Saturday, April 18, 2020

Stateless, Graceless

I've pulled the plug on Dove Grace Design, my supposed design outfit, for good.  I haven't put pen-to-paper in years, and really have no inclination to start back up again.

Losing all my designs in a hard drive crash a few years ago really took the wind out of my sails, and I was never able to recapture the passion I once had.  The idea had run its course.

If this sounds familiar, it should.  I've pulled the plug before, only to restart once some half-baked idea popped into my head.

This time, though, it's for good.  The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent period of isolation has made me take a hard look at life and the future, what's important and what is not...

So long, folks.  Thank you for your readership, in all my incarnations, over the years.

Shaun Wheeler/Dove Grace/ConceitedJerk

Monday, October 8, 2018

Unauthorized Bread..?

Remember my story Unauthorized Butter from way back in January 2016?

Someone famous has written a similar (but much expanded) novella entitled "Unauthorized Bread", due to be published and turned into a TV movie.

Given that my story, on an unpromoted, rarely updated, and obscure blog, has been read a whopping 196 times (mostly friends, family, and social media acquaintances), I'm highly doubtful that I've been plagiarized.  Hell, I see it as validation that I was onto something!  Perhaps next time, I'll be a little quicker to finish writing the rest of the story...

I was inspired to write my story (a followup to an earlier piece I wrote) after reading a report online about Keurig machines not accepting third party refillable coffee pods.  I took the report and ran with it, adding elements of DRM, the Intellectual Property debate, and the Right to Repair movement, with a touch of Orwellian satire.

I'm likely not the only person to have had the same idea, but meh, I'm too lazy to look.

I wish Cory Doctorow much success with his new book, I'll be in line to grab a copy when it comes out!

Suffice it to say, I won't be finishing the saga.  I snoozed, I lost.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Cost of Luxury: Re-Intro and Site Update

Better late than never!

It's been a busy year for us, and as a result, I never found/made the time to continue this project.  Now that Autumn is nigh and we're preparing for Winter (while enjoying Autumn), I'll be able to devote time and brainpower to my interests.

Interests like cooking, coffee, mixology, photography, design, interiors, architecture, and of course, blogging.  I'll have plenty of time to research and compare value of luxury goods, and am planning, amongst other projects, to have this done in time for Christmas.

I'm doing it chiefly for my own interest, and if any among you find it interesting, then great.

Some other things I have in the works:

  • My Dry Bar project
  • Coffee Bar/Bistro area
  • Patio/backyard redesign and landscaping
  • Outdoor brick oven/barbecue/fireplace project

The logistics of each, of course, subject to finances and city by-laws.

2019 is shaping up to be an interesting year for us...

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Cost of Luxury: Intro

We decided to do something different this year for Christmas.  This year, we decided to put the Christmas tree downstairs in the rec room, rather than rearrange the living room.

This meant finally rearranging the rec room, which is something I'd been putting off for months.  Keeping the post-holiday season in mind, we moved Astrid's play area to the south end of the room, creating a more open space for her with room to run around, while building a cozy space at the north end for reading and relaxing.

I had to unload my bookshelf, full of old issues of Dwell, Azure, Wallpaper*, and Metropolis, in order to move it.  Once everything had been moved to its intended spot, I sat back in my inexpensive Ikea rocking chair with a cup of hot chocolate, and cracked open an old issue of Wallpaper*.  Suddenly, an idea formed and was posted to Facebook:

Thinking about it further, I thought it would go well with the Cost of Luxury series I'm writing, and would add another dimension by showing depreciation, and possibly waste... two of my pet peeves.

Looks like I have more research ahead of me!

On another note, in the spirit of the holiday season, we here at State of Grace would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and all the best in the coming year.

Join us towards the end of the week for a look ahead at Dove Grace Design in 2018.

-Shaun, Jillian, Astrid, and Czarina

Friday, December 15, 2017

History Deletes Itself!

You may have noticed a change or two 'round these parts, specifically in the list of articles on this blog.

Notice yet?  Look a tad smaller..?

That's because I deleted all the old articles I'd brought over from my other blog, Conceit and Sociopathy, when I closed it a while back.  Rather than lose all my old work (such as it was), I moved it here as this blog was my focus.

Now that our home life has settled down, I'm finding more time for projects and writing again.  I've missed it, I really have.  I actually feel like writing and designing again, as opposed to going through the motions, and have enough material to sustain both blogs for a while.

