Tag Archives: Bill Nye

Cliché

I hate being a cliché.

It wasn’t that long ago that I would have started with the PMS stereotype, in which along with the flood of rage and raw emotion I also felt like cringing for being so predictable, but now that I am kind of cranky, bitchy and a little paranoid all the time, this stereotype is less relevant. As I tell my husband, I am now empowered to tell it like it is more than three days a month. How is that not a good thing?

A few years back, when I was trying to be a good pet owner and help my cat get some exercise, I took him out on a leash regularly. I found the experience boring. To entertain myself during the long stretches of time Cat-tabulous wanted to sniff a twig or watch a dog sleeping in a yard a block away, I brought along my crocheting. To protect my face from the sun, I wore a floppy hat. I was one ugly cat sweatshirt (okay, and maybe five cats) away from being a crazy cat lady.

Crazy Cat Lady School

Oh, I still take the cat out (#catonaleash) but now I look MUCH less crazy, scrolling along on my smartphone in a baseball cap. Yes, that IS TOO much less crazy.

In the past year I have found that I fit two new-to-me dreaded stereotypes, the 1.) out-of-touch older parent type who tries to have culturally relevant conversations with the younger generation and FAILS painfully (I managed to get Seth MacFarlane mixed up with both Seth Rogen and Seth Meyers in the SAME conversation,) and the 2.) horrifying older person who pulls out a photo of herself with a celebrity and shows it around at a family gathering, and then forgets and does it AGAIN WITH THE SAME PEOPLE AT THE NEXT GATHERING.

This is a blurry picture of Bill Nye the Science Guy and me.  Yeah, we were hanging out at the Minnesota Science Museum last November. We do that.

This is a blurry picture of Bill Nye the Science Guy and me hanging out at the Minnesota Science Museum last November. We do that.

(Note to Reader: Now that I have officially shown off to the world, I have retired that photo from my phone. You will have to return to this post to relive my brush with stardom, because I won’t be able to show it to you when I see you at the grocery store, Thanksgiving Dinner, or the cat supply warehouse.)

How many steps is it from where I am now to becoming a doddering fool? I am looking forward to the phase where I no longer care, because the sooner I start enjoying the slide, the happier my declining years will be. I picture me cackling, with many, many cats.

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A Love Letter to Discover

Discover magazine, how do I love thee? I love thee a lot. Even when I don’t understand thee, I love thee. I recently received the July/August issue of Discover, which appears to be very biology-centric. This makes me happy because biology is like the hot boyfriend with a little bit of an accent and colloquialisms that make communication somewhat difficult, as compared to the gorgeous boyfriend of physics who speaks a completely different language but I don’t even care, I could just lustfully listen to him spout incomprehensibility all day. Science turns me on, yo. I have been a subscriber for years and even though I haven’t lately been able to read every issue cover-to-cover, I do try. I have gotten ideas for stories and plot twists as well as general information and entertainment from the magazine and it makes me feel better than reading People magazine does. Kind of like when I choose to eat an apple over a doughnut. As Bill Nye says, “Science rules!”

So far two articles in this issue have gotten me excited. The first, “Superhuman Vision” is about a mutant cone some women (maybe a lot of women) are carrying around, a fourth cone that allows them to see an exponential number of color variations not visible to other humans. It is kind of like the Bizarro World version of the green/red color blindness that diminishes color perception in some men. How cool is that?! Mutant powers! X-(wo)men! The thing is that many of these women probably aren’t aware that they are seeing anything the rest of us aren’t because the nature of perception is so individual. Imagine trying to describe red to someone who can’t see red or provoke someone who doesn’t taste chocolate or tobacco in their red wine to do so. Difficult. I want them to make the test they describe in the article available on the internet. Maybe I have super vision! Actually I suspect that the only thing special about my vision is the degree to which I am frazzled by floaters, which isn’t very special at all.

The other article was “Earth’s Last Unexplored Wilderness Is…Your Living Room.” I love articles which immediately make me change my behavior. I wasn’t even halfway through the piece when I jumped up and opened all the windows on the main level of my house. For fifteen minutes–until the heat and humidity (already? at 8:30 a.m.?) forced me to close them again. Now, science reveals some uncomfortable truths, that maybe not all of you want to know. Far be it for me to expose you to graphic information that could gross you out for life, so two things: you might want to disinfect your showerheads, and wash your pillowcases with bleach in the hottest water you can. As I am. That is all.

It isn’t like Discover has never led me astray. I preached the anti-high fructose corn syrup gospel for over a year based on a quoted scientist who described it as a “metabolic disaster.” Further study showed no such thing, of course. Sugar is sugar, and we are getting way too much in all of its forms. But that is part of what I like about science. People make hypotheses and test them and share the results and other people say, “Hey, that is interesting! Are you sure?” and re-test the results, using what comes to leap to more evolved hypotheses, and we are all better for it. We grow from knowledge and experience. Ideally, science is all about open-mindedness, and using evidence to guide us toward knowledge. Some also use the lack of evidence to deny the existence of things for which we cannot test, like God for instance. In earlier generations, the existence of germs and sub-atomic particles and dark matter was considered ludicrous. I wonder what fascinating things we will know for certain in the future that are unimaginable to us today? I can’t wait to read about them in Discover.