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Lightsabers, Chinchillas, Et Cetera

May 13, 2010 at 9:28 am

Hello!  How's it going?  I'm doing well, thank you.  I even go here!

So it was interesting how my last post was probably my second most commented post of all time!  The randomest things spark participation.  I think there has to be some sort of thing that is naturally respondable to but requires a bit of cleverness.  Those are the kind of posts that you guys like commenting one.  I don't think respondable is a word.  But you get what I'm saying.  I thought I was just being totally random; I didn't expect a lot of comments.  Another way of getting comments is saying something false, for example, calling a woodchuck a muskrat or something like that.  I don't know this from personal experience, or anything, since everything on my blog is true, but you know I see it happening on other peoples blogs.

Post 17, beginning of Spring term
Hey check this out: so the other day I was out walking, and I saw this awesome chinchilla in a tree!  I've never seen a wild chinchilla before, I've only seen them as pets, so this was a really crazy experience.  

Speaking of chinchillas, I had this crazy dream last night, and part of it was that I think I was in a movie or something and my co-star was this big, adorable rhinoceros.  It didn't really look exactly like a rhinoceros, but it was one.  And he could talk.  At first he didn't say anything, so I wasn't sure, I was just sort of thinking to myself, "I wonder if this rhinoceros can talk" and then he did.

Nic Collins Workshop

For my Sound Studies class, I went to this workshop last weekend with a guy named Nic Collins.  Nic does a lot of stuff with avante garde music and hardware hacking.  You can read about it in his book if you're interested.  In the workshop, we made a basic percussion instrument by creating a circuit that let us pop a speaker over and over.  We also did some circuit bending with a radio circuit board (although it worked a lot better for Nic).  To do this, you open up a radio, lick your fingers, and move them over the circuit board making new connections using your body as part of the circuit.  Pretty crazy, right?  It sounds kind of like SCHCHHHRR WHOORRROOPFF FJEIFFFFK ASASAOIFEF SSCHOP.  Just make sure it's battery powered and not plugged into the wall.  We also made microphones, which was pretty awesome.  Unfortunately mine are not finished so I can't really use them yet--I need to solder them to plugs.  One mic we made was a contact mic.  It picks up vibrations through contact, not through the air; this means that you can yell into it and it won't pick up the sound, but if you place it on your throat, it amplifies your voice.  Nic said that they used mics like these for early airplane pilots because the wind made it impossible to communicate with normal mics.  Also, when you attach the contact mic to a slinky, it makes an awesome noise.  Ben Burtt used this technique to create the lightsaber sounds in Star Wars!  Nic said that Burtt wasn't the first to attach a slinky to a contact mic, but still, his application and integration of the sound was pure genius!  Check out this crazy fan-made lightsaber fight (This guy has since gone on to work for Lucasarts).

Post 21
That's Nic on the right, with his back to the camera

Post 21
Circuit bending a radio

On an unrelated note, here are some photos of the magical land Covernia:

Post 21
Sunrise over the hills of Covernia

Post 21
A Covernian dusk

Post 21
A Cavernous Covernian Crystal Cave

Well, I think that's all for now.  Talk to you later.

Peace,

Jon

Comments

  • May 13 2010 at 1:28 pm
    Linda

    Hi Jon! This is so weird because I had a dream last night with a hippo in it. I am not making that up.

    I have really enjoyed your blog this year because as I said previously my daughter is also a freshman. Since it is the end of the year I will tell you that we are from Nashville, Tennessee. I believe there are only two students at Carleton from Nashville itself and the other one is a guy. And my daughter lives in Musser. So perhaps you know her :)

  • May 13 2010 at 2:32 pm
    Rachel

    Hi Jon,

    Great blog! But isn't that chinchilla you saw just the albino squirrel?

  • May 13 2010 at 3:05 pm
    Ingrid

    That's an albino squirrel.

  • May 20 2010 at 10:22 am
    Jon Kittaka

    Oh wow!  An albino squirrel?  Awesome!

  • May 30 2010 at 7:34 pm
    Adam

    Covernia looks a lot like bedsheets. or... covers.

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