Archive for October 2011

Myth: Poisoned Halloween Candy

Go trick or treating. Get candy. Eat it. Get that sugar buzz! Enjoy life.

Nobody has ever poisoned anybody with candy at Halloween. Really.

Read up:

Poisoned candy turns out to be a Halloween myth

Snopes: Halloween Poisonings (False)

Snopes: Pins and Needles (True but very very very rare)

Why Google+ Remains Irrelevant

I’ve been trying to use Google+, I really have. But here are a couple major reasons why it remains is irrelevant to me.

Here is a prime example. A friend of mine wrote on their Google Plus: (I have changed the text slightly to make it unsearchable and won’t post the name)

Sept 24th
After I changed the name on my other Google+ account, I got it back. However the people in my circles had been deleted. And the nickname I specified (in hopes people that knew me by that name could find it) doesn’t show up in my profile. To the extent I use Google+ at all (which looks dubious), it will be with this profile.

Sept 24th followup
Well, all my peeps on the other account mysteriously came back this afternoon. However, I still don’t think it useful to use that one, since no one would recognize me with the name that’s on it.


Another major issue is that I keep getting Friend requests from people that I don’t believe I know. I’d like to write to them asking “Do I know you?” but there is no way for me to contact these people unless I join their circle and then publicly comment on one of their posts. That’s kinda dumb. Apparently Google+ doesn’t let you communicate one-on-one with people. It is only a one-to-many medium.


Sifting though high volume vs low volume posters remains just as difficult as with Facebook. Some of my friends blog 3 times a day (“Had eggs for breakfast”), some once a month (“Got a new job”). I need an interface that lets me see the low volume posters!

(image credit)

DNA Pizza Lounge Cafe Sign – Check

This took quite a bit more time and effort than originally anticipated. But I’m pretty pleased with it.
Originally mentioned on my blog and on the DNA Lounge blog.

Go visit it this week at DNA Pizza, before nature claims it’s shiny buff job in place of a dark, sinister rusty patina.

Now the sign needs to get lit from behind (not my job), a bird shield added (my job), a little painting (not me), a little natural rust patina (nature’s job), some clearcoating, and total victory is ours.

Thanks go to Michael Kearney (pictured above) and Lou!

Flame Effects Workshop in Los Angeles, November 5 & 6

Update: this class has sold out! If you want to be alerted to future flame effects classes, please drop me an email at Lee at Lee dat org!

I’ll be teaching an intensive Flame Effects workshop on the weekend of November 5 and 6 2011 in association with Machine Project in LA. Wanna go? Sign up on the Machine Project website!


Flame Effects Workshop

Saturday, November 5th & Sunday, November 6th
10am – 6pm

This workshop is NOT taking place at Machine Project.
This workshop is instead at Keystone Art Space, address below.

Taught by Lee Sonko

Photo Credit: David Nichols
Members – $275 (all materials included, with take-home final project)

Non-members – $300 (all materials included, with take-home final project)

Become a Machine Project Member and receive a discounted rate on all classes!

In this hands-on weekend-long intensive class you will learn how to make safe, effective and beautiful propane flame effects art. You will learn many different ways of manipulating fire in sculpture including accumulator “poofer” effects, plumbing, ignitors, fuels, colorants, and actuators including electronic controls. We will design and build flame effects sculptures in class and get hands-on, flame-on experience with the sculptures created. Possible projects include a bucolic sand fire pit, a hand-operated fire torch, a giant “poofer”, and other creations. At the end of this weekend, you will know how to use fire in entirely new ways.

All of the parts needed to build your flame effects devices are provided. At the end of class, you will take home something awesome to show wide-eyed friends and family.

Requirements: Participants must wear natural fiber clothing and not be squeamish about loud noises. Participants must be 16 or older unless special permission is given.

Instructor Lee Sonko is the Head of the Kinetics and Electronics Department at The Crucible in Oakland, CA where he teaches classes including Mechanical Sculpture, Arduino Microcontrollers, and Flame Effects. Lee is a founding member of OrbSWARM, a San Francisco based mechatronic art robot group. He is a member of the Flaming Lotus Girls, a large scale Bay Area fire art collaborative. He is also a teacher, student, hacker, baker, and geek.


Keystone Art Studios, 1755 Glendale Blvd, 90026 (though the entrance is around the corner at approximately 2225 Aaron St. Enter through the black gate. You can either park on the street or in the lot uphill from the aforementioned gate).

Refund policy:
Please note, all class fees include a non-refundable enrollment deposit of $25 that will be deducted from your refund if you sign up for, then drop, a class. So, for example, if you sign up for Machine Sewing 101 and pay the $155 class fee, but then remember that you have trapeze school final exams that conflict with the Sewing class and shouldn’t have signed up after all, we will refund you $130 of your tuition payment.

Gift certificate purchase:
If you have a Machine Project gift certificate you’d like to redeem for a class, please email us at and let us know.


Don’t Use Periods in Your Phone Number

Please please please understand that your phone number does not look like this:


The use of periods in people’s phone number started during the Dot Com boom of 1999. People wanted their phone numbers to look more “internety”. By replacing the parenthesis and dashes with periods, your phone number resembles an IP address. But it isn’t.

It was a cute fad. But now more than ten years later, when you use dots in your phone number, you demonstrate that you do not know the difference between a phone number and IP address. It’s like writing the word “interweb” on your business card. It makes you look dumb.

The accepted ways of writing a phone number are:

(415) 555-1212  or 415-555-1212.

I prefer the latter because it uses fewer characters and the idea of an area code, the thing specified inside the parenthesis, isn’t important for many areas any more. In many urban areas there are overlapping area codes so you must dial all 10 digits. Simply put, a phone number used to be 7 digits long but now it is 10 digits long. But don’t be distracted by this last point. Just know: don’t use periods in your phone number. It makes you look like a Luddite.

Lost and Foundry Kinetic Art Event: Nov 4 & 5

Be there.

Nemo Gould, Eric Joyner, Mark Galt, Jeremy Mayer, Benjamin Cowden