11/18/22

Mid-November Check-In

I came into this month with all of the best intentions. What I lacked was a solid outline.

It’s okay. I’m not going to complete NaNoWriMo this month, and I’m not that worried about it. I wrote about 5,000 words in the first few days, then realized that if I kept going at that pace, pantsing most of it, I would hit the end of the story at around 40,000 words and not have a real novel.

I’m going to take my time with it. I’ll continue working on it throughout the month, but I don’t care if I hit 50K. It would be much better for me to hit maybe 10K and have a solid outline and a plan than a rushed manuscript that I hate.

What else have I been doing this month?

We’re going to renovate our master bedroom, so we moved the bed into the living room. We haven’t really done much more than that, but it’s a start. Moving the bed into the other room was always going to be the first step in that process, so we took the first step. I think we’ll wind up making actual progress at the beginning of December. We should set a goal to try and finish it before Christmas. Thanksgiving will be awkward enough with half our bedroom so close to the dining room.

Once I decided that I didn’t really want to work on my story that much, I turned my attention to my newest keyboard project. That’s what I’m using to write this post! I finished the keyboard Wednesday evening, and I love it!

The print process gave me fits during this one. It was originally going to be copper and silver, but I think the blue and silver looks great, and I love blue, so this is an even better fit for me. The keycaps and the cables really tie it together. It’s going to take me a while to get fully used to it, but I’m already seeing some improvement since Wednesday evening. I unhooked the Blackwidow I’ve used for the last 9 years. I’m fully committed. This is going to be great.

There are at least 2 more keyboards for me to work on before Christmas. I’ll need to get on that. One of them is like the ones I made before, which is more standard looking. The other one will be like this one I just finished.

What else is going on? Work continues to be extremely busy. It’s better to be busy than bored, but I’m feeling a need to take a break soon. Maybe I’ll take some time around Christmas. I don’t know. I don’t really go anywhere, so I’m not sure what a break would do for me. More time to work on keyboards I don’t need, I suppose?

The last thing to report is I printed 2 copies of Synthetic Dreams. One for Melissa, one for Michael. Melissa has hers. I haven’t had a chance to give the other to Michael yet. It looks nice. It’s a good book. I wish the rest of you could read it.

That’s all for now. I may check in again next week. I have lots to be thankful for.

10/31/22

Halloween 2022

We did it! We made it all the way through October. Time to do a victory lap and hand out some candy! Maybe even eat a little of it, too.

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride all the way through this month. Work has been crazy. We had an impromptu trip up to Southern Oregon. I entered this month with a goal and a hint of a plan, and yet muddled through, one post at a time.

Thirty-one posts in thirty-one days. Happy Halloween, and goodbye Blogtober.

I’m dressed as a king tonight, with a velvet tunic, brilliant red cape, and a golden crown. We have quite a bounty for the kids. It’s well past dark, and there haven’t been that many. Some, but not as many as last year. Certainly nowhere near as many as we had before Covid.

Full size candy bars plus a soda or a Capri-sun, depending on how old they appear to be. When I drop the loot into their bag, I want to see their arms flex with the weight of it. I want them to remember our house as that mythical house that gives out the good stuff. Some of the kids that have visited tonight do remember us, from previous years. It’s nice.

It’s the end of October. Tomorrow starts National Novel Writing Month. I still don’t feel prepared.

I think it feels this way every time. I go into it with a bit of bluster and hope, but there’s this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I’m not going to make it. I’m going to reach for the words and they won’t be there. I’m not going to really feel like I’m in it to win it until after the first week.

I have a goal, with a hint of a plan. I’ve done this before. Maybe I’ll do it again.

Happy Halloween, everyone. I hope you’ve enjoyed this month. I hope whatever you have planned for the next works out perfectly.

I’ll keep you posted.

10/30/22

Brian’s Predictions for the Future

Though I like to write about ghosts and the supernatural, I’m not a particularly superstitious person. I think there’s more to life than what our various senses are capable of perceiving, and maybe we get an impression of things beyond what we can see, the way eyeless fish might know about light by feeling the difference between shadow and illumination.

