Autistry Studios Newsletter – November 23, 2009

| November 23, 2009

** REMINDER: No workshops over the Thanksgiving weekend **

All the workshops this last weekend were incredibly focused – lots of great energy and lots of great work was done. Chelsea filmed the Friday group this week. Her documentary is beginning to take shape. She will be filming interviews in the coming weeks and plans to have the project edited and ready for posting in March!

FRIDAY BUILD STUFF: Phoebe has put her unique mark on the Ramses Columns and they are looking good. Breton’s Elf World lit up – literally. A small ‘pumpkin light’ in the tree house added a very warm glow. Corey nailed down a parade of people and now just has a few touches to put on Harvey and the MILK diorama is ready for showing. Kris is building the suspension on his Sherman tank – lots of little pieces to keep track of. And, we had a pre-Thanksgiving dinner with a special Battle of the Drumsticks!

SATURDAY FILMMAKING: Andrew found fabulous footage for cutaways in the Rush Limbaugh Project – very, very funny stuff. Devon’s documentary showing the many sides of Steven really took off this week. She put together some great sections (who knew Steven was so accessible!). Steven finished sculpting his cast of thousands and began the arduous work of photographing the sequences. He’ll start editing it all together next time.

SUNDAY BUILD STUFF: Joseph got his Geo Track all glued down and will start on scenery next time. Ryan also glued down his track – HO scale and he’ll be laying down the ballast next. Paul has mastered the art of hot knife cutting and discovered the importance of face masks – the fumes from the melting foam are quite intense. Ian began piecing together the inner walls of the Matrix Dojo (and AJ got in touch with her inner craftsperson).

Have a great Thanksgiving and we’ll see you all in December!

Janet, Dan, Nate and AJ

A more perfect world (or globe)

| November 16, 2009

Lots of trial and error learning goes on in our workshops. Sometimes the emphasis is on “error.”

One of our students from an early workshop, Reggie, wanted to make a globe. We said “sure.” Our strategy was to build it out of layers of pine — and that was REALLY hard.

The Globe

We all took turns rasping and sanding that #$%@ thing:

Janet in motion Reggie Rasps the Globe

Perfect Form or Zen Rasping The World is Getting Rounder

We made a “skin” for it using gords painstakingly laid out with huge rulers and large homemade compasses and Reggie drew his ideas of an old-fashioned map onto them.

Reggie's maps

In the end we had an OK first effort definitely falling into the “Done Is Good” category.


If we were going to do it again I’d unhesitatingly buy a big wood lathe and simply turn the big ball on a lathe.

Or, I’d take other’s beautiful work as a good example:

Today I saw this great project at the MAKE blog

Image by davesbit from Flickr

Image by davesbit from Flickr

From MAKE: Flickr member davesbit built a globe by making a mold from a beach ball, and designed a map for it using The Generic Mapping Tools.

The globe is about 20 inches in diameter, made from fiberglass and filled with foam. The map parts are built with the Generic Mapping Tools and glued on…

Making-of photos on the Flickr photo page.

Project idea: Shelf diorama of Indiana Jones

| November 13, 2009

I tripped across this beautiful diorama project posted and built by Maxime Pécourt who lives in Paris, France.




What a fun idea.

Symposium: Making healthy babies, raising healthy children

| November 10, 2009

RyderEventWhere: UC Berkeley Art Museum Theatre, 2625 Durant Ave. Berkeley, California
When: Saturday, November 21, 2009, from 9 am to 4 pm

Sponsors: SageFemme, Ryder Foundation, Midwifery Today, Autism Recovery Consortium

Tickets: $60 until 11/20 then $75 and may be purchased through Everbrite:

The 2009 CIA World Factbook ranks the USA 45th among nations for infant mortality— the worst among all industrialized countries. The autism rate in our country is now 1 in 100.

How we can understand and take appropriate steps to ensure healthy mothers, births and children? Take a unique look at the entire system that affects our future generations- a mother’s current environment, the birth environment and your child’s toxic world.

This symposium brings together scientists, doctors, researchers and professionals for a compelling conversation about environmental influences around birth and childhood. Featuring plenary speakers, panels, audience questions, and film clips.

Revolutionary new software will also be introduced that will help parents assess the risks our children may encounter from the environment before birth, at birth and during childhood. Our three part program will make clearer to attendees what they should know about environmental health, their world, and how it affects them and their children.

