bloodyrosemccoy: (Space Adventure!)
The Book: The Martian by Andy Weir, a breakaway hit. Maybe you've heard of it.

The Basics: Things have not gone well for the third manned mission to Mars. Just six sols into their thirty-sol mission, a dust storm threatens their ascent vehicle to such an extent that that they have to abort. But as they're fleeing to the vehicle, the storm takes out the communications array, and its collapse kills astronaut Mark Watney super fucking dead. Unable to go back for his body, the crew is forced to leave it behind. And thus, the crew is going to spend the ten-month trip back to Earth very dispirited.

But not nearly as dispirited as Watney is when he WAKES THE FUCK UP STRANDED ALONE ON MARS.

OH SHIT: Yeah, so, he may not be as dead as previously indicated.

So, What Now?: Obviously, Mark's situation is the definition of hopelessly dire: he's on a planet with a very thin atmosphere, enough food to last six people seventy days, living in basically a high-tech tent. It will be four years until anybody can rescue him, but because they think he's dead and he has no way to contact them and tell them otherwise, even that is a longshot. He's clearly going to die.

Except that Mark Watney is an awesome astronaut type person, so after his initial Oh Shit response, he immediately begins considering ways he can survive. Using resourcefulness, creativity, humor, and lots of math, he immediately gets to work making his impossible situation possible. Every time an obstacle is flung in his way, he figures his way around it with duct tape or potatoes or something, and you find yourself looking forward to finding out how he's going to get through THIS completely insurmountable mess.

Sometimes NASA Butts In: And the switch from Mark's first-person log entries to the third-person NASA bits is Weir's weakness. Those portions feel a little like a screenplay or script, and the characters seem a bit stock-Hollywood. One particular character, Mindy, does have an arc, but it's an oddly clunky one. Still, it's got some fun stuff--NASA's eventual realization that Something Is Up is pretty entertaining.

Favorite Bit Of Survivaling: The part where he builds water. Yes, he survives some more immediate and alarming things, true, although his water building is explosive as hell. But I just love that he can fucking BUILD WATER out of its components.

Space Place Book Club Time!: So for some reason a whole bunch of us Space Placers independently decided to start reading this last week. I did because my sister's been after me to read it. I think the others did because the movie is coming out. I waited to finish the book before watching the trailer. And while Matt Damon does not look at all like the Mark Watney in my head, hot DAMN I want to see the movie now.

In Conclusion: I am really pleased that OMGSCIENCE! is becoming so popular in media recently. Especially when the stories are as great as this one. I hope the pendulum doesn't swing away from this too fast, because I want more things like The Martian. Go check it out!

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Do Hindus really say "Oh, gods"? I appreciate him diversifying his cast, but I'm seriously wondering if that's a thing.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Space Adventure!)
I still don't get why people care so much about this, but some of these tweets did make me laugh.


Even at the beginning I was completely baffled by the backlash. I myself was pleased that we had reclassified it, since it showed that we are discovering more things and fine-tuning our understanding of classifications. We were creating more order.

But we get these protests all the time at the Space Place. It's crazy. A lot of these kids weren't even born when they changed Pluto's status. But we've made such a big deal that kids identify with the underdog.

So I've started to combat that. I've been explaining that Pluto's like the Ugly Duckling.

That's right, the story by Hans Christian Anderson about a little duckling who was, frankly, really bad at being a duck. Duckhood was beyond him, and he was weird and left out. At least he was until he realized something--he wasn't a duck at all, dammit, he was a SWAN, and presumably he was a lot better at being a swan.*

Same thing with Pluto, I tell the kids. It was really weird and bad at being a planet--until we figured out that it wasn't a planet at all! It was a DWARF PLANET, and there were other dwarf planets it could be friends with, and it was a forerunner for the new category and probably was a lot happier now, god dammit.

Hey, it's another story kids identify with. Maybe this will be enough to make them happy.

Or maybe the New Horizons photos will. I dunno. Pluto's not my thing, but it's still gonna be fun to see what it looks like. Just a few more months!

Discussion Question: Do you guys know the difference between a solar system and a galaxy? I'm always surprised at how many people don't. NDT isn't the only one who is quite used to getting that confusion.

