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“And they couldn’t prevent Jack from feeling happy….” –The Who, “Happy Jack

I had several choices for tonight’s blog: the fog assisting firefighters in Santa Barbara (I’ll add the information to last night’s entry.), the European Commission wanting to hold software makers liable for the security and efficacy of their code (THAT ought to make it very expensive for ONE convicted monopolist to do business in Europe!), the cracking (CNET says “hacking”) of computers at UC Berkeley (they “hack” there all the time!), and Sun shareholders suing to block the acquisition by Oracle (with the embedded goodie that Sun discussed on Friday that it may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act). :-) I wonder if that was on the “missing  Top 7” portion of Dan Baigent’s “Top 10” list…. We may never know (there are so many other possibilities)! :-)

I even toyed with the idea of talking about water-wasting Californians in this third year of drought, after watching one of my neighbors hosing off his pool cover on his driveway (normally he just hoses the driveway :-( ), and hearing of another who was sprinkling his lawn during a rainstorm last week. (The fact that both worked or work for a government weapons lab is probably just a coincidence, or maybe not.) :-)

Ultimately though, I went with the decidedly UPBEAT story about CNET News reporter Daniel Terdiman riding a flying armchair suspended beneath what is known as a “balloon cluster” at the Emeryville headquarters of Pixar Animation. The stunt was part of the “high-flying promotion” of the upcoming Pixar animated film, “Up,” Pixar’s tenth feature film, to be released on May 29. I am looking forward to seeing “Up” this month in Pixar’s theater in Emeryville, as part of a “Friends and Family” advance screening with a friend of mine at Pixar. I have been fortunate enough to have watched every Pixar movie from “Monsters, Inc.” onward in this way.

A cluster-ballooning site describes this latest phenomenon and film  as “Life inspires Art!” “Up” is done in Disney digital 3D and includes 20,622 hand-animated balloons that Fredricksen uses to take his house skyward. In true “geek style,” Pixar folks calculated that, in real life, several million normally sized balloons would be needed to take a house aloft.

Terdiman managed to “take some serious air” without causing a major blackout like Larry Walters (aka “Lawnchair Larry”) who, in 1982, cluster ballooned to 16,000 feet in his lawnchair and floated from San Pedro, CA into controlled airspace near Long Beach Airport. (No, he was not shot down by F-15’s. :-) )

Daniel Terdiman’s wild ride is described in photos, text, and with a YouTube video here.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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