Thursday, September 22, 2011

5 year old Lego Star Wars Movie

"You are too short to be a stormtrooper!"   (explore)
Image courtesy of flikr user The mofoJT

A great little stop action Lego Star Wars Movie.  It is filled with pew-pew awesomeness.  A great reminder of being a kid.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

6 Ton NASA Satellite Falling From the Sky

Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), credit NASA MSFC
Sometime near Friday, September 23, 2011, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) will crash back to Earth.  UARS helped to define the role of the upper atmosphere in climate and climate variability, by measuring ozone and chemical compounds found in the ozone layer which affect ozone chemistry and processes.  UARS also helped characterize winds and temperatures in the stratosphere as well as the energy input from the Sun.  All of these helped better understand our upper atmosphere and Earth's climate.

It turns out that the this huge satellite may have some pieces which reach ground level.  Sounds exciting!  Don't touch though. ran an article about how FEMA is on alert for any issues.  You can read it: FEMA Prepared for Dead NASA Satellite's Plunge to Earth This Week.

From the article, 
Numerically speaking it comes out to a chance of 1 in 3,200 that one person anywhere in the world might be struck by a piece of debris. "So those are actually, obviously, very, very low odds that anything — anybody is going to be impacted by this debris," Johnson added.
Pretty small odds indeed... unless you are the person that gets hit... actually, I think that seems like very large odds.  Given that 2/3 of the planet is covered by water, that number seems ridiculously high... anyone else have any thoughts about it?

EDIT: Thought I would update the article with my comment below in case someone doesn't read the comment.  The 1 in 3200 is integrated over the entire world population.  The odds for any individual is 1 in 2.1E13 or 1 in 21 Trillion.  Very small odd indeed.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Those darn kids... and Punk Rock Friday

I have a few fun stories to share along with some quality punk rock to start your weekend.  Stories first:

So, Sweet Little Helion (my 2 year old daughter) loves the color yellow.  Maybe loves is an incorrect description - she is slightly obsessed with it.  She searches out yellow cars and houses when we drive, then smiles and points them out to everyone.  And you must acknowledge the yellow.  She would live in her yellow butterfly shirt every day if I didn't tear it off her body to wash it - to the tears and rage that only a toddler can produce.  So, the other night Beautiful Wife is upstairs putting SLH to bed and they were chatting a bit.  She asked SLH what color she would paint her room if she had the choice, expecting full well that she would hear 'Yellow!' in her sweet little toddler voice which sounds closer to her saying 'Lellow'.  Instead, SLH responds with 'Black.' in this deadpan, matter of fact way.  Weird little kids.

So, last night I am walking past SLH's room an hour after her bedtime and I hear her singing 'I love yellow, I love yellow' over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.  She just repeated her yellow mantra for like 5 minutes.  I think we are going to have to start a yellow cult or something...
Lalibela, Ethiopia - Man in saffron robe
All pray to the all mighty YELLOW! Photo by mexikids at Flickr

Ok maybe not... I am too light skinned to wear that much yellow anyway... SLH will be devastated.

On another note, the other morning BW was getting ready for work, SLH was playing on the floor and Little Berserker Spawn, our 4 year old son, was sitting on our bed watching some news and eating some cheerios.  BW had done something a little new with her hair that morning and I thought it looked really nice, so I said, "I really like your hair."  Now, LBS wanted to also complement her, but did not want to copy me so he said, "Mommy, I really like yourrrrr... underwear!"  I burst out laughing and BW was very kind and gracious, and said, 'Thank you, LBS.' While shooting the crazy laughing eyes at me.  HAHAHAHA!  To be fair, she was getting dressed and didn't have her pants on yet.

Punk Rock Friday - the Ramones
So, in honor of my funny kids I present to you for Punk Rock Friday their favorite songs: Do You Remember Rock N Roll Radio?  and Rock N Roll High School.  They Rock N Roll Radio is LBS' favorite while SLH switches between the two.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the Working Dad

I am a working father.  Worse even, I am a postdoc and a father.  A postdoc is like a graduate student - chained to their work, but worse - you don't get any points just for trying anymore.  You have graduated - it is time to get RESULTS!  Nothing matters but results - and journal articles.  Really, only journal articles.  Actually,  journal articles where you are first author.  Nothing else really matters.

Except, I am married with kids.  Little people who fawn over me, adore me, loving me to the bottom of their souls.  Little people who just want to play with their dad, sit in his lap, have him pay attention to them.  And you know what, I love them so much.  I adore every little drawing they make, every rock they give me, every silly story they tell me.  I love that they love me.  I love that they love to be with me.

So, in honor of them, I write this piece.  This is inspired by the hilarious women over at Rants from Mommyland who have a whole series of Domestic Enemies articles.  They are awesome, hilarious, and truthful.  You should read them!

I present to you the domestic enemies of the working dad.

Daycare Mommies
I am the primary parent who handles daycare.  I get them ready in the morning, I drop them off, I pick them up,  It is the situation our family is in.  BW works across the bridge-tunnel.  Yes you hear right - it is both a bridge and a tunnel under the water.  Yes, it gets annoying to be the one 'on call' all the time.  But I also get to be the one to get that last hug and kiss, to be the first one to see them after daycare.  But what annoys me are the Daycare Mommies.  You know, the ones who think it is just "so CUTE that Daddy is in charge of doing the daycare thing.  And oh my, you even did your daughter's hair, well isn't that just so special?"  You know what, just because I have a penis doesn't mean I am not a full-time parent.  Yes, I dress them and do their hair.  I have a daughter and that means I have to do the pigtails or braids or whatever she wants that day.  (Or what I decide is feasible with the nanoseconds left before we have to leave).  Why does it matter if it is Mom or Dad who does this?  And no, their mother is not sick or taking the day off - I do this 5 times a week, 52 weeks a year.  Just shut up already.  Please.

