November 1, 2017
The process of building a basic studio space/storage space in the house continues with the growing acceptance that everything is more complicated than you initially expect it to be although not necessarily to an overwhelming degree. Having had to take a bit of a hiatus due to B&Qs failure to deliver the materials for a couple weeks (having promised 4 day delivery) then going away on holiday for a bit (it’s quite hard to build stuff in Maidenhead when you are not in Maidenhead) I dived back in on Saturday. Initially intending to just get myself up to speed with where I was I managed to make my way through all the materials I had left and covered a good area of the floor and have under half of it left to do now. I dragged my aching legs down to Homebase this afternoon to buy the next load of boards.
AFTER! Ok, it doesn’t look so impressive in the photo but there’s enough space for me to wander around now.
I am not a DIY natural and it’s taken me a couple of months to really work out what I’m doing, there have been a couple of points where I’ve ended up undoing an afternoon’s work because I made a complete hash of it. Now I’ve got a process in place it’s starting to fly along and I’m actually feeling a degree of pride in my achievement rather than the overwhelming horror that it may never be over. The first pile of materials took me several mornings to get through I’m running through a pile the same size in a couple of hours now (yes our attic is massive). Also the number of times I nearly fall through the ceiling each session has decreased from 5 down to 0.5.
I have learned some things. These are the things I have learned (so far): Pilot holes are really important (I already knew this), STRAIGHT pilot holes are REALLY important; do some research first, there’s always someone with a handy tip that will make your life so much easier; don’t spend 4 hours bending over, you will hurt your back. In more boring things I have learned adding a drop of lubricant to a pilot hole makes life a shedload easier. The discovery that really threw me off was that things do no automatically fit. I’d always assumed that things like houses had nice squared off edges and handy right angles, it turns out this is not the case and things in the real world are far less precise than in the lovely digital environment. I struggled for a while trying to work out why the boards I was buying didn’t fit perfectly across my rafters having assumed it was like USB cables, one size fits all. Nope, I have to actually trim them myself WITH AN ACTUAL SAW, like a grown up. So I bought a saw.
I bought one of these actually, it’s a small size circular saw which works brilliantly in awkward spaces and has a handy guide to help me actually cut straight lines (it’s actually relatively easy to cut straight lines without the guide as well). I bloody love it, it’s saved me a load of time and it makes a fantastically awful noise when going through chipboard.
This has also been a lifesaver. I have the same ability to drill in a straight line as I do to accurately throw bread rolls onto the surface of the moon. I bought it for something else a while back, decided it was a waste of time and never used it, tried it over the weekend and it halved the time it took to put down the floorboards. Not just because it made the drilling process easier but because the screws go into straight pilot holes far better.
Surprisingly the most used tool so far as been a NETGEAR ReadyNAS 214 because I can use it to stream music into the attic via my phone.
So, progress is good and hopefully I’ll be done enough by the Christmas holidays to actually make use of the space. It has dual purpose: storage of my family’s assorted tat and as a small studio space. I’m aware that the boarding I’m doing won’t be good enough to support heavy weights but at this point I just desperately need a flat surface I can arrange materials on to photograph without constant disruption, technology has not yet evolved to measure the space of time it takes between me clearing a surface in my house and my family completely covering it in tat, neither of them are willing to enter the attic so I can hopefully use it to arrange items which I don’t want to get disturbed, also I want to be able to control the lighting. If/when I reach the point where I need bigger space or to be able to photograph heavier items I’ll pony up and hire somewhere more serious.
LOOK AT THIS FLOORING!
I eagerly await locking myself in the attic for another afternoon so that I can improve my photography by spending multiple weekends not doing any photography!
January 1, 2012
Looking at facebook or twitter at this time of year you could be led to believe that the next twelve months will include a monumental change for the better in all of mankind. Everyone’s at it, planning to be, healthier, more rounded, generally better people. I am as guilty as anyone else, a few days holiday and I’m ready to turn my life around by the end of the week.
It’s not just New Year, I feel like I spend most of my life trying to make major life changes, at any one time I’m trying to do any and all of the following: finally write an album, become good enough at illustration to produce a book, do something entirely different for a living, exercise more, eat better, spend less money, own less stuff, work more, go out more, spend more time with my family, spend more time with my friends, be more socially aware, be more politically aware, spend more time on my own (in a positive way), be smarter, be more organised, look after my car better, look after my house better, be more polite, sort out the crap in the attic (both metaphorically and literally), be more charitable, write three blog posts a week, spend a few hours a week out with my camera, learn to edit video properly, draw cartoons, accept more work and handle it better, finish/start all of the several thousand personal projects I’ve planned. Plus a host of other crap that bounces round my head on a near-constant basis.
Most of these things are not destined to happen, those that do, do so to such a small degree it’s immeasurable. Ennui may be a minor cause of this ongoing failure but the real root cause is there’s just too much to deal with. These self-defined expectations compounded with the those from external sources (clients, family, society, etc) become so overwhelming that rather than face any of them, my brain switches directly to standby. I’ve tried a handful of self-help books and techniques, all of which have been at best pointless, at worst they have intensified the shouting in my head. Anything promising a complete life change in 9 hours (or similar) do nothing more than add pressure and things to the big list of stuff to sort out.
I’ve been reading Oliver Burkeman’s Help! in which he takes a skeptical and logical look at the self-help industry. I started reading it for entertainment value, but have learned a fair amount in the process. Primarily I have realised something which should be obvious, people (generally) cannot make huge changes to their lives in quick easy (or even hard) steps, it’s just not in our nature. Tiny incremental changes which over time can build up to make a difference are much easier to fathom.
No more big resolutions, no lists of major life changes, just try a little bit here and there as and when the opportunity arises.
Happy New Year.
I am Bob. This is my blog. It is an outlet and a substitute for real life. It contains my art, photography, illustration and thoughts on mental health (I deal with anxiety on a pretty much constant basis).
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