SitRep

This is me trying to carry though on doing these posts more often.

  • I’m still on my move towards “old school” internet- less of the big-company managed mess, and more of the ‘ol home grown and home cooked. I’ve not hopped on the Shuttlecraft train just yet- I’m going to need for that to get a bit more mature- but I’ve got my eye on it.
  • My latest (v3!) experiment into a tamper-proof adhesive seal has apparently gone well. I’ve applied it for testing’s sake, and I’ll keep an eye on how it wears/ages. So far so good, though?
  • Deep down the rabbit hole for researching fruit-bearing bushes that I can add to the yard. We already have raspberry, blackberry, strawberry (not a bush, but whatever), and blueberry. I’m for-sure adding more blueberry this year, but I’m also looking at adding honey berry. All this drives the following question: if I’m building an orchard (and I am), should I be planting fruit-bearing bushes interspersed in it? (I think I should)
  • I’m starting to think about modifying the landscape around the house here- adding a Gingko tree (maybe? I’m worried about the allergen load, there), mountain laurel bushes, maybe some crabapple trees, and now I’m seeing golden (and black!) stemmed bamboo, and that seems pretty good (and useful, too).
  • I’m looking at studio upgrades- the new Mac mini M2’s are getting pretty rave reviews, and I’m thinking about replacing both of my aging mini’s with one. That said… I think that should maybe be my reward for building the new gear rack down here and populating it? Maybe that’ll give me the motivation to get that project over the line?
  • I’m increasingly fixated (?) on the idea of quadracycles. They’re kinda Europe’s answer to Kei cars (they have maximum dimensions, weight, power, and speed), and they’re totally not road-legal here. Anyway, they’re really all the car I’d want/need for most of my uses, and they’re just… so fucking practical. I don’t need 5000lbs of car to drive 10 miles to a train station at 35mph. I don’t need 300 miles of electric range and I don’t need autopilot or whatever. Right this minute, the Kilow La Bagnole (https://kilow.com) is tickling my fancy.

SitRep

It’s been a long time. I’d say I’m sorry (I’m not, really), but given the last three years or so, I think it’s reasonable to say that I didn’t have the bandwidth to devote to these. Maybe I do now, but the only way I’ll know is to start. So here we go.

  • Work: Crazy busy. Lots and lots of new projects (some that have been visible over the horizon, others not so much). Getting the allocation of resources sorted has been a lot of work.
  • Playing: I’ve been toying with alternate-internet-protocols. Some of it new (Mastodon, find me @nothingfuture@mastodon.social) some of it very, very old (finger nothingfuture@happynetbox.com), some of it weird (ActivityPub lets you follow people on Mastodon but also follow people on PixelFed and maybe Tumblr and Flickr soon and it all shows up in one unified feed?) I’m looking into Shuttlecraft next.
  • Bikes: Have been slow for the last couple months. Some of that is weather, but most of that is work being too busy and kids being home a lot more than normal. I’ve made some gear updates and whatnot, but what I really need to do is find a bit of time to get back out there.
  • Making: Has been slow as well, but I’m at least having some progress there. I’ve been playing a bit with Kydex (a thermoplastic mostly used for making knife sheaths and whatnot). I also got a teeny bit obsessed with a tamper-proof seal that I saw on a piece of Tom Sachs’ work (here: https://www.instagram.com/avantarteinsiders/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_rid=892cc317-345a-46fd-ba09-219537435c62) that I’ve begun trying to make a version of. Building back to doing new sewing project.
  • Video: I haven’t shot video in a year. I want to, on general principle, but… again, time? And also, I haven’t had much time to think about what I’d like to talk about there- I suppose the most obvious is to respond to what’s going on in that space, but… I dunno. I’m not sure I’m ready for that approach, yet.
  • Food: We’re making an effort as a family to explore new food- we, like lots of other people, tend to make the same ~8 recipes over and over and over, so we sat down with a stack of cookbooks and flagged anything that looked good- again, as a family. We’ve been doing about three new meals/week right now (though I’m sure we won’t sustain that pace), and we’ve found some serious winners. The Sichuan Pork Ragu from the Lucky Peach cookbook is a winner, as was the “Dollar Dumplings” recipe.

Anyway. That’ll do for now, I think.

Research List #45

It’s been a long, long time since I posted one of these, but I’m making something of a concerted effort to update things here more. Actual SitRep post incoming soon.

