January 05, 2006

Who Are You when you're Not Looking?

As part of the effort to answer the ongoing "WTF am I doing with my life?" question:

Exceptional Efforts

These are things that I've done in my life, that nobody really asked or enticed me to do. There are probably more that I can't remember, and I've arbitrarily cut it off at about 1998.

  • Disassembling clock radios, TVs, other appliances to see what made them tick (2 yrs-present?)
  • Figuring out that dry dog food makes a fine cookie substitute, and teaching the neighbor kid (3 yrs old)
  • Making random chemical concoctions from whatever I could find around the house (until 4th grade)
  • Trying to make a crystal radio from a chunk of quartz and some earphones (3rd grade)
  • Building an electromagnet out of a nail and some wire, and sticking it in a socket (3rd grade)
  • Making a portable "fish caller" circuit, sticking it in a ziploc bag, and trying to catch fish (5th grade)
  • Repairing old CB radios and entertaining truckers (5th-6th grade)
  • Coding a simple BASIC computer game for the Commodore VIC-20 (6th grade?)
  • Creating tiny wearable weird blinking lights with newfangled LEDs and hearing aid batteries (6th grade)
  • Coding a LOGO program that would draw out the mission logo of a then-recent space shuttle mission (7th grade)
  • Designing and trying to build a robot that could climb up stairs, vacuum, and mow the lawn (7th-8th grade)
  • Designing a new kind of low-cost space shuttle during Thanksgiving holiday (8th grade)
  • Hacking long-distance calling card numbers (8th-9th grade)
  • Trying to make nitroglycerin (9th grade)
  • Trying to build a new kind of room temp. methane-air fuel cell (9th grade)
  • Experimenting with high voltage and vacuum (9th-10th grade)
  • Building a rainwater collector for our house (10th grade)
  • Designing and building a circuit to remotely turn down your stereo when your phone rings (10th grade)
  • Theorizing about "cold fusion" (1988-1990)
  • Packaging up weird blinking lights based on 555s and cheap LEDs (1990)
  • Learning C and coding up wacky sound-making programs on an old PC (1991)
  • Designing and building lamps from found objects (1991-present)
  • Coding a web browser for the Newton PDA (1994)
  • Trying to port java to Newton (1995)
  • Trying to replicate sonoluminescence experiments (1996)
  • Designing and trying to build a propane-powered popcorn popper for Burning Man (1997)
  • Coding and building robots at SRL (1998)
Posted by todd at January 5, 2006 11:21 AM