Do the Hard Stuff First: Building IT IV

Greetings! In the 11 days since the last installment of “Building IT” a lot has happened but that doesn’t mean that the work has stopped. Building IT is quite a project. almost to the same level as the first pneumatic clown prop that I built. In some ways IT is a step back. When I retired in 2008, I thought that Halloween was going to be great but it wasn’t. I had “Jack” but the clown prop that I built was a horrible failure. For one thing, I started too late. The clown was supposed to come out of a box. It used and electric actuator that didn’t work well. He was slow and boring. Even so, the Halloween was still fun. I still had my trustworthy “Jack.”

I would put “Jack” the talking pumpkin out every year.

Jack was easy to set up and store. He consisted of foam and plastic pumpkin, a speaker, a microphone, and a 100 Watt voice modulated light bulb. On Halloween day I would pull out a single cardboard box and find my PA amp. I covered a tall speaker with an old moth eaten tablecloth so it could double as Jack’s stand. Jack would sit on his speaker by the door and I would talk to the trick-or-treaters thought he PA system. I could see them through a darkened window and a microphone placed near Jack allowed me to hear them. Some kids would come back after Trick-or-treating just to talk. Jack has been with us since the seventies. We moved to Tucson in 2000 and Jack came with us. The kids that used to talk with Jack on Halloween night in the early 2000’s are now bringing their kids but it’s not just Jack anymore. Jack has friends now!

Building IT is quite a project and projects need to be divided into individual tasks. Some tasks are easy or familiar because I’ve done them before. Some tasks are unfamiliar and challenging. These are the “hard stuff.” On the other hand, there are familiar tasks that must be accomplished first. For example, I’ve built props in the past and building a box is something that might be considered easy or familiar. However I can’t mount the linear actuator which is rather challenging without the box to mount it to.

Today’s hard stuff is adding a voice to IT which involves using a couple of circuit modules that I’ve never used before. ***work***work***…I’m back and it wasn’t as tough as it could have been. The Adafruit Audio FX sound board and the audio amplifier worked just as advertised. What’s next?

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About AZAtheist

Retired--Researcher, Developer, Program Manager, Arizona Regional Director--American Atheists, Organizer--Tucson Atheists, Organizer--Skeptics of Tucson
This entry was posted in Halloween, Repurposing Material, Retired--A Day in the Life, Science and Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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