She Blinded me with Science! (Projects…)

I remember science projects. I had to do a lot of them in high school. I don’t remember exactly what I did most of the time. I built a model of a nuclear reactor (of course, that’s not really a project, just a model) and explained the differences between fission and fusion. I built a radio transmitter, courtesy of plans in one of the nerdiest books ever written, R. Ianinni’s ‘Laser, Phaser, Ion Ray Gun’, which guaranteed none of the sleazy girls would talk to me under the bleachers. I got pretty good at building them, too. I could almost fit one in a film canister. There were no pn2222 transistors left in radio shack (as if they even know what those are now…)

So our daughter comes home with a science project handout. Not only is there a project handout, but we have to go to the school and listen to a speech on how projects are to be done (see; handout. I guess some parents can’t read). MY suggestion was to search for evidence of Sasquatch activity in the local area. That’s a biology project… cooler heads prevailed and we did “impact craters”. We dropped marbles from various heights into dishes of flour sprinkled with cocoa powder, so you could see the ejectus. Pretty neat, and messy, but tasty. Out of all the parents, I hope we get the best grade. Kaylee did help with the dropping and the prepping and the gluing of letters to the display board.

So that was Saturday. Sunday is my traditional walking in the woods day. My first hour or so was spent on a nature trail. Despite having been warm and comfortable during the previous week, Sunday included cold and wind. It wasn’t that bad in the woods, mainly because of all the trees, I guess. I found a geocache, and then headed to the top of Sugarloaf mountain, to cook my lunch.

Big mistake. If you’ve never tried to cook in a wind tunnel, you don’t really know how my experience went. I did have my newfangled wind screen, but it took forever for my water to boil. When it finally did, I chased down my lunch, brought it back and dumped the water in to rehydrate. Then I added more water and boiled my cappuccino. Its nice to drink in the cold and especially when there are miles to go before you sleep. During this time, I was trying to take a time lapse movie of the clouds coming over the mountain, like a cheapy version of this (one of the most awesome time lapse movies ive seen in a long time):

Yosemite HD Time Lapse

Unfortunately every time I got the camera almost set up, some group of people would start heading to the top of the mountain. I finally gave up. Maybe 40 acre rock would be a better place for this type of thing. All in all it was a good hike, with plenty of ups and downs. Maybe by fall I will be ready for the three day “Appalachian Trail” expedition that the local hiking group does.

In other news – treadmills are expensive to fix. Mine quit going up and down. Which is important for a potential section-of-the-Appalachian-Trail hiker training. Walking on flat ground can only help so much. Six months ago, I was walking on it, when suddenly it dropped to the level position. Blam, down I went, like Tom Cruise’s career. I found a manual online, and the incline motor assembly was $150… wow. However, the same manual had an exploded diagram showing how the treadmill comes apart. Using a 9/16″ wrench, a hex key and a jar of swear words, I was able to get the thing apart. The incline assembly includes a motor, some gearing, and a rack and pinion gear system. The motor turns the little gear, and it moves the bar, pushing the treadmill up. The steel bar is supported by and held against the gear using (you could have guessed, right?) a PLASTIC piece. My plastic piece had broken and the end came out. With nothing to hold the bar against the gear, nothing worked. So I glued it back together and used some nylon cord as a sort of homemade fiberglass support, gluing it to the side. If it doesn’t hold, I might have to get my own fiberglass cloth and make a new part.

In final news, an old friend has passed on, my Grey-Banded King Snake. Sleep well “sneaky snake”.

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Author: theosus1

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