Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Update: Woggy #24

Yes folks, after four years of repeated perseverance, and thirty days of trials and tribulations, I have at last succeeded at achieving the previously elusive goal of achieving the NaNo challenge of writing a full 50,000 words within one month. I began my month not expecting I would reach it, then after a week of steady on-par progress, I became excited that I would actually be achieving it.

Then halfway through the month, I allowed life's duties to overtake the writing and fell behind. The week after that I grew despondent and was sure I would never, ever be able to finish a NaNo challenge, but from the depths of this pit I decided to just start writing anyway, little by little, hour after hour, day after day. And before I knew it I was not only on par but well above par for completing at the end of the month. Then, to my surprise, several days ahead from the end with just a mere 2000 words to go, I began fearing my success.

I stopped cold for a day and a half, afraid of what succeeding at this goal might mean. In the face of this I decided to use the same strategy that had got me through my mid-month slump, and just sat down to write with no thoughts of specific expectation. Before I knew it, I was looking at the NaNo "Congratulations, Winner" page, with two days to spare on the calendar. In shock at my success at first, I've slowly been learning to accept it (strange as that may sound), and I now look ahead to the next horizon for my book, which is finishing the novel.

By my calculations plot-wise, I am about half-way through the book, and therefore should have about 50,000 words to go. But if I managed that many words in under one month flat, I figure competing the first draft of my novel within another 6 months should be no trouble at all. All I need to do is get writing!!

Things Left to Complete This Woggy Project:
  • determine a new more moderate daily and/or weekly word count goal
  • create a chart for logging progress
  • begin writing
  • repeat, repeat, repeat until draft 1 is complete
  • devise plan for revision process

Holiday break

Yes, yes, between NaNo and all the various household business that befalls a keeper of the home during the holidays, I've been away from wog. Have you missed me? I'll be back in action soon with lots of new posts, I promise!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Woggy #24: Moon Walk Novel

Yes, people, November is here again and that can mean only one thing (besides decomposing pumpkins and constant robocalls to all American voters, of course) and that is, novel writing time! I've begun my novel for this year on a good note if you consider the amount I wrote yesterday, or a bad one if you consider here I am on day two procrastinating my novel by making this blog entry instead.

In any case, for those interested in the subject of my novel: it is set on the moon, which instantly makes it "science fiction" even if it's really something else, because well, in case you hadn't noticed, we are not yet living on the moon in real life. One might think the normal definition of "writing what is not exactly the same as real life" could just be called "fiction", but seeing as all space-related imaginings have been deemed by some cosmic entity to be "scientific", I guess that leaves me with my "science fiction" novel.

For those interested in my day-to-day progress (as I do not plan on providing day to day updates here...) you can check my NaNo page, or (hopefully, if I get it working properly) you can check this nifty widget here:

Things Left to Complete This Woggy Project:
  • write 1667 words
  • repeat each day for every day in November
  • after Dec 1, devise plan for continuing and completing the remainder of the novel
  • etc., etc., to be determined after Dec 1

Monday, September 28, 2009

Update: Woggy #1 is complete!

While it's possible I expended as many hours involved in this project as I did on the actual trip it is commemorating, I am happy to say that much to my surprise, my BC trip scrapbook is finally, actually finished!

While I had been progressing on this project in a couple of fits and starts since my last official update here, the most significant work stoppage happened when I ran out of photo corners a couple months ago, and didn't know exactly where to I'd be able to easily get some more. Several trips around town on foot later, I gave up on the supporting local business angle and just ordered a bunch in the mail. By the time they arrived of course, my enthusiasm for finishing the project had ebbed.

So, all of the scrapbook project materials had been sitting in a neatly organized pile under one of our living room chairs for a few months before I picked it up again the other evening. By this point in time, the scrapbook project had two things going for it: one, the actual vacation itself had passed the year anniversary point, increasing my desire to finish it, and two, my husband has been away on a work trip, leaving me with large blocks of idle time in the evenings with no conversation or activity to fill them. The tedium part of the handiwork was helped by Mr. Erroll Flynn, Robert Osborne, and a bunch of their old friends. I emerged from a haze of sea voyages, royalty, and scrapbooking sometime later that night with a complete stack of pages, beginning to end, and a really, REALLY big mess on my living room floor.

All that was left at this point was to procure a more efficient means of hole-punchery than the little hand-held object currently in my possession. But things worked out in favor of that as well, as I already had some other shopping to do in the general vicinity of the office supply store (where I was surprised to find they had a huge array of hole-punching options for me to choose from). Last evening I finished off the punching and binding, and could hardly believe my eyes looking at the actual finished project. It really did come out much like I had originally envisioned.

So, now all that's left is the cleaning up part, which I suppose technically means this project isn't completely finished yet, but since I do actually plan on taking care of that in an hour or two, I'm going to go ahead and rule that part as virtually completed.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Update: Woggy #16 Complete!

The day before I left for my trip, a miracle happened: we received a call from the shipping company that our new bed frame was in town and wanted to drop by and see us. An even greater miracle: while I was busy hiking across the countryside of Pennsylvania, my husband defended the home front by fearlessly battling crate, box, and hex wrench to create the wonder you now see pictured here.

I came home to a completed bed! A years-long woggy has finally come to a close...

And hey, doesn't our new bed look great?!

Oh, and since we are all about process here at Woggy Enterprises, here's the in-progress view showing this woggy over the past couple weeks, prior to the complete bed pictured above...

Items I can check off my Woggy To-do list:

X wait for shipment of our bed
X put our new bed together
X say, "Hey, doesn't our new bed look great?!"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Went out for a walk...

Over the past month, I was preparing for, going on, and then recovering from, a very long walk. 70 miles, to be exact. My completion of this task could be said to have been a major woggy project of its own, had I the wherewithal in the flurry of my planning to actually have posted it here previously.

