Rochester Makerspace

This is my hometown makerspace.  Our trip back through Rochester coincided with their open house, so we took the orientation tour.  I was pretty impressed.

Dues are $40.00/month, and that covers everyone in the household, related or not.

Membership has grown steadily and they currently fund themselves entirely through memberships and donations.  An estate donated a house that the membership renovated and resold.

Main Room

They waited to assemble a group instead of giving tours individually.  There was a handout that listed each machine and what kind of bodily harm it could cause you.

This tour is mandated by the insurance company and every member or potential member must take it.  After that, you have to take an additional class on any piece of equipment you want to use before you can use it.  Those classes are free to members.

Electronics corner
Design lab
They have seven, IIRC, 3D printers, including “Luke” and “Leia.”
And a resin printer.
Laser cutter one.
Laser cutter two.
Laser cutter three. They had just purchased this one, and members were working on creating curriculum while we were there. They demonstrated it, and made a wooden nameplate for my son.
Paper cutters.
Large format printer and toolbox.
Get your t-shirts!

Metalworking Room

The don’t have welding or a forge, because the building used to be a leather manufacturing plant.  All the floors are made of wood that has soaked for many years in highly-flammable chemicals.  They have plans to add welding when they move to a new space, as they’re outgrowing their current location.

This machine was a donation. The local electrician’s apprenticeship program came in to wire it up for them.
Work space.
Drill press.
Band saw.















Probably the thing that impressed me the most was that there were at least four other women there. None of them seemed to know each other outside of the space, each working on her own project, and none appeared to be there as a tag-along with her husband, boyfriend, or s/o. I don’t think I ever saw one woman at Cyberia who wasn’t just there to be with her s/o.

Rochester Makerspace is definitely an enticement to move back if I decide I want to look for work in NYS after my son finishes highschool.  It’s a very comfortable and welcoming space I’d have no qualms about joining.

Edit: I guess I got tired of messing around with photos in WordPress, ’cause forgot all about the woodworking room.  Here it is:

Dust collection.
This thing has a sensor in it that detects moisture. If you cut your finger, it detects the moisture, destroys a circuit board and shuts off the saw. Tourguide said salesmen demonstrate it with hotdogs, and you can just barely see a scratch. The company owner (? inventor? Don’t remember) demonstrates with his own finger.

And sewing machines in the main room.

North Country Library Tour!

Well, part of one, anyway.  I had a route planned out, from the Colton Hepburn Library to the Akwesasne Cultural Center Library and Museum, that would have taken two-and-a-half hours just to drive.  But my transmission crapped out after the third stop.  It turned out to be a minor problem, but this was two days before I would be driving home, so we spent the last day of my visit waiting on mechanics, and I didn’t get to finish my route.  Anyway, this is what I did see.

I knew the Colton Hepburn Library wouldn’t be open, but stopped anyway.  And despite the steady rain, I still found someone sitting on the steps using the free wifi.  The building is beautiful.  I look forward to seeing it sometime when it’s open.

There was a small park across the street, with a permanent display of information about the Raquette River.

Next stop was Canton.  I had been here before when they were closed, so made a point to return.  I spoke with Director Emily Owen Hastings, who very kindly answered all of my questions about population sizes and funding sources.  It sounds like NY (Or maybe just the county?  Answers were understandably vague, as they’re yet unconfirmed) is thinking about changing the way libraries are funded, which can only be a good thing.  The way they’re funded currently works against them.

I’m only going to share the external photos and a couple of things from the children’s area.  I was trying to avoid photographing patrons, so the only pics I got of the adult/teen areas are the spots where every available space is crammed full of materials, instead of pics of the gorgeous woodwork, massive stone fireplaces at each end of the room, and seriously old, solid, dark wooden bookcases.  Storytime was happening in one of the community rooms downstairs.  I stuck my head in and saw that it was well attended!  The library was busy the whole time I was there.






Heh, that photo alignment’s almost accurate.


Edit:  I’m going to edit these photos back in.  If nothing else, maybe they can make a case for expansion.

At first I thought this was the teen area. It’s the manga and anime corner.
This is the teen area.









