Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Lessons from the Doctor

I've learned two major things from the newer Doctor Who series. Actually... that's not true; I've learned a great many things from the newer Doctor Who series. I occasionally introduce myself like the Doctor...

... make the requisite "are you my mummy" joke when the pun comes up...

... and even learned how to choose my own cool:

(I say "howdy" a lot, nowadays. "Howdy" is cool.)

But two things have stuck with me that I find almost constant use for as I deal with people,listen to the news, read the headlines. I actually use these tools purposefully as I listen to humans humaning and measure them by this bar as they speak and act:

The first, which comes up more often in personal interactions. This blog, and my new Facebook, is about "talk less; do more," so as people, myself included, start to talk a big game about some future course of action, I hear Madame Vastra giving Clara the "one word test." I also think about how Clara shows it can work both ways:

... but when it comes to campaign promises, speeches, public relations, media promises, the famous and the wealthy, entities like the Republican Party trying to show how Ted Cruz and Ben Carson prove the Party isn't racially-biased, when Donald Trump tweets himself eating a taco and brings up his employee makeup and wages in a sad attempt to prove the same, or Rush Limbaugh insists he's not sexist and respects women, whenever the Walton Family trots out the Walmart Foundation or McDonalds trots out the Ronald McDonald House and they brag about the people they've helped... whenever the Koch brothers humblebrag about their numerous charitable contributions and General Electric brings up the GE Foundation even as it hides $110 billion overseas to avoid taxes. Whether Bill Gates brings up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Angelina Jolie talks about the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, or Bono exhorts the ONE Campaign... whenever the extremely wealthy and well-off go on about those they've helped, I hear the Doctor and the Slitheen wearing Margaret Blaine as they have dinner, and his too-perfect reprimand for her self-aggrandizing:

Be excellent to each other!
Jonny friggin' Panic

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Care and Handling of Your New Jonny Friggin' Panic

Some facts about your host, Jonny friggin' Panic:

#1) I am extremely socially awkward and anxious. I have a long history of near-total social isolation since youth, and so have little practice dealing with people. I do have a catalog of stock commentary and responses I've built up over years of watching people interact, but I've had to discard a lot of it due to the material in question being disrespectful (sexist, racist, classist, etc) or requiring more familiarity than I have. Therefore, my library of stock interactions is limited, and, if we don't find common ground before I reach the end of it, I'll either fall silent or start to word salad.

#2) I am constantly anxious about my size. While I am not actually all that large (6'2", 235lbs, size 14 feet), I always feel rather gargantuan. On a related note, I also feel like I'm going to break everything, which makes me handle everything... including other people... very gingerly, with great hesitation. On the rare occasion that I do these things, I hug awkwardly and my back rubs have been described as awkward and uncomfortable. I'll hug if someone hugs me (although I actively try to not crush them), but I no longer try to do back or neck rubs if asked.

#3) I have a lot of hand anxiety. I have trouble having anything on my hands: gloves, rings, even lotion. I'm a compulsive hand-washer and, while I can function with something on my hands for a while, eventually I'll need to go wash them even if there's no actual reason to. On a related note, I also tend to use paper towels or napkins to handle public bathroom facilities and doorknobs, unless I make a concentrated effort, I tend to also wash or rinse my face when I wash my hands, and I dislike shaking hands... I much prefer a fist bump. Hugs and handshakes are usually reserved for those people I'm extremely comfortable around, or when I don't want to offend someone who offers one.

This stems from me learning, when I was a janitor for US Steel back in '94, that roughly 40% of Americans say they don't wash their hands after using the bathroom. Since then, the compulsion has just grown.

#4) I often forget a key word mid-sentence. Due to this, I've developed a tendency to do something I call "dartboarding," which is citing words that mean or imply something similar to the word I'm looking for from several angles. Very often (because this is the kind of company I generally keep), someone in the conversation will then be able to infer and supply the word I'm looking for, or I will rediscover it myself, and I can complete my sentence.

This happens because, in my head, that precise word is necessary to convey my point accurately, so it's difficult for me to simply approximate it and move on. I have learned to do so under some circumstances and with certain understanding company, but I still get hung up dartboarding rather often, and so can seem to communicate slowly because I'm attempting to communicate precisely. Precise communication is, to me, art, and I exult every time I succeed.

The real downside is that this means I can be steamrolled out of a conversation by people who are willing and/or able to communicate more quickly and with less hesitation, especially in a group setting. This is one reason why I socialize carefully, and generally with people who understand that, while I am not necessarily stupid, I can communicate slowly for the sake of precision.

