Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Monday, July 12, 2010

About the Rollo project...


I probably spent more time on this project than on any other original figure I've built. Because he is so unique, many of his features are products of experiments. Trial and error. Observe from the first post about this project that even his torso is different than it was then. Not to mention his name.

The electronics took most of the time. And the biggest part, his light panel display, isn't even finished yet and won't be for his debut at the ConVENTion.

One electronic feature took a couple of days to design and install, and it is for only one joke in the act. I won't describe it because that would give it away. But if it doesn't get a laugh, I'll regret having put in all that time for one bomb.

His windup key, which makes a loud ratcheting noise, is a key from an old wall clock that I bought in Germany in 1969. It's not the clock's key. It doesn't fit anything. It was just in the clock when I bought it along with the one that fits the clock. So, it's been in the clock for 41 years. I finally found a use for it.

Because of my haste to finish Rollo in time for the conVENTion, The key is permanently attached to his belly, which kind of gets in the way of closing his case. The next version will have a removeable key.

The plan was that I would bring him onstage and assemble him as I did the opening monologue. You know, bad jokes about batteries not included and some assembly required. But I'll have to postpone that bit. He's too difficult to get together. I could use my entire alloted time for General Open Mic just trying to get his legs connected to his body.

I still like the idea, though, and I'll design the next version with that in mind.

Design? This guy wasn't designed. He evolved. That's what prototyping is all about.

Now if only I could get that metallic buzz sound for his voice.

So join me at General Open Mic this week and try to laugh at whatever lame electronic joke you hear. It will make me feel better.

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