*Though having been raised by ducks, he probably wasn't really exemplary at swanning, but he did find himself in a unique position to be able to bridge the gap between ducks and swans in the neverending duck/swan conflicts and perhaps lead the way toward peace between all waterfowl. But that's getting a bit esoteric for a fable about scientific reclassification.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Space Adventure!)
Bah, I missed yesterday. Well, yesterday's good thing: while my previous cherry-almond soda turned out flatter than a cheap pizza, that meant I got to make another batch! Which is pretty fun!


Today's good thing: so I did three Space Place live dome shows in a row and it was a lot of fun, because a live show is basically a 40-minute standup comedy routine about OMG SPACE,* so yes, I totally love my job.

But! The best part today were the questions. There were some good ones. (Also the usual smart-alecky "How big is Uranus hurr hurr," except the kid pronounced it "YURR-ah-nuss" like we do to make it less dumb-sounding, which ruined the joke.) Questions like:

-What if astronauts cry in space? (Actually the answer is kind of nuts: the surface tension holds the tears to your eyes, so unless you can wipe them away you're effectively blinded by your own dang tears--a serious hazard in a spacesuit where you can't wipe them away.)
-What's Jupiter made of? If it's made of the same stuff as the sun, why isn't it a star?
-What would happen if the Andromeda and Milky Way black holes collide?
-Where would you be if you went into a black hole? (This one was fun because I got to tell them about spaghettification.)
-What if light doesn't fall into a black hole but just orbits it? (I answered this one badly, I'm afraid. Gotta brush up on photon spheres.)

So yeah, the kids were into it. I love it when the crowd is energetic but interested. And they seemed to like mine; I got a lot of compliments afterward, too.

*With visual aids! I can embiggen the Andromeda galaxy in the night sky and be like "LOOK OUT! It's going to crash into us!" and all the kids go "Woooooo" and then I can say, "No, seriously, IT'S GOING TO CRASH INTO US. Just ... it's gonna take a while."
bloodyrosemccoy: (Venus By Air)
Oh, man! How did I not know about these fantastic posters sooner? Exoplanet travel posters? So dang cool!

(PS: Can I tell you how happy I was when the above icon there, the great Steve Thomas's Venus by Air, is slightly more realistic now? That is kind of hilarious.)
bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
What I've Learned Since The Fall Equinox

  • Finnish-speakers play havoc with their own crazy case system, because there are so many different dialects.

  • Enameled copper can offer some bright colors to your chainmaille, but boy is it soft!

  • My original query letter was probably better than the revamped one.

  • Hatching birds' wings look ridiculously flippery and adorable.

  • Flu shots do not make you invincible.

  • There actually is a way to fix the digestive issues I've had since getting rid of the chestburster. Figures I'd take 14 months to actually think to ask my doctor about it.

  • I apparently don't remember the periodic table at all. Everything I thought I knew turned out to be wrong.

  • Body cameras on cops apparently wouldn't help, as grand juries will see videos of cops committing homicide and still not indict.

  • Remember to oil your bottle capper or it will lock up annoyingly.

  • There really were some Chuck E. Cheese murders back in the day, which might be what Five Nights At Freddy's is based on.

  • Upon going to schools for Space Place Outreach, I realized that all of those damn posters all over the wall are a huge problem for me because I have to read them. The other person has to keep snapping me out of a daze. God, I must have been so overstimulated as a student.

  • Gifted education is a lot more difficult than I expected.

  • I am okay at making lecture plans, but activity plans are beyond me.

  • Surface tension keeps your tears stuck to your face out in space.

  • After you've poured boiling water on your fingers, you might have to drain your blisters just to keep them from exploding when you flex your fingers.

  • Checking out sunspots with solar filters is pretty dang cool.

  • Suddenly becoming a de facto homeowner is a daunting prospect.

  • There is methane on Mars! HMMM.


Dec. 17th, 2014 09:52 pm
bloodyrosemccoy: (Venus By Air)
Hey, this is pretty cool: Curiosity found a big burst of methane on Mars!

Because my brain is wired for sci-fi, my natural first response is "COULD THAT BE LITTLE FARTING MICROBES," which is only one possibility out of a lot of "probably not life" possibilities, so this isnt conclusive. But it sure is interesting, isn't it?
bloodyrosemccoy: (Sisters)
My sister is here! Hooray!

