Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kris and Warren's Most Excellent Adventure!

"Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone!"

My brother, Kris, and I had the time of our lives this weekend! Last night, we went to an incredible concert at the Sprint Center: Roger Waters - THE WALL Live Tour. And while that would have been enough in itself, the best part was getting to attend via "guest tickets" with backstage passes through the awesome courtesy of JON CARIN, keyboardist in the band!!!!!! Roger Waters understandably gets most of the press on this concert tour. However, I want THIS post to be a "Tribute Page" for JON!!

How did we manage such a cool opportunity? Well, it's part of a silver lining to an otherwise very challenging situation. Our Mom and Jon Carin's mother have been fighting a very rare form of cancer for some years. But they became friends through an online support network. Through that relationship came the generous gesture of "The Meeting of the Sons" at the concert.

Jon was an extremely nice guy, and we really enjoyed talking to him (both before the show and during intermission). Part of the fun was some "Jon Carin Fan Club" t-shirts we made to wear when we met Jon, just for a laugh. Some of the guys in the crew thought they all should wear them! (Not sure what Roger Waters would've thought about that!)

Time for some photos...
Above is one of the early moments after meeting Jon. He took us not only backstage, but ONSTAGE as well. I did not colorize the image of Jon and was Kris having a hyperventilating "Pink Moment" (ok...maybe it was a light check...but who's to say?)! He's a huge Pink Floyd fan (a "Floyd Head", as he puts it) and has loved their music most of his life. So getting to see Roger Waters perform "The Wall" was a dream come true for him.

My turn for a photo op. Kris and I noticed later that Jon had a pen in his hand...guess he was just too shy to ask for our autographs. (Jon...we can mail them to you sometime!)

The drums and guitars, ready and waiting...Jon's keyboards...

Jon's view from on stage behind his keyboards...

Warren, Jon and Kris near the "hospitality area" (Thank you, security guard lady, for taking the photo!)

I won't try to relive all the details of the evening's events. Let me just say that it was a Visual and Auditory FEAST! Some of the most amazing stage production I've ever seen...modern computer technology making possible what could never have been achieved otherwise. The music was thunderously loud and technically perfect...all in all, an amazing experience!

Here are a few select images of Jon Carin performing (in the back). The quality of the photos are not wonderful, due to the "non-professional cameras" rules that apply there at the venue. So we could only get the shots with smaller cameras that weren't great in the dark environment. The two images on the right side show stages of the wall being constructed during the show. Sadly, we couldn't see Jon's face from where we sat. I'm not complaining, though...we had INCREDIBLE floor, 12 rows from the stage!!!

Jon, playing both keyboard and guitar. He's an incredibly versatile musician...plays mulitple instruments as well as sings.

The rest of these images are just a sampling of some of the amazing visuals we beheld. It was almost sensory overload...but so much FUN!

Finally, from Kris and I both...a tremendous "Thank You!" to Jon and Terry for making this adventure possible for us! We'll never forget it!!
I have 28 photos of the concert I took that were posted on the Pink Floyd Fan Site "Brain Damage"( If you want to see them, check out the link HERE. Scroll down the page near the bottom, and you'll see their write-up! Pretty cool!
If you want to just see their Facebook HERE.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

AUTOMATA - "DiggerBot" Pt.8

The detailing is done...all ready for the paint job! But that'll have to wait for next time. Let's take a look at the final additions.

I made the "tank tracks" from lots and lots of pieces of cut bass-wood, and stuck them on with wood glue. I also added some more little "wheels" on the sides. I also added some support "hydraulics" for the main digger arms.

Next came the rivets. I used a small hole punch on some "peel and stick" foam rubber. Then came the "fun" of meticulously placing each one on the Bot with tiny pliers. Some of the sticky-back stuff wasn't holding, so I had to dip some of the rivets in super-glue, then stuck them on. The black foam won't stay that will all be painted over.

Here's the back view of the boiler, and of the front grill. Once I had all the rivets in place, I painted everything with wood glue, to give a harder surface to the spongy soft foam. It also unifies the surfaces, and gives some "aging" texture to the very smooth wood.

Now comes an experiment that sort of worked...but was a huge mess. To create some lightweight "dirt", I tried using an old blender to chop up some packing foam peanuts. The chopping part worked fine...the static cling made little bits of foam go everywhere and stick to everything! I had originally wanted to use a heavier weight, denser pink insulation foam, but did not have any. I took the little chunks, mixed them with wood glue, then applied them to the front of the base.

To complete the "dirt" effect, I added sand to gesso, then painted all of the ground surfaces, as well as coating the chunks of styrofoam.

The gesso-sand helps pull everything together. Once it's painted, it will look just like real dirt!

One more shot of the back view.

