Category Archives: hobby


Anyone that’s been around me for any length of time in the past year or so has probably heard me rattle on about “Make“. Either the Blog, that I spend a great deal of time reading, the Magazine,  the long anticipated Make:TV, or the Maker Faire that I had an incredible time at last year.

“Make” is an idea that’s been around forever but has found some new momentum. It used to be that skills were handed down from generation to generation, then learning was institutionalized in the guilds, schools and colleges, now it has been globalized with the Internet. Anything you want to know, or want to know how to do, is within your grasp. Even better, if something you dream of isn’t available to buy, the means of production are available to you so that you can create it yourself. Given that you have enough drive to see it through…

Make is creativity, resourcefulness and the desire to create. Make is DIY with a hacker ethos.

As I have become a part of all this I am inspired daily by how people are rethinking, reimagining, and redesigning the world around them. In an effort to further this idea a few friends and I have been working together to launch a local Chapter of the Make: groups that have been popping up around the country.

And with that effort I give you Make:PDX

Portland, Oregon is a magnet for creative people and has a social scene second to none. There is a group of people getting together somewhere for nearly every interest you might have. Make:PDX has the lofty goal of bringing together groups of focused interest to trade ideas. To act as a community builder, not to replace any of the individual passionate groups of people chasing ideas but hopefully bring more people into their ranks by raising awareness. This extends from rockets to robots, cooking to crochet, electronics, woodworking, writing, roasting coffee, brewing beer, etc…

If there is one thing I have learned in this life, it is that the more skills you have and the more you understand, the more beautiful and full of possibility the world around you is.

If you’re in Portland this weekend, we’ll be having our first get-together. If for no other reason than to watch me squirm as I attempt public speaking after a long hiatus it should be interesting. Oh, and also for the cupcakes and cookies Summer and I have been busily making. 🙂



Filed under Culture Jamming, Design, Hack, hobby, Make, Personal, trends

Jay Leno will lead the 3D printer revolution

Via: MAKE: Blog: Jay Leno will lead the 3D printer revolution

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Filed under Design, Fun, Hack, hobby, Make

What I did on my summer vacation…

So, we had a bit of a media black out this summer. It started around the end of May when I descended into my basement and stuck my face in a bunch of books. I was studying for the CISSP certification for about two months. My nights and weekends were dedicated to the obscurity that is the depth and breadth of that study material.

Well, after burning June and July on test prep I flew down to Los Angeles and sat for the exam. It is considered the standard for computer security professionals and is taken on scantron paper with a #2 pencil. (This may give you some idea how much they trust computers.) 3 hours and 46 minutes into the the allotted 6 hours I walked out. I wasn’t entirely sure what the result would be. Two weeks after that I found out I passed. Whew… finally. I’ve been looking at that test for a long time.

Summer and I then attempted to reclaim the rest of the season in a short period of time by squeezing Camping, Hiking, Jack Johnson at the Gorge, and a week vacation into the last couple weeks of August. It wasn’t so much a vacation as a let’s-get-a-bunch-of-stuff-done-on-the-house week but it was incredibly productive! Oh, and we built something really fun…


A FULL SIZED HOME ARCADE!!!! It isn’t finished. We still need to add the trackball, cup holders, and the *very important* kegerator with taps for Player 1 and Player 2. It isn’t as pretty as some models you can buy for lots of $$$ but whatever, I learned a lot in the process.

I’ve got some other projects in development so stay tuned for updates.

Let’s move on


Filed under Hack, hobby, Make, Personal, Random

Maker Faire: Get your geek on!

Very early this morning I hopped on a plane for San Francisco bound for the San Mateo Fairgrounds to attend Maker Faire. I’ve mentioned Make Magazine before on this blog. It’s a great little zine for the do it yourself tinkerer. Everything from robots made out of junk to kinetic sculpture to well… pretty much everything else.

Maker Faire is the gathering of all these things. Events and Exhibitions include giant flame throwing choreography, steampunk bands, speed soldering contests, inventors groups, and sooo much more I don’t have the time to get into it.

