Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Rube Goldberg, Eat Your Heart Out

It all started with the game of Mousetrap.

You remember the one; we had it back when we were kids. Its the board game where you build a mousetrap with plastic pieces and then you turn the crank to make the boot kick the bucket over, tipping the ball into the ramp which hits the pole that knocks the ball into the bathtub which goes down the drain, falling onto the see-saw which catapults the diving man into the bucket which sends the cage careening down a pole onto your little mouse-guy.

Well, Noah loves Mousetrap.

He has always had a thing for ramps and tunnels of all kinds. That's why I put Mousetrap on his birthday wish list. His Mima got it for him, and he loves it, muchly!!

So, I told him about Rube Goldberg, the guy who invented contraptions much like the Mousetrap game. They were elaborate, ridiculous machines designed to do something simple like turn on a lamp, or push down the lever on your toaster. Noah was enthralled, and like we usually do, we turned to youtube.com to find videos of Rube Goldberg Machines. Sure enough, they had RG Competitions with videos of the winner. There is also the awesome car commercial that uses only pieces of a car (but in slightly less than cool manner, seems to be occasionally helped by computer graphics... I don't believe those tires roll up hill).

So he began to watch endless Rube Goldberg videos.

Then came the drawings. He began to imagine machines of his own, to dream about them, do design them in his sleep. Then he would get up and have to draw what he imagined. I have a portfolio full of his imaginings which only he can explain.

He wanted to see Rube Goldberg, so we went to his web page, and saw lots of Rube Goldberg's personal drawings. Noah saw that Rube would put letters of the alphabet beside each step of the machine so you knew what order everything happened in, so Noah began to incorporate the letters into his own drawings.

Then, of course, he needed to build some contraptions of his own, using dominoes and balls and books propped on pillows for ramps. They got more and more elaborate.

Then he pulled Daddy into his plans. Daddy introduced things like tape, and levers and things he could use as tunnels. Now, with nearly every spare few minutes, he holes himself up on one side of the baby gate, with toddlers on the other and works and works until he gets a machine built and working correctly.

I have been wondering how it works to get video up and running on this blog, so I made a little movie of Noah and Daddy's latest contraption. Let's see if it works...

Presented for your viewing pleasure, Noah's Rube Goldberg machine, designed to knock down bowling pins.


Ahhh! Looks like it might have worked! If you are having trouble, try double clicking. And if it did work, you might just be seeing more little videos from us here in sunny San Diego!

(What's that I hear??? It sounds like shouts of joy coming from southeast Florida!)

Are you all having a good 2008 yet? Broken any good resolutions??


Snowbird said...

SW Florida, my dear, not SE Florida. Do I need to show you a map?? LOL

Anyway, I am soooo impressed with Noah's inventions. That is amazing. Tell him that Aunt Ann and his cousins were pretty impressed too. (Unca Dave is still sleeping and so is Drampa.)

I haven't broken any resolutions because I didn't make any. As for how 2008 is going, we are just trying to stay warm here in sunny --SW--Florida and our 30 degree temps.

Elaine said...

That was truly AWESOME. I'm seriously rocked by his duct tape skills.

Barbs said...

Very Cool!!
Way to go Noah!