Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s acquired during the week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as actually sitting down and creating genuine content.
Sorry if this post already showed up in your feeds—I decided to assemble the post last night, since today is gonna be hectic, and hit Publish when I meant to hit Preview.
Unfortunately, my piping skills are gruesome non-existent, so I’ll just have to order the cookies instead. Darn.
In related news, more or less, there are also Kama Sutra Cookie Cutters available in the UK, but you can tart up your own browser history searching ’em out—I’m still clinging to the idea that this is a family blog.
(thanks to Vicki for the yoga cutters . . . and the other ones, too)
Optical Illusions sans Nausea
The Music isn’t bad, either.
For Lyra—She Knows Why
It makes me feel better to think that Aslan has an Ineffable Plan for my family’s missing hosiery . . .
ONE MORE DAY UNTIL WE GET OUR HOME INTERNET CONNECTION BACK.
Because of the narrow and elusive nature of Windows of Repairperson Opportunity (WRO), my husband and MIL and I have designed a complicated choreography of overlapping schedules to ensure that someone is home to answer the door between eight a.m. and noon tomorrow morning and that my MIL will not have to answer any questions that the repairperson might ask beyond confirmation of our address.
I cancelled an early appointment, just to make sure.
Said repairperson had better show. With the right connector. And the knowledge to replace it.
The bartender says, “We don’t serve faster that light particles in here.”
A tachyon walks into a bar.
Apparently, during the course of an ongoing (since 2006) experiment called OPERA, in which a stream of muon neutrinos are beamed from the CERN Super Proton Synchrotron in Geneva to a lab in Italy’s Gran Sasso mountain in 2.4 milliseconds for a very important reason I wouldn’t be able to understand if you paid me, the OPERA physicists have discovered that a small percentage of the 10-to-the18th-power neutrinos they’ve sent over the years have arrived about 60 nanoseconds sooner than they should have.
They don’t know why this is happening. Nothing seems to account for it, not equipment calibration or human error or mistaken identity. But it’s enough for the word tachyon to have been rumored to have been mentioned in a whisper. Maybe.
In physics, this is apparently the same thing as shouting on a viral YouTube video, because one of the more questionable pundits to whom our newspaper gives editorial space wrote a quarter page worth of disapproval of the possibility a few days ago.
But I can’t blame people for running with the idea and it’s easy to join in the excitement—obviously.
According to someone who actually knows what he’s talking about, the only papers that have been published on tachyons are about how impossible they are. And if tachyons are proved to exist, physics as we know it* will implode (or explode), because Einstein—on whose work modern physics rests—said that nothing can travel faster than light. Not never, not nohow. The mass of an object approaching the speed of light will reach a state where it cannot be moved by the available energy and time stops and even science fiction writers start to look around for a Deus Ex Machina to get their starfleets off the ground.**
Except maybe, you know, not.
This has some physicists worried.*** And when people who are in charge of understanding how the universe is supposed to work get worried, that’s sort of fundamentally worrisome, isn’t it?
Science is supposed to explain things so we know where we stand. But if the whole of our current knowledge of the universe is like a flashlight, illuminating only the smallest portion of what’s out there—what happens when the batteries won’t work anymore? I mean, the universe will still operate the way it always has . . . right? Isn’t there some kind of clause that an observed object will be changed simply by being observed? So what if it’s observed . . . differently?
But I’m not worried about the possible revocation of the laws of physics for three reasons:
1) I’ve been reassured that the law of gravity will operate as usual, regardless of the outcome.
2) Future seasons of The Big Bang Theory are going to rock.
3) Three words: Tachyon. Engines. Dude.
It’s going to be difficult to get independent verification of whatever these speedy neutrinos mean, since not everyone has the equipment to hurtle matter through a mountain without making something of a mess.^^
* Or don’t know it, in my case, but that’s never stopped me before.
**I might be paraphrasing that last bit.
*** Although one would think that starting over from scratch would mean serious job security. Unless there are discredited tachyon scientists just waiting to leap out and say, “Ah HA!! Who gets the office with the window and the retractable whiteboards, now, sonny? They thought me mad! BWAHahahahahahahahaha!”
^ Show of hands—who just thought, potato cannon ? Be honest.
There’s some question about whether book trailers help sell books. Until that question is definitively answered, it seems to me that one wouldn’t want to blow one’s entire advertising budget on trailers.
The repurposing award goes to romance author Tessa Dare:
She gets an additional credit for this one, which was a fundraiser auction item to help a fellow writer in need:
Maggie Stiefvater, who writes YA paranormals, is so relentlessly creative and funny that you don’t even notice that her books aren’t mentioned until the last three seconds:
She also does a good line in playdough stop-action. I understand the labor involved, but I still wish this one was longer:
But Jeff Somers, author of the dystopian Avery Cates series (which I’ve reviewed extensively), not only ropes people in with his hilarious Ask Jeff Anything vids, which cost nothing but time and dignity, but has recently asked his fans to do the work for a very specific kind of series trailer:
What do you think? Are book trailers effective? Are expensive book trailers more effective? Does it even matter, as long as there are handpuppets and trews involved? Do you have a favorite example to share?
