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.