New Collage for Amy’s 50th

Back in my late teens and well into twenties, before the interwebs, I spent countless evenings creating paper collages (sometimes with friends) – for framing, for calendars, for cards, for laughs. But it had literally been decades since I last pulled out an exacto blade and glue stick until this afternoon, when I decided to make one for my wife’s upcoming birthday. Kind of had trouble getting things to “click” aesthetically, and this one feels a bit clunky, but it felt great to re-connect.

Collage Amy 50th birthday

Pale Blue Dot

This three-minute speech – Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” – was the finale to the original Cosmos series, and stands in my mind as one of the most moving short speeches I’ve ever heard. Voyager 2’s last glimpse back at the earth as it became the first human craft to exit our solar system provided the backdrop and the inspiration for Sagan’s soliloquy. Seeing it in 1980 marked a dawning of cosmic awareness for me as a young teen.

Tonight we watched the finale of Neil de Grasse Tyson’s “Cosmos” reboot. Tastefully, the series finished with Sagan’s original Pale Blue Dot audio, set to new (and far more gorgeous) visuals.

Every week for 13 weeks we’ve gotten together with another family and hung on every word, absorbed as much as we could, and tried to help our children appreciate as much as possible of these incredible perspectives on life, the universe and everything.

It is impossible to summarize the hugeness of the undertaking in producing the new Cosmos, or of the impact it has had on us. It has truly been the TV event of the decade for us, and I hope the seeds it has planted will continue to grow in Miles’ heart for the rest of his life.

Maker Faire 2014

Another year at the Bay Area’s greatest assemblage of welders, hackers, crocheters and other makers – haven’t missed a Maker Faire yet! Crowds actually weren’t as bad as anticipated, though the overall danger level does seem to go down a bit year after year (or maybe our perceptions are changing?)

Loved this jet engine transformed into a musical instrument:

And the Inflatable Forest:

And the Canjos:

Biggest disappointment for us is that the Cyclecide collection seems to get smaller every year. Only one bike-powered carnival ride, and none of the usual freak bikes available for the public to ride – we look forward to those more than just about anything. They did bring back the Spanking Bike though! Here’s M enduring some self-inflicted anguish:

Still, got to witness the great El Pulpo Mecanicco, doing its Busby Berkeley meets Burning Man thing. The heat radiating off its tentacles was almost too much to be near.

Here Miles plays Ode to Joy on eight well-connected zucchinis, jacked into a Makey-Makey board, connected to laptop via USB. Scratch app process changes in electrical resistances into musical notes.

Not to mention the return of Arc Attack – 50,000 volt tesla coils jamming with a live band, as kids dance safely in Faraday cage.

Never gets old! So much creativity on display, endlessly inspiring.

Flickr set:

Tilden Loop – GoPro

Wonderful three-mile loop through the heart of Tilden Park in the Berkeley Hills. Up Meadows Canyon, down on Curran Trail, then back along the Gorge trail. Mountain biked with a helmet-mount GoPro.

The actual ride was around 20 minutes. The first two minutes of this are edited down from the uphill – I left the downhill mostly intact.

The complexity of the foliage and the fast motion make the video codecs really struggle – wish I could show you the uncompressed original.

Schmidt Lane Descent

Five-minute descent through the Hillside Nature Area in El Cerrito CA (our family affectionately calls the area “Schmidt Lane” for the name of the street you enter from).

Shot with GoPro Hero3 Black + helmet mount, edited in the new GoPro Studio software. Sorry about the abrupt music ending – Studio currently has no audio envelope controls.

Ironically, I wiped out on the way going up and wracked my knee, though managed to stay upright on the descent :).

Music: Can – One More Night (Ege Bamyasi)

Expoobident

In 1960, trumpeter Lee Morgan recorded an album with the bad-ass title “EXPOOBIDENT,” an adjective which I take to mean some combination of excellent, expedient, and faboo. I kind of started saying it a lot over the past few years, not sure why. Today Miles asked what it meant, and of course it was tough to explain. Googling, found that expoobident.com actually already exists – a placeholder site for jazz reference. Only almost all of the text on it is lorem ipsum. Which just goes to show how impossible it is to find a good domain name these days.

expoobident