Cool Stuff

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The Fun Farm is a little bit north of Bend, Oregon, east side of the highway. It's hard to spot, because the town won't allow signs on the highway. Just look for the bowling-ball tree and the field of goats.

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We showed up about 30 minutes before closing, but as we learned at Petersen Rock Gardens, "Bend time" is a relative thing. Apparently someone heard us drive up, as the door was unlocked and we were ushered in before we had a chance to drive away.

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The mouth is an electronic kaleidoscope, using scenes from The Wizard of Oz to create ever-shifting images.

Originally called The Funny Farm, it was founded by partners Gene and Mike, and houses an antique and costume shop in addition to a yard full of outsider art. When you first enter the shop, you are greeted by a large dollhouse, and the sound of The Wizard of Oz. Soon you realize that the movie is playing on a tiny television inside the dollhouse.

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Tin man.

Once vibrant, the Farm has fallen into a genteel decay since the death of Gene's partner, Mike, in 2005. While we were there, work was being done to get the place ready for free wedding day. It's usually in July, but they're running a bit behind, so you'll be able to get married or renew your vows at the Love Pond in August this year.

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Dusty bottles await a purpose.

I think we missed a lot when we were there. I've seen several pictures online of things we didn't see. I felt as if I were intruding on something private, rather than visiting a tourist spot. Part of that feeling came from being there so close to closing--I always feel funky about that--but a larger part came from the quiet, the disarray, the decay. Nonetheless, I'd like to visit again next year. Next time I'll go in the early afternoon, and I'll follow the map to make sure I don't miss anything. What I did see, you can check out in my flickr set.

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The king of the garden surveys his domain.

There are a few things I love more than letterboxing. Which is why, when we recently went to Central Oregon for a letterboxing event, I spent some time touring the local outsider art.

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Petersen's version of Independence Hall

Rasmus Petersen immigrated from Denmark, and built the Garden in the last 17 years of his life, from 1935 to 1952. It was his tribute to his new homeland. He collected local rocks from the mineral-rich, volcanic landscape surrounding his home. Obsidian for a shiny facing, shells for an accent, and the occasional delight of a thunder egg.

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Plaque (out of frame): "Enjoy yourself. It's later than you think."

Peacocks, cats, and chickens roam the grounds. We wished we'd brought along the grapes from our hotel room. Peacocks love them some grapes. The day was bright, and two other families roamed the garden with their children. I had hoped to visit the museum, and though it was scheduled to be open, the doors were locked. I hear there is a display of fluorescent rocks inside. Ah well, maybe next trip.

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No trolls under the bridge--just tadpoles

I was charmed by every bit of the place, even the decay, that allowed us to see the metal barrels supporting the masses of glued and cemented rocks that made up a tiny building. We plan on going back to the area next year, and I'd like to visit when the museum is open, and perhaps get some better pictures. Here's the rest of the set on flickr.

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Day 5

I love how this card turned out. I wanted to do something with my extensive (read: excessive) collection of washi tape. I made some gifts, put puff-paint ribbons on them, and realized they'd have to dry overnight. Putting those aside, I decided a circle behind a sentiment would be nice.

  • I layered a piece of card stock with washi tape, then cut out the circle.
  • All the papers are from the Merry Little Christmas collection by My Mind's Eye. I used two papers for the background, and separated them with some Martha Stewart ribbon.
  • I edged the washi tape circle with red ink, and affixed it with pop dots.
  • I cut a circle out of  patterned paper from the same collection (tip: if you aren't good at matching papers, like me, just use papers from the same collection!), edged it in red, and stamped a sentiment from the Tis The Season stamp set by Fiskars. Been using that one a lot. Attached it to the washi tape circle with pop dots.
  • It needed a little something more, so I added a brad from the Seasons Greetings set from EP.


Before we go all video mad, here a couple links:


Via The Automata/Automaton blog, this remarkable little archer can pick up his own arrows, aim, and shoot.  I learned a new phrase: Karakuri ningyō, Japanese automata. The gentleman in the video is the last living master of this art.

Process video! The artist is Joe Fenton, and he created Lullaby over the course of two months, and filmed the whole gorgeous process. Via Street Anatomy.

Monstrous Wildlife from Frank Robnik on Vimeo.

Remember Tremors? Kevin Bacon? Reba McEntire? Here's a handy educational video about Graboids.

Light calligraphy by Kalaam

Design Boom brings us light painting taken a step further in the artistry of Kalaam. I have always admired Arabic calligraphy. Calligraphy seems too unassuming a word for such elevated artistry. Kalaam's alphabet is Anglo, but it is heavily steeped in Arabic tradition. The photos are not altered or retouched. Kalaam drills the movements for the painting over and over before finally committing them to film. I love how the paintings work with the environment. The photographs would be lovely even without the painting. It is a magical melding.

Via Mein Welt comes something that I'm sure has existed on the web before, but I never looked for it. Will Kemp explains basic concepts clearly in his online Art School. I really want to take time to sift through all this--it looks great. And because you know I love a process video:

I think I still have those shoes.

