There's Always A First Time

A few things I'd never done before this weekend:
  • Treated myself to a second pedicure within one month.
  • Eaten a full-on Thanksgiving dinner in May.
  • Bowled a 160! (Okay, it was on a Wii, but I'd never done that either).
  • Gotten up the nerve to eat white Jello. It was pretty tasty.
  • Gone to a Star Wars convention.



I got out of work about an hour early today and decided to treat myself for having to work on a "holiday weekend." Even though I'd gotten a pedicure a couple of weeks ago, I decided to get another. My feet go bad quickly. I normally bring in my own funky orange polish, but decided to go for pink.

Well, it looks like I dipped my toenails in Pepto-Bismol®. Lovely.

I tried to take a photo, but the color didn't come out and I thought better of posting my toes on the internet. You're welcome, Mom.


Let's Wrap This Up

I've started a final Maker Faire post a couple of times and it seems to be heading in a bad (too long and too boring) direction. Feel free not to read any further (you know who you are). My feelings will not be hurt.

Meet The Makers

The Arrival (Thursday)
Having decided to get some sleep, rather than drive through the night without any shut-eye, we arrived in San Mateo later than intended. Thursday was "Maker Day," complete with presentations by and for participating makers. We managed to catch some of the nighttime program and pick up our credentials. Luckily, the drive itself was uneventful. Due to the amount of gear we had to haul, and the fact that we'd be leaving E's car in our exhibit, we traveled separately in our own cars. After the programming winded down, we checked in to our hotel and searched the internet for late-night dining. We ended up at Heidi's Pies, which did the trick. The pumpkin pie slice we shared was excellent.

Maker Faire Fire Truck

Set Up Day (Friday)
We arrived nice and early for set up. Not too many other exhibitors were in our area yet and tables and chairs were still being delivered. It was a good thing though, as we had to negotiate and figure out our space a bit. We were able to get E's Scion xB in place and work out the rest of the layout. It took most of the day to get the three things we brought set up. Our neighbors started arriving later in the day. We were right near some cool folks from a program at NYU. Our friends from Machine Project were close by too. We shared tools and a few laughs while getting everything in order. E and I made a last minute dash to Radio Shack for some extension cords and PowerSquids®.

Initial Exhibit Set Up

After finalizing the exhibits, we hopped on a veggie oil powered bus that took us to a yoga retreat in Half Moon Bay. We had a very healthy dinner, took a walk down to the ocean, and hung out with other makers by fire pits. Even though it was pretty chilly, it was quite a treat.

Maker Faire, Day 1 (Saturday)
It turns out that our live 3D video display was quite popular! Our table stayed quite busy for much of the day. As I mentioned before, E and I didn't get out of the exhibit much to see anything. Somehow, it was still a lot of fun. One of the highlights for me was meeting Madretz in person. She has a great post, complete with photos, describing some of the fun things she saw at the event. You might even see someone you recognize!

Hey Look! We're 3D!

In spite of our exhaustion, we headed straight to Berkeley from the show for a MobMov drive-in. It ended up being a much later night than I anticpated as we got stuck in some gnarly traffic as we made our way back to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. We learned a lot about the local drivers and came to the conclusion that many seem to be quite aggressive. I suppose it could have been the traffic. For all of L.A.'s car congestion, I haven't experienced this kind of driving.

Maker Faire, Day 2 (Sunday)
The morning started with me making a trip out to my car and feeling something really uncomfortable in my boot. I definitely wore the wrong shoes on Saturday and had switched. So, I took it off, only to discover several bits of hamster chow in the bottom! Yeah. I tossed the seeds and nuggets to a squirrel who was sitting near the hotel door. He wasn't too interested though, as he'd found a slice of pizza which he proceeded to carry up a tree. And me without my camera. Anyway, back to the show.

We learned a bit about the crowd density at our booth on Saturday, primarily that it was much thinner early on. I think since there were so many things to see outdoors at the faire, including robots and fire, that it took a while for people to wander into the buildings. So, E went off to see what he could first thing. That way, we'd have fewer technical inquiries about the 3D displays that I couldn't answer. There were some hardcore nerds asking really tough, detailed questions! When E returned, I got to look around a bit. I was excited to see the Life Size Mousetrap game in action. I took some photos and spent a lot of time in the Bazaar Bizarre area, hemming and hawing over which tote bag to get. I bought one, but ended up with two. However, that is another story.


