New T7ES mini-album: DTMF Jam for Dummies for Dummies
(30 Apr at 20:13)
Good day! Since moving (I think I have mentioned here that I bought a house last year?) I have not actually hooked up much of my music gear, probably because I'm wary of the outcome where they get shittily fixtured because it seems like too much work to organize them into some modestly better arrangement, and so they stay embarrassingly messy (i.e. XLR cable across the middle of the floor) for years. So I'm trying to only take stuff out of the boxes when I have a good place to put them. This includes my Roland SC-880, which is a fancy MIDI machine that I pretty much only use to generate sawtooth waves and square waves for my Tom 7 Entertainment System "band." So for a while I've been without the sawtooth waves, and this is weird because a very common habit of mine is to sit down for an hour and write a little idea of a jam and then not finish it and leave it on my hard drive. So since this thing is not hooked up, I've been screwing around with software synthesizers, which are of course completely capable of making sawtooth waves and so much more, but also have way too many knobs for my liking and often generate stupid and annoying sounds. So I made a bunch of songs and left them on my hard drive, and then today I gave myself a monster headache by finishing some of them up and dodging the clipped bits and putting together a mini-album, since it's been a few years!
All these songs use ridiculous synthesizer sounds, which I feel is sort of cheating, but maybe you like. Heart emoji indicates favorite, with Facebook Phone being like on the rainbow dolphin sex end of the spectrum and Wires comin' out being on the alien death disco side.
The thing I poured a month into is The glEnd() of Zelda, which is a hack to automatically emulate NES games in 3D. I spent a lot of time crafting a video demonstration and explanation with my typical non-SAG "acting", which even seems to go over well with non-nerds:
Go ahead and blame the victim, but my head is covered in epic scales of sun-burn, which dead-ass skin also seems to have absorbed the entirety of the sun-tan, so these large size dry-ass patches are substantially darker than the enreddened prematurely newborn skin beneath as it peels, and it's peeling in these interlobing elliptic scales, so that my forehead looks like I accidentally forgot to finish my human makeup, outing my true reptilian shapeshifter form. It's kind of gross. I know how to use sunscreen and everything, at least I'd claim that, knowing that I totally sprayed it on all parts, then wiped it with my hands to get even in the secret spots where sun-burn can penetrate, like the sensitive inner lining of the eyelids. In fact I'd say it's pretty good proof of proper use that the sunburn is fully uniform, absent only in the contours where the body in running pose shades itself, like the undersides of my now terrifyingly highlighted pectoral muscles. Due to the uninterrupted and voluminous shedding I have vowed to not commit any crimes where I could be implicated by reptilian DNA evidence, for the next few days.
Same sun as always toasts us, but this one was from the vantage point of the tiny island in the Carribbean, Curaçao. I still can't figure out if it's technically a country or not, but if so it's surely the smallest country I've ever been in. We went there for vacation and I burned myself running across its girth, at approximately its widest part, the first time I've run across the girth of a thing that may be a country at approximately its widest part, unlocking that achievement.
ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED Ran across a thing that ...
