The Masseur 10: At Rest, At Last
~Cornbread Chip~’s Personal Journal, Day 243 in ~Equestria~
~Spring 19, Year 3 of the Fourth Era~
Earth’s Date: April 14, 2013.
Monthly Recap Number 8:
(I recently took notice that I have been doing my journal on 30-day months, while the local calendar has a year of 366 days, with winter and summer having 92 days, and spring and autumn having 91 days. And just as in many Earth cultures, the year begins on the first day of spring (even if there isn’t really a New Year’s Eve celebration, rather being a massive undertaking called ~Winter Wrap Up~ when everybody scrapes up the winter snow before the pegasai open up the winter overcast). Thus I waited 3 extra days before doing the recap.)
I have been procrastinating on resuming my journal, but today is time for the monthly update. I will also be updating at least once every three days, even if most of those updates may be nothing but “the crew installed five hundred more meters of lines today, with the usual pattern of one utility pole every forty meters, plus three construction-grade, windproof clouds in between. I still don’t like too much the idea of using clouds in construction; just the same way as the crew doesn’t seem to like me laying rabbit traps each night, then being able to spit-roast a rabbit every other day.”
Well: tomorrow’s will read “We stopped for the weekend. It took me an hour to get to town.”, but whatever.
On relevant news: My general state of health has improved by leaps and bounds since Selene stopped snooping into my dreamscape. I can also say that I have forgiven her, even if I have yet to tell her.
I think that I’ll visit the Palace next weekend and say so.
By the way, it has to suck to be the princesses: during my stay on the castle I hadn’t noticed the existence of weekends, but the castle has to keep working through weekends, precisely due to supplicants who may be unable to come but on weekends. I need to talk to the princesses about how to use ministries to handle the minutiae of governance.
Note to self: make an appointment, three weekends from now, for a private supper with both princesses. That should be enough time to write something on parliamentary monarchy.
[Many page turns]
[Reads a lot]
Note to self: hire a secretary or three, so I can resume writing those books I left unfinished. It isn’t like I was all that useful around here anyway.
Haven’t reported it previously, despite it having been my job since I was fit to walk again: I am currently living on the road, working on supervising the installation of the telegraph line between the capital city of ~Canterlot~ and the nearby town of ~Ponyville~. Initially, I was fronting the costs and expecting the project to last some eight months, as it would have to progress on a small crew paid between my saving and my royalties; however, the Crowns picked up the expenses and we are thus moving along at an average pace of five hundred meters a day, and we are a quarter of the way there after only twenty days.
Yeah: 20 days. It was a mistake for me to set the start date without checking if that date was relevant to the local calendar, thus not knowing that I had set the date on the local equivalent of New Year’s Eve. I was pulling off my hair that day, not having but my foremen and half of the crew, until somebody told me and I let the rest have the day off. Thankfully, the crew compensated me, with the foremen ordering a single-day weekend the following week in punishment for the workers not having read their contracts.
I like the locals’ ethics.
Only other snag we have had so far is that, last week, half of the crew was rotated out. It was annoying to have to work half-steam for a day, but they caught up by the next day.
We recently received an announcement that we’ll have the rest of my original crew rotated out next week. That’s annoying, but we’ll make due.
Just before leaving the castle, I made a second prototype clothes dryer. First one works like a marvel, but is too small for large-scale use. The second one is more like an externally-heated, industrial drum-furnace. It works marvellously (even if clothes need to be fed five times before being dry), even if it requires six girls to operate: four to power the drum, one to feed it and another to catch the clothes from the feed-out.
The last couple of weeks I had two ideas related to telegraphy, one for a telegraphic typewriter; another for an automated telegraphic fax machine.
The telegraphic typewriter would write in Morse: dots, lines and spaces. I consider it a middle step before achieving a true typewriter, and should be faster than writing by mouth (for non-unicorns). Not certain what would be its practical applications outside of telegraphy, if we can even give it a real use in telegraphy. I haven’t even spoken about it to anybody but Good Listener and Hikaru, and won’t take it seriously unless I can find it a real application.
The telegraphic fax would be a beauty in its simplicity: take a drum of graph paper rotating under a needle, just like thermographs, seismographs and... whatever other automatic meteorological instruments there are on Earth; put the needle to be writing the output from a telegraph. I immediately launched a design challenge at whatever professional association coordinated clockmakers, and have received two replies so far: one from a member of the ~Canterlot’s~ guild of jewellers, and another from a guy named ~Time Keeper~, a pocket watch-maker from ~Ponyville~. I think I’ll wait two more weeks for late entrants before commissioning a prototype from the last guy: the sketches he sent me seem to promise that the drum will move at a constant speed, rather than the possible ticking motion from the other design. Besides, I liked it in its general simplicity: power comes from a ‘falling weight’ pulley system which has an up gear going into a flywheel and a down gear turning the paper drum, which then has another down-gear which feeds a worm-gear which turns the drums simple spin into a screw motion. The machine’s speed is regulated in two ways: a friction brake on the flywheel (somewhat controlling the speed, but mostly preventing runaways), and the weight of the ‘falling weight’ (setting the speed). I suggested to ~Time Keeper~ to also include various gear ratios, but he had already though about it and discarded the idea: he convincingly argued that his current design was meant for the 100 kilo weight to finish its 2 meter fall at the same time as the drum finished its 100th turn under the needle; thus, fiddling with the gearing would only result in the drum and the weight loosing synch, which could potentially ram the spent drum into the machine (after all, the worm gear is so down-geared that it has monstrous torque).
I then told him to reverse the direction of the worm gear (so the drum will fall out rather than be rammed in), but otherwise conceded into the genius of his derp-proof design.
So, I don’t think I have anything else to report at the moment. If I remember anything else, I’ll put it in tomorrow’s entry.
If I write an entry tomorrow.
Can’t I combine the machines? Just modify the typewriter to become a puncher rather than an ink-layer, then change the paper sheet to paper tape, then feed this tape through a vacuum-actuated telegraph (like a pianola), then put a speed-up fax drum on the other end?