Slackline adventure begins

Slacklining! I’d never done it before, so I decided to dive in head first. Figuratively, and possibly literally.

IMG_8537slack  IMG_8551slackIMG_8553slack  IMG_8555slack IMG_8556slack  IMG_8557slack IMG_8558slack

What I’ve built is a “primitive” slackline which is made entirely from climbing webbing, two rappel rings, and four carabiners (ignore the extra carabiners and accessory cord in my photo above, those are for a different project). No ratchets or any specialized gear that I couldn’t repurpose for other climbing activities. The system is a really simple/clever friction lock that’s easy to set up, pull huge tension onto, and simple to break down with one tug of the line. This one can go for a 50′ run and cost $75 from REI.

reiGear

Excellent resource I used for setting it up is this guide from NWslackline. Adam’s also got a great video on it here.

My primary goal is to walk on the slackline with great élan and ease. Secondary goal: try to do calisthenics and balance tricks on is, such as the following elbow lever and dubious L-sit.

Lockpick case


Yesterday I got annoyed with all of my lock picks being clumped together in a few different cases and sort of hard to find. So, I’m sewing part of the arm of an old leather jacket into a lock pick tool roll.

Happily, the leather is thin enough to work pretty easily on the sewing machine.

Sudden New Hobby Alert: Making animated GIFs

My friend Adam Iscove (who’s an excellent singer/songwriter/bass player) played a show out in Hollywood recently and he designed a great set of on-stage visuals by editing together tons of animated GIFs. So I had GIFs on the brain.

Then he blew my mind by sending me a GIF in a Facebook message. I had no idea.

tripWave

So, now I’m going to make looping animated GIFs for fun! Kind of like quick sketching for computer graphics. The last time I created GIFs it was, like, 1995 and I was working at IBM’s interactive media lab.

Technical details: this is a triangulated polygonal plane mesh being deformed by a travelling sine wave and rendered in a hardware buffer with motion blur and five render passes per frame to create the overlapping line effect.

Sugar/Honey Smacks

Earlier today I had cause to proclaim the following to the world:

“Sorry to yell but OMG I HAVEN’T HAD HONEY SMACKS IN SO LONG AND THEY ARE SO FREAKING GOOOOOOD”

This led me to wonder about the name switch from the Sugar Smacks of my youth:

  • 1953-1990s the name was Sugar Smacks
  • early 1990’s until 2004 the name was simply Smacks
  • 2004 to present the name has been Honey Smacks
  • future name: Gluten Smacks?

Thinking about this lead me to go eat another bowl of it,which then lead me to research the box art and mascots of the Smacks cereal line over the years. Go pour a bowl of Smacks and enjoy.

It all began with illustrations of real world Ringling Brother’s clowns.

1953-1956 Cliffy the Clown

1953-1956 Clown Paul Jung

 

Next came an animated seal. Go check out the animated ads, they’re wonderful.

1957-1960 Smaxey the Seal

1957-1960 Smaxey the Seal

In came the Hanna-Barbera horse sheriff, Quick Draw McGraw.

1961-1965 Quick Draw McGraw

1961-1965 Quick Draw McGraw

 

The Smacking’ Brothers loved roughhousing and sugar.

1966 - 1969 Smackin' Brothers

1966 – 1969 Smackin’ Brothers

 

The Indian Chief was the next mascot/spokesman, for a very short period of time.

1970-1972 Indian Chief

1970-1972 Indian Chief

 

Dig’em Frog came in in the seventies, went out briefly, and then came back.

1972-1985 Dig'em Frog

1972-1985 Dig’em Frog

 

The very short-lived Wally the Bear, just here to remind us of the switch to Honey?

1986-1987 Wally the Bear

1986-1987 Wally the Bear

 

Dig’em Frog came back for good.

1990's Dig'em Frog

1990’s Dig’em Frog

And, of course, since we can’t have nice things, the modern version has been tarted up with so much gratuitous photoshop airbrushery that… sigh.

current Dig'em Frog

current Dig’em Frog

Can’t we just go back to clowns?

 

another Cliffy the Clown

another Clown

 

and another

and another

 

Cord Wrapping Method of the Gods

Oh how total is the pain and suffering of coiling a long extension cord for storage, only to have it twist and snag and tangle upon uncoiling for later use. I have a 100′ long power cord that I often dread using for this reason.

Please, then, understand my utter joy and excitement upon learning this superior method as taught by Dirt Farmer Jay.

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Thanks, Dirt Farmer Jay!

Practice Locks for Boing Boing’s Weekend of Wonder

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Have you heard about Boing Boing’s Weekend of Wonder? It’s a three-day festival coming this September 18-20, 2015 at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, where you will “learn about exciting new DIY technologies, make cool stuff, immerse yourself in an alternate reality adventure, hang out with nerd superstars*, and be surprised by cool special events you’ll never forget.”

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I’ll be one of the event’s special guests, there to present nifty stuff and teach interesting skills. I’m currently planning a few workshops on locks — how they work, how to open them in unconventional ways, and how to make your own associated tools.

manyLocks

These are just a few example locks I’ll be bringing to help people learn and practice their new skills. These represent a variety of common wafer locks, pin tumbler locks, warded locks, and combination locks that you may encounter in the course of daily life/secret operations/ninja-ing around.

Hope to see you there!

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*My first time being called a “nerd superstar”. And I kinda like it.