Fall (?) Blues

I guess it's been pretty long summer, and you've been in LA a while, when it finally stays around 70 degrees for a day and you think "oooh, feels like fall!"  Ugh. It has been hot with minimal signs of relenting for about the last five months.  We're supposed to get back up into the 90s later in the week, which may just cause me to wither up and die.  I'm actually not so sure why people think the weather here is even remotely "perfect."  My experience has always been that it's pretty consistently uncomfortable, hot, and dry during the summer, and just cool enough for sweater (but never a jacket) in the winter if you're not doing anything active, but also it's all gray and depressing without any rain to help with the drought.  Perhaps I'm just looking for things to criticize, but that's far from perfect in my book.  In fact, it's pretty much the opposite.

Ever go through phases where you just feel kinda cranky/shitty/mopey?  I have been thoroughly in the throes of one of those phases lately, ever since getting back from NC and remembering how nice it is to actually be around kind people who love you and are interested in you, something I don't exactly have out here in LA.  As such, I haven't really gotten much done in the way of the art or cool side projects that I usually do, which unfortunately just compounds the crankiness/shittiness/mopey-ness (mo-penis? that's a very different thing, isn't it? ... whoops. haha).  Anyways, I just don't really feel like I'm doing anything out here right now.  Not by my standards at least.  Sure I've been making steady progress at UCLA towards graduation, sure I've done a couple of cool things lately, but I just get in this mindset where I feel like have to convince myself that I'm doing OK, and I hate that feeling.  I know when I'm doing something that makes me happy, and lately I just haven't been feeling it.

I feel really inclined to start down a road about how I haven't been having the easiest time out here lately, but that's not really what I want to write about.  Yes, I am frustrated with my social abilities and connections out here, but the things that have helped me get through that so far are creative pursuits.  Lately my frustration (largely social) been peaking because those creative pursuits haven't been filling the gap as well as I would like.  But, I'm trying really hard not to dwell too much on that stuff since it gets me really, really down.  In a different light though, it's nice to have a little affirmation that when I left LA in 2012, that wasn't just excuses to move in with my then-girlfriend across the country; those feelings were legit! Anyways, without getting into it too much, I've just felt kinda bummed out lately and the weather hasn't exactly been helping.  

I have been hoping to take some time and build both a chair and a base for the walnut slab "desk" I have (see below, don't laugh too hard) but just haven't gotten it together to (1) really decide on exactly what it is I want to build, and (2) go buy the wood.

Ugh.  It's just as bad as dorm room Ikea furniture but in such a different way.  

For the design side of things, I think I mostly know what I want to do.  Here's the chair:

It's sort of loosely based on George Nakashima's grass-seated chair:

George Nakashima's grass-seated chair.

George Nakashima's grass-seated chair.

but it's going to be pretty different in a few ways. I also want it to feel just under a full-size chair without the complication of a rounded back and/or arms.  

For the desk, I'm thinking something simple that will essentially just be a stand to set the slab on with some minimal grooves to hold it in place.  One of the big obstacles to all of the designing I'm doing is that everything needs to be able to break down to a pretty reasonable size for moving since I'm doing a fair bit of it out here.  As you can imagine, that limits some of the joinery design choices a fair amount.  My typical solution is to just use "knockdown" joinery where you hammer a peg through a hole.  Done right, it looks pretty good, but I have a feeling that after I do a couple more such pieces it'll start to feel redundant.

I'm shooting for something that looks really "lightweight." My drawings, while fairly complete for building something, aren't much to look at, so you'll just have to wait for the finished product. 

Getting the wood is surprisingly tricky, becuase the only place to get big hardwood is only open from 7:30-5:00 M-F.  Given that I work from 7-5, M-F, this means I have to take off of work, or pretty drastically shift my hours to go buy hardwood.  Ugh. So frustrating. Even just TWO hours on the weekend would be enough, but alas, it is not to be.

Anyways, not having the wood (and the knowledge that I probably won't have it by next weekend) tends to prevent me from finalizing design choices, and not having finalized design choices tends to keep me from just going and buying wood.  It is a cruel and vicious cycle for which I have no good solution.  Hopefully posting this will force me into a little bit of accountability and I'll go get what I need to launch into a project.  I hope it cools off a bit too because the loft, where all of my woodworking happens, does not get A/C like the rest of the apartment.  

So yeah, that's kinda where things are lately.  Not exactly uplifting (sorry about that), but then again life isn't always uplifting.  Part of my attitude tonight could be related to the fact that I'm residually very tired from walking 12 miles yesterday out to Santa Monica and Venice and then coming home and helping Jack replace the universal joints in the driveshaft of his car for three hours.  We also got a bill for $600 for two months of electricity (split three ways though) so it's been a little hotter than normal while we try and run the AC a little less.  

ISN'T ADULTHOOD JUST SO MUCH FUN?!?! 

haha. 

<3,
John