Llamatism is the website of Richmond, Va-based artist and musician, Gary Llama. Be sure to checkout the essays, howtos, and his Reviews. Enjoy!

How Not To Fix A Flash Drive

Within 10 hours the other day, the dog ate the cord on my headphones, and my daughter knocked my computer off the table. Headphones: just popped another cable on them. The computer, however, landed on a flash drive, which was plugged in. Which bent the USB portion, and broke it off…

…so I cut it open and started wiring leads to it, the idea being to just wire the leads back to the connector. 1st mistake: The leads would be to brittle, and just the mechanical force of plugging it in would break the solder joint. 2nd mistake: I wired up every connection (only needed for USB 3.0 operation) when I could have just wired four (for USB 2.0). I didn’t know this…

…3rd mistake: In doing this with a 45 watt Iron, I melted the fuck out of most of everything…

…So I put it on a breadboard, used alcohol to try and clean up the flux. Many of the connectors had melted (below?) the plastic, so I started sanding it down. I tried what I could to remove PCB plastic (alcohol, sanding, even modeling glue). But to no avail. Though I managed to get power, I could not get get the DATA i/o, manily because of how bad I fucked up with so much heat.

So yeah, that thing is dead. And I guess the lesson is to research first, and keep in mind, heat x connectors. And try and do the least amount of soldering work possible.

Good Point Podcast

Podcasts offer folks an avenue into thoughts and discussion, and the Good Point Podcast offers both of these to the minds of artists Jeremy Bailey and Rafael Rozendaal.

Topics of the podcast tend to cover issues in the present time, and are an interesting look at how artists navigate current culture.

Each episode usually reflects the title closely in discussion.

Some of my favorite episodes so far:

1. Online Presence

2. Meaning


3. Progress

Airfix Westland Sea King Hc.4 1/72 Model Kit

Make / Model: Airfix Westland Sea King Hc.4 1/72 Model Kit
Year: Recent?


Pretty Good. Attention to detail good. More detail than what you see, but not extremely in-depth. Great decals. Good quality plastic. Easy to remove pieces from sprues.

Ease of Assembly

A little difficult. Some of the parts (such as antennas) simply did not have holes in the body to be attached.


After building the Stearman with my daughter, I decided to pick up a model helicopter and try my hand at it. I really like helicopters, and my favorite is the MH-53. The store actually had that model. But it looked like a total pain in the ass to build. So I got this. I mean, a sea king is similar, right?…

fig. 1. Nice cockpit.

…right away, the cockpit detail was a little more than I was looking for. Some parts were a bit difficult, though this is a refeclection of my skill (novice) rather than anything else…

fig. 2. Full interior.

…I only have some primary colors of acrylics, and even then, I was missing yellow, so I did this thing with red an black ‘basics’ acrylics. I also picked up a little bottle of ‘tan’ testors enamel, which helped, for seats and stuff…

fig. 3. It’s a boat/helicopter!. Detail of some wash.

…I made a little wash from black acrylic and water, then painted it heavy, then wiped off, so the black stays in the recessed lines. Repeat until desired effect. After building this, I watched some youtube videos and learned companies make paints that do this, specifically. Crazy!…

fig. 4. Looking rough. Note: That is all wash, no paint.

…I also did a bunch of the black parts with a copic marker, instead of paint, cuz fuckit. Also, I didn’t have an easy way to apply a shitton of grey, so I just did the wash over the plastic’s native color. No other paint…

fig. 5 Basically done, minus a clear coat I applied later to protect wash.

…I built it with the stairs down, so the interior could be seen. I made no attempt to paint the clear parts. And I totally fucked a couple windows by using testors glue near them.


Overall, a fun build. But I defeintely didn’t do that great of a job with finishing. I was re-learning what to do here…

fig. 6 Clear coat made it look less ‘model-y’, probably due to lack of chassis paint.

After the clear coat, I thought it actually looked pretty good though. Odd.

Fun kit though, and I would like to build some more Airfix kits in the future, but probably only for aircraft I am super stoked on.

The Pinky Show

What do you get when you cross animated cats with radical politics, philosophy, and just general awesomeness?

