On my way home from picking up my boy on Friday night, I decided to stop by Brookstone at the Irvine Spectrum and bought a hard-shelled carry-on suitcase that just fits in airline overhead compartments. I’m not taking any chances of getting my luggage lost again for the duration of my trip. It also has a nice set of wheels on it, as well as a retractible handle so I should also be able to easily carry my CPAP machine too. Of course, I’m also going to take my cellphone with all of my powercords (I had to buy a power cord last year – which was almost impossible to do in Junction). BTW, according the last U.S. Census (2000), Junction had a population of just over 2,600 people! Talk about SMALL! Even so, it was a great place to visit and I’m looking forward to it again this year. I’m hoping that, once I arrive, we’ll get some weather (last year, after my flight from Hell, I drove through an incredible rainstorm just to get there). I have no desire to do that again but, once I’m there, I really don’t care what happens – it would be GREAT to get a good thunderstorm or two, as well as some wind (which was in short supply last year). Of course, I’m going to carry my camera onboard with me this year – last year, I didn’t get many because it was lost with my luggage.
I’m also hoping to go down to the LLano River (which is located on the grounds) – last year, due to the huge storm that welcomed the retreat, we were told not to go down to the River due to flood water conditions. One of my goals is to get a few photos of an armadillo or two (I’ve only seen dead stuffed ones which are so common in Mexico). Only time will tell.
Well, I didn’t quite finish my post from the other day so here’s “Part 2” – after watching the synchronized kite fliers, the wind picked up a bit and the banners started fluttering a bit more, which is always a good thing at a kite festival. I was particularly fascinated with the red white and blue set that resembled an America flag (pictured on the left). If one looks closely (double click on the photo for a larger view), it’s possible to see some of the goodies set out for the raffle located to the right of the flag banners. Mentioning “raffle,” shortly after I took this picture, I went back to watch my boy work more on his kite when, rather suddenly, our friend Iris, ran up to me to make sure I received my final set of raffle tickets because the drawing was about to begin. Last year, my boy and I did exceptionally well (we won several kites!) so I purchased the same number of tickets this year. While we didn’t win as many things (not that it matters) we still won! In fact, of the two items I had hoped for the most, one was a Cody box kite. Cody’s are very stable American kites that have been around for a long time and were originally invented by Samuel Franklin Cody (no relation to Buffalo Bill). Interestingly, these were used as a man-lifters (yes, they were big). While Cody’s resemble box kites, they have an extra set of wings that make them look rather bat-like. The Cody I won isn’t very big but that doesn’t matter – it still looks cool. Then, my boy had the winning ticket for a “Kite Dynamics Kite Building and Experiment Kit” which can be used to about a hundred different kites, as well as many variations. Again, too cool!
At the conclusion of the raffle, there was also an auction in which we managed to get several more kites at a steep discount from what they would cost retail – we won a box kite, a stunt kite, a Prism Triad, and a “cube kite.” All in all, it was a very inexpensive (but great way) to build our collection.
Many people usually leave right after the auction but, as there was still sunlight to fly in, we stayed a bit longer. I managed to get my kite arch up with the help of Dan, current president and one of the founding members of the San Diego Kite Club (they were a bit tangled and he helped me undo the mess). Fortunately, the wind came up enough so that the arch could go up for a short while. Unfortunately, the breeze died out but that was merely a signal for us to call it a day. After packing up my kite arch, I decided to take a quick video of my banners with my carp and my Catherine’s Wheel attached. Sadly, one of my banner poles broke so I was only able to put up two of my three banners. I was very happy; however, that my Catherine’s Wheel which worked like a charm.
Once the car was packed up, I took my boy to Belmont Park where we spent the evening on the bumpercars before heading home. As always, I can’t imagine a better way to have some fun than to be with him.
For the second year in a row, my boy and I went to San Diego for their annual New Year’s Day Kite Festival and it was, once again, fantastic! This year, we went down a bit early and arrived on New Year’s Eve around 11:30 AM in order to enjoy a fighter kite competition. While there were not too many competitors (and I certainly didn’t enter as I haven’t flown for a couple of months), the participants were outstanding! As expected, my boy and I met Dave and Iris (two of the nicest people anywhere!) and Dave filled us in on the backgrounds of some of those were engaged in kite warfare. Unlike fighter kite competitions in other parts of the world where the goal is to cut the line of your opponent’s kite (and often glass coated lines are used), the intent of American competitions is to merely touch the line of your challenger from either above or below – and that selection is based upon the call of the judge. According to Dave there was a least one national/international champion flying and many other well-known fighter experts – including Victor Heredia, the creator of the famous “Vic’s Fighter Kite”(who also owns Kite Country in San Diego.” I was particularly interested in watching Vic fly as he is legendary in the kite world. Naturally, he was specular and so were the other competitors (sorry, but I don’t remember their names). While the wind was almost non-existent, fighters are extremely light and can fly in almost anything. Following the competition and award ceremony (where winners were presented with incredible paper sculpture trophies made by Dave), Vic gave my boy and I a few tips on how to fly the Hoopty fighter I had bought from him a few months ago. My boy then spent some time flying it and, within a short period of time became quite good at it (fighters, while small, require a bit of training to get them up). It was a real joy to watch him. Of course, my job was to pick up the kite and help him launch it.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of the fighter kite competition or the trophies (I used my cell phone camera and I suspect I hit the shutter button too soon – that erases the picture instead of saving it). Dave was kind enough; however, tell me where to find the pattern for the incredible awards he made; those are located on the Canon Paper Craft web site. The awards that Dave made for the event contained the “Chinese Dragon” mounted on wood and were exceptionally beautiful.
