Brother John’s

July 16, 2008

June 17, 2008

For Radio Girl

Filed under: General — Brother John @ 1:27 am
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Kelsi over at “The Radio Girl” recently posted a recording she made while wading into a swiftly moving creek. She wrote a funny post about what happened as she did that titled “Up the Creek“. Her original recording sounded like this: (Remember, headphones!)

I mentioned to her that only one channel had the actual recording of the creek. The other channel was mostly silence with a bit of noise hear and there. I told her I could clean it up if she wanted me to and she gave me the go ahead to try.

I removed the empty noisy channel and then reworked the remaining “Pure Creek Audio” channel by converting it to a true monaural track. This made the creek sound flat, totally centered when wearing headphones. I then divided the monaural track into a left/right stereo track and ever so slightly shifted one channel a bit out of sync from the original.

This is an old editing trick to simulate stereo sound. And it worked nicely here giving the creek a wider, fuller, three dimensional sound.

Then for fun, (because simple is never enough for Brother John) ;), I layered in some duck sound. Given the above mentioned story, that seemed an appropriate addition. I played around with both volume and depth with the ducks moving them back and forth throughout the soundscape.

I also added a touch of Canadian bird sound to add more depth.

Finally, there is another Canadian sound surprise toward the end. Can you guess what it is?

This was just me at play demonstrating what might be done with any captured audio. Give it a listen.. but remember the headphones!

With a bit more time, I’d probably ever so gently fade the sound out at the end so it wouldn’t be quite as abrupt. And I’d probably balance it more. But you’ll get the idea.

Brother John
Lansdowne, Pennsylvania USA


May 13, 2008

Brother John Reads A Poem.

Filed under: Multimedia — Brother John @ 4:00 am
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My friend Don Smith (over at Creative Endeavors) has been interested in associating music with some of his WordPress posts. I will be exploring various ways to do this in WordPress starting with this simple technique. I’m going to give you all a sample of one of my Sister’s poems. A scary Halloween’ish ditty called “Deep Dank Hollows”. And you get a special treat! It is being read by yours truly (I also added the spooky music layer hand crafted by your’s truly specifically for this reading). Enjoy!

It this works you should see a small player above that you can click on and play. (Assuming of course you have headphones and a sound card 😉 )

If you like the poem, you can check out some of her other works at: September Butterfly.

May 11, 2008

Results from the Digitek Posts

Filed under: Health — Brother John @ 9:22 pm

Stats resulting from Digitek posts.

Well I wondered if Don Smith and I could make a difference with our posts on the Digitek recall. We knew that if we could help even one person out there it would be well worthwhile. Well just look what it did to my daily statistics on visits to my blogsite! Wow! I have a rather quiet site since I don’t get enough time to post regulary to it. I’m sure Don’s will be through the roof! So Amazing! Don? We done good!

And let’s not forget the “After” Digitek stats… Smile


May 7, 2008

Urgent Digitek Recall

Class #1 Recall Digitek


I just learned today that a Class #1 recall has been issued on my Digitek heart medication! (Class I Recalls by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are the most severe type of FDA recall. In a Class-I recall there is a potential for serious injury or death!!!).

Do you know how I found out? I got a bill from my mail order pharmacy with my Digitek order marked CANCELED. Before I could place a call to find out why, I actually received an order in the mail. When I opened it I discovered it wasn’t Digitek but had somehow been changed to Digoxin. I was very surprised when I noticed I was NOT being charged for this order. I called the mail order pharmacy and discovered Digitek had been pulled from the market due to a manufacturing error which DOUBLED it’s normal strength! I also found out that knowledge of this was public since April 25th! That’s 11 extra days I’ve been overdosing! Evidently the manufacturing error started sometime in early January! OMG!

I’ve been talking to my wife about the possibility I was developing an ulcer. I’ve been sick to my stomach lately with all the normal results expected from that. If I do manage to keep down a meal, it’s always at a cost. I’ve been fatigued to the point of falling asleep and not being aware it’s happened. I’ve noticed my vision sometimes blurs or even has a yellow tint to it (thought contacts were somehow responsible). Sometimes I see halo’s around images (thought it was related to 60’s experiments 😉 ). Mostly I just felt nauseated. My thoughts continued to focus on a possible ulcer.

Well it wasn’t an ulcer!!! I had/HAVE Digitalis Toxicity!