Our overall Maker Faire experience was wonderful. The staff of the event were really nice and helpful. They really put an effort into making it as fun for the makers as for the attendees. It was also really inspiring to be around so many smart and creative people. We're planning to go next year, whether or not we are exhibiting anything. Of course, E does have some ideas brewing so we shall see.

I did mention before that I was pretty astounded by the behavior of some members of the general public. I guess that is to be expected. It did inspire me to create a list of rules, which I'm sure none of my readers need, but definitely were not followed by all of our visitors.

Exhibit Hall Rules (For Asshats)
  • Do not leave your garbage or snack crumbs on exhibit tables.
  • Do not manhandle, drop, or throw down items that are on display.
  • Just because it is on display does not mean you can take it.
  • Do not knock over items and walk away, pretending you didn't.
  • Do not walk through the back of our booth, unplugging our equipment and causing computers to crash.
  • Do not repeatedly swing your full cup of beer (or any other liquid) over our expensive electronic equipment.
  • Supervise your damn children so they don't do any of the above.
  • When the show is over (you and I both know that you heard the announcement)...LEAVE!
I'm slowly posting some of the photos I took. There are also many blogs, photos, and videos about the 2007 Bay Area Maker Faire if you search.

The Departure
It took a few hours to pack up and load out Sunday night. We got some dinner and then watched Lost back in the hotel room. E had burned the week's episode onto a dvd and we projected it on the wall. We slept in on Monday and hit the road in the early afternoon. We took the longer route home (the 101). It added a couple of hours to trip, but had much less uphill than the 5, which we drove in on. Our cars, especially E's, were so loaded down that we wanted to minimize the climbing. On one stretch of the homeward bound drive, I got 42 mpg, which was pretty exciting. I do too much surface street driving to ever get that in L.A.

E has moved on to the next big geek activity as this weekend is the big 30th Anniversary Star Wars Celebration. I'm working tomorrow, but will probably check it out on Monday. If I finish unpacking.



I intend to do a "wrap up" post of my recent experience at Maker Faire, which was excellent for those of you confused by my previous posts. I have not had the time to sit and do that quite yet. So instead, I give you:

Hamster Jetlag Cured By Viagra (!)

Where do people come up with these research studies? And, geez, I must be a bad hamster-mom, because my little Ami is lucky to travel from the bedroom to the living room, much less take a trip from New York to Paris!


The End Of Maker Faire, But Not The Final Post

Maker Faire 2007 was a great experience and I'm really glad E and I had a chance to participate. If we have the opportunity in the future though we will have fewer exhibits (we had three) and we will hopefully have some help to cover for breaks, etc. After getting a feel for the crowd flow on Saturday, we did each get to take some time today to check out other makers and vendors, as well as do some shopping. I even got to take some photos, which I will get around to uploading eventually.

Due to generalized exhaustion and achiness, I can't think straight enough to do a proper post. I will write up something a bit more detailed about what we did with a photo or two. I'll even include the snarky list of rules I was inspired to create today.


Survived Day One

Maker Faire, Day One is done. I don't have time to say much. I honestly didn't really get to see anything as our tables were so busy. I did get to meet a lovely bloggy friend in person, which was fun! There was also a surprise run-in with a co-worker who I didn't even know was going to be here. I'm thinking I need to try to arrive super-early tomorrow to see what I can before the throngs of people* arrive.

*I am amazed at how many people are rude asshats** and have no respect for property one is displaying. Amazed.

**Lots of folks are nice too.


Set Up Day

We arrived in San Mateo much later yesterday than we intended (I think Brenda can relate to that), but it was worth it to celebrate a friend's birthday Wednesday night and then actually get some sleep. We caught the evening programs at least. We got to the Expo Center nice and early today and don't even have our tables yet to set things up on. At least we can get the MobMov car positioned and the screen up.

