Archive for September, 2011

Maker Faire.

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Cricket and I went to Queens to the New York Hall of SCIENCE! (emphasis mine, not theirs) to go to Maker Faire. Maker Faire, from what I understand, is kind of a positive backlash to how industrialized our world has become. People make stuff. It’s that simple. Now, unfortunately for me, people predominantly make things that do something (math, science, computers. engineering, etc.), and I only make things that already exist look better. I had no idea what was going on most of the time. For example, I saw signs like this:

What the huh? And this one:

But what I read was this:

I was truly out of my milieu. But I had a jolly good time anyway. First of all, as you come in there is a giant dinosaur made from car and truck parts with a couch in it that children were sitting on. And fire was coming out of its nose. I want one for my living room.

Then there are a variety of white tents set up all over the grounds. The first one I hit was the Craftacular sponsored by Bust Magazine (motto: “getting it off our chests”). I was familiar with everything going on there. In fact, I bought myself some steampunk items from a lovely woman who came all the way from Columbus, Ohio. I got a necklace made for a watch exterior with a morpho butterfly wing in it, and I also got a pendant made from the watch’s interior components.

Then Cricket and I headed over to the Maker Pavilion:

Where the big thing this year is 3D printers. What is a 3D printer, you ask? Good question. You make an object in a 3D program, then you send the file to the nice printing machine. On top of the printer is a spool of plastic, and what happens is the plastic string is drawn down to a heated little element which lays it out in rows over and over itself, not unlike how one makes a coiled clay pot. It can make just about any shape. It totally blew my mind. Here’s what the big industrial machine looks like (note the spool of plastic):

They were also selling an Ikea version that came flat-packed that you assembled yourself, which was adorable:

And here are some the crazy-awesome things the 3D printer could make:

Apparently it can also do it in metal and glass, but I couldn’t figure out how.

Anyway, instead of buying one of these machines, you can also just send some of the companies your designs and they will print it for you (which is what I would do if I was making something). Here’s one company’s information:

Another big tent that was there was the Arduino Pavilion.

When I asked Cricket what an Arduino was, he sighed heavily and told me it was a small computer. I waited outside this pavilion while Cricket pottered around inside looking at…Arduinos.

There were a variety of littler tents scattered all around the grounds showing other people’s cool ideas. For example, there was the lock picker tent.

Another tent had a rather genius idea in it based on Archimedes’ mirror death ray.

You, a doctor in a rural area without an effective way to keep your tools disease-free, receive this box with angled bits of wood in it and a pile of 3″ x 3″ mirrors. You place the mirrors on the angled bits of wood and when the sun hits it, it focuses the sun’s rays on one very hot spot. You put your surgical knives or clampers or whatever in that beam, and it’s so hot it burns away all the evil bacteria and/or viruses. It never goes bad or loses its potency and is relatively easy to transport and/or repair. I think it’s brilliant.

Outside the tents was a solar carousel.

And a fish bike which I believe I saw at the Mermaid Parade.

And this guy eating chinese food.

By then, Cricket and I were peckish, so we stood in line for paella, which was cooked in giant paella pans. And the paella was mad good too.

I felt bad for the fresh fruit vendor next door because he had a bit of a honeybee situation. The honeybees were lovin’ it, though.

But my favorite thing was definitely the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir. I heard about it a few years ago, but I never thought I would see it in person. And lemme tell you, it is magical. I’m not even being obnoxious. It’s magical. Cricket and I stood in front of this thing for at least three songs.

Here’s a video someone took of the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir performing Bohemian Rhapsody. I don’t know what’s up the the filmer’s camera, but the clicking noise is NOWHERE that loud in real life. You can totally hear the music all the time.

And this video’s pretty great too. Note the conducting lobster near the top.

And this one. Because I love this car.

Burning Man.