I’m trying to say that sometimes, I feel like I have a sense for things to come. It’s like I can feel the winds of change blowing long before there’s any sign. It’s like the emotional weight of certain events press so hard on my life that the effects travel back in time.

That’s all poppycock, I know, but there’s a lot of silly nonsense that I want to believe.

With that in mind, I thought I might try to figuratively put my ear to the ground and sense what’s coming.

Hopefully this won’t be too pessimistic.

Covid

We’re not freed of that snake yet. Too many people are still fighting reality. There is too much distrust and division, and we all have to be on the same side to fight this monster. People are tired of wearing masks and social distancing and doing the things that slow the progress of the disease. As millions of people continue to get it and hundreds of people die from it every day, we continue to get interesting mutations.

I’m still feeling the effects of my bout with it. I’m still coughing, and I don’t think I have as much air capacity in my lungs.

By March, we’re going to be at a point where there aren’t enough people vaccinated, because the message is that “the pandemic is over” so people think they don’t need to get vaccinated. But it’s still spreading, and people are too tired of it to remain vigilant. So, we’re going to get back to the point where 2% of the population will die from it, and it will just keep going and going.

Economy

War and disease have crippled supply chains. At the same time, corporations see an opportunity to rake in profits. The oil barons have had a banner year this year, and there’s too much political strife for anyone to do anything about it. Again, we’re too divided to look at the actual culprits, the robbers stealing from us at the pump and raising the price of production on everything. Too many people blaming people in power that had nothing to do with the rising prices.

The stresses on this great machine will continue to build up. How long can it hold? People are struggling. There are jobs, but not all of them are that great. A couple of young adults are no longer able to make it on their own. Not on one job, and not with the wages that are available. When the collapse happens, it’ll come from the bottom. It’s not very far away, now.

Politics

People are divided, and it’s getting worse. I don’t want to talk too much about politics right now. I don’t like what I see, and no one wants to hear my prediction for the near future.

My Future

I’m going to keep plugging along. I’m not going to slip unscathed past all the things I was just talking about. Covid will visit my house again, probably even worse than last time. Money will get interesting. I’ll continue to get frustrated by what I see on the political stage, where it seems our collective wisdom has run dry.

I’ll keep writing.

There’s a number of things I’m trying to start now, and I’m not sure how much of those attempts will succeed. We’ll finish renovating the bedroom, but I’m not sure I’ll succeed at NaNoWriMo this year. The vision isn’t clear enough. I tried to work on the outline today, but there wasn’t much gas in the tank. I’ll finish the next three keyboards and continue to derive pleasure from making things with my hands.

I’m trying to exercise more, but it’s hard to say if I’ll have much success there. It’s just really hard to breathe these days.

I’ll keep plugging along.

When Will Things Get Better?

It’s hard to say.

We’re just so fractured. If we can’t hold ourselves together, then there is no unity and support for growing together in wisdom. We have to be able to trust each other in order to communicate and protect each other.

There are still too many people that love money more than they love people. There are still too many people that would rather lie and try to nab an easy dollar than do something hard and help lift someone up. It’s hard to see the good in people when the people refuse to be good.

Money is still a problem. Money motivates the people that are working to keep us apart. Money motivates the monsters and the people I’d rather not talk about. If we were wise and good, we would spend our days seeking knowledge and love, rather than all the different forms money takes.

Can things get better?

Yes, but I think things have to get a lot worse first. I’m not looking forward to that, because it means a lot of people are going to have to hurt before we learn the lesson.

We have to find another way to run things than the way we’ve been doing it.

I guess that’s it. I don’t want it to be pessimistic. I want to be hopeful for the future, but it’s hard to see a way forward that doesn’t involve everything falling apart so that it can be put back together.

All of this is going to go into my next book.

10/29/22

All of the Writing Advice

I have written down a lot of writing advice over the years. Some of what I had to say is really great and helpful. Some may not be very applicable. Tonight, I’m going to link to most of it, putting it all in one place so you don’t have to go searching. This might be really useful.

Since I’m linking to a bunch of advice, let’s start with advice on How to Evaluate Writing Advice.

There are a handful of VLOGs I’ve put together which dispense writing advice. The first one is more of an introduction, but the second one talks about the usefulness of branding for a writer, the third one talks about how to be a positive and support member of the writing community, and the last one is about perseverance as a writer. If nothing else, you get to see some of my facial hair journey.

