Anti-Intrusion/Anti-Graffiti Measures


Check out this standpipe. Above it, there is a fire escape which has obviously-painted-over graffiti. On it, there is a mess of thick, black grease, and next to it is a coil of razor and barbed wire.

Hadn’t seen this rather extreme approach to climbers before.

Near my building there are often streetwalkers. They tear the rearview mirrors from vehicles, presumably to check makeup/freshen up. After several losses, one of my neighbors applied axle grease to the back of his mirrors. The interesting thing, in my mind, is that it’s not the slipperiness, it’s about and cleanliness and appearance. For someone who lives on the street, a sink and special soap for heavy grease is hard to find. For a community that is visually oriented and fashion conscious like graf artists, something that spoils a new set of Converse may be a better defense than something that threatens life and limb.

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Struggling to pay rent. GoPro to the rescue.

Like any reasonable person, my landlord wants a check shoved under an unmarked door in the basement. Problem is, at night an on the weekends, the door leading to the basement is locked. I am so motivated to pay my landlord that I jammed a credit card into the door to try to open it. Anyone who has tried this “trick” knows that 9 times out of 10 you just break off the damned card and the door remains locked.

As it turns out, Dana was just sponsored by GoPro, so I have around 7 metric shit-tons of GoPro garbage in my workshop. The lexan-like material that they use in their packaging felt flexible enough to be a good shim.

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Dimensions unimportant. Big enough so you can grab on with two hands.
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Start high above the latch and work down. Use force.
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2014 Ends and Pieces

2014 in three sentences:

  • Designing, manufacturing, promoting, and documenting new book scanners consumed every waking minute.
  • In spite of a great 4-year run, I lost my enthusiasm for my professional work as an Imagineer and Disney Researcher, so I moved on.
  • I pushed myself harder than ever before, and paid for it and got paid for it.

That’s what it was, this is what it felt and looked like.

Waking up in Los Angeles.

In Fargo.

On a beach somewhere, rocket propellant night-light.

At a fire with my brothers.shed

In a tent on the grass.

That’s how these things start.silence

Friends get involved – the best ones.

It always looks bad.

It always starts hard. If just one person knew better than you, you could ask.

Most of the time, you just have to build it. Answer with your prototypes.

You gotta do it again and again and again, I highly recommend robots.

Yeah, it always looks bad. Even with your fanciest math. StartsLike5

Before it starts to cohere. StartsLike6

Before first light. StartsLike11

If you do it right, you might get some other things out of it, too. StartsLike19

Bigger things. StartsLike12

Good ideas get better. StartsLike16r

If you can find them, the best friends have their own ideas. StartsLike7

Their own agendas and intelligence.js valerian pierre scanner sculpture

They embody good ideas getting better. StartsLike8

Challenged, invigorated, expanded — like they were yours to begin with.

When things feel strong, repeat.


Repeat. StartsLike15

Revise. Revise

Repeat. repeat

Revise. reviserepeat

Repeat. repeat2

Revise. reviserepeatreviserepeat

Repeat, I’m beat. There’s no end to this, but a year’s gone by.
Ending here – always gotta keep in mind that fast feedback is the most important result of working this way. The mistake is to confuse motion with progress. It’s time for me to fix on what I’ve learned, take it in, and correct course, again.

To everyone who showed up, everyone who supported, who delivered on time, who didn’t over-promise, who taught me new things: thank you.

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Affordable Affordances

I use a bicycle wrench to tighten the collet on my CNC router. It has 32mm and 30mm box-end openings – 30mm fits the nut on my collet. About half the time, I put the wrong side on the collet and feel a mild pang of annoyance. This is a failure of the tool markings (low contrast and low discriminability between end sizes) and a failure on my part because I should have fixed it the first time it happened.

An obvious solution would be to just cut the useless end off. Reducing the functionality of tools isn’t my first line of offense, so for years I’ve just suffered this minor frustration. Anyone who’s worked in a shop long enough knows that these tiny annoyances add up over time and make things less fun and mistakes more frequent. Today, it finally annoyed me enough to think of a proper lazy fix. By gaff-taping over the far end, I created a grippy surface and a visually obvious orientation for the wrench.



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DIYBookscanner on Exhibit in Paris

vanni foldout scanner sculpture on exhibit

Pierre Vanni dialed up the foldout scanner an order of magnitude. The gorgeous monster is part of Pierre’s exhibit Google Raconte at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Thanks to him (right) and his accomplices JS (left) and Valerian.

js valerian pierre scanner sculpture

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Two Thousand Thirteen Seconds B-Sides and Rarities

Consider this my 2013 photo essay; it started as an experiment in taking a one-second video every day and ended up a pretty and personal thing. I only removed work-related videos; there are pieces of around 460 videos in this compilation. Everything is shown roughly in order from January to December. The music is mine and it’s unfinished demo material.