(Running may be an overstatement, though—the north parts are pretty remote, there was no shade, and I ran out of water, so I did plenty of walking so as not to hurt myself.) Even though Curaçao is an island and gets lots of sea-mist, it's basically a desert, sort of like an inverted oasis for the ocean itself. On my run it was comically hot and dry, like literally there were dead dry-ass cactuses and dead dry-ass buzzards (probably not actually buzzards, but I imagined them as buzzards for comic purposes) and dead dry-ass skeletal apocalypse horses, e.g.,
The north coast is super beautiful and a great payoff, though. It's this tall coral embankment that's being eaten away by the waves from the underside, which eventually causes reptilian scales to disintegrate from the coral, exposing caves and giant tidal pools, like so:
These could be anywhere beneath your feat
A full account of the trip would take more space than this tiny margin could contain (but seriously, isn't it also getting kind of funny how narrow this page is, by 2016 standards? I haven't changed the design since Stalkertron 2000 launched in Y2K, but somehow this has not stemmed the tide of ever-widening screens. But it may have made me mobile-optimized.), and most of it was very pleasant exploring and relaxing and programming and normal touristy stuff. There were a few other miscellaneous things that delighted me, though:
First, the language(s). It seems everyone there speaks 3 or 4 languages, which is impressive, and signs sort of switch fluidly between them. For example, one sign (NO PHOTO) reads:
Boat tours of the both sides of de island
Perfectly intelligible, and to be clear this is an expression of my delight, not making fun (especially since I barely speak one human language), but wha? It was just four words ago that you demonstrated knowledge (if not quite mastery) of the definite article in English! And I know you already know this, but Dutch is so funny to English speakers, seeming on signs to mostly be lolcats or earnest typos of English, like news of the impending "Elekshon", or this delightful specimen:
"Let op! Drempels"
OMG ♥. My next band will be called Drempels. Then there is their currency, normal except for the 1/100 guilder coin, approximately worth one-half US cent. It's so minuscule and lightweight as to be classified as an inhalation hazard:
Use only NIOSH N95 or equivalent
And finally, ruminate on this survey machine found outside the bathroom in the airport terminal (and note that the need for a survey machine may give you hints about the expected answers).
Again note hints of reptilian conspiracy.
But to simplify the rumination, imagine that it just has a single frowny face button, that just says "Please touch this button if you are one of the people who just went in a really unclean bathroom" or perhaps just: "Did you wash your hands? Y/N"
Well, welcome again to Tom 7 Radar, where on the last day of each month I post a hastily-written last minute apology for not accomplishing anything interesting to work on during the month.
This month I have been working on my weird computational Nintendo stuff a lot. I finished the systems stuff (especially an extremely painful project to clean up the code of the NES emulator I've been using and make it thread-safe) and now I'm on the "fun" part where I can try experiments and make it do crazy stuff. But the fun part is also rough going so there are ups and downs to that. Hopefully putting together a video before SIGBOVIK, including some explanations of the systems stuff. I had the realization recently that I think it's possible that I've executed more NES cycles than any person ever; these recent experiments are about 2 billion frames a day (which is about a year of running at native NES speed). Don't think there is a Guinness Book entry for this yet.
My other projects have been fun but uninteresting (to you) home projects, like redoing all the lighting and scraping paint for hours in my basement. One thing I did finish this month that's moderately interesting to look at is another carpentry project. Behind my couch was this mess of wires and an iPad and mixer for playing music. You couldn't really see it but it was impossible to clean and you'd have to pull the couch out or suck in your stomach and sidle to even change the volume or put on music, which was stupid. I built this skinny thing which you can see in its final home:
Console mis en place
This one—known as "Console", since every project gets a name—is made with somewhat more complex joinery than before. The corner joints are the most interesting, where slots in the vertical beams support cross beams, themselves routed out to fit the top member. The "inlays" around them (made of oak; the rest is pine) are actually me covering up a mistake I made wherein I subtracted rather than added kerf, which was pretty dumb, but I've come to like this feature. Corner joints:
Don't know what this joint is called, if it even has a name
You can see my sloppy gluing highlighted by lacquer shine. This is one thing I still have not figured out how to do well. The rest of the connects are with dowel joints. This time I put the whole thing together with dry press-fit joints like the dowels before doing any glue, which I think helps a lot with a problem I've had in the past where although all my measurements are right, it's an uncomfortable fit due to the fact that the wood is not really straight or flat over these kinds of distances. The finished thing, obviously overkill for where it's used, but I'm happy with it:
Right this moment I am in the airport IAD stopping briefly on my way to the airport called ZRH for a short work trip in Zurich. I had hoped to get some newish T7ES covers online this morning, but I realized that my software for rendering them does not support drums so that was a bust. Still you can listen to Theme from Zurich.