SitRep (a big-ish one)

Hi All.

Things I’ve been up to:

  • I refinished another bike seat. You might remember the previous (first!) seat I did a few months ago, but this was a much better job. I learned a bunch on the last one, and I was able to do a much cleaner job on this round. We’ll see how it holds up, now.
  • I wrote a tweet.

Let’s put aside the unfortunate typo, shall we? Actually, I relayed in a tweet something my wife does many times a day- which is to make a remarkably smart offhanded comment about something. In the two days since, it’s kind of slow-burned across twitter. It was meant as a quick jab back at the ALL STEM ALL THE TIME mentality. I’m finding that pretty toxic myself- all the stress on tech and science can (and has, I’d argue) led to technically amazing things with no moral/ethical thought. Facebook, for example. Totally amazing what they can do., and clearly without morals about doing it. Heck, twitter itself falls into that category. There’s a reason “Humanities” has the word “Human” in it, as we neglect those subjects at our own peril as a species.

  • I’ve been making bike riding videos over here. They’re short, to begin with (I’ve aimed for Instagram as a primary posting spot right now, and that’s capped at 60 seconds…) As much as anything, this is a way to keep pushing creatively. Like anything else, without practicing, creativity drops off, so I’m sharing my practice. If you care, they’re entirely (thus far) shot with my cell phone.
  • Did you know you can buy brand-new typewriter ribbons on Amazon? True story.

 

SitRep

Friday!

  • I took my “new” gravel bike out for it’s shakedown run today. Something like 13 miles in the hour I had (about 80% dirt/gravel, 20% pavement). Went better than I could ever hope. So much fun, and a nice change from the trail bike (and the trails I’ve been riding). Felt really good. More details on that project and bike here, if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • I’m trying to get back to the newsletter- it’s been a while since I sent one out, but it’s been hard to find the stuff I like and work up the enthusiasm required. Getting close, though, I think.
  • I’ve got a growing list of projects again. It’s interesting- that seems to come in waves for me. I’ll generate a pile of new ideas and projects, and then I’ll shift into executing on those projects. For those interested, I type each new project idea onto an index card, and post those to a cork board. When/if they get done, they get sorted into a index file.
  • I’m working on some paint projects that (might) tie into some fabric projects. Still in the testing stage (and there’s a long, long way to go).

SitRep

I’ve not done a SitRep in a while, from the look of my archives. Time to make a list!

  • So the OBS software that I highlighted a few weeks ago is pretty rad. It’s not the most stable bit of kit when you lean on it hard, but it can do some fun stuff. I worked out some animated lower-third graphics and got those working, so that’s neat. I’ve no personal plans for this right now, but it’s good to have in my back pocket.
  • I’m running Spectacle on my Mac now- it’s a utility add-on that gives you hot keys to manage windows and screen real estate. So now I can mash a key combination and make a window hop to the other screen, or take up exactly half of a screen on the left side, or the top third, or whatever. Super useful for when you’re juggling lots of windows (and I often am).
  • As you can tell from my last few posts here, I’ve been shooting more video and making little edits from them. Mostly of my riding bikes, for now, but it’s good to be thinking about framing and shots and whatnot, as that always seems to stoke my creative problem solving in other parts of my world. It’s like lifting weights for creativity.
  • I’m working on a bike project outlined here. I’m getting slowed at the moment by missing some stupid little parts (shifter cable housing, electrical tape, bar tape, etc), and from having to swap the bike to a different rear wheel. Anyway.

SitRep

Another.

  • I’ve been toying with a bit of new software- the Open Broadcaster Software package. It’s a pretty serious bit of kit, and I know I’m just scratching the surface.
  • Bike shock fork #1 is actually done. Well, sorta- the new seals I got aren’t exactly the same, and while they seem to be ok, time will tell. Also, the newer version of the fork I have is spec’d for 20wt shock oil- so that’s what I bought. My fork, it turns out, it spec’d for 7wt. I figure any oil is better than no oil, so I’ll see how it goes for a bit.
  • Planning a new audio gear rack case (so computers have one rack and audio has another).
  • Back to looking into camera-computer interfaces. HDMI into USB? Thunderbolt? Firewire?
  • Keyhole button holes are super hard to free-hand. Just FYI.
  • Found a jig to cut perfect circles with tools I already have- so speaker refurb project might be back on!

SitRep

Updates!