Dang, I love it when she visits. Who else can I go from discussing the publishing industry to gleefully squealing at a Let's Play of Five Nights at Freddy's* to contemplating the attributes of fairy jail in the Disney Fairyverse** with?

It's good to have people who get me.

*If you haven't seen it, I warn you that even with Markiplier's delightful self-comfort chatter in that video, that video and the game itself is fucking TERRIFYING. I haven't had so much fun watching most actual horror MOVIES as I have watching that LP.

**Have I mentioned that I LOVE the Disney Fairies? Especially the movie versions. For one thing, Peter Pan has been thoroughly bussed from the movies (I think it's technically before Tinker Bell meets him, which I'm fine with), and Tink has a much more likable personality. More importantly, though, they're girly as unicorns in a meadow full of rainbow glitter, and yet Tinker Bell is also an ENGINEER. You can totally be a girly mechanical engineer! The Fairies say so, god dammit! (And the latest movie, The Pirate Fairy, has a SCIENCE FAIRY who does experiments and alchemy and stuff! IT'S GREAT.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Space Madness)
My buddy, the one who got me to apply for the job at the Space Place, has a Moon Baby now! And he's a bit dazed.

ME: How's baby stuff?
HIM: Constant. Did you know babies are boring? And gross?
ME: Well, you've still got a bit of time to mess with her newborn reflexes! That's good for a little entertainment, right?
HIM: That's true. And I think she's starting to actually maybe focus her eyes a little bit on me, which is cool!
ME: That's always nice. Let me know if you ever need me to just come over and hold the baby so you guys can get some sleep, though.

I also offered to do a dome shift on Saturday so he wouldn't have to come in. He agreed, which means I'm shadowing one of his underlings, with the heavily implied caveat that I need to stop by his desk afterward tomorrow so that he can tell me all the things she got wrong about how to do the job.* I think I'm gonna like doing dome shows.

Also, a coworker I got into one of those weird arguments today where the other person feels the need to Well Actually you and then proceeds to tell you exactly what you just said. I was talking with a different coworker about reworking the best way to present a half hour lesson about all the technnology in the solar system and mentioned how we ought to add that it wasn't just the telescope, but also the invention of new and exciting kinds of math, that helped us accurately describe the solar system heliocentrically and move away from Aristotle and Ptolemy's incorrect geocentric stuff with the epicycles and so forth, and the guy in the next cubicle overheard.

GUY: Well, actually, in defense of Ptolemy, his epicycles were a fairly good model, and he was a mathematical genius.
ME: Yeah, I mean, he was working with what he knew, and it was a good model, but it was also wrong. I'm talking about how we advanced our knowledge ...
GUY: You realize that it wasn't just the telescope, though? It was Newton's calculus that helped define planetary motions.
ME: Yeah, that's what I was going to mention as the "new kinds of math." But like I said, I have half an hour to get kids from what we can see with just our eyes to Mars rovers and comet landers giving us more accurate pictures ...
GUY: You can't go pooh-poohing Ptolemy for not having the technology we have now to observe things!

I may have been a little on edge because I was having a bit of a difficult time keeping the other coworker, the one who I was originally talking to about the lesson plan, from opening six new tabs every time he got to another of my bullet points in order to explain to me other things I had just said. I apologized for snapping, but sometimes it's the only way to get people to hear me.

So, yeah. The Space Place job is still a job, with all its frustrations and annoyances. But by god I get to tell kids awesome things about space, and I can spend time between dome shows secretly pretending I'm hanging out on Ganymede or hanging out in lunar orbit during lunar eclipses, so I would say this job is still pretty damn fantastic anyway.

*This particular dome tech has been working there for over a decade and clearly no longer cares. I think she is actually asleep when she does her night sky presentations. Which is actually pretty inspiring, because I am eager to say "Dude, just ... let ME do this" and take over.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Planets)
Holy SHIT, y'all! Why did I not know about Universe Sandbox sooner? This program is AWESOME. I've been re-tooling the setting of Doctors! In! SPACE! as part of my big rewrite,* and while I've been mathing the HELL out of it and been doing pretty well, it's still nice to have an outside confirmation--and a visual one, at that. Plus, it's fun to send the solar system bodies careening around by sticking a massive star in there somewhere.

