Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why REAL friends are worth keeping

FriendsImage via Wikipedia
Why Facebook friends are worth keeping - tech - 15 July 2010 - New Scientist

Why Real Friends are worth keeping

Help for anyone struggling with getting out of the rut. Just send your best friends (only 1 or 2) an email and ask them out on an outing. It worked for me. Yes, I had all the right conditions set up for success. A free afternoon with no little ones attached. Mrs. SFDaddy was out of town and a promising new movie to see. That's the recipe. But the missing ingredients were a small group of REAL people to enjoy the setting with. Solution: send a quick email out to warn them I'm calling. Wait a few minutes and call them both. Agree on a time with Friend 1 and leave a message for Friend 2.

{There is a point to all of this, bare with me...}

Okay, Friend 2 checks in with a call back. We're really talking to people. No Twitter or Facebook involved. Friend 2 exterminated Facebook for a second time this year and I'm sure it's probably for good this time. It's all set. We're going to see Inception - great movie. This is not going to be the review for the film. Do I review movies, here? Maybe...

I get to the meeting place an hour early to skim a book* I'm wanting to purchase. I want to see if it gives me all the details I feel like I need. It's a business kind of book, so the REAL bookstore is very helpful. A smiling face of a real person helps me find the right shelf since they've rearranged the super mega bookstore again. I bought a coffee--no flavorings, fake sweetener or sugars, but that's another post too. I sat down and read the first couple of chapters. Win. The book I wanted wasn't there, but it turns out the author is a huge company now with many books in the series. Okay, so maybe he has some points. Maybe I'll buy the book after all.

Okay, so it's movie time... {Getting to the point}

Friend 2, greets me with a hug and 1/2 of a confection she had from a coffee shop visit... we're all portioning! Cool. She's excited to see me and has urgent need to discuss a new (actually old) business opportunity she wants me to be a part of. It's not robots or architecture, but it's extremely relevant to who I am and we pledge to get the ideas flowing soon.

Friend 1 and 1/2 (his Mrs. who is also a good pal!) arrive and we all suit up for a thrilling movie. Just fabulous. Afterward, the star align and we agree to have dinner. We're all still free! The server asks if we want a drink. The topic of Martini's comes up. I've never had one, but I've always been fascinated by them. 007 you know. You know. I didn't actually order it like his though. My REAL friends all recommended a dirty one. Actually a dirty-dirty one.

{I thought I was getting to a point.}

One of the things that came up was Facebook. Recently Friend 2 closed off her account and dropped it for good. I supported the idea, but as I do so often, I followed up with a defense of it. {This gets me into trouble a lot, but it doesn't seem to register and I embark on that course of action anyway quite often.}
Facebook logo

I have been blessed by a great group of people on Facebook. They are the regular suspects, friends, family, old school friends and acquaintances. I shared with the Friends that I've discovered some very interesting things about these friends. Most recently the things that are catching my eye are their blogs and the Facebook Pages they are creating for their own companies. I love that my writer friends from high school are still writing. I love that a classmate from elementary school is making glass beads and another is a graphic artist. I know scientists, horse farmers and TV executives. Without Facebook, I'd never had any further connection with them. Of course making a connection NOW with those people is the next step. Becoming their customer, cheerleader and advocate come next.

I was hoarding the conversation by now, so I continued with my recent experiences with bloggers. {Oh, yes. I'm talking about you, now! Don't worry, this too is really good! and the point is coming.}

I've found myself on the outside edges of a very supportive network of bloggers. They are doing everything right. Go find the articles about what that means, but they've gotten my interest, they have my "Follow Me" icon on their pages and I do! I'm efforting to keep up with them all. I have plans to buy their books when they come out and their efforts to reach out to new audiences is seeming very successful! I'm hooked in.

Friend 1 mentions to Friend 2 about the book she's writing. WHAT??? So I start into more details about the authors I'm Following. A few of them are involved with a small publisher which is a whole other weird and strange post that may surface one day, but it has to do with Lemurs which are a thing with me you may already know about. She doesn't have a publisher, but we talk about self-publishing and the success a friend of hers had going that route. We all have some great books in us and the ebook sounds so promising. Especially after reading some of the posts about rejection letters from publishers.

Is self-publishing the answer? How is it that I'm suddenly surrounded by authors, would-be authors and actively publishing acquaintances? What is MY book?

So I had a great night out, with real people, saw a great movie, tried a new restaurant, ordered a drink I've never had. Enjoyed it by the way. It led to new business opportunity and recharged my interest in the book I wanted to buy. Bought the ebook instead after closing down the bookstore. Went home and got charged up to start fixing some things with the existing business opportunities.

*The book is the E Myth, but I'm not ready to talk about it yet. {But I do really like it so far.}
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Geoengineering or the Genesis Wave?

