Category Archives: Artwork

Pretending To Be A TV Mogul (or: Why I Built An Automated Broadcasting Rig)

Hey, remember that iMac I was working on last week? The one that I was putting Mojave on just ’cause? Well, I told you I had a project in mind for it!

Also: For the record, it’s an early ’09 model, not a ’10.

Anyway, I’ve always been a bit of a broadcasting nut. I always loved/hated the politics, the business, and the technology of commercial broadcasting.

In fact, in high school/early college, I wanted to make a career of it.

Even before then, I was recording “radio shows” and “TV programs” with friends. Much of it was parody–inspired by Dan Aykroyd sketches, Tiny Toon Adventures, that “Stay Tuned” movie, and Wayne’s World–but I played it seriously (which was part of the fun)

More than the programming, though, I was fascinated by the technological infrastructure. How radio equipment works, how signals are converted, but especially how that can be exploited.

When I was 14, the school band went on a trip to Panama City. My best friend brought a small FM transmitter like you would plug into a CD player to listen over a car stereo, and I hatched a BRILLIANT scheme.

After a covert mission to Radio Shack during a lunch break, we had exactly what we needed to build that elusive dream of all Gen X kids (and some of us Xennials): an unlicensed radio station.

It didn’t take long for us to get into a LOT of trouble with the adults 🤣

Anyway, I’ve always romanticized broadcasting. Fortunately, after a wave of consolidation and format changes in the late 90s (as well as the unfiltered reality related to me by industry vets), I saw where the industry was going and got out before I grew to hate it. That’s why I gravitated toward YouTube early on, but it’s very noisy and just doesn’t feel the same. YouTube is more like an old VHS exchange while running a production, aesthetically, feels different?

So, this bit of personal history brings me back around to the project at hand. I know that with today’s technology, literally anyone can broadcast. There’s really no gatekeeping anymore (which is a good thing), but I still love the idea of “curated” content. I love the idea of having a “channel” that plays constantly changing content, and I love the idea of being able to produce that content without necessarily “going live”. It’s not just making videos, but creating an experience beyond the video.

So I wanted to build a little homage to analog broadcasting. I wanted to capture some of the essence and the nostalgia of the old ways without getting caught up in the whole “content mill” mindset. Something that people could drop in, have something unique served to them, then stay and chat or just move on without commitment. Something that could run itself, automatically generating that curated content without my input.

So to start off, I built what might be the epitome of mid-90s automated analog TV:

The Weather Channel

It’s simple, but it’s proof-of-concept for a little side art project that I’ve been kicking around in my head for a long time. Eventually, I want to add more concepts like simulated EBS, station ID, sign-offs, and other goodies.

And, of course, programming.

The biggest thing is that I want it to be fun. I want there to be interesting little surprises for people who watch, and–really–I want people to take part in it in some way.

There’s no other goal here than to have fun, so expect puzzles, Easter eggs, and plenty of irreverence. Eventually, I want to position this concept kinda like a zine-meets-public-access where people can submit content and share without the disparate nature of something like YouTube. I’d love to see this become a sort of discovery engine for other like-minded artists where real humans are finding oddities and curiosities and presenting them. I’d even love to see communities spin off and thrive on their own.

For now, though, just enjoy the wallpaper.

twitch.tv/airbornesurfer

10 Years Since The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

In 2010, I was in the midst of reinventing myself–or, at least, reasserting myself. This was still in the depths of the Dark Times, when life had fallen apart for me like it had for so many during the Great Recession that began just a few years earlier. I took the time to reacquaint myself with the sorts of things that I loved doing: art, drama, music; and I remembered the joy that came from creating new things and new interpretations of things. Sometimes, even in the darkest moments of your life, you can find a spark of joy that guides you through.

For me, some of that spark came from my time with the drama kids at Middle Georgia. On a lark, I auditioned for the fall musical production (I was never much one for auditions, but a friend convinced me that it would be fairly painless). I hadn’t performed in much of any capacity since my days at Kennesaw, studying under Prodan Dimov and playing improv games with some of the other “more outgoing” SWORDsters, but I was really digging Neil Patrick Harris’s “Doctor Horrible” in the eponymous Sing-Along Blog so I walked in, delivered his opening monologue, sight-sang a few bars (a skill I never really kept up with since high school), thanked them for the opportunity and left.

In my experience, performing arts departments tend to be like little nepotistic cliques: they’ll self-select from auditionees who are already established in the department. They do not let in outsiders. You could imagine my surprise, then, when the parts were posted and I was cast as Mitch Mahoney, a hard-assed probationer performing community service who plays a double role as the conniving half of one of the contestant’s Odd Couple-styled homosexual parents. Talk about range!

