Wood that help?

Heh.

Sorry, puntastic title today.

Still needed some cheering up.

Today has been, in my own little personal realm, positive and pleasant. I spent the morning with a friend marking up the timber for the improbably difficult chair I’ve chosen to build. This 4 or so hours of escapism made me feel faintly human again. Because politically, things are pretty bad. So, let’s tell you about the chair before I start gently weeping.

Mid-century modern, and based on apparently a Brazilian design, I’ve chosen to make it from some maple which is… well, it’s a little close to heart wood, and will probably bend and warp as I cut it. It also has, essentially, no 90 degree angles – and I note, they’ve not put the fricking angles on the diagram of the pieces. Similarly, they’ve not actually put some of the thicknesses on some of the diagrams.

My current plan is to enlarge the diagram, measure the angles (I roughly measured them today, so I could sketch out where I think I’m cutting most of the parts from). I marked up one of the pieces of wood with the chunks I need to crosscut and the chunks to rip. Because it’s a longish board and the bits I need are mostly 20″ or so, but all different widths, it’s going to be a fairly complex job. I’m hoping that because I’m doing that now, the bits that are going to bend and warp and do horrid things might get that over and done with before I start trying to make complex shapes from them.

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This incidentally, is the model of simplicity.

The advantage is I’ve chosen Western Maple, which is a pretty common wood around here. I also volunteer at a place where they get wood donations, and have a supply of very reasonably priced timber.

So that’s the good bit, the bit makes me feel like this move hasn’t been a terrible idea. Being near Kathryn’s family and near friends who have always been very distant (at the expense of being far from friends who were nearby). That and a work/life balance which at the moment feels pretty much perfect. I work just over half time, and that (theoretically) should provide enough money for us to live on (with Kathryn’s income, not by myself, obviously). That in turn means that I can engage in hobbies, work on stuff for Transport Evolved, and volunteer. I realise this is incredibly lucky.

What’s feeling terrifying is the othering by #45 of trans people. While, thanks to the work of decent reporters, we can call bullshit on the costs excuse, nervousness is starting to ripple into daily life. This othering, it makes it easier for the bigots to bring hatred down upon those of us being othered, and reminds me in a very unnerving way of the precursors to the destruction of the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft and its archives, and the treatment of both LGBTQ people and Jewish people in pre-war Germany. I note also that there’s action by the (in)justice department to strip LGBTQ employment protections. All of this makes me feel incredibly wary.

On the one hand I don’t want to equate what’s happening now with 1930’s Germany, but historians keep doing that. Which I think reduces the Godwin’s law possibility of me just assuming that.

Following the house inspection…

…and the debacle with the first contractor, a second contractor came out and gave us almost the same quote plus a ballpark figure for the shell of the addition we want built.

Both of which came in affordable.

Which means that yesterday we said “yeah, we’ll offer 2.5k less than we said originally, and we’ll fix it”. Yes. We said “we’ll buy that” to a house which currently has at least one support beam you can apparently crush with your hand.

So that’s exciting.

Now in 3D!

So, I finally got to do some playing with the 3D printer I bought last year. It’s a Monoprice Select Mini 3D – a printer with a reputation for being incredibly cheap. Which it was; which is why I have it.

Anyhow, I had a plan to make a replacement quick release plate for the tripod I bought from goodwill. It’s a cheap not-quite-fluid-but-mimics-fluid-motion tripod. Which is fine, I just needed something fairly solid to stick the camera on. However, it – like seemingly nearly all the tripods at our local goodwill – was missing its quick release head. So I thought I’d give a bit of design and print a go.

What I ended up with is this. Which was an interesting learning experience. I kept having the sloped section at the end printing separately, which is how it ended up with this version where it overlaps a bit. I’ve now got a bit better, I think, at making stuff join together, so I’d fix that if I ever reprint it. If I was to reprint it, I’d make it about 1mm wider too, and possibly reinstate the sloped section that I did have at the opposite end from the current slope (which I chopped off for simplicity, but which would improve fit a little). I’d also make the recess for the bolt that acts as a camera screw a bit deeper.

Anyhow. Having eventually achieved success (I both got it to print AND it actually fits!), I then stepped up my game to produce a doohick to hold my tablet underneath the camera so it can act as a teleprompter. Now really, if I end up doing more videos then I should probably step it up to a proper teleprompter. But, for the moment I have this:

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Irritatingly, my local hardware shop doesn’t have any long enough screws in either metric or imperial; and for once my dad’s box of a billion screws failed me (although I think in the sub-box of a thousand screws which is somewhere in one of the many boxes around the place, there probably is the screw I’m after). There are several refinements I should make to this, too. But I’m not really likely to.

But it’s here:

It should work okay, so long as I’m some distance from the camera. That way you can’t so obviously see I’m looking just below it.

Anyhow. I’m very much enjoying the 3D printing. Although I am the least efficient designer in the history of time. It took 2 printed iterations of the tablet holder for me to realise that the design is lacking a few things. Really it would also benefit from a spring to pull the two clamps together. And the version of the design I first printed was over complicated and one-clamp based, for reasons that currently escape me. The new version just has two copies of the same clamp. Much easier. Thankfully the one-clamp bit will work with the two-clamp design. So I didn’t have to reprint it.

