Miles and Jackson Make a Potion

Potion ingredients, by Miles

(I do not know what effect this potion is supposed to have, but I’m sure it’s powerful).

  • One drop of sap from euphorbia lambia
  • Jackson’s spit
  • Miles’ spit
  • Some mint sun tea
  • Water
  • Cat food ground into a powder
  • Microwaved Ivory soap ground into a powder
  • Dirt
  • Wax from a candle
  • Sand from the beetle cage

Here’s the xtranormal video version of this recipe:

Potion ingredients, by Miles and Jackson
by: shacker5

Miles on the Cigar Box Uke

No, he’s not really into playing (much more into piano) but one day he did decide to doff my hat and jam with the cigar box. Managed to grab this excellent frame from a set of blurry grabs (which would probably work very well in an animated gif, hmmm).

Venus Fly Trap


Do you think a venus fly trap has a brain? Plants are weird. How can anything grow that doesn’t have a brain? It’s as weird as the mystery of where the universe ends. My favorite god is the god of food. If you want to befriend the god of food you have to give him some food. The god of disgustingness wants some brain juice or a booger. The god of technology wants an oversized solar powered laptop.

Patrick’s Army Chronicle

Patrick's Army Chronicle Miles (7) has started his own newspaper, The Patrick’s Army Chronicle. Well, “started” may be too strong a word. He created issue #1 sometime between 5:45 and 6:45 one morning, before we got up. Nice ratio of copy to ads. And just in time to beat the SF Chronicle’s move to full-color printing by one day!  Way better photos, too. A bit of concern on this end re: his interest in advertising, but with conversation keeping undue influence at bay, it’s all good. Gotta admire his industriousness. My fave: “New code pen. It doesn’t rite Inglish, it rite’s codes!” Though the sheer terror of “Beehive hangs from catsle wall” is nothing to sneeze at. Also includes a one million dollar reward for the unconditional capture of Squid Man.

Full-size version.

Miles and Scot Build a Fort

Over the course of  summer 2009, Miles and I spent almost every dry weekend working on a backyard fort project. Awesome father/son bonding experience. He got to learn lots about planning and working with tools, and I really enjoyed having something analog to work on for a change. Took pictures along the way, and finally got around to putting them together in an audio slideshow this week.


Click for slideshow

Law of the universe: All projects turn out to be more complicated than when first conceived, and this turned out to be true of both the fort build and of making the slideshow. So many fiddly details behind the scenes that are never apparent in the final product.

I actually recorded Miles talking about the build in two takes (with a professional Marantz audio recorder borrowed from the J-School), then edited them down in Garage Band. Did my best to match audio to the visuals, but in order to utilize all the best clips, there are a bunch of areas where you’ll find him talking about something out of order. No matter – it’s just for fun.

Audio slideshow (note: there’s a full-screen option in the slideshow viewer).

Geek Notes

The original plan was to do the slideshow by importing still images into Final Cut, where I could edit durations and audios all together. However, the discrepancy between still image/video aspect ratios and pixel shapes (square pixels for still images, rectangular pixels for video) kept resulting in weird output. Fiddled with it forever but just couldn’t get it right, so decided to do SoundSlides after all.

Neither SoundSlides nor iPhoto provide audio editing functionality, and I still needed a way to sync up the images with the audio where possible, so this is what I ended up doing:

  • Arranged and edited images in iPhoto, exported to a temporary QuickTime slideshow.
  • Also exported the images from iPhoto with filenames set to “sequence.”
  • In Garage Band, imported both the temporary QuickTime and the .WAV files from the Marantz audio recorder. This gives you a timed thumbnail preview in GarageBand you can use to sequence your audio.
  • Since I had two takes of the audio and wanted to select bits and pieces from both, created a third “temp” track I could use as a holding bin for audio scraps I hadn’t decided what to do with. This seven minutes of audio is the result of two full evenings of audio editing!
  • Set the “movie” track to “Hide” in Garage Band so I could export an MP3 of the finished audio.
  • Imported the sequenced still images and the final MP3 into SoundSlides Plus to create the captions and final output.

Miles in the Mirror

Miles Mirror

Digging through some old images, stumbled across this one, shot by Miles (age six) while playing with my camera. Quite beautiful … seems to have a real sense for the camera. He must get that from his mother.