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193: Mask Instructions

May 6, 2020

After watching a few videos and trying out about 4 designs, I settled on these modified instructions.

There is no elastic in this design, primarily because I didn’t have any at the time. I thought that tying the cord would be an annoying step, but I found that, once I sized the cord to my head, I didn’t have to untie it. I could quickly take it off and on by sliding the loop over my head.

For the wire, I actually used a piece of 12-gauge Romex electrical wire, which is probably overkill, and I know not everybody has some laying around, so I didn’t include that in the illustration. But I’d definitely  recommend going for a more rigid wire than a twist tie (hence my recommending two). It takes some finesse to bend it right, but once you dial it in, the fit is very secure. Your cheekbones take the load, and you don’t get a squished-flat nose.

Oh yeah. I suppose I should mention, the instructions assume you have a sewing machine, and thread.

192: Crosswords

March 17, 2020

Welp. We’re all inside for a bit, so how about some activities to keep your minds active?

I’ve been making some crosswords recently, and I guess now is the perfect time to share them.

  • You can download them as a PDF, to print and solve.
  • Or download the .PUZ file to use in your favorite desktop puzzle program (I like Across Lite).
  • Or solve online! I uploaded a few to CrosswordHobbyist.com so you can solve online. (There are some limitations to the site, so they’re not all available there.)

OK. So before I let you at them, I should mention: I’m still a bit of a crossword novice, so while these are playable, and I’m reasonably certain they’re free of errors, they might be a little rough.


Beef Stew, LLC

PDF.PUZOnlineSolution


Between Us

PDF.PUZOnlineSolution


Blow the House Down

PDF.PUZOnlineSolution


Dig Deep

PDF.PUZOnlineSolution


Lands of the Lost

PDF.PUZOnlineSolution


Mid-Forties

PDF.PUZOnlineSolution


Money Management

PDF.PUZOnlineSolution


Really Coming Down

PDF.PUZSolution


Save Room

PDF.PUZOnlineSolution


Thanksgiving

PDF.PUZOnlineSolution


Whiplash!

PDF.PUZOnlineSolution


(All the .PUZ files here)

If you do try them, let me know how you did, and certainly leave a comment below if you spot any errors, or anything like that. Just easy on the spoilers, OK?

191: Battery Cover

February 12, 2020

Hey folks.

I bought this nice tuner/metronome at a thrift store for… $3 maybe? I forget exactly. It was cheap, though. It works perfectly, but it’s missing a battery cover.

Well, it was missing a battery cover. I replaced it, and now with this sleek wood-grain accessory, my little tuner is the envy of all his friends.

I wasn’t sure this was going to work at all, so I didn’t take any progress shots, but here are a few closeups of the final product.

Isn’t it too thin? Won’t it break?

Yes. Probably.
The shininess you see is a coating of polyurethane and superglue, in an attempt at strengthening it. Seems to be working OK. I also made sure the wood-grain ran in the same direction as the tabs, which would have been a great idea, if the tabs didn’t have to be cut so deep.

At the finished depth, the tabs are completely offset from the plane of the main body. So yes, two broke off and I glued them back on. They’re holding this time. I only really need one, anyway.

I obviously couldn’t make it as thin as the plastic would have been, but I got pretty close. The wood sticks out around the edges a bit, and in a couple places, where I needed thin tabs, I resorted to gluing on bits of plastic from some snack packaging.

It holds the batteries in, though.

Sure. The tape I was using before worked, too. But, this is… cooler? And, it gave me an opportunity to do some intricate chisel work — that became x-acto work as it progressed.

It seems like the new piece is strong enough, and the main thing this tuner does is sit still, so it’s probably fine. But, if it breaks I’ll just go back to using some tape.
BYEE!

190: “Hey Jude” Flowchart

August 1, 2019
heyjude_incorrect

My dad sent me an email forward.

Which you’ve seen—I’m sure. I know I have. But that’s what forwards are for, right?

However, there are a whole bunch of errors in that picture, and it reminded me of how frustrated I got the first time I saw it.

So, I started to edit it.

One thing that is particularly glaring to me, is there’s no path to repeat the phrase, “Na na … na na, Hey Jude,” which is pretty much most of the song. You can repeat “Na”, but then to get to “Hey Jude,” you have to go back to the start of the song, and start again. That’s not how the song works.

correctedpaper

The timing of this email forward was good for me, as well. I’ve been recently learning  about circuitry and logic gates, so I’ve got flowcharts on the mind.

So in the spirit of ruining the joke, I wasted a few hours on this:

heyjude

I thought about only having one box for “Hey Jude” and one box for “Na,” and just using some interesting logic gates to get in and out of those sections, but I ultimately decided against it for readability. You could, in theory use each word only once, and loop back to them when you need them, but that would get messy. As a compromise I unnecessarily reused “your shoulder.”

I know you’ll be sure to point out any errors. That’s what comment sections are for.

(I didn’t initially make this to post here. I was just completely unable to stop myself, but then I remembered I had this blog. So, here you go, folks.)