The full walk was originally supposed to theoretically be 55 miles, but ended up being about 80, ten of which I did not participate in on day 6 (of 8) due to foot issues. But if there's nothing we've learned here in woggsville, it is that incomplete success is success nonetheless. And as I did begin at the beginning, and end at the end, and I did actually walk seventy miles, which is more than most can claim to have accomplished, and overcame many personal emotional challenges along the way, I have deemed the whole of this experience to have been an unqualified personal success.

The walk itself was and is part of a larger art project thought up by my genius artist sister, who has a project website about it, a blog of her thoughts and musings, and a photo album. I encourage you to check them all out.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Woggy #23: DJ Dress

While on a visit to my sister in Phoenix, we were shopping in this nifty clothing boutique as we are sometimes wont to do, and I saw a t-shirt with a really awesome DJ and stereo graphic. The one I had spied was on the men's shelf, so I began looking around on the female shelf for its smaller more ladylike companion. But unfortunately, there was no ladylike companion (as apparently, there are either assumed to be no females interested in DJ t-shirts, or there are so many interested as to cause a run on the t-shirt shelf...)

I tried to resign myself to the fact that there was no DJ tshirt for me except, I couldn't bring myself to put the shirt down. I carried my ill-fitting shirt around the store, trying to fill the now DJ-tshirt-sized hole in my life with some other fine piece of clothing, but to no avail. My sister suggested I try on the t-shirt anyway, because, hey, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad fit. A hopeful trip to the dressing room proved this theory quite ridiculous. I mean, the thing was almost big enough to be a dress, for goodness-- and it was at that precise moment of course that the solution to my problem became clear. I would snip here and sew there, and turn this gigantor ubershirt into a fantabulous shirtdress.

When I got home from my trip, I planned out my new dress, and even picked a few fabrics out of my pile for consideration as additional yardage at the bottom. But of course, as often happens, it has since been sitting in my sewing cabinet as yet another UFO waiting for it's day of liftoff.

A recent visit to the most awesome indie craft fair this side of the Mississippi, if not the Milky Way, has me thinking all about my dress again, and hopes it will be finished someday soon. In reality, the amount of actual time and effort needed for this particular project should be quite small, it's really just a matter of getting to it. Now, if only I had managed to attend the adding LEDs to your clothing workshop, maybe I could have figured out how to wire it for actual sound...

Things Left to Complete This Woggy Project:
  • try on t-shirt inside out
  • pin shirt for alteration
  • remove and even out pin lines
  • stitch new side-seams and sleeve areas
  • decide on bottom skirt fabric
  • cut and pin skirt fabric
  • sew skirt fabric to tshirt
  • press and check for fit
  • make any needed alterations
  • consider pockets or other details
  • add other details, if doing
  • hang new dress in closet!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Update: Woggy #14 Complete!

I was beginning to think I'd never see the day, but it has finally actually arrived. I have updated my MOC page!

I was on my favorite forum the other day, where there has been a small discussion about Lego going, and from that I was inspired to get my pics of two of my most interesting original creations together. I realized the logical place to put them up would be my MOC page, and since I was already there putting the photos up, may as well update the home page, and add in those photos and that video I'd been meaning to update, and well, before I knew it, all of this woggy's remaining items were accomplished all in one fell swoop!

I can now check off my woggy to to-do list:

x find that Lego mosaic pic I made of myself for my profile page
x upload my profile pic to my MOC page
x change my front page message to something a little more timeless
x find and figure out how to upload my Halloween skull video, or change my caption
x upload my real-life MOC pics of my Valentine MOC, and change surrounding text
x upload, folder and caption my more recent MOC pics
x start hanging out on MOC pages more regularly and actually try becoming a member of the community...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Woggy #22: Driver's License

Since it's been a while since I've posted any of my "big" woggies, today I thought I'd bring up this trusty old gem. It's possible that even many people who know me well do not actually know that, despite my ripe adulthood, I still do not, nor have I ever had, a driver's license.

The reasons for me not having gotten this at the usual age are tedious and involve family dysfunction, but suffice it to say I never got further than studying for my permit and taking a rules-of-the-road class at school at that age.

Throughout college not only did I not have any access to any cars, but I also had no real need for a car, since in both college and grad school I lived in cities with excellent public transit, and never found myself at a loss in this department.

After school, living in the car-centric California, I finally decided to get a license, and got my permit. My boyfriend started teaching me, and I was very psyched about my new driving skills, which would no doubt be officialized any day soon. But, be it a result of time limitations, strange teaching techniques, or a general lack of aptitude on my part, we spent the better part of a year strolling around on local neighborhood streets before either of us thought it time for me to actually take the test. This was also largely brought on by an impending necessity for me to be able to share the driving for our looming long-distance trip north to Washington state.

I arrived at my first test day full of confidence and optimism, and could barely wait for my first licensed drive later that day. However, my personal assessment of driving skills turned out to be just a bit overrated (in other words, I failed miserably...) I was disappointed to be sure, but after a few hours I put it all in perspective. Just needed to brush up a bit more, and doesn't everyone fail their test the first time around? California is supposed to have the toughest test in the nation, after all.

With our trip plans moving ever closer, and our boxes beginning to be packed, we scheduled the next appointment we were able to get, which happened to be at a completely different office halfway across town, whose neighborhood I was completely unfamiliar with.

Compared with my first hopeful test experience, the second time around turned out to be much more traumatic and miserable than my first. Things started out hopefully enough, as I was sticking to my "oh, everyone fails their first time" mantra. Being a different and unfamiliar DMV office, I showed up plenty of time early, and got in line to have the needed paperwork processed before my drive test. This ran me into another completely unexpected problem, where I was absurdly told that my non-driver's ID, which had been issued in California, in the same county, just 2 years prior and still completely valid as a form of legal ID, was not sufficient identification for me to get my permanent license.

The bottom line of this bizarre administrivia would be that even if I did pass this test that I was about to take, that it would completely impossible for me to get an official California license until I provided them with my original birth certificate. Having only recently gotten out of school, this document was buried among boxes somewhere back in Pennsylvania, curated by my slow-moving and uncooperative parents, who would surely never get me the paperwork I needed anywhere near the time we were to be leaving the state.