Session One: Preparing for Childbirth
Sharyle Patton, Director, Commonweal Health and Environment Program, presents several new biomonitoring studies documenting the ubiquity and complexity of chemical and environmental exposures that people experience every day, and how those exposures could influence pregnancy and the health of our children. Exciting new software will be introduced which gives parents-to-be the opportunity to evaluate environmental exposures, and the effect they may have, so lifestyle changes can be made to ensure healthier outcomes for families and children. This session concludes with an expert panel, including Dr. Joanne Perron, OB/GYN, who will correlate the environmental science with her own personal experience; Julie Matthews, Certified Nutrition Consultant, who will describe the best diet for pre-pregnant women.

Session Two: The Birth Experience
Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD, medical anthropologist and author of eight books including Birth as an American Rite of Passage, presents a brief history of birth in the USA. This presentation will focus on women’s ideas and cultural values about childbirth. The session concludes with a panel consisting of Elizabeth Davis, a Certified Professional Midwife, who will touch on an integrated view of birth, family and ecology and natural birth icons, Dr. Marshall Klaus, Pediatrician and Neonatologist and Phyllis Klaus C.S.W., M.F.C.C. who understand what care and support a woman needs at birth. A new film, produced by Diana Paul, of Sage Femme, will be premiered to introduce this session.

Session Three: Healthy Childhood
Dr. Andy Wakefield, academic gastroenterologist and Director of Thoughtful House Center for Children in Austin, Texas, presents new information and good news about the treatment and prevention of autism (now affecting 1 in 100 children). A ChARMtracker demo will be featured, launching this ground-breaking web-based treatment tracking software for autism. The session will conclude with a panel consisting of Pramila Srinivasan (ChARM founder), and Kenneth Bock (an integrative family practitioner whose practice is the beta site for the ChARMphysician product) and Julie Matthews, Certified Nutrition Consultant, who will describe the best diet for a healthy child. Clips from Elizabeth Horn’s film “Finding the Words” will introduce this session.

Audience questions and answers will be taken at the end of each session.

Master of Ceremonies
Carolyn Raffensperger
, M.A, J.D., Executive Director of Science and Environmental Health Network, is an environmental lawyer specializing in the fundamental changes in law and policy necessary for the protection and restoration of public health and the environment. Carolyn coined the term “ecological medicine” to encompass the broad notions that both health and healing are entwined with the natural world. She emphasizes ecological integrity and guardianship for future generations in her work.


Maureen Block is former in-house counsel at a New York investment bank, and founder of The Ryder Foundation whose mission is to raise money for organizations that make a difference in the lives of children with autism. Ms. Block is the mother of a child who has recovered from autism.

Elizabeth Horn co-founded the Autism Recovery Consortium to support continued research into autism recovery. Along with Dr. Martha Herbert of Harvard and Michael Lerner of Commonweal, she co-founded the autism group that meets regularly at Commonweal called NPART (New Paradigms for Autism Recovery and Treatment). She produced a documentary entitled “Finding the Words” about children recovering from autism that has now been broadcast in over 30 countries, and recently collaborated on the creation of ChARMtracker software (treatment management software for children with ASD).

Diana Paul is a filmmaker and Founding Director of Sage Femme, a non-profit organization that produces the Motherbaby International Film Festivals and promotes and educates about EcoBirth.

Molly Arthur, who has had 30 years of working with start-ups and growing networks in her professional sales career, is the Managing Director of Sage Femme. Molly is also the inspiration behind EcoBirth, a philosophy linking birth and the environment.

EcoBirth is the study of and practice in Deep Womb Ecology. It links and relates the environments of Birth and Earth. EcoBirth recognizes that the mental and physical care surrounding Birth is an indicator of how we care for the Earth. Since our primary provider and first home is the Earth, EcoBirth advocates cherishing her as a means of protecting our mother’s wombs, our baby’s births and our children’s futures.

Autistry Studios Newsletter – November 9, 2009

| November 9, 2009

Time warp! It’s been well over 2 weeks since the last newsletter. We’ve been super busy around here. We had a great time at the GGRC Service Provider Fair. Lots of people stopped by the Autistry table and asked for more information. Steven’s Factory on a Cloud diorama and Sarah’s Super Robot Monkey plushie were big hits.

The Autistry staff will be meeting over Thanksgiving weekend to plan for our 2010 workshop schedule – including our summer program. If you have any suggestions or requests please let us know.

Many of you have asked for a special Cosplay Costuming Workshop leading up to the Fanime Convention May 28-31 in San Jose. This year we would like to film the workshop and all of us at the convention so we may do a combo Film/Costume Workshop. We’ll keep you posted.

