Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tesla in Training

A few years ago I found an antique radio on the side of the road. I took it home thinking, "I'm going to outfit this thing with a new speaker, rewire the tuner to an MP3 player/digital turntable and light it up like a gaudy jukebox. This will be awesome." Instead, I waged a war against the previously unseen spider colony that lived inside the radio and left it as a non-functional display piece. It is passively awesome.

The people going to the Maker Faire this weekend would be tut-tutting me to no end for such wastefulness. Passive is not in their vocabulary. They are about active awesomeness.

Make Magazine (the organization putting on the faire) is for the people who saw Doc Brown's Delorean and said, "I think I can hobble together a time machine in my garage with a beat up car and a food processor. Why not?" And while time travel has still alluded this group of amateur inventors, they have crafted some pretty nifty robots, art bikes, LED contraptions, and dangerous furniture.

It's not just about trying to be a Tesla. A large component of the Maker Faire deals with learning to extend the life of what we own or create a new, hopefully more interesting, life for an older item. I was trying to avoid the term, but there is indeed a "green" angle to the event.

Nonetheless, I'm hoping I'll get inspired to crack open my radio, fight the new insect inhabitants, and really, truly ruin an antique in style.
posted by jw