Be The Life Of The Cubicle Farm With A DIY Sound-Sensing Tie

When I used to work in Fairfax, Virginia as a computer consultant during the dot-com boom (actually I was a documentation specialist) we’d all go down to Pizza Hut for their lunch buffet. They had pizzas all laid out – three or four flavors, plus dessert pizza. A salad bar. I’d go with a bunch of people whose names I forget now (I didn’t make a lot of friends when I worked in Fairfax.) I’d go for long, meandering runs in the Virginia countryside, pounding along the highway past sagging shacks that were destined to be torn down for gated communities that sprung up in the early 2000s like Queen Anne’s Lace along the berm.

We’d eat a lot of pizza and feel horrible after but we were young and we didn’t have a lot of cool stuff to do in our lives so we’d eat that lunch, go back to work and edit documents for a tax system, and go home. Some days I’d fall asleep on my floor. I can’t tell you why. I probably exhausted myself with the monotony and loneliness of it.

Then I’d go to raves. This was like 1998 and people still went to those. I’d dance to Drum and Bass. It was my specialty. I treated it like an exorcism and I was so into it people just stared like I was an absolute freak but I was young – 23 or so – and this life I chose was pretty horrible and I wanted to do something creative so I figured if Michael Stipe could twist around like a noodle in his videos, I could do the same.

I still hate the thought of those long, triangular meanderings from my office to the grocery to the Tower Records with my apartment in the middle like a reminder of how far I was from anything like home.

I moved to Warsaw a year later and things got much better. I doubt this jolly, DIY LED-encrusted tie, called the Ampli-tie, would have made me feel better back then, but I bet it totally would improve your day if you made one. You can see the instructions over at Adafruit.