The Creative Spark!

June 7th, 2011

UPDATEDZ! Core77 now has a ton of photos online, some video too. Here are great pix and a play-by-play of the complete fab process (trés fab!) and here are a bunch more action shots of the float conquering Portland.

I haven’t blogged about this much, but last month I was tangentially involved in helping the good folks over at Hand-Eye Supply light up their float for the Starlight Parade with about 1000 feet of animated extra-thick electroluminescent wire.

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Project Unicorn!

May 27th, 2011

Hello everybody! Sorry it’s been so quiet over here … I’ve been preoccupied with unicorns.

The last three months have been rainy, indoorish months for me and Portland. Writing books is still my day job, but I’ve also be surprisingly, enjoyably, annoyingly busy with these smart lights. It’s been an educational odyssey: so far it’s required circuit-board fabrication, AVR programming in C and assembler, iPhone hacking, waterjet cutting, lamp design, bicycle maintainence, and lots and lots (lots!) of soldering. I’ve enjoyed it all, but what a time sink! (If only I could flip one of these AVR pins to source time instead of sinking it …)

Something about blinking, glowing light is still compelling to me, but I really do hope that the sun will come out soon and I’ll lose interest in this weak substitute. The goal I’ve set for myself is to have these lights mounted on my tallbike in time for Pedalpalooza, Portland’s three-week bicycling festival. I’ve always wanted ambulance lights on my tallbike, and these should provide the required traffic-shifting pep.
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May 12th, 2011

Everything needs a name, deformed things moreso. “Wuholic” is what I’m calling the new theme on Gesine Kratzner’s website. It’s a fusion of Jeff Ngan’s lovely Wu-Wei theme for WordPress and the Flash-based design of her old site, courtesy of . It launched today, just in time for Gesine’s big TV moment.
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March 30th, 2011

Here’s one more plea for LIGHTBAR help … but you don’t even have to step away from the screen this time.

I’m going to be delivering a slideshow on the history, theory and technology of LIGHTBAR at Portland’s next Pecha Kucha night, as part of a great bit light-arts symposium at PSU called Illuminated City How cool is that?

A Pecha Kucha is a kind of slideshow-on-crack public event first invented in Japan in 2003. Presenters get to show only twenty slides and you get ONLY TWENTY SECONDS PER SLIDE! Picture it as 50% arts-n-culture, 50% used car sales. A group called Project Cityscope has been putting them on in Portland for a while now. This particular episode of it, Volume 9, has a theme of “spectrum,” so of course I had to apply … and today they gave me the green light! Color me excited.
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March 29th, 2011


Paul Stoffregen, the inventor/genius who built these RGB smart-lights for this year’s LIGHTBAR, has posted in detail about the design and how you can build your own. How rad is that?

That, of course, is what DorkbotPDX is all about.

Thanks for the LIGHTBAR!

March 9th, 2011

Congratulations, Portland! You have successfully summoned spring. There’s a big pink explosion of plum blossoms out my window, the same gorgeous color as the last evening of LIGHTBAR. For those of you who missed Pink Night, here are some highlights:

Just to make it official: LIGHTBAR season is over for this year. It was grand, epic, successful in so many ways. Now I just need to get on with the rest of life. Boat Night holds fantastic promise, and we will do it, definitely, next year.

If there’s any way I can possibly thank or repay all the excellent volunteers who came out to play LIGHTBAR-games with me, please suggest it here! Ross, Maitland, Dan, Gabe, Tom, Jean-Margaret, Chris, Brian, Jake, Zed, Buffalo, Gordon, Paul, Katie, Nick, and everyone I’m forgetting because it’s been a long month — you are rad! LIGHTBAR is your creation, as much as it is mine! Congratulations on a job well done!

LIGHTBAR PINK NIGHT: Frequently Asked Questions

February 25th, 2011

Q: Is it really tomorrow night?
A: Totally! Saturday Feb 26th!

Q: What is it called?

Q: What is The Bizarro Hour?
A: Bizarro-flavored readings and outfreakings by Eraserhead Press authors Jeff Burk, Cameron Pierece, Carlton Mellick II and Mykle Hansen! 8pmish!
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The Lights of LIGHTBAR

February 22nd, 2011


It takes energy to create light — just ask The Sun, which burns four million tons of hydrogen every second to produce the wide, smooth spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that earthlings crave.

But I’m a normal guy; I do not own even one million of tons of hydrogen. Instead, I’ve borrowed several of LIGHTBAR’s ever-shifting palette of fixtures from well-lit friends, and scrounged the rest from thrift stores and junk shops. Some of these needed repair, rewiring, better housings or nicer diffusion. I love electricity and tinkering in general. LIGHTBAR has made me a bit of a lamp mechanic.
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The latest in LIGHTBARS …

February 15th, 2011


LIGHTBAR enables my inexplicable obsession with temporary architecture once again this year. But I hope this time I’ve built something that will last.
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The LIGHTBAR Report: Opening Night!

February 15th, 2011

IN 2009 there was a ton going on at LIGHTBAR and I managed to document quite a bit of it.  This year I’m way behind. In all honesty, I’ve felt a bit rushed until now, just getting the building done and set up, and organizing things and people, and finding good locations … in fact, up to the afternoon before opening night I must admit to some serious pre-party anxiety.

I shouldn’t have worried.

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