtown to use a special wood planer to get the piece completely smooth and the right thickness. Then he used a very specific router bit to get the edges to exactly match the tops of the Mac Pros.

    Next Jill applied many clear coats of sealant to the piece to bring out the natural colors of the wood and protect it. They then screwed the piece to the cases from the inside so absolutely no hardware is visible from the outside.

    The amazing results can be seen in the pictures below. After delivery, I installed a long strip of LED lights inside the units to illuminate them from the inside. I also used some old memory foam, plywood and an old comforter to create a soft spongy backrest to lean against while sitting on the bench.

    This unit is definitely one of a kind, so I had Wayne and Jill sign the underside of the piece for posterity.

    Do you have old Apple tech that is simply too gorgeous to throw away? Upcycle it into something new…take a look at some of the other projects on this blog (use the links on the right) to see how I created some interesting projects including iPad and MacBookPro cases, Halloween costumes, shelves and more.

    Thanks to Wayne and Jill for their hard work and expert woodworking skills!

     

    Amazing Brown Sugar Bacon Jerky

    2014 - 10.03

    Yes, you read that correctly. Brown sugar bacon jerky. If you’re a fan of bacon, then this is an amazing snack you should try. All you’ll need is some thick cut peppered bacon, tons of brown sugar, an oven and a food dehydrator. You can definitely skip the dehydrating part, but then the bacon will be much less firm and chewy, and it won’t last as long in storage. This recipe is very easy, but does take a long time (6 hours of baking/drying time) due to the very low cooking temperature and drying in the dehydrator.

    First, get yourself some good thick cut bacon. Turkey bacon works just as well. We like the nitrate-free peppered bacon at Trader Joes. Whatever you choose, be sure it’s cut pretty thick and seasoned well.

    Get a large cookie sheet, preferable with sides so nothing spills or drips into your oven. Cover the pan with a thin coat of brown sugar. Cut each strip of bacon in half, and then coat both sides with the brown sugar. While you’re getting your hands messy with sugar and bacon, pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees.

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    Cover another cookie sheet with aluminum foil, spray it with Pam or some other non-stick spray, and place the brown sugar coated bacon strips on it, being careful to not overlap them. Bree had way too much fun doing this part.

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    Once the bacon is coated and ready, bake it in the oven for 1.5 hours at 225 degrees. Then flip the bacon strips over, and cook them for another 1.5 hours.

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    After the 3 hours in the oven, the bacon will have an amazing dark brown color and it will smell incredible. Transfer the strips (that you haven’t already eaten) to a food dehydrator, pat them with a paper towel to remove some moisture and dry them at the highest setting for about 3 more hours.

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    Check the bacon every hour or so, and flip them over while patting them with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible.

    When you’re done, you should have crisp, firm and delicious candied bacon. You can store the bacon in ziplock bags in the refridgerator for up to a week, but trust me…they won’t last that long. Eat them plain, try them in a BLT or crumble them up in a salad. Ooh…I think I’m drooling…

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    Summer Trip to Breckenridge, CO 2014

    2014 - 08.24

    We spent the first week of August in Idaho Springs and Breckenridge, CO. Our cousins Dustin and Danielle Tiep (of MacMD Los Angeles) joined us for the last half of the trip. We had a great time…take a look at the video below to see some of the fun stuff we did.

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    The MakerBot 3D Printer is amazing

    2014 - 02.07

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    macmd 3d loop

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    Leslie Katz…in FRONT of the camera!

    2013 - 12.17

    Leslie went and got herself photographed and quoted by ESPN’s website the other day. Very non-typical Leslie. Read it here:

    http://frontrow.espn.go.com/2013/12/monday-night-football-replay-team-always-at-the-ready/

    Monday Night Football - November 18, 2013

    Click pictures for larger versions

    Monday Night Football - December 9, 2013

    Brianna’s Cooking Show Episode 7: Latkes

    2013 - 12.09

    Brianna is back with a special holiday cooking show. In this episode, Brianna, Aunt Leslie, and Grandma Barbara make latkes for Hanukkah using an old family recipe. These latkes can even be made gluten free. Take a look, and be sure to watch the outtakes at the end.

    Special thanks to Jacob Katz and the HBHA Tech Club for the use of their equipment, direction, and editing expertise.
    (http://www.rampagewired.com)

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    Jacob’s Seriously Amazing Animation

    2013 - 08.24

    My boy Jacob just finished his first animation, it’s our Minecraft animated family singing to Bruno Mars’ Just The Way You Are.

    I asked Jacob a few months ago to help me animate a few lines of the song for a video present to Vicki. He took the idea and ran with it, creating the whole family, a stage, and a working drum set in Maya and then animated them to the entire song. Check out the modeling, lip-syncing, lighting, and camera work Jacob did! He learned a ton making this video, and has some pretty grandiose ideas on what to animate next.

    A behind-the-scenes video will be posted shortly. Be sure and subscribe to Jacob’s YouTube channel to get notified when he posts new videos.

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    Brianna’s Cooking Show Episode 6: Cinnamon Rolls!

    2013 - 08.07

    After a long hiatus, Brianna is back with a new episode of her world famous cooking show web series.

    This time, she tackles Vicki’s “secret” cinnamon roll recipe. Filmed and edited by brother Jacob. Click here to see some of Jacob’s other projects.

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    Brianna’s Dance Recital 2013

    2013 - 05.26

    Brianna got to show off her ballet skills at the Lied Center in Lawrence, Kansas once again. This was her 4th time on stage (the performance is every 2 years). Click on the pictures for larger versions, and be sure and watch the movie below.

    Brianna ballet 2013

    Brianna ballet 2013

    Brianna ballet 2013

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