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2018/07/19 Ephemerisle 2018 at DIYsland
π 2018-07-19 01:01 in Public

I had heard about Ephemerisle a few years back, but the schedule didn't work out until this year. Stellar Grey was nice enough to invite us on DIYsland, the 2nd main island after the Elysium complex. Much smaller, but also fewer sharp edges :)
While I wasn't able to help with the far away build in Oakland, I was able to work on a solar charging system that provided a lot of DC charging for cell phones, radios, lipo batteries, and other batteries:

happy customers
happy customers

the word got around, more happy customers :)
the word got around, more happy customers :)

1.6Kwh served after 3 days, not bad (about 1/3rd to 1/4th of what an apartment uses in a day)
1.6Kwh served after 3 days, not bad (about 1/3rd to 1/4th of what an apartment uses in a day)

Being on DIYsland meant that we had to boat everywhere though. Elysium was "just across" but not really close enough that you'd want to swim there. The current was strong enough that it was hard to get to with our crappy inflatable at times (which I chose over a kayak to avoid rollover risks)


Sadly, Elysium which was full of sharp edges, wood splinters and things that would cut you (my pants got ripped on the first day), or puncture your inflatable, put a huge tear in our inflatable on the 3rd day:

it was long enough that patch kits didn't cover the tear. Duct tape did though
it was long enough that patch kits didn't cover the tear. Duct tape did though

The problem with duct tape is that it's not really water proof. I was able to use duct tape to hold for a 5mn ride back to our island, and it prompty failed and deflated after that, thankfully when I was safely out of the water. Now, it's not that I can't swim, but I was full of electronics that don't like water at all, and ending up in the water at 02:30 in the dark and in strong current, is not the best thing ever. So, I superglued the duct tape for better water resistance and then duct taped the shit out of it:


It probably still wasn't long term water proof, but held enough to get me to Elysium and back on the last night, even if the ride back was somewhat enerving given that I had so much electronics on me (my shirt pants, and batteries don't really go in a dry bag).

My shirt is nice, but it just isn't made for swimming :)
My shirt is nice, but it just isn't made for swimming :)

Anyway, we drove to Pirate's Lair on Thursday and got picked up for a quick-ish boat ride to DIYsland:




home sweet home for a few days
home sweet home for a few days

our island because it got expanded a few times
our island because it got expanded a few times


we had entertainment :)
we had entertainment :)


and evening music entertainment
and evening music entertainment

On thursday afternoon, we went to Elysium to see the Sean Frenzy Commemorative Competitive swim that re-enacts Sean swimming away from the coast guard while on acid and running on land naked to get away from them (they did eventually catch him and released him later when he was feeling better :) ):


the winner won by quite a bit
the winner won by quite a bit

for extra points he even ran to the helicopter
for extra points he even ran to the helicopter

it went for a few flights during the week
it went for a few flights during the week

also a water plane
also a water plane

The Elysium complex was "interesting", the connecting "roads" however moved and disappeared a few times during the next few days, temporarily standing people on one side or the other of the complex:



floating RV, nice :)
floating RV, nice :)

blues house
blues house

Interesting boats and floating things:


a bunch of other boats were rafted up together
a bunch of other boats were rafted up together

great RV boat
great RV boat


submarine even
submarine even




More Elysium shots:

humans vs zombies
humans vs zombies


I even managed to run into my friend Shawn on the last evening
I even managed to run into my friend Shawn on the last evening

Some overview pictures:





Some sunset pictures:











Night was "interesting". By then, you kind of forget that you're only on a small river. It feels like you're in the middle of an ocean and that you'd better make your destination, or you could perish at sea :) This definitely made a difference when I was riding that could fail anytime raft on the last night.





