Aug 162022

TL;DR I recently acquired a very rare Coleman Free Piston Sterling Cooler that I’ve been looking for since hurricane Katrina.

For some reason I’m too lazy to take pictures and it is just a greyish rectangle so here’s a link to a more interesting teardown

So this quest began when I experienced a month without electricity in the deep south after hurricane Katrina. I was spared any property damage because I didn’t own any but ever since then I’ve thought a lot about what you can provide for yourself when access to normal distribution chains is limited.

I learned I don’t really need much in terms of power. At the time a 1st gen iPod was my only entertainment and I had plenty of books on tape. I didn’t actually miss hot showers as much as I’d have expected and there are a thousand ways to boil water for cooking. But my key takeaway from that time was how much a bag of ice can make you feel like a civilized human being for a few hours, so that became a bit of a mission- to figure out the simplest, most efficient and reliable method of making ‘offgrid’ ice.

That mission led me to ‘study’ compression, evaporative, vortex tubes, peltier, sterling, ad\absorption, and magnetic refrigeration. I think I’m at least aware of every cooling technology humans have documented, though only conceptually- I’ve never had to test my understanding by designing or calculating anything so I’m a dilettante of refrigeration technology at best.

When it came to finding something I could actually buy and use I had trouble matching my spending power to the capabilities I wanted. There were RV (absorption refrigerators) that seemed a possible solution, but they were way out of my price range and I don’t like that they contain ammonia. I actually bought a used vortex tube and tried it on a compressor at work but it was too loud and pretty inefficient considering powering a compressor. Though I have wondered if I ever lived by a little waterfall if I could use a trompe for unlimited cooling. Thermoelectric is kind of a joke in terms of performance. Evaporative coolers don’t really work in the humidity I live in and direct evaporation can’t make ice. They did have compression cycle camping coolers at the time but they were pretty expensive too and had mixed reviews on reliability. I will say since then compression mini-coolers have gotten way more reliable and cheaper and I did buy one and was relatively satisfied, but lets get back to the grail quest.

The consumer product that stood out to me was the Coleman Free Piston Sterling Cooler. I won’t gush over it here because if you know you know and if you don’t I don’t want to make you sad you can’t have one. Unfortunately by the time I learned they existed they weren’t produced anymore and nobody was selling their for anything near my price range.

I looked into other FPS coolers and found some that looked suspiciously like the Coleman, but were sold as medical freezers starting at a few thousand dollars. I haven’t really researched this but I imagine what happened is Coleman realized they couldn’t maximize profits by selling a consumer device that you could realistically expect to pass onto your grandkids. So the technology went to medical freezers where they could charge more per unit and the units would be beat up and need replacing more often. That’s just my theory.

Any case I couldn’t afford the medical ones and as time passed the few used ones I found were either for parts or too expensive. I’d pretty much given up by 2012 and semi-forgot about the whole thing, but something possessed me to make a post in Reddit’s /r/offgrid sub just taking a pulse on who was even aware of them. I think I got 4 replies at the time and then the post disappeared into obscurity.

Almost a full decade later some keen fellow in California was going through some cast-off gear and stumbled on a big camping cooler. To most people it would look like any other camping cooler from walmart, maybe ~$100 resale if it works. But it didn’t have a power cable so no way to test. In 99.9% of people’s hands it would have ended recycled or more likely a dumpster. But this keen fellow’s keen senses told him this was a rare item and deserved more attention so he took to the internet.

Somehow through he convolutions of Google search this keen fellow stumbled on my decade old post and made a comment on it. Still not sure how the post wasn’t archived, but I got the reply. We exchanged phone numbers and worked out the details. About a week later a big honking UPS package arrived containing a superficially worn, but seemingly perfectly functional Coleman FPSC. The exterior does look like it’s had a year or two in the sun and got scratched up a bit, but the filter looked so pristine I wonder if this thing was ever actually powered on.

I had to splice a power cable together but I had the connector nub so that was pretty easy. It started cooling immediately. I put a meter to it and it spikes to 60W on startup, then it settles in to between 10-40W depending on setting. The insulation is pretty hardcore and the exterior doesn’t even get cool on the lowest setting, unlike my compression cooler, which was so poorly insulated I build a secondary.

And that’s pretty much the story. I wanted one and somehow the universe put one in my path, thanks universe! And extra thanks to that keen fellow and all the keen fellows in the world that go the extra mile to keep useful stuff out of landfills.

Mar 112021

So I recently googled funkboxing because I forgot how to spell .com and I found the top search results redirect to online pharmacy’s hocking dick pills. So… not sure what that’s about but… I’d like to say I fully endorse every brand of dick pills and you should definitely buy all the dick pills you find on the internet because if you don’t it means you don’t really care about dick.