189: Transit Elevator Badges

March 29, 2019

So, like I was saying,
I use public transit a bunch, here in Seattle. It’s great, and since I work at the University of Washington, I get my pass at a discount. So, basically, I’m always on the light rail.

I’ve noticed, however, a frustrating lack of signage. At least once a day, I’ll need to help someone find their way, or tell them which way is North, or how to use the card scanner. But, the thing that consistently confuses the most people, is the elevator buttons at the UW station.

First, a comparison.

Here are the buttons from a couple of elevators elsewhere on the light rail line:

Easy enough. The Mount Baker Station’s train is elevated; the Beacon Hill train is underground.
Plaza, Train. It’s not perfect. There aren’t any pictures, for people who don’t read (or don’t read English), but there are only two buttons, and they’re labelled. Good enough.

This one from the Capitol Hill Station is a bit rough:

OK, so what’s going on here? No more words, only letters. The only letter I see from before is P, so that must be the Plaza, so is S the train?

Nope. S is “Street.” M is “Mezzanine,” because this part of the station has two offset levels, and you switch elevators between them (That’s not a complaint, really. Sometimes that’s the only way.).
And P is for “Platform.” Of course. As in “Train Platform.”

What’s that you say? “P almost always means ‘Parking,’ especially when it’s underground. And anyway, you already used it for ‘Plaza.’ and nobody uses the term ‘Platform.'”?
That’s true.

Consistency would help. Words would help. And pictures would help immensely.
But again, only two buttons on the upper elevator, and not as many people use this one, so… You know, I was planning on ramping up the badness of the examples to reveal the UW elevator buttons, but this is really bad. Equally as bad as the next; maybe worse. I’ll probably deal with this in a bit, but I guess it doesn’t directly affect my life in as much of a way, so I didn’t do it this week.

On to the one I did do:

This one’s a mess.

We’re cheating a bit, because I already told you that P is “Platform,” and S is “Street,” like in Capitol Hill. M is still “Mezzanine, but this level is inaccessible without a key or keycard. Maybe M is “Maintenance” at this station. Who knows? B3 is “Basement 3,” maybe? I have no idea, because there’s no Basement 2, even if I count the Mezzanine as Basement 1. Also inaccessible to the public.

There are 2 elevators at the UW Station, and this one is the worst. The other elevator omits B3 and M buttons, so it’s an easier choice, but 50/50 you’re getting on this one.
Still, what’s BR? Well that’s “Bridge,” and you might be thinking, “I could figure that out!” OK, but why is helpful to know it’s a bridge? A bridge to where? (Don’t say Terabithia.) It’s a pedestrian bridge that crosses a busy street into the UW campus. (Which some people who ride it daily still don’t know. I see people get off at the street level, and then take the stairs up to the bridge. Maybe they like stairs, but that’s like taking the elevator to the 5th floor of a building and walking to the 6th. Whatever.)

What makes it worse is that there is very little signage indicating that the light rail station is underground, especially if you’re on the bridge.

The scenario I see most frequently is: someone unfamiliar with the system will enter on the bridge level, think, “Uhhhhh…” and press S, because it has a star next to it. Then it will open on the street, and that person will get off, wander around, and eventually get back on the elevator. If nobody’s around again (or if someone is around, but being particularly unhelpful and only observing the confusion, like a scientist or jerk might do), they’ll think “Well, it’s not Parking,” and B3 is a terrifying option to even think about. So, they’ll mash M for “Maybe Train?” and the button light will come on and immediately turn back off. At which point, I usually help out.

If they initially get in on the street level, they will often take the elevator up to the bridge, and be just as confused.

So, what’s to be done?

This.

I printed up some placards. They’ve got full names, descriptions, and most importantly (I think), pictures! They also have Sound Transit logos on them, because I was banking on the idea that if they looked official, they might stay up.

I didn’t make one for B3, because I don’t know what it is. And, it’s not important for the public to know. And also, I wasn’t looking at my photos when I made these, and forgot B3 was a button.
One of those reasons.

Cut, laminated, mounted to some sturdy double-sided tape, and ready to go.

Ta-dah! This is a picture of the other elevator at UW Station (the 3-button one). I put them up in both, but only got a picture of this one.
I think it’s an improvement. I don’t have braille on mine, because I don’t-know/can’t-print braille, so it’s not perfect. But then again, I’m not a professional sign-maker. Please ignore the alignment issues. I was installing them within a time limit of about 15 seconds, and I messed it up. If someone would like to do it better, please do! You can do Capitol Hill while you’re at it. I didn’t make a comprehensive sweep of elevators, so I’m sure there are others that need help, too.

By the way, the above picture is from a about a week after I put them up! They’re still up! We did it!

 


Well, that was alright.

Next up, maybe some signs that say, “Both trains go the same direction from this station” to put up at the end-of-the-line stations. That seems to confuse people to no end.

