Okay, so, first of all, this site is getting replaced by a new Wordpress blog when I have the opportunity, and the posts will be restored with the original timestamps and everything.
Secondly, the care and feeding of my arcade cabinet has been very fulfilling so far, both for me, and for the cabinet’s coin box.
I’m launching the first of several arcade-related projects, all of which will eventually be found at a new site I made to keep it separate.
I must say, it’s absolutely exquisite. :D
He’s also auctioning off the only one he didn’t make for any particular person. Complete with really nifty laser-cut wood box. :D
Trust me, it’s worth it.Permalink
Well, it’s that time of year again. I was going to make a joke where I write— at length —about an ‘extraordinary individual whose birthday is quickly approaching’, saying “What? Did you think I was talking about Mozart?"… But as Lewis Black would say, “I’m just not that fucking funny.”
Yes, for those who don’t know, my birthday— January 27th —is also the birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who would be 254 this year if he was, well, a vampire…or something…I guess…ANYWAY! That’s all irrelevant because I couldn’t be bothered to write the joke which I have now explained anyway, in far too much detail, PUTTING THAT ASIDE, I just thought I’d write about what it is I’ve been doing.
Among other things, I’ve had an extensive e-mail conversation with Jason von Nieda, the guy who built a clock based on my design. We talked a bit about what it would take to make more. Right now, I’m waiting on a new drillpress so I can finish my CNC machine, as I might be able to make the clock enclosures and stuff.
I’ve been doing a bit more drawing lately, but I’ve been trying not to get too involved as there are things I really need to be doing…and am still not, even when I don’t draw… So really, I need to quit fucking up.
Speaking of fucking up, last night, our camera took a header off the top of my computer case for no discernible reason, landing on my foot, and then the floor… I call bullshit. It gets to fall on my foot, OR break. Not both. NEVER BOTH!!! Anyway, it broke the UV filter (That’s what it’s there for.) and jammed my 35mm lens. Luckily the camera is okay, and the lens seems like it will work correctly once I pop the moving bits back into the right position. So if I’m real lucky, I’m only out a $7.99 UV filter which fulfilled its destiny and took one for my glass.
I’ve started collecting the original Graphic-sha published How To Draw Manga books for my birthday. I already had a couple, but I managed to scrape together enough to buy another ~25 of the books in various states of ‘used’ condition. (Nine of which have arrived so far.) I even managed to snag an OOP book that some assholes are trying to sell for $280 and up, when someone put one on the Amazon Marketplace for $12.99 (I bought it within like 10 minutes of it being posted.)
I’ve seen people trying to sell some of these books for as much as $900~1200, and that really pisses me off. Someone should take action to undercut these assholes, like releasing PDFs of the OOP books. No one should have to pay that much, and the publisher doesn’t get any money either, since they’re all used copies! Given that a lot of the unavailable and ridiculously priced books are both fairly new, and very good/useful, it really is a frustrating situation and people who try and charge that much are basically human garbage. This isn’t commerce, it’s taking advantage of people. Don’t ask me why, but it seems harder to buy a How to Draw Manga book from ~2007 than it is to buy one from ~2000. And things like the ‘How to Draw Manga: Sketching Manga-Style’ series are very recent and up-to-date in art style and seem to be better written as well.
Anyway, enough about that, I’m not really doing anything special for my birthday but hopefully I’ll have some projects gaining momentum come the end of February. And on the off chance that anyone wants to help me complete my collection of HTDM books, there’s still quite a few cheap ones on my Amazon wishlist. (I only ask that they not be ‘ex-library’ copies and that they still have their dust jackets.)Permalink
What it is I could have possibly said to elicit this, I do not know. Perhaps Swift knows me too well, but a question was posed that led to all manner of hilarity.
[12.28/12.41.24] <+Swift> What manner of dastardly plan are you concocting, you?
[12.28/12.41.36] <@Baka-chan> Who? Me?
[12.28/12.41.37] <@Baka-chan> :3
[12.28/12.41.43] <+Swift> Yes.
[12.28/12.41.44] <@Baka-chan> I concoct no plans.
[12.28/12.42.10] <@Baka-chan> We all know that my acts of global terrorism are wholly spontaneous.
[12.28/12.42.26] <+Swift> lol
And now for the inevitable, random, and yet somehow totally epic interruption by Shin_Getter… (With spelling corrections for those who can’t translate shinglish.)
[12.28/12.50.19] <Shin_Getter> the truth is Baka-chan resides in an indeterminate state of terrorism at all times, in which all possible terrorist acts coexist simultaneously, and mere mortals are only capable of witnessing one possible result of Baka’s rampage as their feeble powers of observation can only observe one possible superposition of the outcome
This resulted in Swift scribbling a quick and hilarious 4koma. Now all we need is an audio clip of what Shin wrote in a Hawking-esque synth voice.Permalink
So, on Atheist-kids-get-presents-day Eve, I got an e-mail from someone named Jason von Nieda saying that he really loved the design I had for my vacuum tube clock, and that he used it as inspiration to machine a similar enclosure of his own. He included pictures of the finished device. I know a bit about obsessing over things you think are cool and working your ass off to imitate them, so I can sympathize. And the end result is really great. (The inner workings are as nice as the enclosure, too.)
