January 2024 Summary


This was mostly a month for reports and documentation, with only a tiny bit of production and other activities.


Used updated edit of S1E01-LA sequence to make a timing audio track, then revised the audio mix in Audacity to match. Also converted to the new unitary “Audacity 3” format.

This is a prerequisite to finishing up the animation sequences in the Launch sequence, since I need to match timing on voice lines and sound effects.

Collected some BlendSwap keyboard props and some robots. I can use the keyboards more-or-less as-is to dress the Mission Control Room set, and I might kitbash Allen’s robots for S1E04 “Earth”.

Applied Lunatics NPR3D ink & paint styling to a small Cyrillic keyboard model from BlendSwap.

Small Cyrillic keyboard by Gunderthump @ BlendSwap (CC By 3.0), modified to match the “Lunatics!” NPR3D “ink & paint” look.

A low-poly full-size standard (English/Roman) keyboard by simserg @ BlendSwap (CC-0), modified to match the “Lunatics!” look.

The Mission Control Room set is mostly finished, but it is lacking some set-dressing items like the computer keyboards, mice, telephones, and other items on the desks.


I found a method to convert the summary posts to Markdown and thence to static HTML, using wordpress-export-to-markdown (recommended by my old FSM colleague Ryan Cartwright) and Pelican.

I learned that WordPress will allow HTML table formatting, and this provides an alternative to using WordPress galleries, which conversion
programs don’t know what to do with. Many of the available Pelican themes, however, do a very bad job with laying out tables:

I don’t really understand what the layout engine is doing with this table, but it’s clearly a mess!

I searched through all the available Pelican themes to find ones which handled my files well. Table layout was one of the most sensitive issues. Handling of images and captions was also an issue. In the end, the one that seemed to do the best was “Taman”, although the default appearance is pretty silly:

Default appearance of the “taman” Pelican theme. The giant blue smiley looks pretty silly to me, but the layout of text, images, and tables was the best of the ones I tested.

I prepared a design in Inkscape, with the main changes I wanted for a custom “Lunatics!” theme — mainly colors and fonts.

Then I used that to guide modification of the CSS and templates, to create a new “taman-lunatics” theme:

Taman-Lunatics theme for Pelican, with modified sidebar, and fonts designed to match our other sites.

I prepared the annual archives and annual reports for 2023, then did
the same for 2022, which I didn’t do last year. I also created a “2022 Year’s Progress” like the ones for 2021 and 2023 for that.

I burned these to M-Disc BD-R media.

Annual Archive cover for 2023 reports, worklogs, and data archive.
2022 report/archive set. I didn’t create this last year, so I did it this January to catch up.

Backlog Production Log Summaries: 2016-2017

I also noticed a large gap in the Production Log from 2016 through 2017, and so I filled that in, by redacting and revising the “History” videos I produced in 2020, to make publishable videos for each month in 2017, as well as a single timelapse video for the Render Cluster project.

I had created monthly summary videos for 2017, based on available clips in 2020, but they needed to be redacted and reduced to publish.
A major project in 2017 was assembling and animating the Press Conference scene.
Much of the work on the “Touring Baikonur” sequence was done in 2016. This shows another stock item from BlendSwap and where it appears in the sequence: Fire Extinguiser, by JSJetStream @ BlendSwap (CC-0).

I also created summary posts for each month in 2017, and then for April to December of 2016.

These are now available on this site:

APR2016, MAY2016, JUN2016, JUL2016, AUG2016, SEP2016, OCT2016, NOV2016, DEC2016

JAN2017, FEB2017, MAR2017, APR2017, MAY2017, JUN2017, JUL2017, AUG2017, SEP2017, OCT2017, NOV2017, DEC2017.

This was, possibly, an excessive amount of work on this stuff. I logged over 98 hours on it in January, but it felt really good to document this era.

