Touching Up The Boo-Boos

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Junior looks much better after I painted the The Big Hole to prevent rust during my Portland trip. Instead of the correct 10 step process for long-lasting repair, I just scraped off the loose stuff, got off most of the rust spots, and painted over it with three coats of Rustoleum Gloss White Enamel. The color isn’t a perfect match, but it’s still pretty hard to see if you don’t know to look for it. I’m planning on doing some body work on this panel once I get back, so this is just a stop-gap. Sprinter are infamous for rust problems.

Details on my Sprinter-Source RV build page here.

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Roasting in the Shade – The Panels are Mounted!

After a few weeks of aluminum tooling, the solar panels are on the van!
Literally gory details here. Lot more pictures here.
I’m planning on leaving for the West Coast in about two weeks.

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Game Design Retrospective

In 2010 I quit my corporate job to become a indie game designer. Before The Great House Remodel ate my life, I managed to get two games in the Apple iOS App Store.

I haven’t worked on a game full time since I released Zen Fire in 2012. I never did anything to publicize my games. Only my friends ever paid for them, mainly to get some initial good reviews. 🙂 The results 6 years after I released my creations into the wild?

Total Downloads for both games: 6549
Total Gross: $3.50

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On one hand, 50 cents/year isn’t enough to live on, even for me. 🙂

On the other, though, over six thousand people chose to download my humble games from a store of *millions* based entirely on either screenshots or, *possibly*, word of mouth. I was never able to find any mention of my most popular game, Roid Rage, anywhere else on the Interwebz.

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I stopped coding due to a home remodel that stole two years of my life. It was totally worth it, because I was done with the Standard American Dream and I got almost exactly twice for my house what I paid for it ten years earlier. That cash was enough to change the yurt from a Project into a Home, and my Sprinter from a van into a full-time off-grid urban stealth RV. My cost of living is drastically lower than it’s ever been, I have way more freedom, my life is more meaningful, and I feel less financial pressure than I have since high school. I rarely have to drive in rush hour or sit in a fuzzy cube, haven’t answered to any boss but the market for 7 years, and have zero financial debt. I definitely have no regrets.

However, as aggressively as I’ve managed to reduce expenses over the past years, at some point I need my income to consistently exceed them. Other than the sale of my house, that hasn’t happened since 2010. And as dedicated as I am to minimalism, sustainability, and Changing The System, I still want retirement, Social Security, and Medicare.

The real reason I’m a professional game designer is that I love it. Like most other artists, it’s very difficult to pay all the bills only with art, and maybe not worth the selling out necessary to make that happen. Many of the happiest artists I know do it on the side. I *do* have what it takes to eventually pay all my bills this way, but it would be reckless of me to assume I’ll be able to do it any time soon. I have very little interest in either working at a AAA gaming company or burning my life working 80 hour weeks in the hopes that my startup will get bought by Facebook for millions of dollars. But while the competition is fierce, I’m certain that with my humble needs, I can create compelling experiences for a few small, niche markets. My main focus is bringing people a positive, realistic future worth living they can try on for size. Kind of a game version of a Cory Doctorow or Charles Hughes Smith book.

And, after a Long Break, it’s time to get started!

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Slashing Trees and Slapping Gods

The road into the property needed trimming up to 11′ so that Junior’s new fan and solar panels won’t have to endure undue sylvan fondling every time I drive somewhere.

The Trees have Offended, and will Pay.

It took over four hours in the blistering heat in what turned out to be dwindling shade. I should have drunk more water and used gloves. I should also have had some hand clippers and maybe my rechargeable saw. But since I’m gearing up for my “annual” trip to Portland, it’s time to start exercising whatever superhuman reserves I have available, since the gods of all major religions will shortly be dropping whatever else they’re doing and teaming up to stop me.

They will fail.

Blisters from 1/2 mile of tree trimming...My other hand was even in worse shape. At first I thought the main problem was the three inch mesquite thorn that slammed into my hand during a branch drop. However, I think the pain of being stabbed distracted away from the blunt trauma of the same impact, because now I can only bend my wrist fully if straighten my fingers. The injury seems to be improving, so I probably won’t go to see a doctor unless it gets worse.

The process was painful, but I’m excited it’s done! I’m leaving in three weeks, and the electrical systems in Junior will work better if they’re actually plugged in.

Onward!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slapping gods is risky business.

 

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Art Therapy for Demon Trees

And so the Universe’s War Against Scott’s Trip to Portland Begins…

At a moment of maximum carefulness (no irony) I managed to do this to my van:

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I was carefully trying to pull under a tree between two other cars in a parking lot. The tree had the stub of a branch left over from incorrect pruning *just* outside my field of vision that I managed to pull into, causing that horrible tortured metal sound so many of us have PTSD about. I was already pretty angry at myself just for doing it, but the addition of the fact that I genuinely could *not* have been more careful than I was already being really amped up my self-hatred.

And then things Got Worse.

As I was standing there trying not to pass out from self-loathing, it started raining Angry Ants. And not just any Ants.

FLYING Ants.

One reason we *prune all the way to the fucking trunk* is to prevent massive vermin infestation in the dead wood. Things like termites. Things like racoons.

And things like ants.

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Luckily I was already on my way to pick up Marty for #comedrawatx, where I was able to reduce my fury via the time-honored tradition of Blaming Nature:

All I can do at this point is scrape off the loose paint, prime and seal the damage, and defer Further Repair for Later. It’s possible I’ll be able to pop *some* of the damage from inside if I take the time to remove the entire headliner assembly from inside the van, which has a “not happening before Portland” vibe to it. The crease is also super sharp, and probably won’t fully pop. At is stands, this fucker will be reducing my laminar flow all 2200 miles across the country in a few weeks.

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Screaming Drills, Power Trips, and Nuclear Fusion

I created my first solar panel mounting rail! In about a week, my panels should be on the van generating power.

I used 1/4″ thick 3″x 3″ aluminum angle for the mounts, which turns out to be Wild Overkill. I read on Sprinter Source of someone doing something with 3/16″ angle, that would have been *more* than enough. The rails cost about $100 for four pieces at 45″.

Naturally I got the screw length wrong, so I’ll head to Home Depot today to exchange my 3/4″ stainless screws for 1.5″. I was only 50% off!

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I have four of these Renology 100 watt panels I got for over 40% off!
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Here you can see the 3″ angle bolted to the side of the two panels.

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The panels will be mounted in pairs, with one set in front of the main fan, and one set behind.

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I’ll post more thorough diagrams and descriptions later. These should be on the roof in less than a week, at which point I’ll know more about what additional wires I need to buy.

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Thrift Store Score – Bose and Apple Edition

It’s been a great week for thrifting!

I found a 2nd generation Apple TV with remote for $5, a Bose rechargeable iPod Sound Dock for $7 including power supply, and a great straw cowboy hat for hot outdoor days for $2!

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The Bose Sound Dock in particular totally rocks. It’s very nearly as good as my much larger Altec Lansing sound system at less than 1/3 the size. The battery seems to be in excellent shape, it works very well for Yurt Theater. Finally, I’m able to use it to provide non-headphone audio inside Junior, my Sprinter van, who’s sound system is broken. I will likely find a way to mount it where my current useless sound system is in the van. I also still have my iPhone 4S, which has a compatible interface, that I could use as a glorified iPod instead of having to patch in my Android phone through the auxiliary input. However, the phone won’t charge there, so it might actually be worth finding an older iPod that actually charges on this dock.

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