DIY Aeroponics

New Project: DIY Aero Garden

I’ve always been amused by / interested in Aero Gardens, an aeroponic tabletop indoor growing system for herbs and small plants. But $200 seems like a lot to spend on a wannabe space-age novelty item. So I started looking into what exactly they’re doing. And decided I want to attempt to make my own.

Aeroponics is the science behind growing plants in air (very very damp air). Like Hydroponics it uses no soil, and apparently this makes things grow faster. There’s a fair amout of chatter about it on the internet, mostly pertaining to the growing of illicit substances.

The plants sit in a nice sterile looking tray and the roots of the plant are suspended over a vat of water, which is either constantly or occasionally (I couldn’t tell which) spraying mist on them. Some sort of UV light gives the plants what they need to photosynthesize, and everyone lives happily ever after.

There are only a handful of basic things I need:

  • Some sort of base container for the water, preferably plastic so I can put holes in it as needed. Roughly the dimensions of this Rubbermaid container.
  • A water pump. I found a Micro Jet 450 for $16 on Amazon which is tiny and 120 GPH (gallons per hour) which *might* be enough.
  • Tubing and spray nozzles to hook up to said pump. Tubing I’ve got. Not sure where I’m going to find tiny spray nozzles to poke into it. These are apparently rated for 3 GPH.
  • Something to hold the plants. I plan on laser cutting this.
  • A light fixture and a light which plants will grow under

Looking at my parts list, this thing will probably be quite ugly, which is probably why Aero Garden gets away with being so expensive. Because it looks space age, and not like something you’d use to grow illicit plants. I’m starting my hunt for components, and will update as I find things and do more research.


6 Common Photo Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them

There are some photo mistakes I see over and over and over on Etsy. The good news is they’re easy to fix, and can make a huge difference in your photos.

One thing you do need is a decent camera. I have both a digital SLR (a Canon Rebel XT) and a point and shoot (Canon SD1100, now defunct, try the 1200 which is the updated version of my camera), and to tell you the truth I use the point and shoot for 90% of my product photos because it’s handy and takes fantastic photos. I’m a big fan of Canon cameras, but any camera which will let you turn off the flash and has a macro mode (for smaller items) is perfectly fine.

As a side note, a big thank you to all the sellers who were gracious enough to let me nitpick at their photos for the purpose of this article. Visit their shops when you’re done reading!

Just say no to heavy shadows Dark shadows around your items are no one’s friend. They can make the photograph look cluttered and detract from the item itself, sometimes making it difficult to see properly. Moondogfarm has picked a great background for her necklace, but the shadow behind the pendant makes the photo feel uneven.

The trick to avoiding hard shadow lines is to diffuse the light hitting it. If you’re taking photos inside try shining your lights through a thin sheet of white tissue paper, or bouncing the light off a white card instead of aiming it directly at the object. If you take outdoor photos try to take your photos early in the day or later towards the evening rather than in the afternoon when the sun is directly overhead. A slightly overcast or cloudy day can be a great day to photograph.

Beware the crop

Almost every online marketplace will resize or crop your photos in some way. Make sure you take this into consideration with your photos! This can be especially difficult with larger items.

Bytheway‘s vintage maternity dress features some nice details in the sleeve and collar, but unfortunately Etsy’s center crop means all we see is a navy blue stomach and part of an arm. But as sellers, we don’t have any control over that, so we need to do our own cropping before we upload. By trimming off the bottom of the original photo the crop is pushed up, including the collar and sleeve. You can (and should!) still use the second through fifth images to show the whole item.

headless_dressCropping the image just below the chest changes the aspect ratio of the photo and gives us a much more favorable crop (shown right). Just be careful you don’t cut it too short or you’ll start to lose some of the sides of the photo.

A lot of sellers choose to chop off their model’s heads in photos. Showing your full model (head included) in a photo can be helpful for buyers to get a feel for how the item drapes and falls, and your model’s head buys you some space above the shirt/dress. So when the image is center-cropped you’ll still be able to see the collar and shoulders of the item. Confused? Check out TheVelvetVixen’s photos: here’s the original in the listing, and here’s the cropped version.