In terms of basic craft, my Pithy Writing Advice is pretty good. Along the same lines, there is this older one about passive voice and the word “was.

Though this post is titled Literary Theory, it really has nothing to do with literary theory, but it does talk about what makes a story good. While writing your good story, trust the reader as you write it. Part of trusting the reader is not repeating yourself, which I have done many times here when talking about passive voice. As you write, be certain to Write Responsibly.

I wrote several “How Tos.” We started this summary with How to Evaluate Writing Advice. In no particular order, there is How to Discovery Write, How to Outline, How to Write a Fight Scene, How to Write Dialog, How to Write Humor, and How to Revise a Draft. How to Get Rejected can be found here, but it isn’t really one of my posts. It’s notes from a convention I took in 2012. There are tons of similar notes from various conventions I attended.

There’s a series of posts that are “of the Writer” which I’m still happy with. They are Fears of the Writer, Pride of the Writer (which is a guest post on Jennifer Carson’s blog), and I wrote a draft for Lies of the Writer as a VLOG, but never finished it.

Some advice is less about writing and more about what to do as a writer. There is Pitching and Querying. There is The Importance of Continuous Reading as a Writer. You should Maintain Self-Care. You should manager your Online Distractions. If you’re struggling as a writer, just Fake It. I will cheer you on because You Can Do It.

I wrote a few tips that aren’t particularly organized. Try Dressing Up to Write sometime. Write What You Care About instead of writing what you know. But also? Write What You Know (this is one of the funnier posts and it will entertain you). When you write, figure out Where the Writing will Happen. Once your story is in someone else’s hand, learn how to Handle Early Feedback.

Once you’ve finished a draft or a revision, remember that It’s Your Story.

Write Science Fiction. Or Write Fantasy. Whatever you do, Write What Matters. Get into the specifics of Internality and Show Versus Tell. While you’re at it, consider Killing Some Characters.

There’s more. My goodness, there is more.

I’ve been working on my craft for a very long time, and I’ve been trying to share what I’ve learned for a pretty long time, too. My plan is to continue doing both as long as I can.

If you’ve checked out all of this writing advice and you have a favorite, let me know. If you want to discuss any of this, let me know. Let’s talk some time.

10/28/22

You Can Do It!

I was having an important conversation with someone today. I won’t say who, because I’m not sure if they want me to talk about them here. But at one point, I think I gave some of the best advice I’ve ever given. I said, “You are asking if you’re there yet. You have everything you need. Once you realize this, you’ll be there.”

I think this is true for a lot of us. It’s that spark of confidence we need to start the fire. Sometimes when we’re talking about taking a leap of faith, we’re just talking about having faith in ourselves.

This is especially true with writing. The best way to learn to write is to sit down and do it, and it takes a certain amount of confidence and boldness to conquer the blank page. But there is a bitter twist here, which is that we often learn how to write by writing it wrong. We try, we fall, we see what we did wrong, then get up and try again.

It’s why you should give yourself permission to write terrible first drafts. You’re going to get things wrong. But it’s important to have some faith in yourself in spite of stumbling, because you’re going to learn from the mistakes and then do better in the revision.

There is an awkward balance between just the right amount of confidence to push through the hard parts and get the story on the page, versus overconfidence, where you spray a bunch of word salad into the story and think it’s the best thing ever written. Whatever your first draft looks like, it can be improved with revision.

As a writer, you have everything inside that you need to write your story. It doesn’t matter if you are using a pen and paper or a fancy, handcrafted printer you soldered yourself. It’s not the tools you’re using, it’s the heart and soul you’re drawing from. It’s the force of your willpower to see the story through, and the sharpness of your intellect to carve out the right words. You have everything you need, even if some stories take more time than others.

You can do it. If you have the courage to take the leap, you will do it.

I’ll be starting a new one soon. I don’t feel like I’m ready, but I will be. Another novel by Brian C. E. Buhl will be start in a few days. It’s just a matter of time.

10/27/22

The Twitter Post

I just read that Musk has taken over Twitter, and the previous executives have left the building with no plans of returning. So, it’s Musk’s platform now. What will he do with it, and do I want to remain a part of it?

