In Defense of the Universal Monsterverse

I concur with Blake on this one. The Universal “Monsterverse” did the shared universe long before the Avengers. And I am hopeful that they will succeed in revitalizing the franchises with these new movies. In Defense of the Universal Monsterverse.

Living in Plan Z

Last night, the plan had been to wake up early this morning. Well, actually before that the plan had been to buy some last minute Halloween supplies and do some laundry. I should know better than to expect to go with plan A.

I had arrived home last night to see a note from my landlord on the door. He was stopping by today to check the smoke alarms. He was being considerate by letting me know. He didn’t want to stop by while I was sleeping, just in case I was working an odd shift.

I called back and let him know that I am on day shift this week and next and that he could enter while I was gone.

Then I walked up the stairs and saw the mess. I had forgotten about that. I have not had much of a chance to clean. The rotating schedule saps my energy. I get lazy and my apartment becomes cluttered.

That was an understatement.

It was not dirty by any stretch of the imagination. I wash dishes. Clean sinks, stoves, bathtubs, and toilets. I disinfect. I dust. I change the kitty litter. But organization is another matter. I just do not always have the energy to do that.

So my apartment continually looks like the earth swallowed stores filled with my favorite hobbies and vomited them into my apartment. Books. Sheet music. Stringed instruments. Strings. Cookbooks. Comic books. Magazines. They cover every possible square inch of my apartment. My loveseat had the bills I needed to pay and my checkbook strewn across it. Stubs of paid bills spilled off the seat and onto the floor. Laundry baskets of clothes to take to the laundromat were in the center of the room, awaiting my next trip.

It was a bit of a mess.

And because I had been busy, there were a few dishes in the sink awaiting washing. Not many. Maybe fifteen minutes of work tops. And a good chunk of that was because it takes time for the water to warm.

Lots to do. And I was pressed for time. And exhausted. I organized the piles. I washed the dishes. I made a plan. And then I got distracted by talking to family and watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. And then by You’re Elected, Charlie Brown. And then I could not drag myself off the loveseat until it was time for bed. D’oh!

Oh, well. I would wake up early! No problem. I set my alarm for an hour early. I took a painkiller for the slight headache I could feel developing, and I went to bed. I double checked that the light was on, verifying that the alarm had been set. I double checked the time it was to go off – 5:30am. No problem.

Unfortunately, I did not look closely enough at the label of the container I had opened. I did not grab the usual painkiller. I grabbed the PM version.

I do not remember shutting off the alarm, but I must have. When I rolled over and looked at the time, it was 7am.

7am?! I usually am finishing getting dressed then and almost ready to leave! Adrenaline kicked in and I was out of bed in a flash.

I filled two garbage bags with papers that I no longer needed. I hastily moved the laundry into the bedroom, the books onto shelves, the comics into boxes, and the music into files. I put the banjo behind the loveseat and the ukulele and the guitar into the closet. I wrote a check for November’s rent, put it in an envelope, and taped it to the inside of the door so that when the landlord left, he would see it and have it a day early.

I looked at the time. 7:45am. Darn it! It takes at least fifteen minutes to get to work on the best of days and I was supposed to be there at 8am. There was no way. I hadn’t even washed and changed yet!

Eli watched me through all of this. He was nice enough to stay out of my way, but you could tell that he wanted attention. He sat on the sofa and purred whenever I came near him, but otherwise stayed still. Poor cat. At least with the automatic feeder he would not be hungry. I made a mental note to play with him more as soon as I got home.

I took the fasted shower since college, then I grabbed a short sleeved black t-shirt and a long sleeved red one. I pulled on some black jeans. Black shirt first. Then red. Made sure that the black was showing through the top. Then, the final touch, my Star Trek Engineering badge. Perfect. I had wanted to try to put on zombie makeup or something, but no time. 7:55am! Ack!

Fifteen minutes later, I was not only at work, but had found one of the closest possible parking spots. Still not sure how that happened. Maybe working at a particle accelerator for so long has given me hidden powers over the time-space continuum. Or perhaps Eli took pity upon me and granted me luck. More likely I broke several laws and was not spotted by local law enforcement.

