Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Seven minutes of terror

Landing a Mars Rover is no easy feat.  It involves detaching landing gear, high-strength parachutes, on-the-fly course corrections, rockets and cables.  And it all has to be done autonomously by the onboard systems, as the rover makes its descent in just seven minutes, and communication back to earth takes about 14.

The last two rovers landed using balloons to cushion the blow.  Curiosity, which is scheduled to land at 10:31 PM PDT on Sunday, August 5th, weighs a lot more and therefore this crazy sequence of events had to be conceived to ensure a soft landing.

Check out this video that NASA's Jet Propulsion Labrotory put together to explain the process:


And for more information on the Mars Rovers check out the JPL's Mars Rovers website:

Monday, July 30, 2012

DIY Plush Dice Pillow with Bonnie and Wil

After watching this on Friday (my birthday!) I was inspired to go out and buy all the materials to make this awesome dice pillow.  I haven't had a chance to whip it up yet, but it looks easy for someone with even my rudimentary sewing skills.   I'll keep you posted...


You can also check out the rest of the awesome Bonnie Burton's Geek DIY on the World of Heroes YouTube Channel.

Friday, July 27, 2012

33 (mostly geeky) facts about me for my 33rd birthday


It's my birthday! Yay! I have been doing some reflecting back on my past 33 years (as one is wont to do on their birthday) and seeing as how my vacation-addled brain isn't quite ready to produce a more substantial post I've written them down to share with you:

1.    I’ve played Rock Band with Wil Wheaton
2.    I’ve used the shuttle simulator used to train astronauts at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
3.    My first comic book was Eastman and Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that my mom picked up because it looked like it was “up my alley”.
4.    My Sweet 16 birthday party was Batman Themed.
5.    I was Spider-Woman for my second Halloween
6.    My 5th birthday party was PacMan themed.
7.    My dad used to use me as a ringer in Tetris tournaments he’d set up with my uncles.
8.    When I was in kindergarten my dad came to career day and showed my class how to program in LOGO, I was super excited to show my classmates how to draw a triangle.
9.    My paternal grandfather was an early computer science graduate and helped create the network for Master Charge.  It’s now Master Card, and it was one of the first national (not store based) credit cards.
10.    The only video game I’ve ever been able to beat is Mortal Kombat 3, using Sonya.
11.    I was able to read at age 2, thanks to parents who indulged my love of books by reading to me all the time.
12.    My favorite Star Trek Captain is Picard.  My favorite Doctor is the EMH.
13.    I collect vintage and antique buttons (the kind to fasten clothes).
14.    I used to have a huge crush on Jerry O’Connell from “My Secret Identity”
15.    In 8th grade I won 3rd place in a state oratory competition on the topic of “The Voyages of Columbus” I wrote about how Columbus was just lucky to land on North America and then subjugated the native peoples.  According to my coach I probably would have done better if I would have better considered the audience…the competition was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus
16.    My kids’ both have comic book connections to their names.  It wasn’t the first priority in choosing their names, but we made sure they had some connection.
17.    I still see the same ophthalmologist I’ve seen since birth.  At 3,000 miles away I’m his most far-flung patient.
18.    For our fifth anniversary Super-Dad bought me Uncanny X-Men  #100 and #101, the first appearance of the Phoenix.
19.    I have an original drawing of Hellboy by Mike Mignola.  It’s pink.  I asked him to do it as part of a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Walk I was doing.  I loved it so much that I bought it myself.
20.    I never had a teddy bear as a small child, opting instead for the stuffed Phillie Phanatic my dad bought me shortly after my birth.
21.    Felicia Day once complimented my bee necklace, which is comprised of a pewter sculptural button from the Victorian Era.
22.    I have worn glasses since I was 18 months old.  Glasses for babies weren’t common in the late 70’d/early 80’s so mine were custom constructed by Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.
23.    I am a huge fan of Sesame Street and own a real Big Bird Feather.
24.    I have a custom recorded ringtone of Mr. T telling me he is disappointed in me.
25.     I have just completed my first year of piano lessons.
26.    I didn’t get a driver’s license until I was 29 years old.
27.    My first concert ever was New Kids on the Block opening for Tiffany.  My most recent concert was Jonathan Coulton opening for They Might Be Giants.
28.    I love the Olympics and consider it a highlight of my life that I got to sit outside in the rain in 33 degree weather to stare at a fog covered mountain  for the 2010 Winter Games in BC.
29.    I am the oldest of six children, my youngest sibling is 18 years younger than I am, only 3 years older than my son, her nephew.
30.    Super-Dad and I met while working at RKCNDY an iconic (though now defunct) all-ages Seattle concert venue. It was a Modest Mouse show.
31.    I almost died at age 19 from a Kidney Stone.
32.    Having lived in Seattle for 15 years,  I still can’t say “water” without a heavy Philadelphia accent (“wooder”).
33.    I will have smores instead of a birthday cake tonight.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Greetings from Philadelphia!

Greetings from beautiful Philadelphia!  I am on vacation for most of this month, and posting will be down to once (maybe twice if I have a guest post) a week.  Regular daily-ish posting will resume August 1.


 If you need a geeky parenting fix follow me on Twitter (@ParentingGeekly) or like PG on Facebook.   I'll be updating those more frequently with vacation pics, tips and my random musings.  You can also get in touch with me via email at sharon(at)ParentingGeekly(dot)com

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dad presents daughter with graduation present 13 years in the making, makes the rest of us look bad

Last week MSNBC published the story of Bryan Martin's gift to his daughter Brenna for her high school graduation.

For 13 years, Bryan Martin kept the book hidden from his daughter, dutifully taking it to her teachers, coaches and school principals every year to have them append it with positive comments and messages.
Finally, on June 8 — the day of her graduation from North Johnston High School in Kenly, N.C. — Brenna Martin received a special copy of the Dr. Seuss classic “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’’
At first Brenna thought she was getting an ordinary copy of the book, which is a common graduation gift.  It was only after her dad told her to open it up that she discovered notes from her teachers going back to when she was five years old.  As the days after the graduation went by she learned that most everyone in her life knew about the book, helping her dad guard the secret for 13 years.

To read more visit MSNBC.com

What do you think of Bryan's gift to his daughter? Have you ever received such a thoughtful gift?  Let me know in the comments below, on ParentingGeekly's Facebook page or on twitter.

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