Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Tracking...

or Grownup Hide & Seek (at least we like to call it that)

This is the story of tracking a wildabeast (Jodi) through the snow. I highly recommend this as an awesomely exciting and contemplatively inward seeking game.

We went up to Vermont for the weekend to a friend's (Eric R) cabin.

If we looked out to the south there was a snowy field and some hills which we affectionately called "the show" (as in televisions many "shows"). It was a reality show.

The highlight for me was tracking down Jodi. She left 2 hours before I did with handwarmers in her boots (the night before was single digit (F) coldness.
(here she's getting suited up)

Then me and Eric left to try to track her down. At first we caught her tracks, but then they split in two direcitons. We weren't sure which to follow cause one of the set of tracks looked too big (but still human) and one set looked about the right size. But we ultimately decided to follow the bigger ones cause they jutted off the path which seemed like something Jodi would do. They turned out to be the wrong ones, but they crossed another pair of Jodi's tracks in the forrest. This turned out to be a real time-saver since we essentially shortcutted her circuitous route. Her tracks stopped at the stream but picked up on the other side so we crossed on a log.
(this is later after we found Jodi, but the same log)

There were lots of bunny tracks, deer tracks, and others,

and even some debatable moose tracks. We kept following the the Jodi-tracks and didn't lose her scent again. We saw some of her butt prints where she sat down too. We caught up to her after one hour (we were running for part of the time). She was sitting under a tree.

We laid under the trees for a while telling stories of the hunt from both points of view (she was watching us the whole time we were tracking her) and listening to the silence interspersed with hints of wild life.

The night before was the brightest full moon in years and years and as I listened to the noisy quiet I thought of how distinct my moon shadow was on the white snow the night before.

On the way back we walked over thin ice on the stream. I made it, but Eric fell through. The last thing I remember is "Ahhhh my foot is freezing cold, I can't feel it!!!!!!"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Drawdio: Turn Almost Anything into a "Theremin"

There's a whole set of new ways to use the Drawdio circuit now. Thought it would be time for a little update. Also, I never told the story of how it was invented. Here's the video that explains my current thinking on how Drawdio could be used:

Watch High Quality at Vimeo

Imagine you could draw musical instruments on normal paper with any pencil (cheap circuit thumb-tacked on) and then play them with your finger. The Drawdio circuit-craft lets you MacGuyver your everyday objects into musical instruments: paintbrushes, macaroni, trees, grandpa, even the kitchen sink...

One day I bought a "harmonium" kit at the street market in Bangalore. I hacksawed the keyboard off to make the first ever Drawdio circuit. We played with it at a local school in the slums using plants, water, our foreheads, etc. My friend told me graphite would work too. Meditating on it, I realized the Drawdio circuit should be literally attached to a pencil to "draw audio," and that's where the name came from: Draw + Audio.

DIY: Make it. Remix it. Play it.

See it on BoingBoing

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Update on Our Domestic Ecosystem

So much happening in my home ecosystem. Let's get started!
I can't believe a neon yellow mushroom popped up in my palm tree. It's totally a volunteer. It looks a little washed out in the picture, but it was a deeply saturated yellow.

Yesterday it had its cap down like an ubrella. This morning it raised its cap to almost flat.

This awesome mousy wandered into our green acrylic mouse trap. She was lured by chocolate and flax seed cracker. We let her go with one last survival meal under a bush.

Round two, ding! Another awesome round of fighting between our Cryptolaemus Montrouzieri (or "mealy bug destroyers") and our mealy bugs. Check out the baby mealy bug right behind the monsterous destroyer

Man let's hear it for the Cryptolaemus again, they're so cute!

The jade's looking healthier now that we moved it to the south facing window. I thought there was a spider egg sack in the dirt, but it was only styrofoam'ish soil-stuffs. But I did see our pet spider crawling on it the day before.