Digitek is a registered trademark of Actavis Totowa (formerly Amide Pharmaceutical, Inc.) for their digoxin tablets. The drug is distributed by Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., under a “Bertek” label and by UDL Laboratories, Inc. under a “UDL” label.

You can read about their recall right here. Comments are welcome!

April 15, 2008

Latest Crystal Images

A single sugar crystal.

New Seed Crystal

Planting a Seed Crystal.


To the right is recent results from my crystal projects. The top row (left) shows a young “seed crystal” plucked from the Mother cluster (below), and you can see new growth (top right) of that same seed crystal.

The bottom images show progressive growth of the mother crystal from her early “buds” to fully formed/developed crystals. I electronically blue filtered the last image to show off all the classic lines, shapes, and definition of classic crystals. In reality the mother crystals are still semi-transparent.

Feel free to “click” and explore!

Early BudsClassic shapesNice development

Manny, Moe & Jack

Crystals in Pale Blue

Turns Blue!

March 25, 2008

Pysanky Art (Ancient)

Filed under: Projects,Pysanky Art — Brother John @ 8:00 am
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Cobalt Blue Pysanky Egg Art

I’ve been giving some thought to attempting to do a Pysanky Egg art project. I was recently watching public television when they did a small documentary on this ancient form of art. I was immediately intrigued. Of course I would never be able to approach the quality of those who have done this all their lives, but I would like to give it a try.

The process starts with a clean, white, chicken egg (yolk and all – a real egg). You lightly draw a simple pattern with pencil on the egg shell that you want to remain white. (See the white pattern in the image on the left?). Next you cover your simple pattern with a coating of bees wax. (This will prevent that section of the egg from absorbing dye when it is later dipped). The tool you use to “write” on the egg with wax is called a Kistka (see below) which is basically a small metal funnel attached to a dowel that drips molten wax.

Kistka Tool

Once protected with wax, the egg is dipped into a dye bath. Pysanky eggs that will go on display use a dye that is more brilliant and glossy then could be achieved with regular food coloring.

The egg above only uses one color (plus the natural white of the chicken egg). But many beautiful Pysanky eggs use multiple colorings. At each stage, each new color is again protected with wax and the egg is dyed again.

The next stage involves holding the wax covered egg next to a flame. As the wax melts, it is gently wiped off exposing the color it was protecting.

The final stage involves two tiny pin holes on each end of the egg. The yolk can be blown out leaving only the decorated shell.

If I do attempt this, I will keep you posted with additional information, links, and of course pictures of my attempt.

Also check out Hilo Verde’s pysanky art.

March 12, 2008


Filed under: Plants,Projects — Brother John @ 1:00 pm
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Meet Emily!!!

The Emily Plant

I was visiting my local Dry Cleaner when I spotted Emily’s mother. The mother was a fine looking specimen and I just knew she wouldn’t mind allowing me to adopt Emily. I brought Emily home and eased her into a nice fresh glass of water. Emily put out some nice roots for me and has since gotten a new home. And you can finally see her new home by clicking on the image below:

Emily Get’s A Home

March 9, 2008

Update to my crystal project.

Filed under: Crystals,Projects — Brother John @ 9:50 am

You can see how my crystal project is growing… uh I mean going. I’ve added a new image!!! Check it out here.

February 17, 2008

Growing Crystals

Filed under: Crystals,Projects — Brother John @ 3:05 am
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While I’m working on a draft that will talk about my cancer story, I thought I’d give you something to read. I give you… “Fun with Crystals”.

From my “Growing Crystals” experiments.

I’ve recently developed an interest in growing crystals. I felt the best way to do this would be to start with growing sugar crystals because I already had everything I needed.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m the curious type. I’m always wondering about how things work and why they do the things they do. One morning I woke up and discovered I was suddenly curious about crystal formation. I wanted to try my hand at growing them.

The image on the left is after one day’s growth and I’d expect larger crystals to grow given time.

The trick to creating crystals is a super saturated sugar/water solution containing higher concentrations of dissolved sugar than water. The exact ratio is an important factor for success. As water evaporates from the super saturated solution, the concentration of sugar to water will naturally increase. Some sugar molecules will have to come out of suspension (fall out) and will return to a solid particle form. This should happen slowly.

As particles continue to “fall out” of suspension, they will be attracted to one another and may even attach. If enough of them stack up in layers, they will form a kind of”protocrystal” or “pre-crystal”. As more particles fall out they will be strongly attracted to the protocrystal and will attach to it. This is how crystals grow. NEW…

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