I have to admit that, while really flattered that someone would like my design so much, I’m also kinda embarrassed and more than a little pissed at myself for having spent all this time struggling to make even one. Especially given how much attention it seems to be getting… (Of course, I already had some idea about that, since everyone I showed the design to thought it was incredibly cool.)
Now, don’t get me wrong, internet. It’s all good, so put all your sharp-pointy things away. Jason was very up-front on the matter and made sure I was cool with him using the design, and he did a smashing good job of making it, too! (Especially considering he was working from a single rendering I had posted.) It’s still just a bit shocking to say the least. :)
Anyway, here’s the original conceptual rendering I did.
Here’s the flickr photoset he posted of the finished clock and various prototype PCBs.
Here’s the post on his blog about it.
Here’s the post about it on Hack-A-Day with an insanely great post title.
Here’s the source of the Hack-A-Day post, an article on MAKE.
I guess I’d better get my ass in gear then, eh? I sure have enough tubes.Permalink
So, with the help of my re-discovered Ultimate Power Source, Ritalin, an old obsession has become something real.
For years I’ve wanted to learn how to play Mahjong. Even before anime like Akagi aired. I couldn’t wrap my head around it though, it took too long to figure out, so all I ended up doing was trying to make a hand that looked like it matched enough to be worth something. (I am not kidding.) This usually ended in disaster. This interest in Mahjong would keep resurfacing…with Fullani…with Akagi…with Saki… But I could never figure it out. Last week, I sat down, and dove head-long into learning how to play, and the information actually STUCK this time.
I know the difference between Itsuu, Honitsuu, and Chinitsuu. I can gauge the likelihood that a tile will come up. I can remember all the Japanese names for the tiles. (Which are based on the Chinese names, and thus don’t use Japanese numbering) I can count the fu and han of my hand with little help from reference materials. And, although almost entirely unnecessary, I know how to set up and play with real tiles.
I felt it most fitting (Not to mention most satisfying for my tactile fixation) to celebrate this small victory by purchasing a set of tiles. First of all, it was difficult finding a set of Japanese-style tiles, with red dora tiles, blank Haku tiles, and no arabic numerals in the corners. There’s this one site, where the guy charges twice what a given set of tiles costs AND charges you ridiculous EMS shipping charges from Japan. (I mean, wtf? I would expect to pay twice as much…if it were ALREADY IN THE COUNTRY.) And eBay which had a couple sets that looked promising. And finally, the last option was buying a set from Rakuten…which would let me get exactly what I wanted, at a fair price…though it was still out of my current price range.
Then I spotted a particular gem on eBay. (Well, okay. This was the second ‘gem’. The first one was a new-looking Japanese bone and bamboo set, with 1 part bamboo and three parts bone, i.e. the high quality kind as opposed to the other way around. But despite its low starting price, it quickly became out of my pricerange.) I e-mailed back and forth with the guy, and it turned out that he had sold the set I wanted (I wanted a set with yellow backs.) but still had another set. So I eventually got that worked out, and several days later it arrived…
What does it say about the influence of anime on me that when I got the package the first thing I did was stack some tiles and see if I could flip over the dora indicator with one finger like they do in Akagi? Well, it turns out you can, but it takes practice to do it consistently.
Anyway, a beautiful set of high quality tiles. They just look damn good. Oh, and the company that made them, they’ve been pretty big in the gaming industry since the 1880s, perhaps you’ve heard of them.Permalink
So, it’s been a while since my last post. I’m going to take this opportunity to tell you a little story…
From kindergarten through second grade, no one could figure out why I couldn’t do any class work well, if at all, despite scoring in the 99th percentile almost across the board in standardized testing. A few psychological evaluations later it was determined that I have ADHD, really really bad.
