Tinkering School

come make amazing things with us

Day Four - Take a Break When You Need a Break

2012 Session 2 - SeniorsgeverComment

Looking at the timestamps on the photos from yesterday, we calculated that work started at 9:30 in the morning and we turned off the lights in the barn at 10:30 at night. By our reckoning, that's a thirteen hour workday... Perhaps that will help explain our slow start today. People sometimes ask me what "tinkering" means. My definition is that tinkering is the thing you do between when a project is "done" and when it is "working." At the end of the day yesterday, the Kablooi team estimated that they were within "half an hour of being done," this morning they spent three solid hours tinkering with it - now it is ready to test.

Every project has a plateau somewhere near the 75% point. This is where it takes tenacity and persistence to keep the project moving along. You can see the goal on the horizon, but right now you just have to work on the rigging. It's not glamorous, it's not really fun, but it needs to be done so you have to keep doing it. This is what this morning is about - pushing the projects over the hump.

IMG 0751 The Kablooi are happy to see their sail filling in the gentle breeze.IMG 0756 With the sun comes a very delicate wind that brings the smell of warm grass up the Elkus canyon. Everyone comes out of the barn to test their sails.

IMG 0763 A giddy excitement pervades the group as the sails billow and snap on the wind. Actual force is required to move the booms and the conversation turns to new considerations for brakes.

IMG 0779 Mackenzie leans back against the pull of the boom on the Piki boat.

IMG 0783 Juliana has been making great sticks for booms, battens, and railings.

IMG 0787 Serena and Anita work on a stronger mast socket that might obviate the need for guy-wires on the Nooi boat. On a typical sailing boat, the guy-wires are connected to the bow, stern, and gunwales, giving a nice broad support system that the sails and boom can swing under, but on a short railboat there is almost nowhere to run the guy-wires that doesn't get in the way of the boom or the passengers.

IMG 0793 Sam and Declan work together to get the wheels mounted on one side of the Nooi boat, leaving the other side to connect once they are sitting on the track and can be sure of the spacing and alignment.

IMG 0800 The Piki boat is looking very yar. Collectively we agree that it looks like a cross between a Formula-One race car, a sailboat, and Frogger.

IMG 0803 Back inside the barn, there is rigging going on everywhere.

IMG 0806 A pretty functional home-made cleat on the Nooi boat.

IMG 0811 Sam drives home the mast pinning bolt which holds the mast pressed up against the front of the mast socket. This was deemed better than drilling a hole through the mast which would weaken the pole.

IMG 0816 Now that there is a sense that the railboats might be moving quickly, some handles are scavenged from the paraglider risers and attached to the deck of the Nooi boat.

We break for lunch, and a lengthy conversation ensues about the time that is left, the importance of having a testing day and a racing day, and we decide that if we are going to have some time at the beach it is going to have to be this afternoon. So we go to the beach.

IMG 0817 The beach that Gever takes everyone to is at the mouth of San Gregorio creek. To get there we must walk down a treacherous path lined with poison oak.

IMG 0828 The treacherous, treacherous path is treacherous.

IMG 0836 Some tinkerers questioned their choice of footwear. Perhaps there is a reason that flip-flops are not favored by Sherpas.

IMG 0830 We are rewarded with miles of empty beach.

IMG 0842 Declan, Luigi, and Sam race to the waves - the only way to get in the 50-degree water is to challenge your friends to do it with you.

IMG 0864 Serena is not far behind.

IMG 0854 And soon everyone is bobbing in the waves like excited seals.

IMG 0877 g Gilon and Anita, pretend to be racing down to the waves - since they absolutely have no intention of going in.

IMG 0881 g Inspired by the possibility of animating himself, Gilon puts on a show.

IMG 0902 Portrait of a Tinkerer: Mackenzie, refreshed from a swim.

IMG 0903 Portrait of a Tinkerer: Juliana at the beach.

IMG 0923 An expedition is mounted. We will walk all the way to the far cliffs that appear to tower above the northern end of the beach and might just contain a bed of fossils (according to Gever - who has never actually come down the treacherous treacherous path to the beach).

IMG 0931 A bit of flotsam becomes a launchpad for Gilon, who didn't really want to come to the beach, but now seems to be fully enjoying himself.

IMG 0950 Everyone is enchanted by the expanse of empty beach on a perfectly sunny day.

IMG 0955 Your Moment of Zen: Luigi's feet on a California beach.

IMG 0974 An empty egg case from either a shark or skate.

IMG 0982 Declan marvels at the rich bed of clam and snail fossils clearly visible in the lower strata.

IMG 0996 Gilon gazes back down the beach to where we came from - more than a mile away.

IMG 1007 Not content to peer around the corner at the inaccessible beach beyond the rock wall, Declan takes to the water and wades out to have a look.

IMG 1026 The unused paraglider is brought out and Gever teaches Luigi, Nickey, and Gilon how to kite a wing. With almost no wind, there's a lot of backward running involved.

IMG 1029 Luigi and Gilon are delighted to see the paraglider as a wing and not a sail.

IMG 1034 Hunger drives us back up the treacherous treacherous path and back to the ranch for hamburgers and veggie-burgers and the traditional Wednesday night bonfire.

IMG 1042 One thing that can be said about this group is that they are certainly convivial.

IMG 1050 A few sparklers are discovered and we sit transfixed by their sparkly sparking.

IMG 1056 Not a group to break with tradition, we all start light-painting with our flashlights.

IMG 1064 The city-glow from Half Moon Bay adds a surreal and ethereal quality to the shots.

IMG 1069 Luigi conjures up a vortex of energy.

IMG 1068 Mackenzie looks to the stars.

IMG 1073 Spinning and tossing the flashlights becomes popular for a few minutes, only to be replaced by...

IMG 1082 ...running around dancing and spinning and waving your arms.

IMG 1097 Yes, it was a great day. Just the thing we needed to get excited about working on the railboats again in the morning before we head off to the railroad track to test them.

The realization that it is Wednesday came upon us suddenly sometime in mid-afternoon. Just two more full days of tinkering before we have to say goodbye to each other. The tinkerers seem determined to cram more hours in the day and Gever finds himself out on the porch at midnight calling the kids in from the bonfire.

Tinkering School is a trademark registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.