#5) I spend a lot of my processing time trying to anticipate future conversations. This lends me a distracted air, sometimes, as I actively try to imagine and cope with possible upcoming conversations and select a library of possible responses for each point as it arises while still around other people. It can also result in me seeming to talk to myself when I think I'm alone as I try to enact similar scenarios and test verbal and behavioral responses I've seen normal people use, to see if I can make them appear natural. Yes, I practice pretending to appear like I know what I'm doing and saying. Is it successful? Occasionally, but almost never when I anticipate needing it.

#6) I'm a nailbiter. Not just nails, I nervously gnaw on my hands; any oddity tends to be game. This is an extension of the above hand anxiety and handwashing compulsion, because that basically includes callouses and prominent cuticles. I do know it's a bad habit, and it sets back my attempting to learn to play guitar, but nothing I've tried stops me or, really, even slows me down much. My oral hygiene is very good, but that's little excuse for the human mouth, so if you ever need a real reason to give me a fist bump instead of shaking my hand... there you are!

#7) I am in constant pain. If I am awake, I am in pain. There is no actual pain, though... the way the doctor described it is that my brain thinks it's getting pain signals the body isn't actually sending. This means normal painkillers don't help. It's generally a full-body pain that feels mostly musculoskeletal, and that I can best compare to burning or overheating, although I get occasional stabs in specific spots seemingly at random... sometimes every hour or two, sometimes several times in an hour.

However, I usually compare it to snow on an old television; annoying at first, but quickly pushed to the back of the mind. Most days, I come in around a 2 or so on a pain scale, which I can almost completely ignore except for the pokes. Occasionally, I'll hit a 3 day and it's irksome, but I'm still reasonably functional and friendly. Very rarely, I'll hit a 4 or 5 and I have to concentrate to do something as basic as walking, binocular vision or holding a cup. These are the days I'm likely to stagger or fall, drop a glass, miss a stair step or the like.

Oddly, actual physical fatigue takes the edge off this phenomenon. I really should go to the gym more.

#8) I don't sleep normally. I commonly get about 4-5 hours of sleep nowadays, and then just wake up. The pain regulates my sleep schedule; I can't sleep till I'm too worn out to stay awake, and I can't continue to sleep once I'm rested enough to come to the surface and feel the pain again. Occasionally, though... about two to four times a month... I'll crash and sleep for 12-15 hours, and then start the process over again. The pain usually tends to reset when I sleep.

I've been dealing with this since I was 12; I'm sure it sounds awful, but I'm actually rather used to it now. It does make a reliable schedule difficult to pin down, though, so I'm grateful for the lifestyle I have right now for its flexibility, even if the pay and benefits are abysmal. Indeed, the real drawback is more that I can't nap reliably... very often, I'll go to take a nap and end up sleeping normally, even through alarms and phone calls, but sometimes I get wiped out suddenly, nap wherever I am for a half hour or maybe a couple hours, and be back on my feet, revitalized.

#9) Related to the above, my zombie-mode skills are superhuman! I get greedy for sleep once I am asleep, so, if my body doesn't feel satiated, I'll end up sleeping through phone calls and klaxon alarms, and can even go so far as to have phone conversations or even stagger into the other room and solve a puzzle to shut off an alarm without ever actually waking up!

Be excellent to each other!
Jonny friggin' Panic

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A More Tangible Concern

TL;DW Notes:

(Before anyone expresses concern over targeted blogging: I have intended to post fire and brimstone about gossipmongery for a while now. This just gave me a focus to work with.)

Gossipmongers. This is an age where memes and cat pics are acceptable substitutes for considered arguments, and, as with any era of human history, gossipmongers will gladly take one sensational tidbit from a much greater message and use it to turn you from a fully-fleshed human being into a two-dimensional caricature of the Boogeyman.

The last video ("Broken") has been reverted to draft because concerns from others reminded me that, in ANY social group, gossipmongers exist. I loathe gossip, and Schadenfreude, and try to be as transparent as possible in every way so there should be no doubt. Even about terrible things, I try to be honest, and if anyone out there is scared of me, or worried about me, you should feel free to open a dialogue with me about your concerns and fears.

I guarantee I am like no human you've ever met. I do not mind discussing these things honestly, with consideration, and will not be offended. I'd rather you asked than guessed, or assumed.

