Archive for August, 2011

the highly unusual lolclematis

Photo is real and actually from my garden:

It’s unusual for clematis to send such a clear and unambiguous message. XD

so yeah wow pax

Home again from PAX, haven’t yet watched the new Doctor Who, still doing laundry. Had a great time (despite terrible sound in the Saturday concerts), met and re-met a bunch of people in the ever-awesome Jamspace and other music spaces (Craig from The Megas, Wayne and Joe from The Protomen, C0splay, Klopfenpop, Brandon from MC Frontalot, all you chiptune crews from Sunday, – “NAMES, darling, NAMES,” as Edina says XD ), enabled and documented this loltrocity:

…got chatted up a tiny bit by a small game company looking for music, saw Paul and Storm live for the first time (love the fighting nun song), bought the tiny metal dice I’ve always wanted:

…got interviewed by the lovely people at Rocksmith (who let me plug the band n/ ), and, best of all, watched Anna get interviewed by Space Channel 5‘s famed investigative reporter, Ulala, herself:

And that, really, is how you do that.

Citizen Skywatch totally wants to be the next Bioshock. I hope they pull it off, the setup and booth were both epic. I’ll be buying Jetpack Joyride for the iPad, Anna bought a couple of interactive fiction games, and I and grabbed a very silly tabletop game, Monkeys with Knives and Guns, on Sunday. Several crime and/or evil-themed games had exhibition space; they all got CRIME and the Forces of Evil cards, and oh, sure, they’re laughing now. Just wait. Muah ha ha.

Were you at PAX? What was your favourite part?

Show your work

Show today! (Thursday! Whenever that is!) 6-8pm, Inner Chapters Bookstore and Cafe, 419 Fairview N., Seattle. It’s a nice little relaxed neighbourhood venue, and the tea is pretty good, so c’mon out if you can! Kick off your PAX weekend with some elfmetal. XD

THE POLL: Okay, so what Arjache and I were thinking is that MST3K and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension fans would be big Life Aquatic with Steve Zizzou fans. I thought there’d be a closer alignment with Buckaroo Banzai; Arjache, with MST3K.

For me, Buckaroo Banzai and Life Aquatic aren’t just similar, they’re in the same damn universe. The world where all the BB stuff makes sense is totally the kind of world where LA’s geeky oceanography documentaries could be worldwide blockbusters garnering global obsession, and I like that world. (Also possibly in this world? The Venture Brothers. Don’t tell me you can’t see it, ’cause you can.) A lot of the great oddnesses about both films are just so similar in feel, and that’s totally acknowledged by Live Aquatic in its ending.

I can also see where Arjache was coming from, with the MST3K connection. It’s not as starkly obvious for me, but I can see it.

So we both thought fans of BB and MST3K would be LA fans. Turns out… um… well, about half of you are. Of those who have seen MST3K and BB, about half like LA, and about half really don’t. But solidly half of both fan groups (BB and MST3K) answering the poll haven’t even seen Life Aquatic.

No matter how you look at it, it’s just not the kind of correlation I expected, and I suspect Arjache expected as well. I’m kinda surprised.

Hi ho, I still like The Life Aquatic with Steve Zizzou and recommend it, so if you’re looking for an odd but interesting movie, try it!

In other news:

[poll id=”5″]

Now wait what?

Okay, so I was so not expecting the results of the last poll. In particular, I was not expecting more people to like The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension than Mystery Science Theatre 3000! I’m good with that, just surprised. Also I think the poll lacked adequate granularity.

So while rehearsing for the Inner Chapters show in Seattle on Thursday – come out, it’s a free show in a small venue, should be relaxed and fun – I came up with new questions. Let’s try this again:

[poll id=”4″]

PS: MST3K fans may enjoy this if they do not already know about it. lol, fanac. o/

Correlation and Causation

So over on Twitter, Arjache and I were wondering about The Life Aquatic, Buckaroo Banzai, and MST3K. We suspect something, but won’t tell you what. TIME FOR A POLL! (Note: you MUST fill this out over on the band blog.) CLICKIE THROUGH TO ANSWER!

