Friday, November 20, 2009

Levitation level II - The Laser Sword

I thought that this would be a piece of cake after mastering the level 1 ball levitation. but the Cheddar Masters know their stuff and has pushed this padawan to further extend his skills. It seems that the power cells and circuits of a laser sword interact with the force, making it much more difficult to manipulate. Patience and perseverance will reward the padawan who stays focused. See the video below, or a clearer version of the same video on Youtube

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Loyalty test or Scam Baiting?

I received an interesting communique earlier this week. It appeared to come from the Cheddar Counsel branch office in Nigeria. In part it read. " order to distribute excess award points we are looking for honest individuals such as yourself who can locally distribute points to worthy persons in your blogsphere, for which we will award you 20% of the surplus points for your personal use.." Being the honest padawan, and looking more towards doing some charitable work for the masters, than greedily accumulating cheddar points, I wrote them back explaining that "I would be pleased to act as their agent in this matter".
Their reply asked for some basic (although unexpected) personal information to verify my Identity with the branch office records. Name, Planet of origin, midichlorian count, luggage combinating number, Imperial credit account and transfer code, accumulated vacation time to date, etc. They also asked for a loyalty check in the form of reproducing an event from the Cheddar Monk High Council archives, then post it
on the Galactic Datanet for them. Well I can do that, so here is the requested data"
Name: Padawan Hieraco
Birth Planet: Pluto (Currently de-listed as planet)
Midichlorian count: 216
Luggage Code: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4
Imp. Acc. # 9478-15547-2w431 (Branch 342)
Trans. Code: Sw489-630-T-663687
Accum. Vac. 121 days Effective Bunta Eve this year

Archive retrieval event #0062
Reproduction: (Click on
Image to view full size
and in context of the archives:
I gracefully await further communication from the council.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

...And all got was a crummy T-Shirt

The Wise and Learned Cheddar masters decided to send me to Endor, and as an obedient Padawan who is eager to learn, I do as I'm told. Unfortunately the masters neglected to mention where on Endor I was to go, or what to do once I got there, so I spent the better part of a week sitting around on the landing pad (Photo #1) waiting for someone to contact me, or for something to happen. [I'm the little white speck on the walk way]

The weather was moderate but there is little access to the ground. Most of the buildings and landing pads are connected by rope bridges several hundred meters above the ground(Photo#2). Yup, I'm the white speck just left of centre.

While the moon is mostly covered with tall old growth forests, it's location makes it Ideal for communications and Intelligence gathering installations. From above the canopy of the forest you can see many radar, and Electro-Magnetic dishes off in the distance (Photo#3). If you see me as a big white speck in this photo, please see your optometrist.

(Photo#4) Another picture of me sunning myself on the landing platform. again a little white speck lower left corner. It is hard to get a decent picture with the scale of things on Endor. Even the trees are over sized and one can get lost in the roots (assuming you can find your way to the ground level)

The natives mostly keep to them selves, but I caught this cuddly little Ewok sleeping and managed a picture before he ran off (photo#5)

No-one showed up, and nothing happened (other than a massive explosion which I swear I had nothing to do with(Photo#6)). I did pickup a T-Shirt at the gift shop on my way out, and a 1/2 litre of authentic, Endor maple syrup.

[Quote] " would be good to get photos of you more clearly interacting with the local terrain." [/Quote]

Your wish is my command - no hand waving required - Some pictures of ground level activities on Endore.
[Spoiler Note]After close to 4 weeks of 95% cloud cover with 65% chance of rains (coupled with the 7 hours of `daylight' this time of year), we had a brief burst of sun from 11:00 until 2:30 so I raced out to the woods, dodging puddles and marsh land to get these three pictures and enough video for the level II levitation challenge before it clouded over and started raining again.
[Personal Note] To the guy walking his dog...I may be a nut, but I'm a harmless nut, and I know what I'm doing. :-D

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Care and construction of your Cheese Sabre

Note: You can view the pictures larger by cicking on the thumbnails
The laser sword, or `Cheese sabre' is the weapon of choice for the budding padawan. Not necessarily because of any superiority over blasters or other ranged weapons, but because it can be acquired easily through bars, taverns and other drinking establishments for under 120 republic credits. (Some Laser swords are family heirlooms and passed from parent to child, but are rare as Cheddar monks do not make good parents) It is also easily concealable beneath cloaks, easy to handle and suitable for close quarter combat in confined or crowded spaces. It is important to know the components of the cheese sabre in order to properly field strip and clean it. For the Cheddar monk who wishes to construct their own weapon from scratch as it were, Watch for our up coming video on Detailed construction.

