The People That You Meet Each Day

I spied him over the top of my monitor. He’d walked in well enough, but I could tell by his confused look that he had no idea what to do now that he was inside. This happens frequently. I’d seen that befuddled look on the faces of Gangplank newcomers countless times.

As a Gangplank veteran, I consider it my duty to make visitors feel welcome. Plus, I needed a break from writing marketing copy.

“Today’s subject is Software-defined Networking, boys and girls!” I’d loudly announced to the 15 odd entrepreneurs working out of Gangplank as I arrived earlier. (The crowd had returned my excitement with odd looks and loud groans.)

“Hi, how’s it going?” I asked as I rose from behind my monitor and walked towards the visitor. Perhaps he was an entrepreneur, looking for a home.

He tells me his name, Todd. He wants to know how much is it to use a computer here. He’d like to download a large file that someone sent him via email.

“You don’t pay anything to use the facilities here,” I tell him. “At least not monetarily.”

His confused look returns.

“Walk with me,” I tell him, laughing to myself. “We’ll get you squared away.”

We walk past the hot desks, large tables with office chairs where anyone who wants to can come in, set up a laptop and get some work done.

“There’s no charge here,” I repeat as we walk. “Because payment is in social capital.”

“Uhhhhhhhh-huh,” he says, in that tone that says “I have no idea what you are saying.”

We walk past the 3D printers that line the back half of the main Gangplank workspace. I continue giving Todd an introduction.

“Basically, if you find Gangplank is a space you like working from, and the people here a community you find valuable, all that is asked to use Gangplank’s resources is that you find a way to contribute something back. What you contribute is up to you.”

He’s not from around here, he says. He’s passing through town on tour. Just wants to use a computer, “How much?” he asks.

I shake my head and chuckle.

We continue straight down the hall, past the free library, buzzing conference rooms, and podcast studio. Finally, we arrive at the Gangplank computer lab. He seems a very nice guy, about 50 years old I’d guess, wearing glasses, a gently worn pair of blue jeans, and respectable short sleeved dress shirt.

I help him log on to one of the eight iMac computers in the lab, all freely available to the public. I make small talk while he accesses his email.

“So what is this file?”

“It’s a pilot for a TV show that I’m in. ” he says.

“Uhhhhh-huh” I say using the same tone he had earlier. An actor, just about to make his big break. Yeah, right.

Todd downloads the video. Over the next 45 minutes I am amazed and delighted at his talent. As we watch, we talk about life, swap stories about our kids, and generally just get to be pals.

The people you meet at Gangplank are random and diverse – and always interesting. I love this place.

Todd Oliver, nationally known comedian, ventriloquist, and past performer on America’s Got Talent.

 

Craft Hack Celebrates Three Years at Gangplank

Science Rocks PHXCraft Hack began as a chance to meet other, local crafters, but has evolved into a network of artisans, teachers and Etsy entrepreneurs. Anne Watson Barber, Stephanie Liebold and I began Craft Hack at Gangplank in early 2012. Originally we just met to share space while we worked on our own projects. “It’s good to set aside time to do something hands on and get away from our screens,” Stephanie added. Soon we teaching skills, demonstrating new materials and trading tips on monetizing our hobbies.

“We wanted to be a place for people to enjoy crafting and if they are dreaming about making it into their own business, we have the resources here at Gangplank to help them launch their business,” Anne said. Anne is volunteer Mentor Coordinator at Gangplank Chandler and an Online Marketing consultant.

Each Craft Hack features a demonstration of a skill or material. In March, I demonstrated the new Shrinky Dinks
(could you smell the burning plastic?). Local artist Crystal Daugle recruited Craft Hackers to help her with her recent installation in Tempe, “Push Down and Tango.” Etsy shopkeeper Vesna Taneva-Miller taught the basics of craft soldering late last year.

Craft Hack is expanding this summer. In collaboration with TechShop, we will be producing a half-day crafting conference. It will include advice for marketing and production-scaling for craftpreneurs as well as highlight the many local projects combing business-training and craft skills to benefit local charities. Save the date: August 8, 2015. More info soon.

Join us second Monday of the month, 6 PM.

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The Emergence of the Maker Movement

The Maker Movement is becoming mainstream. Over 135 millions adults in the United States alone actively involved. It has become a world wide phenomenon with Maker Faires in Japan, Italy, Norway and Chile. Makers are doing more than just creating for fun or hobby. They are contributing nearly $29 billion to the U.S. economy annually.

Who would of thought that Martha Stewart would be talking about the 3D printed roses?  or That President Obama would be announcing $240 million in STEM commitments at the White House science fair?

The Emergence of the Maker Movement and what it looks like by the numbers.

