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Welcome to iBrattleboro!
It's a local news source by and for the people of Brattleboro, Vermont, published continually. You can get involved in this experiment in citizen journalism by submitting meeting results, news, events, stories, reviews, how-to's, recipes, places to go, things to do, or anything else important to Brattleboro. Or, just drop by to see what others have contributed.

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Creative


Original stories, songs, poems, and other creative pieces.

Weekend Creativity Series - Soldering and Circuits

Here’s a handy skill everyone should have - how to solder. Knowing how to use a soldering iron greatly expands your ability to make home repairs and build useful and interesting electronic devices.

This short video gives some tips and tricks for basic soldering of both wires and components.

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Weekend Creativity Series: Thomas Heatherwick - Culture and Design

You may not know of Thomas Heatherwick, but you may know some of his work.

He’s an architect and designer responsible for some of the more stunning new buildings and developments around the world. Heatherwick Studios has created everything from chairs that look like spinning tops and bridges that roll themselves up like a bug, to lush, tropical malls for deserts, garden bridges, and more. The Olympic torches in London? That was his studio.

His studio’s work gets attention. It’s a mixture of form and function, combined with new uses for materials, and simplicity. The projects are impressive and inspirational.

This is talk by Thomas Heatherwick at the Business of Design Week event in Hong Kong, talking about culture, design, and cities.

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Weekend Creativity Series - How To Be Creative

I’ve shown lots of examples of other people being creative - building, drawing, dancing, and so on. The hope is that it has given you some ideas about how to become more creative yourself.

Maybe we should take a step back, though, and talk again about creativity in a more general sense. Can we learn to be creative, or more creative?

This is a short overview video that talks about the sources of creativity, stages of creativity, and some of the more recent views of cognitive scientists on the matter.

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Weekend Creativity Series - Soundproofing Drums & Acoustic Geometry

Imagine you just bought a new house, perhaps on Cedar Street, and you want to play your drums night and day. It’s essential, after all, you need as much practice as possible to become better at playing. You need it!

How can you play whenever you like without disturbing your new neighbors?

Here are some creative ways to reduce the noise coming from your new home studio playhouse. These snazzy tips can apply to just about any noisy activity done inside while living in close proximity to others, but most are specific to drums.

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Weekend Creativity Series - Better Sandcastles

Everyone can make sandcastles, and with a bit of practice and a few simple tools those sandcastles can be quite nice.

One of the best tools to have on hand is a straight edge. They are great for carving, packing, and shaping mounds of sand into walls, stairs, windows and doors.

In this first video, Jenny the Sand Castle Girl, an Australian sand castle making champion, shares some of her tips and tricks for making an enormous beach castle.

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Weekend Creativity Series: Hat Juggling

was going to treat you to plate spinning this week, but plate spinning requires the use of special plates made for the act, and it is unlikely you have them around the house. But you do probably have a hat nearby, and with it you can begin to learn some cool moves to impress your hat-admiring friends.

This guy has many videos to help jugglers get started (you can watch hom teach you to spin plates, too!). Here he walks through a handful of hat tricks.

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Weekend Creativity Series - Making a Kaleidoscope

I have a bunch of optical toys around, but I haven't made any since I was a kid.

There are many ways to make a kaleidoscope. Some are quite fancy, made of metal or wood, with fine pieces of colored glass and precise mirrors. Others are quite simple, letting the user turn anything they look at into interesting patterns.

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Rigged System

What was a homeless guy doing in Donald's dressing room? Actually it was a suite, including a wet bar and jacuzzi: A place of comfort, off-stage. 

"How the hell did you get past Security!" demanded the Donald. 

"No one stopped me," replied the homeless guy.  

Donald's face turned red as a beet. "Someone's going to pay for this," he muttered. Spittle appeared at the corner of his mouth.

"Who the hell are you, and what do you want?" 

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Weekend Creativity Series - Building The Wall

It is essential that all good citizens being to learn wall-making skills. Wall-making will be a growth industry in the coming years, from the wall to keep Americans out of Mexico, to the walls we will certainly need to keep us out of Canada and New Hampshire as well.

