talk about bags; unrelated pictures from 2019

First photo is a ringer; it’s my friend’s dog Cherry. Been doing a lot of sewing work lately. I’ve got a new smaller EDC bag mostly ready for trials, as soon as I’m allowed to leave the house and take pictures. Just big enough for my leica, a couple of lenses, and maybe a snack and water bottle. I sort of have felt mildly embarrassed when I’m out somewhere, tell people I make bags, and the one I’m carrying isn’t one of mine. “No, this is just an old Domke,” isn’t a very fun answer, so I’m making one to fit that bag-shaped space. Scratching my own itch, so to speak.

Another thing that just happened: I acquired the cheapest walking foot sewing machine, a TuffSew Super Deluxe. I didn’t buy new, but got it for $100 on craigslist. The foot only lifts about 1/4”, the maximum stitch length is about 6mm, and if that mixing of units didn’t put you off, the noise from the machine just might. It’s a machine that lets the whole house know, SOMEONE IS SEWING SOMETHING. It did punch through 9 layers of 1000 denier nylon canvas without issue, once I got the threading right, and oiled it in all the spots that move. Oh and corrected the belt tension and fucked up one of the cams that times the feed dogs, and then fixed that. I may have to move some things around to make room for it, but that’s later today.

Oh, and: the stitch length lever on it doesn’t have like, markings or a way to set and hold a stitch length, so I need to devise something for that; I may see if I can get some Sailrite parts for it, since they’re the same OEM they share the same casting and a lot of parts. The Sailrite machines are at least finished here in the US, and are probably a lot smoother. Like any offset manufacturing, there are quality and finish specifications; the degree to which fit and finish affects the final product is pretty drastic. Part of why I screwed up that cam is I was trying to add a tiny bit of play in the machine, as it was adjusted so tightly that it was almost binding up from internal forces.

Anyway. As soon as I finish this bag, I’m going to start work on the web site for the three bags I intend to sell. There are three base designs, and basically those are a jumping off point. Customizable fabric, size, accessories, all made to order. The little one I’m making for myself will be the cheapest, probably in the $750 range. I haven’t decided yet. The Dyneema isn’t cheap, and neither is anything else I put into these, including my time. That’ll be at mills.studio which is a working domain that displays “…” and nothing else. A work in progress.

Speaking of, it’s time to cook breakfast.

Posted on 2020-12-20 19:00:44Z GMT

unwritten rules (how not to blog)

These are a little random, but they’re what’s next on the queue. I’ve always had a couple rules, unwritten, that I find myself following without thinking. One of them is that the things stay in chronological order, whatever I have in what passes for a stack to be published, and I put out the oldest first.

Another unwritten rule: Never publish the same picture twice. This is probably the worst idea from like a self-promotion or advertising angle; good thing I’m doing neither of those. I don’t know why I do this, other than the fact that I’m constantly producing images; less so the last nine months, but I still have enough of a work backlog that I’m good for images till… sometime next year. or until things start happening again and I start generating new stuff I care about more.rr

The last one: no drafts, no timed posts. This is more a function of the barebones software I use. I technically can do draft posts now, and have occasionally, but more often than not I look at what I’ve written, say fuck it, and push publish. life is too short to worry about what’s in a little personal blog that nobody really reads.

Posted on 2020-12-09 08:18:43Z GMT

odd salon HERO

I remember this salon, rather well. Second to last in 2019. Great story about the sword master Musashi; I was too busy listening to get a good photo of Michael.

I’ve been raising money for Odd Salon over here. They’re a great organization, and while they’re not feeding people or engaging in direct mutual aid, I’d argue that the core mission of teaching people in an engaging way is just as essential. Maslow is bullshit; people need the arts in their lives to really be living (and if getting up in front of a rowdy crowd and giving them a history lesson, to capacity crowds once a month isn’t art, then I don’t know what is). Of course, survival first, but if you can, do.

