Baby Blogger

I have come to realize today how much HTTASocks is still in its infancy. I’d really like to expand its reaches into other sectors of the blogosphere. So if you think you have a taste of where my interests lie, I’d welcome recommendations for blogs I can follow.

Also, I’m not entirely sure about reblogging etiquette — how frequently I should do it, how much I should comment, etc. This blog will still be primarily original content, but I do come across so many interesting things on the internets.

Thanks for reading,
Wuzzat

PS: Feel free to follow, subscribe, friend, or whatever we are supposed to do on here. New content every Tuesday and Thursday.

In telling my friends and family about my audition for MAKE Mag’s TV project, this question has popped up dozens of times. Up ’til now I’ve taken the term for granted. The idea of “making” is kind of implicit, but trying to describe it as a modern-day cultural movement is a completely different story and you realize how young it really is. I think the maker movement as we know it now was really “born” once it was given a name. This article sheds some light on its origins.

I have always been fascinated by joinery (I file it among interests like small containers, locking mechanisms, book-binding and decorative knots). There’s a kind of elegance and sense of nostalgia. I’ve always wished for better exposure to tools and methods.

I love the joints in this article. It’s like the elaborate puzzles of traditional Japanese joinery meets modern-day Ikean practicality and technology. Oh to play with a CNC machine for a day!

Also I got a little excited to see Gregg Fleishman’s chair mentioned in this article. I had the privilege to play around in his gallery in Culver City, CA. He has some really amazing pieces that include furniture like the Nebula II chair, an adult-sized toy car built in similar fashion and kid-sized playhouses next to their scaled miniature prototypes. He didn’t say much but seemed welcoming and let my friend and I play with some modular building toys he had laid out. Every time I pass by his gallery, he has some new creation in his windows.

Looks like I’ve found tonight’s topic of curiosity-fueled research. Let’s start at the original CNC Panel Joinery Notebook here: http://blog.makezine.com/2012/04/13/cnc-panel-joinery-notebook/

Early Morning Baking and Book Review

Greetings you pressers of words, you conquerors of the day, you digesters of food and thought! Early riser or fellow insomniac, it’s 8am on a Tuesday morning here at HTTASocks and you know what that means: I’ve been up all night and it’s time to blog… and bake… and blog about baking!

Banana bread — the go-to solution to salvage one of nature’s most conveniently-prepackaged fruits from the brink of turning to mush due to sadness and neglect. (Sorry, little buddies.)

Not being much of a baker, I had never made banana bread before and had no recipe on stand-by. I do however happen to have a go-to kitchen aid in my library — How to Cook Everything: The Basics by NY Times columnist and best-selling author Mark Bittman.

Its a nifty little book that covers… well… the basics of cooking everything (it’s hard to describe the book better than its title does). Bittman’s writing is clear and casual and the kitchen topics he covers are broad enough for a beginner. The recipes he includes really are quite basic and presented in a way that is easy to follow.

And pictures! Pictures abound! I have come across too many recipe books with scant pictoral documentation. They were useful but ultimately just boring and eventually disposable. When you’re just starting out in the kitchen or treading into new culinary territory, a visual reference at crucial points can mean the difference between soup and slop, crepe and crap, filet mignon or a filet of flaming death and destruction. (I started making beef and onions once and ended up conjuring a skillet-to-ceiling column of flame.)

I think the root problem for those who have trouble in the kitchen is that they aren’t taught how to think in the kitchen. It’s easy to find a recipe online for just about anything, but for some it’s like trying to pass Calculus 3 with a vague recollection of what happened in basic Algebra — you can follow the steps easy enough and learn to repeat them on command, but ultimately you have no idea what the fuck is going on and you panic to the point of pissing your pants the day before the final which you somehow pass by the skin of your teeth only to end up having to take Ordered Differential Equations the next semester… Scary, right?

What I’m trying to say is that this book provides an excellent base upon which one can build and eventually branch out.

I’m not a chef, and I never have been… None of which has gotten in the way of my mission to get people cooking simply, comfortably, and well. ~ Mark Bittman (source: http://content.markbittman.com/about-me)

I appreciate this approach to cooking and writing. I’m not a chef either; I’m just a guy who likes to eat well, and who can’t afford to have someone else cook for me all the time. Aside from it being a rather vital skill, I rather enjoy cooking.

