Wooden darts… Widdies

Dart holding jig in use with dart

There is a story in my family on one of my uncles throwing one of these very wooden darts, widdies, into the his brother’s head, causing the afflicted brother to run upstairs screaming. No idea if it’s true, but it’s a fun story… well, fun for most of us. At some point these came into my sister’s possession and she gave them to me to see if I could make them nice again. I held on to them for a while, unsure whether these were toys, tools, or artifacts. In the end, I remembered that whatever they were, they were meant to be fun, and sitting on my bench wasn’t. I think they came out pretty well.

I gave these to Cheri, and she loved them… now to challenge her to a game. Duck!

Making moves: Leaving on a high note

Note: This has been in my drafts folder for 9 months. I left Core Creative in May, and things are going great at GMR. It’s a whole different thing, but I’m having fun and doing really interesting work. 

Apparently, 2015 is the year my entire life is going to be flipped, turned upside-down like the Fresh Prince. Among the big changes in store, first among them in fact, is a change in jobs. I’ve been at Core Creative for three years now, and it’s been grand. Core is a great place, and I’ve been involved in some great work and helped to build a great team. It’s also been a huge growth opportunity and an experience that changed my whole perspective on my career. I’ve got some initiatives that are finally bearing fruit, and we’ve finally got the solid base of talent and process to take Core to the next level. Hell, we just won our first Bell award for a website ever. Seems like a good time to leave, right?

Stick with me… I really think it’s a good decision for everyone. Core gets a chance to rethink the way they structure the Digital Services area without having to work around me. Other folks in the department have an opportunity to do more without worrying about stepping on my toes. This also forces us to review and update all documentation around my role and make sure that everything is covered and right. It’s a good thing, and I’m really excited

Fifteen Dollar Guitar

Dillon continues to play guitar in Mad RED Kat, and continues to develop his skills (though somewhat reluctantly, like any 13 year-old). As he does, he’s expressed an interest in an acoustic guitar. Really, he wanted an electric-acoustic. After cruising Craig’s List, and eBay for possible candidates, I came across this gem:

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Yup, a $15 Buy It Now guitar. I did a little checking to see how that model did and what prices typically are. This particular model is typically around $120 new and $75 used, so this looked like a good deal. Reviews were pretty good with no specific weaknesses. Then I noticed that it was a local pickup only item, and local meant Cumberland, WI. Sure, Cumberland… that’s near Madison, right? I bid and won the thing. Then I looked at where Cumberland actually is… it’s not near Madison… it’s near St. Paul.

Well, fine. I’ll take Dillon, and we’ll have a great time driving to get his guitar… except Dillon is already committed to other stuff (Bar Mitzvah #3). So, what was going to be a quick morning road trip with the boy turned into an all day solo trip to the very top of the state and back. It was a good trip with way too much coffee, and way too much road construction, but eventually I got home with the instrument. Unfortunately, I could see why it was only $15.

There was a big crack in the side panel, the nut was cracked (it actually fell off in two pieces when I took the strings off) the fretboard was mildew-y and gross, the strings were rusted… not good. We ordered up a new nut and bridge as well as new bridge pins (one of those broke off when I was removing it) and got to work cleaning the instrument up. It actually cleaned up easily and well with just a slightly damp towel.

Our parts came in and included a little surprise for Dillon. I’d ordered a pre-amp and piezo pickup (these cost less than the nut and bridge) for his new guitar. We were going to convert this $15 acoustic to a slightly more expensive (only slightly) electric-acoustic. Well, after a few busy weeks, we finally got a few hours on a Sunday to get the work done. Honestly, I think it took all of three hours start to finish before we were tuning it up and testing things out.

So, not including travel time and gas, this $15 guitar really cost about $40. Dillon and I had a lot of fun working on this (too much to take any decent pictures, clearly) and he now has a second instrument. He has a better understanding of how things fit together. He got to play with my (fake) Foredom, and helped figure out solutions to unexpected problems (like you always encounter in projects like this). It was awesome.

An Open Door @ Turner Ballroom

That’s right, people… both kids are now in rock bands. Rosie performed at Turner Ballroom yesterday with her band An Open Door. Check them out performing their original piece “It’s great to be a girl.” That’s my little girl on drums.

MPLS and back

A few weeks ago Jared, Mike and I finally managed to get ourselves together enough to plan and execute a painfully long trip to the Twin Cites to visit Jemiah. Painful in that not one of our bikes is really designed for comfort. Have some photos.