Monday, August 30, 2010

Being on TV

I haven't written on my blog in a long time -- too much stress from work and improvements to the tenement. I miss my blog :( No excuses anymore, I had to get on here today since Phil Plait's new show aired last night. I don't have a TV or cable so I couldn't watch it. I did swap email with Phil over the weekend, though. I wanted to let him know I sold a one-time use license of my video of the sonic boom obliterating a sundog to a Japanese TV show, only not the same show that asked for it the first time. At the time he advised me to stay far away from anything called Mystic Detectives. That was my gut reaction too, so it was good to have agreement on it. I held out on The World's Most Amazing Videos until they agreed to pay me almost 3 times their original offer. If anybody has access to FujiTV on September 25th watch the show and tell me if they bother to explain Snell's Law. They made me nervous the way they tried to talk me into it. I emailed them this....

I am concerned it will not be presented with the proper explanation of the physics of cirrus clouds, sun dogs, refraction and supersonic pressure waves. I have been approached by other organizations who wanted to call it mystical. As a scientist I cannot allow this.

And their reply:

Please kindly consider this matter. As you said, it is mystical and very rare phenomenon. Most of people have never seen this beautiful miracle before. We'd like to introduce it to the audience in Japan. The show is targeting the audience from children to older people. They'll be greatly moved and impressed by your video.

What?! NO! NOT mystical! Maybe there is something lost in translation? What do they think mystical means? What about MIRACLE?! I am uncomfortable with these words. I suppose ultimately it is best for people to see it and judge for themselves. Considering I got a YouTube comment from someone who was surprised the US even launches rockets anymore it's good to get that fact in front of a wide audience when possible. John Callender over at told me not to worry, just take the money.

Anyway, back to Phil's show, Bad Universe. He seemed a little nervous about how it will be received. His email indicated he was in self-deprecating mode, preparing himself for the worst -- a basic coping mechanism I know very well. Then I saw a Twitter update today crowing about Bad Universe being in the top 100 Google searches today. So of course I had to Google it a few times to help him out. I found a lot of good reviews and a few previews that look like fun!

Now not to diminish Phil at all, I have to mention that after a few trailers for his show, the search for "Bad Universe" produces a Strongbad email called Alternate Universe. Now that's pretty awesome, Phil. Good company :) Skip ahead to 1:30 and see Strong Badman, with his well drawn abs. Phil Plait has a cartoon version of himself for his show title but he only got a chiseled chin and pinched in waist and no well-drawn abs. Maybe next time, Phil!

I did see another trailer for the show that used a giant-shooting-light-out-the-eyeballs sequence that looked very like the intro to Earth Girls Are Easy, another influence I admire.

So good luck with your show, Bad Astronomer! And thanks again for helping my video go viral so the Japanese would decide they needed it! I need the money. As Granddaddy used to say, "Put it against your bills as far as it will go."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Madam, I'm Adam

I have been ranting plenty lately but haven't had a chance to get it on the blog. The tenement project is keeping me busy, frustrated, and broke. One gross thing after another is discovered and remedied. I'll have before and after pictures of all of it after I'm done.

Just now I went to Home Depot to get hinges, weatherstripping, deadbolts, deadbolt strikes and a door lever. The crappy hardware on my front door went from unacceptable to unbearable when they painted the outside of my building and just painted right over all that stuff. Left a little ring around the door the old color. And the hinges are bent so the door just bangs into the jamb unless I lift hard on the doorknob. Which is just a classy antique brass finish sheet metal interior passage set. Just no.

After Home Depot I went to the grocery store to get some Neosporin and band-aids (which I couldn't get because they had no latex-free bandages at all.) The high school geek who checked me out called me Madam 5 times. I don't know what Renaissance Fair she went to yesterday that gave her the impression it was acceptable to call middle aged women Madam, but she needs to adjust her frame of reference. I took my receipt from her and said, "Thank you, wench."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I saw reports yesterday that the Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded a huge coronal mass ejection. Today I checked Ian O'Neill's blog to see what happened. Pretty lights! Thanks earth, for keeping us from being overly radiated right now.

"By measuring the number of protons and the intensity of the magnetic field fluctuations, space weather scientists are able to deduce that the CME launched from the sun early on Sunday morning arrived at the Earth on schedule."

I like that they confirmed the speed of light is still what we think it is.