Pew Pew Laser Blog

Code. Glass art. Games. Baking. Cats. From Seattle, Washington and various sundry satellite locations.

Blogs about project-management

The Checklist.


Checklists are a wonderful thing. Atul Gawande wrote an entire book about them: The Checklist Manifesto. Humans are fallible and will make mistakes, especially in complex systems where mistakes can mean lethal consequences. But careful planning (with a checklist) guards against "the stupid stuff".

My favorite checklist story is that of Van Halen's concert checklist; specifically the brown M&Ms. Van Halen's effects and equipment-intensive shows could cause major damage at injury at an ill-prepared venue, and the brown M&Ms signaled that the band's set-up specifications had not be followed thoroughly. If the brown M&Ms were there, what else in the contract had been missed? Can the ceiling girders or stage floor support the weight of the equipment?

Lines From the 48 Hour Film Project.


I now present (slightly dramatized for brevity and amusement) some things overheard during Brainful Productions' 48 Hour Film Project from this year.

We're cutting the belly dancer.

Last year, we cut the mermaid.

I'm writing the software to do that this week.
Later: I found a bug in my software. It deleted all my files.
Your inspiration is Honey Badger Don't Care.

Cheap, Quick and Good?


The rule of cheap, quick, and good is that you can have only 2 of them. Your project can be well built, and done quickly, but will be expensive. Or it can be done quickly and cheaply, but it will be crappy. This applies to web development, and probably to all software development.

For Art.


On Friday, as soon as I got home from work, I got started on the cupcakes for the 48 Hour Film Project. I tried a new frosting recipe - a fudgy concoction of butter, cocoa powder and powdered sugar with a bit of karo syrup and vanilla. It was tasty, but very gooey and sticky. I really need a sturdy frosting that will put up with travel and hot sun. Does anyone have a recipe they can share?

On Friday night, we got the specs for our film - a Film de Fem featuring Kristy Brown (occupation: illustrator), with a tie as a prop, and the line "Wrong, guess again.". I finished off the cupcakes while the script was written, and the husband went to a planning meeting. Once finished, we threw together some props and went to bed at about 1am.

Saturday was a long long day. We were up at 6:45am and on set (an office in SoDo) by a hair after 8. The husband got started on the credits, I finished paperwork and directed production assistants. I had good success at shopping / prop procurement on the day.

At noon, we broke for lunch. I and a lot of the crew got some burgers from Burger Madness - delicious and hearty.

I and some other folks, including the husband, were recruited as extras. I learned two things about acting: weary comfy shoes, and choose a lightweight prop.

At 4 we headed to the second location: a recently built house (an investment property) in Pacific - about 40 minutes away from Seattle. That shoot was tough - it felt very long, and I think everyone was getting exhausted. The husband left early to get some food, and start editing in a comfortable environment. We finished the shooting at about 10:00pm, and I got home at about 11:00. I ate some dinner and the husband, and later the producer, worked on more editing. I took a shower and got to bed at about 1am.

The husband got to bed quite a bit later, and he got up sometime in the morning to dash off to Adobe work on the film. I slept in, and am now preparing for the wrap party.

I think the film will be on YouTube in about a week; I'll post a link when it's available.

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?


I'm going to be quite busy over the next 30 days. Tomorrow night we've got another home Sounders game; vs. DC United. On Thursday I've got my 3rd of 4 glassblowing classes. I'm really enjoying glassblowing; I think about doing it all the time. I'll be signing up for the Intermediate class as soon as I can.

This weekend we're doing the Seattle 48 Hour Film Project. I've got to start the cupcakes on Friday when I get home from work, and I'm also going to be the Production Manager. The husband will be editing on Sunday.

Next week I've got a doctor's appointment - my primary care physician says that one of my moles is suspicious. I've also got the last glass blowing class that Thursday.

After that, we go to Hawaii for nearly 2 weeks. Yay! We've got just a few outings planned in Hawaii - but we're focusing on having a relaxing vacation.

Shortly after we return, the folks-in-law are coming to visit. And on that weekend, we've got another Sounders game; in fact it's Sounders games every Saturday for 3 weeks. On the first Saturday, I'm also hoping to get into the glass blowing studio to make another Ballard Artwalk piece.

Whew; very busy indeed. The blog will be a bit neglected. I'll fill it up with some canned posts, but consider yourself warned.

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