Monday, June 30, 2008

This sounds so cool, I might have to try

I came across a call for entries in a playwriting contest a while ago for plays about science. There's even a cash prize for the best one -- $10,000! Not too shabby, right?

Given that it took me several years of start-stop work to finish the one I have, it's doubtful I'll be able to complete this in time for the deadline, which is December 15. But I think I'm going to give it some serious consideration. Now all I need is a subject. Keep in mind I am not a scientist. I wasn't even especially good at it in high school or college. But I reallly like it. And I'm pretty good at taking new information and making it sound like I know what I'm talking about.

So far the one idea I had for a subject is from an exhibit I like a lot at the planetarium, the relative sizes of stuff, comparing it all by powers of 10, from the visible universe to a proton. I wrote a post about this a while back. How I'm going to expand it into 60-90 minutes I don't know. But that $10,000 sounds pretty attractive. I'll keep you all posted on my progress or lack thereof (which is the more likely outcome).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Risking Life and Limb

My friend Deborah called Friday night and said "Hey, let's go hiking tomorrow!" What a great idea! I like to hike and I was itching to get out of town and do something like that. We headed for Palisades Interstate Park, which runs along the Hudson River from New Jersey into New York. The thing about the topography there is that there is a path along the shore and then there is an enormous cliff -- really enormous -- and then more paths along the tops. She says, let's do the shore trail to the Giant Stairs, then we'll climb the cliff path and come back along the top.

The warning sign said "Difficult scramble over large boulders followed by a steep ascent." Hmmm. Well, okay, I'm game. See those rocks up there? More than a mile of this terrain, and it's a lot more difficult than it looks. Plus there's the ever-present danger of serious damage to all sorts of body parts if you miss your footing. And it's really hard work! And then, after this grueling ordeal, we still have to climb a very steep and not too user-friendly path up the cliff.

Obviously I made it back in one piece, more or less. But I am sore all over. And I have scrapes on both arms from when I fell off the tree branch. I think it must have looked hysterically funny. I laughed and I didn't even see myself. The reward was a Frozfuit bar from the snack bar at the top. Then it's back the 3 or so miles to where we parked the car. At least the upper paths were relatively flat and clear. It was about 7 hours in all. But there were more than a few moments when I thought, this is it, they're gonna have to medivac me out of here.

Oh, and did I mention the poison ivy?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Good god, just how much authenic/genuine Cialis/Viagra can one girl use?

Is it just me or has the amount of E.D.-related spam increased geometrically recently? On my Mac at home, I used to get none/zero/zip spam. Now a few manage to sneak through. But when I check my e-mail on my PC at work tomorrow, I can guarantee you there will be at least 175 spam messages, 99% of which will be imploring me to stock up on Cialis and Viagra. Personally I'd like to think that I myself am sufficient to produce the desired result, so I take it as a little bit of an insult to start with. Okay, not everyone is as thin-skinned as I am. But honestly! What do they think I'm doing? Do they think I'm throwing orgies every night? Actually...that might not be such a bad idea. But regardless! I wasn't born yesterday. I am an informed consumer. I refuse to fall for all of these so-called "deals." Maybe just one or two, though. After all, it doesn't hurt to be prepared, right?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

And aren't we all just a little relieved about this!

So I just read in the paper that the toilet on the space station is working again. Whew! I mean, it's bad enough when you're stuck in the car or on a bus and you have to hold it. Imagine being stuck on the space station! It's not like you can zip out to the nearest Starbucks or anything. Of all the pieces of equipment to keep in working order, I'd say this is one of the most crucial.