Archive for the 'Inventions' Category

September is Personal Song Writing Month!

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

HEAR YE! In September of 2016 I do hereby promise to produce thirty crappy, corny, low-fi demo recordings, one for each day of the month, with which I will thoroughly expose myself in an online public forum … just to see if I can still do that.

I’m committing publicly to this because I absolutely must break through whatever strange inner resistance has been slowly strangling my ability to make music over the last several years. All I want is to sing, to play, and to get some use out of this pile of instruments and recording devices I’ve been carrying around my whole life. That should be easy!
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Bytebots Assemble!

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Even I do not fully understand my robot fetish … but it does feel good to have a fetish!

A bunch of these little yodeling robo-pals were going to be my awesome 2015 Christmas presents. Instead, they are the prototypes for my even-awesomer 2016 presents. I call them Bytebots because the music they play is called Bytebeat — although really it’s a specific approach to computer-generated musicnoise that’s been around for a long time, and is currently experiencing a bit of a revival. More about Bytebeat later — it’s really interesting!
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Robot Overlords … attack!

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Finally I can say I made some robots!

Overlord Manga

I have always been fascinated by noisemaking devices, and for years I’ve been hoarding unwanted speakers, amplifiers and tape decks in my garage. Lately I’m in a closet-cleaning mood, so I conceived an art project around the idea of pushing these beautiful old machines out into the world.
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Snazzy Portland Cometh!

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Hello universe … nice hat! Please lend me your undivided attention for this Public Service Announcement!

There once was a band of malcontent street musicians known as The Bad Mintons, who embarked on a noble quest to serenade drunk people out of their spare change and cigarettes. The Mintons earned their money the hard way, and they spent it on the hard stuff. Whiskey was their muse, tobacco was their breakfast, and the Devil was their personal friend.
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THE SNAZZ IS NEAR!

Monday, May 7th, 2012

SNAZZY PORTLAND — the epic music video for the smooth-metal superhit of the same name — is nigh upon complete! Kudos to Rick Kent of Kentwood, California for taking on the crucial dual roles of editor & taskmaster, and driving this sucker out the front door!
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A Letter From Shantytown!

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Freezing Greetings from the 2011 Art Shanty Projects!

The Neighborhood

This is the first moment I’ve had in six days to pause and document stuff since I landed at MSP last Tuesday and dived immediately to work on our contribution to this biannual festival of art, architecture and strange behavior on frozen Medicine Lake in Plymouth, MN.

Early Recordings

Despite all our long-distance planning we got a severely late start on the actual construction of our shanty. By the time I arrived Brady had organized a workspace, tools, materials and a lovely recycled platform donated by members of the 2010 Vista Shanty team. The two of us worked around the clock for three days straight, and with the aid of some very helpful volunteers our Audio Adventure Shanty just barely squeaked in under the official Friday night deadline for installation on the lake.
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Chunks Ahoy!

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

The crew of the S. S. Snakebite (photo: Libby Borte)

I’ve just returned from an excellent near-death experience, courtesy of our local post-apocalyptic bicycle buccaneers known as C.H.U.N.K. 666 . We rode amphibious bicycles across the Willamette River, battled aqua-Nazi CHUDs, claimed Ross Island as our own nation, roasted weenies, amused the Coast Guard, drank whiskey and got home in time for tea.

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CHUNK are the original Portland bike freaks — they put the rest to shame. I first wrote about them for the Portland Mercury way back in 2000, and they’ve only gotten worse since. The Chunkathlon, their yearly gladiatorial melee, was elevated to a higher plane of existence several years ago because they broke this one. The core team members have all grown, mutated and metastasized. Some have been raising a new generation of bicycle warlords. Others are writing books, playing the viola, doing jail time. Chunk 666 has kept such a low profile lately, some people have even dared to suggest they ride no longer.

But fuck those people. Chunk is still chunking along; they do it for themselves, not you. Last weekend’s ride was on the Willamette River. On it, not next to it. Try that on your fixie.
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The Creative Spark!

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

UPDATEDZ! Core77 now has a ton of photos online, some video too. Here are great pix and a play-by-play of the complete fab process (trés fab!) and here are a bunch more action shots of the float conquering Portland.

I haven’t blogged about this much, but last month I was tangentially involved in helping the good folks over at Hand-Eye Supply light up their float for the Starlight Parade with about 1000 feet of animated extra-thick electroluminescent wire.

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Project Unicorn!

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Hello everybody! Sorry it’s been so quiet over here … I’ve been preoccupied with unicorns.

The last three months have been rainy, indoorish months for me and Portland. Writing books is still my day job, but I’ve also be surprisingly, enjoyably, annoyingly busy with these smart lights. It’s been an educational odyssey: so far it’s required circuit-board fabrication, AVR programming in C and assembler, iPhone hacking, waterjet cutting, lamp design, bicycle maintainence, and lots and lots (lots!) of soldering. I’ve enjoyed it all, but what a time sink! (If only I could flip one of these AVR pins to source time instead of sinking it …)

Something about blinking, glowing light is still compelling to me, but I really do hope that the sun will come out soon and I’ll lose interest in this weak substitute. The goal I’ve set for myself is to have these lights mounted on my tallbike in time for Pedalpalooza, Portland’s three-week bicycling festival. I’ve always wanted ambulance lights on my tallbike, and these should provide the required traffic-shifting pep.
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Wuholic!

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Everything needs a name, deformed things moreso. “Wuholic” is what I’m calling the new theme on Gesine Kratzner’s website. It’s a fusion of Jeff Ngan’s lovely Wu-Wei theme for WordPress and the Flash-based design of her old site, courtesy of Picaholic.com . It launched today, just in time for Gesine’s big TV moment.
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