Archive for February 2013

Praise for My Flame Effects Intensive Class

I got this unsolicited comment from the flame effects class I taught I few weeks ago with excellent help from Peter and Michael!

Once again, thank you so very much for teaching this class. I cannot tell you just how much it has opened up my artwork to new ideas and options. I was telling my wife that I got more creative input and inspiration over the duration of the two days that I spent in your class than I have in the entire 9 years that I have lived where I am currently living.

The quote speaks for itself.

I am overjoyed!

Weston Family Photo

My cousin Joe Weston posted this photo of a Weston family reunion 1950 at the Pioneer Club in Jessup, PA. My mom and her side of the family are in it.

(the relationship references are from Joe Weston’s angle)
back row left to right:
Mary Anne Weston (grandma), Shelly Peters Sakulich, Eleanor Weston (aunt), Albert Weston (uncle), Ernest Ferranti (uncle), Ida Ferranti (aunt), Alice Weston Berettini (aunt), Ernest Weston (grandfather), Nona Rose Weston, Louis Weston (uncle), Anna Weston Lepri (aunt), Joe Lepri, Dinah Weston (aunt), Louise Weston Giombetti, Robert Weston, Rose Weston, Joseph Lepri.

seated left to right:
Ernie Weston, Marie Weston Paciotti, Joe Weston, Joseph Weston Sr, Ernestine McCarren, Jeanie Berrentini Peters, Marlene Ferranti Sonko, Dorothy Ferranti Howard, Frank Cavagnaro, Louise Weston Stasium (aunt), Charles Stasium (uncle), Gloria Lepri, Bernie Lepri, (the two children on the far right are the sons of Joe and Rose Lepri, grandsons of Uncle Joe and Aunt Annie Lepri)


Megan and I first kissed by the light of this video at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) March 10, 2012!

local archive:

This wonderful art is by Mai Yamashita and Naoto Kobayashi


CSV2Mediawiki: Convert Spreadsheet to Mediawiki Table

This open source tool by Daniel Kinzler will convert CSV spreadsheet files into Mediawiki tables or HTML tables seamlessly.  The program doesn’t hang on to your your data, it just munges it and spits it out. It works great. He has it hosted on his site and now I have it hosted here.

Run CSV2Mediawiki on

Recovered Money (and this isn’t even spam!)

After 22 years in limbo, I recovered $700 from the State of Massachusetts. Wow. 22 years?

Short form: is totally legit. Go there, type in your last name and your state and it’ll tell you if that state owes you any money

Long form: About 8 years ago my friend Jen told me she noticed the State of Massachusetts owed me $653.25 according to I eventually figured out that when I went to UMass Boston, they apparently didn’t know what to do with one of the tuition checks my family had given them. I followed up on it but since I couldn’t prove that I lived at that particular address, the state wouldn’t give me my money back. Then 7 years ago Charlotte tried with vigor to find some legal documents for me in the Somerville courthouse so I could prove my address but she couldn’t find them. Last year I tried to get my transcript from UMass Boston for my application to grad school and the issue cropped up again. They wouldn’t give me my transcript because of what I “owed them”!

I paid the money owed but was determined to claim the money. Happily, the Registrar at UMass Boston was happy to work with me. After some back and forth, she sent a letter to me proving my address. And a mere 5 months later…


It’s my money back, with interest!

Now go to and get your money back!


Burning Man Low Income Ticket Application

I applied to get a Burning Man Low Income Ticket. I think my application says a bit about me…

17. Financial Need
Why do you feel you need a Low Income ticket this year?

I’m changing careers so that I can keep making art the way I want. I moved to San Francisco in 2005 after Burning Man changed my outlook on life. In the past few years, I seriously considered becoming an industrial artist, began a (short lived) career in mechanical engineering, and began a career teaching several different industrial arts at The Crucible in Oakland. I’ve tried to make a career in connection with my love of the art of moving things. So far I have been unsuccessful so I have changed tactics.

I have been a student taking prerequisite classes for the past 1 1/2 years and hope to enter a master’s degree program in the fall. The plan is to retool my job skills so I can continue to afford to make kinetic art. I have plans for several art pieces, plans that have been on hold as my finances have dwindled. Plans that have to stay on hold while I’m in school for the next two years. But then, LOOK OUT!

In brief: I am 40+ year-old poor student who loves the art of Burning Man and wants desperately to make a contribution.

18. Your Contribution
How do you feel you are an asset to the community and how are you planning to contribute to Burning Man this year?

Right now, I don’t know! I’ve been so busy taking my classes. But rest assured, It’ll be something awesome.

In past years I’ve brought:
* a 168 foot long skeletal serpent made of metal and fire (The Serpent Mother)
* a fleet of semi-autonomous spherical orbs that dance, illuminate and sing (OrbSWARM)
* an array of parlor tricks that I’d show to new acquaintances
* a joke (hundreds of people got to hear my joke. It was epic!)
* hundreds of flaming marshmallow Peeps on a stick that we’d give to people around wood fires
* a kava kava experience for hundreds of people

19. What do you do for work? (How do you earn money?) 
I’m underemployed right now. I teach Kinetics classes at the Crucible. I do some computer IT work in San Francisco. School is the most important thing.

20. What is your household’s average monthly take-home income (i.e. after taxes)? 

21. What are your average monthly expenses? Please explain.
$1,000 rent
$600 school, food, transportation, slush fund

Hmm, my expenses exceed my income. That’s no good. Welcome to the student’s life!

22. Proof of Income & Expenses

23. Interests
What do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies, likes, loves, dreams?
I love teaching kinetics classes to kids and adults. I love when my students come back to me because they “get it” and they want more. I love experiencing kinetic art. I love model airplanes. On my refrigerator I have photos of the things I dream of:
family gathering
my own art piece

24. Burning Man
What does the Burning Man community represent to you?

My interaction with the Burning Man community continually reminds me that anything is possible. Anything.

The wonderment of a child can, and should be experienced by adults. It does a people good.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
If I’m accepted into graduate school this spring, I won’t be able to attend Burning Man this year! Having a ticket is a reminder that no matter what, something good is going to happen in September. Either it will be the beginning of my new career, or Burning Man!