Spring Break 2015!

Being back in school means that I get something I didn’t get in the working world… SPRING BREAK!!!

Wikipedia defines Spring Break as “a vacational period in early spring at universities and schools in various countries in the northern hemisphere”.

Google’s image search shows us… uhh, never mind.

I thought I’d share some of the exciting highlights from my Spring Break. It got a little crazy!!!

Next week it’s back to school, which will basically be 8 weeks of total madness.


Grad School – Semester II


I haven’t really posted much about school since I mentioned it in August, but the first semester went well. I made good progress with some of my projects, learned a lot, and ended with 4.000 GPA. I’ve also met some amazing people, and have become re-energized about art and design.

This semester should be even more exciting, as I’ll be a Lab Instructor for Digital Arts: Culture, Theory, and Practice. In Guan-speak I will have what are known as “ducklings”, though I believe “students” is the term most people use.

I’ll also be putting in a bunch of hours in the DCRL doing various projects, which is pretty exciting. I’m hoping to have a new pile of skills by the end of the semester.

There’s also some classes in history, and philosophy, and concepts, and other things I’m not as interested in, but hey, requirements, right? I know it’s all valuable, but sometimes lectures and seminars leave you itching to get into the studio and make things instead of just talk and think about things.

OK, kids, here’s to a great semester!


Science, Technology and the Future of Art

Blue Gears

If you happen to be near Palo Alto this month stop by the Pacific Art League to see my piece “Blue Gears” in a gallery show titled “Science, Technology and the Future of Art”.

This is the first juried exhibition my work has been in. Typically I’ve shown my work at gallery night events or more maker-style events, and I was invited by the Beaver Dam Area Arts Association to take part in their “Beyond Your Imagination” show back in January 2013, but this is a new thing.

I found that since starting grad school I’ve really been able to focus on where my work is headed, and critically think about where it fits in the world.

(Oh, and if you’re not familiar with all of this, here’s some background on my art robots.)

(Big thanks to the folks at Evil Mad Scientist for helping out with the shipping and delivery. And yes, the robot that created this was indeed controlled with a Diavolino!)


Film Days

These are photos I shot with a 35mm Canon film camera back in college at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. I’d estimate the year to be 1991 or 1992. I did not develop the film (it was black and white) but made 8×10 prints in the darkroom. I don’t remember what grade I got in the class, but I remember that I enjoyed going out and shooting. Thinking about it now, I’m actually surprised how long it took me to get back into photography after a long hiatus. (I blame Z2 Photo.)


I really enjoyed the environment and serenity of the darkroom. The actual waiting to see what would come out. Sometimes I think that’s missing in the digital world. Nowadays you take a shot, or 5 shots, zoom in on them on an LCD screen, see what looks good, and what doesn’t and then do all sorts of digital manipulations back at your 27″ monitor. Yeah, I do miss the simplicity of it all…

UWM Theater Department

I don’t think I’ll shoot film again, but I may make an effort to get into that film mindset from time to time when I’m shooting digital. I think it may help the image making process…

I’ll try to upload more of these as I scan them in. Keep an eye on my Flickr stream for more…



When I was a kid, you went to school, and the only time you had to worry about your parents knowing about your grades was when reports cards came, or when progress reports came (not good) or when there was a phone call made (really not good.)

But today there are things like WebGrader, which is an online system that schools and teachers use to let not just the students, but the parents know exactly what is going on. I mean exactly. (Hello Big Brother!)


So the parent in me who cares about my child’s grades and wants to keep tabs on things thinks this is a good thing. (Even more so as I don’t get to talk with my child each day about school.) On the other hand, the parent in me who wants to see my child be responsible for themself without me having to keep a close watch wonders what damage this close monitoring might do. (Honestly, I’m pretty lucky, as my child is quite responsible, in school and in life.)

The open-source, sharing, collaborating, and hacking parent in me wishes they provided an API or at least RSS feeds to make it easier to use. Like most apps in this genre, it suffers from poor usability issues. They do allow you to receive Inbox messages via email, so that’s a start, but honestly, I don’t know if they plan to innovate from there. (I did send them feedback about some UI issues, and they were very receptive, so that’s a plus.)

In the end, I think it’s a good thing, and here’s why: People make mistakes. My daughter is a good student, but she was a bit overwhelmed by middle school, so the first time I logged into WebGrader, I saw an F, and there was a note from a teacher about a missing assignment. I asked my daughter about it and she said she turned it in. I sent the teacher a message asking her to discuss it with my daughter, and it turns out it was turned in, but with no name on it. Simple mistake. The next week I saw another F and when questioned, my daughter said she handed it in, and got it back – with an A on it. A simple message to the teacher revealed that the grade was entered wrong, and was indeed an A. Again, a simple mistake, but one I am glad I could catch.