Category Archives: Travel

Thursday Doors: The Queen Mary

CoinFrontLast weekend my husband and I went to a Geocaching mega-event called Geocoinfest. If you don’t know what a Geocoin is, the header at the top of my blog is actually taken from one: the 1000 finds Geocoin. I bought it several years ago when I started this blog, in honor of my thousandth find (I am currently at 2881 finds, but who’s counting?)

The event was basically an opportunity for geocachers from all over the country (and world) to get together, swap stories and trackables, and to find more geocaches. It was held on the Queen Mary, docked in Long Beach.  The first Geocoinfest on a ship! And my first time on the Queen Mary.

02MainHall

The old Queen is looking a little faded these days. It is still a nice place to be, and definitely worth a visit there on the water in the lovely SoCal weather (and surprisingly, the air was much better down there than up near us because of the North Bay fires). But on the main deck and in the common rooms, you get more of a sense of past glory and times gone by, than current grandeur. The wood is polished and shiny, but the ceilings are low and the pipes are visible. And, I think I see a . . .  phone booth?

On the ship there were a couple of interesting models, one of the SS Normandie, one of her sister ships. Look at the tiny doors, along with tiny-everything-else!

And another model of the Queen Mary made entirely of Legos. More tiny Lego doors!

Out on the ship’s deck itself, there were more doors leading to mysterious places:

Although it looks like potentially a good place for them, there weren’t any geocaches hidden on the ship itself. But there were plenty around the dock and harbor area, and some special “lab caches” made just for the event. We found them all and got a souvenir.
Congratulations

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time) at Norm 2.0’s blog here.

20KarenwithQueenMary

 

 

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Mundane Monday: Pendulum

s-l300The last class I taught was about pendulums, those mundane things that swing back and forth. My favorite illustration of how a pendulum works is the old-fashioned metronome. I still own one like this, somewhere. The lower on the stick you position the weight, the faster the tempo it marks. The one in the picture would be ticking so fast it would be hard to keep up.

This phenomenon illustrates the fundamental principle behind pendulums: that the period of a pendulum (that is, the time it takes for it to swing back and forth) depends on its length, not on the weight or on the angle at which it is released (for small angles). When you move the weight up and down the stick of the metronome, you change the length of the pendulum, and thereby change its period and the tempo it is providing. Nowadays, with metronome apps changing the tempo at the push of a virtual button on your phone, this concept is going to be harder for young musicians to intuit.

Our students made their own pendulums and varied each of the three parameters (length, weight, and angle) to figure out which made a difference in the period of the pendulum. There were brightly-colored chains, with weights hanging on them, attached to protractors and hooks all around the classroom.

ClassroomPendulum

One type of pendulum that many students were already familiar with was a kind that you often see in science museums, called a Foucault’s Pendulum. This pendulum, hung on a fixed pivot that does not rotate, was first used to observe and measure the rotation of the earth. This video provides a good explanation of how that is done:

 

Only a week later, I found myself at Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles, and they have a Foucault’s Pendulum in the lobby there. This picture was taken looking down on the pendulum bob as it swings. The bob itself is lighted, as is the circle around it that enables observers to see the change in the pendulum’s position throughout the day as the Earth rotates.

 

For the Mundane Monday Challenge #131.

Astronomers
The Astronomers at Griffith Park Observatory

Fijapaw Update: Bound for Korea

More than a year ago now, not long after I had moved to California, I had the unique pleasure of playing string quartets with a bicycling violinist in a fencing studio. I blogged about the experience here: The Fiji Quartet. That bicycling violinist is a woman named Jasmine Reese, who is cycling around the world with her dog named Fiji. Her website is called Fijapaw: One Girl. Her Dog. A Violin. On a Bicycle. Continue reading Fijapaw Update: Bound for Korea

Broken World

The EcoEarth Globe stands in Riverfront Park in Salem, OR. It is an arresting sight from afar, dwarfing even the bridge and the Willamette River behind it. It is also a complex and multifaceted work of mosaic art, with tiles and plaques representing species from all over the planet. But as you get closer, and check out all the continents, you notice something. There is a hole in the middle of Africa, right under the lions, elephants, and zebras. Continue reading Broken World

Not the Last Ship

I am, or at least used to be, a fan of the TV series, The Last Ship. I think it probably should have been a miniseries with a defined endpoint, but in its first gripping season it was about a American guided missile destroyer, the USS Nathan James, bringing aid and a cure to a world suffering under a global pandemic. The series starred its heroic Captain Tom Chandler, with the help of a brave crew and a brilliant woman scientist, Dr. Rachel Scott. Continue reading Not the Last Ship

Mundane Monday: Last View of Seattle

PhoTrablogger’s entry for this week’s Mundane Monday Challenge is a colorful alleyway. It got me thinking about pictures taken looking down a street or alley. I took this one just before I left Seattle, after visiting my relatives there earlier this month.

Continue reading Mundane Monday: Last View of Seattle

Mundane Tuesday: Ducks

I am finally home from dropping my daughter off at Willamette University for her freshman year. It was a fun and eventful trip, but at the end came a long and kind of lonely drive, without a companion or anyone to share in the driving, the way my daughter did on the way up. When I got back late Sunday night I was tired and I spent most of Monday recovering, unpacking, doing laundry, and watching Game of Thrones episodes that I had missed while I was away.

Continue reading Mundane Tuesday: Ducks

A Different Kind of Eclipse

eclipse-poster-imageMy daughter’s future alma mater, Willamette University in Salem OR, is indirectly responsible for my being here in the path of totality for the total solar eclipse on August 21st. I dropped her off yesterday morning for an introductory hiking trip out in the Oregon wilderness. The University is supplying her and her fellow pre-frosh with official ISO 12312-2:2015 standard glasses for watching the event. This camping trip lasts for several days before the official “opening days” when the students really move in and start classes. So I decided to stay up here in OR and watch the event myself. I have seen a partial eclipse before myself, but I’ve never seen a total one. The Willamette dorms aren’t accepting guests, however, so I’m here at another festival program about an hour south, but still right in the path of totality, at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

Continue reading A Different Kind of Eclipse