September 2010 Archives


Beautiful pictures of animals, created by Mortéza Esmaîli Sohi from leaves. via CRAFTMagazine


Some of the floating-into-place I imagined yesterday may have been that floating feeling in the early stages of a fever.  I'll rest tomorrow...
Lots of projects in mind at the moment.  Not yet sure how they fit together.  If I work forward slowly and steadily and thoughtfully, I have a sense that they will float into relationship with each other, and then I'll understand the connections. 

Procrastination from ism studios on Vimeo.

by ism studios, via Laughing Squid

Not that I procrastinated by watching this stop motion animation, oh no.
"Discard an axiom."  (Today's advice from Oblique Strategies.)  I don't know which axiom to toss away, but the very process of examining my pet phrases reminds me why each favorite saying matters. So I'll discard the oblique strategy for now, instead.
From farmers' market to city streets to backyard reading to symphony concert - today was a day of restoration and renewal. 
"Chance favors the connected mind," says Steven Johnson, in a twist on Pasteur.


The newest tutorial in the Code Box series is up on the Make blog.  

I love the work I do every day, and feel fortunate in that, but sometimes I imagine what it would be like to spend a year simply drawing, writing, and making things light up with circuits and code.

"If you're not making it up as you go along, you are out of touch with reality." - Dr. Margaret Wheatley, via Beth Kanter.

A day later, and I'm still thinking about the skirt of stars.

This interactive illuminated skirt (tulle, organza, fiber optics, LEDs, accelerometer, and LilyPad arduino, oh my) created by Shannon Henry is one of many cool projects to see at the Maker Faire in NYC next weekend. I won't be there, so I'm counting on the internet to bring me some of the new ideas and conversations. (Meanwhile, here are some instructions for this fabulous skirt.)
Since I read so many blog entries by way of Twitter links these days, I've decided to see what it's like to cross-post from both this blog and woolgathering... Since I update my blogs late at night, I'll probably delay the Twitter posts, so that they appear in people's streams at a more reasonable hour.

"Imperfect, ya know, oftentimes still shaking in his boots, but still doing it..."

(Thanks to Sheila Ryan for the link.)

Tomorrow is Friday, and a good day to clear away the junk on my virtual desktop, my actual desktop, and my inbox.  Start the weekend with some clear space.

Making Future Magic: iPad light painting from Dentsu London on Vimeo, via TUAW.

A sequence of single frame images (cross-sections of 3D letters) are moved in space with long exposures to create light paintings or words, then the words are animated using stop motion. Hard to explain, but well-worth watching.

Ommwriter is my favorite writing software.  I thought I wouldn't like it, as ambient sound and peaceful images often seem more irritating than soothing to me - but for some reason, this works. A simple space where I can think. Put words together.  The company has just announced an update.  I plan to download it tonight...

Here's the plan... head into the coming week with enough sleep.  I have books I'm eager to read, student writing ready for response, emails to compose, but the sensible thing is to take care of the person who is going to do all those things.  And that means rest first.
I took sketchbook and camera around with me today. In various moments I could have gotten either of them out...  and instead, I thought, talked, read, and simply sat. Now I'm listening to insect sounds after a city rainstorm. And that feels like enough for the moment.
I'm looking forward to a new series in Make: Online, called Codebox - Going Further with Processing. In this first episode, Andrew Odewahn shows how to use a webcam and code to make a video program respond to a real world colored object - color tracking with a magic wand.

The Codebox series seems to be designed to expand on the examples in Getting Started with Processing - so I'm eager to see how it works as a companion.

As I look forward to this season's Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra season (disclaimer - I blog for them), I'm imagining what it must have been like to be on a delayed KLM flight on the ground in Shanghai and have these musicians begin playing. The only impromptu music I've experienced on a flight was when a group of high school students sang "Take me home, country roads," just before an overseas flight landed in Boston, some time in the mid-1970s. Sweet, but not Mozart.

Plusea posted this wonderful video of a conductive pom-pom controller, changing the pitch of sound. Inspiring stuff...
Having spent time learning some Objective-C this summer, I'm finding Processing more intuitive as I come back to it this fall. In addition to my own teaching and class prep work, I'm taking the free workshop, Processing and Arduino in Tandem.  The workshop covers material very quickly, and my typing isn't good enough to keep up, especially when my internet connection gets stuttery.  But I'm following the instructor, imagining variations as he works, and I realize that the order he does things makes sense to me - none of which would have been true three years ago. So I progress.
Bound five sketchbooks today - loose pages from August, existing pages and enough more for September's book, and a book each for October, November, and December.  For now, they are just signatures sewn on cords - I'll add some glue to the spines so that they don't gap when opened to the space between signatures.  
My eyes still feel washed and rested after yesterday's walk in the woods.  So many different greens and greys and browns.  Changing light and the sounds of rain on the leaves. The smell of hemlock, and the taste of pitch when a stray needle got into my sandwich.  Rocks, roots, and soft trail beneath my feet.

Some of the colors and textures from our walk in the woods today.
"I have to keep myself on the edge of not understanding." - painter and teacher, Leigh Hyams

"Getting a ball into a galvanized bucket - the hard way." So much joy in the process.

via BoingBoing
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Buying books is not the same as reading them, and reading them is not the same as acting on what I've read. (And even knowing this, I have books on the request list at the library and other books on their way from



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