Things on the list I’m learning about:

  • SDR Antennas, Ham Radio Licenses, and Baofeng radios
  • SDI Video output and convertors
  • rack mount mixers (10 channels (5×2 stereo)?)
  • low profile non-IP enabled analog security camera systems
  • TamperProof seals for authentication and serializing of artwork
  • Growing Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) and Ginko (Ginkgo biloba)
  • Registration of multi-color silk screen prints
  • German square weave carpet, edging techniques, and how to seal carpet cuts
  • finger nothingfuture@happynetbox.com (god I love me some ancient protocols)
  • large-format (say, 20×28″) printing

SitRep

Christ I haven’t done one of these in a long, long time. Let’s do this thing.

We got a dog. A “Whoodle” (a cross between a Wheaten Terrier and a “Moyen” Poodle). She’s amazing and wonderful and a terror.

No goats yet. The garden and the dog and the transition back to in-person school and work were enough of a change that adding a pile of farm animals to the mix seemed a bit much. Still on the long-term plans, but need to do a shed and pasture fencing and whatnot first.

New garden was good- with more improvements to come. Larger, better use of compost and water, and more variety still. Corn! Herbs! More flowers! More fruit trees! Berries!

“New” bike is excellent. Walt was a pleasure to work with during a very difficult time, and he built a bike that was everything I could ask for. It was built for the type of riding I like, and boy does it excel at that. I’m still learning how to really exploit what it can do on the trail, but I’m also trying to shift to riding in flats on that bike.

I’ve been spending more time listening to music during work, and that means starting to spend time paying attention to the both the music I have and how I listen to that music. Short version: I’m going through my records and I have record players out again.

Update and Sitrep

Let’s see where things stand.

We did our first big trip with the family out west this summer to the Tetons, Dinosaur National Monument, and Yellowstone. I was initially worried about crowds at Yellowstone, but our trip was excellent. A totally, unmitigated success.

There are several new projects at work to stand up- two new Master’s programs, several smaller grants & stand alones, and a slightly higher degree of support for some existing programs (some instructor turn over and whatnot).

Bike projects about- I’m starting the long-term prep for a potential go at the D2R2 ride in August 2020. I’m currently considering the 100k option (which, like all the routes, is mostly unpaved, unmarked, and very hilly). The full-banana is a 180k option, but there’s an ungodly amount of climbing, and I’d rather start somewhat more conservatively on a first attempt. Anyway, that means the gravel bike (which has so far been mostly assembled as a proof-of-concept) will need to be brought up to full-spec. Drivetrain changes are sorted, but fenders, brakes, and rider fit need some ongoing refinement.

I’ve made some progress with the studio- though not as much as I’d like. Summer was, predictably, super busy, and there weren’t as many opportunities to invest large blocks of time as I might have hoped. Still- a bunch of stuff put into storage, some better organization, and I’ve opened up a good amount of floor space. I’m pleased it’s a much more efficient space to create in- that’s a major priority for me- but I think the next phase will further improve it’s function (and aesthetics)

I’ve been teaching myself to braze. Joining metal together is a powerful skill- it allows you to build things that mostly aren’t possible any other way, and brazing is (I think) the lowest cost entry into that world. I’ve brazed aluminum before, but that’s a much lower temperature (and much less strong) process, so I really wanted to get into brass brazing steel. It’s super fun, and I still have loads to learn, but it’s rewarding and maybe even useful.

Updates

I’ve updated the layout of this site- I’ve made the home page of the site static, and I’ve moved the Blog portion to the left side menu.

I’ve been updating my status blog for three months now, every day. Honestly, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll continue to do that.

I’m itching for a couple of larger building projects for the studio. The full-sized rack mount, a turntable stand (with aux gear) on casters, some large format art storage, and one or two other smaller bits. It’s so close, and I’d just like to get this phase sorted all the way.

There’s a long-term project I’m spending some time prepping for, too- travel with the family. That means a bunch of gear, so I’ll be busy designing/building/testing some of that in the coming months.

SitRep

I’m not entirely sure what to say, still. Regardless:

  • New bike frame has been ordered, shipped, and has come. Headset gets pressed in tomorrow, then a build (and maybe a ride. maybe). Pics when it’s together. I’ll say it’s steel, uses 26″ wheels, has a rear disc brake mount, and more “modern” geometry than the previous ride (which is a bit of a joke, it seems to me. But that’s a longer post).
  • New(ish) logo on this page- in the left menu, as well as in the title bar. Not 100% yet on it, but no reason to let perfect get in the way of progress.
  • I’ve started thinking about a new shoulder bag. Some of my jackets don’t really want to work properly with my backpack (anything with structured shoulders, really…), and so a shoulder bag is in the mix. I’d be pretty ok with one of these, I suspect- well, every aspect other than the price tag. So: drafting plans here. Could be a while, though. Tends to be how it goes.
  • I think I’m ready to really dive into a re-design of a trench coat I picked up. It’s a lovely thing, but it’s build as an over coat, and the layers it was built to wear over are significantly bulkier than anything I’m going to be wearing under it. And it needs some other work, too, so that’s a thing.