Avoid busy backgrounds

KnotOriginal has clearly put some time into her staging, and her photos are interesting and engaging as a result. She has a beautiful scarf on the left, and a mannequin to display it on… but it’s lost in the complicated background. The horizontal lines of the railing and vertical lines of the ships’ masts draw the eye away from the scarf. Busy backgrounds compete with your item for attention. You want people to see your item, not where you took it.

But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life of white backgrounds. In fact white backgrounds are best avoided. They can be hard to photograph because they throw off your camera’s metering, and generally aren’t very interesting. Look at the photo on the right (also by KnotOriginal). The leaves in the background add texture without taking away from the item, and the contrasting color help it stand out.

Don’t let your edges show

If your background is a flat surface or plane, such as a table top or floor, take care not to let your edges show. Like a busy background it can detract from the item, drawing the eye away. The example on the left by andtherainfell is pretty mild – just a corner of a the window peeking in – but it’s still best avoided. And I’ve seen some really painful examples of this browsing Etsy.

Try changing your angle or crop to get rid of any unsightly edges. If you don’t have the luxury of a huge surface, or have larger items to photograph, work with your edges instead of against them. Try propping an item up against the wall, or bring other objects to serve as a backdrop and create visual interest. Just don’t let it get too busy. Using a shallow depth of field can also soften changes in your background, like domestikate’s photo on the right.

Unbalanced White Balance

Do your natural light photos have a bluish tint to them? You may want to check your camera’s white balance setting. Most digital cameras have settings for daylight, tungsten (incandescent lights) and fluorescent lighting. Select the option that best fits where you’re taking your photos. If possible, shoot your photos in RAW format, this saves the raw data without assigning a white balance profile to it. Instead you’ll select the appropriate lighting option when you convert the photos on your computer. Check the software which came with your camera or use a program like Photoshop to manipulate RAW files.

color_correctedIf your camera doesn’t support changing the white balance,  you don’t want to mess around with RAW files, or you’ve already taken your photos, you can still tweak the levels a little bit in a photo editor such as Gimp (free) or Photoshop (not so free). On the right we have the same photo, but after using Photoshop’s “auto color” option. Note that “auto color” won’t work well on all photos, particularly ones without a lot of contrast. If you aren’t happy with “auto color,” hit undo and go to Image > Adjustments > Color Balance. Move the top and bottom sliders slightly away from cyan and blue to warm up your image.

Pass up the white background

On the subject of white… sometimes a white background is best avoided all together. White backgrounds can be extremely tricky because they cause your camera to think the scene is lighter than it is, which can result in an underexposed photo. It also accentuates any unevenness or “hot spots” in your lighting. Post-processing with programs like Photoshop make things a little easier, but even then it can be hard to get an image that has natural looking shadows and edges.

Colored backgrounds tend to be much more forgiving. Linen fabric makes a good backdrop, or lightly patterned cotton. Stay away from velvet unless you really know what you’re doing – it’ll look cheap if you don’t. And for heavens sake iron your fabrics before you photograph on them, everyone can tell when you just chucked an item onto the bed to photograph it.

Practice Makes Perfect

Taking good product photos is an iterative process. You just have to do it a lot to get good at it. Reading photography articles is great, but at the end of the day you just have to sit down and try a bunch of different things to see what works for you. Try not to get discouraged, it’ll come slowly but surely.


Send Me Your Awful Photos

edit: thanks everyone who submitted photos, the post is now up here!

I want to write an article on how to improve your photos, but I feel like it would be a little self serving to just throw up pictures of my own work, take better photographs, and tell you how great I am now.

So if you’re an Etsy seller (or any other online marketplace) drop me a comment with a link to your shop, and I will tell you what sucks about your photos, but in a constructive way! Because I’ll tell you how to fix it too. This is my way of appearing philanthropic while actually just telling other people what to do.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “But Kellbot, your shop photos look incredibly mediocre. Why should we listen to anything you say?” And before pointing out that Roger Ebert hasn’t made any good films lately, I will show you proof that at one point, when I was less lazy, I did in fact take good photos of my work:

Haiku Bracelet

Fred: Closed

Now, I was in art school at the time, so I went for the Official Art School Gradient Effect. I suggest you avoid this in your product photos unless you are in fact selling high end art. Frankly it just looks silly on Amy Butler fabric purses.

So leave a comment with a link to your shop, or email me at if you’re shy. C’mon, send me your bad photos! I promise I won’t be too mean to them.