But that video, while brutally honest, may have given the gossip mill grist to grind about me. Plenty of folks like to talk about others without actually talking to them, and that video may have given people something sensational to use to turn me from the person I am... sick, both physically and mentally, but fighting against a broken governmental and health care system to rise above via the goodwill of friends, family, even strangers... into a joke of a monster to thoughtlessly destroy for the sake of their own inward glee, even as they nod sagely among themselves and agree that "it was for the best."

Because gossipmongers, like drunks, like drug addicts or child molesters or woman stalkers, prefer to socialize only among themselves and others who reinforce their delusion that how they see things is the right way. Unlike the others, though, gossipmongery is so prevalent that their social bubble is harder to burst with reality. The best you can do is remind them that their two-dimensional paper targets are actually three-dimensional human beings, capable of feelings and deserving of basic human respect.

I'm not going to spend any more time dwelling on gossipmongers without further cause. If you enjoy gossip and Schadenfreude, well... in one of my favorite books (Neil Gaiman's "Sandman," specifically the story "Men of Good Fortune"), one character tells another "It is a poor thing, to enslave another. I would suggest you find yourself a different line of business." I feel similarly about gossipmongery and Schadenfreude. And before you damn me for comparing gossip to slavery... no, I do not consider it a lesser evil. Either way, you stand poised to destroy another human life for your own pleasure.

As for the rest: again, I am not like normal people; I am EASILY approachable, and try my best to be honest and transparent... even, quite possibly, to my own detriment. If I don't know you, your comfort and well-being will usually supersede my own, and that is my choice... but I would rather communicate honestly with you than have you wonder, assume and fear anything about me.

Be excellent to each other!
Jonny friggin' Panic

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Fame, Power Racing, welding wizardry. Exhausted... but happy!

I'm finally back in the city after an extended weekend at Bianca's. I have to admit, I'm bummed that I didn't get to hang out with The Boy, but seeing how much progress Baby She-Hulk has made is FANTASTIC. She's very bright. And funny. And busy. So her mother's genetics are dominant in her personality. Big bonus.

I'm wiped out, I've been awake for 26 hours now, but I went to PS1 immediately after getting back. I was immediately energized... it was Member Meeting / Open House night, and 300 Seconds of Fame. One member did a piece about his tour of a nearby waste processing plant, another talked about her discovery of jazz earlier in her life and how it influenced her tap dancing. Someone else talked about his first month at PS1, coming in knowing nothing and what he'd learned, and yet another member gave what he called a "mini TED Talk" about the power of caring about strangers.

Jennie and I finally buckled down... at about 4AM... and decided we must do some welding. After much hesitation during set-up and prep, we finally started putting together some scrap into a Brobdingnagian junk sculpture. I should have taken pictures of it... if it's still in the bucket when I go back, I will. We tried several joints and angles and actually learned rather a lot. It turns out welding can be done by normal people, and isn't some kind of metal-and-electricity wizardry reserved only for Pureblood shop technicians! We were both pretty excited for our progress. She has a remarkably steady hand for welding... I'm rather jealous. I've been making tiny circling motions as I go, because it lets me control and correct more easily with my tremor... I can correct orbits as I progress. She also did an amazing fill for a significant gap that I was unable to emulate.

Whoops... I need to sleep. Now. I fell asleep typing that. Be right back!

(I snap awake five hours later...)

So, earlier last night, after 300 Seconds of Fame, the Power Racing team had a meeting. The base frame had been finished while I was gone, and it is gorgeous! I don't want to do anything with it because it looks so nice! Adriana, Julie and Lauren made it a real work of art!

We talked about the race coming up (Kansas City, MO on the 25th and 26th!), travel and housing accommodations, and what we needed to do for the next steps of the frame build. We're using a headset from a bicycle for our steering assembly, although handlebars are awkward and we may need to rebuild them into something more compact. We propped up the frame with the rear axle loosely assembled to it, estimated where the seat will be and put the shell on, then had Adriana sit in it to help figure out just where the steering column will be. (Her feet are on the hood for mostly comic reasons!)

For now, the plan is that anything left with rust (i.e. that whole rear axle assembly) needs to be sandblasted, In the meantime, we're also fielding a modified Razor dune buggy, and another job is that the entire rear assembly needs to be taken apart. I'm all for that... I can take stuff apart!

By the way folks: Except for the shot of Adriana in the Bluesmobile (Carlos helped me with that coz my hands were just shaking too much right then), and the first two of the initial frame finish (obviously Lauren taking those), I took all these pictures myself! I had to take a lot of shots each time because most of them end up looking like maybe Bigfoot is building a racer (maybe it's a racer, maybe it's a guy in a gorilla suit!), and then I sort through them on my compy and find the best quality ones to post, but I feel pretty good about these!

