Porch Desk Complete

I had a frustrating and unproductive work day. I was overlooked on a few things and too wrapped up in a misunderstanding on something else. 

A handmade scrapwood desk in a basement

The good news is I finished my porch desk later on this evening. It has a perforated laptop spot and I’m excited to break it out when the temperatures climb into the upper 40s, low 50s. It’s not perfect, but I did it. All of the wood involved was scavenged. 

I’m realizing that distractions like browsing the internet are both a time suck and a brain drain. I only have so much brain power to use each day, and spending it on random YouTube videos and useless tangent web pages is the last thing I need to do. Tomorrow I will make a change. I will begin the path towards taming my brain. 

Done with ITB

Ok, I just finished Into the breach. Fully finished, uninstalled and forgotten. I love that game. It’s turn-based, time-unlimited strategy is really a thinking man’s game. As a thinking man, it fit me to a T. Now that I fully beat it (on the hardest difficulty across all four islands), I’m ready to hang up my hat. I was surprised to learn that beating the four islands actually makes the final boss easier. Your mechs are so overpowered at that point that you can really tear it up. 

I’m currently printing what I hope will be the final jig for my porch table. It will guide the perforation pattern I want to apply to the top. Fingers crossed that it works and I don’t mess up my perfectly good table. 

Another failed project

I spent a lot of today working on 3D modeling two different clothing security tags. I had planned on casting these in cement and turning them into pins. Unfortunately, the shapes of these tags are not especially iconic, and Monica couldn’t really recognize what they are. Also, the second one I modeled has much more of an organic shape that I couldn’t really nail with my limited Fusion 360 skills. Oh, well. At least I’ll save myself the time of casting them. I think the idea is good—concrete fashion pins—but I need another, more recognizable subject. 


I didn’t write my journal entry yesterday. I gave myself a pass because I had some minor surgery to remove a skin growth from my inner leg. It started to get irritated last summer when I picked up on some more strenuous biking. I had that skin tag since I was a kid, but I won’t miss it.

I have an idea for some buttons that I’d like to make. After some success using 3D printed jigs for my porch desk, I’d like to do some concrete molds as well. I watched a few YouTube videos where they used 3D printed molds for the concrete itself, rather than casting a print in silicone. I’d like to give that a try. 

Getting better

I remember when I bought my first motorized bike, an early 1980’s Vespa PX125. I had to learn how to drive it an manually shift the gears on my own, and I spend a couple weeks driving it down the alleyway behind my apartment. I’d stall out at the end, kickstart it, and loop around the block. With enough practice, I learned how to stop stalling out, and I accelerated from a full stop without stalling. I didn’t realize that some neighbors were observing my progress, and they all clapped at my success. I was pretty embarrassed that I didn’t know how to drive this bike, but I shouldn’t have been. It’s okay to be a beginner at any stage of your life. If there’s something you want to do, the best advice I can give is to stick with it and try to enjoy that early phase of learning. There’s something thrilling about figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

I’m a beginner again on this electric skateboard. I’ve never been a successful skateboarder, but at 35, I’ve decided to learn. I’m fully embracing the “Embarrassing Skateboard Dad” look, and I’ve been tearing up the nearby basketball courts on this thing. I’m building up my confidence so I can ride this thing on actual streets, where I’ll use it to pick up Zavian from daycare (although, I’ll walk him home with the skateboard in tow). For now, I’m enjoying those moments where things click and I inch up my skills.

I also wrote this in bed

I spent a couple hours at the sauna after work today. It was a pleasant, refreshing experience. If you are a water baby or are born under a water sign, then I recommend an occasional shvitz, especially in the winter. 

I need to dig more into serverless architecture, but I keep getting sidetracked. Tomorrow will be the day I figure it all out.

I permanently attached the first leg to my porch desk. No longer are the legs exploding and disconnecting. They now support the weight of this old (half) door. I’ll you how on a future episode of “this old boring blog”.  I’m taking my time on this desk because of a frigid 10 days ahead. No sense in rushing to the finish this thing when it’s just too chilly to work outside.

I wrote this in bed

Today was a surprise snow day. An inch and a half of snow and the city shuts down the schools with its finger hovered over the panic button. It was all melted by midday, but I kinda get it. There are so many hills and windy roads here; it’s a nightmare to drive after dark without any snow on the street. I’ll give you a pass, Portland, because here’s the secret. As tough as Chicago fronts about its winters, a little (or a lotta) snow can have quite the same effect. Except there, the dirty snow patches stick around until March or April or May.

My So-Called Clarissa Explains Blossom

Monica and I were working up fan fiction that merged the universes of My So-Called Life, Clarissa Explains it All, and Blossom. By “working up fan fiction”, I mean working on just the above title. We were pretty beat after that.

I worked from New Seasons today, and it was a nice change of scenery. It also snowed a bit today, but the weather never dropped below the high thirties.

I’m printing some leg mounts for my porch desk. They’re pretty sturdy, and I’m hoping they’ll prevent another “table hardware explodes” situation like before.

Breakfast and then brunch

Today I couldn’t remember the name of one of the cats who lives across the street. I called him Toby, which was the name of the cat who lives in the apartment complex behind us. What were you thinking, brain?

This morning Monica, Zavian, and I had some scrambled eggs and then drove to Sellwood park. That park has the best swings in the city. After that, we went to lunch at Blossoming Lotus, but learned they only serve brunch on Sunday. So, we had a second breakfast where we swapped the eggs for scrambled tofu. It was fine, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I put a couple things on eBay, like my HTC Vive, and then we spent the evening messing around at the OMSI and at home. I wrapped up the night preparing for the week.

Coffee Shop Observations

I spent a fair bit of time studying today for that AWS exam. I’ve moved from “learn AWS” to “learn how to pass an AWS multiple choice test”, which represents a failure of standardized testing, but what can you do?

I arrived at a coffee shop on Hawthorne today, entering just as a man had removed his shoe, rolled up his pant leg and revealed to the room a tattered and bloody lower leg. He then hobbled past me and across the shop to the water dispenser, where he informed the staff that he was just cleaning his leg. The baristas were not thrilled to hear this. They banded together and requested the injured man leave the premises. The man said something about “you don’t have to call anyone”, but I wonder if he actually wanted the opposite. Maybe he thought that police medical staff would dress his leg wound as part of the arrest. I’m not sure why he made a show of it otherwise; he could’ve just used the bathroom.

If my reasoning was correct, he backed out of it and left the shop, maybe unsure of any further injury that would result from the arrest. Or maybe he had mental issues that prevented him from understanding that this was not an ok thing to do. I don’t know.