Geocaching, version 1.0

Geocaching, version 1.0

“That just sounds like organized littering” is the response my wife gave when I was trying to explain the ins and outs of a newfound hobby, geocaching. She’s right. At the base level, at least. From the outside, these caches are little more than small collections of meaningless junk that get stowed under park benches and in light poles and inside hollowed out logs, in tupperware and old prescription bottles and Altoids tins. But packed with stickers or dollar-store toys or sometimes, nothing at all but a log sheet to sign, these little treasures are part of a world-wide scavenger hunt thats been running since 2,000, which is when technology finally allowed regular people access to GPS. The found knicknacks are part of the games honor system: if you take something, you’re supposed to leave something at least as good, but preferably better. Up to a few weeks ago, I had only ever been geocaching once before, with a coworker while at a conference in San Francisco. Wandering back to our hotel from the day’s event, he asked if I minded if we find a nearby cache and since I had no idea what was involved, I agreed, and he fired up the app on his phone and we went hunting. We found three caches that night, one behind a loose brick in a wall, one near a statue on the pier, and one in a magnetized Altoids tin stuck to the bottom of a sculpture. Even after what one could consider a successful night, I can’t say I was really even interested in it. It seemed like a good...
Coffee shop ramblings

Coffee shop ramblings

I was spending my Sunday morning at Songbird Cafe as is my ritual, when a large eclectic group of twenty-somethings rode up on their even-more-eclectic collection of bikes, circling the front of the building in a single-file line like Native American warriors in an old western. The descended on the coffee shop, dismounted, and wheeled their bikes in the front door, quickly tripling the number of customers in the room. Given that Songbird isn’t that large and that I had forgotten my headphones, it was impossible not to overhear some of their conversations. I learned that this particular group of pedal pushers was part of Phoenix Spokes People. I hadn’t heard of the group before, but a quick read through their web site gave me the highlights. They are a local cycling group, dedicated to making Phoenix a better place to ride, both for fun but also as viable day to day transportation. They work to raise awareness of the issue of bicycle safety and accessibility, and speak at City of Phoenix budget hearings towards that end. So while they get together and bike for fun (although two hours in this mornings humidity suggests otherwise to me), they also work to make their city a better place. Another conversation sprung up between friends who hadn’t seen each other for a while, and rather than the typical “just working,’ ya know” response I tend to give to the “what have you been up to?” question, this young man explained that he’s been dedicating his time to bringing the largest green and sustainable living event in the US to Phoenix in 2015…or something to that...
State of Arizona Wall Art

State of Arizona Wall Art

Outside of the normal project list from my welding class, I decided that I wanted to try doing an electrical piece. Having previously come up with an illustration that I thought would look great on a coffee shop wall, I wanted to incorporate it into a welding project somehow. After creating a box by folding the edges of a rectangle in and welding the corners, I cut the Arizona state outline out with a plasma cutter, then finished by removing the star over Phoenix. Distressing the sheet metal with multiple applications of a mixture of Hydrogen Peroxide and vinegar seemed like the best way to achieve the deep rust I was looking for without needing to purchase any kind of acid or harsh chemicals. After getting the surface as textured as I wanted it, I epoxied a Dioder LED light set onto the back of the steel so it would reflect off the polished copper sheet that was bolted on last. In low light, the LEDs shine brightly, highlighting the copper.   The piece is currently hanging in my office. If I had gotten my ducks in a row before the Practical Art Summer Group Show deadline, I would have submitted it to the competition…I think it could have been pretty well received. I guess there’s always next year. Also on Relatively Average: Brought to you by the letters L, j, e, b, and d Disc golf practice basket Learning to love creating IRL –...