Who better to teach us these essential American skills than a foreigner! And let’s learn the Traditional Irish Dry Stone Wall method of putting the stones together.

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Weekend Creativity Series: Shapes of Stories

I was reminded this week of a somewhat famous lecture by author Kurt Vonnegut on the shapes of stories. He creates graphs showing how stories can be plotted into diagrams, and that despite a diversity of tales out there, most stories follow some very simple story arcs.

Since giving his lecture, others have done similar analysis and studies of well-known and popular stories and their data basically backs up Vonnegut’s propositions. About six story arcs account for the majority of stories told.

Can you tell a tale using one of the common patterns? What happens if you break the pattern?

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Weekend Creativity Series - Whittling

Summer is a great time for sitting outside with a piece of wood and a small knife, carving away at a leisurely pace and passing time.

It’s also not that difficult to make something useful, ornamental, or both. A few simple tips and tricks are all you’ll need to get going.

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Weekend Creativity Series - The Blank Page

Saturday, after 19 years together, Lise and I got married.

In honor of the occasion, this weekend's creativity column is simply a blank page. Who knows what it might bring?

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Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman was a physicist (won a Nobel). 

He also played the Bongo Drums.

And, he loved Orange Juice.

Enjoy this little interlude: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ks8gsK22PA

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Against the Grain

We think we’re very clever. Always have. Even when we know we’re being dumb as lemmings we’re awash in self-admiration. It’s irksome, but we don’t speak of it, the risk is too large. Lately I had a moment like getting hit on the head, when all goes foggy, but then focus comes back extra clear. It was a low epiphany, not a thing to boast about. Almost reluctant to bring it up. Just wondering if I’m alone with this.

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Weekend Creativity Series - Water Fountains

One of my favorite urban design features is a water fountain. Just about anything that sprays water or features interesting pools catches my eye and ear.

One of my favorite things to do when living in DC, for example, was to visit all the water effects along the mall on a hot day. There’s a first ladies’ grotto by the capital that is very cool and refreshing, the Canadian embassy and East Wing of the art museum feature fountains, there are reflecting pools, fountains at the Navy exhibit, and a pond at Freedom Plaza, to name but a few.

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Weekend Creativity Series: Topiary

I’m a sucker for good topiary. It’s unreal and unusual, unnatural and often results in something quite amazing and lovely.

My first memories of topiary are, of course, the gardens at Walt Disney World. Disney has long employed master gardeners and encourages creative topiary work that shows off their characters and other fanciful creatures. There was a sea serpent made of multiple shrubs, for example, that seemed to be swimming near the entry to the Magic Kingdom. EPCOT, by the way, hosts an annual garden festival.

(Another not-as-fond memory is the topiary in the remake of The Shining.)

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Weekend Creativity Series - Fun With Phone Cameras

You can take more interesting photos with something as simple as your smartphone. It is a matter of creativity. And necessity. There are too many boring photos being taken.

Here are a few quick tips and tricks to get you thinking in new ways about the camera you’ve got with you almost all the time. These come via COOPH.com.

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Photo Contest Reminder

Click on the attachment below.

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Summer Intensive Digital Photography Course with Dave Mazor

Learn How to use Your DSLR Camera and Print Quality Images, Monday through Friday, June 20 through June 24, 5:30 to 8:30, 15 hours, $150.00, Instructor: David Mazor

This course will cover all the basics of using your DSLR camera and digital edits in Photoshop.

The course will begin with the technical uses of the camera parts and functions, and the understanding of light. The main objective is for students to create strong images of different subject matter under various lighting conditions.

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Weekend Creativity Series - Cowbells (and Plastic Tubs)

“More cowbell!” you may be thinking. But how are they made? Let’s look at the creative use of metal to make a musical instrument.

I got to work with metal a little bit in school shop class. We were given rods and had to make screwdrivers by heating and pounding the metal. It wasn’t hard to get the shape right, but to get the metal to the proper hardness was a bit of a challenge. I think we also spot-welded some small metal boxes.

This cowbell-making project wouldn’t scare me to attempt, but it would require quite a few specialized tools that are not in my toolbox.

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