Here’s a summary:

Boiler Bar Stage
Jon Sarriugarte’s Boiler Bar Theater Presents
Craft Demos
Soft Circuit Embroidery • Make Your Own Free Range Mini-Monsters • How to Make Your Own Shoes…the Easy Way! • Making Jewelry • Finger Puppets Who Wish To Not Die • Create Ribbon Straw Flowers on Vintage Flower Looms • Felt Faux Fruit • The DIY Bride: Quick & Easy Wedding Projects for Any Budget • Fashioning Technology: DIY Style • Guerilla Pattern Drafting • Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone • Photojojo DIY Photo Blocks • Create Your Own Photo Flip Book
Festival Stage
The Devil-Ettes • EepyBird • Swap-O-Rama-Rama
Lion Brand Booth
Lion Brand Yarn Unique Activities • Lion Brand Yarn Unique Activities
MAKE Demos
BlinkyBugs and More LED Projects • Making Music with Arduino • LED Camera Light Kit • Make a Vibrobot • Maker Magic • Pong Watch • Home Chemistry Experiments • MAKE Articles by John Edgar Park • SparkleLabs Easy Electronics Kit • Build a Whole LED Clock on Just 6 Wires! • MAKE Projects for Kids • 3 Quick Projects
Maker Made Stage (Expo)
Mystery Phones • Crafty Chica: Squeezing a Dollar from a Dime: How to Make the Most of What You Have • Eccentric Maker • Re-inventing Building Blocks • Alcohol Can Be a Gas • My Brain Machine • Solar Car Share • Self-making • String Theory • DIY Drones • Maker Kits • Chumby • “How to make a Million! (of a thing)” • The Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk) • Creating Sustainable Spaces Where Anything Goes • Rabbit’s Rum and Chris Warren • Loud Objects • Maker Sessions • Steampunk • DIY Relationships
Maker Main Stage (Fiesta)
Things I Learned from Knitting • String Theory • Five Dangerous Things Your Kids Should Do • Interaction Techniques Using the Wii Remote • MacGyver: The Making of a Cultural Icon • Howtoons • What Happened to the Chemistry Set? • Maker Magic • Contraptor Lounge • The Maltese Falcon • Babbage’s Difference Engine • SETI@home • The Paper Airplane Guy • Backyard Astronomy with Binoculars • Kite Aerial Photography • 21st Century Woodworking Tools • Extreme Craft • The Ultimate Challenge for Makers • Creating Disney-themed Parks Designs • Authentic Innovation • iPhone Hacking Lab • Propane, It’s a Gas! Fun and Fire with the Flaming Lotus Girls • Laser Harp • Judy: My Dinner with Android • Art Lessing and the Flower Vato • The Image of Computers in Popular Music
Maker Shed
Maker Shed Exhibits, Demos, and More
Maker Shed Author Demo Area
Sew Subversive and Subversive Seamster • Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone • What Happened to the Chemistry Set? • The Paper Airplane Guy
Maker Shed Author Signing Area
Things I Learned from Knitting • Alcohol Can Be a Gas • MacGyver: The Making of a Cultural Icon • Howtoons • Making Jewelry • Plush You! • The Maltese Falcon • The DIY Bride: Quick & Easy Wedding Projects for Any Budget • Backyard Astronomy with Binoculars • Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone • EepyBird
Maker Shed Workshop
Herbie the MouseBot Workshop • Brain Machine Workshop • BlinkyBugs Hands-On Workshop (with the Maker) • BlinkyBugs Hands-On Workshop • Needle Felting Kits Workshop (with the Maker) • Build the LED Camera Light Kit (with the Maker) • Needle Felting Kits Workshop • Build the LED Camera Light Kit • Make Your Own Free-Range Mini-Monsters (with the Maker) • Make Your Own Free-Range Mini-Monsters • Finger Puppet Workshop (with the Maker) • MiniPOV Workshop • MintyBoost Workshop • Finger Puppet Workshop • Build an LED Hula Hoop (with the Maker) • Arduino Workshop • Build an LED Hula Hoop • Woolpets Needle Felted Friends Workshop (with the Maker) • Woolpets Needle Felted Friends Workshop • Pick Up Sticks’ Knit-to-Felt Kit workshop • Make an LED Clock (with the Maker) • Make an LED Clock
Maker Square Stage
Cooking with the Sun • Scharffen Berger Chocolate: Meet the Chocolate Maker • Innovation in Beekeeping • Top Chef Season 4 • Molecular Gastronomy • Seasonal Menus and Secret Dinners
Model Warships
Axis vs. Allies: Model Warship Battle
Life Size Mousetrap

