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Friday, July 16, 2004

Holy cow! a metrosexual!

Well, if I hadn't known better I would immediately conjure up an image of an old perversive senile man on a subway. But it actually is a real word whose definition goes like 'a young, urban and usually heterosexual male who is concerned with fashion, food and grooming'. Now for those of you who want to be know-it-alls, its 'coined by Mark Simpson in 1994 article for The Independent', so it has been around. But the thing is, for me, it doesn't quite gel.
And especially if someone uses it to describe me.
But once the definition sets in, I think to myself. Hmm, indeed. It is true, I am that old creepy bastard then. Holy cow, I'm a metrosexual! Now I can just sit back in my newly designed studio, enjoy glasses of fine wine, whip up some gourmet tapas, play some soft Latin music and say 'sí, soy un metrosexual'. Crap.
Well , I guess it is a notch better than if someone called me a yuppie. A yuppie, on the other hand, is like a fish, trying to walk on land. Partially because it rhymes with 'guppy', and partially because I think yuppies are too caught up with adjusting to corporate ladder life they are just trying to breathe while subconsciously killing themselves because it isn't their natural environment although they pretend like it is, and while doing so think that they are above everyone else. That is *my* definition, and I'm not even going to justify looking up a real definition anywhere.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go watch my Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

The Lightbox Project

Current setting: An old messy storeroom.
Description: A cupboard I didn't really want, papers, dust, old boxes strewn on top of one another. Fungus and mold growing where the light doesn't shine. It is essentially a store room. Nothing more, nothing less. There is virtually no room to stand, no room to sit.
Objective: To clean up, throw away unnecessary stuff, insulate the windows, and seal the window with a custom lightbox to create an illusion of space.
The Lightbox Project: 2 plywood boards, ratio calculated, wired with 8 E14 energy saving bulbs, total energy consumption not exceeding 40Watts, and total weight not exceeding 20kgs, soldered, insulated wiring, custom paint tones, custom mounts from solid wood.
The main attraction of the entire project would definitely be the lightbox. It started almost 2 weeks ago, with procurement of raw materials, and the calculations on the drawing board. I guess it wasn't a matter of whether it can be done or not, I think that whenver I start a project, I want it to be completed, by hook or by crook. The challenges that lies ahead are the things that will consume the most time, but just as well, would be the things that I would learn most from.
I guess it was a long time coming. The store room was not supposed to be a store room at all. It was supposed to be a multi-function room, where I have my wardrobe, and there was a table where you could just have tea, or eat. But somehow it escalated to become a store room. Clothes everywhere, papers everywhere. If I was going to make it into a usable studio, it would require a lot of work. About 2 weeks worth of it, as I have discovered.
So the first thing started with the buying of plywood. There wasn't much alternatives, since I wanted something strong, light and familiar to me, so I went to one of the nearby factory/store and bought 2 pieces of it, trucked it back the my workshop, and started immediately. The plywood had to be treated first with some Wood Treatment. If not it has a tendency for termite infections, something I don't need anytime in the future.
Getting the right color tone was not easy. Selecting from a regular color chart was not an option. I wanted something bright, subtle enough, but not overly loud. And it had to complement the rest of the furniture in my apartment, and also the light that reflects off it has to be a factor as well. So I turned to the Jotun color charts (they have 10,000 combinations), and picked 2 matching ones. I wasn't about to repaint the wall for this project, I didn't want to take a month to do this, so I just went with as little work as possible.
While waiting for the wood treatment to set in, I started creating the hardwood mounts. It was quite easy with the drop saw that wasn't mine. I guess I would've taken longer if I didn't have that convenience. Anyway creating the mounts wasn't easy, since they can only be 2 inches in length, I could only use E14 mounts, not the more commonly available E27 types. And since its that small, it had a tendency to split while I'm drilling holes and making grooves in it. But anyway, that took nearly a day, and I was making them till late at night, by that time my eyes were all blur from all the sawdust and the fatigue, and the hunger. And I was just gettting started.
Painting the plywood was quite fun, it was actually relaxing. After coating with with a layer of primer, the colors turned out beautifully. Just like I expected it to be. Then came the wiring. Now that was a real killer. with 8 mounts, I needed to make sure that they were soldered, insulated, and then patched into a main wire so that they are all sharing one plug point. However, if I used regular 25W bulbs, it would run up to 200Watts. That was a bit too much, so I settled for the 5W energy saving ones, they ran cooler, and saved me some electricity. But initial investments were considerably higher.
Luckily for me, my calculations were accurate. So it ended up perfect. Oh what a great feeling that is. &