Finally, I visited the Morley Library.  I think this was my favorite, because it was so small, cozy, and unassuming.  In fact, I had a little trouble finding it at first, even with GPS.  I circled the corner a couple of times, and didn’t notice the lettering on the building until I pulled into the lot of the business across the street, once again turning around.  When I did find it, I took the last available spot in the parking lot.  That was a good sign!  By this time I was beginning to worry about my transmission, though, so neglected to get photos of the outside. The building was a nondescript, yellow-sided (IIRC) storefront, with a wooden ramp leading up to a little porch with an overhanging roof.

This a branch of the Canton library I had just visited.  It’s one long room with book shelves lining both walls.  A board game collection took up the top few shelves on a couple of the cases.  To one side of the desk, a table was occupied by the Thursday afternoon knitting club, the source of all the cars in the parking lot.  Apart from staff, no one else was there.  And the knitting club seemed to enjoy having the room to itself.

I peeked into the back and had to ask to make sure I wasn’t wandering into the break room.  But the room was for public use, including the tiny kitchen.

And that’s it.  That’s the whole of the cozy and well-loved Morley branch library.  And the whole of my North Country Library Tour.  After that I decided I’d better check my transmission fluid, then drove around for (probably) the same distance I would have traveled to get back home while trying to find a gas station, hoping I wasn’t completely destroying my car the whole time.  Then I did go home.  Then I spent the next whole day waiting for mechanics and spending donated money on board games and technology materials for E38.  Off the clock.  On my vacation.  ‘Cause that’s what I do for fun.

Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan

What a gigantic disappointment. I’d seen the trailer for this story “soon to be a major motion picture,” and expected a Kdrama in print. It did get there, complete with wrist-grabs, back-hugs, and surprise car accidents, in the last 100 pages of this 550 page tome. You just have to wade through 450 pages of excruciatingly detailed descriptions of every last material possession of each inconsequential character first. And if you didn’t think anyone could write a character more two-dimensionally than soap opera characters, this guy nails it. The disapproving MIL is pretty tame by Kdrama standards. The male lead is a bit of Gary Stu, would be relegated to second-lead in Kdramaland, and would definitely NOT get the girl. The subplot is much more compelling than the main storyline. And I don’t know how this guy was approved for two more books, let alone a major motion picture.

Zine handout for teens at the Y

Kinda looking forward to this. Here’s the zine handout I made for the teens I’ll be doing outreach with at the Y next week. I’ll bring some of the zines I picked up at ALA last year.  We’ll look through them and talk about them.  Then they can make their own on the theme of “summer side-quests” so that they can submit them to the collaboration Gluestick (had to work, didn’t get to go) is doing with Comic Carnival, if they want.  I’d love to build a collection in the branch.


Kickdown by Rebecca Clarren

The language is poetic, the main characters interesting, the setup somewhat cliche. Yet another young woman halts her career to return to a small town and save the family farm.

At the start of the book we are plunked down in the middle of fractured relationships. The tension is palpable from the first page.  We come to know everything about the hearts and minds of our main characters.

So when a major plot-point is resolved by the change of heart of a side character, with absolutely no insight given into what brought about the change, the resolution leaves the reader dissatisfied. Pressures evolve and dissipate rather than explode as the title implies.

That evolution makes for a worthwhile read, though, if not quite the one expected.  The main characters were engaging and well-written enough to want to want to follow.

Indiana Comic Con – Day 3

Sunday was the best day by far. The first panel I attended was by Muncie-area author Casey Glanders, called “Writing Worlds: Writing and Publishing Superhero Fiction.” It was basically a lecture on self-publishing for other independent authors. But I got the opportunity to expand on some of the library resources he touched on. That was kinda cool.

The Steampunk and Comics panel should have been amazing.  The presenter was in costume, his presentation was professional, and it was full of the history and development of steampunk as a genre, as well as the divergence of the steampunk timeline. But some kid sat down a couple rows in front of me streaming the whole presentation through his cellphone on a selfie stick.  Which really wouldn’t have bothered me if not for the fact he kept commenting to his audience.  I got up and asked security to speak to him, which they did, and he left.  But immediately afterward, the guy behind me decided it was a great time to take a phone call.  Didn’t take it outside, didn’t hurry to get off the phone.  Just sat there chatting away.  That ruined it for me. Old lady, remember?   I couldn’t concentrate, so we left to watch more Freestyle D&D.