 

SitRep

New(ish)

  • 20mm to 15mm x 110mm front axel conversions for bicycle front wheels
  • Remaking a small shoulder bag to replace my existing (NF-P-126 spec)
  • Graphic Design Accessibility Standards (hints, anyone?)
  • Small tool organization
  • Movable vice mounting (casters are a terrible option)
  • 650b bike rims with an internal width of 38mm and welded seams
  • I’ve begun a shoe re-sole, but I need to build up a midsole somewhat before I continue

SitRep

Oh, my, how times flies. Things that have/are happening:

  • The shelf project lags on. Honestly, I’m polyurethane away from being done, but the temperatures have just been too low.
  • New computer project- progress! A slightly batty solution, perhaps, but interesting none-the-less.
  • Summer shoe purchase has arrived- the spiritual successor to my favorite summer shoes of all them, the mesh slip-on converse all stars (which, for reasons I don’t understand, they don’t make anymore).
  • At work, I’ve been working on some best practices for online video- and now I’m at the storyboard-it-out phase. I’m not looking forward to being on camera for this end product, but that’s part of the job, you know?
  • I’m shaping spacers to replace the tweeters on my vintage KLH Model 30 Speakers- these are hopefully destined for the study room, and they’re two steps away from done: new tweeters installed and speaker grill fabric replaced with something less hideous.
  • This site saw a bit of a behind the scenes overhaul- there were some nasty people trying to brute force their way into the WordPress install here, and I had to take some steps to deal with that. Done, anyway.

It’s Back.

So- it’s time. The newsletter is back.
I sent out a smaller edition of it last week, and that was fine. But it was short, and I’m hoping this week will be the first full-sized edition in a few weeks [edit: nope! still a small one…]. To that end, if you’ve not subscribed, you probably should (the sign up form is over on the left side of this page). I’ve realized that by volume, the vast majority of my writing is *actually* in my newsletters. Sure, they’re composed of a few links a week, but I try to offer some commentary as well as some context for my choices. Remember, what I’m trying to offer is a steady stream of useful and inspiring material that you might not have stumbled on yourself.
Anyway.
If you’ve been following here, you know that I’m “in between” computers at the moment. As a result, I’ve been writing and working on an iPad as my “primary” device- though, I suppose, if you were to do the math by calculating hours of screen time, my iPhone would be my “primary.” Whatever. The iPad I’ve been using used to be in heavy rotation by my kids, but they recently got upgraded devices, so me, not being someone who lets something go to waste, decided to see if I could make use of their old devices. I’m writing this now on an iPad. Not an iPad2, not an iPad Air, an iPad. The first one. OG.
Honestly? Not bad. I’d rather browse the web via my phone anyway, so that’s not much of a hangup. And I’d rather play games or consume media elsewhere, too- so that’s not much of an issue. Indeed, what I use this for is writing and drawing (and, I suppose, to a lesser degree for reading…). I just picked up a docking keyboard (the original Apple deal- which has a much nicer keyboard action that it has any right to…) for something like $6 on eBay. It’s a wickedly nice setup, now- it looks nice where it lives (which is weirdly the kitchen counter), it comes apart easily, and it’s a decent sized screen for me to write on. I managed to research, write, edit, do the graphic work, and send the newsletter entirely from this here ancient device. Not too shabby, eh? And this keyboard? No joke, this thing here. Great key action, lovely dedicated buttons to lock/unlock/home/play/volume/etc, and (this might be the best part) Tab actually works to move from text field to text field on the web. That’s key (sorry).
So. Where to next?
Obviously, my ancient device system isn’t workable for all my projects- I like the iPad on the counter in the kitchen, but it won’t do for heavy lifting tasks (In my world, that’d be photo management and editing, video editing and management, IoT development, and other administrative tasks). Clearly, then, a new computer is in the works. Likely an iMac, likely 27″, likely Retina. Speaking of IoT, that’s further to the front of my mind than ever. I have a garage project in the works for that, and the list of things I’d like to do keeps growing faster than I can manage, so plenty left on that front. Also, a slew of crafting projects (mostly in front of a sewing machine), and some looming house projects (getting the library up and running, for example). Plenty to keep busy.