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Acoustic Footboard

After years of playing around with electronic footboards, I'm thinking of going back to an acoustic one. Even though my most recent electronic one is more expressive in a lot of ways, and a big improvement over what I was doing before, it still doesn't feel as much like an instrument as I'd like it to. So I decided to try out making something simple:

This is a sheet of 3/4" plywood with a piezo pickup glued to the top. Where my toe goes I've stapled a piece of sheet metal I had lying around from another project. On the bottom are four pieces of Sorbothane, a vibration-absorbing rubber-like thing:

The glue is the same flexible cyanoacrylate I used before, and really this is very similar in materials and design to my footboard v2.

Unlike with standard "French-Canadian feet" I play it barefoot. The heel gets a thumpy kick drum sound, and I slap the toe to get a higher pitched snare-like or rim-like sound. I can play it with one foot, alternating heel and toe, or with two feet.

I need to add a little cover to protect the piezo from getting bumped and making a very loud noise. I also want to experiment with using the signal both acoustically and electronically (to trigger midi sounds) at the same time. And I want to try putting a hard little piece of wood on a spring that I can bring my heel down on to get a clean sharp tap. I'm not sure yet if this will fully replace my electronic foot percussion or whether I'll use both.

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Bathroom Plans

Here's what our second floor currently looks like:

If you look in the lower right hand corner, you can see that you have to walk through the room labeled "bedroom #1" to get to the room labeled "enclosed porch". It would be a lot more flexible to have these as fully independent rooms, so we're planning to take part of the bathroom for a hall:

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Snowpants

Growing up, snowpants were for playing in snow. If we were going out to play and there was snow on the ground, we wore them, otherwise we just wore the same pants we had on indoors. This winter with our kids, though, we've started giving them snowpants any time it's cold. So much better! Instead of them getting cold quickly, we just came back in from 1.5hr playing outside.

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Taking someone aside

(This is written with the contra dance community in mind, but is reasonably general.)

Let's say you're on a safety committee at a dance, or an organizer or something, and someone's causing a problem. Maybe you've gotten reports that they're hurting people, dancing too close, or not taking no for an answer. You've talked as a organizing group, their behavior doesn't justify an immediate ban, and now it's time to talk to the person in question to get them to stop. How do you go about that?

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Facebook Donation Match

For the last three years Facebook has offered donation matching on Giving Tuesday (11/27) where the first $X to be donated is matched 1:1. In general, I'm pretty skeptical about donation matches: much of the time when someone tells you you can "double your donation" that's not really what's going to happen. Specifically, if I donate $X, the charity ends up about $X richer than if I hadn't donated, not the $2X I might have been led to believe.

In this case, though, there's a $7M pool of money that will go first-come-first-served. This is more or less distributing money to charities more or less in proportion to how organized and coordinated their donors are, and I think that's something the EA community can do really well with! Here's what you do:

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Legal questions around safety committees

As communities try to do a better job preventing and limiting abuse, harassment, etc, one common approach has been to put together a committee to hear reports and investigate problems (example). For a community that exists in isolation, my understanding is that there aren't really open legal questions: they can take action up to and including banning as needed. Where this gets tricky, though, is with coordination between groups.

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