Looking forward to tomorrow. Maker Faire seems like a really cool event. I'll hopefully get a change to take some photos. I'm also excited to possibly be meeting a couple of friends from the blogosphere in person!


Come On Down & Meet Your Maker

Eric and I are finalizing things for his Maker Faire exhibits. I'll possibly be doing some 'live blogging' from the event. Until then, my presence around here may be scarce, but don't worry, things are okay.


Next Best Thing

So, I didn't get to hang out with my Mom today. However, I did get to enjoy watching the antics of unlikely BFF, a large dog and a small rat.



From The Stall

I'm often amused by things I see and hear in public restrooms. Earlier tonight, in a stall at The Echo, two scrawlings caught my eye. One simply stated, "I like squirrels." Hey, so do I, but I've never been inspired to pronounce that on the inside of a stall door. The other one I thought was funny was, "Toy Story 2 was okay."

Jenn and Missing Persons were correct. About a month ago, in the evening following my walking adventure, E and I went to see friends perform at IO West. I was going into a stall when a woman, who was clearly exasperated, made a dramatic entrance. She exclaimed loudly*, "OH.MY.GOD! We walked two blocks to get here!"**

*Apparently she was talking to me, which I did not initially realize. When I exited to wash my hands, there was no one else in the restroom. I had not responded to her (how could I without saying something mean?), so I washed up, made awkward eye contact with her, and quickly left.

**I remember this quite clearly. I wrote it down.


Some Like It Hot And Some Sweat When The Heat Is On

5 signs that it was hot (and dry) in Los Angeles earlier this week*:
  • Long lines formed at the pinkberry on Vermont.
  • At times, I have felt like I just could not consume enough water.
  • Mowing my back yard this afternoon stirred up huge dust clouds.
  • I received confirmation that Ami is indeed a male hamster.
*It has cooled off, even in the Valley, and is quite pleasant.



Happy Jack Bauer Appreciation Day!

I didn't even know and have said the 'D' word many times today already!



I'll admit it. I love presents. Who doesn't, right? I was just thinking about this because it seems like people have been extra generous lately and have given me stuff, without even an occasion as reason. I really appreciate it and hope I thanked everyone proficiently. I also hope to get better about the "just because" gift to people I care about.

Yesterday, I received some music from a friend, who shall remain anonymous. I didn't ask for it and really did not expect 10 songs, but was thrilled. It made my drive to work a little more fun this morning too.

Here are a few other things I've received lately:


One of my friends finds the best hamster stuff. Check out these erasers! Gah! I will of course never use them for anything but cuteness. And to teach my hamster about the evils of fast food.


The Wegmans tote bag and Naughty Naughty Pets pet journal were sent to me all the way from an pal in Boston! It was a very thoughtful and moving gesture. Thank you again!


E felt guilty just picking up free comics this past weekend, so he bought First In Space and Korgi for me. For the record, I just took the freebies from the two places I went to.

P.S. If anyone is wondering how the Kids In The Hall show was, it was GREAT! The five original guys performed at a tiny local theater. All new material, all really funny. I talked to Dave Foley a bit and was a total dork. And I sold a Snapple to Jason Priestly.


The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

I've been intending to do some sort of week-in-review post for oh, a week or so now. It's been a busy one and an overall good one. I'll just touch on some of the highlights, thus far.

