Lux Sparks-Pescovitz, Teenage Maker
Cool Tools Show 234: Lux Sparks-Pescovitz
Our guest this week is Lux Sparks-Pescovitz. Lux is a 14-year-old maker, musician, writer, retrogamer, pop culture historian, and collector… of many things. Many many things. He also likes dogs and naps.
Sushi Bazooka ($30)
I was looking for a sushi making kit because I had always wanted to try it out and I found this on Amazon. I was like, “What am I looking at?” I looked at it and I said, “I have to get this.” It’s like a tube but you open it up. You stuff the rice inside it and then the ingredients in the center and close it up and you push it out with a stick. Then, you’re supposed to put it on the seaweed, of course, and roll it back up. The purpose of it is to get all of the ingredients inside the sushi. You still use the mat, but you put the mix, like the rice with the ingredients in the middle and you push it out onto the sushi and the seaweed. You basically roll it from there and it’s super easy.
This was the real portable music player that you could take around with you and listen to stuff on the go. It uses audio cassettes and it was pretty much the pre-iPod and it sold a lot. Sony originally introduced it and they even sent like a prototype one, I think, into space I’m pretty sure. Many different companies hopped on it and basically when iPods came around they kind of became old, defunct, but ..there is a bit of a resurgence in cassette, which is what happened to vinyl a few years ago. It’s gotten to the point where Urban Outfitters sells cassettes with music on them. There’s one remaining factory in the U.S. and say, I’m getting a super-limited Vaporwave release or something, they sell out fast. People want them. When you have everything on your phone, say, all of the music that you could want, that’s cool but you’re never actually going to listen to all of it. You just won’t probably. When you actually buy a cassette, say, from some Bandcamp artist, you’re going to listen to it a few times and you’re going to say, “Hey, I really like this”, and it’s something you can hold in your hand and actually feel rather than just have a few mp3s on your phone.
Nintendo Game Boy
This is basically the first portable game system that really took off and made a difference. It was basically after Nintendo brought back video games from the dead in North America and a few years later they released a Game Boy. I have one of every model basically. You can mod them. I’ve tried it. It’s tricky because you have to use a razor blade to take the polarizer film off the back with. I’ve tried it two times with two different handhelds and the first time, I ended up just twisting the ribbon cable and that screwed it up. The second time, I literally cut through the ribbon cable. The mod basically gives it a backlight. It looks amazing because it’s something people were wanting when it originally released. People were saying, “Hey, why isn’t there a backlight on this?” There was in Japan for a version of the Game Boy Pocket but with a backlight official, and those are expensive and can be hard to come by in nice shape. The battery covers are like irreplaceable, which get lost all of the time. I actually use my Game Boy a lot more is because I’m not afraid if someone sees like a Game Boy carrying case they’re going to maybe swipe it from the airport as opposed to, I don’t know, a Switch case. Not only that, it’s a lot of fun. The music is amazing, to the point where there’s whole communities about getting the soundtracks of old games on vinyl and there’s a whole market for bootleg game music on vinyl. The graphics are classic, to the point where so many indie games nowadays and even some mainstream ones try to replicate it because everyone has such fond memories. There’s so many great games for the original Game Boy.
iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit ($70)
This is basically the world’s greatest screwdriver kit ever invented. It’s made by the people from iFixit, which is the main site for learning how to repair your iPhone, your computer, your Switch, whatever it may be, whatever tech device. It’s got 60 bits maybe. It has a suction cup for taking the screen off of phones or whatever you would use with it. You got like a classic screwdriver and a ton of bits to go with it for everything you could ever need. You’ve got an antistatic wristband which you can hook up to something in case you’re like taking part a high-voltage electronic. You’ve got spudgers. You’ve got these little guitar picks which help you pry things apart. You’ve got tweezers. There’s probably more stuff I’m forgetting, but those are the main things. I’ve used it to clean out Game Boys. It’s got everything I need for that. I’ve used it to take apart old Apple stuff that we’re getting rid of just to see the insides and be like, “Oh, so that’s what’s in there.” It’s just a lot of fun.
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