* I have to be a part of this and am planning on using handpuppets in a way Tessa Dare would probably not approve.
Feliz diá de la Conmemoración de la Batalla de Puebla !*
I did not win a copy of The Final Evolution, which has me bummed, except I have a ready-made excuse for not figuring out the puzzle—I spent the hours between seven and midnight at the Emergency Room with two badly sprained ankles.
Not mine—my friend Grace fell down some steps last night** and landed on her feet, which isn’t the blessing your cat would have you believe. After frozen peas didn’t ease her pain, she called me, and I chauffeured her to the hospital and keep her spirits up in the waiting area, which I did by offering a running commentary on the Disney Channel and picking up her book whenever she dropped it.***
I did bring along a printout of the puzzle—just to distract Grace, of course—but you can’t work on something like that for more than an hour at a time without feeling like someone is hitting you in the forehead with a mallet made of your own galvanized stupidity. Or maybe that’s just me?
I’d planned to come home and blitz the site with random answers, but by the time I returned, I’d lost the desire for anything other than my pillow. Things didn’t change much after I got up.
And then there were none. C’est la guerre.
But, hey—If you’re one of the ones who did win, or at least solved the &$^% thing, would you do me a favor and e-mail me the answer? That stupidity mallet kind of got good to me, and I’d like to revel in it. . .
Quotes from the Notes
“Successful theft exhilarates.”
— Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
I know it’s wrong, but I prefer the movie to the book. Of course, I also prefer George Peppard to Truman Capote, so there you go.
Janie has discovered that if she gives away her old toys to her four-year-old sister, her mother won’t yell at her quite so much about cleaning up her junk and she still retains visiting rights.
Sunny is all in favor of this, since it means her eight-year old sister won’t yell at her quite so much for “sharing” toys without asking first.
Their parents are all in favor of this because there isn’t quite so much yelling going on, though we’ll have to revisit the policy once Sunny’s floor disappears.
It won’t be long—she’s started to actively solicit donations. She’s not overly aggressive about it, but she is persistent. And predictable:
Janie woke up coughing this morning. She made some horrible hacking noises at breakfast, until her father asked her to dial it back a little.
“Sorry,” she said. “I’m trying to get rid of this frog in my throat.”
Sunny perked up over her oatmeal. “Can I have it?”
“Sunny,” said my MIL, “a frog in the throat means she has stuff in her throat. She’s hoarse.”
“Oh.” Her little brow furrowed. “Can I have the horse, too?”
Those of you who aren’t parents, or haven’t been parents for a while, may not know about Peep and the Big Wide World. It’s a kids’ show about a small, round, yellow ball of a chicken and his friends.
It’s one of the more educational offerings out there and one of the very few that doesn’t render adults homicidally insane.^ It’s actually taught me a lot about storytelling for intergenerational audiences, dialogue, and comedy beats.
My favorite episode is when Quack—the blue duck—is displeased to discover fish in his pond. But this one has a pretty good lesson about the inherent subjectivity in descriptions:
Peep: Plus, a cat is supposed to slink around silently. You hit the ground like a big lump!
Chirp: Is that a unicorn? Quack: Uh huh. We only need one for the plan to work. Four would be better, though.
*Thanks goes to my co-worker Cristina for translating “Random Thursday” into Spanish—she says she knows the phrase looks like Arabic, but that’s just the Moorish influence on the language. For some reason, I find that extremely cool.
**If she’d been near the top of the stairs instead of the bottom of the landing, this would be a completely different post.
*** I also accidentally kept it when they came to wheel her into the examination room, but by the time she came back, the Vicodin had hit and she was in a forgiving and somewhat forgetful mood.
^I’m looking at you, Jake and the Neverland Pirates.
Speaking of clues, Mr. Somers is offering copies of his latest Avery Cates book, Final Evolution, to the first ten people to solve the puzzle on his website.
Speaking further of clues, it’s become obvious that I’m missing one, perhaps several. I’ve been working on the puzzle off and on all day, but can’t quite crack it.*
It’s possible my impatience—a kinder word than obsession— is getting in the way. Or I’m really that dense, which I can’t deny — I slept through my alarm this morning for the first time since Sunny was a newborn, and the caffeine isn’t doing much.
It’s not like I haven’t had the book preordered since it was possible, but it won’t be out until the end of June. And there’s something about a free pre-release that channels my inner Gollum. We wantsss it, the preciousss. We wantsss it now.
Besides, that puzzle is mocking me.
If you decide to give the puzzle a try, I have one request: please, please, PLEASE let me read it after you do? We could call it an early birthday presssent . . .
* I’m about to call in my mother, who hasn’t missed a single episode of Wheel of Fortune since 1975, does paragraph cryptograms in under twenty minutes, and could have been a code-breaker in any war of your choosing.