Render Cluster Videos (2017)

I also published a video I found of the entire construction process on the Render Cluster (up to the point where my brilliant power supply system proved not to be viable):

Optimistically labeled “Part 1”, since I still hope to get back to this project with a more conventional power supply approach.

Prior to that, I have “Patreon Newsletters” going back to mid-2014. Before that, I have posts from the old Plone blog, Kickstarters, and direct WordPress blog posts. So that means there are no major gaps in coverage now, although I haven’t decided how to handle the newsletters (I could convert them to WordPress posts and thus give them a similar style, but they are already static HTML, so I could just use them as-is.

Adjusted Summary Article Backdating

Previously, I had been dating each Summary article at precisely midnight — the minute after the month in question had finished, but this produces confusing dates, especially if I use the option to separate my logs into folders by year.

So I went through the entire Production Log, and shifted them all back by one minute to 23:59 on the last day of each month.

Of course, they’re all backdated, anyway. I thought it would be really hard to figure out if they were dated by when I actually posted them.

Static HTML for Production Log?

I am considering the possibility of switching this production log over to Pelican before long, which is part of the reason I’m putting this much energy to figuring out how to migrate posts. Clearly, it would simplify my workflow, if posts were natively stored in Markdown format, which is easier to convert for my annual archives, and indeed, the entire site could be archived as-is for this purpose, if it’s static to begin with.

Another option would be to keep the WordPress blog, but convert the older posts to a static HTML online archive.

Yet another option is to use a Federated blog, like WriteFreely or Plume, and then migrate those posts to a static HTML archive.

I haven’t decided about that.

I have decided that this is a pretty big time sink, and that I want to spend more time on production in February.


Of course, I calculated and filled out our Profit & Loss statement for 2023 (spoilers: it was a loss of about $3000, financially). Then I filed the legally required 1065 Partnership return.


Tried, but failed to start the emergency generator. We didn’t need it, but I was concerned, because we had another long cold snap. These are becoming more common, due to climate change.


No construction for Lunatics Project or Anansi Spaceworks, but I did need to spend a lot of time this month on remodeling our bathroom, so this affected my available time (theoretically anyway — since I logged 112 hours on the computer anyway, I guess I worked pretty hard in January).

Video Timelapse

This video shows the entirety of the production work, and just some clips from the documentation work (which was actually a LOT more time on the whole — but probably a bit boring to watch).


Had a look at the studio roof this month. I painted this all a few years ago with a (supposedly) rust-inhibiting paint, but the rust situation is getting kind of bad. I’m probably going to wind up needing to either weld patches over this stuff or start using elastomeric roofing compound on it:

Lots of patches of rust, mostly down the west side of the studio roof. I am not happy about this.
Light dusting of snow, and temperatures well below freezing for at least three days.

We had another “polar vortex escape” event this January, with a long freeze.

This used to be extremely rare in Texas: we’d typically get nightly freezes, but not continuous ones that last for days. The low was something like 9 F (-13 C), which is unusually cold as well, but the duration was the real issue. A lot of our construction is not designed for this! Anyway, my pipes exploded when it thawed. Not much of a surprise, there. So that was a fun bit of emergency repair work.

With the changes in climate, this kind of cold snap is becoming more common here, and I will need to upgrade our construction to handle it better.

Also pictured: the frustratingly ineffective generator. I let the thing sit too long with running it, and it just wouldn’t start. I think I’m going to have to open up the carburetor to clean up the fuel line. I hate small engine repair even more than auto engine repair. Give me a computer to fix, damn it!

On the other hand, the heat pump I installed last Summer is really earning its keep. I was able to work comfortably at my desk, right through the cold snap. I did boost it a little with a space heater, but this was much better than in previous years.

Chopsticks lying on a fork. Somehow, I feel this means something.


Avatar photo
Terry Hancock is the director and producer of "Lunatics!" and the founder for "Lunatics Project" and the associated "Film Freedom" Project. Misskey (Professional/Director Account) Mastodon (Personal Account)