A Prayer for the Dying.

Yes. I know I don’t post here enough.

My friend Alis’ mom is dying.

This one sentence carries with it a whole huge story, as you might expect. But I’ll keep it fairly brief.  Due to a lack of money, Alis has been placed in the role of full time, 24 hour a day caretaker for her dying mother, even though she herself is disabled. Her mother has emphysema, and is not dying “eventually”.  She is dying “really soon.”.  The problem is that Alis gave up what little she had to care for her mother. When she dies, there is a very small life insurance policy whose proceeds will benefit Alis.  But there will be a delay  in time between when her mother’s death occurs, and when the life insurance policy pays out.  There is no money to cover this gap. Every penny they have has gone into her mother’s care.

I realize it is the holiday season and people are strapped for cash. So instead of just asking for people to help her out, I decided to create an egg so people could actually purchase something for their money that they  could then give as a gift. Seemed win-win all the way around. Alis gets a little help, the buyer gets a physical object for their money suitable for gift giving, and I don’t have to put out cash I *truly* don’t have to help the situation.

Alis’ mom was a collector of flow blue china.  This was endearing, as I hold a degree in restoration and historic preservation, and as people who know me well already know, ceramics hold a special place in my heart due to the influence of my dear (and now gone) friend Amy Kalina (I miss you, Amy.)  Because of how negative space works on eggs, I decided to reverse the colors and instead of using white with cobalt blue, did the egg in cobalt blue with white.

My soon(hey, everything is relative..) to exist egg site (eggrotech) isn’t ready yet (might help if I had started it past buying the domain name but never mind that now…). so I don’t know where else to do this- so it’s going here.

I’m putting this egg up for auction. Shipping to be paid by the winner.  Yes, I can ship internationally. No, I’ve never had one break in transit and I’ve sent eggs all over the world.  Yes, I will happily include an egg stand. No, I cannot *guarantee* you will get it by Christmas day.  I’ll do what I can, but it’s the holidays and if someone wins it overseas I just can’t guarantee it will make it in time.

If you’ve never seen one of my eggs before, here’s some things you should know:

1. This is a real egg. No, I’m not kidding. It’s a real egg.

2.  It’s a chicken egg. If you want to know how big it is, go into your kitchen, open your refrigerator, and remove an egg. There ya go.

3. Bearing point #2 in mind- these images are 2.5-3x life size.  They’re just there to show detail. Imperfections seen in the images are not always visible in real life.  The colors are blue and white.  Any red you see on the finish in the photos is just a reflection from my mug behind it.  There is no red color on the egg anywhere.  It has a semi-gloss finish.

4.  Yes, these are made by me. Well not the actual egg. I’m not a chicken.  The chicken does that part. I do the rest of it, though.

Click on any of these images in order to see them in a larger format.

DSC_5971DSC_5972

DSC_5973DSC_5974

DSC_5975DSC_5976

Bids will be taken through midnight December 15 2012, EST.

How do you bid?

You can:

leave a comment here at this post (this is easiest…)

You can send me a message via twitter at either my @damnedgoodesign or @djbronxelf accounts. I can update the post here to reflect the current price.

You can find me on SLU under Bronxelf.  If you message me there I’ll reflect the current price here.

You can find me on google chat if you already have my ID, or any number of other IM methods. Im pretty reachable, to be honest.

All proceeds other than the cost of shipping (which is extra) will go directly to Alis. I won’t touch the money other than the shipping, which has to go to me.

Bidding starts at $150 USD, the standard cost for one of my eggs (that isn’t black on the inside.).

Retweets, and any other forms of spreading the word on this are welcome. I’m just trying to help my very exhausted friend here.

Thanks a lot for reading, and have a happy new year, everyone.

-AK

The current price is: $250USD. (bid received through gtalk.)

On why I don’t work at a firm.

“Why don’t you work at a firm?”

I’m asked this a lot.  A whole lot.  Of course there’s not one reason but many, and this isn’t a post about all of them. It’s a post about one.

If you somehow think it’s a poor reflection on the industry for someone to curse like a sailor- now would be the time to go somewhere else, because I’m going to, and I’m not going to apologize to you for it.