To be honest, Twitter has been a bumpy ride. It’s one of those places you can go to get constant emotional whiplash.

When it first became a thing, I didn’t see the point of it. What can someone say in 140 characters? They eventually doubled the length, but that’s still only enough room to write a few sentences. It’s no place to talk about topics with any sort of depth, unless you’re willing to create threads, chaining these tiny word bites one into the next.

With or without threads, Twitter is the place where nuance goes to die. People get passionate and shout short bursts of expletives at each other. While crafting insults, everyone reaches for the top shelf. The brevity welcomes creativity, but the impatience often gets people to wield the largest weapon in their arsenal, because really, only trolls and the truly masochistic wish to get into any sort of protracted Twitter war.

For a period of time, you can set your watch by the activity of the Russian bots that would show up and support whatever propaganda seemed most destructive to the US. There are still tons of bots. Some of them are kind of funny. Use the wrong word in your message and you might have a bot toiling in your replies, trying to get your attention and click on dubious links. Some days it felt like the entire place was populated with bots. Like Mars.

In spite of that, I made some wonderful friendships on Twitter. Through that platform, I found people I truly care about. I even got to meet a few them offline.

I started to really enjoy myself on Twitter when I realized how much it was like an afterparty at a convention. You float from conversation to conversation, sometimes participating, sometimes just listening, never staying for very long in one place, never really getting into anything too deep. You can talk about deep and personal things there, but that’s usually left to private messages, or the newly created Circles option. If you treat Twitter like an afterparty, the whole thing makes more sense. It’s loud, crowded, sometimes lonely, and always changing.

Not all change is good, and all parties must come to an end. I’m not leaving Twitter yet, but the writing is on the wall. Elon Musk is one of those guys that doesn’t understand the need for moderation. By that I mean, he’s an absolutist when it comes to free speech, even though absolute free speech is violence and anarchy. Again, nuance is required on that subject. I talked about it earlier in the month.

Not all speech should be protected. Weaponization of words should not be protected. This isn’t to say a person should be disallowed from being an asshole and saying hurtful things. It means that when someone uses speech to invade and destroy the privacy of others, or they use their speech to spread extremely damaging and harmful lies… that’s where speech should have some limits. It’s not easy. The line isn’t always clear. It’s important to make an effort to find the line and protect people. I do not believe Elon Musk is someone that is interested in looking for that line. I don’t think he believes there should ever be any limits put on speech.

So, when he reopens the door for a certain individual I do not want to talk about, that’s when I’ll depart the platform. I’ll delete my account. I didn’t go that for with Facebook, though I probably should have. I’ve enjoyed my time on social media, even though I think it’s a bit of a mistake. We need something better, and I’m not sure what that looks like.

Only 4 days left in October. I’m still not ready for November.

10/26/22

A Crazy, Crazy November Approaches

This year, when Bryanna moved out, I took over her room. I repaired the walls, painted them, and didn’t bother with a drop cloth because I knew the next step was ripping it all out and replacing it with laminate flooring. The project took a bit of time, money, and effort, but ultimately increased my happiness by orders of magnitude. I have a bright, happy place that is climate controlled and comfortable to work and play in. It honestly made the whole house feel better.

Today, I took the first step in doing the same thing to our bedroom. I moved our bed into the living room. Once we clear out all of the rest of the stuff, I’ll do the same thing: repair the walls, paint, rip out the carpet, and put in laminate.

That project is going to be going on in November.

This is the 26th blog post of October, an exercise I do every year that I want to succeed at NaNoWriMo. I’m dedicating myself to writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

NaNoWriMo takes place in November.

Work continues to be busy, and I’m trying to be as productive as possible. Then there’s the side projects, such as the next keyboards I’m building, including the one I’m going to finish for a family member. I’ll have to build it in November if I want to have it delivered by Christmas.

November is going to be really full.

I think that’s okay, though. I seem happier when I’m busy. I don’t think it’s just a matter of distracting me from dealing with my emotional issues. That’s likely a part of it, but I think staying busy, working on projects and making things, gives me feelings of worthiness and accomplishment that nothing else manages to imitate.