Thus defeated and crushed of all hope by the paperwork Man, I numbly shuffled on to the driving test area, where I was immediately greeted by a gruff and unpleasant man who immediately began berating me for how late I was for our appointment. Arguments of how it was his department's slowness of movement that was responsible for my delay fell on deaf ears. So, things were obviously looking up.

Needless to say, as I pulled into my final parallel spot, my boyfriend jumping into the seat next to me to congratulate me on what he assumed would be my final victory, I broke down in tears and didn't even have the wherewithal to drive us back home. Since this appointment and attempt itself was already an eleventh-hour effort before our move out of town, needless to say I never walked back into a California DMV office again.

Once we settled in to our new urban home, I found little need to drive again, as almost everything I needed was within walking or bus range, and what wasn't could be handled by my boyfriend on the weekends. Once I finally regained possession of all my own legal documents again, I started to entertain the idea of trying to get a license again. I analyzed the situation thoroughly. I was maybe too absentminded a person to know how to drive, my boyfriend maybe an incompetent teacher, or maybe I was the most difficult student in the world? In any case I assumed that this time, I had best get professional help.

I spent some time looking into local driving instruction, but in the end I just sidled up for a new non-driver's ID card and gave up the fight. That was a few years ago now.

As the time has passed, I've realized that I do actually want a driver's license, and I don't have to let myself be defeated by such crushing past failures. I've even found an uplifting kinship with my similarly positioned Spongebob Squarepants, who as those of you who follow his adventures may know, seems locked in a perpetual inability to pass driver's tests, even though he has thoroughly learned how to actually drive. Like my spongey friend, I too hold hope that someday soon I will walk out of that office with a fabulous shiny license that will set me free on the streets and environs of Seattle, vehicle firmly under my capable hands. Like Mr. Squarepants, I may not actually know how this is going to happen, but a girl can certainly dream...

Things Left to Complete This Woggy Project:
  • research local driver's instruction offices
  • study for driver's permit test
  • schedule & pass written permit test
  • call & schedule driving lessons
  • take driving lessons until they say I'm ready
  • Schedule and take driver's test
  • (repeat any of the above as many times as necessary)
  • pass test
  • complete paperwork and receive license
  • take my first solo drive!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Woggy #21: Game Night Bag

My husband plays board games as one of his major hobbies, and belongs to two local game groups, which meet weekly for game-playing sessions. Attending these usually means bringing along at least a couple of his own board games, plus a snack to share. For years he made use of a sturdy old canvas market bag that we got as a member bonus for being members of San Francisco's KQED. Now we've been living in Seattle for over 10 years now, so I'm sure you can imagine the shape this bag has reached by this point in time.

Last year at the big local indie craft show, I saw some bags that were pretty similar to this and thought it'd be fun to give my husband a board-game-themed bag for him to use as a replacement for the dilapidated old tote he insisted on continuing to use. But, as it turned out, these bags didn't come any bigger than a large handbag, which is nowhere near the capacity needed to carry actual board games.

So eventually I began to wonder if I couldn't make him a bag myself. While I never could figure out how those craft people managed to attach a hunk of cardboard to a vinyl bag, I did eventually find a supplier for novelty game-themed quilt fabric, and bought enough to make some sort of sturdy large bag.

My husband thankfully has been enthusiastic about the idea, but while he was helpful in choosing the fabrics to use for his bag, he has as yet been not so forthcoming about his actual size needs for a bag. Once we can finally work that out, I can come up with some sort of a pattern and turn this pile o' fabric into the fabbest game bag this side of the Cascades.

Things Left to Complete This Woggy Project:
  • get bag need measurements from Chad
  • sketch up a pattern plan, including a plan for sturdy straps
  • cut fabric to sew
  • sew bag together

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Woggy #20: Home Inventory

Any of the responsible among you will know it's a good idea for everyone to have a homeowner's or renter's insurance policy, which provides for you in case of unfortunate incidents resulting in the loss or damage of the insides of your home. One can always use the standard suggested amounts for families of certain size, and rely on one's memory when the day-after filling in of the paperwork is required (hmm.. was that 13 or 130 handbags I had..?) but these can in many cases be wildly inaccurate, and it turns out there is actually a better and more precise way of assessing this, called a household inventory. The very dutiful among us will actually follow thru on this in a manner that is more than just a small envelope filled with one or two outdated snapshots per room of your house and a handwritten note that says "Think that necklace Aunt Agnes gave me might be worth something. Get appraised." Doing so requires making a list of all your belongings, along with an estimated value of those items. However, even the most responsible among us can't really bear to go through this process more than about once every five years, as it is very tedious and laborious.

My husband recently brought it to our attention that the amount on our homeowner's policy had not been changed in at least 5 years, and perhaps that might be out of date considering all of the newer, higher-quality furniture and other things we had purchased over that period, to replace all the ones bought during or just after our years in college, when our finances and tastes were considerably less discerning. I tried to avoid the inevitable, but I knew that this could only really mean one thing, that it was time to dust off the old household inventory for an update.

Conveniently, there have been some technological advances since then and with the use of digital cameras and photo uploading now being second nature, and software to make the best advantage of this, the process has been made somewhat easier. And by somewhat I mean it is somewhat easier to carry a ten-gallon screw-top titanium jug filled from your bathtub faucet across the living room than it is to carry two wooden buckets of 5 gallons each on a broomstick from the town well.

So I have begun this task, and it is of course taking much longer than I had originally anticipated. I began with the three simplest areas of my house, which I knew would have the least number of items and complications. Going thru and finding prices, model numbers, and proper product names for these items alone has already taken me the better part of several afternoons of valuable summertime. One of which has already been completely wasted due to an unfortunate forgetting-to-save followed by a fatal program crash. I haven't had the courage or endurance to return since then, though I'm sure I'll be finishing that and moving on to all of the more complicated rooms of the house soon.

