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Richard Hood: Two Castaic residents inspire with creations

Posted: September 16, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 16, 2012 2:00 a.m.

This is a true story about two Castaic friends of mine, both apparent geniuses. They don’t see themselves as such, but they epitomize what is great about America: self-reliance, helping others and achieving goals. To consider them “tinkerers” is akin to considering Warren Buffet an “investor.”

They have never met, but they have collaborated in helping a recluse earn money in a way most of us have only heard of. Prepare to be inspired.

Betty is a bus driver who had noticed a 55-gallon water barrel on my property and was very interested to know where I got it. I had no idea she was also an inventor who lies awake in bed at night “seeing” contraptions, unable to turn her own mental motor off.

In her spare time, she was trying to create parts to save money on a project to help a friend get off the grid. Somehow, 55-gallon storage drums would be playing a part, but how?

Bob is not his real name, and “rocket scientist” is as close to the truth as I can get without expecting a visit from men in cheap black suits. I put Betty’s dilemma about tediously trying to self-manufacture stencils and parts to Bob, who thought for a full two seconds before uttering, “old bicycle gears.”

Shortly after I passed this information on to Betty, she excitedly informed me that Bob’s bicycle sprocket trick had worked beautifully, and that she and her reclusive friend had used it to complete what turned out to be a hand-made wind turbine for creating all the electrical current necessary for a house up on some ridge line.

And the water drums? Betty turned them into very large whirligigs — wind toys like you see people making out of empty 2-liter soda bottles, only these were big enough to power generators.

The recluse’s meter now runs backward, and the fabled check from the electric company arrives fairytale-like in the mail.

This isn’t hoping for change, but rather creating change by having fun with others of like mind who like to help others with their dreams and passions. Most people do. We were created for problem-solving. Collaboration just makes it more fun.

The freedom to follow a passion is an American virtue. For Betty and anyone else seeking happy, if insomniac, nights, Bob the Rocket Scientist recommends a magazine named “Make,” in addition to Instuctables, Thingiverse, Shaperways and Global Village Construction Set websites.

We can all create, being ourselves made in the image of our creator. Inspiration literally means “to breath into.” Go breath an idea into life.

Richard Hood is a Castaic resident.


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