Sunday, October 28, 2012


I came across one of these in a local thrift store for $8:

Thrift stores are dangerous places to go; my powers of self-discipline can only be tested so far. Unlike the cabinet stereos that have troubled my past, this was fortunately small, cheap and clearly awesome. It begged to be adopted.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Midi Drum Keyboard

Aside from my daytime superhero duties, I'm also the drummer for The Elixxxirs. I've been playing the drums since I was 18 but frankly I'm pretty lazy about it -- practicing always seems to fall off the end of the list, so improvement is slow.

One thing I have no trouble with is typing. Fast. I've been variously laughed at and asked to stop noisily mashing the keys by people who didn't believe I was actually typing coherently in the process. And I couldn't help but think -- what if I could apply the dexterity I get by spending my days typing to simultaneously improving my drumming?

All it takes is a digital drum set, a midi to USB adapter, and a little bit of code...

Let's just pretend I'm being serious for a moment. One of the things you try to do when you're practicing the drums is break associations and habits. It's so easy to stick to a rock beat, but if that's all you play, you'll be hard-wiring your brain to hit the bass drum and hats on the 1 and the snare and the hats on the 3, end of story. Adding some practice that's totally random from a musical standpoint might actually be a good idea.

And look at the flip side -- you can hide secret messages in your music. Most of the words they don't allow on the radio would suit 4/4 time perfectly.

(It hasn't escaped my notice that I probably would've been better off spending this time actually practicing the drums instead of tinkering.)

(This is the second-to-last hack I'll be posting before the East Side Culture Crawl happens here in Vancouver in November. I'll be showing many of the things I've documented on this blog; if you're in the area, and not inclined to wreck anything I'm displaying, drop by and say hi. Watch out for one last hack to be posted in the next few weeks; it's one of my favourites and almost complete.)