bubbles are happy.

August 31, 2009

bubbles are something that i realized create a lot more happiness than one could imagine. seriously. when down and out, bubbles never steer you wrong. when driving through busy traffic-ie LA, at the intersections, i would blow bubbles out the window. the amount of smiles that i received couldnt support my theory more.

this guy- stuart semple- knows what i’m talking about. apparently he has this bubblesque producing machine that actually creates this cloudlike soap smileys. i want to meet him. or that machine. maybe both. maybe just the machine.

here’s a video.

PROVIDENCE — Squint. The Seekonk River might seem like the Mississippi. And the two men on its bank might pass for Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.

Dan Gladstone, 19, and Zachary Weindel, 26, have built a raft, and a dream — they hope to have a self-sufficient boat, a community and a way of life.

It’s called seasteading. Think homesteading. Now imagine it on the ocean.

“It’s freedom,” Gladstone says.

It’s bold, idealistic and, perhaps, quixotic. It’s living off the land while living on the sea. It is, Gladstone and Weindel say, a life without leases and rents, mortgages and taxes, electric bills and grocery-store visits.

“We like to think of it as an open biodome system,” Weindel says. “It’s like a micro-continent.”

“You’re not sustainable if you can’t grow your own food,” Gladstone says.

What you see and what they envision are far apart. The Providence men, both artists, activists and self-described amateur engineers, have big plans for their boat. This includes a garden and a small pasture for small livestock.

Now the notion of a Mark Twain raft is elevated to a Noah’s Ark.

The boat is called the Landlord Independent. It is registered as a homemade boat with the state Department of Environmental Management: R7-00048-G-909.

“We just had to prove it was a homemade boat, which was pretty easy to do,” Gladstone says. “An inspector came down and saw it and said, ‘Yes, it’s a homemade boat.’ ”

There’s little doubt of that. At the moment, the boat is a 25-foot-square wooden deck across two 40-foot catamaran hulls, with each concrete-sheathed hull containing foam and 16 55-gallon drums.

“A boat has to be properly equipped with the right amount of life jackets and signaling devices,” says Michael Scanlon, the DEM’s boating safety program coordinator. “If it has an engine on board, it has to be properly ventilated. There are very few requirements for a boat. We don’t have building standards.”

The Landlord Independent will draw energy from the wind, water and sun, say its owners. About 75 percent of the boat is made from found and recycled materials.

“It’s made out of garbage, basically,” Weindel says.

The deck trusses are made out of 2-by-4s and plywood. Marine-grade they’re not.

“We wanted to go fast and cheap,” Gladstone says. “This boat won’t last 20 years, but maybe 10. It will last long enough for Zach and me to do another project.”

ON THIS DAY, the project is entering another phase: launch. Before Gladstone and Weindel could build anymore, they needed to get the boat into the water to take the weight off its hulls. So they push. Their family and friends gathered to cheer their creation and their ambition.

“They thought of a project and endured through it,” says Bruce Gladstone, Dan’s father. “It’s impressive to see them finish a project of this magnitude.”

Before starting this project, Weindel started another in the same spirit. He built a tree house in his parents’ backyard, or he was about to because he wanted his own space, but couldn’t afford his own space. Then his parents announced they were selling the house.

“His ideas are endless,” says Paula Weindel, Zachary’s mother.

Weindel’s tree house design was nontraditional: a trampoline suspended by chains between four trees. But unlike the Landlord Independent, his mother says, it was on land, or at least above it.

“I think it’s wonderful, but I won’t say it’s terrifying,” Paula Weindel says. “It’s very experimental.”

That’s my boy, says David Weindel, Zachary’s father.

“He takes after me. I’ve always led a nonstandard life.”

Zachary Weindel is between jobs as an exhibit builder. Gladstone works in a bicycle shop, and in September he’s enrolling in his first year at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During school breaks he’ll return home to join Weindel in building their boat. Next year the pair hope to take a trip to the Florida Keys; and the year after that, Europe. To make such a trip, they say they’ll create sleeping quarters, a garden and pens for rabbits, chickens and what Weindel calls “Chilean rats.”

“We can feed the animals seaweed and then eat them — the animals,” he says.

Weindel and Gladstone will also fish, of course. And for snacks, they can eat bugs.

“For sustainability per acre, you can produce eight times more protein with bugs than with cattle,” Weindel says.

THE LONG-TERM goal of the two men is to create a community, which Gladstone describes as “artists and creative thinkers living on boats.” Their hope is to cross the Atlantic. And that’s Bruce Gladstone’s fear.

“Obviously as a parent I have tremendous trepidation about that. We’ll take it one step at a time and see how it floats first.”

With the Landlord Independent perched precariously at the water’s edge, Dan Gladstone breaks a bottle of champagne against its port hull and then climbs aboard with Weindel. With a nudge from onlookers, the catamaran descends to the water with Gladstone and Weindel riding it like surfers on a wave. And the people ashore applaud and cheer in pleased amazement: “It floats!”

Yes, it floats. And it sits level and solid in the water. And here it will sit for a while. Construction will continue. And Gladstone, who has never spent a night at sea, can use the time to adjust to his ambitious idea of living on the water.

“We’ll probably be kind of sick at first.”

— all at http://www.projo.com/news/content/boat_08-24-09_L1FEF4O_v20.3987877.html

damn, dan. good fucking work.