Sep. 7th, 2011

pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
I don't feel like I experienced Burn quite as fully this year as I have in years past. Possibly it was just that I felt like the art wasn't as good this year, but more probably, it was the broken things.

The broken things started before Burn. The SpokePOV software that I had to fix to run on Snow Leopard before I could do anything with it, the broken BMPs that Adobe Illustrator creates. The Sparkfun sequencer board and all its weird limitations. But this continued throughout our trip.

My bike came off the roof on the way to Burn. Luckily it did it at a reasonably less bad time and it's a solid steel boat anchor 1970 Schwinn so the damage was nothing a mallet couldn't fix, though it would continue to give me issues throughout the trip. I had to bend the rear rim back into a quasi-rideable shape, the chain guard was damaged a bit and causing the chain to derail, and the derailleur was also a bit wonky afterwards. I was frequently down for repairs and fixing my bike through about Friday when I finally got everything tweaked back into a good functional order.

Stacey's bike, likewise was a magnet for disaster. I broke some of the EL wire she'd soldered when I was mounting it and she had to re-solder it. Then on her maiden voyage, some crazy woman going full out on a bike nearly hit her but swerved at the last moment and plowed into a pedestrian, taking him off his feet. 10 minutes later, Stacey was less lucky and another kamikaze pilot slammed into the rear of her bike, snapping the mast of her tail and cracking the rear support for her canopy. We were able to fix them, but the number of reckless cyclists the first few days was pretty scary. I can only assume the reason there were fewer later in the week was because they'd mostly self-removed from the gene pool.

Electronics failed all over the place too. One of our solar panels got cracked, reducing our power output by 20%. This made all the electronics issues worse because the soldering iron uses a lot of power and we could only operate it for about an hour a day at full output. ALL THREE interchangeable EL Driver units we brought had cold solder joints and failed and had to be fixed. (Not soldered by us and bought from different companies) 3 strings of LED lights also failed. Stacey was able to fix 2 but one was not recoverable and we'd accidentally left our spare strings behind. SpokePOVs which had worked in testing suddenly failed for no apparent reason. We were able to fix all but one. And on and on.

I guess though with the things that broke it'd be easy to forget the things that worked. Both bike canopy designs held together. The new tent interior I made worked perfectly and was far more comfortable than our previous tent. No costume failures. No sunburns. No car problems. Stacey's safemode on the power kept us from draining the battery. Our camp was very mellow and low-drama and contained some really great people and lots of people stopped in at our camp to hang out, etc.

In truth, all the major stuff that was important for survival and comfort went right and I was so frustrated with the little things I just took them for granted. Though I guess they also kept me from seeing more this year. When your tent stays cool enough you can sleep until noon, you just don't get out and see as much. :P

On the whole, I had a really good and relaxing time, though I probably should have quit being stubborn and postponed fixing stuff until we got home.

Finally, and most important, Stacey took her final step off SSRIs at burn and has now been over a full week without them. Really really proud of her. She's been slowly stepping down for a while and it's been a very difficult road. The withdraw symptoms of them are apparently quite mean and she's allergic to prozac so she couldn't step down to that from what she was on so the last step is a rough one.
pasithea: tankgirlesque (tech)
Last month marked really the start of my plunge into electronics. I've dabbled weakly before but never really gotten past really basic circuits.

With the arduino kits to guide me, I've dove down much deeper. Now I'm looking at parts that are not in kits. Designing stuff that isn't an instructable. It's like porn, like a drug. So hard not to spend my time browsing parts catalogues and leering at fold-out schematics.

I dunno. The fusion of math, electronics, sculpture, art, and animation is ultra ultra sexy. I can't stop fantasizing about it.

Now I need to go find a good price on IR range sensors and a few meters of ws2801 for my next project. ^_^;

February 2012

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