Electronics 101

The other day I needed to build a circuit to bump 3v up to something between 3.5 and 5 for my CHDK Remote Cable hack. I looked up a handful of schematics for circuits that do this… and realized I didn’t really understand what any of them were doing. At least not well enough to appropriate the circuit for my own needs.

I took Electricity and Magnetism second semester of my senior year of high school. Which is to say I don’t remember any of it. So I figured it was time I actually learn the math behind the electrical circuits I’m building instead of sticking things together haphazardly to see if they work. I remember how to use V=IR, but that doesn’t really answer the question “how do I bump 3v up to 3.5v?”

Teach Yourself Electricity and Electronics

I’m reading “Teach Yourself Electricity and Electronics” , so far I’m just as far as some basic concepts of DC and AC power. Of course I almost never do anything with AC power, but I suppose it’s handy to know.

The book itself is pretty dry. But it’s an electronics book, so I suppose any of them are going to be dry. If there are any other good basic electronics theory I’d love to hear them. On the plus side, this one is great for getting me to sleep.


Canon Camera Hacking With CHDK

This short and somewhat boring clip is the result of playing around with CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit). I’m working on a stop-motion animation for Tinysaur, but sadly neither of my cameras (a Canon Digital Rebel XT and a Canon SD1100IS Point and Shoot) had a built in timer that would shoot over and over indefinitely. Using the CHDK Ultra Intervalometer script I set my camera to take a shot every .5 seconds. Although it didn’t quite go that fast… I’ll get to that in a bit.

CHDK is a firmware add-on for Canon point and shoot cameras that lets you control absolutely every aspect of the shot. It loads from your SD card at boot, so it’s non-permanent (although you can set it to auto load). It gives you access to a plethora of fine tuning options and display monitors, and also lets you run scripts to take pictures based on time, motion detection, etc. But the most exciting thing I found is that there’s a script which will let you trigger the camera with a hacked USB cord with a switch.

img_0149Mine is shown on the left, it’s not very pretty. I spliced a reset switch into the +5v (red) wire. It uses a USB port for power, which makes it a little silly, although ok for my uses. Ideally you’d rig up a power supply along with the switch. I would have but I only had AA battery holders and it needs between 3.5V and 5V of juice. There are some neat hacks listed on the CHDK wiki for making remote cables out of old joysticks and flashlights and whatnot.

There’s a ton of documentation, but it’s a bit scattered around the CHDK wiki. Here’s what I did to get the Ultra Intervalometer script up and running. The instructions are almost identical for the USB remote script:

Getting CHDK going:

  • Grab a spare SD card and format it. If it’s >2 gig and you think you’ll want to auto boot CHDK, format it as FAT16 (‘format X: /fs:fat’ from the comand line). Leave it in your machine’s SD reader (which, by the way, you need for this).
  • Make sure you have a CHDK compatible camera. My SD1100 works well with it (and without it, for that matter), apparently the latest version of that camera (SD1200) doesn’t yet have a version of CHDK for it. CHDK isn’t available for SLR cameras.
  • Check your camera’s firmware version. Create a blank file called ver.req on the SD card. Put the card in your camera. Make sure the camera is set to playback mode and turn it on. Press “Func Set” and “Disp” at the same time. A screen with the firmware version should pop up.
  • Download the appropriate version of CHDK. Unzip it onto your SD card.
  • While not necessary to get CHDK running, now is a good time to stick the Ultra Intervalometer script on the card, so you don’t have to take it out to do it later. Copy the script code and save it as something like ‘ult_interval.bas’ in the SCRIPTS subdirectory on the SD card.
  • Pop the SD card in your camera.
  • Make sure your camera is set to playback and turn it on. Hit ‘Menu’ and scroll down, you should see an option to update the firmware. Do it!
  • When you update the firmware, the ‘print’ button will blink for a bit, strange things will happen, and you should see the CHDK splash screen. Hooray!

Now you can use the ‘print’ button to switch between the normal boring Canon menus / normal shooting and “<ALT>” mode, which brings up a totally different list of options when you press the Menu button, and triggers a script when you press the shutter release rather than taking a picture.

