Friday, September 12, 2008

Geek news & the Large Hadron Collider

A dear friend recently directed me to youtube to entertain/educate myself about one of the newest scientific breakthroughs via the Large Hadron Rap.

Earths biggest atom smasher, located in Geneva Switzerland, began its work this week amid a wave of internet buzz driven by a Rap song popularized on Youtube. Entertaining and informative, the song created by Kate McAlpine, has increased public awareness of a cientific experiment which has been referred to by opponents as a doomsday device.

More information and interviews can be found here. Further articles on the LHC can be found at Popular Mechanics & The New Yorker.

A Wiki rundown of the LHC may be located at Wikipedia.

As so eloquently explained in the video - the LHC, or Large Hydron Collider is a multibillion-dollar machine which will collide two beams of protons in a head on collision while propelled at close to the speed of light.

This thought alone raised my curiosity as to whether protons have heads to crash into... and why not? More information needed - I continued my journey until l I stumbled upon the Higgs Boson at Particle Zoo. Any felt loving Geeks out there see Christmas gifts in their future???

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Creators of Habit

I possess an ability to take random ideas, dissect them and alter their configurations into something completely different. I often felt that I was alone in this quirk but over time I have discovered that this is not the case. I have always reverse engineered my surroundings and recently I have become more successful at tracking down my fellow creatures of ingenuity.

Bronze casting is a rather good foot in the door for its ability to take found objects and to incorporate them into found art, molds and sculptural elements through various stages of the sculpting and casting process.

Stepping further outside that realm - these past weeks, these dog days of summer, have led to my developing a devout interest in sites provided by other Creators of habit. These are sites I return to time and again for nourishment when i need a challenge to daydream upon.

I am random, hear me roar. To steal from the maven of random creations, here follow - a few of my (current) favorite things.

Mmm. Fun creative cooking. Tastespotting is a visual feast of Food blogs which is ever changing and inspirational. An example of its delicious spontanaiety are these pancakes with recipe and easy to follow directions posted at Pop Up Pancakes are an awesome idea. These are the perfect size to eat on the run! Mix in a little syrup with the batter and you are good to go!

I could cite 3 dozen recipes and link to a dozen more sites i found via tastespotting - but instead i refer you to investigate the visual feasts yourself.

Moving on... I am learning to weave. Or rather, i am learning to learn how to weave. I tend be very spontaneous with my pursuits.. my resume of handicrafts and hobbies is incredibly long. I want to know how to do EVERYTHING and luckily i seem to adapt well to taking on the roles of teacher and student in most cases.

My downfall seems to be textiles. I adore beadweaving, In the past I shown incredible patience while working with intricate detail work of jewelry making - but I cannot sew. Neither do i knit. My girls insist that they can show me and away we will go. Realistically - this is likely true, so i should clarify. I do not want to sew or knit.

They bore me to tears. the entire concept eludes me. So although i do not want weild a needle or two whichever the case may be... I do wish to achieve creation of clothlike materials for various projects. My solution for slightly quicker to instant gratification is to weave my material and evade needles to my best ability.

I have this daydream which imports value into my hobbies. They are a means to an end - if ever trapped on a deserted island with my sweetheart, doomed to spend the rest of our days alone in paradise, i intend to be well informed in enough skill sets that the world will still be our oyster. I know how to create a kiln, locate clays and sculpt pottery to eat off of. I possess knowledge enough in bronzecasting to make our own arrows, swords and shields to hunt with and protect ourselves. I am skilled enough at carpentry and physical labor to build a hut worthy of Sims Castaway fans acclaim. I can even garden and play a small amount of music to entertain us on an improvised piano made of half filled shells and a mallet - but this would all take place unclothed.
I need to fill in the gap in knowledge. I need fashionable clothing to complete my daydream.

I only appear random - I always start accumalating project knowledge through advance research and then begin the hands on portion of the learning process weeks later. When I became aware of the barbed nature of wool It was enlightening. Online weaving tutorials led to info on Needle felting (which allows for fabric to be meshed together with many needles sans thread), weaving wool together integrates with the felting oncept admirably. I can avoid "sewing" and still make a lot of the items i have had my sights on for so long. MAKE has an excellent information source on many maker projects involving LED's that need fabric to complete - until now i was sidelined by my unwillingness to sew.. but now there is hope. I am also accumulating a lot of knowledge from on how to felt and weave and solder circuits into clothing.

I talk too much... shhhh

Friday, September 05, 2008

Back to School

This has been a good week. a busy one, yet an effective one. I feel only mildly chaotic and stressed, better yet - I am very self aware of the cause of any stress and strain on my sanity. I know why i am feeling discomfort and by being knowledgeable about the source - i free myself from a lot of the angst and anxiety that would otherwise be forthcoming. So yes, it is the end of week one and i am a bit on the AHHHHH side. Thankfully I have a great team of supporting cast members to make it all good.

At the last minute I made some major changes to my class schedule. That in itself is a pretty big roll of the dice. the action of deleting a class to free up unit space to then beg for acceptance into another class which may or may not have room for your sorry ass is always a bit of a frightening one. Unfortunately, the Wednesday night course i was taking was not going to be a success by any measure and I felt that it was wise to acknowledge the fact before time took its toll on me. I was being optimistic in taking a class at a sister college only to determine that the quality of life offered was less than that which i was accustomed to. When i got home from the first nights meeting - I had to fight the urge to promptly throw out my bag as it had spent 3 hrs on the floor directly touching the most grotesquely unhealthy environment i have come across since my journeys aboard Amtrack traveling between San Jose, Utah and Vancouver Canada.

Run on sentences aside, i was dissapointed to discover that between the time of registration two weeks ago and that of my attendance at the actual class, this week, the course description had eroded from one which spoke of weekly guest speakers from various silicon valley companies in the realm of game design, graphic design and other tech sector industries to one which the instructor noted that all his guest speakers failed to show up last semester and our final project would be the completion of a business card.

Run. Run Run.

And i did. Health and sanity now remedied with a quick switch (successfully i may add) to a more relevant course load which is not redundant and a repeat of courses i have taken 3 times already. YAY ME!

I was really looking forward to industry leaders taking the time to speak with me, but que sera or whatever that saying may be. Time to move on.

My solution? A counseling course for careers in tech. Voila. Perfection. Definitely a skill set i am in need of. My eclectic interests make it difficult to quantify my skills within a box. I am a giant zig zag of passions. I could definitely find value in analysis of what makes me tick and a gentle push in the right direction via this class would be welcome.

I often feel too old. I hear others say it too often. but when i stop and THINK i realize that's not true. I am not too old for anything. I can begin any journey from this moment as my starting point. Every day is the beginning.