On a side note...just letting you know that it will be a while before I can finish the final paint job. Next weekend, my brother is coming for a visit so that we can go see the Roger Waters Concert in Kansas City on Oct. 30th! They will be playing Pink Floyd's "The Wall", and the reviews have been awesome!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

AUTOMATA - "DiggerBot" Pt.7

Here's your base-model radio, no air-conditioning, no power-steering. I spent most of the weekend on this project, and am so glad to have finally gotten to this stage! Now that the basic automata works, I move on to the fun part of adding the "steam-punk" elements like rivets and more details. After that...the finished paint job!

Let's take a look at the new added-on bits since my last post. I needed to give a little more stability to the gear-box, so I made some framing in the front. Next I glued on the stationary "shoulders" part of the digging arms. In the back, I added the piece that holds the dowel that will allow the head to move up and down. The larger dowel acts as a "neck", and keeps the smaller dowel from going crooked, as it moves.

Here are all the parts that go together for the head. Underneath, I have drilled a hole large enough to fit around the "neck", and also the hole for the dowel. I wish I was a better craftsman with making all of these parts...nothing is squared up, and looks very "hand-done". (How about we just say it "adds charm" that way? There I feel much better.)

One adjustment to my original idea for the head movement...I added a little peg near the neck piece, so that the head would have a slight turn towards the person cranking the handle. Before that, the head was loosely turning all around, and looked a bit goofy.

After the head was done, I started to box everything in, and created the form of the outer body. I also added some more wheels on the sides.

The last piece to make was the boiler tank with double exhaust pipes. This view is of the inverted DiggerBot...I turned it this way to keep the tank from sliding as the glue dried. As I look at the photo now, it reminds me of one of those two-legged walker machines from Star Wars. Hmmm...ideas for later, perhaps?
Here are a few more shots of the semi-finished DiggerBot. Next time, I'll be making piles of "dirt" for the base, completing the tank tracks, and adding more "doo-dads" all over.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oregon Coast

I just got back from a very significant trip with my two daughters over the weekend. We all flew out to Portland, Oregon, then rented a car to travel to Cannon Beach. As many of you know, my wife, Cat, died on April 19th of this year. The main purpose of the trip was for my daughter, Courtney, to be able to spread the remaining bit of ashes of her Mom. Cat had loved the ocean all of her life, and we thought it would be something she'd be happy become part of the Great Pacific!

This will probably be the longest post I've made so far. I decided to load it all at once, instead of breaking it up into "chapters". There were many more photos, but I chose some of my favorites.

We arrived at Cannon Beach late in the afternoon on Friday. We managed to avoid rain for the trip out there, but as soon as we made our way to the beach...raindrops started to fall. We knew the local weather was going to include rain...Oregon usually does.

There's a nice little path that was near where we stayed (The Lighthouse Inn). Walk through the covering of trees...and there is the beach!

Just happy to be here!! In the background is the famous Haystack Rock. One of the fun things about picking this area was that several movies have been filmed around there, and farther up the coast..."Twilight"..."Point Break"...and of course "The Goonies"!! (I'm ordering the Goonies 25th Anniversary Special DVD this week!)

The next morning, after breakfast, we headed up the coast. Down the road from Cannon Beach is Ecola State Park. Just as we entered the park, we saw about 10 ELK just laying around near the road!

You drive through the park down a curvy road, surrounded by lush green pines, with ferns and moss covering every surface...magical. Then we came to Ecola Viewpoint...crazy weather time!! The fog was dense...the wind was brutal...the rain was whipping into our faces...and WE WERE LOVING IT! Jenni has seen some comparable coastlines in New Zealand...but Courtney and I were in awe. We miscalculated on proper rain gear for Courtney...her poncho was ridiculous, and inflated like a giant blueberry (remember the girl in the Willy Wonka movie?)!
Wet and windy!!
Love those gorgeous waves!!
Later in the day, Courtney borrowed Jen's rain suit, and we returned...we thought it was windy was insane when we came back!!! It was nearly blowing us off the trail...but the whole time Courtney and I were screaming to each other, "This is AWESOME!!!" (Screaming, because it was the only way we could hear, and because it was so much FUN!)

This next segment is from Indian Beach, in the park...about a mile and a half from Ecola Viewpoint.
Courtney is below on the rocky shore, with Jen's gear on...much better than the poncho!

We kept going up north...I'm leaving out some of our stops along the way...too many photos. But I had to show these from Astoria, Oregon...the "Goonies House"!

Finally, on Sunday, we had a break in the least no rain. But the fog was beautiful, and gave us some great photo opportunities back at Cannon Beach.

Jenni and Courtney heading towards Haystack Rock...
...but the waves kept chasing them back towards the beach. Run, Forest, Run!

Here are two panaramic scenes I pasted together from several shots...the beach view, then the ocean view.

We spent a bit more time wandering around Haystack Rock, the girls following in their Mom's footsteps with camera in hand. Then we headed back to Portland and got on our planes...Jen to Lake Tahoe, Courtney and I to KC.

I'll leave you with this image of what I will now call "Cat's Rock"...the little half oval rock in the center of the photo. This is the place where Cat's ashes joined with the great waters she so adored.
We love you, Cathy...thanks for being with us on this journey!