Saturday, January 08, 2011

FIRST Rise and Shine

***Update for LOGOMOTION!
Thank you Stacy!

FIRST is For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. I think I got that right. I cannot actually open their web page, because their system is down! Today is the kick-off, or Launch, of the 2011 FIRST FRC Robotics season... the day when teams all over the world are learning what the challenge is for this year's competition. It's all geektastically exciting.

Lady Betty Oprington is a big supporter of FIRST and 2102 Team Paradox, and she didn't want us to miss a single minute of the live NASA satellite feed, so she sent Zoltar directly into the house for the five thirty a.m. wake-up call.

Thanks Betty.

Good job Zoltar.

Geoff and Alex were up and out by six, and now they are in San Diego with 2102 Team Paradox and fellow robo~enthusiasts from Team San Diego. The FIRST clues of Little Eva, and the twentieth anniversary of FIRST, with it's iconic logo, are no longer mysteries. So far, I have heard the robot will assemble the three symbols, in the FIRST logo, on a grid, and then go to a tower to launch a mini-bot. They are calling it Locomotion, but I kinda like Logo-Motion!

Uh-oh... I just heard Zoltar again. I think he is reminding me I have way too much on the schedule today... I better get my Loca in motion!

Friday, January 07, 2011

100% Hencake

This is a hencake.

I make at least one hencake every time I fix pancakes for the family.

This is not necessarily a breakfast picture. It could be dinner. I do that sometimes. Breakfast for dinner.

Hencakes are made from a ladle... the batter is poured out, slowly... first the body, and then the tail and head. Sometimes I add either feet, or a nest for her to settle into.

Hencakes make me happy. When I am amused, I am happy.

Maria used to call a chicken's beak a "toot." I remember exactly the time when she drew a beak, and called it a toot.

The toot is the hardest part to add to a hencake. They usually come out a bit big. This one could be a hummingbird's toot.

And now, I am going to clean our kitchen, fold some laundry, and be uncharacteristically productive in areas domestic.

What are you doing?

Have you figured out Maria's Secret Share? It is kind of a vegetable but it didn't grow in the garden!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Wet Paint

Alex and Suki were asked by their principal to collaborate on a painting for a retiring administrator. William and I made some time to track down this painting Alex has been telling us about. The collage shows campus scenes, new and old. For reference and inspiration, they took photos with a fish eye lens, and also went into the vault to study old year book images.

I wanted to see what they did, before the painting disappeared into someone's home. I think Suki and Alex make a good collaborative team... they have similar interests and creative perspectives, with their own styles and ways of telling the story. Also they are both uniquely kind and respectful, which makes them extremely pleasant to be around, and probably made it easier for them to work together.

(I grin broadly thinking of my oh-so subtle pride in Alex, and Suki. teehee)

The last time I went to visit Alex, the gallery, and the studio, Alex showed me this work in progress. His teacher had asked him to give oils a try, and to create a series of paintings based on a theme. I got to see this oil painting in progress, and it is the third in his series.

Here is the third oil painting. He completed it in November. It is hanging in our office/guestroom/gallery home.

Remember: She works. Or at least, she is thoughtfully designed to work. Alex doesn't draw and paint gears and pistons only because they look cool on a SteamPunk automaton, he does it with a mind toward engineering and function.

Here is the first automaton, done with acrylics. She is hanging in the house too.

This was started in November, and after it went back to school with him, I was eager to see how it's progressing...

The paint is still wet, but I think she is mostly complete.

So intense! I notice his first paintings were very reflective of his high detail pencil and pen work... almost as though he were still using the brush and paint like a pen, with fine lines and minute specifications. This painting is done boldly. It is still elaborate, but he seems more confident about letting the paint and broad brush strokes take command of his image.

And this concludes my amateur venture in to art criticism, and interpretation. Amen.

Gilbert is coming along nicely.
Dear Gilbert.

Hey, it's actually Gilbert's birthday month! He started appearing about four years ago, and then Alex began this larger portrait of our favorite mood-frog. Maybe I should give Gilbert his own, updated, post, with all of his incarnations. He is a worthy fellow.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

What Time is It?!

