February 16th, 2014


I already know I'm going to need this icon

Yesterday, after work, Cassie and I went to look at a couple houses. One of them was sort of lame; it had narrow little everything, old-ladyish wallpaper and woodwork and such, and a kitchen that was probably really fancy in 1977. Which was a shame because it was the one I was looking forward the most to looking at. The garage was kinda nice too, it was clearly the domain of an old man who liked to tinker with things. It was an estate sale and there was random junk everywhere, too.

Anyway, that one was a no. The second one on the other hand, was nice. You walk in, and you think "huh, this is a decent sized living room," and then you turn on the lights and you see that you're standing in an entryway, and the actual living room is the size of a small skating rink. And covered in hardwood floors. With a kitchen next to it, that's got all modern appliances and a glass-top stove.

There are four bedrooms, all with laminate floors, and the garage is converted to a den, which we'll use as a library of both books and games (and which is the future home of a Geek Chic table).

We made an offer on it yesterday, and it was accepted today, pending an inspection Wednesday. Assuming the place isn't infested with Deep Crows or something, I'm going to buy it.

So, that's the news I have to share. :)

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For Christmas of 2006, my uncle gave me a Roomba. I started running it around my apartment, as you do, and after a couple days I noticed that it wasn't detecting walls right, it wouldn't follow edges correctly, that sort of thing. I took it apart to see what was up, and found that one of the leads to one of the sensors was broken off from the wire.

I went to Fry's, bought a cheap soldering pencil (no temperature control, not even a stand), some electrical tape, and a spool of solder. I did the world's worst solder joint, wrapped it in tape, and the Roomba worked again! And the electronics bug was planted.

Now, almost exactly eight years later, I have run out of solder.

In that time, I've gone from that horrible solder pencil (which I once dropped into my lap, but somehow managed to dodge away from), through two battery powered irons, three nicer temperature controlled stations, to my current station with the SMD rework gun and the smoke absorber.

What I'm a lot more proud of is, I've gone from building blinky-light kits to building much more complex kits, to designing my own things. I've built a gamepad, tweaks to my helicopter, Christmas gifts for people. I've taught myself everything from lighting up an LED with a battery to decoding radio signals. Gone from Dremeling a hole in a candy tin to printing my own enclosures. And from not even knowing what most tools do, to having a decent workbench setup.

And soon, I'm going to go from the little folding table I used in my apartment eight years ago, to having an entire room to build my stuff in, in my new house.

You know the whole thing about, to be a writer, you have to write a million (or whatever) words of bad writing before you get to start writing good things? That roll of solder was my million words. And now I'm going to take the plastic wrap off my next roll.

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