Last Saturday, after our lovely walk among the coyotes, we decided to take in dinner and a movie. E still had a couple of tokens for the Holly Trolley, which is to help people bar-hop and avoid the parking hassles in Hollywood on Thursday through Saturday nights.
  • The Good: We parked at Hollywood & Highland and sat at the counter at California Pizza Kitchen. We were served and ate in near record time. Also, we really enjoyed Hot Fuzz. In spite of nearly being late, I was able to get some popcorn too.
  • The Bad: After dinner we missed the Holly Trolley. So, we walked quite quickly to try to catch it at the next stop. We ended up walking to the Arclight, which isn't that big of a deal, but we had full bellies and had already gone on a good walk. As we were cutting it close on time, we had to walk really fast. I hate getting sweaty when I'm not intending to, so I was kind of annoyed. After the movie, we had trouble catching the trolley to go back, as it did not follow the route that is listed online. We walked back about halfway and caught it, but they would not take the tokens. The Holly Trolley sucks.
  • The Ugly: Drunk people in Hollywood on a Saturday night are awful. Especially the ones that scream right in your ear as you are innocently descending to the depths of the parking garage.
Having gone to a late movie on Saturday night, we overslept on Sunday.
  • The Good: We ended up having an early dinner at Birds and catching the free Asssscat show at the UCB Theater. Mo Collins was the guest monologist and she was pretty funny. She's also really, really skinny. I wanted to buy her a sandwich.
  • The Bad: We missed out on the L.A. Times Festival of Books. Maybe next year. I say that every year. I've never been to it.
  • The Ugly: We did go to the once-a-month L.A. Comic Con, which is pretty lame. The ugliest part of this is that I'm only now finding out that an artist I really like (David Petersen) had been there.
I'll group various things from last week here:
  • The Good: Awesome episode of Heroes this past Monday! I'm sort of bummed that the season is winding down.

    On Tuesday, I saw Tim Finn play at Largo. I'd never seen him perform and it was a treat. He was mesmerizing and I could have listened to him for hours. It never hurts to see someone good in such an intimate setting where they are only 20 feet away.

    Thursday night was opening night of the Silver Lake Film Festival. I chatted with some nice guys about The Office while waiting for the theater to open and I met a really cute dog.

    We got to see Circle Jerks perform for free.They sounded great.

    On Friday night, we saw a block of short films that, in general, did not suck. That was followed by some pumpkin pie.

    I had a bit of a day of beauty on Saturday, starting with getting my hair trimmed, getting my annual pedicure, and updating my highlights. I also managed to stop in a couple of comic shops for Free Comic Book Day and picked up several issues. We saw a great documentary called King of Kong. It's an excellent companion piece to a film we saw at Sundance called Chasing Ghosts, which features many of the same people.
  • The Bad: Overall, the film festival organization has left much to be desired. The opening night screening started really late. On top of that, I didn't even enjoy the film Fay Grim. There was a lot of confusion, delays, and general clusterfuckery the following night for the shorts program as well. I'm glad my pass is free.
  • The Ugly: Shopping for a baby shower gift at Babies 'R Us. Now I know why people hate that place. I felt so tired Thursday night that I left the Circle Jerks show after a few songs. My house remains a disaster. Little Guy is limping again. My feet before the pedicure.
Today, I'm helping some friends with their table at the Santa Fe Art Colony Open Studios, possibly having coffee with a friend (too overextended), and volunteering at the Kids In The Hall show at the Steve Allen Theater. I'm confident that those will all be good things.


Feeling Random (And Tired)

Read about George, a Jack Russell Terrier from New Zealand. He's truly a hero. SPOILER ALERT: Things don't end well for George.

You must read the Evil Hamsters poem if you missed it. While I disagree with the sentiment, I admire the author's talent.

I finally got a photo of one of the two R2-D2 mailboxes that I've seen in Burbank, which are both near studios. This is the one by Warner Brothers, in front of the Taco Bell on Olive. In the background, you can see the WB water tower, where the Animaniacs live.


The Silver Lake Film Festival opens tonight. It will be consuming a lot of my time over the next ten days. One of E's short films is in the fest, so I have a free pass. It looks like it's going to be a great festival this year, with a lot of film and music events. I guess I'll be seeing the Circle Jerks later. Cool. I'm already behind on updating here. I've uploaded photos that have yet to be labeled, etc. Someday. Someday.


Urban Nature Redux

I've mentioned the prevalence of wildlife in my city, yard, and occasionally even my house before. This past weekend, we saw four very skinny, hungry looking coyotes close to the road. (I don't understand the people who had parked by them and let their dog out of the car without a leash. Idiots.) Later, as we walked with Rusty around the Silver Lake reservoir, it started getting dark and we were treated to a chorus of coyote howls.

Last night after a trip to the market, I encountered this critter on my porch:


Baby possum, just outside my front door.


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