Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jetpack Future

OK, this just about had me falling out of my chair. I'm reading this article about an inventor who was demonstrating his jetpack at the Oshkosh Experimental Airshow and got to this line:

“People come up and go, ‘Is it safe?’ ” Mr. Martin said. “Safety is a relative thing. We think we have done a lot to make this by far the safest jetpack ever built.” But, he acknowledged, “It’s not a high bar.”

I'll be sure to note that as I am picking up pieces of Mr. Martin around the neighborhood. Safety is a relative thing. I guess I don't have much room to talk when I think of some of the stupider things I've done on a motorcycle. But it was funny watching the video and the turbines of his pack got too close to a tree.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Happy Birthday (Ben, me and Gramps)!

So this week I turned 41 and did some thinking about birthdays. I was thinking about my Grandfather, his birthday is the day after mine. At first I was thinking about the big stuff; where he was born, his family, his final years with Parkinson's, when he died... But it seemed what really made him the character that he was, were the little things. Like this photo of him and my grandmother, Mary Jane. Looking at his crazy black painted toe nails and the love in his eye. That cockeyed smile of his and dashing good looks. They looked like a couple of movie stars.

I think the thing that will always stand out the most is his crazy sense of humor. I never got the jokes as a little kid and only later did I appreciate his quite demeanor and brevity. He would sit, silently watching TV, for hours and then make an amazing one liner. I always wondered later as his Parkinson's took over, what was going on in his head. All those crazy thoughts and one liners in there, waiting to get out. The happiest I can remember seeing him was during one of our summer vacations when he took my brother and I fishing off the pier in Kenosha and he caught a German Brown Trout. That glow of a successful fish slaying as he skinned and gutted it outside the retirement home, telling us how he was going to cook it up that night. Or the time when I was living with the grandparents in Wisconsin and my first girlfriend and I were making out on HIS bed. He caught us, turned an amazing shade of purple and screamed as he stomped off. Not sure why I made it out of there alive. What the hell was I thinking? I guess you really don't think too far ahead when you are 16 and discovering the opposite sex.

I recently came across these photos that I think Rick scanned and sent to the AZ Kreidermans. I had never seen this one of him at his old factory job before. This is the guy I remember. Full of childish energy and mischief. Happy Birthday Gramps!

I posted the photos here if you want to see them all

Friday, July 11, 2008

Shadowlight Show

Amazing stuff, late in posting but totally worth it. Philip and I headed over to see the pre-production Shadowlight show at the Mission Cultural Center called Ghosts On the River. Shadowlight Performance is a modern shadow theater that combines amazing techniques of light and shadow in real time with performers, sounds, music... that combine for powerful storytelling. I was really impressed with the effects that could be created like the transposing of images, perceptions of depths, size and movement and how they could be used to help tell the story. I'm not doing it justice but check out some of the videos to get an idea of the amazingness. I have to say that the Ghosts On the River stories seemed a bit weak to me and I couldn't whole heartedly recommend that show.