One of the reasons my room brings me so much joy is I can look at it and know that I did this. I’m sitting in a happy, comfortable place that exists because I made it so. It makes it extra special. It’s the same thing when I type on one of the keyboards I’ve built.

We are made to be makers, I think. Creativity is a part of being human, and I think a lot of people that struggle simply haven’t found their creative path yet. Not all of my November will be creating, but a lot of it will be, so when I say that November is going to be really busy, I think I’m also saying that it’s going to be very satisfying.

Hopefully NaNoWriMo won’t stress me out too much.

10/25/22

Dealing with Disruptions

Before going to bed, I started a print for one half of the base of my next keyboard. I’m really looking forward to finishing this project. I have all of the electronics and the cables. I just need the case finished. The case is made up 6 parts, 3 on the left, 3 on the right. The base parts are the largest, and are estimated to take 10 hours to print each half. The middle and top parts are 4 hours each. These are estimates, though. The reality is that the base actually takes closer to 12 hours to print. So, starting the print before going to bed is a good idea, when the print goes well.

At 5AM, Melissa heard a crash. It did not wake me up, which I’m thankful for. My body has been waking me at 3AM quite a bit lately, so sleeping through the night is a necessary treat.

The crash was the glass printing plate of my printer hitting the floor, along with the unfinished and warped print.

It was my 3rd or 4th attempt at printing the bottom left part of the keyboard case, and once again, the corners of the print lifted from the glass. This disfigurement meant that as the machine worked, there was a chance that it would catch the unfinished print, and things could go badly. That’s what happened at 5AM. I came into my office and found the glass and unfinished item on the floor, along with a tangled mess of PLA strings strewn across the bare hot plate.

Fortunately, the glass was undamaged, and it wasn’t that hard to clean up. I took care of all that, changed the print temperature, and started again. I’m about an hour and a half from a finished print, and it’s doing great. I think we’re going to make it this time.

This unfortunate incident with the print represents a disruption. Plans were made, and something unexpected came along and caused emotional distress and shifted the timeline. In this case, I was able to deal with it calmly, cleaning up the mess and trying a different approach. But I’m not always able to deal with disruptions quite so easily.

My ability to deal with disruptions is dependent on my mental health and the importance of the task. I’m excited for this new keyboard, so the task is important enough to me that I can push through minor setbacks. Mentally, I’m feeling pretty good right now, which gives me the strength I need to remain calm and move forward.

My normal Tuesday night schedule is to join a Shut Up and Write, with the potential of joining Michael’s stream and then participating in the Zoom session afterwards. Tuesday nights have turned into my weeknight writing night, and it’s fantastic. I get stuff done, and I get to socialize with friends and other writers. But, I’ve got this work thing which demands my attention tonight, so I’m not going to be able to follow my usual routine.

This is a disruption, and initially, it locked me up. If I focused and got the work done, I might have been able to come in late to one of the other activities. I suppose it’s still possible. Michael’s stream doesn’t start for another 20 minutes. But it’s been a long day and I’m a little bit scattered. I had to take a break. I watched some videos, paid my bills, then watched the action of the printer. I enjoy the order and precision of it. It’s calming. Now I’m writing this blog post. When I’m done here, I should have the energy I need to finish the work I’ve been putting off. That’s how I’m dealing with that disruption.

I don’t always deal with disruptions well. I had planned on doing a full year of Wordle. I had a streak of a couple hundreds days going, but then some bit of travel kept me from playing one day, and after that, I didn’t feel the need to play it again. The reminder after every game of the broken streak is enough to disincentivize me to ever play again.

I have attempted NaNoWriMo 6 times and succeeded 3 of those times. The first year, I didn’t know what I was doing. The third year, I didn’t have a good story in mind. But the last year that I failed, it was just too hard to deal with the disruptions. Too much travel. Too many unexpected things to deal with. I had a good story idea, and I’ll revisit it another time, but that was a month where the disruptions defeated me.

There’s less than a week before the next NaNoWriMo starts. I don’t feel like I’m prepared enough. If I can just take a couple of hours to work on the outline, just a little bit more, I think that’ll be enough. But even if I’m prepared, I’m not sure ready to deal with another month of disruptions. I think November is going to come at me sideways.