I haven't had decent stats on this site in years. I had logfiles, but I never checked them until recently, only to discover that they're gone. *shrugs* I have lifetime hosting from a guy who I'm not sure even runs a hosting business anymore, so I can't complain. So I installed a little sitemeter thingie since I got interested again, and I've been finding the oddest referrals. Like one from a eight-year-old Metatalk thread. My link is at the very end. I followed it, of course, but got a 404, as it's from my old MT archives. Turns out what it should point to is this. What a blast from the past! That guy in the middle in the white t-shirt is JD Roth before he became all webfamous.


It's hard to believe, I'm in heaven.

So I was all ready to finish my carve tonight, but for some reason my wrist is acting up.  Stupid wrist, be less hurtier. Still, this morning I had a special crafty treat of another variety.

I buy most of my felting wool off Etsy. Sometimes I'll find a lovely batch in an out-of-the-way shop I'll never visit again. I finally decided it was time to find a local source. Altportland had a nice list, and I decided Gossamer would be my first visit. I'm not sure I need to visit anyplace else, ever. Wow. I've never seen so much roving in one place. In the pic, there's more wool to the right, and more felt to the left. That little pile on the table is the stuff I came home with. Ultra soft, ultra white merino top for Christmas tree owls, colors and high-quality felt for some other projects. So excited!

Stupid wrist.



Still working on my Christmas carve, so you get a couple other things today.

  • House is a spooky little game that's nicely creepy. Yes, there are jumpscares. Not much thinking to do, just keep clicking whatever is clickable.
  • Bongcheon-Dong Ghost made it to my Google+ feed, but it's worth repeating here. Scroll down.

I do not like ants in my home, or cockroaches anywhere. Other than that, I like critters. I subscribe to an awesome tumblr called Insects, where I got this gem:

Isn't he beautiful? I love how he looks like a rustling leaf when he walks.

I've been playing with LibraryThing. Entering our modest library gave me something to do while I recuperated. Here's my widget:

There you can see what I'm reading right now. How can I be reading four books at once*?

Well, there's the tub book (Culture of Fear), the bus book (Systemantics), the treadmill audio book (The Historian), and the book that wanders from room to room (The End of Faith).

I suppose I could make another widget for stuff I've recently finished:

LibraryThing has pretty much everything I've ever wanted in a library tracker, especially ease of use. I've tried to track various things with various tools, most recently Mediachest, but they've all been awkward and difficult to keep up. In fact, my track record is so bad that I've only paid for a year of LibraryThing. If we're still using it this time next year, I'll go for the lifetime membership, which is very reasonable at $25. Betcha Google has snapped them up by then.

*To those reading this entry in archives: the widget will probalby show different books. At least I hope it will.

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I've been playing with Keyhole for a while now, and it has become a favorite toy. Sure, I go in to see if there is good resolution on the Nazca Lines (sadly, there isn't), but I end up wandering the streets of Rome.

As Keyhole expands their database, they will cover the entire world with fine resolution, and recent images. Of course when that day comes, it will be a matter of minutes before news groups spawn, listing the most likely places to find outdoor skinfests. Nude beaches will be heavily trafficked. Some hippie couple, living off the land in the wilds of Montana, could become famous!

Me, I'm a little tamer. I want to:

  • Explore the Nazca lines.

  • Search for crop circles.
  • Have a scavenger hunt, with things like a herd of elephants, or even a polar bear (eye strain!) on the list.
  • If it's possible to know when an image of a certain place is taken, I could have a guy dress up like Waldo...

Keyhole has already improved my geography skills (which suck so very much)--it is a toy for every classroom.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to Paris.

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Me, I'm busy setting up the system in Getting Things Done and having a great time. You know how I love new organizational systems, and this one is actually changing my thinking. I'll report back in a while on progress.

While I'm doing that, I'd like to point you to a couple of excellent new reads I've been perusing:

Slacker Manager is my favorite new read. Bren loves a lot of the same types of "lifehacks" (that's what kids these days are calling self-help) that I do. Case in point: he did a recent entry on one of my favorite all-time books--one so important to me that I re-read it every few years: Your Money or Your Life. So when he's into something new, I listen. As in, see the first paragraph of this post.

My other favorite new read is Simple Subjects. Jared has great links and deep thoughts on sustainability and simple living, and he is putting the concepts into practice. I recommend him as a resource for anyone thinking about their impact on this planet, and balancing work with quality of life.

Oh yeah, and both these guys are local. Oregon bloggers rule.


For quite some time now, I've been trying to find a site where I could enter all my media, and maybe produce a list that I could easily transfer to my website. Mediachest is all that, plus there's an organized borrowing system, so you can invite your friends and they can borrow your movies (or CDs, or books, or games).

While it's billed as another social networking site, a key difference is that I wouldn't make all my online friends part of my network here--it would just be local people to whom I've already loaned. But they do have a trust rating system set up, so I could include other locals if I wanted to. Sounds like a great way to make new friends.

I'm excited, and I'm trotting out to get a barcode reader so I can enter my collections more quickly.