Wednesday, October 23, 2013

House Sundripper

Watching the Game of Thrones series, it occured to me, that what family's member would I be. Well, here is "my family" the Sundrippers. This is the introduction, and it might turn into a family saga as a series of short stories.

House Sundripper

Sigil: on blue-black background, a golden cornucopia, that drops a drop of sunshine into a wooden chalice.
Words: Ours is the spirit.
Residence: Fruitstower
Banner: a golden cornucopia on blue

History: we were commonfolk in Old Valyria, we mainly practiced medicine there, but due to a really embarrassing situation, that involved several ladies of the most noble families and a substance that messes with a person's head when it comes to feelings, we had to leave the homeland, and sailed through the Narrow Sea about 150years before the Targaryens appeared. 
We settled around the rich lands of Highgarden, and quickly set up our business, which included making the Nectar which is a destilled alcoholic beverage made of the excellent fruits that  the Reach can provide. Soon, due to our Humble service, and to secure the family's resourceful knowledge under the Tyrells' authority, the then stuarts of Highgarden gave us lordship with the family castle, Fruitstower, and a vast land around it covered with woodlands of all kind of fruittrees, and rich lands of wheat and corn. Over a couple of decades the family gathered great wealth due to our knowledge, and the practice of alchemy and medicine. There cannot be a birthday in the great families of Westeros from Winterfell to Dorne without popping open a  barrel of Nectar. We also provide a member of each generation to the Citadel, just as the Starks of Winterfell keep manning the Wall. After the arrival of Aegon the Conqueror, the family played a big part of securing the Targaryens' authority as rightful kings via our diplomatic skills and being a link to Old Valyria. The family grew close to the dragon kings, often winning important titles like master of coin and grand maester of the Red Keep, but the Targaryens were always suspicious when it came to "the blue eyed ones" as they call us(however we do not practice marriage among siblings to avoid the defects that may happen, but as Valyrians, we like to keep our blood -umm- pure, so it is encouraged for cousins to marry, and so, the members of the family are having almost exclusively pale blue eyes) . Our people can be found in almost every castle, due to their special knowledge, and as for gathering information,  they are almost as effective as Lord Varys' birds. However these skills could determine the family to overgrow even the Lannisters in terms of influence, but  we rather practice observing the more fierce families, and play 'the game' from the background. Also, as we are not of the blood of the andals or the first men, nor we have ever owned any dragons, the great families never cosidered us as one of them. Our men are famous archers and marksmen. We are excellent riders, and with our specialty composite bows our light cavalry is fast and deadly almost as much as the dothraki khalasars. The other families do not really like our ways of war: they say it's not chivalreous to use bows and arrows from hundreds of yards afar instead of engadgeing in an honorable fight. But even if this kind of strategy is considered inferior, i have to admit, it is anything but ineffective. See, since we have settled in, Fruitstower had been under siege only once: there were 8000 soldiers under the walls, eager to feast on the cellars of Fruitstower, and sack the city, when Wiktaron Sundripper ordered the killer rain upon the besiegers. Since then, the fine field under the city walls, and the creek that flows through it are called Fletching field, and Red creek... Shall I say one word more?
Unfortunately since the Usurper took the Ironthrone, we haven't had the opportunity to get closer to the new dinasty(let's just call them "antlered lions"), but we did do some important favors for the Roselords, which might be more useful on the long run, and in these rather interesting times it is not unwise anyway to take some steps further from the Red Keep.
The sigil of the Sundrippers is a golden cornucopia, that drops a drop of sunshine into a wooden chalice on blue-black background. It represents our ever-rich lands, the Nectar that comes from it(and secures our wealth) and the chalice shows the humble, yet functional nature of the family.
Our words are "Ours is the spirit." which refers to both the Nectar drink, and the spirit of Old Valyria, that drives us to gain more knowledge. But there is another proverb you might come across regarding our family " we would keep the traditions..." was originally a greeting with a glass of Nectar, but in time it became a reason instead of the reason. Why? So we would keep the traditions! 
So all in all, we were always one of the minor families, but i can say we bare as much power –if not more– as those filthy Freys of the twins.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Building for flood areas

The flood is a big deal nowdays in middle Europe, and i was thinking of it a lot. The main problem of it, that we are using an outdated water-management system, that was built about 200 years ago(at least in Hungary) in a megalomaniac era by people, who knew next to nothing about ecology and sustainability. So I was thinking about another kind of water-management which has the exact opposite approach than the current one(Let's try to keep the rivers in the least possible amount of area, and build artificial river beds with dams all along the river). It turned out the system I was thinking about did exist up until the Turkish occupation of the Great Plains in Hungary. It involved huge areas of flood basins, and a really sophisticated system of water reservoirs, small basins, irrigation canals, dams, dikes and smaller-bigger flood gates, which I'm sure helped the middle-age Hungary to be one of the richest countries of the time, and the larder of whole Europe. So I think we should build a modern version of that system. As a matter of fact I already saw some German articles about this. As I can see, they are planning an inhibition of building in the flood basin. I beg to differ: i think this is a really good opportunity for architectures that are not of the conventional groups. Here's a sketch of my idea about how we should build houses(even neighborhoods) in the flood areas:
Sorry for the bad quality, it's just a quick pen-sketch after all...

