A Disorienting Post about, well, Everything

Back-to-back updates?!  It may be a "canyouseethestars" first!  This is all over the place, which is kinda where my head it at tonight so you'll just have to bear with me.  Loads of pictures though so it's easy to look at. :-)

When it's nice out, LA can be pretty awesome.  We have a hell of a view from our rooftop:

Panoramic Los Angeles looking east.  Waaay off in the distance you can see the Santa Monica mountians, and even the San Gabriels (I could be making that up though...).  Downtown is right about where that telephone pole is and the Sony Picture studios rainbow is right about in the same spot.  

I got morning wood today:

Walnut on the left.  The piece is about four feet long, two and three-quarters inches thick and eight inches wide.  What's cool about walnut is that raw, it's a very light brown but once you apply boiled linseed oil is becomes damn near black.  The piece of cherry is on the right and more like six feet long, three inches deep and about six or seven inches wide with a nice light red color.  It weighs like forty pounds!  Guess there's a reason they call it hardwood...

Get your filthy minds out of the gutter.  What I mean to say is that I got up early and went over to House of Hardwood and picked up a big beautiful piece of walnut and a really large piece of cherry (no euphamisms there...).  They may not look very big but they certain made a dent in my wallet! I'm going to use the walnut to build a base for the slab desk (design to be completely reevaluated now) and I've started on my cut list to turn the piece of cherry into two chairs.  Not four as I originally planned (I would've ended up spending a LOT more money to do that), but I reluctantly recognized some sound advice from someone.  Better to only risk screwing up two pieces of furniture rather than four.  I've never actually made chair before, but I'm sure they'll be perfect on the first try. ;-)

It feels SO good to be back woodworking on my own project.  I kinda had no idea how much I missed it.  I only did about an hour-and-half's-worth tonight, but already I can feel the project taking shape in my mind.  I don't yet have a tight enough link between my imagination and what I put on paper to always be 100% happy with a design once it starts to take shape in three dimensions. For instance tonight I realized that the chair design I came up with would feel much more natural if the seat tapered a bit towards the back. Of course that's going to make the joinery significantly more difficult, but hey, I've got time and I enjoy the challenge.  :-)  Man. So happy to be working on something again!

I started a long post on communities and the internet and such a couple of days ago, and have kind of tinkered with it a little, but it just doesn't feel right.  I haven't totally bailed on it, but it's likely to not see the light of day if I don't wrap it up in the next week or so.  The issue really lay in that I'm not sure that I really knew what I was trying to say.  It was all kind of inspired by just how difficult it is to find any community on the internet these days that doesn't suck, but I just couldn't find a way to present that idea without just obviously stating that.  So here's the entire essay condensed into one sentence: the internet is full of shitty people and that's a shame because the internet is so incredible in so many ways.  There.  Done.  Now on to the many different places my head has actually been the last week, which is really just all over place, none of which particularly merit a very long post individually.

Mortimer lit by two candles.  Look at that old wrinkly face and big ole mustache.

Another one with the pumpkin lit from inside.  I didn't actually hollow him out so the cheeks ended up with this somewhat sinewy, kind of decaying look to them.  When lit from inside light comes out through his pupils, cheeks and at the edge of his nose.  Sadly, he got pretty moldy and soft after about two days in this heat.

I did some pumpkin carving!  I'm excited to do some more (I have one waiting) but unfortunately Trader Joes only has dumpy little pumpkins and the next design I want to do would look much better on a taller, thinner pumpkin with plenty of room to really get into the detail. I think it'll be pretty awesome, so I won't spoil the surprise just yet.  A friend suggested I give this old guy a name and after some thought, apparently more than I gave to naming my cats, I think "Mortimer" is befitting of such a creature.  