TONIGHT! ChiVinMoto is having a garage night at PS1, starting at 6:30PM... grilling, smack talk and vintage motorcycles are the order of things. There's also CAJOO at 7PM if you'd like to dabble in music, whether you're a pro, a dabbler or completely clueless, you're welcome to pick up or bring an instrument and make noises for fun. You might learn something! Python Open Office Hours is also at 7PM if you're working on some manner of programming (it's not limited to Python!) and/or would like to pick people's brains about a programming roadblock you've hit. Lastly, there is a Tier 1 Hot and Cold Metals Intro and Authorization Jamboree starting at 7PM: this does require membership to get authorized, but if you're not familiar with cold metals shop (precision machine cutting of metals to make high-precision tools and parts) and/or hot metals shop (higher volume working of metals when precision isn't quite as important, using tools like the metals chopsaw, pedestal and angle grinders, MIG and TIG welders and an honest-to-Bob blacksmithing forge.), then this is a prime opportunity to hear more about them both and learn something about the tools used therein!

Anyways, I still smell like welding fumes, so I'm gonna take a shower and them I'm headed back to the 'space! Maybe I'll see you there... it's gonna be a busy night, but, as always, you're welcome to come, hang out, chat with folks, explore, and see what's happening!

Be excellent to each other!
Jonny friggin' Panic

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Music, masochism... here, have a cat!

So, it's been a few days since I posted something. That the last post is called "Workshop Blues" isn't really an indicator of a bad thing, I promise! I've been... busy? But not with anything to really shine about. Nothing bad, just general-purpose busy-ness.

The progress I posted toward cleaning up those pieces was about as far as I'd gotten. I had to take a break, because I wasn't prepared for the smell of burning metal setting into my sinuses or that hours of constant use of the angle grinder would afflict my hand with some manner of vibrating sensation. I did get and cut some more metal for the frame I'm working on, and have a better idea what to do with it: I have a way to hold the frame off the table just a little, so when I attach the legs there will be room to inset something. Then, I think, I'm gonna make some manner of staned-glass creation and drop it in there! I might set another panel of glass over that, though, to protect the "art" and provide a smooth surface to set things on.

I still need to find nuts and feet, though, to attach to the legs. Like I'm some kind of God designing an animal. Which means I should run to the hardware store, I guess. Maybe when the rain stops.

Tuesday was the weekly open house and member meeting. There was also a board meeting, which is open to members, so I sat in and learned a little about how PS1 is managed by this group of members who volunteer to take up the task and are voted in. It was VERY educational, really, but I learned one thing above all else: after hearing horror stories about former boards and board members, this group seems to really have their business together, and while I know burnout is a constant risk... I kind of hope we keep them as-is for a while.

There is the possibility of a small street fair on the horizon... perhaps in September. This was discussed after the meeting, and I'm excited about the idea. PS1 would like to connect with the community, so this could let us show off our Power Racing cars and various cool member projects in science-fair style, and have booths available for other people and businesses to participate. Keep an eye out for more details!

I ended up talking with Andrew, who has kind of taken the lead on our Power Racing project with the Bluesmobile, because I am huge and, once a steering column is dropped into the car, getting me in and out is even more problematic. I am not dropping out of the project, but I volunteered to drop out of driving so we could spend less time worrying about accommodating car design just for me and get the car together, running, troubleshot and roadworthy. However, Andrew has the classic engineer/fabricator mindset... he instead proposed that we keep working that way, but, if we can't arrive at an accommodating design in time to get the car going, then it was good to know that I was willing to sit this season out so they could put together a more conventional car. I dunno... I guess he really likes a challenge. Or is a masochist. Or something.

Yesterday was CAJOO, but Andy wasn't able to make it. That's rough... the event leans heavily on his combination of multifaceted musical talent, expansive ability and willingness to teach, great patience and general affability. We had quite a few folks, though, and just kind of hung out, tried a few songs and joked around for a couple hours. There were a couple talented individuals who definitely helped carry the evening. I feel like I need to learn more so I can better encourage people.

Weirdly enough, I'm getting to be something more than a complete newb with, of all things, the balalaika! Go figure.