Would have liked to have seen the voice acting panel, “Voice Acting: Everything You Want to Know.”  I wanted to know things.  But there were scheduling conflicts.  Also, “Writers: Worldbuilding Workshop” coincided with “Black to the Future: An Exploration of of Minorities in the Space Time Continuum.”  I earned my creative writing degree at least three years ago, and I’m still put off from workshops.  So I chose the latter.  And I’m so glad I did.  It was easily the best panel of the whole weekend.

Did you know it was thing on Twitter not long ago (probably during the whole uproar over a black actress being cast as Hermione) to completely recast Harry Potter with people of color?  Why wasn’t this all over library lists and groups?  Why didn’t we all latch onto this?  Granted I’m no Harry Potter fan, but why was I just hearing of this?

But that was only one part of the discussion.  The panel runs an independent media channel on YouTube and had very insightful things to say.  They engaged the audience in a meaningful way, beginning with the question, “When was the first time you saw yourself truly represented in mainstream media, and who was that character you identified with?” and ending with the question of what we could all do to improve representation of minorities.

I would have liked to say the highlight of the day was (Gabrielle from Xena) Renee O’Connor’s Q&A.  I mean, Jonathan Frakes AND Renee O’Connor both at the same convention?  So cool.  But as great as they were, they still couldn’t top that last panel.

Indiana Comic Con Day 2

Day 2 was pretty disappointing, to be honest. It was the busiest day, with the biggest crowds and most costumes. But the panels were really crap. There were few that appealed to me. Starbase Indy spoiled fan cons for me, I guess. Theirs was so much better in every way.

“Behavioral Development and the Child Protagonist,” sounded like it would be fantastic. But it was presented by a homeschool art teacher, with no credentials in child development that I could discern. The talk basically amounted to the presenter reading off a list of characters and giving her opinion (with the audience chiming in) on whether or not a child of that age would really behave that way or be realistically able to handle the circumstances they were placed in. Unfortunately, I chose this over “Explaining Manga for the Comic Book Fan.”

“Life as a Girl in Yaoi” was just as bad. I only have a vague idea of what yaoi is as a genre. I hoped I might learn something. All I learned is that it proaaaaaabably isn’t a good fit for the library collection, although I suspect there are some tamer forms that rely more on subtext. But the presentation was just so bad. I felt like I’d crashed a stoner party, watching three young women tell inside jokes and digress into tangents and side conversations that had nothing to do with the topic at hand.

“Is Fan Art Legal” fell right at dinner time, and my teen was starving (as per usual), so I missed out on that. The previous day’s panel on copyright, patents, and trademarks really glossed over this issue. I was interested to hear it covered with more focus. But I didn’t go. Another thing I realized later that the copyright panel didn’t address was the pervasiveness of digital copyright infringement. The response was basically, “Oh, get a lawyer.” They really kind of ignored the problem of theft of images or art that then goes viral. Like, they didn’t even seem to be aware.

So, Saturday really centered more around entertainment. The highlight of the day was Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker’s) Q&A. I spent most of the day in the exhibit hall and the game cave. The panels I was interested in were all in the late afternoon. I had been looking forward to RHPS. But by 8:30 I decided I was an old lady now and went home to bed.

I guess this convention would be a great place for someone with no experience in professional public speaking or a fear of doing so to practice. The standards for presenters are just that low.

Indiana Comic Con – Day 1

Art from “Building Your Collection,” including original 1971 Dr. Strange blacklight poster.

Today’s Panels:
Protecting your Ideas-Presentation by the Patent+ Trademark Office. Also covered copyright.
Building Your Collection-Interesting to hear hobby collectors come up with some of the same collection-development practices from an amateur perspective without formal training. Presenter couldn’t speak to classification schemes, though. | thought I might gain some insight that might apply to comics & fan merchandise as special collections. But it really was focused on hobbyists, which really was to be expected.
Race & Gender in Video Games-Insightful overview of presenter’s research on representation in video game trailers.
Also a magic show & Freestyle D&D.