AI: Foolish Endeavors

Two months ago now, I announced that I would be undertaking the creation of a stop motion lego music video. Moreover, I promised to include intermittent updates as to the progress. The first is included below. I have the software and a camera now.

Now for the AI:

What’s the most foolish project you have started? Did you finish it? Was it worth it?


Ryan is a professional nerd, teaching engineering in the frozen north. Somewhat less professionally, he is a costumer, author, blacksmith, juggler, gamer, serial enthusiast, and supporter of the Oxford comma. He can be found on twitter and instagram @studentofwhim. If you like what I do here, feel free to leave a tip in my tipjar.

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  1. All of my foolish projects started out with me thinking, “oh I’m just going to do this one simple half-assed thing and it’ll be a little bit cool.” Then you start adding little improvements and after doing this a few times you’re addicted to that rush you get of seeing it continually improve, and then before you know it months have gone by and your half-assed endeavor is this huge thing.

    Those kinds of projects you never really “finish” — you just run out of steam and stop messing with it. Were they worth it? Every single one of them.

  2. I don’t know if this was “foolish”, but it sure was something.
    I had (still have) a Bolex 8mm camera gathering dust when I found some film. I resolved to make a movie with this one roll, and I did!
    Later, I made another with two more rolls. This one included a child driving a car, a kimono, wooden sandals and real (unloaded) handguns! I edited the film with nail varnish (which I regret, but I had nothing else).
    The foolish thing is, I had a plane to catch, so we “worked” the script as we went along!
    Answering this question made my day, so I guess it was really worth.

  3. It would have to be when I decided a few weeks ago that I would create props and obstacles for a bowling game show. It requires me to work outside in humid desert heat (at least 110 degrees) for the next few weeks. I had to design and build things like a ramp and a pendulum for the bowling lane. This is not my forte at all. So it has been nothing, but an amazing challenge.

  4. I decided that I wanted to go to TAMX next year so badly that I would sell art to raise funds.

    It’s still in progress (obviously), but it’s basically become a second full-time job, making graphics and getting things ready to be printed and pressed and screenprinted ;___;

  5. Building a theremin. Not foolish because I chose to do it, but because I chose to do that as my *first* homebuilt project. I had no idea how to solder or etch a circuitboard and I made the mistake of choosing the oldest plan I could find. I thought it would be the easiest to build, and it was, but it was the hardest to make work. In more modern versions it’s much easier to tune the oscillators, mine required an oscilloscope and I never got it working properly.

    I don’t regret doing the project at all, even though it was a failure. I have fond memories of feeling like a mad inventor in that sweaty little walk-up playing with acids and molten lead. That feeling spurred me to try other such projects and develop my skills. I really do wish though that I’d done the theremin later; despite all the instruments I own a working theremin would be the coolest.

  6. A boat. Still working on it… If by working I mean, letting it sit under a tarp while I try and make enough money to finish it. I don’t regret it, even though I know its probably going to sit under that tarp for a while longer.

  7. This is smaller scale, but I once made a dodecahedron out of the office supplies I had on my desk.

    I’d been reading Cosmos, and I was a little enthralled with Sagan’s account of how Pythagoras started a kind of cult that was obsessed with perfect solids. The dodecahedron freaked them out so much they outlawed it.

    They outlawed. The DODECAHEDRON.

    It struck me as being emblematic of the way religion treats knowledge. Not coincidentally, that was the same day I finally gave up the last vestiges of my Christianity and started calling myself an atheist.

    Then I built my own dodecahedron out of paper and the sticky bits off Post-It notes (didn’t have any tape), including making a compass out of scissors, a paper clip, a pencil, and rubber bands to get the sides even.

    It’s still sitting on my bedside table. Because fuck you, Pythagoras.

  8. The contents of my appartment consists of nothing but half-finished foolish projects.
    Most end up being half-finished because (as breadbox mentioned earlier) they keep growing until the workload starts exceeding the odds of ever being truly done.

    Others remain unfinished because I’m stuck on how to do something, and they might one day pick up once I’ve figured out how to work around that problem. (There’s a few where I’ve solved the problem(s), but where I haven’t actually gotten around yet to implementing the solution and finishing the project).

    And then there’s one or two where I simply lack the space to get started.

    In other words, I’ll be dead long before I get bored …

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