Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

Friday night I got a phone call from the director of "Titanic, the Musical" offering me a part, or parts, including a solo. A small solo - just a couple lines, in German. Because on the audition paperwork I said I could muddle through German. So I get to play both a first- or second-class German passenger, and a third-class one, too. But really its a chorus part, and I'm good with that.

Except for questioning my sanity, because rehearsals are (up to?) four nights per week, and between now and the performance dates we have Anime Midwest and creation of the MuseCon program book. Wheeee!  

That isn't going to leave a lot of time in the evenings for working on things for Anime Midwest. Fortunately, we're still pretty well off for stock - the advantage of having lots of things is that you sell lots of things, so except for tails nothing really looks too depleated, at least to the casual shopper. Xap did suggest that I'd have down-time during rehearsals to work on things, though.

An Grumpy Aside Regarding Teslacon

Getting a bit annoyed with Teslacon, and starting to question the wisdom of doing it. Teslacon vendor applications were due by May 1, vendors were supposed to be notified by the 15th, and then payment would be due by the 30th. On May 7th, there was a Facebook post stating that almost all the vendors had been selected, and trying to get "more space without adding a room".

In response to Facebook questions about notifying vendors, on the 20th the main Teslacon organizer responded, including the "relax" and "hang on" comments that annoyed me earlier, as well as "I am trying to fit everyone in". On the 23rd, somebody asked him not to do two vendor rooms, as seems to have been done last year. The response (same day) to that was that women's finery will be in one room, most of the rest of the vendors wil be in another room, there's only certain areas vendors can be located in, and something about doing what's necessary to make things work.

Now, the thing that worries me is that the vedor information says that the spaces are 10' x 10', and if you only have certain places you can put vendors, there's only so much time you can spend on playing Tetris with floor space, unless some of the making things work is playing with space sizes. Ron asked if we need to add a tape measure to the supplies that go to events. I'm thinking so (not just because of this - we helped Gretchen check aisle sizes one year at Cap, and we had an issue at ACen last year).  

If we're accepted, I'm going to get confirmation that we will be getting a 10' x 10' space before I pay - and I assume the deadline for that will be extended accordingly.

While I have issues with non-responsiveness from Anime Midwest, they did do their space thing right - they didn't leave everybody hanging while waiting to see if they could/would get the membership numbers to enlarge their vendor space. They did an initial round, then when they got more space, they went back to vendors who didn't get in on the first pass - which is how we got in. Teslacon could learn from that, and could do even better by saying "These vendors are confirmed, but we're trying to get more space, we'll know by X date." 

And for the love of Cod and little fishes, DO NOT use Facebook as your main means of communicating!  If you haven't noticed, FB keeps getting more and more craptastic, and "helpful" about showing you only the things *it* thinks you want to see. Most of the Teslacon facebook posts have not shown up in my feed. 

But no, they're keeping everybody hanging. Fortunately, the cost of the space, over and above of tickets, since we'd decided to go even if we don't get in as vendors, is low enough that we don't need really great sales, so I probably won't back out if accepted, unless something really egregious is done/said in the meantime.

Back to the Weekend Report

Saturday morning I cut out soft-ish pouches - horizontal soft pouches in black and brown, because we have exactly one, and medium horizontal soft pouches in brown, because we have none of those, and half of a half-soft, because I had a front already cut out and a piece big enough to make the back out of. Adding on a purple medium horizontal soft left over from the pre-ACen binge, that's 11 to work on. 

Ron got home about lunchtime (he and Xap helped with the MuseCon party at WisCon Friday night/Saturday morning). After lunch I laid out really soft pouches - garment/upholstery leather ones that get sewn together. I know there were three sporrans, and I'm thinking 8 little tabbed soft pouches, and my SWAG is about a half-dozen belt satchels. Ron worked on cutting out, as did I at times, and we determined that I cut out faster than he does. He decided electric scissors would be a good idea. 

In the evening we ordered tails - three dozen of them. Which is only three more than we sold at ACen. 

Saturday evening I also worked on getting the soft-ish pouches ready to lace. That process continued through a big chunk of Sunday, with breaks for errands, etc. Ron worked on inventory and updating his perl script that gets inventory into the Point of Sale app, and sales records back out.

Yesterday we were more slugly. In the morning we went to Dick Blick and looked at airbrush adapters for Copic markers, for experiments in airbrushing leather. For one reason and another I got ink refills in the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple, instead of the widget that lets you use a marker as an airbrush source. Then we went to Games Plus looking for small cans of dullcoat for Robin's minis, then to Hobby Lobby, where we had more success (Games Plus only had large cans). We looked for electric scissors at Hobby Lobby, but didn't find any (not a big surprise). 

When we got home, we did some on-line research. Industrial textile cutting on a major scales uses things more like scroll saws, or tools with small rotating blades for shorter stacks. There are also a few more scissor-like appliances. Looking at those reminded me of what I termed the Universal Mangler oscillating tools we looked at before buying the dremel scroll saw for trimming hard pouches. 

One of which, from Rockwell Tools, was conveniently on sale at Menard's. And Menard's was open. So we procured said tool (and the rebate form for another $20 off, must take care of that). We got home, grabbed some scrap leather, and Ron tried it out. Umpty thousand oscillations per second are effective. I tried it too, but decided to leave it to Ron. I found some thick, challenging-to-cut leather. No problem, nice smooth edges. Tried it on lightweight leather, no problems. 

We rooted around the dining room, thought about what else we'd sold/needed, and pulled out more leather. In the end I laid out and Ron cut the parts for 2 big rectangular purses (one brown, one black), and 4 "lace mania" belt pouches or purses - 1 brown, 1 blue, 1 black, and one with a black flap/back and a red front. We needed the browns, the blue and red/black seemed like they'd sell, and the black parts finished off the last of a black side. Ron cut them out faster than I could with a knife. So new he has a new job. There are still some things that I'll end up doing with a knife (like inside corners), that the Universal Mangler can't do, and straight cuts are still easy with a (safety) ruler and rotary knife.

Here, hopefully, is a link to a video I took of Ron cutting out the brown lace mania back/flap. The leather is about an 18" thick. Yes, it is rather noisy, in part because the table the cutting board is on is hollow plastic, so it resonates well. The cutting board was to hopefully cut the noise down (questionable success), and it also ended up with vibrated-in shallow grooves from the backside of the lower cutter blade. In the future we'll probably use a piece of inexpensive plywood instead. 

Looking at cost computations, one of each size purse we cut out will pay for the Universal Mangler. And a new power shear head is inexpensive enough ($20 or a bit under), that we can replace it if it seems to be getting dull. 

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