My writing, creative works, and design-related stuff will be posted here.  My personal stuff will be found at C&S.

Currently, I'm working on a series of posts (on the other blog) about life experience and turning 45.  That will remain my focus for the next few weeks, but in my off-time, I'm working on a piece on luxury goods and high-end design from the middle-class perspective.  I hope to have that done by the end of the year, assuming I can keep my nose out of this month's Wallpaper, Azure, Dwell, and Metropolis...

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Designs on Design

Its official, I've resurrected my Dove Grace Design project.

It's languished for several years now, put on hold because of marriage, parenthood, work, home renos, moving, more renos, etc.  However, now that Jill, Astrid, and I are all settled in (and subsequently getting back to my old self), I can concentrate on my interests again.

Dove Grace was an alias/persona I developed in the early 2000s to counter Conceited Jerk, my main online persona (still in use here and rarely here).  Where Conceited Jerk was angry, cynical, and drunk, Dove was positive, polite, graceful, and a happy drunk.  CJ wanted Winnipeg to change, to modernize, to improve, but Dove loved Winnipeg how it was.

Toward the end of the last decade, after a number of lifestyle changes and with a different outlook on life, I decided I needed to focus on different things.  Having embraced the DIY/Repurposement ethic and Right to Repair movement, I thought I'd try my hand at design.  A few drawings in ImageFX on my Amiga later, Dove Grace Design was born.

A domain was purchased, the website built, and a couple of projects made it past the "scribbles on a napkin" stage and into a QCAD drawing.

Then... things happened (both good and otherwise) and everything was put on hold.  No prototypes were built.  No work was done.  The domain expired, and I didn't bother to renew it.

Now that everything is back to normal, I'm getting back into it.  Part (most) of my lab is now studio space, I have the best open source tools in my digital workspace, and my first project is to design the most vital tool I'll need: a wet bar!

All my projects will be housed here for the time being.

Now, let's get to work...

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Theory and praxis, theory and praxis...

I was recently reminded that when you need advice, there is no substitute for experience.

We've enjoyed warmer than normal temperatures in Winnipeg this past week, which reminded me that spring is (theoretically) only a few weeks away, which reminded me of the unrealistic plans I have for my backyard, which reminded me that I had no plans, only not-so-well-thought-out ideas.  Which is typical for me.  I kinda make it up as I go.

With dreams of sunny patios, flowers, and Hell-spawned mosquitos, I mentally put pen-to-paper and started drawing up a plan.  Having now a vague idea of what I wanted to do, I mentioned the ideas to Jill, who humored me.  Steps one and two done, step three: research!

Astrid was busy drawing Teletubbies on my tablet (I hope the crayon washes off), so I dug out my laptop and DDGed my topic.  My search brought up pages upon pages of Pinterest links, so to the world's virtual corkboard I went.

I spent a little over an hour going through the various pins related to my search and, while I came away with a few good ideas, I was left with no sense of how to implement them.  Either there's an expectation that I know what I'm doing, or people are fond of pinning things that look pretty without context.  Likely both...

Realizing I was left to my own devices, I went back to my search engine of choice and, after weeding out the Pinterest links and promoted ads, gleaned a little relevant information  (did you know it was Obama's fault that my potted plants died?  I didn't know his reach extended into Canada!).

I spent a little time on related internet forums and, judging from the posts, I'd say they were first cousins (rimshot).  Having gleaned little more information, I figured if I was going to have to deal with trolls, the unmedicated, and undiagnosed, I may as well go to their birthplace.

I went to the Usenet.  Ever experience the Usenet?  It's the uncentralized, international, unmoderated, unhinged grandfather of the Comments Section.  Think about that for a bit.

The Usenet was my last resort.  It was my last line of defense against getting off the couch and (horror!) actually talking to people in the physical realm.  If I'm going there for advice, I must be desperate!

Seriously though, apart from the lunatics, the only people still on the Usenet are us diehards.  So, I tried my luck and checked out a certain newsgroup in the rec. hierarchy.  To my delight, it was an active group with little spam, so I posted a couple of questions.  Within a couple of hours, I had my answer.  I'm currently having a pleasant exchange with a fellow diehard, who has offered a lot of practical advice.  Most of which I'll use!

Lucky break?  You bet.  The Usenet is mostly crap these days, but it's nice to know it can still be useful.