Following the fighter kite competition at Mission Bay Park (Tecolate Shores), my boy and I thought we would see if we could find something to do. Surprisingly, everything we went to was either closed or was about to close. We ended up going to the hotel for the evening in order to wait for the New Year. We spent a couple of hours playing various Nintendo DS Lite games (we got a matched set a year ago – I figured it would be a good way to “bond” with him as his nose is usually buried in an electronic game of some sort). While he nearly always beats me (especially at action type games), I can usually beat him at slower strategy ones. After shooting off cheap (plastic!) cap guns to make some noise at midnight (we couldn’t find anything else), we called it a night. Interestingly, we ended up with the same room (207) as the one we stayed in last year.
As soon as we woke up in the morning, we grabbed a bite to eat and took off for the kite festival, located at Mariners Point. While the weather was gorgeous, the was almost no wind of any kind – only the very largest kites were able to get aloft and, even then, had problems staying up. Just the same, there were a lot of banners and other goodies that could still flutter in the wind. As the day wore on, the wind picked up a bit so a few kites did get up. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get my 30 sq. ft. Sutton Flow Form up – and that’s usually one of the easiest to fly.
Shortly after noon, we dined on goodies provided by the San Diego Kite Club (lunch was catered this year) – carne asade and other yummy goodies. That was almost immediately followed by some of the terrific Rev fliers who launched their kites and practiced synchronized flying. Even with the light breeze (it really was nothing more than that) most of these folks are so experienced that they were still able to get their extremely lightweight Revs up. Looking at the photo on the right, it’s easy to see that not too much was flying – again, only the huge trilobites and a few Revs. Getting back to the synchronized fliers, some of the most experienced (and expert) folks were still able to do some amazing things – watching them is always one of the most fun event’s to watch. I’m always amazed at how much they are able to control their kites. The following video shows some of the incredible things they did.
I was also able to get a shot of the group as they were making their kites dance across the sky (in other words, I was almost underneath the kites and looking back at them as I took this photo). These consisted of the four (expert) members of “Team Too Much Fun” (a rather appropriate name) and four others. While I’m not sure if the video picked it up, I did hear one or two of the fliers comment on how difficult it was to keep the kites up. Even so, they were still great to watch.
Later in the afternoon my boy tried making a sled kite assisted by Dave. The following video, taken with my cell phone (hence the poor quality), shows him hard at work. The one good thing about a kite festival where there isn’t much wind – you can always make more kites (one can never have enough)!
While my boy was working in his kite, I took some time to look at some of the other flying things that I either have already made or hope to make. Of particular interest was another Catherine’s Wheel. Other than the two I’ve made (one of which didn’t spin because of a mistake I made), I had only seen them in photos. Interestingly, it was about the same size as mine but each cell was sewn individually – mine used fewer pieces but accomplished the same thing. Something else I notice – when I first put mine up for the day, the bridles wanted to twist so I had to adjust the swivel.
I noticed that the other Catherine’s wheel also seemed to have the same problem but, interestingly, it didn’t spin in a full circle – instead, it usually looked like an upside-down “U”. While I can’t tell what caused it, my guess is that it either had a problem with the bridles (which I doubt) or could have been caused by the swivel it was attached to. Regardless, it was still fun to watch. The next time I take my boy to the science museum, I’ll have to look at the exhibit that can reproduce the problem but with a bicycle chain instead. Eventually, I plan on making more Catherine’s Wheels, although bigger than the one I currently have.
Well, it’s getting late and there’s still more to post so I’ll save that for tomorrow.
Well. . .it’s been too long since I’ve updated this blog. I’ve had a rather difficult (to say the least) summer and really haven’t had much of a chance to do anything. I finished my second Catherine’s Wheel a few weeks ago but there simply hasn’t been much wind. I finally got a chance last week (Sunday, July 29th) to try it out. The breeze just happened to come up and I had it in my car so I gave it a shot. As is evident from the video below, it works!
The problem with the first one is that I hadn’t sewn it together properly (the instructions were about a clear as mud) but I realized what needed to be done and my second one works! Too cool! While the video isn’t the greatest (it was taken with my cell phone) it still shows that I was successful! I want to make some larger ones in the future – I’m especially interested in attaching three or more together with each one spinning in a different direction.
As I mentioned above, this has been an extremely stressful summer – I’m very glad I had my boy with me. Unfortunately, we just haven’t had much of a chance to fly. I’m hoping that things will calm down a bit (I already know they won’t) but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I really do need to make more kites and assorted goodies. My plan has been to make some fighters but even that hasn’t been possible.
Well, I finished my first attempt at a “Catherine’s Wheel” last night – a piece of line laundry that is supposed to spin in the wind. It was rather easy to make except that the instructions were about as clear as mud. As a result, I don’t know if it’s going to spin or not – if it’s not constructed properly, it will inflate but not spin. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any wind either last night or today so I ended up taking my boy down to the ocean where, of course, there also wasn’t any wind (not even the slightest breeze). So. . .what does one do? Have your boy run with it, of course! The picture at the left shows just that.
As is evident, my Catherine’s Wheel did inflate but I still haven’t been able to tell if it will spin. My boy’s test run did prove that it will at least appear as a circle. Sadly a couple of the bridles came loose during it’s maiden voyage. I used Dacron line and tied it to the wheel using sheet bends (as the instructions directed). Unfortunately, the Dacron is too slippery and a couple of the knots came undone. I’m going to super-glue each knot tonight as tying them on was a bit of a pain.
Even with the lack of wind and the problems with the bridles, I think that the Catherine’s Wheel turned okay. I’m just hoping that it will spin. Only time will tell that – I’m going to try again tomorrow. Keeping my fingers crossed!