When I got home from work last night, this was waiting for me on the stairs to the bedroom. It felt pretty cool to hold it for the first time, but then I opened it and I immediately remembered how tired I am of seeing those pages. I’m proud that I did it, and I am really glad it actually got printed and something didn’t prevent all my hard work from ever seeing the light of day, I’m just still sick of seeing the content right now. However, holding this and seeing it has made the idea of doing the other book James wants me to do much more tempting.
If I could iron out some deal with him that involved a retainer, a phone schedule, and a slight increase in wages (I’m no longer amateur, he should know that…), all based around my John Deere schedule I would definitely do it. For now I’m guessing that project is on hold, regardless of whether or not I’m involved, based on one of our last conversations. I believe the plan is to try andÂ recuperateÂ some of the overhead from this book first, before proceeding with the next. I’m also contemplating the idea of just doing the drawings, and letting someone else handle the layout (since it was a large part of the problem last time around, but that being said I’ve done all the work and essentially just have to switch the content and rearrange things).
Anyone who wants to buy a copy can do so here. It is pretty awesome.
So here’s the just of what’s taken place recently…
The book is finally done! I finished it last week really, but was apprehensive to say anything about it for fear that this was yet another false finish line. For the record, the end was the most painful part, and I am greatly relieved it’s over. Because the book will be printing soon (apparently it takes a month or so to setup, then a month or so to print), and I will be credited for layout and illustrations, I needed to secure a domain I could list in case someone feels like recruiting me for more of this type of work in the future. Fortunately for me, my good friend Jon is fast acting and always willing to help me out. He secured cobraconcepts.ca for me, which will soon be directly linked to my CarbonMade.com portfolio you see in the screenshot above.
On top of finishing the book and setting up my portfolio, I’ve been attending multiple job interviews, doing orientation with ManPower and even working a few days at a shitty job. One would think I was a highly motivated go-getter, but that isn’t the case. In fact, Holly is the one to thank for all the opportunities that have come my way. She’s the one who found the jobs, wrote the cover letters and did her best to keep me positive through the whole process. Although I was incredibly stressed last week, I think things are about to change.
I start a new job on Monday, which in all honesty the only thing I’m looking forward to is the paycheque. I will still do my best, and I’m going to try to stay positive, but I really just want to be swinging a hammer all day. That being said, I need to make money so I’m taking what I can get.
If it wasn’t for Holly I’d only be starting my search this week, and still stressing about not knowing when my next paycheque will come. Now, thanks to her kindness and willingness to help others (especially me), I not only have my last cheque from James coming soon who knows when, I will also have regular weekly paycheques to look forward to.
Money? Lack of Sunday night phone calls?
It’s hard to believe it’s been close to a year since I fucked up and lost a ton of work I had done for the book’s appendix. At that time, James and I decided it was in the project’s best interest to move on without redoing those lost images, until the time came that they were absolutely necessary. Well, that time arrived the day before I began building the shed. Until yesterday, I hadn’t really had time to work on the drawings, but with the shed done now, the book is once again top priority.
The book is still inching nearer and nearer to the finish line, although it does still seem like it’s never going to happen. This section I’m doing the drawings for (the Structural Concepts appendix) is the last part of the text I need to lay out. After this, there is still a ton of things to sort out, but with any luck it will all go smooth (ha). I’ve decided to skip the whole step where I send James the drawings and ask how they look before adding them to the layout. I figure I’ve told him enough times that the originals are too hard to see to make perfect copies, so I’m just doing the best I can, then he can tell me what’s wrong and I’ll reiterate that his originals are shit.
I have no clue what is going on in most of these images, as they were all drawn by an engineer who is now dead (and whose methods might have been dead long before him), and I know nothing of engineering. I understand some of what he is trying to get across here, the forces that work for and against a structures stability, but I can’t begin to follow the math. Maybe I just don’t care to try. I don’t know how much of this stuff James understands (I assume not a ton, or he’d have written this part himself too) so maybe he won’t find any errors at all.
I really can’t wait for this whole thing to be done. I get so tired of stressing over my computers. I want them to go back to being fun.
Last Friday I was sitting at my desk, looking up directions to a friend’s house so I could meet my brother, who was giving his snake (and the last of my tanks) to my long time friend who first got me interested in reptiles, when I heard a loud pop. I asked Holly if she had made the noise, she said she didn’t hear it, but it was possibly her doing something (I forget what now). I thought it came from my computer, but everything seemed to be just fine, so I left. When I returned home half an hour later, I came upstairs and saw my machine attempting to post. I had left it idle, so I assumed the power had gone out, or Holly had used it and it crashed. She said she hadn’t touched it but noticed it started beeping a few minutes earlier. I tried not to panic, since this machine has acted weird like this in the past, and I had definitely saved before I left.
I did however have a hard time getting over the fact that I was mere hours away from completing the layout of the post and beam, as well as the bents. I couldn’t help but think that if I’d just kept working I would be done, and none of this would even bother me. Now I have to figure out what is the problem? did I lose data and subsequently my paycheque? how much will replacement parts cost – and can I afford said parts without the paycheque I can’t confirm I have earned over the last week? All these things were eating at me, as well as the stupid questions I can’t avoid asking myself – if I hadn’t have gone to meet my brother and friend would this have happened? if I woke up earlier or stayed up later the night before, could I have avoided feeling like I fucked up once again?
