Red Echo

August 21, 2009

Project status updates:
– playa trike: got construction pretty far along only to discover a major design flaw in the steering geometry. Fixable, but clearly not happening in time for this year’s burn.
– DJ machine: lots of progress, nearly done, put aside til after the burn. All hardware mounted in the case, all power and MIDI routing finished, half the audio routing done. I need some longer 90-degree-connector patch cables.
– motorcycle: Found a brand-new lens cover at and installed it in place of the patched-up one. Saddlebags arrived: need to invent some kind of mounting bracket for them.
– finally, at long last, finished tailoring Maja’s furry pink vest. Still need to attach and power the array of LEDs. The half a dozen mintyboost kits I ordered arrived; I’m going to skip the USB connector and set them up to produce 12V instead of 5V.

August 16, 2009


August 15, 2009

Pat & Tanya’s wedding

August 14, 2009


I’m too busy doing stuff lately to spend much time writing about it.

Projects under way this week:
– groovik’s cube: helped finish up the sewing, minor fix to the dimmer board
– playa trike: bought tires & tubes, and a cool pair of black-and-white star pattern hand grips
– Tanya’s wedding dress: wedding is Saturday, sewing still under way! Helped cut some replacement ruffle strip material, sewed & trimmed the skirt and bodice
– DJ machine: applied last coat of polyurethane, cut holes and installed power & audio sockets, mounted handle
– motorcycle: cut & glued acrylic panels to repair broken taillight lens (smashed by some inconsiderate or inebriated person while parked on Broadway)
– art studio at Sunrise: more unpacking and setup

remaining this weekend: more work on the playa trike; Pat & Tanya’s wedding; initial round of cleaning, sorting, and repacking burning man bins; alterations to playa tent.

August 12, 2009

Nothing is ever finished; completion is a state of the imagination, which is unbounded. Things exist; things change; one can draw satisfaction from doing work to accomplish a change, but satisfaction drawn from completion, or arrival, is forever elusive.

August 10, 2009

Mount Whitney and the Alabama Hills

August 7, 2009

I’ve been roaring away on various projects this week, chief among them of course the groovik’s cube. I’ve made a couple of minor changes to the dimmer code, but mostly I’ve been helping sew fabric panels. We’re using white ripstop nylon squares for the projection screens, with long strips of black lycra to divide them. As with anything on this project, each individual piece may not be a big deal but when you have to cut, pin, and sew forty or fifty of them even something simple takes a long time. And this isn’t really simple: we are sewing heavy-duty velcro onto ripstop nylon and spandex! This could only be more annoying if we had somehow involved silk or faux-fur.

Also finished re-engineering my bed frame. It’s a simple platform bed; I picked up a headboard a while back which has been sitting between the bed frame and the wall, looking pretty but not actually attached to the bed at all. This is awkward, because the bed frame tends to slide away from the wall if you sit up and lean against the headboard, and because there’s a large gap which eats pillows. I finally decided to do something about this. The bed frame’s bolt pattern is not even close to compatible with the headboard, so I cut a 1×6 oak plank to match the frame’s width, finished it to match the headboard, drilled some holes and installed T-nuts, then bolted the whole thing together. Simple project, but satisfying, and now I can use the headboard as a back rest when reading in bed.

Today I am reorganizing my studio space – I picked up a third work table. This one will become my “dirty bench”, and the current (slightly smaller) table it replaces will move over by the window and become a music station, holding my keyboard and DJ rig.

August 3, 2009

music machine case with three finish coats

August 1, 2009

Garage sale

I happened to see a pair of carved teak panels at a garage sale, and mentioned them to Cat and Sam when I got home. Moments later, the three of us plus our houseguest Glenn were in my car heading back to the spot. A little browsing, a little haggling, and away we went. Of course there happened to be another sale around the corner – a spectacularly large one, clearing out fifty years’ worth of basement junk – and our little expedition ended up lasting a couple of hours.

I picked up another typewriter: a Royal, “Quiet De Luxe” model. I hadn’t realized I was in the market for another typewriter, but it’s a classic design and the machine is in excellent condition. I’m not sure of its age, but these were popular in the late forties, and that seems reasonable for a relic from Grandma’s basement.

Another find was a cute little Brownie Reflex 20, probably mid-sixties, a Kodak mass-market TLR. I’ve had an idea kicking around the back of my brain for a few years, and I think this might be a good testbed. I want to build a digital camera which uses a prism, multiple CCDs, and neutral density filters to simultaneously capture several renderings of the same image at different brightness levels. Storage is cheap – instead of carefully measuring light levels and trying to get the right aperture/shutter settings up front, why not just collect a lot of data for every exposure and fix it later in software? Well, it’s worth a try, anyway. Removing the film cassette leaves the Brownie completely empty; whenever I get around to this project, I’ll probably just cut down a spare film cassette and build the electronics in, then slide the whole assembly into the unmodified
Brownie case.

Last find: five bucks, a cute little kid’s bike with giant chopper-style handle bars, spray-painted red. Tires are flat and it’s missing a seat, but I got the sellers to throw in a banana seat and a spare wheel. If I have time before the burn, I’m going to turn this into my “inline tricycle” – it’ll be a super-laid-back cruiser bike with the seat resting on two independently-suspended rear wheels.