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.

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.

SitRep

For a host of reasons I’d rather not go into here, it’s not been a great week. But I’ve been chipping away at the lists and the projects and I’m determined through shear perseverance to make things better. SO THERE.

The state of things (short version):

  • My Jeans Shop shoes are nearly done. Commando soles have gone on with just some tiny detail work to finish and I’ll be able to (finally!) wear them again. They’re a great fall shoe, so the timing even works.
  • “New” bike saddle hasn’t exploded in flames yet. So that’s great.
  • I’ve made a teeny bit of progress on my new custom sneakers- but that’s ever-so-slightly back burnered until I clear one or two other things off the docket first.
  • Speaking of other projects: I’ve been working on the design for a series of patches. Good old-fashion embroidered patches with iron-on backing. I’ve got two mostly done, and another two in design progress. Be forewarned, though: these will be shortish runs. You’ll find them (eventually) here.
  • Slow, slow, slow progress on the new shoulder bag. Stumbled upon a lovely way to do the bottom of the bag, and I’ve been collecting reference pictures of bags to help work out some of the other details about size & construction. Still trying to get away from so much of the “tactical” look but retain functionality and durability.

SitRep

Another one!

  • Bike seat is done. It came out pretty well, I think- though, to my eyes not perfect. That’s ok, as I’m just going to park my butt on this thing and pedal, so perfect was only ever going to be a temporary condition anyway. I ended up using some vinyl to cover it (instead of leather), as it was cheaper, readily available, and would bother me less if I screwed up. I figure if I’m wildly dissatisfied I can always rip everything off and start over. [edit: held up on the first ride!]
  • My dad and I have been working on a IoT project for my garage doors- it’ll give me the ability to monitor their state remotely. I’ve got most of the hardware installed, and now it’s on to debugging.
  • Three shoe projects in the works, now.
    • One: me finally getting around to finishing a resoling project on a pair of Jeans Shop shoes I’ve had for ages. I’ve decided to convert them to treaded soles while I’m at it too, for a bit more all-season traction. I need to grab another 8-10 1″ Spring Clamps (and remove the rubber from them) to finish this.
    • Two: My customization of a pair of sneakers is slowly moving forward. It’s looking more and more like I won’t be able to get a pair of the shoes I’ve coveted for so long, so it’s time to start looking at DIY options. Side note: did you know you can totally just buy big sheets of cork in specified thicknesses? Super useful.
    • Three: A pair of Tim’s-Not-Tom’s shoes for my wife are starting to come together, too. I’ve got materials for the uppers, lining, footbed, and midsole. Still looking at options for the outsole, though- I’ve not been overly pleased with what I’ve found for this previously. Tom’s combines the midsole and outsole in their shoes- it appears to be EVA foam with rubber strands baked in, and I’ve not found a source for that directly. Wouldn’t mind a bit more traction for these, too.
  • Shoulder bag v4 is still on my brain. I’m trying to design it to retain the features and functionality I want, but with a less “tactical” look to the thing. Less black Cordura and webbing; more earth tones and subtlety. That means some of the fabric I had earmarked won’t work anymore, so back to sourcing that.
  • Starting another long-term project for my bike. I’ll be a hand built part of the drivetrain, and I’ve already got the slab of brass I’ll need to build it. I’m going to need to actually get my vise mounted again to do this one, though. And some soft jaws for it. And my wits about me, as it were. And maybe upgrade some of my files.

SitRep

Projects abound.

  • Working on the newsletter [HSP #83] to go out soon, I hope. It’s been so busy for the last few weeks that having time to find content has been tough- hopefully I’ll be out of most of that soon.
  • Bicycle SeatMy favorite bicycle saddle is pretty hard to find in it’s original incarnation. I’m luck to have one on my road bike, but I’ve been itching for another for a mountain bike for a while now- and I’ve sort-of had it. My second saddle was in a sorry state- all the leather and padding for the front half had worn off, and it was pretty much unusable in that state. So I decided to take a swing a re-working it. Currently, the padding is (I think) pretty much done- now it’s time to source leather and figure out how to best mount that.
  • SuppliesThere’s a pair of shoes I’ve had my eye on for a long time. They were super rare and wildly expensive- and I was unwilling to spend the sort of money required. Now, though, there’s a new version being released. More robust, less expensive, and lovely in every way. But: there’s a decent chance I won’t be able to get my hands on a pair- or that the price will still be too much to stomach. So: a new shoe project for me, then. Still working on some details (and how far down this rabbit hole I want to go), but progress none the less.
  • Hand Made KeyboardHoly smokes, remember that keyboard project from a year ago I was working on? Yeah, that. Progress! I have firmware up and running on it- still lots to sort out, but it’s kind of working now. Still plenty to do, but it’s closer to being done than ever before. Everything is tiny and hard to solder, and the firmware (while easier than I feared) is still a byzantine and borderline occult process. Regardless: I’ll be able to say I built this keyboard by hand from scratch. So that’s something, I suppose.
  • There’s been some (but, if I’m honest, not tons) of progress on the new shoulder bag project. I’m pretty sure I have the hardware I need- and even much/most of the fabric. But there’s some research to be done and an order to put in for the rest, and I just haven’t had a lot of time to devote to it recently.