The cat Ken brought in last week is in Jennie's care and doing very well! There's some toss-up as to his name... Lyn calls him "PS1," short for "Pretty Sturdy One." Jennie calls him Bloodfang, since he lost a tooth or two and her sense of humor leans that way. I just refer to him as Fangface, but that's one of my default pet name for cats in general. Jennie has had no success finding an owner missing him, so now the goal is to re-house him; Jennie can't keep pets and her roommate is allergic. The cat is awesome, though... pretty young (maybe a year or two old?), housetrained, careful with his claws, clean, no infestations. She had him tested and he's also disease-free (no chip, though). Someone here may want him, but if not... who wants a good cat who's had a rough time? He'll probably be better off as a strictly inside cat, given recent events.

Jennie is en route now for us to do some welding, and then I'm going home to prep for going to NWI tomorrow. If anyone wants a piece of my time in NWI, I'll be at Bianca's, and I'll be around til Tuesday morning. I may or may not post while I'm there.

Be excellent to each other!
Jonny friggin' Panic

Monday, June 6, 2016

Workshop Blues

Over three hours of cutting and grinding steel, trying to recover parts from the old Bluesmobile out of pieces welded to them and rust. I don't feel like I got a lot done... and I didn't, this is still new to me, and I'm certain I approached some of it wrong... but it feels nice to have accomplished something. My left hand has a buzzing sensation now, though, from the almost-constant angle grinder use, so I think I'll leave it be and see if I can get some answers later, when folks come in.

I'm going to weld something today, at least that frame I cut steel for, even if I don't have legs for it at the moment. I should probably grab a mask, though, just on general principle... I still smell the shop in my sinuses. Probably not ideal, especially if I want to keep my voice.

Metlife says if I ask folks for a little financial help for safety equipment and materials for projects, it won't count as "earned wages" income and impact my monthly check. Which is hypothetically fantastic.

More later!

Steel and henna, giants and tiny cars!

This wasn't enough for me to make a video about, in light of my last post, but yesterday was busy! I re-authorized on MIG welding and the metals chopsaw, and got authorized for the pedestal grinder and angle grinder. I also attended a class on henna art Ashley was running... Ashley is another new member, and pretty handy generally, so this helps her get points she needs to make the membership affordable. So... I now have little henna bones on my left hand, that I did myself! See?

Those who know me, know I have issues with having stuff on my hands... gloves, grease, even lotion. I can manage a while, but, eventually, my hand-washing compulsion takes over and I start to get anxious. So, I didn't use a lot of henna and I didn't let it set too long, which is why it's not darker.

We discovered an issue with the Bluesmobile, that issue being I'M HUGE! The driver has to be able to enter and exit the car in five seconds, but when you put a steering column in, that becomes a BIG problem for me... I barely fit as it is. Various entertaining ideas are being considered, though. PRS doesn't take itself TOO seriously, so we have options. Amusing options.

I'm headed back in now to do more metalwork! I'll be there all day, pretty much, since it seems my sleep schedule is back to normal... feel free to come by and hang out, keep me company, let me give you a tour, meet people!

I still need a hand with stuff, though... I need supplies like protective gear and materials for projects. Also, honestly, if someone wanted to lend a hand with my membership, it'd be a huge, awesome deal. Now that I have my hand in on many of PS1's resources (read: tools and reasons to use the scrap that comes through there), I'm ALL ABOUT doing stuff!

Be excellent to each other!
Jonny friggin Panic

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Metal cutting, mad science, board games and chaos!

TL;DW Notes

So I've been up all night cutting and grinding metal in preparation for my first welding project while rocking out to a new YouTube playlist so I can have some practice in before tomorrow's Welding Authorization and Frame Build project for our Power Racing car, the Bluesmobile. We really need to rock out the frame build now, so I want to be able to contribute as best I can. I'm going to make some basic square stands, and maybe even design then to take glass insert tops, just for the challenge, and the big one might even end up being a monitor stand for my home PC. Not that I'm home much anymore. BUT I'm going to wait for Jennie so we can both get in some practice and feel more useful for the frame build auth.

In the meantime, Jennie and I are also planning to learn some basic electronics... we both know bits and pieces, a lot of intuitive stuff, but want more structured education, so she got an 8-in-1 Electronics for Dummies book. We were debating where to start, but then decided we're going to start with the beginner projects, because making a lamp circuit and testing it with a multimeter may sound BORING, but it'll also only take five minutes, so we can just knock out project after project until we wind up where we want to be working (alliteration points!). The book lists the stuff one should have for a "beginner mad scientist's kit," such as a multimeter, breadboard, various resistors, diodes and so forth, so I'm going to see just how much of that we have in the electronics department here and get that kit together so she and I can just dig right in.