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

I have never had an interest in going to Burning Man. If you don’t know what Burning Man is, it’s a big group of people who congregate in the desert outside of Reno, Nevada and form a community for a week. There’s a lot of dancing and art and no money exchanges of any kind, it’s all done with bartering. I never had any desire to go because I hate hippies. Especially artsy hippies. I turn into Conservative Grandpa when I’m around them. “Get a job! Put on pants! Shave your pits, you stink! You cannot substitute patchouli for a shower! Dreadlocks have no place on a white person! Here’s a hard candy!” etc. I think spending several days trapped in the hot desert with those incense-funk-encrusted rainbow flowers would make me want to build a time machine and go back to the Haight-Ashbury in its heyday to punch everyone there. These pictures pretty much sums it up.

CARROTS ARE NOT PEOPLE TOO. YOU ARE NOT A SPARKLE PONY. PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T DO TAI CHI NAKED. What is wrong with you people? Do you not have families who love you? Get a job! Put on pants! Shave your pits! (see above for the rest).

And then, just like that, I saw a picture that changed everything. And I want to go now.

FLAMING SNAIL CAR. Oh my God, how freakin’ fantastic is that? I must go and be with my flaming snail car. I want to cuddle its shell and tell it secrets.

By the way, are these pictures not awesome? They were taken by a man named Scott London. Go, look at his site and rejoice:

Addendum: Also this and this and this.

I got mad charts, yo!

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Seriously, I have a great many charts. I feel the need to share them with you now.

West Indian Day Parade.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Cricket and I went against everyone’s better judgement and toddled off to the West Indian Day Parade in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. And guess what? Nothing happened. I didn’t get shot. Cricket didn’t get shot. Frankly, it was a little boring. I imagine it’s more exciting if you feel some attachment to the islands represented. But I captured a few cool moments on my camera which I will share with you now.

The most important thing there, in my opinion, was this chihuahua who was sitting on this woman’s shoulder right in front of me. Totally underwhelmed by the proceedings going on around him.

There didn’t seem to be much structure to the parade. There were giant trucks with massive generators on them that would roll on by and music would be blasting out of the speakers. People were standing on or around the trucks, but they didn’t do specific choreographed moves or anything. They just walked alongside it. The weirdest one were these two people on the first truck to pass us by. The guy was yelling into a microphone, but the woman was in this backwards crouched pose. She wasn’t dancing or even moving. She looked like she thought the truck was excessively dirty and she didn’t want her pristine white costumed butt touching it. Or perhaps someone told her they would kill her whole family if she didn’t stay in that position for the whole parade. It looked uncomfortable, being frozen like that.

The one thing that was amazing was the costumes. There were all kinds, but the uniting thread between all of them was bright colors and feathers. Many birds are now bald and have to wear sweaters because of this parade. Sometimes feathers were all the ladies were wearing. This was probably the smallest costume I saw. Ribbons, feathers and glitter. That’s it.

It seemed like there could be any theme to the costumes. There was Mardi Gras (or Venice, depending on who you’re talking to):

Native Americans:

Greek motifs like the helmets and shields from “300”:

This woman’s headdress has an Thai feel to it:

And there were a bunch of people dressed like British colonists, with the white wigs and the triangle hats, but I was eating curried chicken and rice at that time and was unable to get a shot.

There were also quite a few people who looked like they made their own costumes, and some of them were fantastic. I can’t imagine how much time and work went into those. The best was the man with the gold carousel-type costume with the life-size dolls hanging off the four corners. That costume had wheels, it was so big (and probably heavy).

There was the one that looked like an African shield with peacock feathers around the perimeter:

There was the unfortunate person dressed as a giant red flower who needed someone to walk in front of them and guide them down the street:

But my favorite was this guy. I cannot for the life of me figure out what’s going on here. I feel like he’s going to rob me with the bandanna over his face, but then he looks like a bat…with hearts all over his wings? Is this a thug homage to Alice in Wonderland? Cricket had no idea either.