When I say: Parrot! You say: Ox!

Parrot! Ox!

What Time is It?!
The time is... Three days to FIRST Kick Off! Launch!

Launch is the day when all the teams get rules, parts, and the live NASA feed of what to expect in the six weeks ahead.

What Time is It?!
It's time to get revved up for those gracious and spirited Midnight Mechanics, for Team San Diego, for FIRST Robotics, for 2102 Team Paradox! Time to raise our voices for math and science, for engineering, for art, for coopertition and gracious professionalism!

Last night, a very special delivery was made... it felt like the holidays all over again! It smelled good, like burning the candle of Paradox success! We all donned our new team hoodies, and Maria brought out her best markers so she could add her artistic love for her favorite robotics team in the world!

It is a great team, with students that inspire my hope, and enthusiasm, and spark in me an insuppressible desire to support their dreams.

I can think of a lot of reasons to support robotics, to cheer for math, to feed the team... it's good for the world, for our country, for our community, for our school, for the team, for my son and his friends, it's good for our family. And, it's good for me. I feel lucky to be with these wonderful people... the students, the teachers, parents, the mentors, the inventors. I feel really lucky.

Thank you 2102 Team Paradox.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Looking Around


I wish I were a more minimalist kind of blogger, because then I would have the good sense to post this picture of Ferris, and leave it at that... go for a run, meet my personal trainer, life coach, manicurist type person. I would know that nothing I can say, and no other pictures, are going to be quite as captivating or good as this picture of our energetic and stealthy attack cat.

There I go.
Can't stop myself from saying one more thing, sharing one more picture.

Oh. Look. How timely. Geoff just sent me a link to a photographer's blog. A successful blogger. Wholey cow. It's a mind blower.

Hey, remember my resolution for the new year... about not giving up?
Yeah, I give up.

Just kidding.

Hey, it's the cat, again. Looking funny, but not quite as blog worthy as in the first image, and not even remotely as blog worthy as anything in "Stuck In"

Fortunately, I had no plans for this post. I was going to think of a witty, possibly self-deprecating, way to say that I am sitting here eating a slice of my birthday cake. I thought I would mention that robotics and FIRST kick-off is in four days, because I know how "well" that goes for my readership. Otherwise, this is an entirely undirected, floundering post. I don't even have another cat picture. Or any more cake.

This is the one thousand seven hundred and twelfth post to Chickenblog. Leaving a comment on this post will ensure that spring will follow winter, and it will also contribute to your overall sense of well being.

Thank you.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Puddly-Wuddly Walk

We had big plans for our winter break, including long walks, rainy walks, neighborhood walks, beach and garden walks...

Yesterday, the last day of break, Alex, Maria, and I went on a rainy, garden, see-the-beach walk. It was cold! And obviously rainy. I don't know if it was a wise choice as far as recovering sickies are concerned, but it did our spirits a world of good!

We had to persuade Maria to drop her "walk to the park" campaign, which was not easy to do. Finally we piqued her interest when we asked, "What do fish do on a rainy day?" We could see it on her face, when her mind dropped the campaign for slides and swings, and shifted to this interesting inquiry... do fish delight in the extra splashes? Do fish duck and cover, when great plops and drops stir up their watery home?

Maria was the leader, and she found the koi pond, and we found that all of the fish were active and swimmy in the rain. Pretty too.

We were active and swimmy in the rain. We could not sit down. Wet. Cold. Cold. Wet. So, we kept walking through the gardens, smelling the sea, feeling the water and breeze. It was a puddly-wuddly walk. It felt good.

What do surfers do on a rainy day? Do they delight in the extra splashes? Do they stay indoors with hot tea and wool scarves?

On this day, they were out there... surfing, in wetsuits, for obvious reasons.

Funny, last year we were out there, in the water. This is a much colder winter than we had last year.

We don't have wetsuits, so I think we will wait for a sunnier, warmer day before we go in the ocean. Low tide! We won't need wetsuits to enjoy a puddly-wuddly walk through the tidepools.

Ah, new year, new plans...