Daycare Parties
I love my kids and if I could, I would not send them to daycare.  Or let me rephrase that.  I would not send them to daycare everyday.**  So, when you the daycare teachers schedule a party every other week along with a freaking field trip every month - I get annoyed.  Yes my job is flexible.  But no, I don't get vacation time.  Sorry, not in the postdoc world.  So, I REALLY don't want to hear how EVERYONE else's Mom (or Dad) is going to the circus.  Why the hell am I paying you to take me and my kid to the circus?  So, no, I cannot always just drop everything and stop by in the middle of the afternoon for an hour or two for your special "Springtime Under the Sea" party.  If I had extra time at work - I would LEAVE EARLY and take my kids home to hang out with me and play hide and seek or something fun...

Oh and nevermind trying to leave after the party to go back to work.  Talk about extreme meltdown...
Car Service People
This is a big time pet peeve of mine... no, you cannot keep my car overnight.  No, it is not possible.  My wife works an hour away and I have to pick up the kids.  If you don't fix my car we are stranded.  Didn't I just tell you my wife works an HOUR AWAY.  It is already 4pm.  Nevermind traffic.  GIVE ME MY CAR BACK.

If you are going to call a meeting, at least accomplish SOMETHING. I don't have time to waste chit-chatting about your weekend.  Let's get to work.

And sorry, no, I cannot stay late EVERY day this week.  I have to pick up my kids.  No I cannot come out to dinner tonight to enjoy an adult evening with our latest guest speaker - I have to feed the kids and make sure they don't throw their whole dinner off the end of the table or spill the whole gallon of milk.  Yes, I would rather have some great chef prepare a 3 course meal than to ask my 2 year old daughter for the 20th time to please CHEW AND SWALLOW THAT BROCCOLI!.

And yes, I know you cannot even fathom having two kids and being a postdoc... because you don't have kids...  and no, I don't know how I do it either.

Well, yes I do know how I do it.  With lots of help from my wife, lots of laughter and a good sense of what matters to me, and two giggly little kids who make all the stress disappear every day.

**I think daycare is a great thing.  Firstly, kids get to hang with other kids.  BW and I don't have a ton a friends with kids the same age as our kids.  Our neighborhood is filled with old people, so the kids get their peer interactions at daycare.  That is an important thing. Second, it teaches children to take orders from someone other than their parents.  This is important also!  Kids are going to have to learn to listen to a teacher at some point so starting early is good.  Oh yeah, there is also the parental sanity point to be made.  Getting some time away from the kids is good too. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beware Reviews of Anything

So, I have always known that you shouldn't trust anything you read on the internet.  Since I have been dinking around on the interwebs since my friend got the IP address for a direct dial blackhat site before the world wide web, I knew not to believe a word out there.  Hell, I had an email address (umm... why did it take until now to release how lame that is...) in high school which sent me 100 "grow your schlong" spam emails a day...  I remember when google first launched and making fun of all my friends who stilled used yahoo to search...

So, I am a veteran of the don't listen to the random jackhole on the internet.  But last week I found something especially disconcerting.  I received following email on my work account:

Subject: Free copies of **** **** **** ********** ***, 2nd Edition

-A free book - now that gets my attention.

blah blah blah, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah,
more blah...
If you’d like a free copy, just reply by email and I’ll set one aside for you. I only have thirty review copies, so it’s first come first serve.

The only hitch is that the publisher is asking that anyone receiving a copy agree to provide a positive (5 star) review on Amazon. You’ll need an existing Amazon account to do this.

Best wishes, 
Blah B. Blah, Ph.D., P.E.

So here is a PhD in what I assume to be engineering (since he has a PE) who sees nothing wrong with bribing people to post good reviews (5 stars none-the-less) so he can make money.  And he sends this out on our full email distribution list...  So very sad.  And possibly illegal...

So I have always assumed, the only people who bother posting reviews to places are the ones who had really extreme experiences - with people who have extremely bad experiences being more likely to post a review.  So, I tend to discard the worst and the best and take a look in the middle.
The one caveat I always had was amazon book reviews.  I buy 90% of my books from Amazon because I have a Amazon Prime account which means I get free 2 day shipping and free release day shipping on everything.  So, that means when I buy Christmas presents for all my family and ship it back home, shipping is free!  Well worth it!  So, why the special circumstances for Amazon reviews?  Well, because you only have to post a few sentences and it all gets averaged.  If there are not that many reviews to create a good average, then I can read them quickly.  

And what could possibly be someone's reason for padding book reviews... I have received more than a few 'review versions' of books for teaching, none that had a stipulation of good reviews to receive the book.

So, how many of those reviews on Amazon are just padded... probably them all.  That makes me sad.  And makes me feel like a dupe.  Which annoys me.  That is what I get for thinking anything on the interwebs is not fully of douchebaggery...

Haiku Monday (Late) - Labor

No life no savings
10 years of school Ph. D.
Laboring always

--Meant to post this yesterday, but it just seemed like too much work.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...