Minimalist Tip

Minimalist tip: Create a “To get rid of” category in your ToDo list. Clear the section ASAP.

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Hoodie

I made this!

This is my second sewing project, and the first where I actually planned what I wanted, went to the fabric store, and put the whole thing together.
The reason– besides having a hobby away from the computer when I go home from work, was to have some super comfortable lounge wear. “Oversized” sweatshirts are more like “vaguely appropriate” sized to me and I always get gipped on my gorilla arms. I figured I could make one myself with all the excesses size I desired.
I found a tutorial here:

I wanted to reclaim whatever manliness I lost by using a sewing machine so I bought some kickass skull and cross-bone pirate fabric. The fact that it’s super soft fleece doesn’t help, but I’m not wearing it out-of-doors so only the internet knows. Having but one sweatshirt to pattern from, I turned to my Strong Bad hoodie, which I also think is pretty sweet. My wife points out that I should have changed the quilt on the guest bedroom to maintain my image, but I guess it’s too late for that.
The instructions start by folding the sweatshirt and cutting out the body with room for seams. I couldn’t tell at the time I took this picture, but that cutout is MUCH larger than my sweatshirt+seams; this could probably fit André the Giant.
Sewing up the body and the sleeves was no problem, but I did have to turn to the internet to figure out how to sew the two together. This video was extraordinarily helpful.

Despite the fact that the sleeves were the most difficult, I made the most mistakes on the hood. I had already hemmed the neck, which was a mistake. I also found the neck shrank after putting it on, so I had to rip out the seam and cut a larger V-Neck. Fortunately, I over-cut the hood (like everything else) so I had room along the bottom to sew into the V.
The finishing touch was a pocket just the right size for my iPhone. Because of the crazy pattern, I can’t take any good pictures to show it off so just call that a “feature” that the iPhone pocket is camouflaged.
My next goal is to make something I can wear out of the house without looking like a clown 🙂

Word Lens

This is so awesome:

I just downloaded the app to my iPhone, and it works impressively well. The app is free with a demo mode that reverses words, and language packs are $5. The best part is the whole app works offline, so it works, you know, when you actually need it.
I did buy the Spanish to English pack for emergencies, but this picture is really fun so I’ll post it instead. Can you read it? (iPad is apparently not in their dictionary.) Note the crazy angles and it even got my keyboard keys!

Awesome camera bag

I just got a new Nikon D3100 digital SLR camera. I’ve always wanted to learn more about photography and have more control over my photos, and with our honeymoon coming up it seemed like a good time.

The D3100 is a pretty entry level camera. I liked it because Nikon is what a bunch of people I know use so there’s potential for Lens swapping. The main features I wanted were small body size, fast shutter, and the ability to shoot video and geotag (that part is an extra attachment).
Along with my camera, I decided to get a new bag. We are going to the caribbean so I wanted a bag that would protect my camera, had the highest quality, but didn’t look like a camera bag at all. I found that at Saddleback Leather.

And it fits my camera, plus many future accessories very well. (That’s my iPad sitting horizontally in the left side pocket too!)
That’s the Chestnut large satchel. I love the size and quality of the bag. It’s expensive, but as I told my wife, “It’s the same price as a decent Coach bag, but it’s got a 100 year warrantee.” It also just looks so classy.
There are a couple cons to be aware of if you are considering this bag. It comes stiff, and without zippers and snaps (that could break) it’s not the quickest bag to get into. I’m already noticing it get broken in and that’s helping. It’s also heavy, and the strap is too long. The length is so it can be converted to a backpack, but I don’t see myself doing that.
But after using it this week, I am very pleased with my purchase and I think it will serve me well for a long time.

Engineer’s guide to getting married: Pt 2

We’ve already covered getting the ring and proposal, so now let’s talk about planning the wedding. If you’re lucky like me, your fiance is a super organized planner. If not, here are some things you might want to recommend.


Spreadsheets. Our whole wedding, plus a dozen alternate weddings we could have had, is documented through spreadsheets. We used Google Docs because you can easily share and collaborate.

There are certain benefits to picking and choosing between existing customs and not being tied down to one. We chose to do an Asian banquet style reception, meaning the location, food and service were all wrapped up in one price. It was a big price, but only as much as just the food would have cost elsewhere. But we also had a christian wedding and a Vietnamese tea ceremony so it was a lot of fun.

Cake: trials are awesome, and I think cake makers are kinda lonely because they seemed to love to have us come try their cake and chat with us. In the end, we liked the cake best from a Vietnamese bakery and it was so much less expensive.

Photography: For us, having a strong director as photographer was really useful. He had the authority to move the whole group of people or tell everyone to be quiet. I’m sure there will be other strong personalities that want to take control, but I highly recommend getting a photographer who can and will direct.

I don’t have as much to say about that as I thought I did. And that is the final lesson, guys. Have an opinion but don’t say more than you need to keep the ball rolling. She has so many ideas and life long plans that she’ll never need you to come up with an idea, just to put to rest the multitude of options she’s set herself up for.

The last part will be honeymoons, which will have to wait because we haven’t taken ours yet!

Engineer’s guide to getting married: Part 1: Rings

Yup, long time no bloggy. I’ve been working on a special project that’s going to reap rewards for my entire lifetime. That project is foreign to many men, especially engineers so I attempt to distill the past 10-11 months into one place.


~% man marriage
Usage: sudo marriage -proposal
You can’t just walk into a ring store and choose the one with the best specs. Not only is the ring a girl’s most anticipated piece of jewelry, it has to be with her every day for the rest of her life. So it has to fit her personality, her style, her lifestyle, and hopefully your budget. Therefore, I can’t give any advice on what to look for in a ring but I can recommend that you look at rings together and strongly consider letting her choose or design the ring herself. In my situation, we went to a bunch of ring stores and she showed me a ton of characteristics about rings that she really didn’t want. So I had to figure out what a ring would look like that didn’t have those characteristics and try to convey that to the jeweler.
Some of the features I had to avoid were:
  • No bezeled gems: They don’t let enough light in for full sparkly goodness
  • No barrel cut gems: They look glassy and fake
  • No encrustations (lots of little diamonds)
  • No asymmetric rings
  • Nothing that sticks out too much or has sharp corners
  • No yellow gold
  • Nothing too thick or heavy for her delicate hands
  • Classic looking without being common looking
  • No diamond as the main stone, but auxiliary diamonds ok
You would need to know where your girl stands on these issues, because some are make or break in either direction for your particular bride.
As for giving her the ring, you should know what the answer will be before you propose. The time and location can and should be a surprise. I ended up taking off a day of work unbeknownst to her so that I could get the ring before our trip to Colorado. She knew I’d propose eventually because of the ring store trips but really didn’t think I’d have time to get it done. Us guys tend to act so abnormal on the day we propose that she always knows something’s up by the time it happens.
That’s really enough for one post, so I’ll make this a series. Tune in next time, same Bat time, same Bat channel.