Red Echo

March 31, 2008

Adam and I are building a loft in our new Rocket Factory space. We rented a hammer drill and anchored this 4×6 post with eight concrete bolts. Ahh, power tools.

Some workshops I would like to offer at the Rocket Factory this spring/summer:
– basic electronics: learn to solder, and make your own glowing LED badge
– slightly less basic electronics: make an adjustable blinking LED gadget
– basic sewing: learn to run a sewing machine, and make a utility belt with a holster-style bottle holder
– slightly less basic sewing: make a pair of raver-style fur leggings
– project: laserfingers
– project: laser hand-fans
– project: light-up water bottle
– project: sew your own custom-fitted kimono-style playa coat

It’s just about spring, and it’s time to get my motorcycle fixed up. My attention is focused elsewhere right now, and I don’t really feel like tinkering with it myself: Seattle riders, can you recommend a good shop for a slightly ratty ’82 Yamaha? It needs a carb adjustment, a new valve cover gasket, and a bunch of electrical work.

March 30, 2008

More work on the Jenna vest: I’ve added a back panel and yoke of heavy black canvas, with red silk piping using the lining fabric. Next will be a black silk panel along the fronts.

I spent the afternoon yesterday working on a vest for Jenna B. This is my first attempt at designing a top for a woman’s figure, and I had to learn how to make darts. Using a dress form makes a big difference! I think that part of what excites me about sewing is that I have the opportunity to pick up a new skill on almost every project I tackle.

Last night was the last Oracle party. They took over the whole CHAC, upstairs and downstairs, and put so much work into decoration that it was difficult to recognize the place. I spent the night marvelling at the energy and enthusiasm practically everyone there had put into their outfits. It was a really happy, creative, friendly party, and at least one of the three dance rooms was always playing something I could get into.

I wore my dark red fur / suspenders / hat outfit. The leggings are supposed to have lights, but I couldn’t find a pair of matching light packs. I don’t know where they all went. I guess I will have to make some new ones; anyway, I have a new design I’ve been wanting to try out. Instead of legging-lights, I scrubbed some of the playa dust off my old standby, the LAVI laser pack. I’ve been wearing it out dancing for three years now, so it doesn’t excite me much anymore, but the point is really to watch other people get a kick out of it, and it still works well at that.

March 28, 2008

la nieve

March 27, 2008

More music last night, with Michael H. The gig rack worked as I’d hoped it would – setup took maybe five minutes. I have a compressor running on the Repeater’s output now, which really makes things easier. I still have to worry about relative track levels, but I can start with a couple of quiet loops and build up to a wall of noise without overwhelming the drum machine along the way.

It was snowing out, and we were in a down-tempo mood, so we played a lot of trippy, spacey, twisted-up stuff. At one point Michael suggested turning off the beats altogether, and we went off into the drone zone for thirty or forty minutes. It’s all pretty weird and experimental, but it’s a direction I am excited about.

March 26, 2008

Spring is making its way in. I’m done travelling for a while. The shop is coming together. Life is good. I feel a lot of creative energy right now, and intend to spend a lot of time over the next month making music, creating clothes, and ramping up the Rocket Factory.

Dawn invited me over last night to jam with her new band. It was not a great musical fit, but it is always fun to get out and play. Tonight I’m heading over to Michael H.’s place for another round of improvised loops and beats. I’m adding a compressor and a drum machine to the mix, and intend to focus more on dynamics changes, doing more distinct builds and breaks.

I went over to Nancy’s Sewing Basket on Queen Anne yesterday. I’ve been frustrated by the limited range and generally low quality of the material available at Pacific Fabrics (and especially Joann’s!); Stitches has great stuff, but it’s a very small store with an accordingly limited selection. Apparently Nancy’s is the source I’ve been missing. I chose two shades of blue wool gabardine for the shell and a nice shimmery tan silk for the lining. This will become a hip-length, double-breasted jacket with a banded collar, epaulets, and a whole lot of details I don’t know the names for.

March 24, 2008

Miss Black

I’ve just posted another dozen photos from my Australia trip on Flickr. These are scans from film, not digital photos, so they take longer.

March 23, 2008

My new gig rack, with all the hardware attached. Fitting all the power supplies and cabling inside and anchoring everything in place with zip ties was surprisingly tiring work.