[poll id=”2″]

[poll id=”3″]

Show this Thursday: Inner Chapters Bookstore & Cafe, Seattle, 6-8pm, no cover. C’mon by, it’ll be fun!

Lots more casework

The mandolin has is really getting close to finished. There’s still foam, the bottom half’s copper edging, and I imagine something or other will come up to surprise me, but it’s really coming along now.

I know the outside looked mostly finished last time, but that’s because I was finishing up that part first, for reasons… eh, it made sense at the time. XD Also, I was afraid of bumping corner edges off treated wood, so I wanted to get that dealt with. But there was still a lot of work left on the inside. Three main tasks!

First, I wanted to put in a divider to make a little storage box inside the case. My zouk case has one of these and it’s really handy. The divider wall also serves as another level of reinforcement inside the case.

Divider Wall

Note the added superfloor (quarter-inch ply cut and sanded to fit around the braces) inside the storage compartment, and the front and back panels added to help support the wall. If the back and front main panels had been thicker, and had the front latch not been in the way, I could’ve routed out channels directly in to them. That would probably have been more elegant.

The opposite side of the wall got the same treatment. It’s less important here since there’ll be foam to support the wall as well, but that struck me as inadequate, so:

Divider Wall

Second, routing out the front panels for the latches left the wood there rather thin. While the latches themselves provide some structural support, I decided to address that internally as well. Here’s a piece of ply cut to back the lower latch points, clamped into place. It has holes drilled in it for the latch securement bolts, which stick out through the back. It also serves as support for the storage compartment divider wall, which you can see at the bottom of the photo:

Front Panel Reenforcement (click here for detail)

Note also that it rises above the front panel. That’s on purpose – the handle will be on the front panel, and will tend to pull the front panel forward. If that happens, this glued reenforcement will transfer some of that weight to the lid’s front panel.

The lid’s front panel has a similar board, but it doesn’t go all the way down to the lip, since there has to be room for the lower reenforcement panel when the lid is closed. (detail photo)

Third, I wanted to add either lips or pegs (I ended up going with lips) to help keep the top and bottom of the case lined up when the lid is closed. The hinge does this, of course, but that can be a lot of stress to place on one component. Also, as above, I need to transfer some of the stress from the front handle across the entire front of the case, including the lid panel, for maximum strength. But I already showed pictures of that.

The other three lips are in the lid. They’re small pieces of wood; one on each side, and one on the back, all interior. The back one also serves as hinge reenforcement.

(edge clamp detail)

The large arcing thing made out of two strips of ply and held together with a floating C-clamp together make up a spring clamp. This provides outward pressure against the bottoms of both the left and right lips. The tops of the left and right lips are held down with edge clamps. You can also see, not clamped, the reenforcement strip glued down a previous day and shown above. Note the holes for bolts!

Also here’s the back lip, in clamps. If you’re wondering about all those extra bits of wood, that’s just to protect the finish:

Take off all the clamps and hit everything on the inside with an ocean of wood hardner (heh heh “wood hardener”) and you get this:

Lower case

The divider, all the divider supports, and the lip are all visible here of course. The storage compartment on the right is wide enough, barely, for CD jewel cases! Except where the metal parts are. I’ll line the compartment with fabric later, to prevent them from scratching anything up.

Oh, I guess I left the spring clamp in for this photo. Anyway, here’s the lid. In the lower centre of the picture, you can get a pretty good look at one of the two side lips.

And that’s that! Right now I’m letting the wood hardener dry and giving the glue some extra time. Next Monday hopefully I can do final assembly of the hinge and stuff, and then maybe it’ll be time to talk foam.

next thursday: inner chapters bookstore and cafe

A nice little neighbourhood gig in Cascade/South Lake Union on Fairview, not far from the Seattle Times and the Mercer mess, next Thursday! 6-8pm is school-night friendly! C’mon by! There’s even a poster you could print out and put up if you want to help:

Click for PDF

Click to Listen

copper and steel

Strangely enough, now that I’m not working with epoxies and glues and materials time, this somehow feels less like “making something” and more like “assembling something,” despite the fact that I am shaping metal with hammers and anvil.