Oh, and by the way, I have had at least one reward so far for all my hard work.. Finding out my framed space-stamps sheet, originally purchased new for $20 to fulfill my nerdly cross-section of both stamps and sci-fi/space hobbies, is now apparently worth $225! Wow, it's like starring on Antiques Roadshow... thanks, Household Inventory!

Things Left to Complete This Woggy Project:
  • research & re-enter all of the item details for the coat closet
  • take down holiday items and photograph them
  • put holiday items back away
  • upload holiday item photos & add to hall closet folder
  • research & enter item details for holiday items
  • photograph kitchen, dining area, living room, bedroom, garden, WIC, master bath, workroom, & workroom closet
  • upload photos for all above rooms, and place in appropriate folders
  • research and enter item details for all above items
  • print out new household inventory
  • adjust homeowner's insurance to new amount
  • replace old inventory with the new one in our lockbox

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Update: Woggy #19

I have actually made pretty significant progress on this now. Just a few last minute things (which for me of course always take the longest to actually complete).

Things I can check off my Woggy to-do list:

x rip open all the new packages
x begin hammering, drilling, ratcheting, and hanging
x finish hammering, drilling, ratcheting, and hanging
x make labels for all the new bins
x sort everything into its proper place
x clean up the tools and other project debris

Things Left to Complete This Woggy Project:
  • decide on how to permanently attach labels (and do it)
  • amaze husband with dazzling mail and message efficiency possibilities
  • school husband and self in proper use and upkeep of said dazzling system
  • hope for the best


Yeah, yeah, 5 weeks... what can I say? It's summer for cryin' out loud. I've been busy with summer things. Pretty good reason, if you ask me.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Woggy #19 Mail & Info Sorter/Organizer

Mail sorting, message delivering and communication, and other such related issues have always been an extremely vexing thorn in the side of my household. While I understand these are not simple issues for anyone, they seem to be a particularly difficult issue for us, even though we are a tiny ole household of two.

Always one for analyzing a vexing problem and attempting to create efficiently working systems so solve them, this is one I have thrown my efforts most valiantly against in various goes over the past many years. Yet, while some aspects have improved over the various iterations, this problem has continued to plague us with its clutter, miscommunications and general untidiness. So I set out several months ago to (um, once again...) resolve this problem in a permanent fashion. And finally this time, I actually saw some hope that it'd really come together this time.

I researched products, I measured various inches, I assessed needs, I studied usage patterns, and many other probably ridiculous things until I had decided on a system, a set of products to make that system, and a blueprint for how that system would go together. I was very thrilled. I ordered all the necessary goods and waited with baited breath for my fabulous plan to come together.

As it happened, half of my order was shipped immediately, with the other half to arrive within 2 weeks. I originally decided I'd just wait until I had everything delivered to install it all, but as I unloaded my first set of boxes, my enthusiasm got the better of me. Within the ensuing three hours there were packages ripped open, holes drilled, screws ratcheted, nails nailed, magnets magneted, memos posted, and messages..., um..., messaged. Never mind this was only half of the system.

My enthusiasm still brimming, I left out all of the screwdrivers, hammer, drill, extension cord, etc. etc. to wait for the second shipment's arrival, where I was sure I would get to the finishing just as efficiently as I handled the first batch. Of course, things rarely work out exactly as planned.

I did manage on the day of the second shipment to put up a few additional items, which only required double-stick-tape to put up. the rest I left to do "tomorrow".

And so have they sat since then, waiting, waiting. Meanwhile, we have tried to become adjusted to our new half-assed system. This system, while better in a couple of aspects than the old one, is for the remainder of the aspects (namingly the where the heck do I put all this mail aspect) is much less adequate, about half as good as you might have half-expected this half-baked, half-completed system to be working. Old bad habits are mixing with new bad habits, and are threatening to tear down the fabric of my beauteous, wonderful system before it even has a chance to get started. So, I'm afraid the pressure is on, which of course may make this whole completion thing all that more difficult to manage.

In any case, I still have hope that any day now, I'll get the rest of this system put up, and everything will begin to magically begin working like the efficient dream I originally had. We'll see how this works out... I've got my hammer and step stool sitting at the ready for the moment it does.

Things Left to Complete This Woggy Project:
  • rip open all the new packages
  • begin hammering, drilling, ratcheting, and hanging
  • finish hammering, drilling, ratcheting, and hanging
  • make labels for all the new bins
  • sort everything into its proper place
  • clean up the tools and other project debris
  • amaze husband with dazzling mail and message efficiency possibilities
  • school husband and self in proper use and upkeep of said dazzling system
  • hope for the best

Update: Woggy #15

Back in February I mentioned I had been working through a difficult book called Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life. Having taken a break recently for one of my periodic spiritual retreats, where my goal is generally to center and refocus myself, I decided to put an emphasis on reopening the book and making another serious go at the next book exercise.

While it was difficult and I avoided getting around to it more than I would have liked, once I did open the book and start rereading the section that had been giving me trouble, I found myself moving through the next pages and their exercises in a foot-after-foot fashion. While it still required considerable intention to turn each page and do each exercise, I found myself on the last day of my retreat two chapters forward, where I stopped not out of fear, but due to the request of the book and exercise itself. The exercise was one of writing down a list of difficult tasks associated with the things brought up by the previous exercise, and setting yourself a timeline to attempt the first of those items on the list. Once you finish with that task, you then continue through the list. So an intentional resting point of sorts in terms of reading through the book.

I felt really good having worked through the difficulties and reached the point I had, which was made to feel even more of an achievement after reading the last summarizing words of the chapter:
"If you've made it this far, then you've done some really good work."