So, starting in third grade, I was put on Ritalin, and like my father says “It was like a lightswitch". Together with a school program where I would be provided whatever grade level of work I could handle in an effort to let me excel where I could, get help where I needed it, but above all else keep me engaged. It worked. By the end of that year, I was working out of seventh grade English books, and not too long after that I was hitting some high school level curriculum. I remained in this program through ninth grade (Which was a special exception, as the program was normally only K-8, though now, along with their massively expanded facilities, they do K-12)
My family moved further south, and I started attending a regular high school. It was problematic, but I was starting to get used to it…then we had to move again, this time, to Vermont. Once here, I had to get re-evaluated to get a new prescription for my Ritalin, and the doctor said I was ‘too smart to have ADHD’. A diagnosis that for a decade afterwords would be met with horror and derision by counselors, doctors, and psychologists…but never rectified. I couldn’t deal with school. Moving to a new school in the middle of the year was bad enough, not having Ritalin to keep my head on straight was worse, but combined with the fact that the schools here were THREE YEARS behind what I was doing in New Jersey, making it at least FOUR-TO-SIX YEARS behind what I was doing in the special program, it was like spending six hours a day rubbing broken glass and salt into my scalp. A good example of my problem with the difference between reality and schoolwork is flunking Algebra for doing it all in my head and getting the right answers every time, never mind the fact that I completed Algebra when I was in the FIFTH GRADE.
On the last day of school that year, I was riding home on my bike and some asshats in the back of a pickup threw a waterballoon at me while I was going into the turn and I wiped out. Having to drag my broken bike half-way across town while I was cut-up and bleeding did a good job of capping my half a year at Middlebury Union High School, I don’t actually remember if I attended next year at all, but I know it wasn’t long before I said fuck it and never set foot in the school again. Truth be told, I could have shown up for every class for the next two years, done absolutely fuck-all, and still graduated like the majority of the local meatrock population, but I’m not so nearly masochistic as that. And what’s a piece of paper anyway? I’ve known since the age of twelve that I was going to be self-employed, and I at least care about results.
Of course, I failed to take into account the effect of being isolated from my peer-group combined with being a new kid in town. Oh well, fuck it. A little social retardation never killed anyone…that I know of.
With all that more than ten years behind me, I’ve now been trying to get back on Ritalin for several years. First, trying to get re-diagnosed by the very same people who fucked me to begin with, the Counseling Service of Addison County…because they’re basically the only show in town. After years that wasn’t working, they wanted me to get my bloodpressure and other factors under control first but then still wanted to ‘wait and see’. My physician, however, is a bit more understanding. He also wanted me to get my bloodpressure under control, and he also wanted me to at least try one more time to get CSAC to prescribe it because they can ‘provide more complete care’, but he eventually realized that wasn’t going to pan out.
Several weeks ago, he wrote me a new prescription for Ritalin.
It’s one thing to have nothing in particular to do, it’s another thing entirely to be completely at the mercy of your own brain’s rather flighty and whimsical nature. I had almost forgotten what it was like to have my head screwed on straight beyond the vague notion of ‘I used to be able to do shit’.
I would have to say it feels like my brain is wound tight, like the mainspring in a pocket watch. The ADHD, unregulated, basically precludes the completion of any task that takes more than a certain amount of time to complete, due to what I call ‘brain-wander’. With the Ritalin, my brain has achieved a certain amount of tension, it doesn’t wander as much, and when I try to do something, the energy stored in the spring is released and it just gets done.
Now I just need to work on assigning priority to tasks… You’ll see why in my next post.Permalink
Some other things I have going on now include a plan to make a sophisticated RGB lighting solution for the figma Drossel figure from Max Factory. Until last week, I thought Drossel was just Hatsune Miku as a robot, lol.
Drossel— or Drossel Juno Vierzehntens Heizregister Fürstin von Flügel —is one of the characters in the short animation series ‘Fireball’, run on the Disney channel in Japan. The show itself is rather hilarious, being somewhat nonsensical and centered around jokes involving wordplay and the occasional non-sequitur, although towards the end hinting at some more serious story about an impending human invasion of the robot city. (Granted the series of 13 2-minute shorts spans like 200 years, but whatever.) It’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here.
And there WILL be more. The show has a huge cult following, surprising given that the whole series adds up to less than a single episode of anime. It just so happens that Drossel is now one of the most popular figmas ever. Considering that earlier entries in the line include various versions of the casts of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu and Lucky Star, that’s saying something. (I want the goddamn Golgo 13 figma. Duke Togo is the baddest motherfucker in existence.)
This little project started when someone linked to a post on figure.fm about adding lights to a Drossel figure, and I made comments about how easy that would be and how cool it would be to do it with RGB LEDs and whatnot, and he immediately commissioned me to make a version of what we were looking at for his, for $20. Basically a 20mm coincell holder wired to an LED, and it’s got a peg glued to it so Drossel can wear it like a backpack using the hole for attaching her to the figma stand. (Which is unnecessary most of the time as she can stand up pretty well on her own, hell I’ve seen people put her in unsupported hand-stands just fine.) It just occurred to me as I was writing this that I never took any pictures of it though… ^^;;
I took some wirewrap wire, bought some wide-angle white LEDs from eBay, took a battery holder and an SMD switch I already had, and went to town on it. Glued a small bit of gunpla polycap runner to it for the peg, and it was done. Oh well, I’ll take pictures when I make a second one for myself. (I ordered a figure of my own with the help of his $20, from Otacute)Permalink
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