Last night, I started 3d printing a bunch of props to bring with to Julie's school STEM night at Vassal Lane.
Later last night, I assembled my quadcopter; from about 11pm to 11:30, I flew it around a park, with little success, but it was still really cool. I then came home, climbed into bed with Jess, and fell asleep -- quadcopter batteries charging, 3d printer printing.
This morning, Julie actually remembered it was my birthday and said happy birthday. (This from the child who half the time has to think which month comes first -- February or July.) I've never had her remember any family birthday on her own before, so that was pretty incredible and made me smile this morning. After that, I took my quadcopter out for another spin -- this time using ATTI mode instead of GPS. (In hindsight, I think I've figured out that my compass is screwed up, which is why GPS mode is flawed.) I was able to successfully fly, land, fly in a pattern, etc. with no major malfunctions (though a few close calls).
I then came back, continued printing more props to bring with me to VLUS for STEM night on the 3d printer, and took a nap while watching Veronica Mars.
I woke up, went out to lunch with Jess (Garden at the Cellar; nothing terrible, but a burger that was nothing to write home about). We then made our way to my old office, where I picked up more of my older 3d prints to show off at the school, and say hi to my now ex-coworkers.
After that, I went to Julie's school, set up my printer in prep for the demo, came home, and ate delicious cake with frosted ducks on it. I then went back to the school to actually set up and present.
During the evening I talked to dozens of people about 3d printing, and showed many of them what it really was ("It's basically a hot glue gun with a computer to drive it"). About 1 in every 10 kids would ask me "Is that a 3D printer?" and immediately follow up with "Oh yeah, my <parent> has a <insert type here> 3D printer at home." Ah, Cambridge. (At least one Makerbot, one Replicator2, one something else that I should remember and can't... plus some whose parents work with fancier laser sintering machines.) At least one kid had done a research project on rapid prototyping, and was super excited about seeing it; one kid immediately picked up both the menger sponge and the sierpinski tetrix and identified both by name, which was a lot more than I could do a week ago.
Julie and I packed up after a very sweet Chinese family finished ogling the printer; Julie's science teacher was very thankful for the demo, and plans to have me come in to do more after my Mountain View trip.
I then went back home, dropped off Julie, and then went to the bar, where 20 of my friends showed up, hung out, ate and drank beer, and played some pinball (despite overly loud music, grumble). I was able to beat the replay score on both pinball machines, which made me feel good. (Special thanks to everyone for coming out, it was really awesome to see that many people for my birthday.)
After I came home, I flew my quadcopter for another 20-30 minutes -- running through both batteries from full->dead -- and then came home and wrote this journal entry.
Mix in a constant stream of positive birthday wishes via Facebook, and you've got the makings of a terrific day.
Overall -- this was about the best birthday I could really ask for. From being able to participate and share my favorite hobbies, to hanging out and talking with my lovely friends from work and the rest of my social world, this was just a terrific overall birthday. Thank you to everyone who helped make it that way.