The Emergence of the Maker Movement

 

 

Chandler Science Café at Hack Night, “Collective Genius for a Better World”

Please join us Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 7pm, at Gangplank, 260 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler, AZ 85225, for the Chandler Science Café at Hack Night, “Collective Genius for a Better World,” with Dennis Bonilla, NASA Contractor & Senior Digital Strategist – Valador, Inc.

Dennis Bonilla, Design Manager. Senior Digital Strategist. Community Manager. NASA Contractor.

Dennis has a decade of experience communicating complex concepts using video games, infographics, and interactive platforms to inform and empower communities. Dennis has created federal websites, designed visualization software for NASA, and worked on documents presented to the U.S. President. Dennis is also currently the community manager for http://LAUNCH.org, a sustainability program developed by NASA, Nike, the U.S. Department of State, and USAID.

Dennis will be discussing his work with the NASA Open Innovation Team, the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist, and the NASA Office of Human Capitol.

Science Cafés are live—and lively—events that take place in casual settings, are open to everyone, and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist about a particular topic. Chandler Science Cafe, first Wednesday of the month, 7pm, at Gangplank Chandler is presented in association with the Arizona SciTech Festival and Gangplank Labs Initiative.

Free, open to the public, all welcome.

Novel Critique Group: First Meeting Report

The first meeting of the Novel Critique group was a great success. In it, we defined the terms the group. We covered the difference between a critique and criticism, as well as discussing the submission guidelines and methods. Our group will be using a Google Drive folder to share files, allowing both Word and Google Doc file formats.

We had five people at our group, and we are eager to see how the group grows. Our group size will be limited by the total word count submitted. For now, we will be working under the guidelines for the Aspiring Novelists, limiting submissions to 5000 words, and a total word count of no more than 40K words for each meeting.

We look forward to our next meeting, on March 31st.
For more details, or if you want to join the group, contact David at: david@grendelmen.com

Chandler Science Spectacular

Arizona Scitech Chandler Science Spectacular

Science is on display in a way you haven’t experienced it before at the Chandler Science Spectacular. From cartoons to lava lamps and fingerprints to flight simulation, this festival connects everyday life to science through interactive, hands-on exhibits. The two day event is in Downtown Chandler and runs 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20 (A Night of Art & Science) and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21 (Science Saturday).

This year, the Science Saturday event is joined by the E.P.I.C. Fest (Explore. Play. Imagine. Create.), showcasing the Maker culture. Makers are hobbyists, tinkerers, engineers, programmers and people using new and unique technologies, as well as traditional forms of DIY.

SciTech Chandler Science Spectacular

 

More than 70 exhibits are on display; below are just a few examples:

Science Fiction TV Dinner: Center for Science and the Imagination at ASU Classic Warner Bros cartoon shorts about space exploration followed by a conversation with experts in Space Exploration and Animation.

Flight Simulator: Garmin Feel the power of flight with Garmin’s flight simulator

Crime Scene & Fingerprinting: City of Chandler Police Department Solve the mystery at this interactive mock crime scene, or learn how to read fingerprints when they are left as clues.

Rocket Launch: Orbital Sciences See how Orbital puts rockets into space with this hands on rocket-launching demo

Breaking Boards & Science: Sport Science of Martial Arts Who knew how fun applied physics can be? Feel the explosive power of changing acceleration or changing mass when you attempt to break plastic boards

Foam Block Building: The Arizona Science Center & First Things First Families can use giant foam blocks of all shapes to build a design they create.

Lava Lamp Creation: Primavera Online High School Kids make their own Flubber or personal Lava Lamp to learn about oil & water.
Game Truck Spaceship: Game Truck * Available 1 to 4 p.m. Travel through the solar system with game truck spaceship

Technology & the Library: Downtown Chandler Library Learn to use Zinio, featuring more than 500 multi-language magazines, along with library iPads and eReaders to access eBooks, databases, Freegal, and BookMyne.

Chandler Science Spectacular is part of the Arizona SciTech Festival, a statewide movement to promote and celebrate science in our daily lives and to earn recognition for Arizona as a science and technology hub. The Chandler Science Spectacular is sponsored by Intel, and all events are free and open to the public.

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Chandler Parade of Lights and Tumbleweed Tree Lighting

You may have noticed the holiday lights are on in Downtown Chandler as they were lit during Chandler Rock the Block. However, the official holiday kick off happens Saturday December 6th as the 25th annual Parade of Lights comes down Arizona Avenue and the 58th annual lighting of the Tumbleweed Tree take place.

Tumbleweed Tree Lighting

Tumbleweed Tree Lighting

More than 12,000 people are expected to join in the festivities that start at 4:30pm. There will be a variety of musical and dance performances as well as inflatables and other other activities for children including pony rides and visists with Santa Claus. Add this year is an Ugly Sweater contest for individuals, couples and families.