The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard (UHK from here on out, because it's kind of a pain to type) finally went "live" on their crowd-funding.  As someone whose keyboard has essentially become an extension of their body, I'm terribly excited about it.  I've been following this project for around two years now and it has only gotten more and more exciting.  Did I mention how excited I am about it?  I have two mechanical keyboards already and now, essentially, really have issues typing on anything else.  The UHK is also super cool because it has tons of fully programmable layers to remap the entire keyboard at the touch of a button.  That combined with Emacs as my text editor should essentially make me a world dictator in roughly a week or so I'm expecting... anyways, you should definitely check it out.  They're pricey, but once you go mechanical, I think you'll find it hard to switch back: www.ultimatehackingkeyboard.com.  If you're interested, but want a cheaper option I'd also suggest the Coolermaster Storm Quickfire Rapid with the Cherry MX Brown switches.  It's a beautiful piece of machinery.

Speaking of computer-related things, a little while back now I finally put together my first real modern desktop computer.  Kyle and I used to talk about that all the way back in middle school and I'm just now getting around to it!  Of course, sadly, it's not the toaster computer I always dreamed of building (not a toaster that's also a computer, but rather a computer built into a toaster housing with disk drives as the bread slots.  It's a great idea, I know.).  My goal was to end up with something somewhat mid-range: I can do all of the really heavy lifting on my work computer for my reconstruction projects (www.github.com/captnjohnny1618/CTBangBang), but I needed something that I could at least test and run the software on at home.  I installed Ubuntu 14.04 and Unity, as expected, was touchy as hell to get running, but now it seems to be running pretty reliably.  I try to just never shut it down if I'm being honest.  Every so often I just have to reinstall the desktop because the Nvidia drivers somehow interfere with something in the Unity startup chain.  Who knows... I have the same issue every so often on my work computer (also running Ubuntu 14.04).  I know Unity has been highly polarizing, but I actually kinda like it.  I think it's ugly as sin but I can basically run my computer without every having to touch a mouse if I don't want to, which I really enjoy.  I think it helps to really love your keyboard... :-).  I'm sure other linux desktops are that way too, but I've learned Unity now and will probably stick with it.

The Coolermaster Silencio case is super slick.  All black with really clean lines.  I may cut a window into the side at some point so you can see how cool it looks inside!

With the side of the case removed.  The wires are a hot mess... well not actually hot because the thing is liquid-cooled, but they're super stiff and the case is pretty small so I had to run them wherever they would fit.  I may buy a new set at some point but it's not a huge priority.

Another cool thing is that I found out that I'm really hard to locate online.  Well, I guess that's cool?  It means that the efforts I've made to stay slight anonymous on the internet have been pretty successful.  Of course if you find this website I'm not particularly anonymous anymore, but that's ok.  I don't post anything here I wouldn't tell just about anyone.  Given that there isn't necessarily a visual link between me and this website (other than perhaps my cats), I could always pretend like this was some other person named John Hoffman. I will say there is one username that, if you can find it, will lead you across just about all of my activity on the internet. Even perhaps a "compromising" photo of me.  Ok, not really *that* compromising since I posted it, but perhaps might offend your grandma... or not. I don't know your grandma, she could be totally cool with butts on the internet.  

Censored because I'm a DECENT human being, you animals.  Gosh: nudity on the internet.  Like that'll ever happen...

I'm finally taking the time to transfer all of my photos from my old laptop to my new desktop (and make a couple of backups too).  Gosh darned iPhoto made that a lot harder than it needed to be.  I'm glad iPhoto died.  By the end of its life it had gotten heavy, bloated, and slow.  I no longer use a mac, but when I did I really loved "Lyn" for photo organization. It was totally natural, easy to use, lightweight and fast.  I highly recommend it if you need to archive some photos.  Speaking of photos, I'm going to try and learn how to photograph some of the things I make a little bit more competentley since I have a few things that haven't made it onto the internet that should really go up.  I'm also kind of ashamed at how bad some of my current photographs on the "art" page are and really need to redo them!  

Anyways, for tonight I'll leave you with some blasts from the past that I discovered while transferring everything.  It's a hodgepodge of art, old pictures of me (mainly juggling, but sheesh it's crazy to look at those.  It doesn't feel like it's been long enough for me to look any different!) and some cat photos for good measure.  I gotta go fold a bunch of laundry. :-)

And one more self indulgent one that I didn't even know I had... but I think I look pretty good if I don't say so mahself. :-)

<3,
John