My brain is weird.

Today was copper and steel. Copper trim, to protect edges and corners, and steel, as an internal bracing last-ditch protector, to keep the foam wrapped around the instrument, like a net, in the event that the case gets well and truly smashed. Honestly, I’m a little concerned about the copper; it’s a soft metal, and I kind of suspect that I’ll end up replacing it with aluminium. But having finally found spools of copper in usable widths – not easy and not cheap – I had to try. Enjoy some pictures:


Corner Detail

I’m so pleased that I found actual copper tacks. I was so not expecting to find copper tacks. I was expecting brass would be the best I could do. But no! Copper! Damn, I hope this lasts long enough to age a proper green, I really do.

Lid interior corner bracing detail

Protection of last resort; hopefully completely irrelevant. All the wood corners are biscuit joined and glued and glued to the panels which are routed in. If all that fails, I must be flying United. But it can’t hurt to have it there.

Also rehearsed for the show on the 25th at Inner Chapters Bookstore and Cafe, on Fairview, in Seattle. I’m kind of going back and rediscovering new approaches to old trad that I’ll be dropping in with my original material. It’s cool. Yar, revolution, riot, and piracy! o/

the slow way to luggage town

I’ve been making a mandolin travel case out of reclaimed lumber and metal. It’s been a very slow process; the two panels I made last autumn. Then, because my workshop is unheated and everything involved lots of materials, I didn’t work on it again until this summer.

The bottom panel is oak, made of boards unsuitable for a hallway floor, glued against some quarter-inch ply. The top panel is ply plank, salvaged from an abandoned bed, also glued against quarter-inch ply. Both are fit into grooves routed into the side-boards, all around the case, about a quarter-inch deep. The side boards are from several sources, including some disassembled Mr. Fixit work (circa 1958), a bit of what was once part of a rough-cut framing 2×4 from the house’s back addition (circa 1924), and leftovers from projects of mine. The corners are biscuit-joined, as you can see here:

top and bottom halves

This second picture is after more sanding than I want to talk about, two coats of wood hardener, two coats of stain (pro tip: wood hardener says you can stain or paint after hardener application; one of those actually works; hint: not staining) and two coats of polyurethane. Each coat has multiple hours of materials time (drying time, soaking time, etc) before you can do the next layer; so did each round of gluing, before. The polyurethane has three days of drying time after final coat.

as though hinged together

You can start to see why this takes a while.

I have a sense of accomplishment with it, as well as some learning; I’ve had to re-do a couple of parts of it here and there, like the top section’s entire set of sideboards, and part of the oak panel. But I’m to the point now where I want the damn thing, f’srs. I’d lake to take it with me to VCon.

Monday, I can finally start attaching hardware – latches, hinges, metal trim to protect edges (all new), metal braces for the interior, like the one below, which was reclaimed earthquake strapping:

hammered to L and back ar ar ar ar ar

This case will get beat up, cosmetically, out on the road. I’m fine with that. But I want it to be no fucking around strong, to protect my mandolin.

At the same time as the hardware, I should be able to fit the divider panel on the inside, for a little storage section, like my zouk travel case has. That’ll involve Materials Time again (dammit) but not very much.

I’m really looking forward to putting in the foam. That’s the last part. This project has gone on long enough.

Show announcement!

New show scheduled: August 25th, 6-8pm: Dara at Inner Chapters Bookstore and Cafe, 419 Fairview Avenue N., Seattle. It’s two sets, so I’ll be performing a lot of material, including the new song, “World Trapped in Amber”:

Video courtesy Zorp, shot at the Gypsy Cafe

See you there!

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