glitch25: (Default)
I was thinking about my latest interest in prop making and the like, and the fact that for my successes, I have no prior specific experience working in the field. But I always had the urge to tinker.

They say some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth. I was born with a screwdriver in mine. :-)

There are stories about me when I was 2 years old attempting to attack the neighbor's sewing machine, with a screwdriver in my hand and a gleam in my eye.

This desire has continued to follow me over the years.

When I was 5 years old, Labor Day of '77, I had been tinkering with a Christmas gift from the prior year. I had a battery powered train set that would circle the plastic track, stop at various points to either pick up, or drop off the little people, and in this process, they'd ride a ferris wheel and then slide down a slide from the top to a pick-up point further down the track.. and it would continue over and over as the train made circuits.

That fateful afternoon, I discovered that along with parts from my Erector set, I could wire up the train and make it go either forwards or backwards depending how I wired the battery. This revelation excited me greatly, and I showed my Mom and Grandma as they were leaving to enjoy the Labor Day sales. .I ran downstairs to show my Dad. However, somewhere between my room and where Dad was sitting watching the Tube, I either lost or forgot a part, so I rushed back up the stairs and proceeded full speed down the hall to my room. Not looking up, like kids sometimes do, and apparently veering off course, I met with the corner of the wall of the entrance to the hallway, and stood stunned from the impact. Wall corners, on walls covered with drywall are reinforced with a special steel corner strip that helps prevent chipping of the wallboard. I slammed my forehead directly onto that corner strip at a full run. I remember being dizzy and feeling that pain you get when you bump your head, but nothing too significant.. Just stunned more than anything. Didn't think much of it until I looked down to the house shoes I was wearing, and saw droplets of blood beginning to collect on them. I still don't remember freaking out, but I do remember calling to my Dad downstairs and explaining that he needed to come up, that something bad had happened.

Some 12 stitches later (6 subcutaneous, and 6 external) in my forehead, and my little attempt at tinkering became a late night.

I still didn't really notice any pain until they injected the local anesthetic into the edges of the wound to prepare for the stitches (apparently the injections hurt a lot!)

I do remember getting to have Whataburger that night, which was a treat.

I have a nifty scar that has migrated over to just above my left eyebrow that is a little reminder of that day.

I often took broken things apart and either fixed them, or at least learned how they worked. Occasionally, I'd even take apart things that already work, and get them back together again in working order.

I remember at 12 or 13 getting my first taste of 110 volt house current running through my arm. More scared than hurt at that point. Somewhere along the line, I had an instinct for electricity, and for all the times I've come in direct contact with it, I've always known how not to get electrocuted. Not long after that time, I found out that an AC induction motor doesn't work the same as a DC motor, and swapping "polarity" doesn't work, but that wiring it up wrong will pop the circuit breaker. :-)

This lead to many other constructive, and not necessarily constructive things including using an electronic relay attached to an old style DC house doorbell to trigger the transmitter of a more modern wireless button doorbell system whose ringer was on a whole different floor. And to locking the wireless garage door opener in my glovebox, but modifying it so that I could actuate it from a hidden button on my dash board.

In high school, a friend's younger brother was swinging around a bat in the livingroom and it slipped out of his hand and into the VCR, cracking the circuit board in half. I remember the challenge of soldering the delicate tracings back together and of course being told I couldn't do it, only to have repaired it successfully.

Fun stuff!

So while my tinkering skills are new to theatre, they are quite seasoned with me in general, and it is nice to have an outlet to play these days beyond what I normally do.

Unfortunately, blood sacrifices continue to be part of the work, but I've realized that if I give freely, the returns are well worth it. :-)
glitch25: (Default)
So the carousel spins. :-)

I've been digging out old sheet music looking for things to study. I cleared out space and can get to the piano now, and the other day, I sat down for a good little plinking session. Wasn't overly productive, but it was nice to just sit and play. I've been contemplating putting my little camera to use and maybe taking and posting some videos of my work. More as a record of progress than anything else, but then at least I can share too if I'm particularly happy with a performance. I have Bach, Brubeck, Gershwin, Guaraldi (as in VINCE!), and Rachmaninoff on the plate, along with some interesting transpositional projects I'm mulling over to write piano parts for things never intended to be played on piano. :-) So we'll see how those go.

On another front, the small bit of electronics I've been playing with for my Halloween costume is blooming a tiny interest into a full fledged interest, and now I'm researching some nifty electronics projects. Part of the fun is to assemble kits, and the rest is to learn to make modifications or even build my own. I have a lot to learn, but that is what makes this fun for me. I'm starting my soldering fun with a little project called a MintyBoost. It basically takes 3 or so volts from a pair of AA batteries and boosts it to 5 volts and pumps it into a USB jack so you can use it to charge anything that would otherwise be charged by USB cable, thereby adding time you can be away from a mains-connected charging source. I foresee using it mostly to charge my phone, but it could charge my iPod or pretty much anything else. My first fun with it will be to see how to make the battery bucket deeper so I can charge for more time. Fun stuff!

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