Understand that I am aware that in other places, this situation happens less often. I won’t say it doesn’t exist- I have no way to know that. I do know that in other locations, it happens less often than it does in NYC.  However, my willingness to move from NYC is *zero*. Full stop, zero.  So I can only refer to what goes on here.

Today, I was looking at the design/arch job postings on Craigslist. I have them on an RSS feed. Occasionally, I’ll see something worth replying to. Not often- mostly they aren’t looking for me, and I’m not looking for them.  That’s cool.  But I’ve seen an absolutely innumerable (really, as my friend Cindy can tell you as I often send them to her to boggle at)number of  job listings that want a laundry list of real, professional qualifications- but will pay *absolutely nothing*.  They call them “internships”.  But they’re not. They’re not for school credit. They don’t provide a stipend.  They’re slave labor.  Let’s call them what they are.  And I’m tired of people getting away with it. That’s it.  It needs to stop. I might be a good designer, but I’m a good one with a big mouth and a significant lack of fear.  So I’m calling it out, because I. Am. Done.

And on this day? I finally reached my limit with this bullshit.

Finally, an ad offended me so much, that I had to write something here.  I’m not going to link to the ad, because eventually it will disappear. No. Let me show you the copy.  The bolding is mine for emphasis, and not present in the original ad(but the typo IS in the original ad.):

 
Looking for a interior designer or architect for an internship at a small, creative design firm. Must have experience working on all types of nteriors, condo development projects, restaurants and bars.
Current projects in the office include kitchens and baths for new developments, restaurants and bars and interior renovations. Must have a good knowledge of materials and lighting. Must know CAD and excel.

This is an internship position only and must have min 3-5 experience.

  • Location: DUMBO
  • Compensation: none
  • This is a part-time job.
  • This is an internship job
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
  • Please, no phone calls about this job!
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

Here, let me respond to this ad:

Fuck you.

No really, I can’t make that clear enough.

Fuck. You.

Let us review.

They want someone with experience with all kinds of design projects. (check!)

They want someone with experience with design software. (check!)

They want someone with a minimum of 3-5 years experience in the industry. (check!)

THEY HAVE NO INTENTION OF PAYING THEM. (I’m sorry, but you couldn’t POSSIBLY have just said that out loud, right?)

And they can’t even PROOFREAD their own ad.

You know, maybe these people are in some mysterious industry I’ve never been a part of, but you know what? I don’t KNOW any designers with 3-5 years experience that can AFFORD to NOT BE PAID to use their hard earned professional credentials and experience.  Who have the luxury of “interning part time” (also a joke as we all know there IS no such thing as part time design in reality) for NOTHING whilst paying their own travel, food, and clothing expenses, never mind you know, the life expenses they’re not being paid for.  So either you need a) someone independently wealthy.  b) you need someone completely supported by someone else (with a spouse or parents who can and will support them to work for your ass for free.) and wait,  c) someone with so little self esteem and is so desperate that they are willing to work *for free* with 3-5 years under them. I’d say they want a kid fresh out of school that they can pay 10 bucks an hour (oh but wait they aren’t even offering that), but really they don’t- again, they want someone with 3-5 years experience.

I’d call it “dreamland” but that would only insult a great song by The Merry Thoughts, who deserve better than this shit.

I will say that this is not a way to get a great designer to work with you. It’s not even a way to get a mediocre one.  I’m not even sure it’s a way to get a bad one. I don’t know WHO you get with this nonsense, but I do know that you *shouldn’t* get ANYONE, because this isn’t a job offer.

I wish I could say that this was the first, or fifth or even fiftieth time I’ve seen this.  It isn’t.   I think this one insulted me so much because firms that sound even remotely interesting to me are few and far between, but I stopped to read that one.

But I think that from now on? I’m gonna post a lot more of those- because my being silent is now over.

It’s over. This has to stop. If you can’t afford to pay someone with 3-5 years experience to work on your projects you don’t GET someone with 3-5 years experience. Also, raise your prices, because your business model is unsustainable. 


Things I never could have predicted.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I am the person who helped Tronguy  (Jay Maynard) build his suit. Jay is an old, dear friend who asked me to help him with his suit so he could potentially win a costume contest at Penguicon (he did win, btw.) .  Of course he did much more than that, and the thing exploded into a media frenzy, making him a permanent part of internet history and culture.