Chelsea, the Bay School senior filming a documentary about Autistry Studios has now visited each of the workshops and will begin filming soon. If you have any questions or want more information about this project please give us a call.

Friday College Support/Build Stuff Workshop: The concentration and productivity of this group over the last few weeks has been incredible. Corey is finishing up the Harvey Milk diorama, Phoebe is finishing up Ramses II, and Breton’s Elf World is becoming more and more detailed. Kris began a new project: Tank in Bocage Terrain – we’re all learning a lot about warfare amid the hedgerows.

Saturday Filmmaking Workshop: We have left Pre-Production and entered the Production Phase of the workshop. Andrew will begin editing The Rush Limbaugh Puppet Show next week using shot footage and found footage. Steven’s new Bupim epic is ready to shoot – well, almost ready! Devon is venturing into a new arena, documentary filmmaking. Her first project is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Bupim. Steven is cooperating – well, sort of.

Sunday Build Stuff Workshop: We welcomed a new student to our Sunday group, Paul. He jumped right in and began building a helmet from the video game Halo. Joseph and Ryan both laid out the track for their train layouts and began work on the terrain. Ian constructed the box and the interior walls for his Matrix Dojo diorama project. Lots of energy with these four boys!

Hands on Banking: Financial life skills for us and our children

| November 9, 2009

HandsOnBankingPam Erwin gave us a great pointer to Wells Fargo’s Hands on Banking program which provides instructional resources and online classes in financial skills.

Courses are available in English and Spanish and four grades: Kids, Teens, Young Adults, and Adults. We are going to be drawing on these lessons and the great instructor guides (available as pdfs) to add a financial skills component to the transition programs we offer.

We would welcome any feedback about this program or other programs you have heard of.

Project inspiration: MUSE video “Uprising”

| November 7, 2009

This is a beautifully done video made by filming art miniatures with the band masked in. Love the killer teddy bears. The song is okay too.


Star Trek communicator bluetooth “headset”

| November 6, 2009

Wow, are there some serious nerds out there! They make me happy.

Picture 002

Diana Eng over at Make presents an awesome project taking a toy Star Trek original series communicator and making it into a bluetooth headset for your cell phone.

I actually own one of these toy communicators and this would be a great project to encourage building out and validating our electronics projects infrastructure.

The first Autistry Studios video

| November 4, 2009

Phoebe made this AMV (more of an HMV since it’s set to a horror movie, not an anime) in 2007 in our early “Girls who love anime” workshop we started as proof-of-concept for the Autistry Studios idea.

Footage from the original Night of the Living Dead combined with Marilyn Manson’s cover of “Sweet Dreams.”

Food allergies and weight gain

| November 3, 2009

We’re a gluten-free casein-free (dairy free) house and a couple years ago we added corn to the list of no-nos.

There is a very interesting article by Mark Hyman over on HuffPo about common food allergies like gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, yeast, and peanuts and sometimes soy and how there seems to be a relationship between weight gain (or difficulty losing weight) and eating foods you are somewhat allergic to.

Dans Wheat Free & Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Dan's Wheat Free & Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie Recipe

I know that I rapidly lost 65 pounds (a 25% weight reduction) when I went on a gluten-free dairy-free diet and I’ve only gained 10 pounds back in the last 12 years since.

Our son has been having serious acne lately and we’re going to experiment with eliminating peanuts for a couple weeks and see if that has any positive impact.

As the holidays are approaching I thought I’d share our favorite pie crust recipe. This is also available at my GFCF Pumpkin pie page.

Rice based piecrust

Makes two 10-inch pie shells

2/3 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
3 tbsp potato starch
1 tsp xantham gum
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp Gluten-free baking powder
3 tbsp cold dairy-free margarine (omit and double the shortening below if you can’t find a suitable margarine)
3 tbsp cold vegetable shortening in small pieces
1 egg yolk
3 tsp cold water
1 tsp cider vinegar

Blend the dry ingredients.

Cut in margarine and shortening until mixture resembles a course meal. Add egg yolk, water, and vinegar.

Wrap dough in plastic and press into a ball. Chill for 1 hour.

Between two sheets of plastic wrap, roll dough out into a 12-inch circle (about 1/4-inch thick). Remove top sheet of plastic wrap and flip pastry onto a 10-inch pie plate. Keeping the plastic wrap over the top of the crust, pat it into the pan, piecing together any parts that separate when the crust lands in the pan. Remove the second sheet of plastic wrap. Crimp edges.