Thursday, March 28, 2013


No, I'm sorry to say I didn't complete your website update, your tri-fold brochure, the finishing work for that model that needs to go in the mail ASAP, my taxes, or any of the other 18 deliverables on my punch list.

I did, however build a desktop laser interferometer today with a bunch of high school kids.  Pretty cool - it totally worked, although you can't actually see the dark lines in the diffraction pattern on the paper in the photo.  We also built some bridges from straws and tape - about as fun as it  can get without lasers.

Lenses and mirrors and lasers, oh my!
"Nobody said the span needed to be >1 inch."
The bridge session kids didn't realize it until the end of the session that the whole purpose of the exercise was to follow rules but look for loopholes and ask for information that they needed.  Their first task was to line up along one wall in order of sequential birth month and date without anybody speaking. A lot of mad hand gesturing happened before they realized they weren't prohibited from writing on the whiteboard behind them.

And thus concludes another STEM-con. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math!) Back to my regularly scheduled to-do list.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

About Face

Continuing evidence of why the mill ends aren't sold as first cuts.  This bag of yarn has been quite nice, but has not been without surprises.  The first ball I tackled turned out to be two parallel strands wound together for the whole length, making a large twisty mess (which I set aside as it was taking 3 people to wind and untwist it into submission.)  Now this other ball...
The color sequence has up and reversed on me!
Has been marching along in rainbow order, although to be picky I would point out in one sequence the yellow portion was about twice as long as the other. Until last night.  Teal, blue, purple, pink, then back to purple, then blue. It's now my lucky DOUBLE RAINBOW.  You did know that the color sequences of the second rainbow (referring to the meteorological phenomenon) are flipped from normal, right?

Fortunately, I don't think anyone will know or care once it is wrapped around the neck and draped about.

It does leave me to wonder what mysteries the third ball will hold. I just hope it's not the "knot every 20 yards" flaw.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


A couple of incoming papers to share with you today.  The first is this desperate plea for help from Zabet, from the Anticraft:

I think I have no course of action but to grab my musket, a few vials of laudanum, and mount up the horses and head her way. I hope they can hold out until help arrives. This is actually part of elaborate Parlour Trick. If the thought of haunted chamber music intrigues you, click the picture below - you can hear the album on line and then buy a download. Cool stuff. Thanks, Zabet!

Also, this bit of ephemera, as found tucked inside a second-hand book purchased this week. I found it terribly entertaining, not just because of the atrocious spelling, but the idea that a person would need all of these things at once. It's such a random collection of items that extends beyond the typical grocery list. The edibles are so disparate, I can't even image what s/he's going to be cooking for dinner. I'm trying to imagine the person who wrote it out.

The most amusing item is the Metamucil, when considering the book was a volume of manga. Seriously, how many Death Note readers supplement their fiber intake with Metamucil? Maybe it was for grandma.