Thursday night got derailed for some of us because Ken, on his way in from the Wheaton area, came across a cat that had been hit by a car and was sitting in the road. We're not really supposed to have animals here, generally, but it was unusual circumstances... we checked for anyone in the area that could help without costing an insane amount (no, there was nobody at that time of night), and we gave him a once-over. He was actually not too bad off, fortunately... it seems he lost a tooth or two, and has an abraded front leg, but, after a clean-up and some rest, was moving about and jumping into a chair fairly normally and vocal without seeming panicked. He seems like he's owned... clean, no infestations, very civil even though he still has claws, knows what a litterbox is for... so Jennie currently has him housed and is trying to put word out in the Wheaton area in case someone is missing a rather nice cat. I also managed to miss a step on the stairs and ring the side of my head on a wall, which still smarts a little,mostly when I chew, but no major damage.

I had an awesome time helping unload truck at Oakdale Pantry on Thursday, so that's a thing that happened, too. The people there are very cool and a lot of fun to chat with. I never feel pressured or stressed there. I'd strongly suggest it... you do good, you get a workout and you meet great folks.

TODAY, there's a 3D printer party at 1PM... bring your 3D printer, whatever your level of interest, show off, get help for it if it's not working, print things in 3D! At 3PM is Small Metals Open Office and Jewelry (SMOOJ), feel free to come in and discuss/work on jewelry and fine metalwork. At 5PM is ANALOG GAME NIGHT!!! Come, hang out, play board and card games, whatever! As always, folks are welcome to come hang out, no membership needed, you don't need to be authorized to play, say, Settlers of Catan, since you can't lose life or limb doing so (unless you play it right, apparently). I'll be here til late, myself!

Be excellent to each other!
Jonny friggin' Panic

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I learned to weld! End of an era. Could still use a hand!

TL;DW Notes:

I learned to weld! Lauren ran a TIG and MIG welding authorization; I psyched myself out of it, but then went back later and she was happy to see me come back and do, so I did! I missed the TIG authorization, but learned the basics of MIG welding! Most important, I learned setup, shutdown and safety procedures, and now it's up to me to go in and practice as I see fit. Lauren gave me a piece of mild steel and told to "make something"... so I'm gonna make something.

I've finally deactivated my old FB account entirely... I no longer get emails, messenger messages, nothing. For all practical purposes, it is GONE. If you want to get back in touch with me, though, here's my blog, my new FB is linked in the upper right, and, chances are, I'm appearing in your "people you may know" field. If we're not friends on my new FB yet, shoot me a friend request! All past aside, you are welcome. I'm trying to fly or fall, and have no real interest in human conflict... there might be a handful of humans that will have to watch second-hand, but the rest are welcome without hassle!

I might start an Indiegogo account or something to fund my projects. I have nothing major lined up, but PS1 is a non-profit educational organization, and I'd like to be able to learn without sweating the cost of every fifty-cent part I break. This is what's holding me back right now; PS1 encourages members to not fear screwing up, because you often learn from it. However, as poor as I am, I'm afraid to try leatherworking, or welding, or experimenting with Raspberry Pi computing, because if I mess up something beyond repair, I may not be able to buy a replacement part. My resources are extremely limited.

If anyone is familiar with such things and has any insight, it'd be welcome.

So, yesterday morning, I couldn't focus on my usual stuff and decided to sweep the wood shop. It was a mess; someone has been working on projects and not cleaning up. I think this might need to be addressed as we expand, because PS1 membership is bigger than ever, and soon we'll add another 4,000 square feet to our space; tidiness will need to be addressed. A lot of people don't seem to bother to move stuff, either, so even if an area looks swept, you can move, say, the band saw, or look under the table saw, or behind the stored ladders and still find a mess. I spent about three hours rocking out to Presidents of the USA and similar and got a TON of cleaning done.

In the meantime, while I still wait for a spark, I'm helping folks with stuff... I just took on a little basic assembly for the tool cage to help organize it. Also, Jennie and I have agreed to mutually learn basic electronics... she's a project junkie and, of course, has a massive 8-in-1 Electronics for Dummies book. Ultimately, neither of us want to do the basic projects needed for such learning, but we're gonna do them together, stuff from the book and stuff from Instructibles and the like, so we both learn what's necessary. With care, of course... electricity is Man's mortal enemy, which is why we imprison it in wires. (With thanks to Scary Go Round!)

Be excellent to each other!
Jonny friggin' Panic