special effects

What you need: willing parents, a hose, many lamps, a coat hanger, condensed milk and a 55 gallon fish tank.
Mention to anyone within earshot that you have a burning desire to create clouds in a tank of water. Be fortunate enough to learn that your father has seen, only hours earlier, a fish tank by the side of the road. Run to the car, dragging younger brother for emotional support.
Find fish tank - help other trash pickers load and enormous dresser into their van, load fish tank and return triumphant.
Set up an elaborate Rube Goldberg system in the back yard: fish tank on benches, hose at the ready and every light from your room pointed (sans shades) at the water. In the absence of Duvetyne, use a roll of tar paper found in the garage. Make sure to use a lot of power strips and extension cords - and keep them near the water.
Wait for nightfall.

Discuss, over dinner, things to drip into the tank for the desired effect. Rule out blood, soap, ashes, baby powder, dinner.

electrical hazards

cloud storm

Fizzy tablets look good in the tank but don't really show up on tape impressively.

condensed milk

Condensed milk is the winner.

well dripped

cloud storm




In the end, realize that food coloring makes no difference. You'll have to syphon the tank dry several times and bring in the electricals before you go to bed.

blue tank

But you can leave the last blue tank of water for the morning.


unmitigated me said…
OOOh. Pretty. Maybe George Lucas is hiring.
Now, will the fishtank find it's way to your sidewalk for another trashpicker?

Or is "breeding pirhana" on the summer "extreme-science-to-do" list?
Dani said…
Are you sure Bill Nye the Science Guy doesn't live in your house? With each Summer post, I get closer and closer to sticking stamps on my kids and shipping them to Tuvalu.

Did Middle make a film that we're going to get to see?

The image of you folks helping a stranger load the dresser was a great way to start my busy day.
Anonymous said…
"...every light from you room pointed...at the water..." I remember telling my own #2 son that adding the light of every flashlight in the house did not make a significant effect on photo effects. Your son is clearly more advanced than my #2 was.

I love this post. And the clouds.
RW said…
Those are some awesome clouds!
Anonymous said…
Creative. Awesome. Pretty blue.
I wish I knew some hotshot movie business man so I could help launch what appears to be a future Master of effects.
But I don't.
Badger said…
Dude, you don't need a job. That kid is going to become rich and famous and support you all in the style to which you would like to become accustomed.
Jess said…
Wow. I would have loved to have been there for the conversation where they chose what to use.

Your house is never boring, is it?
Anonymous said…
You are such a fun family!
Anonymous said…
Very cool. I hope you invited your neighbors over to watch and stand around in awe of your children's awesomeness.
Wendy said…
Once again, a post I'm not sure I want Glenn to see. His poor hamster would be homeless.
Anonymous said…
Very cool! I'd try this, but I have a feeling the aquatic frogs would find it an imposition.
KPB said…
So now I've gone from being impressed to being intimidated.
might I add...? said…
I am really impressed at how innovative and resourceful your kids (and you and K) are. Reading this made me think of this article from Smithsonian magazing that I read recently about a photographer from the '50s (I think) who used condensed milk and a bunch of other stuff to make special effects under water. Maybe someone in Tuvalu would be interested?
Major Bedhead said…
The face in the fourth picture is unbelievably cool.

I hope I can remember this project when mine are old enough to appreciate it.