Monday, May 30, 2011

Gardening && !Zen

First off-- Gardening. I mentioned that I had started trying to grow things.... well, originally I was doing it wrong. I was using a spray bottle and misting my pots... and nothing was growing... once I switch to actually, you know, pouring water on the plants some of them started to grow! Wow! My first round of Edamame and Cucumbers have been growing for a couple days now (despite planting them, like, 3 weeks ago)

In the mean time, I've been distracted / mutated my interest into terrariums... but I don't have any moss or small plants... so I've bastardized the thought by trying to grow my vegetable seeds in glass bottles*...

The basil has started poking out already (5 days in) and I can see the cucumber seed turning green just below the surface (yay glass walls?) Adam points out that this wont work in the end... I'm fine if the plants just don't die... I doubt they'll seed/produce (it'd be SO cool if they did!) but I don't think they'll fall over, wilt, and die just because they're in bottles... but maybe they will...

Current vegetable selection is : Cucumber, Edamame, Basil, Parsley, Pole Beans, and Snow Peas. So far the parsley is the only one that flat out failed to grow... Edamame is AWESOME** and the best grower and the cucumber will desperately need to be transplanted to a larger container soon...

Trying to make the most of this happy 3 day weekend. Golly I like my weekends... There's some good and some bad so far though (and it's not even over yet!)

The Bad : I'm trying to do another rev of my frankenturret project. Going to Maker Faire inspired me to try and "finish" stuff better... so I made another set of corners and head and made a mold out of them (requiring an $$ batch of new supplies... ) but it hasn't gone anywhere... realizing I wasted a good portion of a day making shitty molds and casting pieces I can't use really took the wind out of my sails.... Overall my real negative take-away from this is that I don't like trying polish/finish a piece. It just takes too much work! I tried to find the piece/zen in really focusing on something and... it just made me frustrated. Blah.

The Good : Throwing money at craft supplies makes me happy! I got some white pigment and not only does it make the resin super awesome white, it also thins the resin and extends the workable time and makes it *much* easier to cast! Yay! I also got new bits for the dremel a co-worker is lending me and it's super fun! Also, I spent a good portion of Saturday at Coffee Bar warming up my Python again and working on the Tichu game. I really like the idea I've got right now on how to handle game flow... still a long way off from completion...

There was a parade that went right in front of our house! (well, okay, the staging area did) and Adam has been super nice and making me/bringing me delicious foods. Even Duck, the cat, has been somewhat tolerable this weekend. We've been bonding over our love of the deck while I work with the plants and he watches birds.

...and now I'm off to a memorial day B.B.Q.! Maybe I'll swim in the ocean?!?

* side note 1 : OMG! I've started drinking vanilla flavored frappuccinos at work! They are insanely delicious!! How did I not know about this before? Also, the plastic label peels off super easily and the bottle left behind is rather cute... I'd drink several a day if Adam didn't point out how ridiculously unhealthy/sugared they are... sigh... limiting myself to one every other day now...

** side note 2 : no, really, Edamame is AWESOME! It just SHOOTS up out of the dirt! Pow! The packet said growing inside wasn't recommended but that's how I started it anyway. The poor thing definitely didn't have enough light, hence the sideways growing. I moved it out to the porch the other day and I think it's already starting to zig bad upwards...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Brief thoughts on Maker Faire 2011

Went to the Maker Faire this last Sunday (5/22). I'm a big fan of the faire and have been going since I've been down in the Bay Area, so... this is my 4-5th one?

I really liked last year's. It got out of the steampunk rut and was all about this whole eco/green thing and there were some really touching projects. I remember getting a little tear-y eyed looking at/reading about the high school projects. Such awesome sentiment there.

This year I wasn't quite as moved... maybe I didn't spend enough time there, maybe I was too drained by earlier weekend activities to get hyped up about it.... It seemed *really* crowded (though I could still move about/see things) and a little too over produced. As I was telling Adam- I've always enjoyed the home-made nature of previous Maker projects. The feeling that "yeah, I can kinda' see how I could do that myself!" However, this year everything was so polished and produced and professional looking that I was rather removed emotionally from a lot of it. There were neat projects, absolutely! But they didn't strike the chord in me of "Hell yes! I can do this too!"

Maybe this is just the side effect of so many awesome processes/resources becoming available to everyone that it is actually easier for everything to look better! I could believe that, what with the Arduino system being so accessible and neat, and the TechShop expanding and being cool... Maybe I just didn't visit the right exhibits...

Focus on the positive though (because there was a lot of positive things there and I'm very happy I went) :
  • Talking to the Halo costume guy. Not only talented but super friendly and informational. Best exhibit there. Loved the mix of kick-ass final products with loads of details about the process.
  • The Colossus. Highly amusing that so many children wanted to pull rocks around. Normally you'd expect an entertaining device to move it's users, not the other way around.
  • The Tesla coils... I remember ArcAttack sounding better last year musically but it's hard to be disappointed when there's lightening involved. The entire dark room in general was done very well this year, a huge improvement over last year's. The EL wire sharks were surprisingly cute.
  • The bubble man! There was a station with this dude making super huge bubbles and kids were playing with it and it was just an all around smile inducing situation.
  • Superconductor exhibit. There was a circular track of magnets with a superconductor floating around it (as seen in a video in this Makezine article). Super science to watch, but made better by the kids manning the table and explaining it to passer-bys. And by kids I mean a particular girl who was calmly handling every question, keeping the track running, and being generally awesome. I wish there were more science girls like her.

    Am sad I didn't go Saturday instead. My bad. Am already looking forward to next year's...
  • Sunday, May 22, 2011

    The Portal 2 : Frankenturret Project

    While watching Adam play Portal 2 I was so struck by the sight of the frankenturrets that I swore right then and there to make one. I started on the project the very next day.... this was... what... 2 weeks ago? Only now finished a full version.

    Photo taken with Adam's iPhone. Better pictures and complete blog post for my art blog later.

    This is rev 2... Rev 1 had better parts I think but was glued to wood and had a paper center... Now that I've recently acquired (on loan) a dremel I will definitely be making a better rev 3.... Also, next time I wont be using finger nail polish as my paint...

    Has single pivot heads (will have 2 pivot ones next rev) and 2 pivot legs with springs on one of the joints (will use less tension in the springs next time). Makes a satisfying clicking sound when you fidget with them... Only stays in the "extended" leg pose when on carpet/high friction surfaces... Also, don't get me started on the body... this is actually rev 2.75 or whatever given how many times I tried to figure out how to fill the internal space.... All the white pieces are resin casts...

    The below is a video of me fidgeting with the piece...

    In the end it's really more of a "inspired by" look rather then a true-to-the-original replica. Good practice for me at least on following through and finishing something.

    Anyone particularly interested recieving a copy of one? Any feedback on the overal look? (other then how stupid the inside looks? Advice on how to fill that space? Have tried paper and clay and neither worked out great...)

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Trying to make things... that live!

    Have taken it into my head that I should start a garden. Really really possessed by this idea... Never grown anything from scratch before... my parents did have quite an impressive garden when I was growing up (and still do!) so in theory I might know some things....

    So far I picked up parsley, basil, cucumbers (spacemaster variety! How neat!), and edamame.

    Hope to get carrots, lettuce, and peas soon. Also a planters for the back porch... right now I'm using a couple clay pots but... they seem so tiny! Planters!

    (also- I picked up a fucking fantastic glass orb from Paxton's Gate that has three holes in it... am trying to keep alive a plant that I shoved in there.... it looks so pretty though it hasn't really had a chance to die yet... )