The pageantry of the Parade of Lights begins at 7 p.m. and the parade route will start at the corner of Arizona Avenue and Frye Road. The festive floats and other entries will move north on Arizona Avenue, past Chandler City Hall and continue through the downtown area. As it reaches the north end of Dr. A.J. Chandler Park the procession will turn right on Buffalo Street, followed by another right turn onto Arizona Place. After moving along the east side of Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, the parade will end at the corner of Boston Street and Arizona Place.

At the conclusion of the parade (approximately 8 p.m.), guests are invited to gather in the center of the park on the west side of Arizona Avenue for the Tumbleweed Tree lighting ceremony.

You can find more information here.

PARKING AND TRAFFIC RESTRICTIONS

Guests attending the event are strongly encouraged to arrive early to find parking. There are multiple locations with free parking, including two parking garages on the east side of Arizona Avenue, and several surface lots.

Residents are reminded that Arizona Avenue will be closed between Chandler Boulevard and Frye Road from 3:30-10 p.m. Frye Road will also be restricted from Arizona Avenue east to Delaware Street from 3:30 – 10:00pm Several other smaller streets in the downtown area will also be closed or restricted during the festivities.

A map showing street closures and parking options, including parking for the disabled, is online at www.chandleraz.gov/special-events.

ENTERTAINMENT SCHEDULE

Stage Schedule

4:30 p.m. – 4:50 p.m. Stacy J Dancing
5:00 p.m. – 5:20 p.m. The Dance Loft
5:30 p.m. – 5:50 p.m. Talent Team Perfoming Arts
6:00 p.m. – 6:20 p.m. Ugly Sweater Contest
7:00 p.m. Parade
8:00 p.m. (approx.) Tree Lighting Ceremony with Mayor Jay Tibshraeny
8:40 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy

HISTORY OF CHANDLER’S TUMBLEWEED TREE

A Community Tradition

This unique Chandler tradition began in 1957, when Chandler resident Earl Barnum raised the idea of a tumbleweed tree after he saw a similar one in Indiana built out of cone-shaped chicken wire with pine boughs stuck in the holes. Many members of the community helped create the first tree in Chandler using tumbleweeds that they gathered from around town. Little did these folks know that they were the first to do such a thing and that it would continue as an annual Christmas tradition from then on. In fact, Chandler is the only city in the southwestern United States that has such a tree.

How is it done?

First, members of the City’s Park Operations Division gather tumbleweeds from the outskirts of the City. With Chandler’s rapid growth and development, fewer stretches of empty land are within the City limits, which makes it harder to find tumbleweeds in large quantities. So, the Park crews must start collecting the tumbleweeds earlier each year. Nearly 1,000 tumbling tumbleweeds are collected each year and are used to adorn a 25-foot tall wire frame.

Then, the tumbleweeds are sprayed with 25 gallons of white paint, 20 gallons of flame retardant and dusted with 65 pounds of glitter. The tree is later adorned with approximately 1,200 holiday lights that give it a spectacular look, day or night. The lighting of the Tumbleweed Tree draws a large crowd, with more than 12,000 expected to watch the Mayor and members of the City Council flip the switch to light this magnificent sight. The Tumbleweed Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Parade of Lights (starting at 7 p.m.) help to bring our community together to kick-off the holidays.

Guilt Free Book Club Announces December 2014 through May 2015 Book Selections

Gangplank Chandler’s Guilt Free Book Club is an awesome place to discuss and share new and interesting ideas. You don’t even have to read the book to join in our lively discussions! We meet on the Second Wednesday of each month at Gangplank Chandler at 6pm.

For those interested in reading along, we have selected the next 6 months books:

December 2014
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin

January 2015
Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre by Keith Johnstone

February 2015
This month we decided to mix things up with two books. Read one or the other or both or neither.

Why Not Capitalism by Jason Brennan

The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama

March 2015
Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius by Marc Seifer

April 2015
Presence Human Purpose and the field of the Future by Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers

May 2015
How to Cook a Wolf by M.F.K. Fisher

AIGA Method + Madness Conference – Win a ticket!

Phoenix Design Week is coming October 18th and 19th and AIGA is participating with an incredible 2 day conference that highlights both the crazy inspiring beauty of design and the practical approach to design. You can learn more about the conference here.

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What is even more cool is AIGA has given us a ticket valued at $279.00 to give away.

So here is how this works. Leave us a comment on this blog post with your name and email address and we will draw a winner from the comments. The contest closes at midnight Mountain Standard Time (Arizona time) on Thursday September 25th. We will announce the winner on Friday September 26th.

Good luck!

Locations

Avondale, AZ

Chandler, AZ

Richmond, VA

Sault St. Marie, ON

Start a Gangplank in your city!

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