10/24/22

People Online are Still People

I want to talk about two things before I get into the main topic. First, I started printing the new keyboard body again, and it looks like that’s going to take a while. The bottom parts are 10 hours each, and I was 8 hours into the bottom left section when it peeled up off the glass and tried to eat my printer. The printer is fine, but I had to pitch that and start it again. More glue should do. I hope.

The second thing is that I mentioned a different topic, which is a consolidation and possible addition to my writing posts. I was going to maybe do that tonight, but that’s going to take a bit more work than I have time for. It might be best if I do that post on Friday or Saturday. I decided for tonight I’d go with a simpler topic for me to talk about.

And, I don’t know if I’ve talked about this before or not. It seems like the kind of thing I would write an essay on, but there are a lot of posts here. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and even accounting for the breaks, there is still a lot here. So if I’m repeating myself, I apologize. However, even if I am repeating myself, this is worth saying again.

The people you communicate with are just as human you are whether or not you can see them. They have feelings, just like you do. They deserve as much respect as you do. They are people.

There are individuals that don’t care and will happily try to ruin someone else’s day for fun. Those people are assholes, and I don’t think they read my blog anyway, so I’m not going to try talking to them. Those are the people you should block on social media and ignore whenever possible, online or offline.

Some folks just forget that there are people on the other side of the screen, so they behave differently than they would if they were face-to-face. You see this a lot in online video games, actually. Frustrations rise, and suddenly your sweetest friend is yelling at a stranger online for not playing the game well enough. When I was younger, I definitely said some things to people I shouldn’t have. I think it’s probably happened to all of us.

Games are one thing. Social media is another. It’s weird seeing people be so nasty to each other online when it is so needless. Just block and move on. There are so many people I disagree with on Twitter, but I don’t spend my time responding to them, trying to correct them. If I can do so gently and in a way that isn’t going to create additional drama and conflict, I might say something. But usually I just move on and let people be wrong. If they’re particularly offensive, I block and move on. It is exceedingly rare to change someone’s mind online with a Tweet or a Facebook post or an Instagram comment, or whatever.

I feel like I should give an example of this. How about J.K. Rowling? She’s completely wrong about transgender people and feminism. She has doubled down on this multiple times. Her stance is hurtful to people that already have a hard time. There is nothing I can say or do that will change her mind. So I have her blocked and I don’t engage. If everyone that disagreed with her just blocked her, she wouldn’t have much of a platform anymore.

That’s an extreme example. A milder one… I saw someone online say that Ultraviolet is a good movie. First, I was shocked someone could hold such an opinion in their mind, as I believe Ultraviolet is one of the worst movies to ever come out on my birthday, or maybe ever. But, as wrong as that person’s opinion is about a truly terrible movie, I didn’t try to correct them. I didn’t block them or mute them, either. They’re not actually hurting anyone with their ridiculous opinion.

I think the last thing I’ll say on this subject is that supporting people online goes a long way. Further than you may ever know. Toxic positivity is a thing, so it’s important to avoid rolling in with all sunshine and rainbows all the time. If you stop and listen to a person, you should be able to tell what kind of support they need. Imagine how you would want to be treated in their situation and be the change you want to see in the world. But continue to listen and don’t take it personally if your well-intended words do not have the effect you were hoping for. Words are hard and confusing, and tone is often lost when it’s text alone. If you’re supporting someone, you are not owed any reward or attention for your support.

In summary:

  • Remember that the people you interact with on The Internet are people just like you, deserving of respect and consideration
  • Do not seek conflict and try to correct people online unnecessarily. If they’re particularly offensive damaging, report them when appropriate, and block them and move on
  • Support people online. Treat people the way you would want to be treated.

Why did I feel the need to write this tonight? I’m not sure. I write things like this knowing it won’t have much reach, and the only people that will see these words probably don’t need this message. But writing this is more hopeful than not writing anything. If everyone followed this advice, The Internet would truly live up to its enormous potential.

10/23/22

The Return Home Update

Melissa and I just got home. Laundry is going. Chores are getting done. We’re unpacked and unwinding, so now is a good time to get my October 23rd post finished.

