Kerbal Space Program

I’ve been playing Kerbal Space Program (KSP) for the last few months. On twitter, I made my case why everyone should play it.


This is truer than you might think, despite the obvious differences between the two1. KSP and Minecraft are both sandbox games. KSP and Minecraft both have modes where you are challenged to achieve accomplishments in order to do more; adventure mode in Minecraft and Career mode in KSP.

And they’re both addicting.

However, this discussion is an enormous tangent to my main point which is that I love playing KSP. It’s a huge waste of time when you consider all the other things I should be doing, but if you don’t believe it is fun, you should check out what google has to say about it.

My next goal is to get some of the mods loaded up so I can do more detailed rocket loading calculations and start lifting to orbit the pieces of an interplanetary craft that has even a hope of coming home with its Kerbal pilot. To date, I’ve sent several Kerbals on interplanetary missions (both on purpose and not) but none of them have or will come home. Ever. The wall of sacrifice outside the Kerbal NASA HR offices is getting long.

Thanks to Randall Munroe who introduced me to the game.

From xkcd 1244

From xkcd 1356

And of course there’s xkcd 1106 which mentions KSP in the mouse-over text.

  1. In case you don’t know what these differences are, consult the Googles, or simply know that in Minecraft, you are digging around in a virtual terrain looking for gold and other valuables while dodging monsters and in KSP you are trying to manage the entire space program of the planet Kerbal. One you go down, the other you go up. For further information on Minecraft you can consult this very blog. []
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Hoo Boy

Outer Banks, NC

The Eyebrow has been a recent victim of the ever-true dictum that, if there’s friction in getting something done, it may not get done.

As I mentioned on a earlier update, we have a housemate now. Jacob is a great addition to the household but it has necessitated a few alterations. Mainly, the guest/office room has become Jacob’s which means there’s no dedicated spot for Jenn and I to park a computer do the sorts of things we’ve done in the past: bills, photography, games, general internet surfing, etc. We all have laptops, of course, but if I want to do a blog post, it requires just that little bit more of an effort than it did before and that means it’s not happening. Photography especially is suffering because my equipment and the PC that manages the images now live in my closet in a bag, so if I want to do something, I have to go and get the camera and computer. I assure you that this isn’t a lot of effort, but it’s apparently more effort than I’m willing to put out right now. Griffin is wonderful but god he makes us tired sometime.

So let’s see. Recap of all the things I would’ve posted about but mainly got thrown up on Twitter:

  • Supreme Court and Hobby Lobby: Bunch of patriarchal assbags and if you disagree, read this before you continue to.
  • We’re going on vacation to the Outer Banks in August! Celebrating mine and Annie’s 41st birthdays (last year’s 40th birthday spectacular got derailed by the emergence of a human being from Jennifer).
  • World Cup Soccer! It’s been a blast. Now it’s almost over. Soon we can ignore soccer for another four years except that Atlanta will have an MLS team in 2017.
  • Go Braves! Braves just finished up a 9 game winning streak. Cobb county residents are suing to stop the construction of the new stadium .
  • Griffin is coming up on the end of his zeroth year! We’re planning to have a huge bash for the adults. He’s invited.
  • The new jobs for Jenn and I continue to be well. We could do with a shorter commute, and we’re making plans for a move in the next couple years.
  • We’re catching up on Game of Thrones season 4. Jenn’s chasing behind in the books, so we have a continuous discussion about the differences between the books and the show.
  • There’s discussion in the blogosphere that the HBO series may end before GRRM finishes The Song of Ice and Fire. If so, I’ll be avoiding any mention of the show until he publishes the final book and I can read the canonical version.  I’m totally supportive of people who aren’t readers getting into the world through the HBO version, but I feel like the readers who’ve been hanging on for 18 years now are getting the shaft.

I’m sure there was other stuff. I’d have to troll twitter to see what I was blabbing about.

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Stuff and Things

There’s been all sorts of stuff and things going on, mainly focused on life and Griffin. Let’s see. Jenn got a new job, I’ve been traveling, Griffin has spent a good deal of time sick, we have a housemate, we bought a new (wrong size) mattress, it’s getting hot out, and Griffin. Oh, and Griffin.

We’ve been busy.

One downside to having Jacob move in is that I don’t have a set place for a desk right now, which makes writing for the Eyebrow more of a chore. Things that are more of a chore don’t get done right now.


I was in Charleston, SC for work earlier this week. I’d never been before. I need to find some time to go back that will let me take the day out to Ft. Sumter. Had some good beer and saw a lot of trees.

Road Tree Canopy

Other than taking care of Griffin, and each other, we’ve also had the cats. Artemis still is not interested in Griffin at all. She runs away when he gets near. Apollo on the other hand will allow Griffin to grab and yank. Yeah, he’s crazy.

2014-06-01 09.24.43

It’s June and the solstice is approaching. I look forward to the longest day of the year. Hopefully I’ll be back on my bike and doing some running by the end of the summer.

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More Griffin Pics

I took some more pictures with Griffin, down at Freedom Park in Atlanta. Here are a few.




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Griffin Helps Shop

Griffin was rockin’ the changing room at REI.

Griffin and Bill Shopping

Jenn and I have really lucked out with an amazingly happy child. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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Tales from Poor User Experiences

Here is a tale of poor user experience in two iPhone screenshots.

