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Transitioning into liminal space

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(no subject) [Feb. 11th, 2018|04:25 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space

My first soldering iron burn was inevitable. Ouch.
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(no subject) [Feb. 10th, 2018|09:52 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
[State of Being |accomplishedaccomplished]

I have a full schematic, which may even be mostly accurate, for my VTVM. That's a satisfying accomplishment after all the hours I've put in. It varies from the typical model that I can find schematics for and I don't know electronics well enough to figure out why exactly. Maybe next weekend when I get together with Posi we can figure it out. I'll see if I can get a decent scan of it for people here to see too.

I replaced a couple of wires; one was broken and one had melted insulation from when I was soldering the transformer secondaries. Oops. In know that one of the adjustment pots is bad after doing resistance measures, but I was going to put the tubes back in, plug it in, and turn it on and see if it was generally functioning well after fixing that broken ground line.

Then I realized I haven't replaced the fuse yet, so that will have to wait! I desoldered the fuse and figured out it's 1/8 amp 250 volt, so I'm ordering a pack of those tonight.

Until those show up, I'll probably get back to building that ESR meter that Posi was helping me with. I also bought a nice electronic desktop postage scale that measures up to 60 pounds today! Two bucks, but it doesn't turn on. I bet I can fix that!


I fixed the scale! Just had to solder the power wires back onto their pads on the board. I'm so pleased with myself!
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(no subject) [Feb. 7th, 2018|05:01 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
[Tags|, , ]
[State of Being |thoughtfulthoughtful]

About five minutes after leaving therapy this afternoon, I realized why I was so scared when, earlier during the day when I got an email from OK Cupid with pictures of "new matches." I hadn't thought about it in so many words, but I don't want to pick someone. I want to put myself out there and have someone pick *me.*

This is, upon further analysis on my ride home, and unsurprising extension of my general crippling anxiety about expressing what I want about much of anything.
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(no subject) [Feb. 3rd, 2018|07:45 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
[State of Being |okayokay]

I just removed the meter to avoid scratching the face while moving the unit around. With it out of the frame, I noticed the date on it. I'd been hoping to find a date somewhere to give me a better idea of when the kit was sold. April 5th 1961; nifty!

I wish it stated the full scale deflection current somewhere on it.

Meter Rear
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(no subject) [Feb. 3rd, 2018|07:29 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
[Tags|, ]
[State of Being |workingworking]

I've been having a rough mental health weekend. When I'm feeling a loss of control, it helps to feel like I've made sense out of something complex. So, I'm working on diagramming the switches on the VTVM I'm working on.

Switch Diagrams

Each switch wafer has up to 12 contact points, so I bought a compass and protractor from CVS to make diagrams of where the contacts connect. After sketching one out, it occurred to me that there must be some free apps out there online to do this kind of thing.

So I made a circle divided into 30 degree slices to represent contact points, and two concentric circles to represent the short and long rotating internal contact points, and am working out how they all connect to each other and to the rest of the unit.
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(no subject) [Feb. 2nd, 2018|11:09 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
[Tags|, , , , , , , ]
[State of Being |depresseddepressed]

A couple paragraphs I wrote elsewhere in response to a discussion of politics (and a lengthy expansion of those thoughts):

"I'm frustrated with myself that it's so hard for me to try to rationally engage with people who are right-leaning politically. Understanding and respecting alternate systems of understanding, recognizing their internal validity and engaging them in ways that make sense not to 'me' but to 'them' is the very core of my undergraduate degree.

Hurtful language and petty attacks are counter-productive, but oftentimes these days, it's all I'm capable of. So I stay largely out of the discussion. I feel like I'm failing at politics."

My therapist asked what it was that kicked my legs out from under me in Syracuse. There were a few things that reinforced each other. One is that I have lost the belief that I have a chance of having an effect on society; of making it better. Because of that, so many things I was fascinated by because they were important to me as part of understanding how to do that are just depressing. Rather than being motivated to thoroughly understand systemic inequalities in urban geography, they just make me want to cry. Geographers and anthropologists and others have been talking about ways to make things better for decades, but the ears of the dominant paradigm are deaf to them.

The ruined buildings and blighted urban landscapes that, as objects of fascination for me, led me to photography and school and art and anthropology and geography, are also symptoms of that dominant paradigm's disregard. They are still history and the passage of time made manifest; that was what I hoped to convey in my photography. But their meaning as the chewed-up and spat-out leavings of a seemingly inescapable and deeply discriminatory system overshadows their other meanings.

Artistically, I'm still fascinated with the thought of how a space is made and unmade. When does a space become a place? When does it unbecome? When is a room no longer a room, as its doors and windows and ceilings and walls slowly rot away? I'm drawn to that kind of liminality in ways I can't explain. But that making and unmaking does not occur in a vacuum; it is part of the making and unmaking of communities, and livelihoods.

Divorced from that context, it is apt to call images of Detroit's burned out houses or Gary's empty church 'ruin porn.' It's an empty aesthetic that provides a thrill disconnected from the reality of the subject's life. "I love Brutalist architecture!" I excitedly commented in an online discussion. "You don't have to live and work in it," one person responded. In Detroit, a woman approached me to ask why I was photographing a crumbling stone house with a sagging roof. "It has a kind of beauty," I said, somewhat self-consciously. "Ain't nothin' beautiful here," was her sharp response.

