The semester is over. I mean, I still have finals to take in the next two weeks, but I don’t really have to go to any of my classes anymore apart from those. I’m free, sort of. I can do what I want now, which largely involves blogging and gaming. But that’s not all! I do other stuff too, sometimes! More on that later.
As I mentioned yesterday, I only got four hours of sleep Sunday night due to mitigating circumstances, so I was, as predicted, completely toasted by the end of yesterday. I was essentially falling asleep during our film mix session, and I actually did upon trying to watch a skate video with London when I got home. Actually, we were both totally exhausted. We went to bed at eleven, which was awesome. I really need to do that a bit more often. It feels so good today, like I can stand up and face the problems of the day like a champ (for example, the ridiculous 20 degree weather this morning that had my fingers falling off inside my gloves). It’s ok though, I have a rad rocking awesome pea coat, a sweater, gloves and a scarf. Problem solved. We’ll be presenting our film mix tonight at the class, and I’m hoping it goes smoothly. Unfortunately I can’t post it here, because it’s part of a larger project that’s not mine. But instead, here is a photo of my completed electronics project!
That’s my MIDI controller, “Red Five”! It’s an Arduino and a PC board encased in a tin Star Wars lunchbox that I found at a comic book store on St. Mark’s. In auto mode, it sends out a constant stream of MIDI note-on messages, with pitch, rate, and note length determined by the knobs. Also, every time it sends a note, the Death Star blinks. In manual mode, it’s the same except that instead of sending a constant stream of MIDI notes, notes are only sent while the blue button is pressed. The cables coming out of it are a USB (for power) and a MIDI connector (for data). I’m also going to look into using a normal wall wart for power instead of a USB cable – it seems a bit annoying to have to have a computer present whenever this thing is used. But yeah, it’s rad, and it actually works exactly as I intended it to, unlike last semester’s fiasco of a “Darth Compressor”. I’ve tested it with PureData notein patches as well as my Alesis Ion – the latter is especially cool because of all the physical sound controls it has that let you warp the synthesis in crazy ways.
The great thing about this project is that, since it only generates commands and not actual audio, I can connect it to any old instrument with a MIDI in and demonstrate it for people. As long as that particular instrument sounds cool, people will assume that “Red Five” is the one making the cool sounds, when in reality it’s essentially just “telling” the instrument what to do. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that here. Never mind, there is no “should”, anyway.
I just got another letter from my good friend Monica, who’s doing a gap year in France, so I’m going to go write her back. As an epilogue to this sweet Tuesday morning post, I would like to share with you the current state of the paper recycling bin in our apartment.