The Pinky Show.

The show was a web series produced by a non-profit (Assoicated Animals Inc) that explored a variety of political and social issues, starting in 2005, and running until 2014.

Over that time, The Pinky Show produced comics, short-form videos, and longer-form videos addressing topics and subject matter that delved into topics deeper than the animations appearance may suggest.

The show produced many great, amazing works, but a few stand out the most to me…

1. We Love Museums… Do Museums Love Us Back?

This episode finds Pinky sidekick, Kim, reading a report they wrote on museums, and how they function in culture.

2. How To Solve Illegal Immigration

3. How To Spend 1.5 Billion Dollars

This episode has Pinky asking us why we spend so much money, to bomb people? It’s a simple question, rarely framed as such.

And thats what made the Pinky Show so interesting. It was a show where questions were framed outside of the status-quo understanding of the context, and appropriateness of such questions. It seems kid-like, these cats, because kids have not learned the contextual, status quo, basis for why some questions are not asked. And it’s in this innocence, that the question is explored.

Amazing stuff!

You can check out more about this project at their website, and per the terms of their Creative Commons License, you can feel free to share it with others happily.

This episode has Pinky interviewing Daisy, who has claimed to be able to solve ‘illegal’ immigration, quickly.

Simple Budgeting For Kids

Recently, we’ve been trying to figure a way to explain the concept of money to my daughter. She is 4, almost 5, and has a difficult time with concepts of more or less, yesterday versus last year, I think it’s more of a language barrier issue. However, explaining that there is a certain amount of money for her to spend, has become crucial, as she has latched on to all the heavily marketed toys targeted at her age range.

So in an effort to try and slim down her constant urge to acquire more toys, as well as explain why we just can’t (and shouldn’t) buy EVERYTHING, I decided to make a money chart.

Visual Maps

I took the cue for this, and explaining money, from something else that is helpful for autistic kids: Visual Maps.

These can be useful in explaining sequences of actions to kids in a way that can make more sense to them. For example, say you want to teach a kid about going to the store. You may dray a series of images, one of putting shoes on, putting a coat on, getting in the car, driving, then arriving at the store. If kids have issues related to transitions (which is common in autism) this can help ease anxiety, as well as aid in explaining more complex processes.

However, for money, I basically reduced the idea down to dollar. Essentially, you have to start somewhere, and rather than counting pennies, or explaining the need for money, or bordering on a discussion about what a dollar is in fiat currency (these conversations can go deep, with little result) I decided to turn this process into:

  1. Collect Dollars for item
  2. Aquire item

…very simple.

Making it Fun

So to make this something she is interested in, I took a picture of the toy she wanted, wrote it’s price, then made placeholders for each dollar required for it. Then, as she accumulates money, she can take the chart down, color the dollar in. And be happy with the progress.

Making Money

Of course, then we had to figure out where she would get money from. Should we just give an allowance? Well, after reading around the internet, I read of a chart system that the parents would qualify each chore for a percentage of that days available allowance: IE, complete days chores, get dollar. Complete only 75% percent, get 75 cents, essentially.

That would probably be too complex for her age. So we just decided to do arbitrary chores, with a max amount of money she can earn per week.

So between her mom and I, we check-in with each other about what chores we could have her do, how many she has done, and where she is on earning that weeks allowance.

It Works

So far it’s worked great. Madison is now doing chores. And coloring in her dollars is a favorite thing to do. Unfortunately, she likes earning money so much, that she wakes up in the morning asking to do chores, and would probably do chores all day if she could, just to earn a ton of money. Not ideal, but hey, atleast she is motivated.

What Is Learned

Essentially, with this system we are teaching her:

  1. The idea of currency
  2. The concept of currency as something that comes from labor
  3. That currency has scarcity
  4. The practice of saving for something you want
  5. Some idea of the value of her toys

Overall, it’s been a great thing, and it’s working out well. I’m sure as she gets older it will be revised to accomodate her more developed abilities to understand money, time, etc.

And now that she has money, she has her own wallet.

Glad we set this up.

About The Site

Llamatism is a collection of things, a cabinet of curiosities, and reports from explorations on things, by Gary Llama.

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