Friday, November 16, 2012

An actual blog about my writing

For a writers blog, I don't post about my writing much. Which is surprising, since I'm a shameless whore when it comes to self-promotion. Today I have the pleasure of talking about a recent literary development regarding the author I love above all others (me). I just sold my novel, Twin Suns, (If you know me personally, as both of my regular readers do, you've heard about it) to Double Dragon Publishing. It will be released either late in 2013 or early in 2014. There will also be a print-on-demand option.

If you go with the print-on-demand option, I will sign it if you bring it to me. Send it, I'll sign it. Bring it to me, I'll sign it, and buy you a beer. If you go the e-book route, I can sign your kindles, iPads or breasts, if you can find a way to get them to me (actually, I may be able to work out some sort of partial reimbursement deal to offset some of the breast transportation costs. Send me a pic. We'll talk.)

So, yeah, go buy it (in a year). Please. I've got student loans and a drinking problem. I need the money, and I love my fans (most of them are my friends, or related to me). Oh, and the book is really good, too.

On a mostly unrelated note, I would like to address my less than stellar popularity (It mostly bothers me because Klout likes to interrupt shows I'm watching on Hulu to tell me about my falling score).  A friend of mine does a thing where she posts a free poem every time she gains another fifty followers on twitter. She is a far better writer/internet user than me, so my expectations are much, much lower than hers.

Here's the deal. I'll post a free poem if I get five new followers on twitter, a new blog follower, or a single comment on my blog. If you post more than two comments, expect sexual favors. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Most Shocking Blog Yet...(excuse the bad pun)

     I clearly have too much time on my hands. As a result, I’ll be writing about stuff I did in my garage. Whoa, not THAT. Such activities are generally reserved for tool sheds (yeah, no one got the Beavis and Butthead reference, but I don’t care.) Before that brief mental detour to the gutter, I was getting ready to tell you about my latest project. I’ve mentioned homemade tazers at least once, but now I finally got around to making one. In the end, I came up with three prototypes. Two of which actually worked.

     The first was the most ambitious (an obvious mistake). I set out to put all the components of a tazer, (battery, transformer and capacitor) inside a dry erase marker. I pulled all of these components out of a disposable camera. Inside the camera, the battery goes to the transformer, which steps up the voltage, and then charges the capacitor. The capacitor then powers the flash, or in my design zaps anything that touches the two electrodes coming off of it. What I didn’t know (IDIOT!) is that when increasing voltage via a transformer using direct current (a battery), you need some mechanism (a transistor, resistor, diode or something else. Further research is required) to cause the current to fluctuate. A transformer NEEDS fluctuating current.

Plugging it into the wall for a dose of alternating current would work, but it would defeat the purpose of the device. (To build a tazer that runs on AC current, simply cut the end off of an extension cord (NOT WHILE IT’S PLUGGED IN!!!), strip the insulation and touch the two wires to your target.) Because the tiny little components on the circuit board in the camera are poorly labeled, I was unable to rectify this problem (yet).

     The second design was a return to the basics (I wanted to get it done quickly to watch the presidential debate). I simply put two holes in the camera case, and ran wires through them. I then soldered one of the wires to each of the posts on the capacitor. After I closed the camera back up, turning it on charged the capacitor, and anything I touched the wires to, got a good zap. Most of the designs call for you to solder the protruding ends of the wires to screws, and then have those stick out of the case. Again, I was in a hurry.

     The third design used essentially the same components as the last (including the complete circuit board on the camera, but trades the case of the camera, for a glove and a ton of electric tape (the initial design was difficult to remove from my hand). For this one, I stuck the capacitor and the battery inside a plastic pipe, with wires running to the circuit board. I put a button on one end of the pipe (It took forever, but I built one using a couple bits of copper from the camera, excess camera case plastic, a bit of cellophane from a cigarette pack, a spring from a pen, and of course, superglue.) I attached the pipe to the inside of the glove hand, and the circuit board ended up on the back of the glove (secured by copious amounts of tape). I ran the shock delivering wires to a pair of copper contacts (pre-1982 pennies that I reshaped) on the knuckles.

     Now the whole thing charges when I press the button with my thumb, and delivers a zap when I touch the contacts to something. So far it works well on tools with rubber handles, though with luck I’ll eventually get one of my dumber friends drunk enough to let me test it properly. Realistically (especially given the number of practice tests and the voltage drop due to distance travelled over thin wire) the zap delivered is probably more like one of those novelty hand buzzer things than a real law enforcement-grade tazer. At least probably (I’m not ready to test it on myself.)

     In conclusion, electricity is fun. Also, I really need to get a job.