  • The new shoulder bag prototype is done. I’ve used it for about a week now, and while it’s answered some questions, it’s prompted others. I like having a good small shoulder bag again. I like the colors and textures I went with. I’m not sure I love how narrow it is. And I’m not in love with how the main access zipper moves when it’s converted into a backpack. But that’s what prototypes are for.
  • I’ve done a draft of a vest (waistcoat?) for myself. This is new territory for me. I’ve sewn lots of things from scratch. I’ve altered and repaired all sorts of clothing. But I’ve never made clothing from scratch. So: pattern first draft is made; I’m going to source some suitable material and sew a prototype of that. It’s one of those things I’ve wanted for a long time that I’ll never be able to convince myself to spend the sort of money required to buy a commercial version. So I’ll (eventually) make my own.
  • Finally figured out some organizational aspects of the studio space that should leave me with significantly more room to work in. I’m not sure it’ll ever be done (or stop evolving), but it’ll be a nice step forward.

Current Research:

  • Apple M01110 Keyboards
  • Apple HiFi conversions
  • GoogleVoice over a “real” cordless phone
  • Pallet blocks (machining style)
  • USB Embroidery Machines (and the apparently awful software that runs them)
  • Robust-ness of the PLEX live tv (and DVR) functionality

SitRep

Vacation is over, now- so it’s time to get back to projects.

  • Shoulder bag v4 is officially in the works. I finished making the pattern, and I’ve cut most of the major panels. The bottom and sides are one piece, and I’ve laminated the padding and fabric together- lining will go on next. Nearly all the hardware is pulled and ready, so I should be able to make steady progress.
  • Resoled ShoesMy shoe re-soling project is done, too. I didn’t have the amazingly heavy-duty belt sanders that cobblers use to flatten soles, so there was a lot of handwork to be done. That said, I’ve worn them a bunch since and they seem to be holding up well. I got a bit lucky, as the distressed esthetic of the shoes themselves lends well to the slightly less… perfect… finish I achieved. Regardless, they’re lovely and back in service.
  • The store is still there, but there’s also still nothing to actually buy in it- yet. V2 of the Chaordic Path Patch is still there and looking good, but I’m not quite there to send it off to production. Yet. YET.
  • Two shoe projects remain: a pair made from scratch for my wife, and a pair modified for me. I nearly had a pair to modify the other day- they were a half-size too small, and that wouldn’t do. So: still in the hunt, here. Also still looking for a better sole/midsole combo material for the scratch built pair.

Sketching

If you’re the one person who follows my SitReps here, you might be aware that I’v been working on designs for a new shoulder bag for some time. I’ve been edging steadily closer for the last few months, but it’s never come fully to the front of my list of projects.

It is now.

I’d like to have it ready for the Autumn, but that means starting to work on it now. It’ll take time to get materials in, make patterns, cut & sew, and finish. If I don’t start soon, I won’t be ready for the cool weather.

So the other night I sat down in the basement studio to sketch some- I had some ideas and design criteria, but I wanted to flesh things out. I’ll need detailed dimensional drawings soon, but first I need to understand the construction. Pencil and paper in hand, I got to work. Which is when the eldest child (8.5) rolled up next to me on her own chair to “help.”

Shoulder bag sketchesAnd you know what? She totally did. She started asking really interesting questions about how things would work and how the bag should look and behave. And as I drew, she kept asking these amazing questions- and the sketches kept coming and getting better. And now, after a bit of that, I’ve got the best design I’ve come up with in a good long while. It’s amazing what someone unafraid of asking questions can do for the creation process.

 

SitRep

Slowly Getting Things Done (SGTD®)

  • Shoe resole project is done. Shoes have been worn and didn’t even fall apart or anything. They definitely weigh more (what with all the rubber I’ve added…), but they’re totally comfortable and ready for the autumn.
  • Bike #2 (the Burrito Slayer) is completely ready for my vacation next week. Pedals got swapped, and I even managed to ride it on a bit of a shakedown- so that’s great. I’d love to eventually swap the handlebar, but that’s nothing like a priority.
  • Nearly all the picture framing queue has been dealt with- there are two longer-range items that need frames, but for now much of the backlog has been dealt with.  A bit of hanging to do as a result, but that’s mostly fun. It’s good to have much of the collection finally up on walls to be seen.
  • New shoulder bag design is making progress. I’ve had a couple of good ideas about straps and modularity, so I’m slowly getting towards being ready to source materials and start cutting. I’m still aiming for a very different esthetic than some of my other bag builds, and I’m trying (!) to mostly work with what I’ve got around here already (instead of some god-awful huge order of all-new stuff).
  • My new store is (slowly) coming along. I’ve re-designed the first patch offering there (which still isn’t for sale…) after reading some more about the process. Much of the text I’d originally included was going to be far too small to work, so I’ve removed much of it. The result, I think, is less complicated and better on the whole. I’m not entirely ready to pull the trigger on production yet, but closer.