Sunday, May 20, 2007

Today I took Daisy to the Maker Faire.

The Maker Faire is what happens when a bunch of nerds decide to put on a show. These aren't just computer nerds though, they're art nerds, robot nerds, bike nerds, or just anyone who has made something and wants to show it off. It was one of the most interesting events I've attended that didn't involve either drugs or my penis.

Almost all of the exhibits were interactive. The wool nerds showed us how to make crafty things out of unspun wool. The photography nerds used strobe lights to take high-speed images of us popping a balloon. The guy who built a chariot pulled by a running robot encouraged kids to hop along for a ride. If there was a button in an exhibit, it usually had a hand-written sign on it saying, "Please press me!". Excellent.

Daisy got to:
  • Ride in a hang gliding flight simulator
  • Make a clay pot on a pottery wheel
  • Engineer a bridge made out of pasta
  • Play a full-sized drum kit by pressing keys on a piano keyboard
  • Design and play with a toy car set to run along a monorail
  • Make her own hair band
  • And much more!
There was an entire genre of exhibits that could be described by filling in the blanks in this mad lib sentence: When you ______ (verb) with your ________ (body part), the ______ (piece of technology available at Radio Shack) will create a _____ (form of art). This included musical instruments that played when you moved your body, drawing machines that were triggered off your heart beat, and electro mechanical bugs that danced when you talked. Sadly there were no penis-controlled machines, but that's what you get with these "family friendly" events in the suburbs.

After a few hours around all these creative and technically savvy people, I started to feel somewhat inadequate. Thankfully, I soon recalled my own fantastic discovery from earlier in the week.

On Friday I had lunch at home. Afterwards, I tidied up the kitchen, and for some reason took a long look at the oven. There was a button there that I had never pressed that was labeled "Clean".

I didn't really know what that button did, or what you might have to do prior to pressing that button, but I was unable to not press it. It demanded pressing. So, I pressed it.

Then, the oven did what all things in this house do. It beeped mercilessly at me, while flashing the word "door" in it's LED screen. I opened and closed the door, and slammed the door, and pressed the door closed with all (not very much) my might. At some point amidst my panicked flailing, I noticed there was a lever on the door, so I swung that baby and that seemed to quiet the beeping beast. I figured this was some sort of lock.

At that point the oven began a 3-hour countdown. I raced upstairs to send an instant message to my handiest friend, to brag about my newfound button.

Me: Hey, does your oven have a "Clean" button?
Friend: Yeah, but we never press it.
Me: What? Why?
Friend: A friend of mine pressed their clean button, and the oven door locked and never unlocked again. It broke the oven.

Doh! I raced back downstairs and stared at the countdown timer. It was moving VERY slowly. I trudged back to my office and tried to keep busy for the next 180 minutes.

After an absurdly long 10,800 seconds, I ran downstairs again to unlock the oven. The lever didn't move very easily, so I kind of forced it. It moved, with that you're-bending-metal-you-dumbass kind of motion. Then I tried to open the door and it wouldn't budge.

Gah! Then, the oven started to beep again. BEEP BEEP BEEP! For the love of Christ, BEEP BEEP! Meanwhile it flashed an incomprehensible "F2" at me. So, I bent the metal lever back into the "lock" position and frantically pressed buttons on the console. That seemed to soothe it. It stopped beeping anyway.

I was kind of bummed about breaking my oven, but it's not like I cook anything in there anyway. I was pretty sure Hank could work some magic using just the cast iron pan and the microwave. She's good at improvising.

Anyway, short story long, after an hour of cooling or so, the door happily unlocked and opened u, AND THE OVEN WAS CLEANER. Hah!

That's going to be my exhibit at next year's Maker Faire. Come check it out!


Sue said...

Man - what a great dad you are. My husband talked about taking our son, even called another friend to see if he wanted to go, but in the end decided he didn't want to deal with the crowds.

I guess I'll have to take him next year.

Mike said...

Sue, don't get me wrong. Although I took Daisy with me, I didn't go for her. I went for me. I love pressing buttons!

Neel Mehta said...

Congratulations. This is just the post to get others to start beeping again.

Janelle Renee said...

Yeah, like me!


Janelle Renee said...

Oops, I meant beepè.

Mike said...

You can beep, but you can't hide.