< June 1, 1998 >

Cranky Monday

Cranky day today. Just sore and tired and the darned toothguard just made me really grumpy all day.

A really lousey day for updating a bunch of my journal, but I did it anyway. For just a bit, and then I got sick and tired of it, so got distracted by how utterly frigid cold it was in my office, so found lots of cardboard and packing tape and completely covered and taped up my air conditioning vent.

That was fun. It was mindless, and it made me focus on my physical self long enough that I figured out a lot of what was wrong. And it was the simple fact that I pretty much was in pain all over. Not only had the toothguard gotten my entire neck, jaw, shoulders tied into knots, it was giving me a headache as well. It was that time of the month, and I'd managed to walk enough the previous day with Fezzik that I was muscle sore in enough places things just hurt. Ow.

I was also cranky about work as my entire team was getting pulled off the fun, cool design stuff for the next three weeks to do testing of the product that was about to go out the door. Bad Engineer. I should be happy to be making sure that what we ship is what we darned well documented and wrote test plans for. Amusingly enough our test plans double as specifications for the marketing and sales folks, so they kind serve a number of purposes; but they're all written before we even make product, so they really need to be met.

But it's never quite as fun as development. Just sitting down and testing is not a lot of fun, but it's needful.

What really amuses me is that we, as a tiny 40 person company, have more testing procedures in places than Data I/O when it had more than 300 people. That's kinda fun to know.

Anyway. Got started on it and got conversant in the ways the old product worked again. It took a while.

Got good last day news from Bob, though, as the mechanisms that we'd built on the architecture worked like a charm. Just wired 'em into place and bang, they worked, first time. That was pretty vindicating for the whole setup in a lot of ways, as the complexity of what we'd just added was pretty immense, but it was solid. So that improved my day.

Got home tired and John had a meeting, and in the back of my head, for the last while has been the idea of doing something with the old silk kimonos I have. I've got about a dozen, all handmade, about three quarters of them silk, and half of them in utterly excellent condition. A number of them are of rare silk fabrics, either ikats or with various designs woven into the fabric themselves rather than printed as later day fabrics are. One is a really, super slender kimono of a crinkly grey shot through with single strands of red or blue and with three columns of hexagonal patterns running through it. The material is about 11 inches wide, but the way the kimono had been built minimalized it even more. Possibly made small for a small person. It was, however, impossible for me to wear. So I wanted to take it apart, in part to see just how the darned things are made, and so I'd then have the material to do with as I wanted.

So I sat down with the slender, crumpled looking thing and started to carefully rip out stitches. Every stitch in it was put in by hand, and I think I must have torn out thousands of stitches. The construction of that creature was exquisite from the inside. Each seam was stitched at least twice, some three times, to get the exact external look that was desire. It was insane. It was a bit like taking apart what looked like a simple origami crane only to find out that it'd been made up of something like half a dozen pieces of paper, each folded in such a way to get the exact shadow and shading for each limb of the bird and two pieces to get the curve on the wings right.


And as much as I had to pay careful attention to the details just to rip it apart, it made a huge impact on the amount of work I'd though went into the the thing. There was extra shaping to get the back shorter than the front, though they were both done with the same length of cloth, there was additional shaping of each armhole, and the biggest thrill and surprise for me was finding that not only did they just have a single strip of cloth from the front bottom to the back bottom of one side, at the center of the back bottom edge, there was a tiny tab of cloth that linked right to left. The person had brought the very same cloth all the way down and then back up. The right and the left were made of just the same cloth, just the other side. The cloth had been woven in such a way as to make that entirely possible, too.

It was amazing. Completely so. Flabbergastingly so. The amount of detail work that went into something that was so small. I'm almost sad I took it all apart, but it was so keen to see how it worked, and I have others that are just as meticulously put together, and, yes, I even have a book on how to put it back together as well.

After I do the traditional thing of washing and pressing all the cloth first and then figure out what I really want to do with it and 11 inch wide cloth can't make for a well-hanging anything on my frame, so I may have to use the half-strips that were used for linings and things to widen it and do something Completely Different for sleeves and create something that's more of a jacket than a kimono from it.

I kept doing Just One More Seam, and then John came home, ate dinner, played more Bandicoot and got the Green Gem and went back to the level that required it to Get Cool Stuff. That was much fun to watch. And by the time he was done with that I had the kimono in simple strips of its original cloth. Wow.

© 1998 by Liralen Li.

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