Funnily enough, after months of failure, it seems dumping the printer in the corner of the cupboard where I can’t tweak the adjustment easily has proven to be the key. It seems to happily print away (although adhesion remains a problem. Justin suggested a different hairspray-as-adhesive a while back, so I shall give that a go at some point).

Anyway, yay. Yay for making things. Sorta.

Now I just need to find the wood for my chair project.

Really? A-f*cking-gain?

So, I don’t know what it is. Something about our luck. And I’m trying not to ascribe it to the whole of the US, because I know that’s unfair, but the crappyness of the buildings we’ve seen, and the utterly appaulling quality of renovations we’re seeing does make me wonder if this is a cultural thing. That just throwing up a building, then doing shoddy work on it for a while, until it falls down, that might be a thing? I don’t know.

And maybe it’s just that the all but one of the very oldest houses we’ve looked at here to buy are the same age as the newest houses I’ve worked on or looked at in the UK? I know new houses are f’kin shonky in the UK, so maybe it’s just that we’re looking at the equivalent of UK modern houses here? Whatever it is, it’s beginning to make me feel very fed up.

Maybe it’s just that we naturally attract shonky-ass crap houses.

So, the house inspection showed up that there had been water in the crawl space (void) under the house. He suggested that the slope of the ground around the house, and a failure to have a gap between the foundation and the grass was at fault. That run-off was pooling in the space. That had then encouraged wood-boring-animals into the wood, so some of the support pillars for the building would need replacing. He recommended getting a wood-boring knowledgable person in to identify what needed doing.

The pest guy identify a couple of pillars that he knew would need replacing, and the beetle treatment would not be terribly expensive. But he said we needed to sort out the water ingress problem. And he recommended getting a contractor in to check the pillars to identify which ones needed replacing.

Today we had possibly the worst matched contractor we’ve ever had quote on work come and quote for repair work because. He was also meant to be discussing ballpark figures for the addition (extension) that we want to do; but… that didn’t happen.

Anyhow, he says that the is of the opinion that there’s around 1′ of water sitting in the crawlspace through the winter, because of a “low water table”. I’m assuming he means “high water table”. Anyhow, that would require modifications to the foundations to enable the water to drain.

And that would not be cheap.

As this is the n’th house we’ve seen with some hideous problem that the owner really should have had fixed years ago. Like 39 years ago, when it was first f’kin built, I’m beginning to want to scream.

Also, being mansplained to for an hour, by someone completely unwilling to actually listen to what we wanted done, that didn’t really help my mood. But I’m going right off the idea of buying a house here*.

So yay.

* To be honest, the urge to flee has been around. But hey. It comes and goes.

A rest is as good as a rest.

This second week of my new work schedule – the low shift count week has been amazingly restorative. I’m feeling pretty much human and am trying to learn that I don’t need to do everything “today”. I have always felt this pressure that if I have a thing I want to do, that I need to get it done now. That if I’ve set aside some time to do something then that is when I need to do it. I’m trying to get into a different mindset and put that habit out of my life.

I’ve got some things I want to do, and very few of those things are that time-critical. I needed to make the pork pies I’ve decided to make, because I don’t want the meat to go off. But I don’t need to run around and try and get the wood for the chair I want to build – because there’s no rush on that.

I want to do a whole bunch of things, and hopefully I can get through doing some of them. People look at me weirdly when I say I’m happy working part time. But I don’t have this puritanical need to spend every waking second working for someone. I have plenty of things I want to do…

This week I’ve baked a cake, hopefully made two pork pies, actually designed and made things using the 3D printer (the missing mount from the top of the tripod, a clamp to go on the tripod and (theoretically) hold my tablet).

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There’s something deeply enjoyable about sketching out a design in a 3D modeller, hitting print, and having a physical object that does what you want. Or, in this case, needs a small amount of modification to do what you want.. :)

But it’s really rather pleasant. An unexpected treat, let’s say. I thought I’d enjoy working with 3D modelling, but really had no idea how much I’d enjoy it. The answer is “quite a lot”, apparently.

I’ve also read Finding Pax which I picked up while we were on our weekend break up in Port Townsend. It was one of those noodling in bookshop pick-up a random book – oh, this is fascinating moments. I suppose it scratches the mystery/detective itch which I’m afflicted with in a curious way.

All in all, I’m starting to feel more like returning to society. Of course, society is trying to fuck itself up spectacularly, at least here in the US. So I’m not sure it’s ready for me.

Space to breathe

So, I’ve taken a few days off between old job and new(old) job. Sort of. I have done induction for the new(old) job but apart from 2 and a bit days of that I’ve relaxed, read, and taken some time to recuperate (mentally). I’m still struggling with the fact I’m not working 100% of the time.

I’m starting to feel better about it, and less often finding myself incredibly tense feeling like I should be working. I’ve actually read a book for pleasure (A Closed and Common Orbit – which I highly recommend. While I found A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet slightly in need of an editor, this book is way tighter).