Flickr App Screenshot 1

I clicked “It’s Okay.”

Flickr App Screenshot 2

My first reaction was, “Well, fuck you! It’s not my fault you’re sorry! Thanks for the various options you gave me.” I don’t think that’s the user reaction they are looking for.

This whole problem could have been avoided with a non-binary choice. Or, it could have been avoided by not forcing me to click one of these buttons in order to use the app. I’m a Flickr Pro user so any “you get it for free” argument does not apply to me.

I do not choose to for-free help you improve your product. Instead, I’ll give you the name and contact of my wife who will be happy to do it on a professional basis. Instead of giving me “Later” implying that I’ll do it and “Sure” implying that I’m a teenager, how about “Yes” or “No.”

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I Will Sing the Song of my People

Just for reference, Griffin’s people are the Nazgûl.

I will Sing the Song of  my People

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Some Reduction in Breadth

The plague recently struck the Jenn-Bill-Griffin household with everyone having gastroenteritis one after the other. I can state with confidence that my bout with it was one of the two or three worst illnesses I’ve ever had. While I’ve been sick for longer, in the past, this one hit with the subtlety of a bat to the back of the head. I was needing people to fetch me water because I literally could not make it from the bedroom to the kitchen and back.

Every dark cloud has a slightly less dark cloud outside it, though1. Once I was up and around again I discovered that I was down a good five pounds2 and I had a stark reminder that due to my back issues, I’ve been a sessile creature for the past year and a bit. This had contributed to a gain in weight and a redistribution of what weight I had from nice firm muscle to less firm flab. Thusly, things ain’t fitting so well around here at the moment.

As usual, the first place things get tight are pants, but for me that doesn’t have the mental “Oh, No!” factor as not fitting into my favorite t-shirts. So, we have a plan.

I’ve gone through my drawers and pulled out all the t-shirts that just aren’t very comfortable anymore. These are now in the bag you see in the above picture.3 To remind and motivate, I’ve got my official Worship the Pizza Gods shirt on display and I will now make efforts to reduce the overage that is causing me to be a bit more plump than I like.

Am I unhealthily large? No. Is this the sort of life-altering decision and stuff that people who go on juice cleanses and 12 month sabbaticals have? No. But it’s a concrete reminder that I need to get a move on. I’m forty and it’s only going to be harder to lose it the longer I leave it. For the time being, significant aerobic exercise isn’t going to happen so I have to start at the intake end. I don’t have a plan yet, but I will.

And it would be a shame to get rid of those t-shirts. I like those.4

  1. You know, near the edge, where the sun can shine on it. []
  2. Most of which is back now, thank you. It was all the water I couldn’t keep inside. []
  3. Except for some that are going through the laundry cycle, but I’ll throw those in later. []
  4. The date on that package is 9/18/14, but I don’t plan to hold myself to an arbitrary date. As long as I’ve seen some improvement by then, I’ll keep holding onto the bag. []
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Self Portraits with Timelapse


Taking pictures of yourself can be challenging. Taking pictures of an infant is also challenging. I decided to address both of these issues using a piece of equipment called Triggertrap.

Triggertrap is a connector you attach to your camera that lets you use your smart phone to set various camera shutter functions. I bought it so I could do time lapse photos. Not specifically so I could make time lapse videos, but so I can set the camera to take a picture every two seconds and sit there with the baby trying to get a smile out of him.

Last night’s dry run seems to have gone fairly well. I also made a time lapse video yesterday of me cleaning my garage. I may put that up for entertainment value. I may not.

Other images from that photo shoot can be seen at my Flickr site

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Google Maps and Geographical Education

When I was a young lad, I read everything that Tom Clancy had to write. One book in particular was Red Storm Rising which was a door-stop of a novel envisioning what a Cold War turned Hot War European conflict would look like. It had many settings ranging from Germany (land invasion of NATO by USSR), to the arctic regions of Russia/USSR (naval conflict) to Iceland to the Atlantic Ocean.

During my initial read and subsequent re-reads of this novel I often wished I had a good map and globe so that I could see the geography described and understand the distances and geogrpahic barriers. I didn’t know where Keflavik was, or Murmansk, or any of the small German (then West German) towns where fighting was envisioned; I had to just move on in my head an concentrate on the story.

Now we have Google Maps. Which is wunderbar! Now you can zoom to any particular level to envision the conflict. You can look at the roads leading into towns and understand why it was a problem that the Soviets broke through there. You can see the distance from the north coast of Russia to Moscow. You can appreciate the Sea Lanes and why they’re important to a NATO task force escorting convoys. Google Maps allows for a geographic understanding that simply was not possible when I grew up in the 80′s.

I love it. Thank you Google.

Recently, I was reading the 1632 series by Eric Flint and Google Maps helped me to situate in my head the regions in Europe under discussion. Today, I was looking at Crimea because of the news from the Ukraine. Last week I was examining the route of the Iditarod. A few months ago I finally grokked the path that climbers use to ascend Mt. Everest. Last year I was reading about the Lewis and Clark expedition. Two years ago I was re-reading the Dies the Fire series by S.M. Stirling which has many important geographic components in the Pacific Northwest.

Google Maps has done more to increase my geographic sufficiency than pretty much anything, ever. I hope that schools are using these tools accordingly.

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