Using Ultra Intervalometer

  • Make sure you’re in <ALT> mode
  • Press Menu and scroll down to Script Parameters
  • Select “Load script from file” and select ultra_interval.bas or whatever you called the script.
  • Set the script parameters (those under the heading Ultra Intervalometer) to your whim. Use left/right to increase or decrease parameter values.
    • Delay 1st Shot (mins) – this is the time between when you start the script and the first shot, in minutes
    • Delay 1st Shot (secs) – As above, but seconds
    • Number of Shots – how many to take
    • Interval (minutes) – number of minutes between shots
    • Interval (seconds) – number of seconds between shots
    • Inerval (10th seconds) – as above, with 10ths of seconds
  • Exit out of the menu (by hitting menu)
  • Press the shutter to start the script. The camera will fire at the interval you chose, hooray! Press the shutter again if you want to stop the script before it finishes.

When I set the interval to 1 second I noticed that the camera wasn’t actually shooting that often. The ‘review’ period, where it shows you waht you just took, seemed to be getting in the way. I exited out of <ALT> mode and was able to set the review time to 0 seconds in the camera’s normal menu. I also turned off AF-Zoom. It still takes a little bit of time to auto focus between each shot,  I haven’t dug through enough of the CHDK documentation to find out how to only focus at the start of the sequence.

Here’s a short (ok, still boring) clip of my walk from NYC Resistor down the street, in search of some tacos:

Cooking, Exercise

Diet and Exercise Work. Film at 11.

As some of you may remember, at the beginning of May I realized I needed to do something about my diet / exercise levels as I crossed into the “overweight” BMI. While it’s true that BMI isn’t terribly accurate as it doesn’t account for your body fat vs muscle, I think it is fair to say that most of my weight was emphatically not muscle.

I made a number of changes to my lifestyle, some of which were relatively small, and some were larger. I enrolled in Weight Watchers, picked up a copy of EA Sports Active, and got more diligent in making sure I exercise every day (even if it’s just 10 minutes). The results speak for themselves:

Wii Fit Weight Chart

Food-wise the changes I’ve made have been pretty minor. I’ve cut out the constant snacking on candy bars, and that alone is probably the bulk of the weight loss. I’ve also switched to more whole grains. I still hate whole wheat bread, and have no intentions of switching from my plain white, but whole wheat pasta is surprisingly pretty much the same as the white stuff once you cover it in sauce. And in the morning I’m too tired to notice whether my multi-grain cheerios taste any different than the normal ones. 

I’m slowly adding more veggies to my diet. Lately I’ve been cooking a lot of broccoli because it’s easy. Throw it in a bowl in the microwave with some water, set a plate  (or, a lid, if you’re classy like that) on top to keep the moisture in, microwave for a couple minutes, add a slice of fat free american cheese, and consume. Normally I’m morally opposed to fat free cheese because its disgusting, but those american cheese slices are all chemicals anyway, so I can’t tell the difference.

Exercise is a little harder. I was doing 10-15 minutes of Wii Fit (mostly the Hula Hooping), and that was getting a little tedious, so I picked up a copy of EA Sports Active. It’s not a magic bullet, but it’s nice to have some variety in my exercise. EA Sports Active is also more resistance training than cardio, and I think the switch to that may be why there’s some weight bobbling in the past week or so. Cardio is better for burning calories, but building muscle raises your resting metabolsim, so you really want both. I’ve also been biking around Liberty State Park when I can. And doing little things like take the stairs on my commute (there are 4 flights down and 8 flights up on my morning trek).

I haven’t experienced a magical total body transformation, it’s only been a month and honestly I don’t have all that much to lose, but I can see some physical changes. My stomach seems to be retreating, and my arms actually have muscles in them. But mostly I’m just happy to feel like I’m in control of my weight instead of just watching the scale climb up up up.

Business, Crafting, Etsy

The Secret to Selling on Etsy

Every now and then I peek into the Etsy forums to gather information. It’s a good place to crowdsource… tons of people killing time on the internet who LOVE to share their opinion with you.

Invariably I see a thread asking about what the secret is to sell on Etsy, how people get so many sales, how much to relist in a day, etc. And I think I am fully qualified to answer these questions. I have an active Etsy shop, generally selling multiple items per day. I also used to work at Etsy, so I have an inside view of how the whole system works.

It turns out the secret to selling on Etsy is the same as selling anywhere: hard work and good products.