Until I can figure out what went wrong, I can only assume it was a million things I did (or didn’t do). Unfortunately I exhausted all my troubleshooting skills by Sunday morning, when something much more important arose, before I had a chance to call in the big guns (Jon and my dad). Jon was the first person I called when things went bad. I got the machine from him when I was in desperate need of something that was decent enough to work on. He was generous enough to slap together a bunch of random bits he had lying around and set me up with something better than I ever imagined. Unfortunately he’s an hour and a bit away. Luckily for me, I have the man who taught me a lot of what I know about computers – my dad. He gave me support over the phone, but there is only so much one can do to solve a problem they can’t see. I was able to eventually get an older machine of mine working and at least confirm that none of my data had been lost. I could now submit my hours, and did so as soon as possible. I got my machine to my dad a day later, and that evening he found the blown capacitor in theÂ photo above (the cylindrical thing with the shiny top on the left). This explains the noise I heard, and confirms that there was nothing I could have done to prevent this happening when it did.
My dad had an extra motherboard that would work as well as the one I just killed (minus the dual video card SLI bridge), which he had intended on using to upgrade his own machine. Instead, he generously donated it to the “Incredibly Hurting, Somewhat Disappointing Son Fund”, and I am now back up and running with the book a few hours away from completion. In the end, the worst part of the computer bullshit is the unnecessary emotional stress I put myself and those around me through. It also didn’t help that James decided to give me a guilt trip about meeting deadlines again, which in reality is still all his fault, but whatever. I have bitched enough about that in the past.
I’m glad I have such kind, generous friends and family to help me when I need it. I’m even more glad that I can stop worrying about my computer and focus on helping the people who need it most right now. I can’t expect amazing people to be there for me if I’m not there for them, which makes me wonder how I got such amazing people looking out for me in the first place. I suppose that answer is less important than making sure they stick around though.
My progress on the book continues to be slow going, but I’m nearly finished with the layout for the bulk of the book. I have about 12 more bents images to include, then it’s just the appendixes, glossary, table of contents and index (which sounds like a lot, but since it’s mostly text and few images, the process is fairly quick and painless). James has been making less and less changes, which is great for me. The other day however, he faxed me some drawings he forgot he needed. They were all super simple, taking me about an hour in total.
The most complex of the bunch was the logo above. No, it’s not a masonic symbol, nor does it have anything at all to do with masonry. I say that because it seems any time I wear my ISBA shirt I have to explain to some mason why their logo has nearly no relevance to their organization, and why someone who uses a square and scribe (the two main components of any masonic symbol) on a daily basis, should have the right to using similar symbols for their logos. This logo shows a round log with a perfect timber inside, a square and scribe, and the all important center line(s).
The other images I had to create are for the new “Perspective” sections in the book. They were mostly images of different post and beam and bents styles. The two above are German post and beam styles. The one on the left is called Geschossbau, and from what I can tell from this image is it’s basically the balloon framing equivalent for post and beam. The one on the right is called Stockwerksbau, and is more platform style. Most of this probably isn’t interesting at all to the average blog reader, but I dig it.
There was also a few images of different bent configurations. Surprisingly I was already familiar with each design, even before I took any timber framing course. It’s the one thing I found out on my own back when I did my first research into post and beam for a project I had to do at Niagara College. Speaking of which, I just recently discovered I still have that project… perhaps I’ll post it here sometime. It’s probably on par with the excitement level of the majority of my posts about building stuff.
In the last week or so, James has changed his mind a half dozen times with regard to the introduction and opening paragraphs of the book(s). Aside from that, everything has been going fairly smoothly. I’ve had to redo every single image (some more than once), label everything twice, and fix a million little typos/edits along the way. I really wish I had a Mac so I could figure out how to access the character map for James. I spend probably about 4 hours in total (per book) just finding and switching every instance where there is a fraction or where he has written something like: 45-degree instead of 45Â° (which is pretty fucking frequent when you’re talking about a book on layout intensive construction methods). It would save me a lot of headache if he could just figure it out, but there is no chance. Until I show him exactly how to do it there is no chance he will do anything to figure it out.
I’m getting incredibly fast at this whole book layout thing. At first I hated it because it seemed so intimidating and like it would take forever. Now I realize there is nothing intimidating about it, nor does it take me that long, and I just hate it because I’m sick of looking at it, doing it over and over and over again. Soon it should be done though. Done for good.
I’m currently about two thirds of the way done the entire project. I need to do a final table of contents, as well as add the Bents appendix. That still has never been done. I have a ton of the images done, but a large majority of them are fucked up drawings some engineer gave James years ago. James doesn’t understand them, nor do I. The guy who drew them is dead, and now I have to figure it all out.
