Nimitz Way / Conlon Trail Loop

New favorite mountain bike trek in the east bay – our usual 4-mile section from Inspiration Point to the old concrete overlooks, then beyond on dirt along “Old Nimitz Way.” Bumping on down the Belgum Trail till my wrists ached all the way down to Wildcat. Heading back, branch off on Conlon for the insane diagonal back up from 400 to 1100 feet (I admit to walking the bike through part of that one). I’m spent! And blissed.

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRide

Pale Blue Dot

This three-minute speech – Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” – was the finale to the original Cosmos series, and stands in my mind as one of the most moving short speeches I’ve ever heard. Voyager 2′s last glimpse back at the earth as it became the first human craft to exit our solar system provided the backdrop and the inspiration for Sagan’s soliloquy. Seeing it in 1980 marked a dawning of cosmic awareness for me as a young teen.

Tonight we watched the finale of Neil de Grasse Tyson’s “Cosmos” reboot. Tastefully, the series finished with Sagan’s original Pale Blue Dot audio, set to new (and far more gorgeous) visuals.

Every week for 13 weeks we’ve gotten together with another family and hung on every word, absorbed as much as we could, and tried to help our children appreciate as much as possible of these incredible perspectives on life, the universe and everything.

It is impossible to summarize the hugeness of the undertaking in producing the new Cosmos, or of the impact it has had on us. It has truly been the TV event of the decade for us, and I hope the seeds it has planted will continue to grow in Miles’ heart for the rest of his life.

Record Collector’s Dilemma

The record collector’s eternal dilemma: Is the goal of collecting to capture every memorable moment in music, to become a librarian of excellent sessions, to sweep through the entire span of recording history leaving nothing worthwhile behind, even if it means an immense collection one can never possibly hear, given the realities of allotted listening time?

Or is the goal to relentlessly cull and distill and hand-pick the very best of the best, so that the collection represents your absolute true favorites, with no fat, no waste, no extra trimmings. Just pure “I love this the most” music and nothing else? The result there is that you are forced to leave so much great much great music on the cutting room floor, but end up with a collection you can realistically wade through given a few hours of listening per day?

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I have swung both ways on this one.

Maker Faire 2014

Another year at the Bay Area’s greatest assemblage of welders, hackers, crocheters and other makers – haven’t missed a Maker Faire yet! Crowds actually weren’t as bad as anticipated, though the overall danger level does seem to go down a bit year after year (or maybe our perceptions are changing?)

Loved this jet engine transformed into a musical instrument:

And the Inflatable Forest:

And the Canjos:

Biggest disappointment for us is that the Cyclecide collection seems to get smaller every year. Only one bike-powered carnival ride, and none of the usual freak bikes available for the public to ride – we look forward to those more than just about anything. They did bring back the Spanking Bike though! Here’s M enduring some self-inflicted anguish:

Still, got to witness the great El Pulpo Mecanicco, doing its Busby Berkeley meets Burning Man thing. The heat radiating off its tentacles was almost too much to be near.

Here Miles plays Ode to Joy on eight well-connected zucchinis, jacked into a Makey-Makey board, connected to laptop via USB. Scratch app process changes in electrical resistances into musical notes.

Not to mention the return of Arc Attack – 50,000 volt tesla coils jamming with a live band, as kids dance safely in Faraday cage.

Never gets old! So much creativity on display, endlessly inspiring.

Flickr set:

Knoll Organic Farm

Took the day off work to chaperone school trip to Knoll Organic Farm with sixth graders. All about biodiversity. First image shows apricots, figs, rosemary, barley and 20 others all growing in the same space – they get more than 3x more yield per acre than conventional farms by growing like nature does, where everything is entangled with everything else. Second image shows biodynamic soup – rainwater, molasses, figs, whatever else, left to stew until almost kombucha, then trickled into the irrigation system like homeopathy for soil. Third image: half-walnut as pig-nose.

Amazing: “When we have snails, someone from Chez Panisse drives out here to pick them up.”

Glorious afternoon!

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – Numbers Stations / The Conet Project

“It’s like the Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music for Get Smart fans”.

New at Stuck Between Stations: The eerie phenomenon of spy radio transmissions on “number stations,” using one-time pad crypto.

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – Numbers Stations / The Conet Project

Kind of connects in a neat way to the whole “stuck between stations” theme.

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Also: New Audio Playlist feature built into WordPress 3.9 – it’s now effortless to embed MP3 audio, either as single tracks or playlists. Worked great.

WTB: Muzak Control Knob

Remember these? If you ever worked in a restaurant or hotel in the 70s or 80s you probably had one on the wall in a closet or back room somewhere. Now I’m on the lookout to find one I can wire up to the living room dimmer switch. If you know where to find one, let me know! (eBay is turning up squat).

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Kraftwerk 3D Live

New at Stuck Between Stations, my review of recent amazing experience watching Kraftwerk on their Live 3D tour:

Soon after their very early Can-like Krautrock years, Kraftwerk began to develop and refine a hardcore man-machine aesthetic, imagining themselves as cyborg musicians, as much enslaved by technology as liberated by it. The amazing thing is that the band-machine has been able to sustain itself on that track. Almost any other group would have gone on to other things after the vein ran cold, but Kraftwerk continue to tap the mineshaft of digitalized culture as deep as it wants to go.

More:

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