The over all design of your weapon will be determined by personal preference, required components, and the unique anatomy of the individual wielding it. For the beginner, it is best to keep it simple with a grip that is light weight and comfortable to handle. Controls consist of a power switch, and field adjustment knob, The wise padawan will also include an auto off switch in case it is dropped or knocked from your hand while training.

The internal layout and components as shown in the diagram to the right are relatively standard however there is some `wiggle room' for customization such as the type of primary crystal and power source used. The type of crystal in conjunction with the shroud field limiter will also determine the colour of the blade, handy for quick identification of friends and foe in the heat of battle.

The two primary tasks in care of your laser sword are to ensure a full charge on the power cell at all times, and to keep the crystal and lenses clean. Most power cells recharge from a standard #IX Lythos socket (found on most droids, spaceships, and hotel rooms) Recharge your weapon when ever you have some quiet time between conflicts and negotiations. There is nothing more embarrassing, and less intimidating than a flaccid blade in the field of battle.

Cleaning the crystal and lenses requires a little more care. ensuring your hands a clean, and preferably wearing a natural fibre gloves, remove the crystal assembly and lens and lay them out neatly on a clean soft surface to prevent them from getting scratched. Polish each using a soft chamoises and solvent such as an 80% alcohol solution. Return the lenses and crystal to the case in the reverse order they were removed.

Building your own sword
(Warning the following section contains techno-babble)

For my Laser sword, I started with a cold-rolled Klaranthite casing with beryllium end cap. This is a dense material which allows the laser sword to be used as a bludgeon when aggressive negotiations are in order, but dismemberment is not desired. This material can be difficult to work with, because of both it's density and that it is only available in 2.5m lengths, but the extra security in knowing that the internal parts are well protected is worth the time and effort to do the job right.

Here you can see all the components laid out ready for assembly. Various parts were salvaged from flea markets, recycling centres, and Junk yards (Word of caution, Many junkyards are owned by mad mekkaniks who will just as soon chase you out as sell you parts. Try using your cheddar monk Negotiation skills, failing that, offer to buy them a beer and curry). The components labelled in the picture were all acquired for 21 credits, and about 6 days of hunting and scrounging. As mentioned I used a Klaranthite casing. The power cell was a Shargo 8-Alpha-3 with Dichromium hyposillium metahexaline core and Nea-Klymer copper based cold cathode ion source. I wired two of these in series to get sufficient power to drive the crystal resonance circuits.
The RetiQlum 2 phase resonating crystal then fed into a Uniphase firehawk Gaussian Beam collimator which combined the crystal output and fed it through the focal lenses (taken from a Soro-Suub imager found on the scrap heap) The Illiway optically coupled beam conductor wave guide then brings the raw power up to the emitter through the middle of the Rogue 1.9.71 cyclic field confinement coil which generates the limiting field that confines the actual laser energy.
At each stage it is important to test the components at low power settings both individually and in conjunction as they are assembled. the picture to the right shows me testing the wave guide at low power to ensure there is no leakage of energy which could be both fatal and messy if failure occurred at full power. Also While testing, ensure that components are pointed away from you. (If something goes wrong, you can always find a new friend)

The final step was to add a DR66 Ominous hum generator this gives your weapon a distinctive sound that will instill fear and respect in your enemies, and any detailing such as cooling fins, suregrip™ strips, belt clips or oot-rattail wrist strap to keep you from loosing it as you fly around the galaxy.

Once finished, you have a weapon that you can be proud of.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh the Ebilness of it all

Force Sensitivity, Level 1

Ah yes there is evil all around us, but who are the truly evil, and who are faking it? Which persons will be straight forward with you and help you out on the path to enlightenment and who will lead you astray?

Well I am not posting any hints or spoilers, you will have to take the challenge and see for yourself. Because this is part of the Cheddar academy, in order to login in to the test you will need to be registered with the Irregular Comics Forum (your user name and pass word will be the same for both)

If you are led astray by `perceived knowledge' and end up with a low score, you can refresh your studies with the Darths & Droids archives. All the answered are there for the padawan with his/her eyes open to wisdom.