While I’m not going to let this article become a synopsis of the show (you can look it up just as well, but I highly recommend seeing it if you can) I just wanted to take a moment and recognize the hardworking men and women who helped put that show together, and to thank them for helping pull me out of a rather difficult time in my life. They helped me get back on track, as it were, and figure out where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do with my life. There’s nothing quite like the joy of creation or the thrill of putting on a different identity and getting to explore it for a little while.

Thanks, y’all. I hope you’re all out there being amazing.

Life is random and unfair. Life is pandemonium.

Arduino For Kooks Merit Badge

Congratulations on completing the Arduino for Kooks course in Arduino basics! As a reward for your efforts, you are eligible to wear this exclusive merit badge to show off your achievement and new skill set! This design is based on the Arduino Community Logo as I am not affiliated with Arduino the company. It’s going to be a hexagonal design so you can wear it with future badges in a sweet honeycomb design, but it looks just as good paired with other organizations’ badges, too!

The badge isn’t ready yet, but it will be soon! I’m working through the manufacturing process, and I will let you know once they’re ready! They’re going to measure about 1.5-2 inches across, and I’m looking to have the price point somewhere around $3US plus shipping, so let me know if you are interested in nabbing one of the first! You can check up on the progress via Instagram @theairbornesurfer

[yikes-mailchimp form=”1″ description=”1″ submit=”Let me know!”]

Hallmark Donkey Kong Ornament Teardown

In my quest to make the World’s Smallest Donkey Kong Arcade Cabinet, I needed to tear down the 2018 Hallmark Keepsake Donkey Kong arcade cabinet Christmas tree ornament and see how I could use the shell to house my electronics. In this video, you’ll see the complete process (including a lot of trial and error) as well as what makes this “magic” ornament tick!

They’re sold out from Hallmark, but you can try the usual suspects:

Amazon

eBay

Watch the complete build

Music by Anders Enger Jensen http://eox.no

2018 Hallmark Keepsake Nintendo Ornament Review

For a Very Special Element14 Christmas, I’ll be building a project using one of Hallmark’s Keepsake ornaments. But first, I’ve got to open them up and have a look at how they work. In this video, I’ll be unboxing as well as reviewing the Donkey Kong and Legend of Zelda 2018 Hallmark Keepsake ornaments, showing their functions, and giving my initial thoughts.

They’re sold out from Hallmark, but you can try the usual suspects: Amazon

eBay

element14 Presents — Project Mooninite: Raspberry Pi Asteroid Tracker

Whether you call them “blinkies”, “throwies”, “sparklers”, or anything else, LED art is an interesting nexus of street art and hacker culture.

Connect with Matt on element14 and find the B.O.M at: http://bit.ly/2C2dhEt

Events such as DEFCON even have exhibitions for the most creative blinky designs while maker storefronts sell them in every conceivable shape. In this video, Matt collaborates with his friends at the National Upcycled Computing Collective to build a solar-powered “smart” blinky that not only looks cool at night, but contributes its computing power to a worldwide network that’s looking for disease cures, extraterrestrial intelligence, rogue asteroids, and more!

Battle Chess

battlechess

I drew this sometime back in the mid-1990s, my interpretation of the cover art for Interplay’s Battle Chess. For some reason, I found the Queen quite…inspirational. For comparison, here is the original:1069577527-00

Well, the artist is granted some creative license when creating a reproduction, right?

Star Trek Kirk vs. Gorn Minimates

Star Trek Kirk vs. Gorn

A while back, Barbie and I took a trip out to Vasquez Rocks County Park to do a little hiking at soak up some Hollywood history. The 932-acre park north of Los Angeles has played the backdrop to dozens of films and television shows, possibly the most famous of which was the original Star Trek episode “Arena” which featured Captain Kirk pitted against a rubber lizard suit Gorn in a fight to the death on a desert planet.

To pay homage to such a significant piece of popular culture, we set up a photo shoot with my Star Trek Kirk vs. Gorn Minimates figures in front of the iconic “big rocks” that are instantly recognisable to Trekkers and Trekkies alike.

We played around with a few different poses before settling on the “flying kick” that the good captain made famous. Unfortunately, the limitations in the Minimates figures’ articulation made the double-fisted hammer punch pose impossible.

Need a Template For a DVD Case Label?

Need a template for a DVD case label?

You’re welcome.

Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles (1972)

Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles (1972) from Repazzo on Vimeo.