I had a couple of hard days where I kept asking myself just what I'm doing at PS1 without an idea or ready contributions. I had really talked myself out of going for a bit, but then stopped psyching myself out and just went yesterday to the weekly Open House and Member Meeting. Since I joined last week, we've gained several more members, which is exciting, and there were new and interested people at the meeting asking questions and introducing themselves. It was nice meeting people, talking with others and just getting out of my head a bit. There was discussion about Ant-Man and how physics didn't really exist for him but it's a fun movie anyways, despite the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids"-esque mass dilemma.
I once again talk about how there is no "higher power" to answer to in this organization; the Board, even, is just fellow members who have also volunteered to take on the onerous duties of running this organization's operational decisions, just as scheduling, and managing the budget. There is no "selling pressure," there are no quotas to fill. PS1 is a non-profit organization and membership fees go into maintaining PS1, repairs and upgrades (if we can't do them ourselves), and purchasing supplies, equipment and new tools for the space. That's how it is.
Tonight was PS1's open band night, but some people weren't able to make it. We only had three of us there and a couple of people pop in; we also had a dearth of instruments, but we still fiddled with what we had and enjoyed ourselves. We had a banjo, an acoustic guitar, a trombone, some wood blocks and... there's a washtub base stored at PS1, for whatever reason, so we grabbed that and experimented with it. Great fun just goofing off, and I actually came to a bit of a realization that maybe I'm psyching myself out when it comes to acoustic guitar... if I just want to play some music and enjoy myself, then I don't have to turn it into a whole science project. I don't need to learn how to do everything perfectly right out of the gate. It was also pointed out to me that there are tuner apps for my phone, so I don't need to stress super-hard about tuning. However, the guitar we had has just been lying around and we broke the nylon strings on it trying to tune it. Ah well, people are already ready to restring it!
The three of us got talking, however, about band and instruments and the Power Racing series and other things and we kind of got off the band track a bit, but we were all excited. The other guy was interested in our newbie Power Racing crew (tentative name: N00b Team!) and decided to join after seeing the other vehicle and asking some questions. We also decided that maybe we should look into making musical instruments and seeing if others were interested. That might also become a regular thing. Then we got on the subject of motorcycles, and we're all interested in the idea of learning to fix up motorcycles, and it spun off into a discussion about a group to learn to repair and restore motorcycles. from being complete newbies... because we can.
It's wild how quickly a conversation turns into a half-dozen possible groups and projects in a creative environment like this.
So, now, we're all about band, and making instruments, and restoring motorcycles, We looked up pics of the Bluesmobile (the Power Wheels vehicle we''re being given access to so we can work on it) and talked about things we may need to do with it. It was just a very exciting, fun, productive spontaneous meeting.
There is a Mini Maker Faire happening at Schurz High School at 3601 N Milwaukee (https://makerfairechicagonorthside.com/) and PS1 will have a table there. We're also going to be providing kits and showing people how to make little electronic "optical theremins." You can see me show you one and demonstrate it in the vid at about 15:15. Anyways, as we wrapped up PS1 Band/Everything Else, Justin roped Jennie and myself into helping assemble the kits, and that was a pleasant bit of hanging out and being productive, where (obviously) I even got to make a noisemaker! But I won't be around to help with the Faire, so this was my chance to contribute.
I know a lot of great, creative, brilliant people in the area. This environment is fluid and spontaneous and helpful and provides a LOT of resources, and I think... pretty much everyone would benefit from this. However, I think I'm not properly conveying the scale of the hackerspace phenomenon and the resources and camaraderie it provides, so I'm going to try to get together with other members and do a quick video tour with my phone to post for you... keeping in mind that, right now, it's 6,000 square feet on two floors, but we just arranged to take over the rest of the building, which will add another 4,000 sq ft. I want you to see how amazing this place is, and consider checking it out... whether you join or just come to observe and hang out, you can do that too!
Also, I know people aren't really following a lot of this. I ramble, and my videos run long. I'm looking into two changes... One, these TL;DW blog notes, for a quick read if you don't want to watch my videos (or listen to them like a podcast), and two, I'm looking into learning how to do some basic video editing to trim down some of the circular rambling I do and take out most of the "um"s and "uh"s. I hope people enjoy the changes as they arrive.
Two last notes: I realized that I have a sort of "itch to scratch"... for a decade, now, I've had an idea for a costume that would require making hooves. I have an idea for this, something approximating actual, ironshod hooves for me, and so now I have to learn to make and/or modify size 14 leather boots. Cosplayers and leatherworkers, lemme know if you have any thoughts for a newbie! Also, it turns out Jennie is also a HUGE fan of the webcomic Scary Go Round, I LOVE this webcomic... it's why I say "dang" so much nowadays. I don't have a top 5 webcomics, but if I did it would be in my top 5. I don't, though, and it'd STILL be in my top 5, because it's so awesome it breaks barriers like that. It's awesome to meet another SGR fan!
Anyways, hope you like the changes, and, of course, be excellent to each other!
Jonny friggin' Panic