Even though it doesn't really count since it was outside my window... look at this massive organism that came from the direction of the Charles River right after the fireworks were over on July 4th. Sitting by the window watching this superorganism walk by for an hour made us feel like we were in a parade, but instead of us moving the crowd moved.

but even though these guys are outside the window, I do officially consider them to be part of our home. After a hiatus for the winter, the wasps are back building their nest again on our window. Any votes for this year's signage? (last year's signage said !!!WARNING!!! Please don't wash this window, it contains our experimental nest of hornets, we love them, thank you)

Sorry to all the life forms that didn't get a shoutout this time, maybe if you do something cute you can be included next time.

Suggestion taken from Todd Eddie in the comments:

another update!! by popular request... a video of the mealy bug destroyers

Thursday, May 29, 2008

ok2touch on BoingBoing TV

The opening clip has Beau beatboxing while wearing ok2touch, and the interview starts at 2:38 (2 minutes and 38 seconds in)
I'm finishing up some new human-touch technologies that are derived from ok2touch called puddlejumper and healing touch. they'll be ready soon.

Friday, April 04, 2008

mealy bug destroyers

Here's my Cambridge, MA dorm living room.

Whenever possible I try to increase the jungle-ness of it. Over the last year I've been doing battle with mealy bugs. Mealy bugs eat your plants at the joints between leaf and stem, at the main arteries, or just about anywhere else until the plant dies. I've tried everything from soaps to oils to alcohols. I even tried a test spot of systemic pesticides (this is disgusting never try this!).

The other day I ordered some mealy bug destroyers. That's what everyone calls them. They're beetles. They are so cool: they only and always eat mealy bugs. they'll eat aphids if they absolutely have to. they even eat mealy bug honey dew so not only do they eat the bugs but they clean up their mess too. they lay their larvae in mealy bug nests, and the larvae actually look like mealy bugs themselves! Here they are going head-to-head on my palm tree

That mealy bug is in the proces of getting eaten.

Here's a couple more of the destroyers roaming around

thank you Mother Nature

Friday, March 28, 2008

Creating Your Own World

This has been a theme with me for a while now: the idea that you can create your own world. The idea that your sphere of influence affects not only how you respond to things that happen, but it also affects how people approach you and interact with you. Here's a recent NPR story (3 minute listen) that illustrates a tiny little example of how you can create experiences with what you bring to the situation. It's a story about how a victim befriended a mugger.

I first concretely verbalized the idea that you can create your own world when I was talking to a friend who took me urban harvesting. He told me that before he had ridden trains he had never heard of anyone who jumped a train and wouldn't assume anyone would do that. But after he started jumping trains it almost started to seem that everyone might be a train jumper. He created a new world for himself in a way where he saw everything in terms of this mode of living. And he posed a question to me: "What other worlds exist out there that I just don't know about yet cause I haven't met the right person yet?"

I too wonder what worlds I have yet to create for myself... And I've found many successes in experimenting with making my world more how I dream it could be. Now I'm off to create!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ok2touch in "2nd Skin" Exploratorium

is designed around human-human contact with a special skin-to-skin on-switch. It turns your entire body into a musical instrument -- as well as the body of anyone who touches you. It's also now taken the form of a sling so that the interaction is designed to help people heal through human touch.

2nd Skin is a fashion exhibition at the Exploratorium in San Francisco:
An evening fusing fashion, technology, and art. It takes place on Friday, April 25, 2008 from 7:00-11:00 p.m. at the Exploratorium. Select works on exhibit through September 7, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Come see me in "Seamless" Fashion Show

This Wednesday at the Boston Museum of Science is the Seamless Fashion Show. Here is the press release. My piece is ok2touch. It is all about appropriate physical contact in a day and age where inappropriate physical contact is heavily discouraged, but appropriate and indeed necessary skin-to-skin physical contact between people isn't championed. In India it's normal to see two heterosexual males walking down the street holding hands. On a Boston playground, two children stand face-to-face swinging hands discussing a play-plan. ok2touch allows people to playfully compose music on eachother's skin when one person touches the other person's jacket in an appropriate place such as the arm. The skin-to-skin contact is the magic "on switch".