Ok, maybe that’s not the most helpful answer. So allow me to elaborate with a list of tips.

  • Take better photos.
    I don’t care how long you spent on your photos. They’re not good enough. Mine sure as heck aren’t. You need to do more than just snap an accurate picture of the product. You need to sell it. I’ve seen a lot of Etsy sellers complain that they shouldn’t have to be photographers. BS. You’re a salesman, and your photos are the biggest part of your sales pitch. If you aren’t willing to put serious and continuous effort into them then you’re not serious about selling online.
    For some quick tips, check out my article, Common Photo Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
  • Make something people want.
    Do market research. And no, posting a forum thread titled “do you think people want to buy ____” doesn’t count. Browse the sold items. What’s selling? Read blogs related to what you’re making. What are they featuring? Does your stuff fit in with that? Or are you still making stirrup pants? Stop. Stirrup pants hurt us all.
    Look at not just styles but also what people are selling. Where is there a void in the market? Fill it.
  • Make something other people aren’t.
    I hate to break it to you, but if you’re making snap bibs out of Amy Butler fabric you’re already at a disadvantage. Why? Because there are already 100 other people selling them. It’s like putting a Starbucks up on every corner and then wondering why you’re only getting 1/4 of the foot traffic.

    Do an Etsy search for your product. If you make bibs, search “bibs.” How many of the search results are the same as what you make? What makes yours different? It’s going to have to be something. Better photos, better prices, better selection, better construction, different style, whatever. But it’s got to be something or you’ll just be lost with the other 20,000 search results.

  • Build a cohesive line.
    Lets say you make pouches. Rectangular zippy pouches out of pretty fabrics. Great. So now you’re “that girl who makes pouches.” It’s pretty nondescript, and when I search for “pouch” on Etsy I’m going to get a ton of other people’s stuff, which I might like better.

    Pick a common theme and run with it. Make pouches in different shapes. Now you’re “that girl who makes round pouches,” and that already sets you apart from other people. Or maybe all of your fabric features skulls on it. Or flowers. Or math equations. Or your pouches all come with built in flashlights. Whatever. Transform yourself to “that person who makes generic” to “that person who makes specific.” You’ll stick in customers’ minds better, be easier to find, and sell more.

  • Give up.
    The flip side of building a line and putting all this effort into your products is you have to be able to let it go. If it’s not working out, you may just need to move on to something else. Not all of your ideas are going to be million dollar sell outs. That’s OK.

    A few years ago I had a line of jewelry that I liked, my friend liked, it went well together without being boring… and it didn’t sell. Anywhere. And for whatever reason I just kept trying to sell it other places instead of moving on or changing it. Needless to say it didn’t work, and I’ve still got a ton of stock for it lying around on a shelf. If you really want to sell, at some point you have to evaluate what you’re doing and change if it’s not working.

  • Take better photos.
    No really, it’s important. And yours still aren’t good enough.

Those are the big secrets. As far as relisting and other nonsense… I relist whenever things sell out, which is once a day or so. By selling something unique I find that even days later I’m still on the front page of search results

There’s also a lot of chatter about twittering/blogging, and whether those are good at driving sales. Yes and no. If you have something interesting to say, eventually people will read it, and if you’ve got your products showcased next to what you’re saying then it’s free advertising. But starting a blog and just posting when you list a new item isn’t interesting to anyone except you.

But it all comes back to your products. You can blog, twitter, and photograph all you want but it isn’t going to do a damned thing if you’re not selling an interesting product at the right price. So get off the Etsy forums and take a hard look at your products. Then fix them and try again.


Life-Size Katamari Lives

A long time ago, in a galaxy identical to this one, I wanted to make a life-sized Katamari, and use it to play Katamary Damacy on PS2. My friend Eric Skiff shot a video, and while it’s not quite a polished project, I decided it’s time to share it with the world.

My very technical schematic
My very technical schematic
It uses an optical mouse to track the ball. I gathered up some cheap PS2 controllers, ripped out the potentiometers on the analog sticks, and replaced it with a digital potentiometer and an arduino. The arduino takes signals from two PS/2 mice (one for each analog stick) and adjusts the potentiometer accordingly.