1.) the building itself has to be lightweight, most probably some kind of prefab with sandwich walls, or shipping container structures, or even full tiny houses sitting on the platform.

2.) tall anchor-poles embedded deep in the ground keep the platform and the building with it in place in case of the flood being higher than the supporting poles. The building can move up and down along these poles, but they they prevent it from drifting away.

3.) segmented pontoon system, that would be filled with some kind of expanded concrete or plastic foam. this makes them strong and sturdy, so they can support, and make the whole platform with the building float. with this segmented pontoons and the platform we could build whole neighborhoods with pathways and bike lanes(I don't think it's a good idea to put cars on a platform system that moves with the water from time to time...)

4.) supporting poles hold the weight of the whole structure. they would be about 3m high(depends on the area and the regular moves of the river), to keep the building away from the water in most of the year. the platform and the building is not attached to these poles, so if a huge flood is coming, the structure can rise with the water. But after the water's gone, the platform can sit right back on these poles.

Note: the whole system can be prefabricated, and assembled on the spot really fast most probably in the dry summer, and if the house is a container-house, it could be erected in a matter of days...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My JARVIS themed desktop makover

So the other day I watched Ironman 3 and I got carried away with the amazing visual effects of JARVIS' interfaces(onboard the armor and onscreen). I knew that windows interfaces are highly available for personalization, but I always used readily available versions. I only changed some colors, icon sizes and such minor stuff. So I decided to turn my windows desktop into JARVIS. The only problem, is that my desktop was a chaos with dozens of program icons, videoclips, project scetches of DIY and digital, notpad files filled with chatlogs, one-liners, "thoughtbubbles", and whatever you can imagine. Basically I kept everything no more than 6 clicks away from the desktop. Jarvis is a highly structured interface that does not allow such chaotic structure, so I grouped, rearranged, deleted, and I found a skin builder program called Rainmeter, and started the whole stuff from semi-scratch. First i downloaded some sort of package that had a lot of "widgets" you can use. I found one that looked pretty cool on the previews, and it turned out, I have to program each element, and since I'm not a code-ninja, it took some time to figure out what is what(basic coding knowledge is enough), and then, about 4 hours later I had my buttons and fastlinks and stuff ready. The only thing I needed is a super-awesome background for my interface, so it would really look like JARVIS. As always Photoshop, and Google are my friends, so I downloaded some pictures, and jigsawed a background for myself. So I ended up with 2 sets of 6 buttons(all point to programs) and on the clock(the smaller dial) there are 7 buttons for folder links, and 6 weblinks. Also I have RAM usage, processor usage, battery usage, weather, date and the clock monitors as well as a set of turn-off, restart and logout buttons. It looks awesome, neat and really clean compared to the chaotic stuff I had before:

I give you my background in downloadable jpeg and the psd with layers, in case you want to modify it:


Note: the frame was originally a part of the skin and not the background, but I found it really annoying that the taskbar and various stuff popped up behind it, making them almost impossible to click them, so I put it in the background picture 'cause it has no other function than visual.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ghost in the shell avatar

I made a new Ghost in the shell inspired avatar and cover pic for my facebook. If you want to play with them, You can download it here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Gin Punch

Gin Punch: 3 slices of orange, 1/4 lemon, 1 slice pineapple, 1 slice apple(all peeled of course), 4cl passion-fruit liquor, 4cl gin, 2cl grenadine syrup blend it with a handful of ice, and add some OJ as fill-up.
Everybody loves it: it's fruity, it's rich, it's stronger than the average long-drink, very drinkable. It's one of my signature "surprise me" drinks. Every guest in the bar appreciates the half ton of fresh fruits, and the extra effort you put in the drink. Only downside: it's quite slow(unless you have peeled stuff) and a bit messy, so not for a busy bar.

Red Tulip

Red Tulip: 3cl Bols Genever, 2cl creme de chassis, 2cl coffee liquor, 1dash chocolate syrup shaken, served in a Y-glass, fancy with high cocoa choco flakes.
Really sophisticated taste for the lover of classics, not for the average bar-goer(my experience is, that they don't understand it).

Spiced Long Sour

 Spiced Long Sour: 4cl spiced rum(Captain morgan or Bacardi Oakheart) 2dl lemonade(or sprite), over lots of ice. Spiced Sour Slush: The same, but blended(obviously this must be a non carbonated version).