Special thanks to Dana, Eric, Matti, Scann, Stan, Jillian, Greg, Testa, Dolce, Tox, Pehr, and all those unmentioned.

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The Making Of Skull Face 2013


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Every Year, I Draw A Skull On My Face With Eyeliner Pencil (2013)

2013: Reetz2013Skull









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Vote With Your Wallet

voteWhether you mean to or not.

Los Angeles, California, 2011.

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Inevitability and Proximity

I keep hearing “It will happen” or “It’s gonna happen”, referring to inevitability in a social context.  These predictions are likely to be correct, if only because things are set up badly – in a negligent way, even – and no corrective action is being taken.gasoline

Los Angeles, California, 2013.

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Recently Hauled A Bit Of Foam


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Sewing Kit

I made a sewing kit for Dana, who is on the road with JT. It’s a 3D printed, laser cut box with a wide assortment of garment repair and management stuff jammed inside.
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Here, it is pictured with the lid and topmost components removed. 2013-10-19 16.49.01

Here you can see the full contents, which I will come back and detail someday. I’m particularly proud of the thread spools. I printed tiny caps for them that converted them into storage containers for pins, bra-clips, seam rippers, buttons, etc.
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You may notice a lack of scissors. A scissors was unnecessary because Dana already has one in her Leatherman Wave.

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Egress Axe

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I was impressed to see the glow-in-the-dark grab handle, and doubly impressed to see a handy fire-axe available for chopping out of a locked freezer cabinet.

So impressed, in fact, that I was apparently unable to take a focused photograph.

Smart’N’Final, Los Angeles, CA.

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Weller D550PK, Badly Made in USA

I recently bought a Weller soldering gun, with the intention of using it to cut nylon webbing. Out of the box, the two small lamps on the front did not illuminate. Although I don’t need them, it chafed me to buy a pricey, well-respected, American-made tool and have it only partially function.

Weller DP550K Exterior

I opened up the gun to see what was going on. Weller DP550K guts

Turned out to be bad solder joints. Not just one, but all of them.
2013-10-18 22.47.11Apparently it was amateur hour at the Weller factory. Or perhaps the workers are unable to afford Weller irons themselves? In any case, all of these solder joints were all bad enough to be hazardous, not just embarrassing, so I reworked them.

Rotten soldering inside a soldering gun. I wouldn’t expect this from Weller, but then, Weller hasn’t been Weller since 1970 when it was acquired and then sold again. OK, many thanks, Apex Tool Group – or should I say thanks to Bain Capital, the conglomerate investment group that recently purchased Apex? Gross. Go to hell, “Weller”, and Bain Capital, too. I’ll buy Japanese precision tools or cheap Chinese clones before I buy another tool from you – at least then, the bargain will be plain.

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Not Robot Compatible


USPS, Glendale, CA.

With proliferation, the increasing confusion around this important property – robots becoming more human in their capabilities. Normals become more aware of robots. The point on the graph where those two curves meet, embodied in this homely sign.

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Bright Lights


Outdoor lumber yard, Eugene, OR.

The net was installed to inhibit pigeon infestation- but made a home for spiders and a beacon for insects. The unintended tendency of “free” power and services to enable and ensconce predators. The statistical distribution of danger around a power source.

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Point Of Sale Adaptations


At Jerry’s in Eugene, OR: ceiling mounted lumber racks,  to hold lumber for POS scanning. Interesting compromise between material length and human height. Also some implicit assumptions about cart usage. Also, note the “lane free” arrangement.

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Spring Clamp Door Stop


Clever re-use of a spring clamp in Eugene, OR. Lever action compensates for uneven cement. Rubber ends provide grip.

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Juki DNU-1541S Service Manual and Users Manual

Juki 1541s


Juki DNU-1541S Sales Brochure.

Juki DNU-1541s Service Manual /Engineer’s Manual.

Juki DNU-1541s Operator’s Manual/ User’s Manual.

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Bernina 1130 User Manual and Service Manual [PDF]

These manuals are hard to find on the Internet. I found them.


Bernina 1130 User Manual/Guide. PDF, 59 pages.

Bernina 1130/1120 Service Manual. PDF, 73 pages.

Keywords: Bernina 1130 User Manual. Bernina 1130 Repair. Bernina Oiling Guide. How to thread Bernina 1130. How to wind bobbin. How to lift presser foot. 1130 hook alignment.

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