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My time as an AiR Answered

When I got the invitation to be an Artist in Residence, my wife's first reaction was hilarity, since I have the drawing skills of an orangutan.

Getting here, and being here, has been a really big deal.  This site has been a big part of my life for several years, and it has been a real pleasure to share space with some of the most intelligent and creative people I have ever encountered.  I have seen genuine art being created, and wonderfully subversive acts being committed.

Being in such an environment was, in equal parts, intimidating and exhilarating.  Although I have a long list of projects to try, I was sometimes spoiled for choice because of the freedom to create as I pleased.

Projects I have created in my time here have been;

Duct tape boomerang
Paper bag kite
Coffee stapler
Cardboard conch
Sculpted head
Small-scale wave power generator (mentioned in the newsletter - woot!)
Laser-cut penny maze
Rock, Paper, Scissors board game
Robot face stencil

This is a shorter list than I would have liked (boy, you should see the length of my "to do" list!), but the downside of being given the freedom to create is the lack of enforced deadlines.  That is a failing on my part, and not a failing of the AIR system.

On the up side, I have been involved in a lot more of the running and planning of the site than I thought I would.  I have judged contests, taken part in planning meetings, got involved in longer-term projects on the site, and helped de-bug the new AiR process (bring your bank details!).  The phrase dates me, but I grok the site a lot more now.  I've also seen the planned projects of the next guy, and they are awesome!

I also got the chance to run a site Challenge to launch the new Birding Channel.  This was, I've got to say, disappointing - given the amount of publicity I managed to get for the challenge amongst the birding community, I had hoped for a lot more entries.  I guess that there are not many folk who are both Maker and Birder?

I also got the opportunity to help out in other folks' projects, and to learn new skills, both traditional and modern (laser cutters are awesome!), from folk like Noah, Matt, Kelsey, and got a far clearer image of how hard, and how fun, it is to keep this site running.

San Francisco is a great, mad, weird city, and I love it, but the most surreal day was being the witness to the wedding of an ex-pupil, who came over to the US to get married and have the honeymoon all at once.  I first met this person when they were nine, and now they're married... (I feel old again).

It's hard, in a piece like this, to avoid rambling, so I'll stop now, except for one final point:

This past month genuinely ranks as one of my top Life Experiences.  That may sound like an exaggeration, but if you know me, you know how important this site has been to me over the years.  Eric, if I ever get the chance to do it again, I will have your arm off at the elbow!

And, you know, I think the rest of my family will as well ...

22 Replies

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jessyratfink (author)2013-07-19

I can't believe this was so long ago! Honestly.

Where did all the time go?

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Kiteman (author)jessyratfink2013-07-19

Oh, I know, I *so* miss it.

San Francisco is my favourite city on three continents, which just happens to be home to some of my favourite people.

I'll be back, one day.

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Goodhart (author)2012-08-29

It was great to have you (relatively close to/nearly in ) my time zone so I didn't have to wait 14-18 hours for a conversation in the forums to continue :-)

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thematthatter (author)2012-08-29

What did you think of 'Merica?
Did you have a difficult time deciphering the language?

Did you visit the walmart?

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Kiteman (author)thematthatter2012-08-29

The language was no problem for us, and, yes, we tried Walmart, once.

Home Depot was better...

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thematthatter (author)Kiteman2012-08-29

I havent seen a store sell guns, pharmacy, tires and oil changes, clothing, toys, baby toys, home furnishings,fishing, hunting, paint, auto supplies, food, baby food, optometrist, bank, and fast food all in one building and floor.
Plus they have like 25 registers, but only 4 are open. :-)

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Kiteman (author)caitlinsdad2012-08-29

What is it about sport that brings out the tribal numpty?

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caitlinsdad (author)Kiteman2012-08-29

It is the maker spirit in all of us. Inspiration comes from all places. Look, a half empty can of red stain in the shed that shouldn't go to waste. Let's use that as bodypaint because we did not google the MSDS on it beforehand. But hey, go out with a bang.

Have a good trip back across the pond. Next time, visit the Big Apple.

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Kiteman (author)caitlinsdad2012-08-29

We all want to come back to the States.

I know SF isn't "real" America, but it puts a good face on for y'all.

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Goodhart (author)Kiteman2012-08-29

Ah, and if you'd like a taste of "down home" folksy USA, than the Amish (pronounced AH-mish, not AYE-mesh like New Yorkers do, no offense Caitlinsdad ;-) area of Pennsylvania is a great start. But, if you need excitement....this is NOT the area to visit LOL. Except on First Friday's of the month, they roll back the sidewalks, precisely at TEN (PM). ;-)

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Moem (author)2012-08-29

It sounds terriffic. I would love to follow in your footsteps one day.

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kelseymh (author)2012-08-28

Congratulations, Kiteman! And it was great fun to be able to interact in meatspace before you returned.

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Kiteman (author)kelseymh2012-08-28

Likewise - my wife can no longer refer to instructablers as my "imaginary friends".

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kelseymh (author)Kiteman2012-08-28

:-D Our best friends refer to one of my sisters-in-law as "imaginary." They claim :-) to be convinced that we hired an actress to play her every time they've met.

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iceng (author)2012-08-28

First, I like your wife.  ( hope she had some fun too ).

About your birding challenge, have I got a true story to tell you another time.

I'm of the mind set which takes time to excite and cogitate about the way 
to pursue and how to go about finding worthy events.
It takes a while for some of us to warm up.
With me its always acquiring wonderful new equipment to put me in a frame-of-mind to take on a new ible or a challenge which may be ended before I'm even lukewarm about it.

When I published my first ible, I would have  never even conceived  that
one day this EE would do something with a RR Spike or that I would be
"hooked" on this site like an actor to an audience.             

It has been truly engagingly pleasant to observe someone I have come to know over several years journey to my coast and navigate about his new environment.

Thank you,

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caitlinsdad (author)2012-08-28

Awwww, no tattoo or different colored hair...

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Kiteman (author)caitlinsdad2012-08-28

I leave that to the permanent staff...

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M.C. Langer (author)2012-08-28

I envy you!!! Maybe one day, I want to have this amazing experience! :-)

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Kiteman (author)M.C. Langer2012-08-28

Thank you. As a featured author yourself, you're a step on the way.

(See my PM)

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