March 21, 2008

In the plane on the way home, wrapping up Real World and three months of too-frequent travel. I have six weeks’ rest before my next trip.

March 20, 2008

At Real World 2008

March 16, 2008

I went over to Michael H.’s place on Thursday for another evening of music-making. This time I brought my Repeater and some other gear along with the keyboard, so I could record multiple layers of sound and let them loop. This worked really well with Michael’s computer setup, and we jammed for about an hour and a half straight. It was fun. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes next.

I need to make my music system more portable. I have looked at various gig racks but they are all too big, too awkward, or too ugly. I decided that specific needs demanded a specialized solution, and spent the afternoon today building a custom console box. If I set it just above and in back of my keyboard, this will put all the most important controls right at finger’s reach. All the wiring will go inside the box, so I can leave all the devices connected to each other, and setting up somewhere will be a matter of connecting the keyboard, the audio output, and one single power cord.

New gig rack

March 15, 2008

Adam, Janet, and I met at the Blue Star for a very late breakfast, then rambled over to the Rocket Factory to have a look around and see what sort of work was in front of us. We were pleased to find that the landlord had followed through on his promise to replace the roof, and there was no sign of any recent leakage. We ran some errands, got some supplies, and then set to work. I rigged up a stereo system, using John M.’s old PA speakers; we consolidated and packed away the contents of four palettes, which opened up a lot of floor space; Adam donned respirator and mask, and cleaned up the mold on the ceiling; and then we set up a basic workbench. After that it was time for beer and sandwiches over at the Hale’s brewery.

There is a lot of work to do, but I feel more positive about the space now than I did back in December. The landlord has agreed to do something about the crumbly part of the concrete floor, and we have mapped out a substantial but finite list of construction projects that will create a solid work environment. The building looks smaller than our old Georgetown shop, which was 400 square feet, but I measured the new place today and it actually comes out to 500 square feet. I guess it is an illusion caused by the lower ceiling.

There is a Bad Things show over at the Sunset tonight, but I was out late last night and worked hard today, so I think I will take it easy. There are a few sewing projects I’ve been wanting to work on – I still have three more frogs to sew onto my white vest, and I’d like to convert a few of my shirts to use cuff links.

Adam cleans all the nasty-looking mold off the ceiling of the Rocket Factory

March 12, 2008

March 11, 2008

Here’s an instructable about building an LED work lamp, including some helpful commentary about running LEDs on AC power. This is basically the same way those LED christmas light strings work.

This essay arguing that “inheritance is evil, and must be destroyed” puts its case a bit strongly for my taste but articulates a fundamentally solid point. One thing I’ve always liked about RB is its stylistic preference for shallow class hierarchies.

March 10, 2008

I’m back home. It is, of course, raining. Two weeks of mostly sunshine was a nice break, and it will be spring here soon enough, but the dark skies on top of the jet-lag leave me feeling a bit disoriented.

I left my phone at the San Francisco airport. I had a longish layover, so I plugged in the charger, found a comfortable spot in the departure lounge, and settled in with a magazine. Next thing I knew I was waking up to the sound of my name on the PA. I made the flight, but forgot all about the phone until the plane landed. Oh well – the phone was pretty old anyway, but rebuilding the contact list will be a lot of work.

The Blackberry Pearl is tempting because it’s small, has email, and comes in red. I’m not completely sure about the whole mobile internet thing, but it can’t hurt to try it out.

Driving on the left was easier than I expected. I had a couple of slightly disorienting moments when dealing with complex roundabouts, but never actually ended up on the wrong side. On returning home, however, I find I have mentally swapped the turn-indicator and windshield-wiper controls.

March 8, 2008

Traveling back home

I went surfing yesterday at Smith Beach, out on Philip Island. I stopped at a wildlife sanctuary on the way back and hung out with some kangaroos. I’ll post photos when I get back. Right now I’m in the Sydney airport, waiting for the long transpacific leg of the trip home. This has been a very good couple of weeks away, but I’m tired, and ready to get back to my life. There are projects and life changes and a great busy summer ahead.

March 7, 2008

I had kangaroo for breakfast. It was good, rich, a little strange, and did not taste at all like chicken.

March 6, 2008

March 5, 2008

March 4, 2008

March 2, 2008

March 1, 2008