…Or probably something to tell people to tap their ORCA pass card at the end of their ride, too.
Yeah. Hey, Seattle! If you’re reading this, tap your ORCA card off at the end of your ride! It’s a switch! It works differently than the buses. Your ticket costs less if you ride it a shorter distance, but if you don’t tap off, you pay the maximum price! Also, if you don’t tap off, the next time you ride, your tap ON might register as a tap OFF from last time. Then you’re riding illegally, and you’ll get a fine. Not to mention the user data! If nobody taps off at your station, the data looks like nobody uses that station, so maybe it’s not as important for upkeep and funding. Come on, folks!

Sorry about that. (Not sorry enough to not do it, apparently.)

Also, Sound Transit: I do this out of love. A good friend will tell you when you’re doing something wrong. I love the light rail, and I hope you understand and we’re cool.

Have a nice week.

 


UPDATE!

They stayed up for a very long time, and were eventually replaced with official labels!
Wooooooo!

Thanks folks, you did it!

188: Boombox Pillow

November 29, 2015

This project happened a while ago, but I had some file storage problems and lost pretty much all of the process photos. So, I delayed posting for a while. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that they’re gone forever, so this post is cobbled together from what I do have (…which are mostly finished product shots).

A friend of mine, Michelle Dirkse, is a designer. She asked me to make a plush sculpture for her, and she would provide the fabric. I said, “Of course!”

boombox pillow-3

When I learned that she wanted a big fuchsia boombox, I was even more excited. But, I, unlike many people, had never created a pillow shaped like an ’80s magenta music machine, so I honestly wasn’t quite sure where to begin. (That never really stops me from saying yes to a project, though.)

boombox pillow-1
I sent her a picture of an idea, and she sent some suggestions back. Then I got to work.

The fabric showed up, and it was really, really nice. I just wanted to wrap myself up in it and go to sleep, but I resisted the urge. I tend to work with whatever is at hand. So, this fabric was a refreshing change from the usual bed sheets, cheap fleece, and thrift store sweaters.

boombox pillow-6

I really like the colors we decided on. It’s all done in a single color of fuchsia fabric with a matching, shade-lighter thread and a few accents in black thread. It looks sharp! The texture on those speakers took forever, just sewing (roughly) parallel lines, back and forth. A standard cassette tape will stay snugly lodged in the tape area–which is probably the best use for your high school mixtape.

There were a lot of windows to cut out of the main form, to reveal a layer underneath. I found the best way to get a nice edge on a cut-out window is to use this method:

…Then it’s ironed and gets a top-stitch all the way around to crisp everything up, and attach the layer below. My top-stitching isn’t perfect, and that’s fine for a project where you’re emphasizing the hand-made aspect of it.

boombox pillow-5

Also, the padding is mostly latex foam, which is notoriously difficult to cut without a fancy hot-wire setup. I looked around for other cutting options and saw someone suggesting an electric turkey knife. So, I hit the clearance section of the local grocery store and found one for about $9. It was amazing! The electric turkey knife was so effortlessly fun to cut with, I went out and bought more latex foam for some other project in the future. I don’t even know what I’ll do with it, yet, but I can’t wait to cut more foam.

boombox pillow-4

Oh right, I nearly forgot. I clearly didn’t take those awesome pictures myself (except the drawings). Michelle knows real professionals, so the cool, clean product shots are by Nathaniel Willson Photography, and the beautiful portraits of Michelle and the boombox are by Zoe Rain Photography. And if you want to go check out my high-end sculpture in a nice gallery setting, stop by Michelle Dirkse Interior Design in Capitol Hill, Seattle, or–you know–click here.

boombox pillow-2

187: Instagram Drawings

November 15, 2015

instagram

About 5 years ago, I purchased a brand-used Wacom Cintiq tablet, for digital drawing and painting in Photoshop. It changed my life. As you know from previous posts, I like to draw. And I like to draw digitally even more, since having an undo function on your pen is the most useful tool known to man. So, that was a great purchase…

But the Cintiq is tethered to my desktop, so I can’t really draw on the go. They make very expensive Cintiq All-in-one tablets, that I lust over, and I’ve tried a bunch of pocket notebooks and pens, but for some things I actually prefer the feel of a stylus (which is weird in the art community, I know). So, I’ve had my eye on bigger format phones that use styluses for a while. I’m not the kind of guy who ever buys anything new. So, when Samsung came out with the Galaxy Note 5 recently, I was finally able to afford a Galaxy Note 4!

I can’t stop. I love this thing! I’ve started up an Instagram account to post my dumb pictures (I use “dumb” in the most endearing way), so follow me there: @hepworthwhile  Pretty much every drawing there is something I’ve drawn before, and most of them have appeared on this blog in some form. What can I say? I like drawing the same things over and over. If Instagram isn’t your thing, worry not. I’ll probably post a few updates of my favorites here periodically.

Now, here are a few images to entice you to click through to that Instagram gallery link:

Louie

Louie the Laughing Jellybean

Catballoon

CatBalloon

Frank

Frank, the Carton of Milk

And Many More!

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