Things are about to get dire again, if they aren’t already. We’ll be up to one 9/11 a day by mid-december if things don’t level off (and they won’t). Trump did this. The republicans in the Senate also did this. I’m not about to forgive and forget.

Stay safe out there. Wear your mask if you have to leave home, but really think about it before you do. Can it wait a day? Two? Try it out. Remember surviving another day is its own victory when the enemy is a death cult bent on killing us all.

Posted on 2020-12-05 09:16:04Z GMT

Bar in the before times

Remember saturdays? When you would go to the bar and just run into cool people? Yeah. This one bled over into sunday, into the bar shutting down, into us standing outside with folks while everyone smoked and waited for their rides to show up. No, mom, I wasn’t smoking. I only smoke cigars, and those only to celebrate special occasions.

It’s December now, and the light is all but gone. When I get up from my desk to pause at 4, right before plunging into the last couple hours of my day, it’s all but dark outside. No time for an after-work walk, or an evening bike ride (unless I want to ride in the cold and dark, which used to appeal to me but doesn’t as much, now).

Things are going to get worse, before they get better. But they will get better dammit! There are old people, and shitty people, who don’t want it to be true, but we’re living in the first days of a better world. We humans made a working vaccine for a virus that didn’t exist 13 months ago (well, in humans) out of fragments of RNA in two days. Someone sequenced the vaccine, and they emailed the damn sequence, and two days of work later, what is now the Oxford vaccine was effectively done. Of course, there’s no way to know such a thing will work until it goes through trials, but we also did that in record time.

What I’m saying is, despite reactionary movements, despite setbacks, despite a whole political party determined to kill us all, we’re still here. First days of a better world.

Posted on 2020-12-04 08:44:24Z GMT

Big and Empty

Is Robert Adams still alive? (He is) Driving along the front range on I-25, I could really see the attraction to the area, which was and really still is his home turf. It’s spectacular in scale, and the juxtaposition of the tiny scale of the ‘development’ done here next to the mountains that do not care is sublime; it is a ratio that is just out of our ability to understand.

The impulse persists, though. to try to put a frame around it, even (especially) at 70MPH. The smaller, man-made junk on these rises that go on for miles and miles; the smoke from the fires.

I dunno. We’re out here. We came to get away from the smoke in CA, and there’s a huge fire (biggest in state history) about 5 miles from where we were staying for the last month. The prevailing wind was sometimes in our favor, sometimes not. We were isolating/social distancing in a house owned by a friend of the family; they had a dog that needed watching, and their dates and ours aligned pretty well.

We were already coming to Colorado to celebrate Sophie’s birthday. It’s a big one, and even in the pandemic, we figured we could get away with a small gathering, as long as everyone is isolating properly before (we’re also going to all get tested before we meet, as an additional precaution). Then, of course, we’re going to go back to Cali and sit in our house and isolate for two weeks; followed by the regular social distance / pods we were doing before. It’s not zero risk, but it’s also not a ton more than sitting at home (by my reckoning; I am not an immunologist, please carefully consider your options and risk factors).

I still have complicated feels, even doing all the right things. I guess it’s like any form of security. It’s not a binary, but rather a continuum. My personal threat model for this is “don’t kill anybody” and second “try not to die.” Mask wearing is non-optional in public settings; private gatherings are small, intentional, and book ended by long periods (at least two weeks) of social distancing. We’re following all the rules, or at least as many as we can and still do the thing.

We also spent the first month of lockdown not entering a building not our own house. As we found out about mask wearing, got sufficient masks that fit well enough, we added the grocery store to that list. And I’ve blogged about going camping up in the hills, after that even. Going into a store, as long as everyone is masked, seems decently safe. You won’t catch me going inside a bar or restaurant until this is really over. Isolation in time and space, and try not to die.

That’s it for now. We’re away from the smoke, finally, in an airbnb. I should be sleeping. good night.

Posted on 2020-10-20 07:04:49Z GMT