One of the things I've been doing during quarantine is send out handwritten letters to some of my friends and family, because everyone likes getting something in the mail. And because I'm me (passionate about both history and stationery), I've been using old-fashioned wax seals on the envelopes (using a modern stamp bought on Amazon).
Well, on eBay I just found this antique stamp that happens to have my initials carved on it. How cool is that? Got it in the mail today, and it works great.
Have a Steam account? Quarantined at home? One of the best things about Steam is that it provides a platform for small-time indie developers to create and share one-of-a-kind games. They don't always have perfect controls or perfect graphics like a mainstream, well-marketed game would, but they often have richer stories, more creative challenges, and are always a unique experience to play through.
Here are some of my favorite Indie games you may not have heard of.
Games that Defy Explanation:
I've added an exciting new section to my site where I recommend my favorite Pens, Pencils, and Erasers!
I didn't think much about writing instruments until I landed my first office job and found myself having to constantly write things down. That company only ordered cheap Bic pens though, and I quickly got irritated by how poorly they write: skipping on the paper, writing unevenly, with ugly, gummy ink. I didn't know a Gel pen from a Ballpoint at the time, so one day I went to Office Depot and bought one of everything. Then every day I tested a new pen out and noted the things that I liked and didn't like about it. I've been doing that for years now, and not just with pens; I test pencils, erasers, notebooks, and other stationery products to. (I even keep journals of my thoughts about each particular model.)
So with an amount of research that borderlines on having a problem, I have compiled a list of some of the very best stationery products currently on the market. If you're looking to upgrade your daily pen or pencil (and you probably should be, life is too short to write with a boring pen or pencil), then check out my suggestions here:
As we all settle in to the new normal of Social Distancing, I thought it might be the perfect time to start a new blog. You know, to keep the world appraised of what I'm reading, what I'm writing with, and other super-interesting views into the Life of Austin.
Today, I'm using a beautiful Mitsubishi 9800 2B Pencil to knock out some Pre-Calculas homework. It's a bit too soft, but writes wonderfully dark and smooth. Similar to the much more expensive, infamous Blackwing Pearl. You might have to take a loan out to buy hand sanitizer, but you can still find a pleasurable writing experience at a bargain price.
Speaking of, I happen to be reading Caroline Weaver's book: The Pencil Perfect which chronicles the history of pencil manufacturing throughout history. I don't know if that sounds like a fascinating read to you, but as someone who loves writing instruments, business ingenuity, and the history of objects, it has really been enjoyable. I highly recommend it.
By the way, my site AustinDixon.com has lots of good book recommendations, so if you're looking for something good to read while you self quarantine, I've got you covered. Fantasy, Scifi, Classics, Non-Fiction. Something for everybody, so check it out. I'm also working on my list of top Pencils and Pens, so stay tuned!
A fun electronics project: I hacked an old Nintendo NES R.O.B Robot to be controllable from a PC via a webpage. I used a Teensy micro-controller soldered to the robot's original circuit board and a bit of code to interpret serial input. Then I made a PHP file that sends serial data to the Teensy's port, and finally I applied a little Bootstrap to make the interface pretty.