Monday, March 21, 2016

Collect 'em all.

In 1954 for only 25 cents and a box top from Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes or Kellogg's Sugar Corn Pops, you could get a set of three plastic US Navy Frogmen figures that would rise and submerge in your bathtub thanks to a small mount of "high pressure propellant" (aka baking powder) packed in to the foot.

On February 24, 2010 we were thrilled to find one of those plastic toys. We named him "Diver Mike."

On March 19, 2016, some six years later, it was a stunner to find another Frogman, this time on La Selva Beach just south of Santa Cruz.

Six years have passed since that first find and in Internet years in terms online information available, that means exponential.

The three figure have now been identified as the Torch Man (red), the Obstacles Scout (green) and the Demolition Expert (yellow).

The 1950's era TV advertisement is now available:

and there is a spread of the cereal box showing detailed instructions:

As Kellogg's cajoles, collect 'em all. We will some day complete our trifecta collection. We are on the lookout for the Demolition Expert.

In 2008 we met Michael Stocker at the Environmental Grant Makers Conference held at Asilomar in Monterey (100+ miles south from our home in Forest Knolls). He was presenting his information about noise pollution in the marine environment—a grave threat to sea creatures as the ocean depths become ever more militarized and industrialized by the likes of "Diver Mike". Marine life communicates by sound and as the ocean gets ever more noisy crucial connections between creatures are lost in the cacophony. "Hey, Michael, where do you live?, we ask. Turns out Mr. Stocker lives just across the road in Forest Knolls. He's been our great pal since then. Have a look at his efforts to ease the burden of the clanking, gear shifting, explosion testing of the "Diver Mikes" of the deep: Ocean Conservation Research

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Rhapsody in Green

Judith writes:

This month we went from drought to deluge in a wink and although the drought in California has not yet been declared officially "over" the creeks are flowing and the seasonal waterfall across the valley is a cascade of white water. The hills feel truly alive again, relaxed and easy as the green of spring spreads. Can you hear it humming?  All indicators say that it is going to be a good year at least for oaks — an astonishing number of the acorns are sending up shoots. My drive from Forest Knolls though the rolling hills and vineyards to Sonoma where I teach was a glorious essay on the color green and since it's St. Patrick's Day, I knew it would be the day to explore GREEN and the question, which green do you mean?

To ask what color? can quickly wind into a mire of confusion. There are many names from turquoise to chartreuse, myrtle to mantis, but all of them are in the green spectrum. Students were encouraged to make an artwork using the pieces of plastic as if they were brushstrokes of paint. To not think about what that shard might have come from — don't think of a shampoo bottle— just consider the shape and the color.

Start with three basic ideas: 
1. Color family — when we say green we mean the pure color of green but consider the variations of light green, dark green and everything in-between.
2. Variations in value —  tint is light and shade is dark.
3. Chroma - the saturation or intensity — brightness and dullness.

With this new awareness of the green spectrum they set about to paint green but not just by mixing yellow and blue. What happens when lemon yellow is mixed with cobalt blue or cadmium yellow is mixed with ultramarine blue? What green did you mean?

The Thursday dinner table at Mary and Brewster's is always special but on St Paddy's Day the theme was green with bowls of green peas and trays of green asparagus. There were even savory leafy greens in the ice cream dessert.

Since the Irish love a good brew and a rollicking song, the dinner conversation question was to tell a story about alcohol and singing. After a few drinks and rounds of stories by the end of the evening we were asking ourselves, what color did you say that is?