Tag Archives: Stuff Field

Scanning Station

Now, for something that will seem completely different because it looks, somehow, a little practical.

I used to use an all-in-one to scan stuff. And it always took up a huge amount of my time just to get the beast to work, use it (especially stuttering iiinn NNNammeeess wwwiiitthh a number keypad) and keeping the beast up to date and running.

Once I got a phone that was at least 12MP, I switched to using to using that as a scanner. “Installing software” is searching the app store for CamScanner. It’s the best free scanning app I’ve found and it runs on both iOS and Android. Now, naming is just as fast as thumbing a short tweet. I added a fold-up stand so the camera is instantly lined up with the document. And, for the final touch, an overhead light.

Scanning artsDFW with a Phone and fold-up scanner stand
Scanning artsDFW with a Phone and fold-up scanner stand

This is a first pass. I’ve learned to get something working well-enough and then constantly tweak it to work it better. The craftsmanship comes later. At this point, instead of sharing my first draft recipe, I’ll explain what’s behind each of the key choices I made.

If the light is even slightly uneven, the pictures give it away any so I hung the light (a cheap hardware store clamp light) overhead and put in a high wattage bulb to compensate for the angle.

I’ve never liked actually seeing the glowing bulbs, especially really bright ones, so I’ve angled the clamp light so the bulb can’t be seen while working (and, gravy, it can’t be seen from essentially everywhere else in the room).

Since three points define all surface in space, it’s hung with a triangular mount rigged up with a standard ceiling hook, some twine and the clamp that came with the light. The direction of the light is adjusted by turning the ceiling hook.

The power cord is routed out to a wall (a more finished solution than what I used is twist-tieing the cord to a screw set in the wall) and down to a powerstrip. “Setting up to scan” is tapping a power strip switch and putting the phone in the stand.

Just like the other things I make, this will never be finished unless I sell or gift it one. it will be changed and tuned and improved. What’s mattered and matters more than the specifics is the approach. It’s an approach that’s driven by the slow vibe, by focus on simplicity and by starting with what I have on hand. That’s easiest to illustrate with the materials here. The only thing that I purchased for this project was the fold-up scanner stand (maybe $12 on Amazon). The rest of the materials? Repurposed from years of stuff field deliveries.

Scanning Station: twine, ceiling hook, clamp-light, fold-up scanner stand
Scanning Station: twine, ceiling hook, clamp-light, fold-up scanner stand


weren’t exactly Dog ate my Homework (The Stuff Field)

Buddhism says that everything is an illusion to which at least one man replied they were (still) really great noodles. Other people say the only meaning events and things have is that which we give them. If that’s true, why not reimagine the forces that shape our lives as a set of fields comparable of those of the fundamental forces of physics including gravity, electricity.

The first one I noticed is the Stuff Field. For a while we were so poor

Stuff field as the event horizon nears collapse

that at the end of every month, we waited for G*d to parachute in the rent. Even though we couldn’t pay for the bills and afford food, the stuff. still. just. showed. up. I don’t mean that people brought us stuff. I mean that it literally just showed up. Maybe it was abandoned, maybe it fell off a truck, maybe it appeared out of thin air. Things just appear in the living room, on the driveway, on the backporch, in the trunk. When I tell people that there is a Stuff Field in America, a field that just naturally pulls stuff to everyone who lives here, the recognition shows up on their faces and they start nodding.

Over the last few years, the assortment of stuff that the field has pushed at us has spread into every room in our house: drinking glasses, a push broom, some hand tools, recycling tubs, scrap lumber and on and on until it’s become a standard part of the flow of stuff that eventually passes on from us to others. The latest thing the stuff field has pushed at me is an aqua green women’s bike. After three days of walking out with my first cup of coffee to ponder its aqua green stuff-ness, I surrendered and rolled it on to the porch. It has, by the way, two flat tubes but is otherwise functional and looking to be adopted by someone who appreciates its particular stuff-y-ness.

My wife and I keep discussing this American Stuff Field. We both agree that the stuff field is (on one hand) completely made up idea, and (on the other) a poetic way to reslice some truth about living in America today out of the illusion. And, this poetic truth can be tested. Like a science theory, it’s a model and it makes a prediction about stuff just showing up in essentially inexplicable ways. Help me test my theory. If you can think of at least one notable item that has “just appeared” in your life, comment or tweet it with the hashtag #stuffField