Still learning the program myself, but so far I've made sure the crazy skies for three different worlds are possible, and have managed to crash Jupiter into the sun several times. If you're at all into space stuff, guys, seriously, check this shit out. It's awesome.

Dear Astronomers: Do those poor bastards among you who study Trojan moons spend your ENTIRE LIVES with ZZ Top's "La Grange" banging around in your head?! It's been TWO DAYS. SOMEBODY HELP ME.

*Well, they're still gonna be in space, but a different part of it. Space is pretty big, after all.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Science!)
New term for "lab coat": "science shirt."

I love it when kids don't know the names for things they recognize and have to make up their own.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
What I've Learned Since The Spring Equinox

  • In an early script for The Little Mermaid Ursula was supposed to be Triton's sister. It kinda shines through.

  • Lily Tomlin played Miss Frizzle in the Magic School Bus show.

  • Annie Jump Cannon, who developed stellar classification, was ridiculously super-focused. She would spend each day painstakingly going through stars and categorizing them with spectroscopy. As someone who enjoys that sort of tedious infosifting, I am always glad when someone else who likes doing that gets recognized.

  • The modern white greasepaint clown look was invented by Joseph Grimaldi in the late 18th Century. I'd curse his name, but without him we wouldn't have the greatest comic book villain ever, so I salute you, you creepy clown!

  • Literary agents like to play musical agencies, so you're never sure which agency you've queried and which agent.

  • It turns out the "Augie's Great Municipal Band" song from The Phantom Menace was NOT intended to be a bouncy upbeat foreshadowing version of the Emperor's theme. I find this extremely disappointing. Here I was all "That's BRILLIANT!" and it was just a coincidence. The few points I give to the prequels must be deducted again.

  • Io's crazy volcanic activity is all due to the gravitational free-for-all between Jupiter and Jupiter's other big moons.

  • The latest theory about why lunar maria are only on the near side of the moon is that the moon was quickly tide-locked to Earth after they split, and the still-molten Earth kept the rock vaporized and blew things like aluminum to the far side of the moon and thus made the crust thicker. So it was a lot easier for the near side's crust to crack and bleed out the lava that hardened into those basaltic plains.

  • Handwriting is part of the Utah core curriculum--because of the neurological and developmental benefits. This is apparently unusual.

  • The great battle between British and French food hinges entirely on the quality of ingredients. The better your ingredients, the less need you have to complicate them with sauces and so forth. Rich People Food used to be blank chunks of meat. The Garbage Parts Of The Food only got popular as Rich People Food after everyone figured out how to make them good.

  • Antarctica's elevation is pretty high, bro.

  • Chainmaille weaving is hard on your back muscles.

  • The night sky on a planet inside a globular cluster would be pretty dang bright.

  • One of the most fun things to do with liquid nitrogen is to dump it out when you're done demonstrating its uses. POOF!

  • Balloons do not scare me if they are only partially blown up.

  • A lot of Catullus's poems were basically old-timey versions of hip-hop grudges.

  • The original difference between ginger beer and ginger ale is that ginger beer is brewed, with yeast and so forth, and ale is ginger syrup in carbonated water. That's the original difference. Nobody cares anymore, though.

  • The hipster soda section of the supermarket is terribly fun.

  • I can make an awesome rose ginger lemon soda, but it must be drunk within a week or two or it will turn beery.

  • There is such a thing as conductive thread. So you can sew LEDs into your clothing!

  • Astronomy dome theaters have great models of the skies of all sorts of other planets. You can watch Jupiter's phases from Europa, for crying out loud!

  • Unsurprisingly, nerds who work on the slides for spherical screens are more than willing to abuse their power. Science On A Death Star!

  • Sometimes you can take a chance with a new job and it turns out TOTALLY AWESOME.

bloodyrosemccoy: (Science!)
Got to freeze a marshmallow with liquid nitrogen and then stick it in a vacuum chamber today.

Did I mention this job is great? This job is great.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Moongazing)
bloodyrosemccoy: (Moongazing)
I was sitting with my fellow Space Place Educators today, waiting for the next presentation and discussing things like the merits of Dragonlance* and the questions Darmok raises about the Universal Translator and how Cracked is more journalistic than actual journalism (I have found my people), and suddenly another Space Placer dashes over.

