I wrote a book. Go figure.

Posted by on Dec 12, 2007 in Blog | Comments Off

Kaden Harris Eccentric Cubicle Book CoverSo there I was, sittin’ in the shop buffing brass while savouring a nice glass of lager when the Email rings: It’s Les Grande Fromage from O’Reilly Medias’ Make Magazine.
“Kaden,” sez the Email, “We want you to write a book for us.”Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

Now, I’ve always assumed that I’d write a book at some point in time, but in all honesty I’d kinda expected it to be more like a modest volume of faux Vogon sonnets done for the sole purpose of having something to use as a field test for a homemade printing press. Doing a book for O’Reilly, publisher of record for the entire freakin’ geek community, and actually being paid cash money for doing so was (not surprisingly) a concept that had never occurred to me.

“Waddaya got in mind?” I replied warily.”Projects, son, projects… whack-assed things the masses can bodge together in their basements, rec rooms or garages. Funny stuff. Educational stuff. Some of that parallel universe stuff you’re always on about. Hit ‘em in the funny bone, then slam some facts into their noggins while they’re distracted laughing. We’re looking for 300 hundred pages, nothin’ too hard, nothin’ that explodes, nothin’ that’d be banned in Boston. Should be a piece of cake for a glib fella like yourself”.

“Well, I’m not exactly su…”"We’ll pay you REDACTED American dollars.” (Bear in mind this occurred at a time when the American dollar was not in the process of tanking on the world currency market)

“I’m your boy…”

Flash forward about 18 months…

Man, writing this kinda book is no picnic; besides the actual text, I had to design, fabricate, document and photograph the 10 projects (and dozen or so nano-projects) in mind numblingly full detail. One of the chapters ended up with almost 200 photographs and illustrations alone; I moved about 3 gigs of data from here up to the O’Reilly Mothership, and burnt through 3 separate meatware editors as they struggled to shoehorn my uniquely non-Euclidean approach to fabrication, philosophy and the English language in general into a format more amenable to the O’Reilly demographic. Full props go to Tom Sgouros, Pride of Rhode Island and notable banjo surrealist, who somehow managed to get it to press in an essentially unaltered form. Depending on your views regarding linguistic sanctity, this may or may not be considered a valuable contribution to society.For the record, the projects included in the book are as follows:

  • A very cool post-modern redesign of a guillotine, called ‘Active Deskchop’
  • A bigger than normal desktop ballista, called ‘Ballistamail’
  • A re-creation of the perfect golf swing, called ‘Maple Mike’
  • A Lucid Dream inducer, called ‘The Gysin Device’
  • A USB powered bubble machine, called ‘iBlow’
  • A Liquid Light projector called, ‘Liquid Len’ and…
  • …its’ companion rotating mirror-tiled head, called (predictably)’DiscoHead’
  • A *really* convoluted fog machine, called ‘The Haze-O-Matic 3000′
  • A mechanical percussion sequencer called ‘HammerHead’
  • and a Deskmounted Fretless Bass called ‘DeskBeam’