My final result was 30/32 (9/10 points) and I will be talking the challenge again after suitable meditations.

Several days later: You have successfully detected the evilness or otherwise of 32 people out of 32. You score 10 points out of 10.
\o/ (The padawan is humble, the padawan does not gloat)

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Empire Strikes out!

Well if singing the Darths & Droids pledge wasn't bad enough for the Universe. Some Wise Cheddar master decided that being an order of multi-cultural space monks, that the Pledge of Allegiance needs to be translated into local dialects.
So, as with the previous warning, the enclosed audio may cause cerebral hemorrhage. Not only is my singing voice non-existent, but I am singing in a language I barely speak (I have been in Sweden for 3 years, but have only 6 months of language lessons)
So here we go, the first (second if you count the original artist's Hebrew version) translation of Darths & Droids in Swedish, and performed by The Swedish Chef.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Percentile Dice - Level 2 Force Manipulation

For some reason Youtube wants to censor the audio on my Video. I guess that they have never heard of Fair usage, Creative license, Fair Dealing or any of a dozen other `loopholes' for using samples and segments of copyrighted works. Of course the pressure likely comes from the RIAA lobby which doesn't really speak for the artists.

That rant being said and posted, here is the unaltered, original video with sound that YouTube does not want you to hear. As far as Cheddar challenges go, this was more difficult than most and the past week I've been having problems with my editing software. I ended up removing the program, and any programs that I thought may be clashing with it, cleaned my registry files (over 1700 errors found) and ran complete scans for malware, virus and Trojan programs. Now everything seems to be stable. This technological marvel is no match for the power of the Cheese, but for now it will fulfil it's roll.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Twenty sided dice

Make a video of yourself, wearing your Cheddar Monk robes, rolling a 20-sided die, and showing that it lands on 20 (5 points)

5 points Awarded :"An excellent demonstration of the three methods of Force Manipulation."

Cheddar leap

Take a photo of yourself, wearing your Cheddar Monk robes, in mid-air (3 points)
(you may click on the photos to see full sized)

The life of a padawan is a long and difficult one, even for such a simple task as jumping.

My first attempt barely got me off the ground. Attempts two, and three show improvement.

After an evening of meditations and practice, I achieved maximum altitude.

How ever not being satisfied, with this accomplishment, I went for
a super jump. I think that the concentration of midichloriens was too much for this old body, and my legs exploded.

I will be spending a few days in the re-generation tank to grow back my legs before attempting the levitation ball. I guess that in the tank I can practice summon fish.

Summon Bigger Fish

Take a photo of yourself, wearing your Cheddar Monk robes, with a big fish. The bigger the better. Post it somewhere on the Internet and post a link to it in the Cheddar Monk Academy forum
(up to 10 points)

Since my First effort to summon fish didn't turn out quite the way I intended, I went back and studied the Cheddar Monk handbook. The problem seemed to be I was in the wrong environment for fish, and my enunciation was not clear.

I went out to the coast and made a second attempt. This time I managed to Summon a Gianormous fish.

In reading the fine print in the handbook, I have also learned that when summoning a large predator, there is always the risk of a larger predator showing up to eat it.

I hope that some where in the next year of challenges, we learn how to banish kitty.

Levitation level I

Take a photo of yourself, wearing your Cheddar Monk robes, levitating a ball in the air. (3 points)

Convince the cheddar masters

Convince the Cheddar Masters to award you points for Negotiation. Make sure you tell us your registered Padawan user name.
NOTE: the Bolgging software either does not support the full formating that was used in the email, or I haven't figured it all out yet.

Padwan Hieraco

has your best interest in mind

Negotiations are the expertise of politician and lawyer
We could waste days discussing the benefits
But you know in the depth of your soul
That Awarding Points of High Value
will bring about peace
to this unsettled

Cheddar Monk Pledge of Allegiance

Loyalty challenge level 1 (4 points)
Record yourself singing the Darths & Droids Pledge of Allegiance. A full recording and the lyrics are available from this page. There is also an instrumental version you can download as a backing track for your singing. Upload your resulting audio file and post a link to it in the Cheddar Monk Academy forum. (If you don't have a place to upload to, you may e-mail the audio to us and we will post it. All audio files will be made public - that is part of the challenge; true Cheddar Monks are not ashamed of their singing ability!)