The plan for tonight? Stop at the grocery after work and grab a bag of candy just in case plan A for the Trick or Treaters is not sufficient. You see, I bought about forty comics to give away, but what if:

  • the kids (or parents) don’t like them, or
  • I run out?!

I’d better have a backup plan.

Oct. 23: Mole Day

Yay! Mole Day!

http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/10/23/october_23_mole_day.html

Every Single Flu Vaccine Myth, Debunked

Yes!

http://io9.com/every-single-flu-vaccine-myth-debunked-1648554144?utm_campaign=socialflow_io9_facebook&utm_source=io9_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

The Most Effective Stimulus

Body: I don’t feel good.
Brain: We’re hungry (among other things.) Get out of bed and feed us.
Body: I’m dizzy.
Brain: We’re dehydrated. We broke into a cold sweat last night as our fever broke. Get out of bed. Drink. Eat.
Body: I feel weak.
Brain: You aren’t listening. We need food and water. Get out of bed! You’ll feel better. Trust me!
Body: ACK! Cold, wet cat nose touching me!
(Body sits bolt upright and performs complex gymnastics getting out of bed. Meanwhile, the purring cat who merely wanted attention, stares on in confusion.)
Brain: Good kitty.

Vancouver to remove mysterious unicycle markings on bike lanes

Owen:

I’m saddened that this is considered graffiti and will be removed.

Originally posted on Metro News:

A series of mysterious unicycle markings are appearing on Vancouver bike lanes, turning heads and causing a stir on social media.

The freshly spray-painted one-wheel symbols recently popped up along sections of the Adanac Bikeway, a popular cycling route that extends from downtown Vancouver to Boundary Road, including the separated bike lane of the Dunsmuir Viaduct.

Tynan Rollo, a member of the Vancouver Unicycle Club, said the city’s unicycle community is buzzing with theories about who could be behind the stenciled symbols.

“We’ve been asking around the unicycle and circus community to see if anyone knows who is responsible, but have yet to turn anything up,” he told Metro in an email interview.

At first, Rollo said he believed the markings might be a guerrilla marketing campaign for the upcoming CircusFest event, which takes place in November, but organizers told him they are equally curious about who is responsible.

Unicycling is becoming…

View original 226 more words

Unicycle graffiti appears on Vancouver bike routes – British Columbia – CBC News

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/unicycle-graffiti-appears-on-vancouver-bike-routes-1.2789667

Unicycle graffiti appears on Vancouver bike routes – British Columbia – CBC News

Oh, Vancouver! I already loved you because of TRIUMF and for being the home of some of my friends. But this is just nifty! http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/unicycle-graffiti-appears-on-vancouver-bike-routes-1.2789667

Multiple Choice

I do not know how many times in my life I have been asked “what are you?” Even when I was a kid, my answers rarely satisfied the questioner. I might say that I was “me.” Or “human.” As I got older, I tended to say “a carbon based, bipedal, terrestrial lifeform.” Other answers have included (but are certainly not limited to,) “overeducated,” “exhausted,” “I’m Batman,” “I yam what I yam,” and “the One and Owenly.”

But these events were all just the surface tension over a deeper pond. It all relates to the idea that a person can, and in fact should, be categorized. That without sorting a person into boxes, identity cannot be ascertained.

I do not automatically agree.

I do not see anything inherently wrong with the idea. Many people identify strongly with particular groups. I suspect that most do. I do not.

I suppose, that like many of the things I have been told are weird about it, this all stems from my childhood. I did not grow up in any particular state. I did not grow up with any particular community of people. The only constant was my nuclear family. None of us fit any of the types in the media. We were just who were were.

OK, yes. My father is very obviously black. But he does not use slang. He always dresses for success. He is an electrical engineer and a businessman. He was nothing like the black men I would see on TV or in the movies.

My mother? My mother looks like she could have been sisters with Maria from Sesame Street or Claire Huxtable from the Cosby Show. She does occasionally slip into Spanish and does cook delicious Mexican food, but she has no accent (beyond a slight South-eastern Ohio/South-western Indiana one) and she does not seem to self-identify with any group other than african american – despite the fact that we know for a fact that her side of the family is also Irish, Cherokee, and Mexican. But in her case, societal pressure in her childhood told her that none of the other things matter. She was just Black.