Johan made a remote controlled kayak that shot fire:



Of course, night had partying. There was an awesome DJ boat:



Blues House had music of course:


DIYsland also had dancing, music and singing:




Some other boats paired up on saturday with the DJ boat for their own party. I only went to check it out once due to the untrustworthy duct taped raft:






The barge had a big dancing platform:






The trip back on Sunday was "interesting". I accepted an early-ish ride back to Pirate's Lair, but in the end it took over 2.5h to get back instead of 10mn because we were towing platforms and people which divided our speed by 10x:

did anyone call for pizza?
did anyone call for pizza?

it was a long slow ride...
it was a long slow ride...

this is what I should have brought ;)
this is what I should have brought ;)

after way too long, we got back to Pirate's Lair
after way too long, we got back to Pirate's Lair

Thanks to all for all the hard work building and then taking back down this big city on water.

See more images for Ephemerisle 2018 at DIYsland
2018/07/14 Wounded Bird
π 2018-07-14 01:01 in Public
While we were home, a heard a hard thump. A young little bird flew right into our glass door. I found it on the ground, where thankfully it was just stunned. I was able to pick it up, and after a minute or so, it was able to fly off, looking good enough.




See more images for Wounded Bird
2018/07/07 Helen's 40th BD around Golden Gate Park
π 2018-07-07 01:01 in Public
Going to Golden Gate park on a saturday was a disaster, but we eventually found a place to park and walked through:







We eventually made our way to the botanical gardens with 20 pianos sprinkled through the park, and later the picnic location to meet Helen and Brian:










We then went to the beach for sunset and bonfire











2018/01/21 2 Days learning Surfing south of Sydney
π 2018-01-21 01:01 in Australia, Public
Since I had seen a lot of Sydney already, for my 4th visit there, I figured I would try and learn surfing. I signed up for a so called surf school with wavessurfschool.com.au which supposedly supposedly had 2x 2H of surf instruction, but really it was 15mn of very basic instruction with maybe another 30mn of help in the water, and then that's it. We got maybe 2.5H in the water with very little instruction, and few waves (often a 5mn wait between 2 rideable waves, sucks when you're trying to practise).
We had to get out of the water by 15:00 and basically I learned virtually nothing and wasted my day :(


too many people going to the beach that day and clogging up everything while interrupting our class
too many people going to the beach that day and clogging up everything while interrupting our class

While I mostly lost a day not learning to surf, I went back, the next weekend with a different company, Australian Surf Tours, and this time booked a private set of lessons on a farther away beach by Thirroul (1h30 train ride away):

we started by looking at surf boards to get a feel for what exists
we started by looking at surf boards to get a feel for what exists


this was hard
this was hard


too many times, I ended up like this :)
too many times, I ended up like this :)

Long story short, I definitely learned a lot more. My instructor Tom Berridge did a good job, and while at the time I felt like after some rest I could have done another session, I was definitely getting tired after the 2nd set of sessions after lunch, and struggling to get up and pick the right waves. Tom saved me tons of time by choosing the right waves for me, and pushing me on the right ones so that I got a lot more training than I would have anyway.
Just to show how much I suck, or that it's not super easy, a compilation of failures:

and probably my only time successfully getting up later in the day when I was getting more tired:

It was definitely a good learning experience, but I sure would need a lot more practise before I feel like I'd be self sufficient

A few notes for myself if I try this again later:

  • Toes on the back of the board
  • Lift up and lock the arms straight up without grabbing the edges of the board
  • Stand up with back foot first
  • Try to have front foot as close to perpendicular to the board as possible
  • Quickly-ish put front foot forward without putting a knee down and taking off one hand but not the other
  • Keep enough weight in the back not to nose dive (it will happen anyway if the wave is breaking)
  • Don't put too much weight back that the board, it brakes and stops
  • Look for rip currents where waves break last, and use that to paddle out to the next wave
  • You can catch waves after they break or before. While they break will flip the board over.
  • 2017/05/28 3rd set Back to the Roots kits
    π 2017-05-28 01:01 in Public
    I had tried back to the roots before, and it was fun. I was curious to try different mushrooms this time though.
  • Try #1
  • Try #2
  • Tried some Lion Mare, very interesting and easy to grow mushroom that is actually quite tasty:

    it was already primed when I got it, ready to grow
    it was already primed when I got it, ready to grow


    before long...
    before long...

