Grab bag: security drumbeat

Scanning the sepia

esta_lindaI’ve started digitizing some old photo albums. Nothing earth-shattering: these were photos I took as a kid with my first camera, starting in 1981 or 1982 through about high school. But some of the photos are interesting to me because they frame the way I think about some physical realities now–like my uncle’s house in Vienna, Virginia, or the land where my parents’ house is now on the old family farm. The photoset has started on Flickr; I’ll be adding more over the next few days.

One of the photo sets in particular is fascinating to me: a series of photos from my grandfather’s 65th birthday, circa February 4, 1982. I had only had the camera a month or two so didn’t know anything about taking pictures (as if I do now), but I worked my way around and got pictures of that whole kitchen, along with pictures of just about everyone in the family.

And then there’s the photo on this post, of my sister and my Grandmother Jarrett. I think when I was a kid that I always thought my grandmother was old–she was older than my Brackbill grandparents by quite a few years–but now when I look at that photo I realize that she was younger than my inlaws are now. Seeing it through the faded photographs, I feel older than I am.

Ramagon 2: the toy in action

There are about 150 people who have stumbled across the Ramagon tribute I wrote last year, one or two at a time. I finally stumbled across some photographic evidence of the toys when I was scanning an old photo album last night. Here are some out of focus close-ups of three things I made with the Ramagon toy kits:

  1. ramagon2Sheath for a toy sword: I had a cheapo plastic toy sword which glowed in the dark, so it became both a medieval sword and a lightsaber. Since it wasn’t a real lightsaber, it needed someplace to stay when I wasn’t posing like Luke Skywalker, so I built a simple sheath for it. You can see the basic symmetry of the Ramagon toys in the photo: they did pyramidal very well, and it was easy to link them together into a strong boxlike structure.
  2. ramagon1Holster for a toy gun: Just as the Ramagon hubs could do pyramids, it was trivially simple to make cubes with them. Add a pyramid at the end to taper the gizmo, extend one end with a square for a belt loop, and cover the frame with the plastic snap-in panels, and presto: very uncomfortable and big holster. There’s a very cringe inducing “action shot” of the holster and the sheath on Flickr; in my defense, it was 1982.
  3. ramagon3Toy gun: This was the coolest of the three toys, and I’m sorry I don’t have a better picture. A combination of a long hex frame and some closely snapped together hubs, and the illustration shows the short connectors (the black piece here used for the “trigger” and to secure the close clusters at the end of the gun) that I had forgotten existed. “Action shot” here (not me in the picture).