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Shameless Commerce Division

I've been working with chainmail for a couple years now, but the sheer volume of response to my latest project (scalemail pants) has inspired/encouraged me to go ahead and try to make a little money off it. Thanks to the magic of Tubes 2.0, the obvious way would appear to be to start an Etsy shop. So naturally I've pored through a bunch of their getting-started sellers' resources and am closing in on feeling ready to actually do this. But I'm hitting a few roadblocks.

Shop name (the truly important stuff). I keep drifting back to "Madhouse Metals" then balking, not wanting to limit myself from making the occasional Ridiculous Scarf or phone case. Chainmail jewelry will still be my focus, but my internal thesaurus is crashing when I try to look up synonyms for "shiny things" that start with M. Any suggestions? Winner gets a gold star (or a star of any other color(s)). This is a deceptively big deal because it'll have to go on tax paperwork and other crap that's a pain in the butt to change.

Banking. I heart my bank to death, but they don't have anything aimed toward small business, let alone micro-business. Etsy stroungly suggests keeping shop finances separate from personal finances. How seriously should I take this? Would I regret getting a free checking account aimed at personal use and then running a business out of it? Has anyone had good experiences with any banks I should look into?

Inventory. Most of my projects have been... rather large in scale. I may not be a market analyst, but I highly doubt anyone would be willing to pay me enough to want to do another pair of those pants that I won't get to keep for myself. So I have to learn to make small things. Not only that, I have to learn what counts as originality and creativity in small things. Especially when there are instructions and tutorials for hundreds of different weaves, it feels like making "just another pair of full-persian earrings" isn't actually going to be standing out in any way.

This feels like an oddly complicated and rigorous process for something where I expect to see maybe a couple hundred dollars of sales in a year. But my programmer instincts write maintainable code if I'm writing anything at all carry over to here. I may not expect a $2000 armor commission, but if one lands in front of me I want to not have to ignore it.

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State of the maker

About a month ago, I had a surreal experience at a concert in Tacoma. I had claimed some counter space out of the way, minding my own business working on scalemail. I'm well aware that scale is an attention-getter, even in crowds familiar with chainmail, but this time I was getting new questions. Was I a vendor (in particular, at Faerieworlds the following weekend)? How much did I sell pieces for? Was I interested in a place to exhibit any works? I was taken aback, and they seemed almost surprised to hear that I was making these pieces entirely for myself.

It has started me thinking, though. Chain and scale have in some ways been my first hobby to have tangible, durable results, and I'm apparently not afraid of the giant projects. So far:

  • Stainless steel shirt. Finished. So many lessons learned on this one, and I deserve I-told-you-sos from quite a few people, but it's done and I'm proud of it. I'm hoping the faire weekends this year are less blindingly hot so I can actually wear it.
  • Stainless steel coif. On hold. The obvious companion to a shirt, but looking at it now I'm not necessarily happy with the sizing. I also have a tendency to forget it actually exists.
  • Scalemail loincloth. Wearable, needs tweaking. This was my exploratory scale project, but I'm quite pleased with how it turned out and the reactions it got at Faerieworlds. I still need to figure out a way to close it that doesn't involve bolts.
  • Scalemail chaps. In progress. Using lessons learned from the loincloth, and will be a companion piece.
  • Aluminum shirt. Research phase. Bright colors and a very loose weave, good for nothing beyond getting attention.
  • "Rock Garden". Unlike the others, this is not a garden, and an extremely long term project that sprung itself on me as I was figuring out how to wrap a stone.
A quick glance at Etsy shows that the market exists (at least, that other sellers believe it does). A glance at the prices, however, tells me that I need to work faster than I currently do in order to both (a) be competetive and (b) be paying myself a sensible rate for labor. I also have some internal leaps to make to differentiate original ideas from copies, but that might well come with time.

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Guess I'll stick around here.

I just upgraded my Dreamwidth account to permanent. I believe in them as a company, and want to see their idea of a user-focused open-source blogging platform continue. I'm also hoping that the sunk cost fallacy will get me to post more, which I suppose starts here.

As I'm sure you've all heard, we're now three weeks away from the Rapture. The date is very specific, but the time is not, so we can narrow it down to the one hour when all time zones are the same day. I have a web site idea that I wish I could have set up six months ago: The May 22nd Fund. People would note whether they think the Rapture will happen or not, and list their preferred charity and pledge any amount of money. On May 22nd, all of the money pledged would be divided among the charities chosen by the side that turns out to be right. The site could collect the pledges in advance, but more likely, would be run on the honor system: on May 22nd, each participant (or participant's estate) would receive a polite email listing a charity and how much they should donate to it.

Sadly, it's far too late to get this set up and gain the proper traction. I'm also certain it wouldn't actually get any pledges actually expecting the Rapture. Still, the reactions would certainly be telling.

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Biofamily

It turned into the kind of weekend where I dread every email.

My grandmother had either a stroke or a seizure on Friday. My uncles are with her, but the last word was that, besides breathing, she wasn't doing much. Hospice nurses give her "several days to two weeks".

