Success and Shaking

 Posted by at 14:52  No Responses »
Aug 232011

Apparently, that worked.

After taking Cody out for dinner, we came home and not only did I manage to sit down and pound out a couple thousand words in about an hour, but I also made time to play some guitar and work on a painting. The trick now will be keeping it up. Setting a consistent time to write will probably be the best tool in the box to make that happen. I started at 9pm yesterday. That’s late enough in the evening that I don’t feel like I have to do it right when I get home, but it’s also early enough that if I spend an hour or two writing, I still have a little time afterwards to do other stuff, too.

Of course, I did all of that stuff and then ran into the realization that I still hadn’t made any progress on my basement stairs. Sigh. Perhaps tonight I shall try to make some headway on that.

In other news, we just felt an earthquake that evidently originated out in Virginia. 5.9 out there, though only a very mild rocking here. Many people didn’t even notice it. Those of us that did weren’t sure what we were feeling and it wasn’t until news of the VA quake exploded that it made sense. It seems that such intraplate earthquakes are rare, but not unheard of. I got a kick out of the fact that this quake was mentioned on the Wikipedia article about intraplate quakes not an hour after it happened. Oh, Internet, you are delightful.

Aug 172011

A great deal has happened since my last post. I’m 27 now, had the best birthday party of my life, have been married for over a year, went on a cruise with my wife (Port Canaveral, FL and the Bahamas, leaving out of NYC), and have been doing some intense self-introspection. I’ve also been working on the second draft of The Novel (which I have now identified as the third of a four-book arc), have resumed playing guitar, and have even been working on my digital painting. Some of the stair pieces have been stained (thanks, Dad!) and more will progress in the coming weeks. Alas, as a result, still no progress on the vacuform table beyond the last update. October is not far, though, and I’ve had a new fire lit under my ass about getting it done (you know who you are).

I had an absurd amount of energy when I got home last night. I decided I should try and bleed some of it off by exercising, so I hopped on the elliptical and jogged 1.11 miles in 15 minutes. That’s not terribly impressive in and of itself, until you factor in the fact that I haven’t exercised in any serious way in months. Not sufficiently exhausted by that, I proceeded to do some weight-lifting. Still not really exhausted, but very sweaty, I showered and then rather than heating something up quick in the microwave for dinner, I decided I really wanted some eggs, so I scrambled those up. At them and still had too much energy, so I sat down to play some Rock Band on expert drums for about an hour. All of that combined finally wore me out enough to be a little more low-key. Very weird, but honestly…I could get used to having that kind of energy.

The lawn desperately needs to be mowed. It needed to be mowed before Cody and I went on our cruise. We returned this past Saturday, to find it looking like a minor rainforest. I should have mowed it then, but had just spent an hour and a half driving with my parents from NYC to CT, and then another three hours driving from CT back to MA, so I was a little tired. Sunday, it rained. Monday, it rained. Tuesday, it didn’t rain, but it was still wet. The minor rainforest is now more of a mid-tier rainforest. I am mowing tonight, the wetness of the grass notwithstanding. It’s embarrassing. Unfortunately, this probably puts the kibosh on any stair work happening this evening. Sigh.


 Posted by at 14:26  No Responses »
Jun 272011

Stairs are proceeding slowly but steadily. In cutting the risers down to their proper height, I realized that using a bucket laden with water as a clamp to keep the board in place was probably not the safest approach. I headed to Lowes and picked up an assortment of clamps, along with some polyurethane to seal the boards once they’re stained, and got all of the risers cut and sanded. Next step is either more sanding (the stringers), more sawing (the support beams), or staining (steps and risers). Or maybe some combination thereof.

Also had a bit of an epiphany about how to deal with creating molds for things that need to be symmetrical, like helmets. This might be obvious to those who are old hat at creating molds, sculpting, or anything in that vein. But basically, it involves creating the 3D model in Blender, then taking slices at regular intervals and printing those slices onto paper. The paper template then gets cut onto MDF (or even cardboard) and reassembled. The gaps between the slices gets filled by weather foam, which is nice and sandable/slicable. Done and done.

Started playing Dragon Age: Origins this weekend, which I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time. Enjoying it so far (and amused as hell how easy it was to get Morrigan to sleep with my character), but after L.A. Noire, every single game’s faces just don’t measure up. I’d rate DA:O’s visuals far higher overall, but the amount of performance depth that comes with the tech behind L.A. Noire’s faces is incomparable. Ah well.

Did another 1,250 words on the second draft of Misfits. I’m almost certain that it’s going to need a third draft, but that’s fine. Better to revise it as many times as it needs to be a solid, enjoyable piece of fiction than to rush it out the door.

Stair Progress

 Posted by at 12:22  No Responses »
Jun 202011

All1 of the stairs and risers are cut to their proper 30″ width2 now. I spent a good chunk of time on Sunday calculating the angles and drawing the templates for the stringers. It was fun to put high school trig to practical use, and I’d be lying if I weren’t indulging in a little “take that!” thinking toward all of the anti-math/anti-school miscreants I grew up around3.

As a result of the circular saw being, well, circular, I’ve actually got some corners in the risers that still need to be cut. I’ll probably just do that with a hacksaw, since it’s small and most of the cutting was already done by the circular saw. Once that’s done, I’ll lay the cut stringer onto the uncut stringer board and use it as a template. With those cut, it’ll be time to sand and stain everything4.

Once everything is stained, I’ll tear down the old stairs and put up the new stringers. From there, it’ll just be a simple matter of drilling pilot shafts and screwing the steps and risers into the stringers. Depending on how secure the stringers feel, I’ll either put the support struts in before I do the steps and risers, or once everything is assembled.

All told, I’m hoping to have this entire thing complete by next weekend, so I can start working on the vacuform table in earnest. I’ll post pictures of the whole process once it’s complete.

  1. 10 and 10, anyway. I will actually need an additional riser on each end of the stairs if I want to fully close them off. I may not bother, though, since for basement stairs having risers at all is sort of unnecessary []
  2. Well, mostly 30″. I managed to get some variation in them despite repeated measuring and laser guides on my circular saw, but c’est la vie []
  3. To those that I grew up around that were not anti-math/anti-school, I salute you! []
  4. Everything, that is, except the support boards. Those still need to be measured and cut, but those will be very quick, since there are only six total. []


 Posted by at 23:03  No Responses »
Jun 182011

True to my word, I started on the vacuformer last night. The basic table framework is assembled — a gangly 3’x3’x3′ metal lattice of shelving parts. This afternoon, I headed out and bought a couple of cheap toaster ovens, the heating elements from which will end up as the oven component of the vacuform table. I couldn’t do much more construction until I had both of these components in hand, in order to properly plan out dimensions.

There’s also another impediment, which I’m working on presently. The basement stairs are, succinctly, a deathtrap. They’re very old wood held to the floor above by a thin piece of plywood and held up by one solid piece of wood and one cobbled-together leg. I am worried they’ll collapse out from under me every time I use them. Since the vacuform table is to be assembled and used in the basement, it’ll necessitate traversing these stairs on a regular basis. Not cool.

I’m building new ones. My big expedition today included transporting a great deal of lumber in my tiny Jetta (12′ long boards in a Jetta is quite a thing) from the store to the house. I’m presently in the process of slicing up the lumber destined to become the risers and steps. All the wood will get a nice sanded edge, be stained and sealed, and the new staircase will be supported by six 2″x8″ support beams.

While I’m not working on the stairs, I’ll be proceeding with planning out dimensions and materials for the vacuformer, so progress continues on that front continues unabated.