"You've got to come outside!" she yelled. "There's some kind of rainbow thing you've got to see!"

So we all followed her outside, and sure enough there was a goddamn fire rainbow** hanging in the east, over my mountain.

Once again, living in a panorama has its advantages. I think I've seen circumhorizon arcs before, but it was never quite as dramatic as the one in the link. This one showed you why the term FIRE RAINBOW was used. Because dang, that thing may not be fire OR a rainbow, but by god it's majestic enough that it needs a majestic name.

*Raistlin, pretty much. And maybe Caramon, but only in the context of Raistlin.

**Okay, yeah, officially they're called circumhorizon arcs, but screw you, FIRE RAINBOW is way cooler. As a coworker put it, "Well, now that I know it's called a FIRE RAINBOW I have to go look at it again!"
bloodyrosemccoy: (Science!)
I don't mean to brag, but I think the Space Place's booth at the SLC Library Party was FAR cooler than Grant Imahara's. Sure, Grant Imahara has his face on the cover of a magazine, but did he have a vacuum chamber with a balloon* for demonstrations of air pressure? And yes, Grant Imahara might be on a popular long-running TV show, but I didn't see HIM with a bucket of liquid nitrogen he could use to shatter racquetballs. And what's that? Grant Imahara makes totally awesome robots, you say? Well, I'll bet HE wasn't letting kids make bracelets with UV color-change beads to take home with them! Also, Grant Imahara may have been giving out autographs, but by god we had an actual METEOR, that you could touch and everything!

In conclusion, I am pretty sure Grant Imahara's booth only got patronized because our booth was too crowded. You're welcome, Grant Imahara.

And I may not have gotten to meet him, but that's okay because I was very busy demonstrating SCIENCE! CAN YOU SAY THE SAME, GRANT IMAHARA?

Ah, well. I'm sure one day our paths will cross. SOMEDAY, GRANT IMAHARA. SOMEDAY.

*I'd like you all to note that I did not once panic about the balloon. Progress!
bloodyrosemccoy: (Space Adventure!)
I've already got a reputation here at the Space Place. Every time I'm introduced to someone, they say, "Are you Jordan's Friend?"* Perhaps this means he's been talking about me. I think that's good news.

Anyway, just to add a thin layer of anonymity to this, I'm not gonna name the actual facility. Let's just say it will be the Space Place That Will Remain Super Secretly Nameless, But Totally Has:

  • Exhibits like Guess Your Weight On Other Planets, moon rocks, interactive simulations of planetary orbits, planet surfaces, and some kind of Rube Goldbergy exhibit with springs and levers and balls and dinging bells that you can interact with,

  • A giant spherical screen in the lobby that can project rotating simulations of each solar system planet and climates and tectonics and so forth (and also, because it is programmed by supernerds, has a Death Star mode and an OMG WTF GIANT EYEBALL MODE like you've just run into the second scariest thing in Super Mario 64.**),

  • A dome theater,

  • Crazy science demonstrations, and

  • The most unbelievably awesome gift shop ever. No, seriously, you guys. I am buying all my presents from this place from now on. Have a wedding? Birthday? Housewarming? Xmas? YOU ALL GET MYTHBUSTERS SCIENCE KITS, DAMMIT.

So yeah, this totally secret Space Place is GREAT.

Anyway, my job is in education presentations to K-12 school groups, so I get to work with the sphere, dome, and the secret bonus third option for schools to far away to drive all the way to Space Place, Skype + Magic Educational Remote View. All of these use simulation programs to check out stuff like What's In The Sky and The Sun Is A Mass Of Incandescent Gas and Plate Tectonics and so forth. I've spent the last few days watching presentations in each of these media. It looks like a goddamn ton of fun, though I suspect the first time I try each one myself will be TERRIFYING.*** But first I've got to learn all the equipment, so next week I get to futz with the software and maybe make the eyeball follow patrons and see if any of them know that the secret is to run around it until it explodes into coins. It should get easier when the school year ends in a few weeks and I'll have time to do that. Later on, probably starting next school year, I get to travel to schools and demonstrate Cool Science to them.

I'm gonna have FUN here.