A group of men walked by celebrating what I can only construe is the Ripped Ab and Pectoral Society of Gentlemen.

Chihuahua is unimpressed.

Oh, and there were stilt kids.

The one thing at the parade that really took me by surprise was the dancing. I’ve seen a lot of dancing in my day, but nothing like this. Women would stand in the middle of the street, bend over at the waist until their fingertips were touching the ground, and any random guy would come up behind them and grind up on them something fierce. Maybe he would call his friend in and his friend would start humping on her facial area, thereby creating a “train”. In the middle of the street, people. In full view of everybody. At one point I turned to Cricket, and without a shred of humor said, “Is no one thinking of the children?!?!!” And then I clutched my pearls and fainted. Here’s a picture of the “dancing” happening on the sidelines.

Now that I’ve gone, I don’t think I need to go again. It was hella-crowded and it took forever to get there from the suburbs where I’m at, so perhaps if it was broadcast on TV I would watch it, but otherwise I’ll just stay home and craft like I normally do.

Mirror. Now with Vitamin C.

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

I have a window display case here at work and it had been up for two years with the same art. I got tired of staring at it every day, and the elements were getting dusty, etc. So starting in January, I began making all new stuff for the case. I pulled some pre-existing work from my past, but I incorporated new pieces as well. I made that mirror last time, this one:

And everyone was so excited!!! because they could check their hair and/or makeup in the hallway, so I felt obligated to make another mirror for them this time as well. This time I went with a sunburst using Diet Coke cans, Stop-n-Shop Diet Orange Soda cans (they have a great pattern on them), and Fanta cans. It’s a big hit. Here’s what the window looks like in its entirety:

And here’s the mirror.

You can’t appreciate it because it’s being lit by frosted fluorescent tubes, but in sunlight or incandescent light the cans shine in the most charming way.

Neenernator’s fish.

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

This last week SUUUUUUUUUUUUU…*pause for breath*…UUUUUUUUUUcked. Work just happened all up in my grill. Lotta fires to put out. I had to translate two ads into Hindi. Hey, guess what language I don’t know? If you guessed “Hindi” (or, frankly, “anything other than English, a bit of French and a smattering of Hebrew”), you would be correct. So a co-worker of mine who is Indian wrote it out for me and I built it letter by letter. Then, right before the meeting, they cut the Hindi ads because the people in the ads were Caucasian and OOPS no one had cared about the ads they provided me so all my work was for naught. And that was only one of a myriad – nay, a plethora of craptasks I was to accomplish. It’s been that kind of week.

Anyway, previous to this work hoohah, I went to visit Neenernator in New Jersey. I had bought her birthday and Christmas presents (I swear) but I couldn’t find them for the life of me, so when I arrived at Chateau Neenernator, I immediately took her out fish-shopping. I’ve talked about Neenernator’s fishtank before. To recap, Neenernator has a 110-gallon fish tank with a lovely collection of freshwater fishies, but lately it was a little bit sparce, being that the wee vibrant fish tend to die after a year or so and it had been a year or so, and I aimed to rectify the situation. I bought a whole bunch of neat fishies. I shall introduce them to you now.

There’s the two angelfish. They are clearly not the smartest fish, but they are very shiny so whenever I narrate their activities, I do it with a California-girl voice. “Omigosh, hiiii, yeah, we’re new here, I’m Caelyn, this is Alyssa…sorry, I didn’t hear you, I saw my own reflection in the glass…I’m sooooo pretty!” etc. Here’s a picture of one.

There’s the stripey fish. I call him Mr. Kissyface. I have no idea what breed of fish he is, but he is brownish and he has iridescent stripes on his very flat sides. And smootchy lips, hence the name choice. (By the way, I have no idea what Neenernator has named these guys. These are just the names I came up with that I call them.)