If a person doesn’t care about dick- what do they care about- vagina? It’s either or… there’s no middle ground. It’s either dick pills or vagina pills and apparently you’re anti-vagina because you won’t buy the goddamn dick pills Google is trying to sell you when you search for funkboxing- so just buy the goddamn dick pills already!

I admit had a soft spot for Google about 8 years ago before they abandoned their ‘don’t be evil’ directive in favor of China’s money… but hey- evil is just backwards smoke going into a toaster in a classic Terry Gilliam film so who cares… buy dick pills or get bent- those are your options.

Jun 212015

It’s Fathers Day and mine recently created something pretty darn poignant regarding the treatment of the U.S. Flag. You should watch it.

There is a lot of lip service about patriotism these days, and very little genuine understanding about America as a people, a nation, a government, or even just a freaking geographic area for that matter. Fortunately we still have a solid foundation that we could pick ourselves back up from and maybe one day- learn to stand tall and be proud of ourselves as Americans for the right reasons. I know we still have a chance because I can still love and publicly criticize America right here within it.

We’ve got a lot of work to do to make this place anything near worthy of how well we market it to ourselves, but in the meantime, we can at least show respect to those who helped build America’s legitimate foundation by doing what my father suggests in this video, just doing the darn housekeeping for crying out loud.

Happy Fathers Day Dad, and Pop and DeeDee, I know they appreciate this video a lot. I think this video is kind of a fitting fathers day gift for them too. I know this little diatribe doesn’t quite fit with the simple purity of your message in the video, but I don’t think you’ll mind me stepping up on my soap box for a minute, you did kind of help teach me about the whole free speech thing and using my brain and whatnot, can’t unring that bell- lol.

God Bless America, and also teach us to share ALL of our blessings with the whole world, like our fathers shared their blessings with us.

Sep 072013

[EDIT] Thanks so much to AndrewT81 from Reddit for his reply:

“Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto. The clip is from the end of the cadenza in the first movement.”

I went youtube and found it right away… WOW!!!

[ORIGINAL POST] Can someone please help me identify this very beautiful composition?



I heard it on the radio one night awhile back and recorded this little chunk on a little voice-recorder. Shazam and all the other online music finders I’ve tried have failed and I’d really like to hear the whole piece again. It’s very familiar but I just can’t figure it out for anything. Any help would be appreciated!

Aug 272013

I’ve got about a mile-wide grin pasted on my goony mug right now because of this little find. Can’t believe I missed it the first time, but I was just rewatching ‘Revolution’ and only semi-paying attention while doing some other work, and this guy just looked too darn familiar, then it hit me…

Richard Cravens played Professor Alva in The Tesla-Edison Paradox or Free-Energy The Musical (a student film project some idiot wrote). He gave a truly outstanding performance and really helped make the whole thing fun to watch.

I just spotted him in ‘Revolution’ Season 1, Episode 2 (approx 34:00)


Tesla-Edison Paradox or Free-Energy The Musical


Congratulations Richard! Thanks so much for your performance as Alva. Best of luck in everything you do! This guy is the real deal!


Jan 262013

I just found out I lost another friend. Brian Charles Folse. I met him in 2000-something when I worked at Franklin Press.

He was the guy that got me started with Linux. I probably wouldn’t ever have gotten off the ground with my first Debian install without him. It was way before the net installs, it was a kernel compiling nightmare and he was totally patient and supportive and I’d have given up without his help. He was a brilliant programmer and a good guy and he was too young for this.

I don’t have a lot to say right now- I’m still pretty upset that he died and that I found out so late.

I’m a very shitty friend and I don’t have that many of them. I never keep in touch with people. I’m just so fucking wrapped up in my own head that I can only be friends with people that are very independent so I don’t worry about them. Because of that I’m pretty distant even from those few people I consider friends. I’m very sorry for that. Anyone who would tolerate me as a friend deserves much better than me as a friend. Fortunately people like Brian have lots of friends besides me.

Sorry Brian. I’m glad I knew you and I called you a friend. I wish we could have worked on building robots or something. I thought it would be great if someday I could start a company with or hire Brian as an engineer and work on something like that. I actually thought that might happen someday.

Thanks for everything Brian. I’ll keep the Folding@Home trilarian team account working for you. Hope that’s something. Goodbye and I hope it’s better where you are.



Dec 072012

If you’re a Blender user or are interested in Blender and live in South Louisiana (or around) please take a moment to fill out this survey to help the Baton Rouge Blender User Group expand to support and unite all the Blenderers in the South Louisiana area.