Oh, and here’s the result of this morning’s efforts.

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I have to say it turned out much better than I expected. After failing the first two toothpick tests, it browned a little too much on the outside. But ultimately I saved those poor little bananas from an unfulfilled life.

More kitchen adventures to come, but for now enjoy the rest of your morning, Interweb!

Lateral Thinking in Design

When I was a wee monkey in elementary school, my class took a field trip to the California Science Center. I specifically recall an interactive display featuring a metal gate about 4 feet tall as one might find in any old garden or house. It was fitted with a conventional latch that was locked with a conventional padlock. The gate however, did not open conventionally. The exhibit description said the gate could be opened without breaking the lock or the hasp. And open it did by pushing down on the post where it was apparently hinged and rotating it about where it was apparently locked. Those clever bastards at the California Science Center! Aside from contemplating the virtues of lateral thinking, I thought the display was pretty fucking sweet!

Today, while perusing the Makezine blog, I came across this representation of that same kind of misdirection in design:

The concept is simple enough, but it’s executed quite cleanly and yes, it’s pretty fucking sweet!

As for the virtues of lateral thinking, there is ALWAYS more than one way to view a problem, consider an object, live a life; and I think it prudent to consider the most obvious, and at least one of the less obvious possibilities.

As for how lateral thinking relates to design, ever since that day at the California Science Center, I dreamed of a designing a house with trap doors, hidden panels, and one or two secret passageways. For now I must settle for little diddies of misdirection. Should you ever visit my dwelling place wherever it may be, I’d be wary of the unassuming. Also mind the ordered chaos.

Training Wheels

Layout locked in.

Existing entries categorized.

Various entries in draft-mode.

Vague sense of direction established.

Time to launch this puppy.

My dear readers (Jenn, I believe that’s just you so far), thank you for bearing with me. You can now expect new content every Tuesday and Thursday. Also check out the new content up top.

My Audition (in progress) for MAKE Mag on TV

I must document/comment on this major life event while its outcome is still in flux.

(TL;DNR: I auditioned to host a MAKE Magazine TV project. Proceed to § 2.)

§ 1

Two weeks ago, MAKE Magazine editor-in-chief and founder of BoingBoing.net Mark Frauenfelder posted an invitation for makers to audition to become host of a MAKE Mag TV project. Not having kept up with Boing Boing recently, I came across his post nearly a full week later.

In a mad rush, I hastily shot and cut together a 90-second submission video, set up a gallery of my projects, and composed an overtly desperate letter to Mark. The frenzy lasted 12 straight hours (one sleepless night) from start to “Send.”

I spent the weekend frequently checking my inbox on my phone, constantly scrutinizing my submission video in my head, and tentatively trying to keep my hopes afloat.

On Monday I was on the phone with my friend Jenn when I received an e-mail from casting at Authentic Entertainment. I read the e-mail aloud and at realizing it was a positive response, I immediately decided to test the structural integrity of my home-made bed frame (i.e. jumping wildly all over it). I set up my Skype audition/interview for the next day, Tuesday afternoon.

I can’t say my performance was spectacular, but I think it was solid. They said that I had a good speaking voice, that I was the only one so far to show them examples of my work, and that the only thing that might hold me back was my lack of hosting experience (if only I had emphasized my acting/performing/emceeing). I’m hoping and praying it was enough. I should hear back from them within the next couple of weeks.

For now, I wait. For now, I blog; because for now, it could be anything.

§ 2

I have never before come across an opportunity that combines so perfectly my right- and left-side braininess and I have never wanted a job more. I would get to travel the country. I would get to meet backyard innovators and artists. And yes, I would get to be on TV. I would be able to combine my technical background with my performance background and not have to sacrifice one for the other. I would essentially get to geek out to the max. I would get to be myself!

I know that there is a good chance I will not be successful in this, but I honestly think there is also a very good chance that I will. For now, while the cat is both dead and alive, I’m going to enjoy the prospect of the best possible outcome and how close I am to it in this moment.