Please note that while the attached file is open to public domain, It may violate the terms set down by the Geneva Convention (Fourth edition) Part III Section I Article 32 [EARTH] which states (and I quote) "Article 32. A protected person/s shall not have anything done to them of such a character as to cause physical suffering or extermination ... the physical suffering or extermination of protected persons in their hands. This prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishments, mutilation and medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment'
No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed."

Other charters, conventions and Treaties may apply to planets and cultures with in the Cheddar Monk sphere of influence where this file may be directly or indirectly distributed.

Padawan Hieraco

Son of a Beach

Take a photo of yourself in your Cheddar Monk robes, exploring the distinctive terrain of Tatooine. (5 points)

This blog best viewed in 3D holographic imaging using Firefox 31.7 or equivalent browser

NOTE: you can click on the pictures to see them larger. Failure to use a holographic compatible browser may result in poor image quality.

It started with a few days off and a pocket full of credits. I asked the Location officer at the Chedder Monk support line that I wanted to take a long weekend and relax on the beach. Somewhere sunny but not too crowded, where I could meditate in peace.

Two days later with ticket in hand and luggage ready I went to the space port. I had to check my cheese sabre in my luggage as it is classified as a weapon and is prohibited in the cabin (silly rule if you ask me) The flight was mostly business types, and the being in the seat beside me tried to interest me in buying something called `fuzzy dice' for my land speeder. a quick cheddar wave of the hand, and a whispered suggestion that he'd like to sleep for the remainder of the journey, and with that I was able to peacefully enjoy the rest of the trip.

15 hours later we arrived at the orbital station where we transfered to an atmospheric shuttle. Unlike the big spacer, this had windows and I was able to get my first picture as we departed the orbital station and followed a scavenger ship in.

As we orbited the planet, I was able to see the lights of the main city and space port as it lit up the dark side of the planet. The shuttle had problems with the inertial dampers and re-entry was rough as you can see from the picture.

Once on the ground, I discovered that they had not transfered my luggage from the deep spacer to the shuttle. I was left with what I had as carry on. I was not happy, and although I did my best to `influence' the travel associates to compensate me, Cheddar mind tricks do not work with the mindless drones that work customer support.

I became a little lost finding my way out of the city, and ended up in a part of town even a cheddar monk shouldn't travel alone. These two locals were kind enough to run me out of town to the Bed & Breakfast. They had some great `good cop-bad cop' stories to tell. They weren't keen on having their pictures taken, but a wave of the hand and they had forgotten their objections.

This is the couple that runs the B&B they were very helpful and went out of their way to make me feel welcome. If you are in the area, Look up Quiet Jinn & Tonica. They will make your stay worth while. (Jinn & Tonica loaned me some robes until I was able to get some new cloths in town)

Here I am heading out for my first day. I walked close to 30Km but never found the ocean. This planet has one hell of a beach, but not much water front property. You can see the spa behind me, and part of the satellite down link tower in the background.

I found a Sarlacc pit pit. This one seemed empty, but I sent my Astro-droid down to get a picture of me by the pit. Sarlacci inhabit pits all over the equatorial region. This pit was one of the smaller ones. It is best for the tourist to avoid these pits as sarlacci have a nasty habit of eating anything that falls into it's pit.

The next day was the Equinox day Bantha races. here I am with a sampling of the locals cheering on the banthas as they approach the finish line (I won 25 credits on Watto's Waddler). Not as intense as the pod races, but was relaxing after the previous day's walk.

Before heading out, I snuck down to the pits to watch the qualification races for the next weekend. Bantha are not only extremely large animals, but they are also extremely smelly. My advice to the traveller...stay in the stands, Closer is NOT better in this case.

Quiet Jinn took me out for the afternoon to the monument erected in memory of the cheddar monk Obi-Gon Frommie. The force was strong with him, and if you quiet your mind you can hear him say `May the fromage be with you'. This was the spiritual highlight of of my weekend. Don't leave Tatoonie without seeing it.

My final evening on Tatoonie, I sat with Quiet Jinn and Tonica, and watched the sunsets (or is it sunsset? sunssets?) I never did get to go for my swim, but it was a worth while vacation. Early the next morning, it was back to the space port for my return to the Cheddar Academy.

Closing note: My luggage did eventually find it's way back to me by way of some places called Bespin, Croissant, and Alderaan