Even during the hard parts (and there were several weeks at the beginning that were very,very difficult- I defy anyone to handle them with more grace than he did. You’d fail- the amount of horrible venom that was directed at him for no real reason at all was not to be believed.), he has always maintained a sense of humor about himself, and the suit. He even attended the Bravo A List awards wearing it (I know, I was with him at the event.)

I think it’s because of that that people still ask him to do appearances and interviews and now, apparently commercials.  Way to go, Jay.  I had NO IDEA it would turn into this, but this is wonderful.  :D

Tardis Corset Technical Notes Part 2: The second version.

With a proof of concept, if not much more, in hand, I set about making a second version.  Nikki suggested printing the panels on paper and using the paper.  My printer was out of ink at the time (I have a fancy printer and the ink costs a mint.), so I borrowed a printer, and set about doing that.  What eventually appeared was a sandwich:

clear plastic

frosted plastic

paper

clear plastic

This took a fair bit of time in photoshop, since I had to make the panels look exactly correct. So an hour or so per panel to make sure it all looked the way it was supposed to.  But I was having printing problems- the panels weren’t printing at the right size and it wasn’t my printer.  Concerns about ink usage arose. After several attempts I finally managed to get all the printed panels in my hands and make the sandwiches.

While this looked okay- certainly better than the previous attempt, it had a flaw- it was very hard to make the sandwich stay together.  I spent a lot of time gluing and gluing.  The glue has to go SOMEWHERE and there was nowhere to put it on the panel that it was well hidden.  I had lots of problems with the panels coming apart. I kept gluing them back together.  But I was rapidly running out of TIME.  I shipped the panels overnight to Philadelphia.  They were supposed to be there by noon the next day.  Nikki would then have one full day to get it all together.  This was the second round of panels:

In the mad rush I cut the door opening to the sign on the stomacher backwards. Oops.

The USPS lost the package.

They misrouted it and it didn’t arrive until a day later.  Then Nikki had the same problems I did with panel separation.  She’d had a really, really awful week (for various reasons) and in the end just couldn’t build the corset in time for Defcon.  We then were focused on a new deadline- Wicked Faire on August 13.

So we were getting there, but we weren’t quite there yet.

Tardis Corset: Of Sonic Screwdrivers and Doors

Nikki forwarded a question on to me asking if it would be technically possible to build a sonic screwdriver capable of opening the door on the corset.

This led me to ask what a sonic screwdriver WAS.

Once I got that explanation out of the way (and Nikki stopped laughing), I told her I’d post the answer here:

 

Yes, but there’s no real good reason to want to.

From a *technical* standpoint what you’re really looking to do is basically apply the same principles as a garage door opener, or the push button electronic lock on your car door.  You basically turn the sonic screwdriver into the remote control for the door.  It’s a pain in the ass, but technically doable.

However in this particular case it’s an awful lot of work (and added expense) to the garment for no really good reason.  if you’re using it on yourself, it’s really just almost silly when you could just, you know, open the door. 

If you give the controller to someone else it makes all kinds of sense from a fetish corset standpoint.  But it would really require the doors be placed far more strategically- which they’re simply not on this garment.

It’s just not worth the hassle or expense to do it for this particular design, but yeah it’s *technically* possible.

 

 

Tardis Corset Technical Notes 1: How I got here.

Before I forget all this, I’m writing it down.

As I’ve said previously, Nikki is a friend of mine. We had been speaking on Skype one night as she told me about her idea to make a tardis corset.  She had a client (Nicole) who had a credit with her and  Nikki wanted to get her in a tardis corset in time for Defcon.  While she had already built the pieces for the corset itself (since you know, that’s her actual job and all), she was stuck on how to turn it into a tardis (jokes about it being bigger on the inside notwithstanding.) and time was rapidly running out.

There’s two things you need to know about me:

1. I don’t sew.  In fact the only reason I own a sewing machine (I do own one, I have no idea how it works- it may as well be a nuclear reactor) is so my tailor/costume designer/all around saver of the day Jay Reeder from Knightly Endeavors doesn’t have to drag one to my house to do alterations from three hours away. So sewing issues are completely baffling to me.

