Friday, April 30, 2010


Pretend I just wrote a clever, witty, and insightful post. Now make appropriate comments... :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

iPhone Moon

Anyone can do astrophotography. To prove it, I took a picture of the moon using just my iPhone 3GS. I aimed it at the sky, tapped on the moon, then took the picture. I didn't even steady it against anything.

It was 2010 April 20 at 7:37 pm, and it was still twilight - that helped to reduce the contrast. The exposure time was 1/60 seconds at f/2.8.

If you look carefully, you can see a darkening near the terminator. That is a combination of Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity) and Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility).

For comparison, here is a computer generated image for the same approximate time:

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I always have trouble finding time to ride the exercise bicycle. I ought to be more motivated - after all, I always feel better when I'm done riding it. But somehow there's always something more pressing, or more interesting, or I'm just too tired.

I probably wouldn't have to ride the bike at all, except that I sit at desk all day typing away at a computer. Even if I take a break to walk around a bit, it's not the same as exercise.

Then I thought, why not combine the two activities? If I could pedal a bicycle WHILE working at my desk, I'd be maiming two birds with one rock feeding two birds with one seed, so to speak. But it would be way too easy to just sit there, stop pedaling, and mouse around.

Then I had an epiphany. What if I were forced to pedal to make the computer work? In fact, the bicycle could generate the electricity to power the computer! I'd be exercising, I'd be productive, and I'd be helping to reduce the drain on the power grid!

If everyone around the world did this, we'd be healthier and happier.

Of course, we'd all have legs like tree trunks, but you can't have everything!

[Edited to fix the awful bird comment!]

Monday, April 12, 2010

Taciturn Churn

Today's Artwiculate word of the day was "taciturn", meaning habitually untalkative.

At some point, this popped into my head:
taciturn snowmen
I pictured a group of snowmen slowly and quietly advancing across a snowy lawn, with animals dispersing in confused fear ahead of them. My yard is often full of rabbits. So I changed it to:
Taciturn snowmen / bunnies retreat
I considered "rabbits retreat" because it's more alliterative, but I liked the image of bunnies better.

But what's the one thing that would stop a snowman? They are afraid of melting in the sun. So:
Taciturn snowmen / bunnies retreat / the sun their only nemesis
This also uses a recent word of the day (nemesis) which is always a bonus.

Then I started to overthink things, as usual. What does "their" refer to? The most recent noun? The subject? Is the sun the bunnies' nemesis or the snowmen's? I changed it to:
Bunnies retreat before taciturn snowmen, the sun their only nemesis.
I couldn't decide which way was correct, or which way sounded better. Then I thought that it shouldn't be "their only nemesis" because by definition there can be just one nemesis. Or maybe not. Frustrated a bit, I avoided the whole problem by lopping off the end:
Bunnies retreat before taciturn snowmen
This is the version that I tweeted as an Artwiculate entry. A few minutes later, I wanted to delete it and start over, but by then Artwiculate had picked it up, so hope was lost.

Most days are like this! I would have been better off remaining taciturn myself.

UPDATE: This tweet got an astounding 49 points, enough for a four-way tie for 27th place. That's four points better than my other entry which I thought was better: Taciturn lurker becomes a berserker. Film at 11.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


A mondegreen is a misheard word or phrase in a song or poem. My kids invented a wonderful mondegreen. We put on the song Juke Box Hero, by Foreigner, and they loved it. They were singing and shouting out the words. When we listened carefully, we discovered they were singing "Juice Box Hero".

We tried to explain what a juke box is, but to no avail. So now the song will forever be known as "Juice Box Hero" in our household.

Here are some Christmas mondegreens and some very creative mondegreens from Artwiculators.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Does anyone really enjoy dragging smelly, unbalanced garbage cans to the curb in the dark? I sure don't.

When I was growing up, Thursday night was garbage night. Hot or cold, rain or snow, the garbage had to be put out. Then when I moved out on my own, no matter where I lived, it always seemed that Thursday night was garbage night. I was haunted by it, like I was living a bad Twilight Zone episode.

Finally I moved to my current house, and garbage night is no longer on Thursday. Still, every Thursday night at some point I remember that it's garbage night, but then a moment later I realize that no, it's not anymore. O frabjous day! Calloo! Callay! For the rest of the night I feel like I'm on vacation, where I can ignore the drudgery of quotidian chores. Even though I've been in this house for nearly ten years, this scene still plays out every Thursday night. I guess old habits die hard.

Of course, on previously-garbage-free Friday night, I now feel like I'm in the army on K.P. duty whenever I belatedly realize that it's garbage night. Everything evens out over time.