Just a quick one: For folks who are having trouble with writer’s block (either in their professional or creative work), I’ve put together this little week-long clinic. Totally free, no strings attached. My gift to you. Check it out:
I finally got my butt in gear and put together a tidy lil clearinghouse of my free-to-read science fiction and horror available online. Check it out!
Read the novelette Tribble-inventor David Gerrold called “a very disturbing story”—for FREE!
Promotion ends tonight, so grab your copy now, and spread the word.
The story starts like this
Tate didn’t like how the kid was acting. The teenaged male in the second-hand cruiser’s back seat—who could produce no ID, but had given the moderately improbable name of “Jamal Kartazian”—was far too compliant. As a rule, kids like this—scrawny white boys with lumpy dreadlocks and grimy hoodies—were a spewing font of the Three Bs: bravado, back-peddling, and begging.
But not this kid. Jamal Kartazian was cool and collected; he almost seemed satisfied to find himself locked in the back of a cop car. And, in contrast to every other kid Tate had ever busted in his short two-act career as first a cop and then a rent-a-cop, this kid was actually asking to be “hauled back to the station.”
. . . and goes downhill from there: “The Lure of Lake 19” by David Erik Nelson
A reader recently asked for audio samples of a few projects from my first book, so I made this quick lil video:
(Daaaaamn does that fuzz tone wail—and it’s literally ~$5 in parts!)
You might need headphones to hear the detail on the straight tremolo, but the throb becomes really pronounced at the end when I chain the two effects together.
In the process of uploading that demo video, I stumbled across this guy’s build of the Single-Chip Space Invader synth from my most recent book. Oh, man, do I love that Star Wars lunchbox he used as a case! So rad!
Any of this look rad? You can download a “jam pack” of complete projects drawn from both books. Click here now to get your free Junkyard Jam Pack PDF!
Once again it’s that very special time of year when I remind you that it’s hella easy to make your own booze, appropriate for gift-giving or general drunkification. (That link goes to my time-tested E-Z DIY Limoncello recipe; make it now, give it during Xmas/Xanukah week, get super-popular in the Dark Days of the Unconquered Son/Sun)
My alt-reality horses-and-highways serial sci-fi story is rounding the home stretch over at Motor1.com! You can now read the entire story in one go; enjoy this FREE READ for your Friday!
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said, ‘Faster horses!'”—attributed to Henry Ford
Fist fights, affable drunks, and belligerent horses! Check it out: “The Faster Horse” (part four of four)
Installment number two of my latest alt-reality serial story for Motor1.com is now up and ready! Learn what crazy contraption could possibly replace the huge, angry highway horses we all know and love—and how they hell you’d make the damn thing move!
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said, ‘Faster horses!'”
—attributed to Henry Ford
“The Faster Horse” (part two of four)
One of my goals with the projects in Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred was to present designs that–both in terms of the functional guts and the finish aesthetics–could be adapted to suit both your own tastes and the supplies you could easily get. For example, the grill on the Dirt-Cheap Amp is an old computer power supply fan cover–which just happened to be the perfect size to secure my 8 ohm speaker (itself torn out of a broken Barbie boom box). I’ve also had good luck pulling grills off of old/broken small appliances I’ve gotten for free as resale shop rejects or garage sale leftovers. As far as new sources, check out your local hardware store, where there are many neat vent, drain, and recessed-lighting covers (the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC aisles are always profitable places to search for neat fittings, in my experience).
Upholstering Your Amp
Failing all else, you can cover the front of the amp in fabric (as is standard in the old school Fender guitar amps). When doing a fabric cover, I like to start with a double-layer of nylon window-screen mesh, which protects the paper cone of the speaker from getting dinged. Double up the mesh, then cut a square at least a few inches bigger than your speaker hole and staple it in place around the perimeter of the screen (you can, of course, cover the entire front of your speaker cabinet in screen, which will make your amp look a bit more pro. I sort of like the look of the doubled mesh, but if it doesn’t work for you aesthetically, you can recover it with basically any single layer of fabric (going the Fender Tweed Amp road, for example). In terms of finish, you can pull the fabric all the way around the lid and staple it from behind (thin fabric won’t usually cause you much grief in terms of getting the cigar box to close once you finish). A few brass-headed furniture tacks added to the edging of the front of the fabric cover, or framing it out in thin strips of wood or brass, will give the amp really slick look.
Using Weird Speakers
Folks occasionally ask me if this design–which calls for an 8 ohm speaker–will work with lower impedance speakers. I’ve tested this out, and had the amp work perfectly with 3 and 4 ohm speakers I’ve scrounged out of old boom boxes. I’ve also had decent results with speakers as high as 16 ohms. So, if you’re salvaging parts, feel free to grab those 3, 4, and 6 ohm speakers as well as the 8s. If you find your non-standard speaker distorting, you might wanna monkey around with the pin 1 to pin 8 jumper: some amps built around “non-8” speakers work better with pin 1 and pin 8 connect with plain old wire (as in the base design shown in the book), others work better with that connection omitted altogether, and some need the gain-boost that comes with connecting pins 1 and 8 using an electrolytic capacitor (as described in the “Tweaking the Amp” section of that project).
DIY Music Freebies
UPDATE: You can now get a free “Jam Pack” of musical projects from my first two books!