Now we get to the more-gooder fish. This guy has the best breed name ever. He is a short body flowerhorn. I am convinced that is a name from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when they’re picking the names of the dragon they were going to do battle with. He’s a grumpy grumplepuss and would normally start drama with the other fish (the aquarium guy referred to him as “aggressive”) but he’s on the smaller side, and I think he is smart enough to realize that if he brings the ruckus, one of the fish that is double his size with bite off his already diminutive snoot.

Neenernator has blue lights in the tank that highlight the iridescent qualities of the fish, but this is what a short body flowerhorn looks like in regular light.

And finally, the piece de resistance, the teacup stingray. Yeah, you heard right, a teeny tiny stingray. There are ones that can live in freshwater, which I did not know. This guy is crazy precious, like a little doily that goes under your coffee cup, but also who likes to eat algae build-up off the walls of the tank.

And here’s a bunch of her fish hanging out in the same spot at the same time, which Neenernator managed to capture. That’s exciting, because normally they don’t do that.

I like television!

Monday, September 5th, 2011

1. I was watching Hoarders the other night, as I often do, and there was this woman on who I think upset me as much as the poop closet lady, but for totally different reasons. At the beginning of each episode, they often show family members explaining how the hoarding started. Often it’s that someone close to them died or they had an illness and it all got away from them, etc. This one was…different. The hoarder’s name was Lisa, and her daughter Ana told us that Lisa was an artist and was social, but her husband abused her and forced her to give up her friends. Soon he insisted that she not make any art either. Lisa was left with no way to express herself, and her husband kept calling her a slob, so eventually she became one. Here’s where it gets not okay. Lisa channeled her creative energy into cooking, because that was the only outlet allowed by her husband, but she also expressed her rage through that. Here’s the icky part, kids: “My mom would lie about the ingredients in things, like saying something was apple pie, but it would be filled with raw chicken hearts…”


“One day I opened the fridge to get some butter, and when I opened the butter container there was a dead dried-out squirrel, with his teeth all bared, looking at me. After that I no longer ate at at home.”


There was also something about eating bugs in there, but I didn’t quite catch it. I assume it would have made me go AAAAAAHHHHHHH as well. I think this also the only episode I can think of where they recommended that Lisa go into a home. She was too damaged to ever recover, which is unfortunate. She seemed like before the decades of belittlement and abuse she was a real cool lady.

2. My neighbor K. recommended I start watching True Blood, and holy batpoop where has this been all my life? It’s sweaty Southern trash with smokin’ hot people workin’ out their problems, and oh, did I mention there’s vampires? Who are also hot and sweaty and Southern? It’s like the best soft core porn that ever was and ever will be. It’s cheesy and it ain’t apologizin’. LOVE IT. Except in the opening credits where the dead fox decomposes filmed with sped-up film, with the all maggots and whatnot. Other than that, great. Also (bonus), “Milton”/”The Boss from NewsRadio” is in season one and he’s a vampire who hooks up with another dude while “Eternal Flame” by the Bangles plays in the background. MAGIC, I tell you.

Mmmm, sleep cocoon.

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

My friend posted this on Pinterest, and apparently someone out there has upped the ante on the LoveCake game.

Hey, whoever did this cake? IT’S ON. I don’t know who you are, but the next time I make a cake, it will DESTROY you with its awesomeness. You done brought the clouds, so don’t be surprised when it rains. BOOYAH.

Anyway, I was looking on today, a website B. turned me on to, and I saw something someone invented for sleeping in weird places. Let me tell you something important about myself: I love sleeping. It might just be my most favorite thing ever. I refuse to let anyone sleep near me because I am unwilling to compromise my sleeping style (thrashing, pillow scrunching, snoring, etc.) And, on select occasions, I have been known to pass out face-down on my desk. Therefore, this product was made for me. What amuses me no end about it is how she looks like a molting pillbug who’s been on a bender for a while and is worse for wear. They need to work on how to make the sleep cocoon look less conspicuous than sleeping face-down on the desk. But, trust me when I say this, if this comes out in stores, I will be first in line to get it.