    nice
    nice

    it came to a sad end for the mushroom, but it was yummy for us :)
    it came to a sad end for the mushroom, but it was yummy for us :)

    The other set was yellow oyster mushroom. This was a bit more picky. It had to be tented in to keep the moisture, otherwise it would dry out. However, doing so would also asphyxiate it and it would die because it couldn't breathe, but if you make too many breathing holes, then it's at risk of drying out again:

    it started well
    it started well


    and then it died
    and then it died

    tried again
    tried again

    and then it died, again
    and then it died, again

    one more try
    one more try

    and finally it worked out
    and finally it worked out

    good crop
    good crop

    tried a 2nd crop
    tried a 2nd crop

    not as big, but still enough to eat
    not as big, but still enough to eat

    the end :)
    the end :)

    See more images for 3rd set Back to the Roots kits
    2017/05/20 Maker Faire
    π 2017-05-20 01:01 in Public



    blade runner umbrella was all I needed :)
    blade runner umbrella was all I needed :)

    3D printed shoes, pretty cool actually
    3D printed shoes, pretty cool actually

    this would be very cool at burning man :)
    this would be very cool at burning man :)

    tiny arcade worked and looked super cool
    tiny arcade worked and looked super cool

    Z80 clone, very cool
    Z80 clone, very cool




    nice way to show how FPV works
    nice way to show how FPV works




    Miniature worlds were great:





    Big things:

    remember seeing those guys at burning man, they look better at night ;)
    remember seeing those guys at burning man, they look better at night ;)


    this robot was cool, but unreliable
    this robot was cool, but unreliable

    and it died before being able to hit the car (on its 3rd failed attempt)
    and it died before being able to hit the car (on its 3rd failed attempt)


    the Tesla coil from my neighbours at Burning Man
    the Tesla coil from my neighbours at Burning Man

    The dark room was fun as always:






    The Google booth had some friends:

    learning about the upcoming total eclipse
    learning about the upcoming total eclipse

    A few talks:




    Ahah, other people have been making neomatrices:



    See more images for Maker Faire
    2017/05/07 MTV A La Carte Art Festival
    π 2017-05-07 01:01 in Public


    a roomba for grass, good iea, but expensive ($1500+)
    a roomba for grass, good iea, but expensive ($1500+)





    Always nice pictures:





    Also, nice display of RC aircraft and cars:












    See more images for MTV A La Carte Art Festival
    2017/04/30 Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival
    π 2017-04-30 01:01 in Public
    Another year, another Cherry Blossom Festival in Cupertino, nice demos, displays and art:



    Multiple sport demos and performances:





    For animals, a koi pond, and japanese dogs:





    Lots of Ikebana:











    Dolls:




    Kanji Art:




    Dance and music performances:



    See more images for Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival
    2016/12/29 Mini Europe in Bruxelles
    π 2016-12-29 01:01 in Belgium, Public
    For our first day in Bruxelles, we went to check out Mini Europe because it looked fun. and it was. The only mistake is that we should have gone to see the Atomium first, before the line got stupidly long. I did get a few pictures Mini Europe from the Atomium, and those were nice:






    sacre coeur
    sacre coeur

    And here are some pictures taken from inside:









    nice model of centre george pompidou
    nice model of centre george pompidou


    sacre coeur
    sacre coeur



    pisa
    pisa

    venice
    venice






    See more images for Mini Europe in Bruxelles
    2016/12/11 Visit of Black Chasm Cavern, in Volcano, CA, on SR88 on the way to Kirkwood
    π 2016-12-11 01:01 in Public
    After having gone to Kirkwood where the conditions were terrible, we left early since skiing ice was no fun at all. Arturo made the great suggestion of going to visit Black Chasm Cavern on the road back, just off SR88.

    So let's be honest, it's far from being the best cavern I've visited in the US, however, it has a vast arrays of rare helictite crystals, which I had never seen anywhere else. Water pressure causes water droplets to be pushed out of the rock, evaporate, and leaves behind very unusual organic looking growths:














    Good call Arturo, thank you (and thanks to Johannes for getting us there)


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