Yesterday was supposed to be the day to end my financial woes and cheer me up about life in general. Instead the day consisted of 3 hours on the phone with James (which I don’t get paid for) going over Bents corrections, 4000 phone calls to his secretary, 8ooo logins to my online banking, 12000 instances of me shouting ‘FUCK’ as loud as I can and slamming my fist against something I wished was a human head, and finally an angry phone call where I informed James I was seconds away from putting my fist through my computer and backups of everything I’ve done for him and washing my hands of the whole thing.
I’m so sick and tired of being treated like I am the reason this project has dragged on so long, while at the same time working my ass off and not getting paid. I went to school to learn to build houses because I WANT TO BUILD HOUSES. I only agreed to do the book for fear that I wouldn’t qualify as an ideal candidate for a timber frame company with basic schooling alone. I figured the experience of illustrating a book on the field I wish to be a part of was a great way to show the world I know what I am doing (when it comes to timber framing).
I am so depressed I just want to smash everything I own then curl up in the pile of destruction and wait for death to find me. The only thing that made me happy (although it also made me real sad) was coming home from grocery shopping with Holly (which I was supposed to pay for, fuck) to a handmade card from the Roanster.
The card came in a halloween themed pouch with ghosts on the front, along with a $5 bill. Upon seeing the $5 I got bummed right out. Both because a nine year old has more money than I do, and because I should be the one helping him, not the other way around. I gave the money back immediately and gave him a hug. I told him I loved the card, and although I really appreciated the money I couldn’t accept it. He hugged me back then went to bed.
This morning I woke up miserable (surprise!). If I don’t hear from James or his secretary today a good reason why my money isn’t in my account, then I’m giving up. I will delete everything I’ve done for him and he can start over with someone new who doesn’t have an issue with starving or wearing tattered clothes. Me, I’m done.
It would be comical to me if it wasn’t so predictable. Tonight I checked my email to see if James had made a decision on what to do about re-sizing the book / text. Although there was 3 emails from him, not one had anything to do with what I’d say is the most important thing – the size. Instead they all had new changes he’s decided to make, including changing the title of not only this book, but all the proposed others as well. This is about the sixth time he’s changed his mind on the title. I really hope it’s the last, but I doubt it.
Along with the title I get to change the introductions, the cover information (inside and out), and a few other annoying little things. I am fully aware that there is a 200% chance James will decide I didn’t need to make any of these changes, but I had better hurry up and make them so he can tell me to undo them (because all you have to do is hit undo, right?).
If you’re as tired of reading about the never ending saga that is this book, as I am writing about it, then follow the title’s advice. If you haven’t had enough (or perhaps you love to read about my misery) then feel free to carry on.
Since my last book related post I’ve had plenty of time to get the majority of the book redone in the new layout style which James actually liked. With the boys at their father’s house for a week and Holly super busy at work, I’ve been working a lot more than usual. I had only one short chapter left to layout yesterday when James called (Sunday is his favourite day to call and have long chats and add to my workload) and informed me that he wanted to change the layout again.
After looking at other books, he came to the conclusion that most books printed at 8.5″ x 11″ use two columns of text rather than one. His solutions are either re-size the entire book, or switch to a two column format and keep the current size. Either option results in me starting over (essentially from scratch) yet again. This wouldn’t be quite as disappointing if I hadn’t have already brought this all up at the beginning of this project, and he said it was fine. I don’t see how something so important could be ignored or avoided for so long. These things should have been decided on before layout began. I even suggested he find his printing company before we began the layout so we could avoid any potential issues, and have a better idea of what sizing to go with.
I fought off yelling “FUCK!” into the phone, and informed James that I had almost completed the new layout of the first book, and asked him to please look at what I had so far before deciding it wasn’t good enough. I also suggested he find a print-on-demand service that could fulfill our needs and provide us with a one chapter sample (I figure if he can see what it will actually look like he’ll decide it’s fine, and not something that goes against all the rules of book creation) for now, and a finished product in the near hopefully near future. I really hope he figures it all out and makes a firm final decision soon.
Before I hung up he also added some more work to my already intimidating load. It turns out he’s decided we need to show people some more examples of what you can do with simple modular post and beam construction, and therefore we need to add some images of other P&B houses. One of the examples he wants to include is an image of his old house, which is now the ISBA student residence. I was excited at the idea of getting to model this building, as it’s one of the nicest places I’ve ever seen. Instead, James suggested he take his old book and get it photocopied, then mail me the image. I tried to convince him it would be better and more consistent if I put the effort into modeling it. He was completely against the idea so I told him to leave it to me, and I’d see what I could do.
Today I sent him an email with the image above. It’s a photo I took of the image in his old book, then fiddled around with until it looked decent. In the email I made one last plea for the ‘Okay’ on modeling the house, but I doubt he’ll even read it. It always amazes me how many corners he tries to get me to cut considering he’s one of the hardest working, most motivated people I’ve ever met.
I’m sure everyone is dying for an update on my book progress, so here:
And if that wasn’t enough to make work suck, the office apparatus decided to die.
*Disclaimer: Just because I put a green check mark on that example
on the right does not mean I'm delusional enough to believe I've
done anything correct and won't end up doing it all over again,
many, many times. That would be foolish.