Things I can check off my Woggy to-do list:

x set aside time to read
x write down the answer to troublesome question
x continue reading
x keep moving through next stumbling block

Things Left To Complete This Woggy Project:

  • being working through the list of items in chapter 10
  • continue until all items are accomplished
  • consider doing the daily/weekly mindfulness exercises from the earlier chapter
  • begin reading chapter 11
  • continue reading and doing exercises until the end of the book is reached

Monday, May 18, 2009

Update: Woggies #1 and #3

Woggy #1 Update: BC Trip Scrapbook

I can now check some items off my Woggy To-do list:

X wait for photos and scrapbook cover,etc. to be delivered
X plan scrapbook layout
X create any needed text or other related content
X paste up first 7 days of trip

Things left to complete this woggy project:

  • paste up remaining 5 days of trip
  • punch holes in the pages
  • assemble scrapbook
  • clean up the disaster zone left behind by this project
  • sit back on my couch with my scrapbook and reminisce about my fab tripLink

Woggy #3 Update: Learning Calculus

As often happens with true progress, the latest burst of activity towards completing this woggy came in a completely inadvertent and unexpected fashion. Having finally moved into the 21st century by getting an iPod nano for my birthday, I was looking to try out all of its various features, and stumbled across the iTunes U section of the store, in particular the completely free Calculus class offered by MIT's open courseware. So I figured what the heck, why not download? Of course as the entire point of me visiting the store that day was to find some sort of content other than music for my nano, as a test run to see if I could figure out how to make everything work properly, I had to upload the first lecture and try it out to see how everything worked. So before I knew it there I was sitting in my living room, watching the tiniest professor in the world give me a first day intro lecture all about derivatives. Once it was over I suddenly realized, hey! Look at that I've started learning Calculus finally!

I can now check some items off my Woggy To-do list:

X order calculus video class
X actually begin watching calculus class
X finish watching Lecture 1 (and understanding it!)

Things left to complete this woggy project:
  • download and print out supplemental materials for this class
  • watch, take notes and do any problems required for Lectures 2 - 16
  • donate some money to MIT's open coursework program for goodness sakes!
  • download the second Calculus class in the series
  • repeat steps 1 & 2 for second class
  • go and read all those physics chapters I couldn't read before I understood Calc!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Update: Woggies #1 and #16 are almost complete!

Woggy #1 Update: BC Trip Scrapbook

I had been informed about a month ago that the site which is hosting alot of my old photographs has changed its policy to require you to buy something at least once a year or they might dump your archive. With my dumping date looming, I had alot of incentive recently to get some sort of a photo project going. The digital photos most obvious for this task was my collection of photos from my BC Adventure Vacation that happened last August. All of my photos were already on my computer, and I already knew I wanted most of them printed out as actual real life photos for my scrapbook project.

So it took a lot of time, but I sorted through all the photos and picked all the best ones and/or the ones necccesary to tell the story of our adventure. I uploaded them and made captions for whenever I get around to emailing the online album to everyone. And of course I started thinking about how was I actually going to get all of these photos put together. Now, it turns out this task itself became a major life distraction, as I discovered a site selling all of the vast array of things that the scrapbooking industry has to offer. It took alot of strength, and I had to resist many cute, shiny sparkly things that would certainly serve absolutely no useful function in my life (such as the Happy Camper wooden die-cuts pictured here...), but I did finally end up with a pared down order of just the essential items needed for me to put together something close to what I originally envisioned. So now, I only have to wait for my items to be delivered, and I can get to work on the fun part, which is the making of the scrapbook itself. This should not take too long to complete, but only time will tell...

I can now check some items off my Woggy To-do list:

X Select photos for printing
X Get photos printed
X look for a suitable book/binding system
X buy book/binding system

Things left to complete this woggy project:

  • wait for photo and scrapbook cover,etc. to be delivered
  • plan scrapbook layout
  • create any needed text or other related content
  • paste up/ assemble scrapbook

Woggy #16 Update: New Bed

Lately on two separate independent occasions unrelated to either the purchase of a bed or each other, both my husband and I were each able to visit another local furniture store that also happened to have beds for sale, and we both actually happened to each look at the beds that they had there. Through some great miracle of the cosmos, my husband and I not only came to the agreement afterwards that we did not need to look in any further stores than the two stores we had thus far looked at, but after some brief discussion, we actually came to amiable agreement about which actual bed we each preferred to buy, AND, miracle of miracles, it happened to be the same exact bed.

Topping off this miracle sundae with some fabulous fruit, we even both went to the store together this weekend, and actually followed through with the actual purchase of the actual bed. Now all we have to do is wait for the shipment and delivery, and then actually do the final assembly of the bed after it arrives. It hardly seems any trouble at all that the bed is apparently somewhere in South America, and will be taking up to 14 weeks to get here!

Items I can check off my Woggy To-do list:

X go to more stores to look at other possible beds
X decide on a bed and buy it

Things Left To Complete This Woggy Project:
  • wait for shipment of our bed
  • put our new bed together
  • say, "Hey, doesn't our new bed look great?!"

Monday, April 20, 2009

Woggy #18: Homemade window shade

Seattle is infamous for its dark and dreary winters. What is perhaps not as well known are our bright and cheery summers, of which I am beginning to be reminded of again at very early hours of the morning through my upper bedroom window, which under most circumstances brings a welcome amount of extra light into the room. The exceptions to this welcome would be during late spring and summer early hours of the a.m. when the sun peeks through and tries to wake you up, or on bright moonit nights, or perhaps on an evening when a neighbor with a porchlight is staying up to all hours...

In recent groggy mornings, as I have clambered in the wee hours for my eye pillow to shut out the light, I am reminded of a long overdue woggy project that I began a summer or two ago, which is to create a lovely, decorative but importantly functional window shade to cover this upper window when sleeping assistance is needed.

I considered the various prefabricated options, but the unusual shape & size of this window, joined with the way the window is normally used, really made most conventional alternatives difficult to find and rather inappropriate to the task. The solution I ultimately came up with was a decorative shade that could be raised up and out of the way like an awning when its use was not required.