Ribbon cables soldered to where the joysticks used to be
Ribbon cables soldered to where the joysticks used to be
It’s the first circuit I’ve ever designed, so obviously it has a lot of room for improvement. The biggest one being that there are two separate power sources, one for the Arduino and one for the PS2. We’ve discussed lots of different ways to run the whole thing off the PS2’s power, but all of them require a little more studying on my part to fully understand. I started this project with almost no knowledge of physical computing. I got the “electricity is like a river” talk from my fellow Resistors, and a lot of pointers along the way.


Here’s the wiring schematic. I realize it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Basically the each mouse (one for each joystick) is wired up to the Arduino, and there’s a handy PS/2 library for Arduino which makes it easy to work with. It was also the first Arduino program I wrote after “make an LED blink.”

I used an AD5206 digital potentiometer chip, although the 5204 would work as you only need four channels (left x, left y, right x, right y). It’s a pretty simple circuit, and maybe when I have some time I’ll redo it to use an AVR and a single power source. It was a fun first electronics project.

Originally I wanted to use one of those giant yoga balls, to really get the scale. But it turns out those don’t roll very well on ball bearings. Luckily Adam had one of those mirror balls folks put in their gardens. Or at least I assume they do, no one I know has a big enough yard to put lawn ornaments in. While somewhat smaller and less impressive, it rolls much more easily.

This project wouldn’t have been vaguely possible without help from the fine folks at NYC Resistor, who very patiently explained things like “why do I need a pull up resistor?” Extra thanks to Eric who documented my work (something I forget to do) and Adam who helped me with EAGLE. Sadly I never did get around to properly etching a board for it (but I did have a lot of incorrectly etched boards).

You can find the music from the video at


EA Sports Active: Day 5

I’ve had a little more time to get used to EA Sports Active now. I stopped using the Balance Board in my workouts and that cut down on the annoying peripheral switching a lot. I’ve done four of the 30 Day Fitness Challenge workouts – yesterday was a scheduled rest day.

Now that I’m a few days into it, the preconfigured workouts – playlists, if you will – are what really make this title. The exercises are all similar to what’s in Wii Fit, but the controls feel sluggish and clunky compared to the balance board. But I’m getting a much more comprehensive workout because it’s leading me through a variety of exercises. On WiiFit I tend to just pick my favorites, do 10-15 minutes of those, and call it a day.

The lack of thought required to get a good workout out of EA Sports gives it a big boost in longevity. I really, really, didn’t feel like working out today, and thought about skipping it. Needless to say the pre-programmed workout was much more rigorous than the exercises I would have chosen this morning. So I got in a good workout despite myself.

I’ve seen a lot of WiiFit vs EA Sports Active articles, and I don’t think that’s really a fair comparison. If you’re just getting a wii as an exercise tool, you should probably go with EA Sports Active because it’s a little cheaper and gives you a better workout. But the price comparison overlooks the fact that WiiFit includes the Balance Board, which is a peripheral that’s useful in other games. Whereas EA Sports Active isn’t.

I’m a big fan of the idea of whole-body gaming, partly because I think it’s neat technology and partly because I like the idea of getting some exercise but find most sports incredibly boring. EA Sports Active is really just an interactive workout video. And it’s great at that, but if I wasn’t already interested in getting in shape I wouldn’t find it particularly compelling. Titles like Dance Dance Revolution SuperNova 2 and Shaun White Snowboarding are games, not exercise programs, and that’s more interesting to people like me who skipped PE as a kid. Unfortunately the Balance Board offerings so far have been pretty meager – most have received awful reviews. It’ll be interesting to see if publishers pick up the slack or just let the Balance Board go the way of the NES Power Pad.

Overall I think WiiFit and EA Sports are both good titles, but they server different needs. If you want a workout program, get EA Sports. If you want to play games and get your heart rate up a little along the way, get WiiFit.



I’ve been getting a lot of spam comments lately, mostly for Viagra and pictures of Paris Hilton nude, but as I was cleaning out the spam filter one caught my eye. I almost wish it was a legitimate comment:

Stargate Cast Member Hoax!!! These people are not even on the real set of Stargate. It looks like it was shot on green screen. I can tell. Just like the footage of the first American on the moon

Of course it was accompanied by some phishing / Miley Cyrus nude link… but the comment itself is hillarious to me.  As if anyone would go to trouble of staging a Stargate hoax of any kind. Also there may have been a period in college where I watched Stargate. A lot.