Monday, April 26, 2010

Oh, the craftiness of me

Yesterday I once again went to Shipwreck Beads. Click on the link and scroll down a bit for much better pictures than I originally posted--gives you an idea of the scale and variety of the place. It's mind-blowing.

My sister and I had already picked up some beads, but not some other essentials like, say, an actual tool of any kind. Or the right sort of wire--for earrings, the easiest method is to start with a "head pin," which is a short section of wire with a knob or loop on one end to anchor the beads. You string on your beads, loop the other end (trimming off excess if needed) around a hook or fastener of some sort, and voila, earrings! At least, in theory. In practice, it takes...well, practice. My first set turned out nicely from a color perspective, but don't look too closely at the bent parts....

Wood, silver metal, and fake turquoisey plasticky pretty beads

I also made a pair of very simple green fiber optic bead earrings, and a pair of earrings using those crazy rubber beads I mentioned last week. The final and most ambitious project of the day was to use the dangly-earring frames my sister had picked up, thinking they'd at least be an interesting experiment, just to see if we could do it. I think they turned out rather well!

Wood and glass beaded earrings

The wire loops aren't altogether even, and some of the wood beads are more apt than others to half eat the beads next to them, making it tricky to keep them all together. They're actually tidier in person, since I had these laid out on a flat surface rather than hanging, and it was tough to get all the bits and pieces to lay out nicely.

They only swing at the top. There are additional pliers you can get to do chain work, and though that's probably more complicated than I want to deal with right now, I could see working up to that. I like dangly earrings....

In other news, my sister fairly suddenly decided to abandon the Washington relocation idea--she had a friend coming through town, and hitched a ride. So...there's that. I now suddenly have an office / writing space I need to set up, and I guess need to get my mind back to where I was and all the things I planned to do before she arrived with equal suddenness. I think my plan is to keep the computer where it is in my room, and leave that new room pretty much an analog only sort of space, with no distractions except maybe a music source. It'll be a nice writing space--it's nice and bright and has a view out the window. I need more plants, I think. And to set up my far too many pen cups and notepads and Circa stuff and index card boxes and...all the other stuff that has spent the last month or so crammed into drawers and boxes. Oh, to write again....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Clicky! lame is it to do a sort of review of the new keyboard if the main reason for doing such a review is to have an excuse to use the thing? I really like this thing. The one downside, in a way, is that the end text is in no way distinguishable from any other typed text. It's like typing on a typewriter (well...not quite the same feel, but as pleasurable), but without any way of proving that fact. I'm enjoying wonderful solid and certain clickiness, but you wouldn't know it to look at this post. It's funny...once upon a time, typewritten text was seen as incredibly impersonal and cold. Now...well, it's still not the same as handwriting, but it isn't something that can be reproduced without the human element. There is still the unseen human being behind the created text--you know each and every character was typed by a person.

But I digress. Except that my point, I guess, is that no matter how dandy the keyboard, the text is identical. It's good and bad, that.

There didn't seem to be much point in taking a picture. I's a keyboard. It looks exactly like the image in the post below: a sort of charcoal black with grey keys, very slightly silvery in the right light. I think it's pretty attractive, but it isn't a work of art or anything. It just feels...very nice.

Another downside: I really miss it when I'm off at work. The last few evenings I've spent quite a bit of time using it, and the first few minutes back with my work keyboard in the morning are a depressing experience. If I was rich (and less worried about aggravating co-workers), I'd be tempted to get a second for work. Or (if, again, I wasn't so worried about annoying co-workers with emphatic typing), I could drag it back and forth. At least until my back went out. It's not exactly light weight. It could double as the infamous blunt instrument. Got a good heft to it.

I didn't go with the smaller space-saver model, though I don't think there's any reason not to. From what I understand, the main difference isn't in the layout of the actual keyboard, though there may be a bit more space between the alphanumeric keys and the function keys on the Customizer. The main difference is just that the space-saver just has a smaller frame to it, without the big honkin' border. But the big honkin' border makes this look like my old favorite keyboards, so I rather like it, even if it does take up more desk real estate. It does mean that the mouse ends up a little farther out to the side. And it adds heft. Have I mentioned this thing is pretty hefty? It does *not* slide around much on the desk. It can't.

Aaaaand I just spent a bunch of time surfing around YouTube checking out videos of clicky keyboards. Obviously, I need to get a life.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cave in

1. Cave in #1
Well, after resisting various posts on the subject for a bit over a year, I've finally given into temptation and ordered a clicky keyboard from Unicomp.

It should be here Tuesday. I'm trying to resist the urge to check UPS for status updates every five minutes. I'll report fully after a few days of using the thing.

2. Cave-in #2
I still have about a chapter left to go on my '09 NaNo, but I'm stalling on actually writing by working on the digitization instead. Actually, it's not really stalling--I need this time to get back into the story, since I abandoned the poor thing for so long. I started out typing things up on the Neo, but in the last week, I started doing OCR instead. The mini version of OmniPage that comes with the inexpensive Canon scanners is actually really good--at least for fairly dark type and certain typefaces. It really likes the SG-1. As I'm getting into the later pages, when I was debating whether or not to change the ribbon, it's a little more challenging. Still a lot faster than retyping, and with all the going over the text I have to do, still a good review and opportunity to do a first-pass edit. I'll be printing it up to really hack away at after this part is done.

3. Other update-just-to-update type jabbering: After years of hearing their ads and thinking, "hey, betcha that'd be a cool place to visit," I finally went to Shipwreck Beads with my sister yesterday. I *love* beaded earrings, but have never gotten into making them. She does a bit. I'm gonna have to learn.

That place is overwhelming. Good golly. Imagine a grocery store sized place of nothing but beads and associated crafty things, in all sorts of colors and shapes and sizes and textures and materials. There are strings of beads, drawers and drawers full of charms, loose beads of all sorts, from tiny shell beads to big blown glass beads and everything in between. Also these funky little rubber beads, which I wanted to buy in great quantities just to handle.

You carry a little tray through the store to pick out what you want, writing down codes for any loose stuff, like at a hardware store. For the more intrepid shoppers, they even had carts with space where you could lay out bunches of trays, and pegs for hanging stringed beads and such like.

We didn't spend much, partly just because there was too much to take in on a first trip. Wayyy too much. Margaret got a few beads and earring supplies and we walked out, a little dazed. We'll have to go back.

Also, after we got back from the bead store, I finally did a dry-run for my new bike commute on the trail from the new house. It's not a bad ride, *except* for a *different* fun busy-four-lane-road crossing, where you either have to go a lonnng way out of the way to get to a very slow traffic light and wait to cross at the crosswalk, OR do what 95% of folks do and wait for a gap in traffic, dash for the median, wait for another gap, and run like mad for the other side. It's like real life Frogger. Lots of fun. At least the rest of the ride is simple and entirely off roads. Lots of people around still, but that's OK.

My bike is purty.