2. Sorry for the heresy, gang, but I’ve never watched Dr. Who. Not ever. Not once. I have nothing negative whatsoever to say about it- it’s just not the direction my geekery goes in.  So understand that all this knowledge that others have about the show, and the tardis and all manner of other Whovian mystery is… well a mystery to me. The closest I get to Dr. Who generally is playing Rotersand: Exterminate Annihilate Destroy during a DJ set.

But Nikki was really worried about figuring this problem out. She knew what she *wanted* to do, but didn’t know how to get from point A to point B on it.  Not her skillset, as it were.

Luckily, it’s my skillset, so I offered to help out. What the hell, I like puzzles.

Understand that design is a process. That’s hard for goal oriented people.

No one is more goal oriented than me.  I am very much on the J of that J/P divide.  But design– a process that largely takes place in your head, not in the outside world, is very much a thing of process and perception.  It’s a journey. The project completion is the goal.

It is frustrating for people on the outside who only care about the goal to see or care about the process. But the process exists whether you like it or not.  It has to- or you get really shitty design.  It is VERY rare for an idea to pounce out of someone’s head fully formed like Athena from Zeus, and when people cling to the first idea they have, they usually wind up with really lousy results overall.

So, I first told her I would help. I have experience with this sort of geekery- as previously mentioned I’m the lunatic who helped Jay Maynard build his Tron suit (and I promise I had NO IDEA it would become as famous as it did- I did it to help Jay, who is also an old friend, win a costume contest at Penguicon. I didn’t set out to help create an internet meme, and no one was more shocked than me when it happened.)

Nikki sent me a ton of photos and information about the this particular tardis(I didn’t realize there were different models.) and explained exactly what she was trying to do.  She also mailed me her original drafted pattern, that I copied onto bond paper on my lightbox. She explained to me that ultimately she also wanted the tardis to light up.  This meant the panels could not be fully opaque (otherwise, what’s the point?)  they had to be translucent in the places you wanted lighting- in this case, the windows. I saw clearly that two windows on each side were frosted, and the others were  not frosted but darker. The tardis itself being made of wood, ostensibly, is opaque and the police box sign needed to light up as well.  Nikki indicated that the front panel needed a little door where the “free for use of the public” sign was- that she wanted to paint some sort of swirly thing behind the door.  Later on I learned she also wanted the door to trigger a sound mechanism.  It was all a bit complex. Technically doable, but not all of it was going to get done in the time frame we had.

At first, my idea was to get custom plastic pieces cut at Canal Plastics. The night before I was going to do down there I realized I was an idiot- I didn’t need to go to Canal Plastics, all I really needed to do was go to Target.

Yes, Target.

Because what I really was after was vinyl, since it was flexible and very thin.  You know where you can get plain and frosted (for the frosted windows) vinyl sheets easily?  Target.

All I needed was a couple of shower curtain liners.

So I grabbed those, brought them home and set about cutting out colorforms, basically. Rerun was trying to be helpful.

 

Nikki’s original pattern was designed to draft the corset itself, and was rough on the details of the tardis parts(since that’s not what she was building).  So I made the window outlines clearer on my copies. You can see her original copy on the right.

 

Originally, I thought of painting behind the clear vinyl(so as to keep it safe if people touched it), and attaching the frosted bits to the back. So I used photoshop to create a painting guide.

This was a good idea in my head- it didn’t work out in practice.  Since the plastic isn’t porous, the paint wouldn’t dry, and it was really messy. There was no way to make the letters look good.  It was just a complete disaster.  But I did manage to get the basic idea going. Two windows were frosted, the others were not. I had glued the frosted vinyl to the back of the clear vinyl after it was painted.

Failures teach us things about how to proceed.

The first attempt:

So that was how I got to the very first prototype.  Understand that the panels that exist now were the third go round at solving the problem.

It’s about the process- how you get from an idea to a finished product.

 

 

 

Well. I believe it’s gone viral.

The Tardis corset seems to have gone viral(who knew?). I know boingboing picked it up and apparently ion and some other stuff. 

It’s a strange feeling of deja vu, reminiscent of the whole Tronguy experience years ago.

I’m still working out technical kinks. I just sent an email with photos and sketches off to Nikki to solve some of the problems I still see, going forward.  She’s so tired she can’t concentrate on it now, but when she’s had a little sleep she’ll have a look.  I’ll continue to post the technical details here, once they’ve been cleared by her.

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