The more I've thought about those exchanges, the more photography of ruins feels like a kind of exploitation; converting someone else's miserable day-to-day existence into some pretty pictures to show to other people to evoke some sense of authenticity and wonder. "I was there! I saw this myself and I am sharing it with you!" What does my brief passage through the place really teach me about its nature and its place in the lives of people for whom is is part of their everyday world? How much less does my self-conscious abstraction of that experience into a few photos show someone who looks at my photos? It's hard to think of a more inauthentic way to experience a place.

It's not documentary work with some redeeming intent to communicate what these places are like. That's been done, and claiming that's my intent without doing the very real and extensive work necessary to contextualize what I'm producing is a poor excuse. If anything, it has the opposite effect, abstracting real, living places into mysterious empty landscapes of decay and ruin that contribute to unfounded apprehension of cities, the very places I feel are the best way for vast numbers of people to live on Earth.

I...think I've lost my thread. I was writing about geography and ineffectiveness.

The study of urban geography makes clear that, just as these ruined landscapes are a result of the destruction part of the engine of creative destruction that powers the economic redistribution system of post-Fordist capitalism, their reconstruction is a result of the creative part of that same engine. When buildings are created or revitalized, when infrastructure like highways and rail transit are constructed, it doesn't matter who the metaphorical architects of such plans claim will benefit from them; the real winners are those who have the means to invest in their creation and the real losers are those who do not have the means to avoid the consequences of significant and irreversible change to their landscape. Everything I read in my urban social justice class (with the possible exception of that damned inscrutable book by Henri LeFebvre that I wanted to pitch into Onondaga Lake) pointed to that conclusion. Some of the best minds in geography and progressive academia can't figure this shit out; what can I do?

I don't want to feel so ineffective and helpless. But I do.

I also don't want to see random pictures of dying places anymore. I don't want to produce more of them myself. If I produce more urban photography, I want to make images of living systems. Working infrastructure that shows how deeply interconnected we all are. How many ways we all work with and for each other. How we all cooperate, consciously or unconsciously to create these beautiful, ridiculously complex, heart-achingly imperfect yet deeply optimistic engines of assault against entropy called cities. (Is that even what cities are anymore, or is it just a side-effect?)

But I don't know how to do that either.

In the meantime, right now, I'm conducting my own tiny fight against entropy as I work to repair my VTVM. For now, as I slowly work out where to go from here, that will do.
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Student Loan Debt [Feb. 2nd, 2018|08:56 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
[Tags|, ]
[State of Being |stressedstressed]

I am stressy and angsty now and want to go eat.

It's not that I'm stressy about the debt issue per se. It's that setting up a payment arrangement with the Department of Education and being on good standing with them allows you to take out further student loans, which I was thinking of doing to go after an MLIS. I think that with federal student debts in collections, I am ineligible. Which is why I really and truly wanted to set up payments and was annoyed at the unclear nature of their documentation and communication.

Well, it'll settle into acceptance in my brain soon enough. Then I can go back to worrying about my missing wallet again, which I probably left at the animal shelter. I simply cannot hang on to my stuff....
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(no subject) [Feb. 2nd, 2018|08:15 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
[Tags|, ]
[State of Being |annoyedannoyed]

Remember me mentioning the failure of communication from the student loan servicing folks at the federal government? I finally found out what documents they needed (apparently I'd missed some earlier communication from them by mail and never got a response to my phone call) and sent them a week or two ago. This morning, I got a call from a debt collector saying that the government had transferred my debt to them because of lack of response. Somehow I knew that would happen.


I kind of feel that books with call numbers beginning with WB ought to be about dubstep. *wubwubwub* Instead, they are things like "The Textbook of Physical Diagnosis." Clearly a missed opportunity.
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(no subject) [Feb. 1st, 2018|11:52 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
[State of Being |confusedconfused]

I have no good idea about what to do with my personal ad. The Craigslist personals are full of...things that scare me away. I've never used a 'dating app,' but I get the impression that they aren't the sort of place for lengthy writing. Google has not turned up any kind of venue for Chicago queer personals. How does a queer, agender, poly person looking for not a quick hookup but not necessarily a captial-R relationship connect with people? I guess I'll poke around on Fetlife tonight. I don't remember there being a good place for that there, but it's been a while.


A friend on Facebook just suggested OK Cupid. That might be worth a look-see. She said that in her experience people stop reading after a paragraph, but that would probably weed out a lot of people I wouldn't connect with anyway, so that's fine. And maybe all the quizzes and things would be fun. I'm scared about not knowing how to respond when/if people contact me, but that's something I have to figure out regardless of anything else.
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Workbench [Jan. 31st, 2018|07:32 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
[State of Being |contentcontent]

My new workbench. This makes me happy.

Electronics Workbench

"This is a strange and wonderful place. This is my place, but you can come here when you want. Bye, bro!"
--NPC in Midgar Sector 7, Final Fantasy VII
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