A Bird’s-Eye View: Scuttlecam

scuttlecamThe kids love to visit the seagulls that congregate in a local strip mall parking lot during fall and winter months. This year, we’re getting ready early, and we’ve concocted a crazy plan to get a much closer look at the seagulls without the threat of being pooped on or pecked at.
We made a paper mache seagull, attached it to the chassis of an old R/C car, and outfitted it with a small keychain camera. We aptly named our goofy creation the Scuttlecam, after the famously wacky seagull from The Little Mermaid.

Scuttle body Scuttle body2

Only a half-dozen or so seagulls were around for our first test run of the Scuttlecam, but we were still able to have some great fun and capture some video.

The seagulls definitely took an interest in the Scuttlecam. They were weary at first, but after a few minutes they seemed to warm up. As more and more seagulls arrive this fall, it should be even easier for the Scuttlecam to blend right into the crowd and get some great undercover video!

PA Cigar Box Festival at the York Emporium

IMG_6316We finally had the chance to attend the annual Pennsylvania Cigar Box Guitar Festival at the York Emporium, a fantastic used bookstore and curiosity shop. While the weather wasn’t the best, we still were able to see some amazingly hand-crafted cigar box guitars and hear some live music. Check out the Facebook page for more photos as well as video. I didn’t come home with a cigar box guitar, but that’s only because I’m hoping to make my own someday soon.

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We mainly came for the cigar box guitars, but made it a point to browse inside, too. While it’s super tough to browse a book store with two young, rambunctious kids, I was able to buy enough time to pick something out from a huge pile of old, digest-sized pulp science fiction magazines. I chose a copy of Fantastic from October, 1955, and I’m excited to read it.Fantastic IMG_6331 IMG_6325

The Wand of Polymera: A Polymer Clay Fairy Wand

Wand I helped my daughter make a magical fairy wand from polymer clay. All of its power comes from the pommel, a magical stone which was looted from Clover’s underwater castle.

Clover's Castle

Clover’s Castle

The handle features a hand impression that only fits my daughter’s exact grip, ensuring that only she could wield its awesome power.

wand 3The wand performed superbly right out of the gate. It had no problem transforming a pile of sticks into an enchanted fairy house.

wand2 fairy house sidefairy houseIn the meantime, little brother made a snowman with his own magical stone and chunk of clay. He’s still waiting for it to come to life.

The Adventures of Sprowkey: Chapter 11, The Original Stash

The Adventures of Sprowkey is part of a series following the whereabouts of a trackable geocaching item. Actual locations and events surrounding this trackable item form the basis for a fictional narrative, creating a unique and interactive geocaching experience. For more background on this series, see the first installment of The Adventures of Sprowkey. 

Sprowkey plane

After a long winter holed up indoors, many citizens enthusiastically await the warmer weather and new foliage of spring. As they begin spending more time outdoors, this creates the perfect opportunity for field agents to run missions under an abundance of cover, which also explains why spring and summer months are the most active seasons for agents and cachers. Deciding to lay low through much of this valuable time was a frustrating, yet necessary decision for Sprowkey.

His gut told him that a number of “friendly” agents may not have been so friendly after all. How could any competent agent accidentally put Sprowkey so far off course, moving him from Phoenix all the way to the far reaches of the eastern coast and seriously jeopardizing his mission? No, someone was purposely sabotaging Sprowkey, and there was no other recourse but to lose him like a loose tooth.

Fortunately, Sprowkey  knew he could be trusted in the hands of long-time colleagues and friends, Agents Ma & Pa.  They managed to pick him up in late May without being followed and planned to hide out until they had a solid plan that would get Sprowkey out of this predicament and back into action on the west coast.

The Plan

Ma & Pa would see that Sprowkey safely makes it to the rendezvous, a secure transport hub for high level operatives called the IL/WI State Line Transfer Terminal. Agent Riskguy would meet Sprowkey here, and rather than continuing on the obvious western course, they would travel southeast to The Palms Hotel in Florida, a move intended to confuse and befuddle enemy spies. It is here that Sprowkey would finally meet the legendary Agent CBX25, who would see him through the riskiest part of the plan. CBX25 is the James Bond of the geo-world. He is given only the most high-profile missions, and not only does he accomplish them with ease, he does so in style. CBX25 would make several stops in the southeast to test the waters and shake off any lingering enemy spies before flying across country.

sprowkey map

I’m happy to report that the plan went off without a hitch! Sprowkey and CBX25 are in the sky, while enemy agents are scrambling on the wrong side of the country to pick up his trail again. CBX25 was so ahead of the opposition that he had plenty of time to show Sprowkey around before taking to the sky. First they visited the World of Coca-Cola and the top of Stone Mountain, both in Atlanta.c5b87477-4823-43ec-92ec-8ada9cba730a

Stone Mtn.

Finally, they made the pilgrimage to the very first cache location, the place where it all began!

First Geocache Site

Upon landing, CBX25 will mine his network of connections on the west coast to get him in the right hands and back on track. Until then, stay tuned for the next installment of the Adventures of Sprowkey!

Sprowkey plane

 Total miles traveled: 20674

Previously: The Adventures of Sprowkey: Chapter 10, Mooser’s


Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles Roundup

sewer drainIn just under a week, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans young and old will be shellin’ out hard-earned dough to see the newest take on the green team. I know of at least one local mega-fan in particular, who will be headed to the theater in total turtle style.TMNT Party wagonI interviewed Dan in early 2013 about his sweet TMNT party wagon, at a time when any news about a movie reboot was little more than rumor. By that time, the new cartoon series was already a hit, and I couldn’t help but notice toy stores struggling to keep TMNT merchandise in stock (see my old post, Playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles like a Boss). For better or for worse, it’s finally time to hit the sewers!