By the way, as you may expect, this place is full of nerds. Silly mustaches abound, one guy was telling me about the comic he's working on, I'm not gonna say who but ONE of us is trying to sell a YA fantasy novel and is (re)writing one about Doctors! In! SPACE!!, and I am pretty sure D&D groups figure into the weekly event schedule. There's even one guy who has been to Kenya, so even if we aren't talking strictly about NERD stuff, we still have things to connect on. I think I will do well here.

Plus, seriously, y'all, this gift shop. I am going to own more science bullshit than will fit in my house. I am okay with this.

*Except for the guy there who used to be my acting teacher back when I was, like, twelve. He knows me as "Mia." I know no one cares, but this guy was great back then, and it's a huge kick to talk to him again.

**Yes, second. Seriously, fuck that piano.

***The other "new" guy, who's been working in Concessions for years but is now graduating to an Edumacator, got to do his first ever presentation yesterday. Poor dope did well but was clearly flying on an adrenalin high.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Space Madness)
Tonight's Cosmos was especially excellent. The stuff about panspermia was the most fun (bouncing bacteria!) and always gets my recently re-revved sci-fi brain sparking,* but I also liked that the inevitable exhortation to not be so bloody shortsighted with our own species ended on an optimistic note. Sure there are stubbornly obtuse people refusing to think more broadly, but I like to think that they're a small minority. And, of course, I'm trying to do what I can to help, too.

Hope this is the sort of stuff I get to talk about at Space Place. Got a tour of it the other day. I think I'm gonna have FUN working there. If I get to basically tell kids how awesome the universe is, well, I'll be helping the next generation NOT to be so obtuse. I think that's a goal worth going for.

bloodyrosemccoy: (Venus By Air)
My new summer tradition seems to be Trying Out New Jobs At Education Centers.

So anyway I got this job. AT A SPACE PLACE.

Soon, hopefully, I will have a part-time job as Carl Sagan/Neil DeGrasse Tyson/Bill Nye/Ms. Frizzle.* I get to tell school kids Cool Stuff About Space! I tell people that sort of stuff all the time anyway, so might as well do it for money.

Although I've got to say that hands down that was the best job interview I've ever had. Probably it's because I've known one of the interviewers since we were in fourth grade together. We spent part of the interview reminiscing about that time in sixth grade when our class went on a field trip to some weird educational starship LARP thing** and he and I were behind-the-scenes "Mission Control," and then we all geeked out about Star Trek. I am pretty sure the line "Have you read Redshirts?" is what actually got me the job. (At least, I assume. Next time I go to a job interview, when they ask me what my weakness is I'm gonna say "job interviews." Because I'm shit at them. Any time someone tells me they were really impressed by how I handled myself during one, I have to suppress the urge to say, "Really?" Even on this one, where we spent 90% of the time just geeking out. THe 10% where I had to sell myself was what got me.)

So! It sounds like they actually have a job description in place for me alread, so they're one step up from the abortive museum job last year. Although I still DO have to do the Official Application now that they've already given me the job, because I guess bureaucrats want you to prove your devotion to the job or something.

Mom's a bit bummed out that it might cut into my time at the office, mostly because doing the office sucks when you're by yourself. And I hate change, so I'm not sure how I feel about this, either, but I think it's good for me. Change is rough, man.

On the other hand, I get to wear a lab coat. That should make it all worthwhile.

*I realize that one of those things is not like the others, but dammit Ms. Frizzle has been one of my heroes for forever, fictional wizard or not.

**I have no idea what that was about, but that was an awesome field trip.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Old Spice Onna Horse)
There are some bottles of experimental Earl Grey cream soda settling up in the fridge. I'll let y'all know how it tastes. If it goes well, I may try some Pride of the Port soda next.


Have been taking up jewelry-making again. Taking chainmaille a bit more seriously this time around. It's always difficult to get started with something, but this place has a few great starter kits. Plus, it's got colorful jump rings, and I am a sucker for colors. So far I'm trying a simple Box Chain rainbow necklace. I'm idiotically proud of how closely I'm managing to get the jump rings closed.


In the meantime, I've come across some pretty nifty-looking images of handmade LED Zelda-style Fairy-Inna-Bottle necklaces, but none of them are for sale. So I went with the next logical course of action and decided to make it myself.

