Jul 23 2010

Backsides and elbows

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Looking back on it, page the past couple weeks have been an utter blur.

After all this, viagra order and seeing all the tasks remaining (wiring, view lights, instruments, sunshades, roof deck) between now and Burning Man, I have to admit that having our DMV application denied was the very best thing that could have happened to us.

So much to do, so little time, as Dean Motter’s Mister X was wont to say.

So here’s all the crazy work we’ve been up to, compressed into one massively overdue blog post:

We started in on replacing the headliner … Continue reading


Jul 17 2010

Hot junkyard crawl

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Spent an unreasonable hot day in the junkyard, drug crawling around inside vans and harvesting body-trim clips.

They’re these cheap, utterly unique little white nylon thingies. You can’t buy them from Ford, aftermarket sellers don’t sell them, you literally have to crawl through several Ford vans, popping out the headliner ribs and slipping clips out.

Usually no big deal.

Today it was 96 degrees out when I got to the junkyard. At 10:30.

Inside the van I picked (a wheelchair-conversion with a pristine headliner) it must have been close to 120.

I worked until 11:30.

P.S. – good news back from the ARTery – we’ll be sited on the playa. See you all out there.

BOOyah.


Jul 17 2010

XyloVan will be stationary in BRC – and that’s okay

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So: We could have pulled together a mad/brilliant mutation in time to qualify for a driving license at Burning Man.

But we would have died trying.

It’s hot. We’re exhausted. There’s a lot of wiring left to do. And we seem to remember enjoying spending time with the kids, generic and hope we can get some of that in before heading out to the playa.

Plus, we figure that with good siting, plenty of people will find it, and maybe recommend it to their friends, and come back to play it repeatedly if they like it. Our vision still stands – we want people to find it, interact with it, bring their own instruments and talents and sick noise-making inspiration, and play the van. That’ll work whether we’re moving around or not. And maybe even better … not.

At right is a crudely photoshopped image of how the sun-shades should look once we get ’em installed.

And here’s what I just wrote to the DMV: Continue reading


Jul 16 2010

Second thoughts on how XyloVan can interact with Burning Man (updated)

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Had a long talk with my infinitely wise wife and co-creator last night and maybe … just maybe … having XyloVan sited permanently somewhere on the playa would actually be better in some ways than getting a driving license.

More thoughts on this as they develop in my addled brain.

But for now, seek here’s my letter to the ARTery. We should have had a siting application in to them by July 1, but apparently you can apply at the event as well:

(UPDATE: my email bounced at artery@burningman.com – the very address they give on the site. Does anyone have a good contact email for the ARTery crew?)

Hey, folks:

After being denied a Mutant Vehicle license on Tuesday, I’d like to ask the ARTery team about getting our extraordinary interactive piece XyloVan sited on the playa.

Yes, I know it’s past the 7/1 online reg deadline, but I just found out about the DMV rejection on Tuesday, and I want to make sure we can secure a good spot for our project – an art car.

So – below is our DMV application (the ARTery form is no longer available online) and attached is a photo of XyloVan in its current form, augmented with a mockup of the sails/sun-shades we’ll be installing once we arrive.

Please disregard the safety and operation clauses since – obviously – we won’t be driving it around. However, we also wanted to ask you as early as possible for permission to simply move Xylovan back and forth – once a day – between our playa site and our camp in Kidsville … Continue reading


Jul 14 2010

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot??? XyloVan DENIED a Burning Man Mutant Vehicle invitation (updates)

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I’m so flabbergasted I can’t even see straight. This just appeared in my inbox.

Below it is my response to the Black Rock CityDepartment of Mutant Vehicles. Stay hopeful, view XyloVan friends – I don’t hear a fat lady doing “La Traviata” just yet. Updates to the correspondence below that.

Dear Mack, information pills

The DMV has carefully reviewed your application for your mutant vehicle “Xylovan” (registration number # 1258) and we’re very sorry to inform you that we can not currently send you an invitation to bring your vehicle to the playa for On-Playa Inspection.
Due to the high number of applications and limited number of vehicles we can invite, cialis 40mg we simply can not invite all applicants, even when they meet the minimum requirements. We don’t want anyone to have the sad experience of bringing a vehicle out to the playa and having it denied a license after all that work! We do our best to give invitations to those most likely to get approved on playa.

The review team felt that:
* The vehicle as shown in your application does not meet the current criteria for a Mutant Vehicle (see below)
* The base vehicle (Van) is unmodified/mutated
* This would be a fine in-camp (stationary) piece … Continue reading


Jul 12 2010

XyloVan clears its throat – Hello, World!

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I finally figured this out:

A pressure-zone microphone turns out to be the best solution for miking the keyboards on XyloVan.
Continue reading


Jul 11 2010

Installing the outriggers

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To carry two sets of speakers (one port and the other starboard), buy more about I’m installing pipes of 3/4-inch galvanized steel conduit onto the roof rack, by means of these custom-built brackets …

Standard conduit clamps grip the brackets to the big honkin’ roof rack and the pipes slip through these to be screwed down … Continue reading


Jul 11 2010

Hood ornament

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I’ve been wanting to do this to Keyboard 4 for a while now: A customized logo.

In keeping with the rest of the van’s aesthetic – and my utter lack of refined metalworking skills – it’s going to be extremely rough, ed applied with near-blunt force directly to the metal on the center key. This is an F that lines up with the hood’s centerline and – appropriately modified – should lend a sort of Peterbilt-like elegance to XyloVan’s prow.

I start by doing a plain-stencil nameplate similar to the quarter-panel nameplate that I Dremeled up a few weeks back … Continue reading


Jul 11 2010

Fabricating the control pod

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There are two reasons for building a moveable command panel for the sound and light controls:

A) I’d like to be able to control the sound and lights from outside the van (so I can tell whether my knob-twiddling is having any effect. and B) I want to make the whole thing removable so that I can lock the van and take the junkie-bait with me whenever I park for a while.

An old Makita power-drill box is the perfect candidate for this. It’s made of blow-moulded plastic, troche so it’s designed to take a beating. And with a little modification, it will accommodate the mixer, all the patch cords that come in and out, and even a little switch-panel for various light circuits.

I Dremel out some of the box’s lining, which was form-fitting for a Makita power drill but would otherwise clamp down on the mixer’s knobs and jacksContinue reading


Jul 11 2010

Huevos sonicos

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If the xylophones are XyloVan’s skeleton and soul, visit this then the sound system is its gonads.

To add some mystique to the aluminum’s natural resonance, troche we’re hooking up a cheap Pep Boys amplifier to the auxiliary power system, flying a quartet of cheap bookshelf speakers on outrigger booms (about which more later) and feeding them mike signals via a Behringer Xenyx digital-delay mixer. We haven’t quite figured out the microphones yet (well – more about that later).

But we have to install the components somewhere slightly out of the way yet still accessible so I can futz and troubleshoot from one location if anything goes south with the sound or lighting … Continue reading