Happy 2013. I’ve mostly finished this bus brakedrum heater that will keep my studio toasty warm in the winter months with only a bit of junk lumber and waste motor/cooking oil. It kept me busy for most of December: sourcing the parts (220lbs of cast steel, sold by weight, is expensive at a scrapyard; had to get around that) and modifying the burner I used for my waste-oil blast furnace before tack-welding it together for a test run. Though the configuration differs from the blast furnace, the physics operate the same.
Despite an impaired preheater and numerous airholes in the shell, which gouted smoke and spilled flaming motor oil, it used very little oil to become dangerously hot. A couple of hours of meticulous stick welding will close up the holes, then I’ll weld some stainless ducting to the car-brakedrum lid as a chimney. Some kind of filtration for the exhaust is also planned, because though motor/cooking oil burns with little smoke under the correct conditions, I’m sure there’s still crap in it I don’t want broadcast over an area. Ideally it will finish with a 12v DC solar-powered blower so it will be grid-independent…so when hurricane season comes next year, I won’t be left huddled and fog-breathed under the covers for days.
When not at work on the furnace, I’ve been enjoying Dead Empire Cinema on YouTube. Serverloads of cinema from Czechoslovakia, the USSR, Romania and other erstwhile “enemies of capitalism” have been uploaded to YouTube, some of it subtitled in English. Hollywood may have conquered the world without firing a shot, but these reels trace the arc of the other statist imperium—and “Zero Hour” makes a more ironically distinguished elegy than, say, our own recent remake of “Red Dawn.” This enormous body of work is virtually untouched by occidental indices and review sites like IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, so I’ll be writing some reviews as a guide to the English speaking world. Tired of continual war, economic decline and austerity? You might be refreshed by a vision of life under the other boot, or thrill to a glimpse of Pax Americana’s own crepuscule.