Song: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by The Moog Cookbook
I woke up quite a few times last night but fortunately not from nightmares – just the normal worrying about everything and nothing at the same time. I spent far too long in bed this morning pressing the heels of my hands against my eyes and muttering empty encouragement to myself. Finally, I got up and started the day.
The weather cooperated again this morning so I opened a bunch of windows and turned on a fan to move fresh air around. I went for my walk this morning and enjoyed the smells of fresh air and cut grass while I was out.
After I got back, I went downstairs to do my exercises. They didn’t go very well, unfortunately. For whatever reason, I had a heck of a time keeping focused on what I was doing. Even with the ear defenders on, I kept thinking I was missing something and would have to get up and do a lap or two around the house. I don’t even think I actually heard anything – it was more of a “I think something’s wrong, I should go check it out” kind of thing.
I spent a lot of time thinking about DA’s stuff today, and I think I have the prototype pretty much figured out. I haven’t built anything yet, so it’s easy to say that things are going well, but things are going pretty well. One of the biggest problems I’ve had (and this has plagued several of my projects in the past) is that I can’t find a cheap, loud beeper or siren. Since the noise is integral to the project, I had to figure something out. Then it came to me – smoke detectors are plenty loud, and I have a couple of old ones sitting in a bin. I cracked one open, grabbed the beeper part, and I should have it wailing away tomorrow.
Before you start giving me the gears about the dangers of opening a smoke detector, I just want to point out that yes, it was an ionization type of detector. No, I didn’t touch or otherwise damage the sensor’s enclosure. Yes, cutting the beeper out of it was all I’m going to do with it.
One thing that occurred to me when I was thinking about this stuff was how much electronics knowledge I’ve forgotten. Some of the stuff I know I used to know, but for some of the other stuff I’m not even sure whether I ever actually knew it. I used to be able to bias a transistor like a madman, or use a couple of NAND gates to build an oscillator, or rattle off all of the TTL series chip numbers and functions faster than I could remember my postal code. But so much of it is gone. Wow. It’s been a hobby since I was five, I took it for three years in high school, and did a ton of it in college, but yeah… if someone broke into the house, woke J and me up, and demanded that I wire up a 555 or a 741 on the breadboard he’s holding, I think we’d be in trouble. Two, three, seven, and nine? No, the 741 only has eight pins. Uhm… two, three, four, and eight? Or is eight the offset null pin? I used to know all of this stuff. Ah, well. I guess it’s like the old saying – if you don’t use it, you lose it. I guess not knowing what the heck I’m doing will bring back some of the excitement of discovering things again…
Hmm, that was a long paragraph about how much I’ve forgotten about electronics. It’s not a grim situation or anything like that, though – I still have tons of books and notes and there’s always the Internet to guide me along. Plus, I enjoy tinkering!
I listened to a lot of music today, too. I haven’t listened to the Moog Cookbook for quite some time (mainly because I burnt myself out on it and J hates it) so I put some of that on and enjoyed it quite a bit. I don’t think I’m going to be able to listen to it for a week straight like I did before, but it was good. The two musicians who make up the band have a really good imagination and are amazing at using bizarre mixes of equipment, some of which is the really old analog synth kit, and some of it is stuff you wouldn’t normally think of using as a musical instrument, like a Speak & Spell. Neat stuff.
J and I watched another couple of episodes of Parks and Recreation this evening. The first season was good, but the second season is even better. Good writing, good cast, good stories… I think this is going to be another one we go back to again and again.
No appointments tomorrow (but one on Wednesday and Thursday), so I’m going to be working on that thing for DA again. It feels good to be working on something that someone will find useful again. Hopefully I can make it work!