I got a new drafting chair this week. It’s a “Safco 3442GR Metro Extended Height Swivel/Tilt Chair” and I can already tell it’s better than my “Martin’s Universal Designs” one. Mind you, the chair that I bought in about 1991 and used until about 2008 was a “Martin’s Universal Designs” chair and that one was great. I liked that chair a lot until it finally broke and I couldn’t fix it. I liked it enough to order another chair of the same brand. But they sure don’t make them like they used to.

The second Martin’s Universal Designs chair (it was red) broke about an hour after I got it out of the package. It was a weld that broke. Nothing structural. It was one of the levers that was used to adjust the angle of the back. Annoying but it only took a vice-grip in place of the lever to adjust the angle. I tried to get some satisfaction with the vendor I ordered it from, mercantila.com, but they were less than helpful. I’ll never order anything from them again. I even curse them every time they send me an e-mail. Which, of course, is often since I’m now on their customer list.

The next thing that went was because the center post/pneumatic tube, which sits in the middle of the wheel base, isn’t the correct size. The manufacturing tolerances are off. As I sat on the chair (and I mostly stand and work so the chair doesn’t get a heavy work load) the center post slowly and imperceptibly was driven down through the wheel base until months after I bought it the center post was scraping the floor. I’ve never seen that happen in a drafting chair and I worked at a place that had tons of drafting chairs. Sure chairs break but the center tube always stays in place.

The red chair finally became next to unusable when the plastic ring that holds the metal tube in place broke. That made the chair sway from side to side if it was at its full height and I always sat on it at its full height. It would be okay as a regular height chair if it wasn’t made so poorly. A lot of the other minor plastic pieces were crumbling and breaking as time went by. That and the center post scraping the floor make it a pretty poor chair. Horrible even.

The new chair (which is grey) seems to be much better made from the get go. Nothing broke right away and nothing has broken since I’ve been using it. The plastic doesn’t seem brittle and it looks better built from top to bottom. Safco seems to be more on the ball. I bought the chair from Amazon.com because I buy a lot of stuff from them and I know they have a good return policy in case I get a lemon. No more unknown vendors for me.

After my bad experience with the red drafting chair I was not going to buy one sight unseen but there are just no places around here that sell drafting chairs. I got my 1991 chair at Pearl Paint in Paramus New Jersey but I don’t ever get over to those parts anymore. Almost all of my art supplies are purchased over the internet except for those I get at the local A.C. Moore. Arts and crafts stores tend not to have drafting chairs and I had no interest in going on a long quest for one. I’ve grown tired of quests.

There are plenty of office stores that sell chairs but none of them are drafting chairs. Drafting chairs are like a normal office chair except they go higher. Since my computer and drawing table are set up for me to work standing I need a chair that’s at about my standing height. Drafting chairs tend to be a little shorter than standing height but that’s okay. I only use the chair for a small portion of my day so I can reach for a little while.

I haven’t bought any other art supplies in some time. I stocked up over the winter so I’m good for now. I was going to get an iPad 2 but they’re hard to come by. I’ll have to wait until supply catches up with demand. I pretty much bought every marker I’ll ever need this past winter so there has been no need to get any more of them. I’m also stocked up on paint and canvas for the moment. Printer ink is an expensive pain in the ass. I hate buying it but there always seems to be a need. At fifteen bucks a cartridge you can go broke fast. I think that just about every time I finish a print one cartridge or another need replacing.

I did finish a print this week necessitating that I buy a new blue ink cartridge. I use a lot of blue in my prints so that’s the color that needs to be replaced most. I had to mess around with my Photoshop color settings in order to get the print done. For some reason the settings were really off. I do a lot of my prints in Illustrator as vector art but sometimes print them through Photoshop. I printed a file through Illustrator and things were fine but when I printed the same file through Photoshop the colors, though the same on-screen, printed wildly wrong. I eventually got things to print correctly but I still have no idea why they printed incorrectly in the first place.

I even re-made the “Moment In Time” cards that I printed two weeks ago. The first printings had a yellowish cast to them that I didn’t notice at the time I made them. I figured I’d live with the yellowish cast since the cards weren’t made for anything but my own contemplation but then all I could contemplate was that yellowish cast. It drove me to distraction so I threw them out and started again. They came out much better since I corrected my Photoshop color settings. The sunshine looks like sunshine again. Now i can think.

An odd thing happened to me the other week. I usually finish my five “Four Talking Boxes” comic strips for the following week on Thursday mornings. I don’t know why. It’s just ended up that way. I used to finish them one a day or on Sundays but neither of those habits stuck and somehow Thursday mornings became the time I worked on my strips. I write them all week on no set schedule. Whenever I have the time to write one I do but Thursday is the time to finish them.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a lot of strips early. Then things conspired
to leave me nothing to do on a Monday morning. I was tired and having a hard time concentrating on anything so I decided that rather than waste the day I would get my strips finished. So I did. I was quite proud that I managed to get things done in the low energy state I was in. Plus I got things done early. Always a thrill.

That’s when the odd thing happened. I got a little annoyed that my strips were already finished. Now what was I going to do on Thursday morning? It was a completely silly and pointless feeling but was there none the less. What was extra weird was that I was a little tired of my routine of getting the strips done on Thursday morning. I was even thinking about changing it up. Now I’ll leave it as it is. If it isn’t broken I won’t try to fix it.

So that’s the news from around these parts. Anything happening out there?