I remember coming up with a complete design for this project, and some patterns, and I measured and cut out all sorts of fabrics, pinned, sewed, etc. I began working out exactly what sort of hardware I'd need to attach this shade to the window area, and was feeling pretty psyched about the whole project in general, most especially as this would mean complete sleepytime peace without need for an eye-shade, which I have never found to be completely comfortable.

However, it was at just around this time that a large and unexpected construction project began on my apartment building (yes, the self-same one that originally interfered with my bed frame woggy...) Since this would be involving among other things the tearing out and replacement of all our windows, I carefully folded this woggy up, bagged it, labeled it, and put it up on a shelf for safekeeping until all the window construction business was over.

Over a year later, when all work was complete, I was so busy restoring order to the chaos of my construction-ated home that pulling out another big project was the last thing on my mind. so the project sat and sat, up on the shelf.

Now that the longer days are on us again, and I have sufficent time and energy to devote to the shade, I've pulled it back out in the hopes that I will actually get some solid sleep at least a few nights before the end of the summer rolls around. Unfortunately, the notes I left for myself regarding my design plans are a bit scanty. So it will first take me some time to figure out exactly what was the design I was going for, or at least figure out some way to make all the pieces I already cut out work in a new design.

I have hopes that a dark and cozy slumber will be ours again someday...

Things Left To Complete This Woggy Project:
  • lay all the pieces out and figure out a general idea of the intended design
  • draw up some specific pictures to indicate how everything is supposed to look
  • begin sewing all of the items which are already pinned together for sewing
  • pin the rest of the pieces together following the design
  • sew all the pieces
  • put the various layers together and sew up remaining seams
  • Make a list of necessary hardware
  • buy necessary hardware
  • Install hardware and attach shade to hardware
  • Put shade down and enjoy a lovely complete night of sleep!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Updates! Woggies #8, #10, AND #16!

Yes spring has sprung, and it's verdant atmosphere has brought about updates in not one, not two but three woggy projects, all within the past two weeks!

Woggy #8 Update: "Lil' Me"

With my notebook-buying obstacle out of the way, and my proper time-era enhancing pandora station created and at the ready for inspiration, my mind and hands were set free to begin with the drawing. After a small bit of research to verify a few additional time-accurate details, I started my concept drawings and began the intro to my first book. I was a little slowed for a bit after completing the introduction, trying to decide what the story for this first episode/issue would be, but after a bit of brewing I was able to successfully work out a storyboard for the whole issue.

At this point all that is left is to sit down a little bit each day and continue the work on the final, finished-drawing versions of the storyboard for this issue to be finally complete. Time intensive to be sure, but right now the road is clear and straight up through the end of this book. Hooray!

I can now check some items off my Woggy To-do list:

X Dig up my old plot and story notes, and my folder of character drawings
X Sketch out a plot for my introductory episode/book
X rough storyboard the book

And for the record, I have begun working on:
  • draw book #1
Things Left To Complete This Woggy Project:
  • finish drawing book #1
  • admire fab new book!
  • repeat process for several more books
  • research publishing graphic novels/ comic books, including self-publish options
  • begin sending out stuff/ doing whatever initial stuff i need to do to pursue publishing of first few books
  • continue making more books
  • consider creating a dedicated website for the books
  • write more to-do steps

Woggy #10 Update: Understanding Comics

In the course of me working on the drawings for Woggy #8's introduction, I ran into a bit of a problem figuring out how to represent a particular action sequence that was very important. Considering how to solve the problem, I thought immediately of Understanding Comics and figured there would probably be something in there that might help me figure out a good approach.

Funny enough, the place where I had stopped reading, or more specifically the chapter I had bookmarked as the next one to begin, covered exactly the topic I was needing to read about. So that afternoon, while I had pulled the book off the shelf thinking I would just flip through to a section I had already read, for a few references and words of advice, I ended up instead sitting down and reading a whole new chapter of the book. In this way I not only learned what I needed to know for Woggy #8 right when I needed it the most, helping me solve my problem & inspire me, I also inadvertently completed a new step towards completing Woggy #10 at the same time.

Items I can check off my Woggy To-do list:

X Take book off shelf and begin reading again
X Consider buying another book from the graphic novel section! (actually did this a while ago, as mentioned in the last Woggy #8 update)

Things Left to Complete This Woggy Project:
  • Set aside an evening or afternoon
  • Read more of book
  • Repeat until book has been finished

Woggy #16: New Bed

Completely unrelated to the above two woggy updates, I am happy to finally report progress on this woggy. A lovely spring day brought us out for a walk in the park, and subsequent walk home right past one of our favorite furniture stores down the street. While there we both saw a bed frame we both liked and discussed it as a possibility, and found a fab couch on super discount, which after a half-day's thought, resulted in our decision to buy it.

While it was a couch purchased, and not a bed, those of you looking at the poster above might have noticed these are not unrelated. A new couch in the house brings about a quite urgent need to remove the old one, especially when one lives in a small downtown condo. Mind ever-quick, I jumped on this opportunity to point out that we would probably save alot of time and effort if we added the box spring and old bed frame to our flyer, since we already knew we were going to get rid of them.

And thank you, terrible economy, someone has already offered to take both of these worthy objects off our hands and out of our house within the week.

Of course, this means that from now until the date of bed frame delivery (to say nothing of all the steps in between) we will be sleeping on the very basic and chic "mattress on floor" layout, the ultimate in minimalist bed furnishment. But no one said progress was without its downside...

Items I can check off my Woggy To-do list:

X go to a store to look at a bed
X put our box spring and frame up for give-away
X give away our stuff to give-away person (ok, this one's almost checked off..)

Things Left To Complete This Woggy Project:
  • go to more stores to look at other possible beds
  • decide on a bed and buy it
  • get our new bed delivered
  • say, "Hey, doesn't our new bed look great?!"

Monday, March 30, 2009

Update: Woggy #8

Back in October, I had mentioned my Lil' Me (working title) cartoon was a woggy I had hinged much of my medium-term professional aspirations on. Well, especially since this is a woggy I truly have my heart set on actually completing someday, I have come to face certain facts over the ensuing months, and have thereby decided to drastically alter the path of this little tadpole's future.

