Thursday, January 11, 2018

2017 Wrap Up: No'-As-Big-As-Medium-Year-But-Bigger-Than-Small-Year-Year

This is my 2017 wrap up post. I glanced at the report from 2016. 2016 was the smallest year. I didn't try to beat that record in 2017. I decided to actually go places in my car. I got my transmission rebuilt after my 1996 Honda Accord turned over 300,000 miles. I got all the other regular stuff done, new timing belt, etc. Right after that I got a crack in my radiator. I fixed it with epoxy. It worked well enough to get me to the mechanic for a new radiator.

I went on a day trip to Mobile, Alabama to pick up a sewing machine I bought on eBay. That was fun. I stopped on the border with Georgia and saw a big dam. The sewing machine was very good too. It was my second Singer 301. I later bought another one in Tallahassee and I use them both a lot. I keep the first one I got, the Centennial 1951 model, rigged with white thread. The one I got in Tallahassee is maybe my favorite, it's a portable model with the cord done a bit different. It's black and I keep it threaded with black thread. I sold the cabinet the first one came in and the second machine from Mobile to my brother.

I drove down to Jupiter, Florida to see my brother's new house and pick up my niece for a week of crafting up here in Georgia. That was fun. She's 14 and likes things that are slimy and kind of tactile. She was good at finger painting and marbling. One word: methylcellulose.

I got rather obsessed with the Royal Game of Ur in 2017. I learned Affinity Designer and did several different graphic depictions of the game. I worked on how to make it on wood with paint and transferred laser printing. I figured out that Floetrol can be used to transfer printing to wood. You stick the laser printed side to the wood and when it's dry you wet it and rub away the paper. Coated paper works best. But a water slide decal works even better. You have to go over it with water based polyurethane after, not solvent based. Tape makes better lines than paint.

My nieces and their friends helped me get excited about this game by playing it with me at the beach. Matt Berry is responsible for making up a lot of UR based puns for potential designs and featURes.

Chris Warnock at Funjump Rigging helped me enormously with his laser cutter. He's actually the one that helped me figure out I could export SVG files, convert them to DXF, and import them into Osmond Cocoa to get the vectors into the printed circuit board design. Printed circuit board design is so not like graphics. Mainly there is no scaling, for obvious reasons. I kind of enjoyed learning a new piece of software. I used to design real circuit boards so doing one with no actual parts, no connections, and no holes was about easy as it gets.

I had my first idea for printed circuit boards, TransistUR, already designed when I realized I could do WatUR as well. I had 15 each made as circuit boards by Seeed Studio in China.

After they arrived I did 6 different prototypes for bags before I found a satisfactory container for it. And I am still not happy with it. I've made v7 and v7.1 in 2018 already.

I finally worked out good dice at the end of 2017. Chris Warnock laser engraved blank dice and Go stones for me. I'm still working on coloring them in with UV cure gel nail enamel and Sharpie paint pens.

I knit some stuff in 2017 as well. I got 50 items on my Etsy store by November 16 and had a 50% off sale on my 50th birthday. It went great. I made enough money from Etsy to be able to buy those blank dice. I got a few Christmas commissions from hyping the prototypes for sale on my birthday.

Financially 2017 was just the same as all the other small years. I lived within my means, payed all my bills on time. I stayed neatly below the threshold for needing to file a tax return, so I'm not burdened with an abundance of bookkeeping. I did a lot of spreadsheet work for Kickstarter for the board game and remembered I don't really like trying to be profitable. After the Kickstarter failed I went back to happily designing things based on other criteria besides profit. The problem with my latest case design is not that it's expensive, it's that I can't reliably produce them with high quality. The only way to get price down is quantity and I'm just not there. So I'm more concerned with manufacturability.

I did not go to any kind of doctor in 2017. I did get one professional haircut for my birthday. I might get another one in 2018. Nobody ever sees me so you'd think it doesn't matter, but I'm too old to be sending selfies to my niece exclaiming that she could cut my hair better than that. In 2017 she cut my hair twice, and it was great. But going to Great Clips spoils my attempts to block out the realities of the human condition. Getting a license to cut hair takes more training than I've had for any job and they still can't get it right? I don't need to waste my coping skills on that.

That's all I've got. I want to start version 7.2 of this board game bag now.