That has always annoyed and disturbed me. It seems so disrespectful to the rest of our heritage. I love the fact that on my mother’s side Grandma was Black, Irish, Welsh, Scot, and Breton. I am proud of the fact that Grampa (mom’s father) was Black, Cherokee, and (possibly) Mexican.

Sadly, I do not know much about my father’s side of the family. There does seem to be some Irish there as well. And possibly some Lakota. More research must be done.

But the pressure to simplify is strong. And lest there be any confusion, it is not merely from white people, whatever that term means. It is not as if white were universally defined … but I digress.  More than once, I have heard “light skinned blacks” who either do not self identify as black, or who add in other qualifications confronted as if they were putting on airs or denying their own blackness.  The feeling seems to be that any skin tone beyond some hypothetical “whiteness” and with any sort of dark, curly hair is automatically black. It automatically overpowers any other genetic trait, heritage, or social group.

So, let me state for the record what is known (and/or strongly suspected in some cases) from my makeup. My family contains:

  • Breton
  • Cherokee
  • Irish
  • Lakota (possibly)
  • Malian
  • Mexican (or possibly Puerto Rican)
  • Scottish
  • Welsh

I have seen, talked to, grown up with relatives who lean more towards some parts of that than others. Images from old photographs which show the patchwork of family history. And yet, I am supposed to ignore them? Forget them? Pretend that they are not a part of me?

At different times in my life, I would have self identified differently between the various parts of my family. But I have never felt that I was of any one group other than American.

The moving has especially helped with that. I remember living in an area without many “black” people, but with lots of people from Mexico. The few black people around were much darker than I and we just didn’t click. There was no enmity; we just were not tight. So I was basically considered one of the Latinos.

In another state, maybe I was with a group of mostly white kids. Or perhaps I was with the nerds (who were of every race.) Or the theater geeks. Or the marching band. It varied. I hung out with people who accepted me.

So when someone makes generalizing statements about a group and I chime in with my perspective, it gets frustrating when I am told, “you are not of that group. You get no say” when I have had experience as part of that group, both genetically and socially. I do identify with them.

I can see people’s point. Really. But, it feels so simplistic.

I guess that I will stick with what I was saying before. I’m just me. Do not try to box me in to anything else.

Should I Fill the Gaps?

There is a chance, a small chance, that I am not as much of a fool as I think I am. In fact, I might not be a complete fool; there is a possibility that my folly is incomplete.

Let me go back a bit.

This summer, I took a class for work at Particle Accelerator School. I was to learn Accelerator Physics using the mathematical program – Maple. It was not easy by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it pretty much shattered any self confidence that I used to possess.

But, because I am me, after class was over I decided to keep trying. I knew that I had not learned what I had set out to learn, so I kept at it.

One of the things we learned in class was to figure out the chromaticities induced by thin quadrupole magnets arranged in a FODO lattice. (If you do not understand that, do not worry. Just smile and nod for now. I can explain later if you wish.)

Anyway, I figured that the best way for me to learn would be for me to extrapolate from that and see whether it could be used to figure out the chromaticities induced by said magnets arranged in a FOFDOOD lattice. You see, we do have a synchrotron accelerator arranged with FODO (the Main Injector or MI), but we also have one arranged in a FOFDOOD (Booster). I was curious how that would change things.

Class let out at the beginning of July. It has taken me until now (about two and a half months) to come up with something that seems right. Today I talked to the man in charge of the Booster accelerator and asked him for some data so that I could compare my findings with reality.

We talked for a while and he seemed interested in my findings. He told me that what I had done had not been done before and that although my current setup would not be accurate, he gave me advice to help make it better. Furthermore, he would like to see what I come up with since it might be useful later!

Whoa! I was just trying to see if I understood things. I had no idea that I was trailblazing! Suddenly, I felt a small surge of …dare I say it? Pride!

Still, I probably should not have walked into the Main Control Room saying, “there are gaps in my foolishness!”