In fabulous amphibian fashion, this Lil' Me cartoon project does hereby officially transform into the shape of ... a comic book! Yes, seeing all the technological and other hurdles before me, and the inevitable complications of the task that are impeding this project's progress, while all my fab concepts, characters and ideas continue to chomp at the bit telling me to just hurry up and get on with it already, I've decided the best way I can get on with this in a way that will allow it to fruit into reality as close as possible to my vision is to create a comic book series instead. (how's THAT for a long sentence!! Take that, Mr. Dickens!)

All of the essential elements will still be there. The characters and stories can stay the same, and it works fine with an episodic format. the only thing that will have to be missing will be my fabulous theme song, which was the seed that started this whole project in the first place, but I will probably figure out some way to make that work in a comic book. Or, maybe I'll just sing it to myself while I'm drawing.

Best of all, I can return to the format I prefer anyway, which is the drawing on paper. In an instant I have erased all technological hurdles in my way!! And, even better, With me getting all my episodes out in comic book form, it will still be possible for them to be one day picked up as an episodic cartoon, with someone else doing all the fancy-pants work and me just letting everyone know the general idea of how everything should turn out.

I first started to think about this as a possible solution to my problem when I saw the movie Persopolis (which by the way is really awesome and I really reccomend you go see it if you haven't), most especially when I saw the DVD extra where they went behind the scenes and talked about how the movie began as a graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, who also co-directed the film.

I've mentioned elsewhere in this wog that I've always been drawn to graphic novels and comic books, but have always felt a bit like a fish out of water whenever I was around them. My recent purchase and reading of Best American Comics 2008, as well as Lynda Barry's highly inspiring and wildly creative What It Is (which I am still in the middle of), have helped me find some more courage in that area, helping me to see this art form as a medium that might be just right for me, especially in the case of my "Lil' Me" story.

Then a defining moment came one day when I heard my sister, who works as a professional graphic artist, mention how much she'd really like a drawing tablet, which she does not actually have, causing me to look over at my dusty and paper-buried graphic tablet on my work table, considering exactly how long had it been since I had last used that thing anyway? And would I ever in fact be really using it for anything more than a glorified mouse before it became obsolete? Surely it could be put to better use by a professional who actually would use it everyday (i.e., my sister). This was in fact the most defining fact of the many facts I had brought myself to consider over these past several months.

Then on a recent visit with family, I found myself saying to my Grandma, who had just asked me what projects I was working on, that I was making a comic book of the cartoon I had told her about before. So there it was, I realized. I guess that's really what I was going to be doing, after all!

The last hurdle that was standing in the way of this official transformation was the purchase by me of some actual blank notebooks. Being a writer I have many blank lined notebooks lying around the house, but up until today I had no blank blank notebooks anywhere. Whenever I draw or "doodle" as I like to refer to it, I usually use either blank computer paper, or my favorite, sheets of white "typing paper" (or as they call it now a "writing tablet") which are quite nice for drawing on, but come in a tear-off pad, which is not very useful when trying to create a cohesive work of many pages that follow each other. I'm happy to say that I purchased not one but two blank notebooks today, of the size and binding I like most in their cousinly lined-paper forms, and am now officially ready to embark on the next phase of this woggy adventure.

I hereby rewrite my woggy to-do list...

Things Left To Complete This Woggy Project:
  • Dig up my old plot and story notes, and my folder of character drawings
  • Sketch out a plot for my introductory episode/book
  • rough storyboard the book
  • draw book #1
  • admire fab new book!
  • repeat process for several more books
  • research publishing graphic novels/ comic books, including self-publish options
  • begin sending out stuff/ doing whatever initial stuff i need to do to pursue publishing of first few books
  • continue making more books
  • consider creating a dedicated website for the books
  • write more to-do steps

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Woggy #17: Family Tree

At some particular point in the last year, my sister-in-law, who had been doing some extensive family tree research on my husband's side of the family, uploaded her research to a popular family tree website, and invited us all to have a look. This of course inspired me to create a tree of my own, filling out my half of our family tree.

For a week or two, I began working regularly and diligently to expand my tree, taking advantage of the free trial membership the site had. I decided to go ahead and sign up, paying a monthly fee, thinking I would see this thing through in a month or two, culminating sometime after the holiday season, when I would incorporate all the info I got talking to all my extended family and/or receiving their replies to my organized letters that I would include with the yearly card and newsletter.

I have of course forgotten about this woggy project entirely until about last month, when I was reviewing my finances, and again this past week when I was visiting my family and thinking about the various details I might want to know about my family tree. I have yet to even formulate the sorts of questions I'd like to ask extended family, let alone create any sort of letter, organized or no, that could help me gather additional information to add to my tree.

Meanwhile, I continue to pay monthly fees to this website, sure that I'll be finishing this project up any day now, and have no need to switch over to the yearly fee structure. (It's obviously this sort of wishful thinking that keeps these folks in business.)

Things Left To Complete This Woggy Project:
  • consider switching to the yearly fee structure..
  • finish up doing as much research as possible given the info I currently have
  • figure out what sort of info I need to try to get from whom to fill out the tree
  • send out letters/emails/etc. to get info and photos from pertinent family members
  • update new info as it comes in
  • finish up doing as much research as possible given the info I get
  • Do any needed external research
  • Complete the tree as much as possible
  • print a final copy, send to family members, etc.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Update: Woggy #13 Complete!

After many, many hours of enjoyable work, I'm happy to say that this miniaturely giant woggy has finally been finished! Whatever Lego fan actually posted somewhere that he completed this feat in a mere 10 hours either has a faulty sense of timing, superhuman building power, or must have employed a large army of miniature robots to complete his task.