Problem is, my knowlege of electricity is roughly that of a fifth-grader working through Fifty Fun Science Projects You Can Do At Home: something something battery something zinc copper something something circuit something LIGHT! And, y'know, for some reason I've picked up the impression that a potato is involved somehow. So I called my brother, what with him being an electrical engineer and all,* and he offered me some tips. The rest has been trial, error, and a lot of Googling. Oh, and gathering components. Once I get that done, the rest should be easy.


Mom got herself some roller skates, too. Now we just have to find a place to skate--outdoors, possibly, as spring gets moving.


I have mastered the art of Fish'n'Chips. I'd make myself a medal, but I'm already making a few other necklaces, and that would just be redundant.

*On the one hand, this a running joke along the lines of asking a linguist how many languages they speak. "Can you program my TV? I mean, you ARE an electrician!" No, he's an electrical engineer. On the other hand, though, I figured he probably knew a LITTLE more about practical circuitry than me and my potato.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
What I Learned Since The Winter Solstice

  • The Cooking Hypothesis suggests that the invention of cooking precipitated a rapid evolutionary change in humans, allowing them to more efficiently process nutrients and, of course, growing bigger brains. I always said cooking was an important part of humanity, dangit!

  • Nancy Kerrigan was filmed right after being attacked sobbing and asking "Why? Why?"--and a lot of people thought she was being a wimp or a drama queen because she was only bruised. Dude, it still hurts, but quite apart from that, when you get attacked, it's probably TERRIFYING and it HURTS YOUR FEELINGS.

  • The difference between triple axels, triple spins, triple lutzes, etc., has to do with where you push off from and what direction you're facing and okay fine I've already forgotten.

  • Flavoring sodas is a lot like brewing tea. Really sugary tea.

  • But brown sugar makes them taste rather bitter.

  • Also, soda-brewing is similar to making beer, except you don't let the yeast go far enough to make alcohol.

  • Furthermore, there is a lot of argument over just what the "cream" in "cream soda" refers to. Vanilla? Adding cream to the soda? Or cream of tartar? It's a HISTORY MYSTERY.

  • In tangentially-related soda discoveries, SodaStream is a company fraught with political tensions and controversy.

  • Cloth pads and panty liners are surprisingly expensive, but also surprisingly worth it.

  • There is a constellation in the Southern Hemisphere called "The Poop." Yes, it refers to a ship's stern (poop deck), BUT STILL. HURRRR.

  • There are, naturally, all sorts of recipes for Ent-Draught on the internet.

  • Mainlining Atop The Fourth Wall has taught me something I always rather thought: I have terrible comic-reading comprehension. I do okay with some, mostly in comic strip form, but it takes me a long time to parse each page, way longer than it takes to read straight prose, so if I'm going to read a comic, I have to be committed. And even then I have trouble regarding them critically.*

  • I did learn, however, that lots of people find it extremely difficult to keep comic continuity straight. Comic writers, for instance. Case in point: Donna Troy.

  • The director of Tremors is Ron Underwood, who got his start in the film industry making educational shorts for Barr Films--such as one of my favorite Rifftrax-featured shorts, Library World.

  • My mom, who watched very little TV as a kid, nevertheless has strong opinions about what Mr. Peabody's voice sounds like.

  • Mork & Mindy was a spinoff of Happy Days.  Clearly, I never watched either of them.

  • Getting feedback on your novel can be a mixed bag. You get excited that you can make it better, but frustrated when you can't tell if the feedback makes sense.

  • Publishing a serial story online gets more difficult with each installment because there's a lot to keep track of. BUT DAMMIT IT'S STILL POSSIBLE.

  • You can unclog standard drain clogs with the use of science fair volcano technology.

  • After you turn into the left-turn-lane, it's legal to drive 500 freaking feet in that lane. Which is almost a whole block even here in Salt Lake City.

  • The Beautiful Creatures movie might be adapted from a novel of the same name, but don't let that fool you. It is clearly a remake of The Touch of Satan.

  • The first female-directed movie ever to gross more than $1 billion is Frozen. Which is awesome, but dang, it took a while to get there. Let's hope this is a good precedent!

*Interestingly, though, I read a lot of Archie comics as a kid. It fascinated me the same way 1950s Educational Shorts fascinate me--it shows some weird whitebread cultural ideal that somehow I can't look away from.


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July 2016

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