In the car, between Reno and Sacramento, I told Melissa that today would probably be a “greatest hits” day, in that I would search all of my blog posts for ones specifically on writing and then put links and summaries here for them. I’ll do that tomorrow. I had packages waiting for me, so I’m going to go through all the things I have in front of me.

Keyboard Parts Arrived

The electronics and PCBs arrived, and I’m super excited to start soldering and getting this new keyboard built! There’s just one thing: I might have ordered the wrong parts?

When I started building these new keyboards from scratching, printing the base and hand wiring them, I started with the print files from Thingiverse. That seemed the best place to start, and it pointed me in the right directions to learn when I needed to learn. As I’m writing this, I’m still using the Michael Gallowglas keyboard, because it’s awesome and I’m still testing it to make sure it’s going to be satisfying for him.

With this new split keyboard design, I started in the same place. I downloaded the STLs and started printing right away. The prints came out fantastic. The bottom part is glow-in-the-dark and the top part is a mint green, which goes well with the bottom whether it’s glowing or not. All the parts fit together perfectly. I was stoked to buy the electronics and PCBs and get this thing going.

Unfortunately, I thought I printed an Ergodox base, but I think I printed a Redox base instead, which is smaller and shaped a little bit different. All the Ergodox electronics are here now, and it’s not going to fit in what I printed.

What I’m probably going to do is just find another actual Ergodox base to print and do that. Once I’ve finished that keyboard and I’m happy with it, I’ll do build another keyboard in the base I already have printed. There are some hand-wired options for it, which I might try. I’ll need more electronics, but that’s not a big deal.

The Speaker Stand Print Jobs

Just before Melissa and I headed to Oregon, I started building stands for two of my speakers in my office. I haven’t been able to hear them since I moved in here because they’re on the floor, underneath the futon. I want to elevate them above the futon, which meant shelves on the wall, or some other creative solution.

I chose the “some other creative solution” path, and it’s been fun. I designed some feet that can affix to 1/2″ dowels, and a shelf to sit on top of the dowels. The dowels were purchased for 5 bucks from Home Depot, and the parts on the top and bottom were designed by me and printed. It took a little trial and error, but I think I have it just right. The feet aren’t quite wide enough for stability, so I’ll glue them to some spare wood pieces I have laying around.

It’s a neat little project! The design of the shelf was giving me a little bit of problems, because it needs to be shaped just right to hold the speaker, but I thought I had it about 15 minutes before Melissa and I jumped in the car. Getting home, I can see that the shelf printed nicely, so I just have to print one more, plus the parts that affix it to the dowels. I might have that project finished tonight.

VR Headset

After seeing my doctor and hearing that I need about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day if I want to live, I ordered a Meta Quest 2. It arrived the same night Melissa and I left, so it’s one more thing that was waiting for me when I got home. I’ve opened the box and it looks pretty easy to setup.

For some reason, I feel a little nervous around it. I don’t know why. I had a headset that my old phone plugged into, and that was fun. There’s something about this one, though, that intimidates me. Maybe it’s that it is deep in the Facebook/Meta ecosystem, when I’ve been trying to distance myself from Facebook. Maybe I’m nervous that my plan to use it to trick myself into exercising won’t work. I don’t know.

I’ve been following VR news for years. I’m excited about it, and I think it could be a major game changer if it continues to gain users. I think AR is going to be a more profound communication shift than VR, but VR has grown in popularity over the last few years and looks to continue to grow. I’m going to have fun with it.

I’m going to plug it in and let it charge. It takes hours for the print jobs to finish, so I’ll have a little bit of time to mess with it some tonight. Maybe I’ll finally try Beat Saber.

The Spare Man Arrived

I pre-ordered Mary Robinette Kowal’s book The Spare Man and it finally arrived while Melissa and I were away. I’m really looking forward to reading it.

Additionally, I purchased The Book of M by Peng Shephard and I want to try and read it before the end of the month.

I have a lot of reading to do, and a lot of writing preparation to do.

So that’s it. I’m home. The drive wasn’t too terrible, though the last stretch between Reno and Sacramento was a little frustrating. People don’t know how to drive. I need to keep the laundry going and make sure that we’re all prepared for the next work week. Hopefully it’ll be a lot easier than the last.