I’ll be at Penguicon again this year (April 28–30).But instead of just sitting on a few panels and mooching a lot of free drinks, I wanted to do something extra special.So this year I’m spending the entire weekend building something extra special for you to experience and interact with—and for the Slinkies to finally be heard.
Won’t you join me—and the Slinkies—before it’s too late?
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 freeJunkyard Jam Pack PDF!
I love, love, love(!!!) seeing and hearing the projects my readers build, and sharing them with folks thinking about how they want to tackle these same projects. First up is Jason Jaknunas’s take on the Bleepbox 8-Step Analog Sequencer (Project 16 in Junkyard Jam Band)—which is easily the best version of this I’ve ever seen (it totally leaves mine in the dust, and I designed the damn thing!)
Everything is just so sweet and just-right here: the knobs, the brushed aluminum label, the wood cheeks, the grommets padding out the LEDs, the labels—but also the little things, the visual balance among the elements, the use of different sizes of knob on different functions. Give it a look, then give it a listen. So rad!
This one is pretty interesting if you stick with it; what you no doubt initially take to be a precursor to the 8-track is playing cartridges loaded with ribbon-based analog records(!!!). The macro-lens bit at around 5:20 gives you an example of both the sound (pretty damn solid) and the mechanism (OMFG! Wünderbar!) Hilarious remote control, too.
(FYI, that caption was Wordpress’s suggested—and I love it!!!)
o_OThe thing that makes this one, for me, is how the strings are anchored in the eye sockets(!!!) The Met has several of these—from different generous donors and almost certainly different artisans—and they all use the eye sockets and brow ridge as a saddle and bridge. Humans, amiright?
N.B. that, according to current expert opinion, this thing—which is indeed from Central Africa, where it was crafted in the 19th C by a native artisan—was produced for no other purpose than to sell something fantastically “primitive” and “savage” to European tourists/anthropologists (and thus inform European opinions of these nations and, in all likelihood, form the foundation of the moral justifications for brutal colonialism). I invite the reader to meditate on their own how this might mirror our current situation with imported polarizing/fake news, and who the greater savage might be: The supplier who makes the ersatz evidence, or the customer who furnishes the demand and shells out the cash?
Here’s the thing about dictatorial violations (be they as outrageous as genocide or as comparably mild as yelling at a barista for wishing a “Happy Holidays!”):
They rarely have the support of the majority of the population—and certainly never start with even half the population on board.Atrocities don’t require the majority’s active participation; they just need the majority’s active acquiescence.And the majority will acquiesce even to the most terrible crimes as long as those aren’t too far outside the norm.The wider the margin between “normal” and “atrocity,” the safer we all are; a pot that’s not allowed to even simmer can never boil over.
So here’s a game plan for keeping the Melting Pot lukewarm:
Learn these three sentences:
An honestly curious“I’m not sure I follow you?”(Other options: “Hunh; why do you think that?”)
A bemused: “You don’t really believe that, do you?”
A stern: “Not OK, dude.”Not angry—never angry, because anger energizes the mob—but stern, like scolding a dog or child.
Practice saying your sentences in a mirror. Make sure you’re getting the emotion right for each, and not getting angry.
Use these in person—over the phone or in conversation, your voice in their ear, your eyes on theirs.This tactic doesn’t work online or in print; it’s a matter of emotional connection, and that connection is made one-on-one, person-to-person.
Use this tactic with family and friends and coworkers and guys who are sorta being dicks in the coffee shop.Use it freely and often and in good humor. Connect and connect and connect and connect with your fellow humans, always keep them a little nervous about that “off-color joke” or that “innocent” cat call or “telling it like it is.”
Note that 1.1 and 1.2 are questions—because you always want to knock people off balance, and oblige them to question their beliefs and justify them (even if only internally).1.3 is simple, obvious, disengaged dissaproval.You wouldn’t argue with a child about running out in the street or a dog about whether or not your leg is for humping; you give a sharp “Nope!” and move on with your life.The same here.No one ever argued their way out of a genocide, but plenty of awfulness has been prevented by scolding grannies and scoffing naysayers.
Remember: If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing, then the only thing needed for evil to falter is for good folks to do something—shit, almost anything, just as long as you aren’t sitting on your hands, biting your tongues, and looking the other way.Looking the other way is exactly what the lynch mob wants you to do.
I’m a mixed Jew who’s lived in the American Midwest for his entire life. I think these songs, more than anything else I’ve ever written, are honest about that experience.
Another Dark Xmastime (FUN FACT: I wrote this during my first year as a fundamentally unemployable stay-at-home dad; my son believes it is an accepted part of the general Xmas Music Canon.)
Dreidel Bells (FUN FACT: The beat here is an original GameBoy running an early German Nanoloop cartridge. Both voices are obviously me, but the filters for the robot voice badly overburdened my iBook, causing significant lag–which is why Mr. Roboto struggles so badly to hit his marks.)
DreidelDreidelDreidel (FUN FACT: The beat here is a vintage analog Boss DR-55 once owned by POE, crammed through a heavy-metal distortion stompbox.)
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)