26 August 2015
21 August 2015
17 August 2015
I probably spend way too much time on Google+ having deeply intellectual debates with idiots. It's one of those cases where the other person almost has a point, but take it a little too far to the point of absurdity, cutting off their nose to spite their face while writing it off as "just a flesh wound". I don't have a problem with opinions, but I think Harlan Ellison put it best,
"You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your INFORMED opinion."
There's always at least one curious turn the discussion takes that often reminds me why I left Tumblr (which I've learned is Slavic for "Trigger"). The other person takes their foot out of their mouth long enough to start asking personal questions, even though I don't really go out of my way to hide my identity (I'm pseudonymous, not anonymous). Basically, they're trying to root out my agenda (which is Icelandic for "Privilege"). This might be fair if they weren't trying to filter my position through a strainer woven from false dichotomies, as in, "I'd only speak in favor of teaching evolution in schools if I hated God by way of some personal tragedy, a la the Epicurean Paradox*."
The fact of the matter is that devoutly, pedantically religious people are afraid of ideas. They're afraid because God is an idea, an idea for a benevolent creator deity concocted by scared, lonely shepherds in the Middle Eastern desert to reconcile their insignificance with their existence. What scares them is that many other people the world over had the same idea. It may not look that way because the idea is dressed up in culture and history and conflict, but underneath all that, they're all alike. When people realize this, suddenly they become harder for those in power to control and dance to the beat of their particular drum. Marilyn Manson put it best, "I don't hate God. I hate his fan club." In the end, if you're focusing on the medium instead of the message, it means you're all out of ideas.
I normally try to avoid gradients in vector art (except maybe for backgrounds), but I think it's really fitting for this one.
*(which is an old Iroquois slur that roughly translates to, "God can't hear you and he probably thinks you suck anyway")
14 July 2015
I am on a roll with picking up cigar boxes. Went to another grocery store a little farther away than my typical one, and found these two (this Camacho box is practically furniture, it's so decadent). Had to kinda play the squeak-wheel-get-grease game which I hate playing; I hate being pushy like that and I hate putting people on the spot when they're just doing they're jobs (and I've worked retail and customer service, so I speak from experience). In my defense, I had no intention of pushing the issue if it was a legitimate store policy (like sending them back to the distributor as proof of sale or something). Also, the kid just handed me the keys to the case from over the customer service counter. That's plain irresponsible. Lastly, given that our dialogue on the matter boiled down to:
"If you don't give them away or sell them, what do you do with them?"
"I don't know."
I don't think it's unreasonable to set a precedent. To his credit, he offered to call up the head honcho and get some clarification. He came over and said it was cool to give them away as long as they were empty. I guess they've had a problem with people simply offering to take the boxes before their contents have been sold off. That's understandable given that some of these boxes are humidors.
12 July 2015
It's not the brand I was looking for and there's a small crack near the lid, but it's got an interesting shape and it didn't cost me a dime. A quick grocery run for some frozen vegetables and a watch battery led to me finding this empty box atop the cigar display case near the customer service counter. A rep asked me if I needed anything out of the case. I turned to him and said I was interested in the box. He seemed a little disappointed, then thought a moment before saying, "You can have it." I was all set to interrupt his thoughts with an offer, but I lucked out.
Incidentally, I was ready to put the cigar box idea on hold that very morning when I got the idea of using decorative tape on a Christmas tin for another quad synth. I've also decided to sacrifice a Star Wars tin I got with a pen to the cause.
07 July 2015
My Arduino-based synth is effectively bricked for the time being. It's not because of technical difficulties beyond the makers of a toggle switch not wiring their own product properly, but because if I'm going to do this, it's got to be done right. Plain project enclosures are fine for starting out or maybe if you wanted to sell your electronic creations. However, instruments should be unique, even if it's all cosmetic customization.
After looking around at some lacquer Bento boxes, which hold promise, pretty much all DIY synth tutorials and enthusiasts led back to the same resource: cigar boxes.
Specifically, the kind I'm looking for is from a company called Cohiba. I like them because the boxes are black (I'll save the wood grain for more Atari Punk Consoles) and, most importantly, their name looks and sounds an awful lot like Toshiba. The first time I saw their name, I did a double-take; even the font is vaguely similar. It's too good a piece of irony to pass up. Of course, eBay is a good resource for empty cigar boxes, but there's a small tendency for markups. Cigars are meant to be savored, so there's not much turnaround. Cohiba in particular seems to be quite popular with collectors (I wonder how many of them are making synths as well), so I thought I'd be clever and try to find some cigar boxes locally. I went to a nearby grocery store to scout out the selection and see who I had to sweet talk into selling me one. Smoke shops have this down to an art form, as I understand it.
When I got there, I discovered something that would have never occurred to me would be a genuine thing people do.
There's a waiting list.
Some boxes have Post-It notes on them with names and numbers, plainly visible. Seriously, the fits people throw over privacy agreements on Facebook and Playstation Network, and here's someone's name and number in a glass case by the checkout lanes at a grocery store. If I want a cigar box from a grocery store, I have to wait until that particular brand is sold out before I get a call, during which time my name and number will be on display. I somehow doubt even the greenest cigar aficionado thinks of the place they buy beer and steaks as their go-to spot for cigars, so I'd be waiting on that call for months on end.
So, eBay it is, then. Harumph.