My final hours of project completion were assisted greatly not only by my small Lego workmen supervisors (see three of them helping to the left), but also by my Velvet Underground-seeded Pandora station, which I feel helped especially pulling me through all the delicate, frustrating, and slightly nerve-wracking moments connecting all the large component parts to one another.
And baby it was allright
And it was alright
Hey it was allright
Unexpectedly, the worst moments came not from placing the large central dome, which unlike all my previous attempts at handling it, did not fall apart or lose any tiles in the process, but from the plugging in of all the exterior building pieces to one another. As soon as I would get two plugged into each other and attempted a third, I'd find the second and third pieces come together only at the expense of the first two pieces coming apart. After an of absurd series of together-together-apart, together-together-aparts, I did finally succeed at getting them all together into one comprehensive whole, and only a few minor and non-lethal break and repairs.

In the end, the final result was pretty impressive. Hugely impressive in fact, and now I am beginning to consider the question my husband first asked me when I brought the Taj Mahal set home, and that is "Where exactly are you going to put that thing in our place?" I had decided not to worry about that trivial detail until after it was finished. For now, this Ottoman looks like a good place, though obviously not a permanent one. Anyway it sure looks great, especially when I put a light inside and the fountain from my city set in front of it. Who needs airfare? In that perspective the cost of this project now seems downright economical!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Woggy #16: New Bed

Though it's probably a surprise to anyone actually viewing my wog, my original inspiration for this page began after considering my friend's blog The Cranky House, and wondering what sort of topic I might be able to write about myself. Thinking of the absurd number of unfinished home projects I had around here seemed like that might be a funny place to start. In classic woggy style, I have of course done everything but talk about household projects ever since. So, I figured today is as good a day as any to finally mention one of them.

My husband and I have had plans for ages to buy or create some sort of new bed. And by "new bed" what I am actually meaning is really just "a bed", at least in the classic, traditional sense of what most people consider to be a bed.

While I was a bit opposed to it aesthetically, we did, quite immediately after moving in together, go to a mattress warehouse store and purchase the standard and traditional American Queen mattress with matching box spring. This set did come with a FREE! super-basic "bed frame", which is to say a simple but sturdy metal framework with wheels that one could safely place one's mattress and box spring set on top of. Here is a picture of said "frame", collapsed in space-saving fashion in the corner.

For several years we were content to call this basic assortment a bed and a bed frame, and I even bought a nice stylish bed skirt to make it appear a bit less rustic industrial than it actually was. As time wore on and probably somewhere after our actual marriage ceremony, I began to realize that most established couples out there seemed to have one of these complete and inclusive furniture item things that most people mean when they hear the term "bed", and hey, why don't we get one of those too! those look pretty nice!

And so began this woggy project. Due to financial restraints, we originally began looking just for something that would help fill out our current operation into something that looked more like a real bed. A headboard, a less rustic-looking support frame... And we had made some progress in this direction when we were interrupted by an unexpected and life consuming construction project. Our condo building needed to replace all of its exterior wall surfaces, and was going to replace all of the building's windows at the same time. Since 2 walls of our bedroom are almost all windows, and construction required a three-foot clear-out zone for the construction crew, that left our usable bedroom nonexistent, which meant our bed got deconstructed and placed on its side against the wall, ala factory storage style, for the duration of the construction project.

In the month that stretched into months of construction, while we slept on the most rustic bed of all, the floor, we began to discuss and imagine what sort of real, actual bed we might like to sleep on when all this construction business was over. The definitive conclusion we came to was that, neither of us actually wanted a box spring, and we would both like some sort of nice modern and stylish complete bed frame for our mattress to go on. We devised our environmentally responsible plan for freecyling our box spring and metal frame, which we reasoned would probably be a serious score if you were say, just out of college or high school and looking for something to put your beginning-to-sag futon on. Or perhaps someone whose boxspring had met with an unfortunate accident, and was looking for a replacement. We looked at catalogs, talked about bed styles.

Things were really looking good for this woggy project by the time the construction was coming to a close. New windows, new walls, and soon.. a new bed!

Several years later, we are still sitting here with no bed frame, and have actually devolved in that, thinking we would be freecycling our box spring and frame, we only bothered to put the mattress back on the floor, assuming we'd get a frame under it any week now, and leaving the others against the wall would make it so much easier when the freecycler showed up. Months after these assumptions had proven untrue, we did finally put the box spring down and the mattress on that, just "temporarily", until we bought the new frame, of course, which is why we didn't actually put the frame itself back on the floor and the box spring and mattress on top of those. And as, you might have noted from the picture at the top, there it still is, not under our bed!

But, my hope springs eternal. why, just two days ago, we almost went to the store to look at a bed frame. We firmly decided we'd probably go to that store instead next weekend. Maybe! A girl can dream..

Things Left To Complete This Woggy Project:
  • go to the store to look at beds
  • decide on a bed and buy it
  • put our box spring and frame up on freecycle
  • give away our stuff to freecyle person
  • get our new bed delivered
  • say, "Hey, doesn't our new bed look great?!"

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Update: Woggy #13

Well, especially thanks to an experimental voluntary week without electricity, I have made some significant progress on the ole Taj Mahal. Here you can see I completed the dome, and have also created and assembled all of the main base of the mausoleum. The top of the dome is super-solid, obviously a rework of the classic & sturdy Lego sphere. But the sides are super fragile and have begun to be a major pain in my butt. Every time I even get near those sides they try and pop off, and when I try putting them back on they usually become disconnected from the base, which requires even more delicacy getting everything back in place again. But I admit, creating cylinders of any sort is definitely a hack with Legos, so I suppose the Lego engineer who created this design did the best they could. For now I've got my dome sitting up on this shelf, and I don't plan to touch it again until the final building assembly, where pieces are undoubtedly going to try and pop off yet again...

I can now check some items off my Woggy To-do list:

X complete the four tower spires (this one's from the last update)
X complete the center dome structure
X complete the main part of the central building

Things Left To Complete This Woggy Project:
  • complete the roof of the central building
  • put all pieces together
  • revel in my construction triumph!