For context, in the last distinct memory I have of her I couldn't have been more than seven. We were visiting her in the assisted-living home she'd recently moved to. It was breakfast, and I poured an unlabeled pitcher of vinegar over my pancakes thinking it was syrup. Sometime when I was in high school, she stopped coming to family Thanksgiving; she barely recognized her own children, let alone the other 70 of us. A few years back she stopped going to church; when the response to a cousin's gift of chocolates was "No thanks, I don't like that stuff," my mother made her peace.

This isn't a particular surprise, or even a terrible tragedy. My grandmother was nearly 90, and stayed happy even as the woman we knew faded. I don't feel that something inevitable can be much of a tragedy, and singularity futurists notwithstanding, no life is infinite. She's comfortable and in good hands; there's nothing more that's fair of me to ask.

So for now, I wait, and will probably have to fly out east sometime in the next few weeks. That waiting, being "on-call", is the worst part, and couldn't have come at a worse time. Work is more or less in the tick of tradeshow season, and I have tickets for a trip to San Diego for the final crunch week before MWC. My bosses are understanding and accommodating, and I can leave my stuff in a state that others can keep going with it, but this is still one of the only times of year when my team has non-negotiable deadlines.

When I knew her, I was not old enough to grok why I should say it, and I can't say it sincerely enough now.

Grandma Martha: Thank you.

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Mobile clients

None of the livejournal clients on the android market actually have thee option to comedy to a different server. I user to have one that did, though - but it's not on the market anymore, for no apparent reason. (Besides perhaps the crashes with the hardware keyboard.)

It's still on my nexus one.

This, kids, is why you root your phones.

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National coming out day

Today is National Coming Out Day. There are many things that I am, and that I have no particluar wish to hide. In honor of those that could lose more by being open - be it jobs, family, health, or even life - than I would, I say this is what I am. I am not the only one.

I am polyamorous. I reject love and partnership as a matter of possession, or a zero-sum game, and ask no exclusivity of my lovers. My partner has a girlfriend on the east coast, and she and I are slowly becoming lovers as well. I have dated and loved others even as my partner and I build a lasting life together. I don't believe in a single "right" way to organize a relationship: there are many ways people can exist together, as friends or partners or lovers or anything else or any combination thereof; only some of them are mutually incompatible. It is work, it is negotiation and communication and empathy and scheduling, but it is worth every minute and every month.

I am sex-positive. I believe that every act of pleasure, when there is no harm done and everyone involved gives enthusiastic informed consent, is a joyful thing to be celebrated. Nobody should be condemned or shamed for who they love, or how they lust. Over and over again, we've seen what happens when they are - and for every one you hear about, how many go invisible? Furthermore, I refuse to restrict sensuality and pleasure to certain acts performed with particular organs.

If the theme is not yet clear it is this: The only thing it is wrong to do is to do harm. To bury and deny your own desires is to harm yourself; to forcibly shape another into someone they are not is to harm them. That is how I live, and that is who I am.

I have been privilieged in that I could grow this way, truly into myself, without fear or shame. I strive to pass that onward into the world now, and hereby ask that you do the same: if a boy would rather play dress-up than baseball, if a girl wants to help change the oil in the car, if a child refuses to be boy or girl at all: LET THEM. There will never be enough convenient boxes to fit everybody into. The harder you try, the more people will only be broken against the corners.

Go in peace.

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We found a place in Capitol Hill, around 12th and Denny. It's a second-story apartment that tried and failed to be a condo, with relatively small common spaces and a front door with no stairs. (We tell it it's a patio to make it feel better, as we go in and out the back.) Which brings me to my next point.

The new place has a mini combo washer/dryer unit and not much storage. We currently own a washing machine and natural-gas-powered dryer. They were bought new two years ago and are still working as well as they ought to be, which is perfectly. We're also considering the numbers on how feasible it'd be to buy a house next year, so will probably want them back. Would anyone in Seattle be interested in renting them for a while? Alternately, anyone in San Diego want to buy them?

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ETA: We're also now accepting cardboard box donations.

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No sense half-assing things

Sometimes the future comes at you a lot faster than you expect. Frances and I are moving to Seattle. At first we'd thought it would be in August sometime, but then we took a look at some schedules and ran some numbers.

We'll be moving in the second week of June.

Those with calendars in sight, or an innate sense of it currently being the first week of May, will note that's about five weeks away. This is terrifyingly short for a lot of reasons, but at least seems to be the right amount of time to look for rentals and arrange movers.

Most immediately, we're flying up this weekend to look at apartments. Until then, we're trawling Craigslist trying to build up a list of places to take a look at. We need a place on bus routes, both to UW for Frances and to downtown for me. At first glance that means Fremont, Wallingford, Greenlake, Eastlake, and Capitol Hill, all of which have places within our price range, but there are things we can't tell from the maps. Any Seattle locals have any advice on areas we should avoid? How do different latitudes in Capitol Hill compare? Any other areas we might be overlooking?

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Only about a month late!

The filk I delivered at Consonance 2010. It's actually an r2, with the assistance of willskyfall and sithjawa. Huge thanks to them, both for four extra eyes on the writing and invaluable assistance in the performing. Also, due apologies to stealthcello for mangling a perfectly innocent respectable song that certainly never did me any wrong.

Other disclaimers: New Battlestar Galactica, spoilers through Season 2.5.

Baltar's TangoCollapse )

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More testing

Testing what actually happens with cross-platform user tags and cross-posting.

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memnus

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