Ideas in the open

Last night I was at a board meeting for the local hackerspace.  Lots of stuff was discussed: met goals, culture, community involvement, doing more projects, protecting the time required for projects, etc.  I got to thinking about my lists of projects, which mainly exist on my phone (typically always handy for writing down ideas), but also in a variety of notebooks.

Too many notebooks

Too many notebooks

Some of the projects are in progress.  Most are just ideas, because of one excuse or another.  The projects usually don’t get past the idea phase thanks to one obstacle or another.  I thought I’d put the projects out in the open.  It’s always good to be held accountable for things.  And I need to write more.

So here are the ideas, progress, and reasons I may feel intimidated by said ideas.  Feel free to provide suggestions, tips, information, etc.:

The Project List Made Public

1.  Zombie apocalypse novel (short story/novella) set at a zombie survival training camp

  • I started this idea for NaNoWriMo 2014, because I don’t write enough.  When it’s time to write something, I feel rusty, awful, inarticulate, and slow.  I’m also forgetting grammar rules.
  • I gave up on this idea about a week into NaNoWriMo, which is usually when I give up on NaNoWriMo efforts.  My thinking:  (a) Why am I doing this again?  (b) Are there better ways to spend my time?  (c) Yes, there are other things I could be making and/or doing.  (d) I wish I could draw, because this would make for a great comic.  (e)  I should team up with my husband.  He can draw.

See how I forked that incomplete project into another project?  Pretty neat, huh?

2.  Zombie apocalypse comic set at a zombie survival training camp

3.  Whimsical Seussian birdhouse

  • What?
  • I’ve spent some time in the Hack.RVA FabLab.  I’ve used the drill press, band saw, and scroll saw.  I haven’t used them very well.  I happened to notice that we have the aforementioned tools in the wood shop at school.  So convenient!  I told one of the keepers of the shop that I wanted to learn to use some of the tools.  “What do you want to make?” he asked.  Why not make a whimsical Seussian birdhouse?  I also figured this project would be a good excuse for getting back to the CAD Dojo.
  • I haven’t touched this project, because of time (lack of) and the mild intimidation I feel toward AutoCAD.

4.  Jamie Lee Curtis’s embroidered face (in progress)

Embroidering Jamie Lee Curtis's face

Embroidering Jamie Lee Curtis’s face

  • This one is in the works.  The early works, but the works all the same.  A couple of years ago, Diana Rupp visited Fountain Books in Richmond.  I bought the Embroider Everything Workshop book, which I touched once in two years.  Embroidering Jamie Lee Curtis is a good project for practicing stitches for another next project….

5.  “We Live in a Heroic Age” embroidered on something

  • A story I shared recently: “Up until July 1st, there was a guy named D—- worked at school.  He is an awesome human being.  Creative, funny, a holder of big, exciting ideas, a Harvard grad, but you’d never know it, because he had a way of talking to everyone about anything and making people feel comfortable regardless of their background.  D—- went to be head of a school in horse country.  I was talking to a former English teacher who is now the head of the lower school at another local independent school.  She tells me about D—- visiting a year ago or so.  There talking about serious matters as people sometimes do.  He grabs her hands in his and says, “S—-, we live in a heroic age.”
  • Have truer words been spoken?

6.  Tumblr of Polaroid selfies

  • Does this already exist?  Surely it does.  I should search for it, but not right now, because I am busy.
  • Polaroid selfies are a thing.  I’m sure of it.  The selfie wasn’t born with the cell phone.
  • How does one create a submission form using Tumblr? (I don’t have to use Tumblr.)
  • How does one weed out photos dressed in an Instagram filter/frame?

7.  Y’all gonna make me lose my mind (in progress)

Cross stitched lyrics

Cross stitched lyrics

You will find lyrics to this DMX song ALL over the Internet.

Proving my point

Proving my point

See.  Mine will be special though.  It will eventually have sewable LEDs and a LilyTiny.  It will be amazing.  Also, I have three words for you: sewable LED sequins.

LEDS ON ALL THE THINGS!

8.  Knitted bandolier for things you need to carry

  • I’m not even sure where to go with this.  Crocheting may be a better choice.  Are crocheted things usually woven tighter?

This kid has a bandolier for snacks and toys.  It’s cool, but a knitted bandolier would be cooler.  Maybe.

This child featured at http://www.made-by-rae.com/2011/03/guest-tutorial-snack-bandolier/ has a bandolier.  We should all have bandolier.

This child featured at http://www.made-by-rae.com/2011/03/guest-tutorial-snack-bandolier/ has a bandolier. We should all have bandolier.

9.  Script for a horror movie called Hacker Space (inspired by the 1986 classic, Chopping Mall)

10.  A great American novel told through the flotsam and jetsam one may obtain through a network hack (inspired by the Sony hack).  Emails, names of folders and folder contents, movies, pictures, memos, calendars, etc. etc.

  • This would make for a great exquisite corpse.  Anyone want to collaborate?

That’s it.  Or at least those are the things that have been written down.

Process or outcome. What’s more important?

It was a good week.  A positive way to ease back into the routine after a leisurely spring break.

The DIY/Maker kids wrapped up their independent projects and presented their process/projects this week.  The projects included a puppet show, a matchbox pinhole camera, a board game, a couple of video projects combining spring break footage with music, baskets made from found cardboard and yarn, and a photography project that involved taking photos of students’ and creating collages from those portraits like this image by this Mike Marrero (I think).

pinhole came

We spent some time talking about process versus product/outcome, a point of conversation inspired by Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.

I asked if Mau’s statement was true.  Is process really more important than outcome?  The opinions were mixed, and to be honest I’m really undecided.  No, maybe it’s less about being undecided and more about responding to the question with, “It depends.”

In my efforts to learn Scratch, something I’ve been doing as part of MIT’s Learning Creative Learning MOOC, process matters a lot.  I’ve been paying close attention to what works for me as a learner, especially as a learner of something completely new.  What causes friction?  The process has been insightful and has maybe provided some “data” I can use the next time I take on something new.  However, the more I roll it over in my head, the more I think that reflecting on the process IS the product or desired outcome.  The point isn’t to necessarily master Scratch, but to consider how I learn and what it means to be a student and/or self-directed learner.

But here’s the thing… if someone is paying me to create a product or get something done, a bunch of navel gazing and half-baked blogging about “process” isn’t going to make many people happy.

It’s the process where we learn from mistakes and where we learn what works well.  It’s the process that teaches us how to create that awesome product.  It’s the process that toughens the mental and physical resolve to get after it…  to get things done.

Or maybe that’s all hippie BS.

The class consensus was that it was indeed the product/outcome that was most important.  However, one student–a puppeteer–boldly admitted that he could’ve cared less about the final product.  It was the process–the making of the puppet show–that was the most fun… the place where the memories were made.

Truth.  The process lends itself to memory making.  Maybe those memories involve laughs with friends, but those memories are also, “X works for me.” and “I suck at Y.”  All useful insights to have when moving on to the next product or outcome.