Power Tools/Drag Races
Power Tool Drag Racing
Robo Games
RoboGames Presents: The ComBot Cup
Rocket Launch Pad
LUNAR Society: Rocket Launch Pad
Man-made Lightning
Village Blacksmith
The Village Blacksmith

Details and pictures to follow!!!

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Filed under hobby, Random, Travel, trends


If you’re like me you don’t remember much of high school. Either you’ve blocked it out or didn’t pay attention or you were too busy worrying about how much the other kids you don’t talk to anymore liked you. Regardless of your reason there is a gray cloudy mass of memory where this formative period should be.

Somewhere after high school I figured out learning was incredibly fun and somewhere in there I figured out how to learn. At the very least I figured out how I learn. The birth of the Internet has helped that post-academic awakening immensely. I’ve had so many “So that’s how it works!” moments I don’t know where to start. Most recently those moments have come while I’ve been learning about electronics, woodworking, and cooking.

The shop classes I had in middle/high school were so useless as to border on a criminal waste of taxpayer money. Birdhouse anyone? Spot welded dustpan? How about a nice galvanized aluminum notepad holder? Let’s see if we can set the bar low enough to be swept into that dustpan shall we? I can only hope that the students of today have a more interested and engaged bunch of instructors than I did. This is not to say all of the instructors I had were bad, there were some gems to be sure (Hola, Mrs. Reisenberg), but most I couldn’t remember if I wanted to. The ones I do remember expected more from me, pushed harder, and cared enough to be disappointed when I screwed up.

I actually do remember my three fingered middle school metal shop teacher, but only as “Mr. Stumblebooger”. He couldn’t seem to get my name right so I returned the favor and his real name has been lost to the gray cloudy mass. I remember him being a very interesting person with stories about visits to Saudi Arabia where his friend, to demonstrate how safe it was there, took his wallet and tossed it on the floor of the airport only to return several hours later and find it exactly where they’d left it. “Over there they cut your hand off if you get caught stealing” he’d say. I think the moral was more “don’t take my stuff” than “don’t steal” but I can’t be sure.

I remember him, his class was a loss.

So the things I’ve been playing with lately have me all jazzed up with lernin’. I’ve been playing with electronics for the first time since the days of the confusing 101 electronics projects kit. Never before had I heard the analogy of electricity-like-water and it has made me understand everything far more clearly. Also, reinterpreting the mishmash of an electrical diagram as just a network for electrons (electrons as packets for you other network engineers out there) has made even more sense of the mysterious world of electricity.

Thanks to many incredibly valuable resources;,,, and the DIY movement , I’m constantly learning how to do new things.

I’ve also been cooking like mad. I love it. It has all the best parts of a geek hobby. It’s got science, gear, gadgets, experimentation, etc… Here is something that is fundamental to your daily existence that you have unlimited creative control over. It can be incredibly complex, very simple, or both depending on how you want to approach it. It is also cheaper and healthier than the fast food or restaurant alternative (think preservatives and fat). Ultimately you get to eat your creation which is immediate punishment or reward. You get better quickly.

Alton Brown of Good Eats fame has been an incredible resource in my culinary education so far. He does a great job of making all the magic that goes on between ingredients accessible and interesting. Also, since I dig books, and there is no shortage of cookbooks, I get to expand my library. Thanks to Curry Cuisine I’ll be trying my hand at grinding my own curry this weekend. Don’t be shocked if a recipe or two ends up on this page.

I guess that’s all for now, more about specific projects later… let’s move on.


Filed under Background, hobby, Random