Tuesday, October 28, 2014

And how was your weekend?

Oct. 25th & 26th.  Just a random, super fun weekend that I'd like to take a moment to pay homage to.  Carpe diem.  Spontaneity.  All worked out into great things!

Went to a friend's house and hung out there all night.  No pics. Sorry lol.

 A Mexican "brunch" with the tiniest margaritas of all time.
 And after a drive through the countryside, there was the river.

 And this dummy took his pants off and actually got in.  The water numbed my foot.

Parties. Booze. Food. Friends. And amazingly beautiful weather.
 Bein' goofy at my bestie's before we headed out.
When the host has own food truck, you know the potluck (BBQ!) is gonna be good.

I don't even like apple pie, and I had 1 1/2 slices.  That's how good it was.
 Then we stopped by my friend's and got to meet "Conquistador" and Adele the dog :)

Hung out at my friend's awesome new place...
then it was mac n cheese/chili cookoff time.

Walking back to my friends with a donut and biscuits in hand. And tipsyness in head.
 And then we finished up at a bar.  All I have from that is this dark, blurry Snapchat. 

We were stupidly irresponsible and indulgent.  And I luved every single second of it.

Friday, October 3, 2014

RVA Makerfest 2014

On Saturday September 27th from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Science Museum of Virginia played host to RVA Makerfest, a gathering of scientists, artists, engineers, craftsman and more who were all there to offer hands-on demonstrations.  This isn’t just a craft show or shopping event where you’re only seeing finished products; Makerfest strives to showcase skills and focus more on the “how” to and “why” that goes into creating art, various crafts, culinary treats, technological gadgets and more.  And it was FREE!

I didn’t know what to expect as I was walking up to the museum.  Was this going to be mostly technological stuff?  Crafts?  Big crafts like people building furniture?  Unique specialized crafts that I didn’t even know about?  ROBOTS?!  I was just excited to see what was there.  And before I even got inside the door to the museum, the neat stuff started (big fan of the word “neat”, BTW).

They had one of the famous big “LOVE” signs set up in front of the museum with a table next to it.  There were three volunteers at the table showing people how to assemble their own little light from a battery, magnet and two wires attached to the light.  The long wire touches the positive side of the battery, the little bulb lights, the magnet is taped onto the back of the battery and then participants could stick their little bulb anywhere they wanted on the LOVE sign.  Then that night after the sun was down, the sign would glow with everyone’s multi colored hand-made devices.  I wish I had gotten to see it.  I’m still trying to find pictures of what it looked like (and see if I can pinpoint my light – of course I chose red, ginger represent!).
Then after grabbing an informational pamphlet and a holder for all the business cards I’d be picking up, my friend and I headed inside.  We were greeted by a frenzy of activity.  In the circle area around the giant pendulum (that’s always in the museum) were people playing with little robots or toys (same thing?), people demonstrating how to make paper flowers, people making and playing with puppets and more.
We didn’t know where to start.  Then we noticed the room off to the right side was open so we moved in there.  It was even more hectic (and cramped) in there, so we figured just start at the first table to our right and move our way around.  The first table was Capital One’s coder program (appropriately called “Coders”), which goes to middle schools and teaches 7th graders how to write code.  This is a pretty cool idea, right?  “Developing future software engineers” is the slogan.  I hope this kind of thing is being offered/happening more than I know.  And we got lots of free goodies! I walked away with a burlap string back pack, a small  notebook, a “smart wallet” (which attaches to your phone and holds your ID, credit cards, etc.) and a stylus.
The next table was for the magazine Rhome.  They just wanted you to help them pick their next cover from four options, and then you got to take more free goodies!  Including an issue of Rhome and a “Best of Richmond” recipe book/magazine. 
The next table was for Tech Commons, which was being manned by a guy named Neil.  But the table was also for something called The People’s Library, and the idea he explained to us it definitely struck a chord with me.  This group goes around collecting discarded books, emptying out the pages, recycling the paper into new pages, and then they put those pages back in the book.  People are then allowed to write down their own stories.  It’s a collaborative effort/art project to create 100 handmade books in which Richmonders can capture their personal histories.  How cool is that?!   For more information on that project (started by Mark Strandquist), check out the People's Library website.  Tech Commons is a technology group that gets together once a month at the Richmond Main Public Library to answer computer hardware and software questions.  They also host specials technology classes for kids of all ages periodically.  For more information on that, check out TheRichmond Public Library website and contact them with any questions, or go to the Coder Dojo Meetup group

Next to that table, the whole corner of the room was taken over for a demo area for a rather large robot. (What was it? Who made it? Looked like teenagers in charge of it)  And who was controlling this robot?  Why children of course!  So as I was listening to Neil explain the Peoples’ Library, I would periodically here gasps from the crowd behind me and turn around to see people jumping away from being hit by the robot. Lol. That’s what you get when you let teenagers monitor children playing with a giant metal toy.
The room also had another table for creating lights like the one’s outside, except these were blue, came with a sticker, and you could wear them by putting a magnet on the inside of your shirt or whatever.  So many lights!  They also had a table for drawing manga comic strips, a creepy robotic hand, and an iPhone that had been turned into a viewer for seeing a whole medieval scene inside big barcode that you scan (which I had a 7 YEAR OLD explaining to me lol).

Back inside the main area/entranceway to the museum, we kind of breezed through.  There was a lot going on with a lot of people in front of most booths.  There were people making puppets, paper flowers, baked goods, and more.  There was a really cool furniture area (that I was so sure I couldn’t afford, I didn’t even ask). And then there was PARTY BOT!  Which was basically a square on wheels that played music and lit up under your fingers if you touched it.  It was so pointless and not that cool, but I loved it anyway lol.  I got most excited about Mobelux, which is a company that makes apps.  I took their information for when I’m done with my website, because I wanted it to be an app in the first place.

Then we went downstairs and out back to the train tracks behind the museum.  This was the COOLEST part Makerfest by far.  There were glass blowers, steamroller artists (yes, rolling an actual steamroller over a sheet on top of a print), blacksmiths, woodworkers, clothing makers, food and more.  I hung out there for awhile, just watching everything.  I was able to talk to people from The Glass Spot about taking glass blowing classes, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  AND with a discount J  And my friend was able to convince our other friend (who joined us late) to put together a bat box for her, which was pretty cool.

DRONES (pretty sure I saw one crash, too)
Then I had to leave to go play basketball L I wanted to stay there all day! I could’ve easily done so if I’d had the time.  This was beyond educational.  It offered entertainment, information and opportunities.  I'm so glad I made out with a few business cards (which I kept forgetting to grab). 
I can’t wait until next year’s, and I highly suggest checking it out if you haven’t been to one yet.   Find out more at the RVA Makerfest Website.