Save Planet EarthImage by ozgurmulazimoglu via Flickr
Real research is going on to determine if we should really start shading our Earth to cool it down. We are living in Science Fiction Horror Shows. It's crazy-hot. Your damns are bursting. Lakes are disappearing. Sink holes are swallowing your car, your horse, your house.  {You made up the one about the horse, right?} {Yes, but...}

The alligators are working together to plot against us.

The bears are so #melgibsonmad that they are tearing up your car for a pb&j sandwich.

A new modelling study shows that deploying a stratospheric sunshade to cool the planet would have hugely varying consequences for different regions. What's more, although the sunshade could be tuned to adjust global average temperatures or rainfall, it couldn't fix both at once.

Geoengineering fix won't suit everyone - environment - 18 July 2010 - New Scientist
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

D23 Expo: The Search for Harry Potter Part 7 of 6

Image by bluemoose via Flickr
This series of posts began as a hunt for peaks inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Harry's adventure ride through the books that opened this summer. We're all pretty big fans of the kid.

We've been waiting for the theme park to open up patiently at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure and began our searching through blogs for pictures of the construction.

We found slews of news stories to tease us of possible equipment to be included in the ride. Sounds like this roboarm or Strong Arm, actually did win out in the end.

As launch approached and the fanfare started, we tried to find clips of what the park looked like from the inside! The numbers grew really fast. Walk throughs of the shops and long loving looks at window displays, but we wanted to see the good stuff. We were looking for the big ride.

Even on opening day it took the bloggers a while to get the 'ride through' clips posted. We had already seen a few videos of the que. The line show where you walk the grounds of Hogwarts, explore the halls, chat with the paintings, get the ride story from visions of the characters themselves, but it took another day or so to see the videos from inside the ride itself.

We'd been enjoying video clips of rides at other parks. Sharing stories of the evolution of the Jaws ride at Universal Studios. (The first year it opened, the boat skipper blew the shark up into big bloody-looking pink floating chunks of shark meat. It was closed up pretty quickly.) There are so many good stories. The girls like hearing about the rides that have closed too.

Photo of the Back to the Future studio car. Th...Image via Wikipedia
The Back to the Future ride was the best. It was so revolutionary in its day. One of the first "flying car" rides inside an IMAX((?)) theater. When it opened up the parks were going through a great transformation of ride technology and LINE deception. As a perpetual patron, I really appreciated the "pre-show" line entertainment. Even the very simple solutions of TV sets running cartoons and the addition of actual fans to cool you off.

But I must get back to the thread...  We were searching for the clips that showed the inside of the ride itself. After finally finding it I was terribly disappointed. NOT in the ride, but in the ability of the riders to be able to capture the ride on video. They couldn't! It was too dark. Too fast. Too much for the little cameras to capture it all. It was even almost too much for the microphones to handle.

This is the clip we finally saw that freaked everyone out a bit. It's a spoiler so don't click on it if you want to stay in the dark. (Which is kind of a joke, because half of it IS just blackness!)

What I learned was that perhaps the little ones need a little more time to age before we embark to Hogwarts. I'd hte to get them there and not feel comfortable letting them ride the Big Ride. What a let down that would be. But, man, I can't wait. And after a year or so, they'll have some of the bugs (not the good ones, they promise) worked out. Getting stuck on this one seems like it would be a blast too.

Looking forward to the day we get to go. This explains how we got ourselves distracted and started enjoying the D23 clips. The anticipation may be more fun than some of the rides and places themselves. The dreams of princesses and dragons will have to do. We have the books. And all the other books with no rides and theme parks.

I think we'll be fine as we wait.

To read all of the posts in this series, click on the keyword "wonder". I reserved that word for this series. Enjoy!

[Link to the Harry Potter wiki for more details.]

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Monday, July 12, 2010

D23 Expo: Imagineering the Future of Disney Parks Part 6 of 6 (Star Tours 2 portion!!!!)

Star ToursImage via Wikipedia
SO! Part 6. This is the last of the series. Whew. But did they save the best for last? Well, I don't know. It is Star Wars so at least they think they did. I have always been a little underwhelmed by Star Tours, but as one of the first cram you a little room that rocks you around ride, it wasn't bad. And no matter how many times you rode, it was always Pee Wee Herman's droid's first time out. Red1 loved it but Red2 was horrified at the thought of speeding into outerspace. We couldn't even tempt her with the promise of going all the way to Endor to meet the Ewoks.

The Star Wars weekends video clips are also something riotous to look up at YouTube if you dare. They had a very successfull kareoke competition that must be experienced.

One more surprise awaits.

I lied when I said this series was over. The last post will explain how we got here in the first place and show the results of that journey. Not in search of a mouse, princess or even Spock. (Lame.) We were in search of Harry if you remember...

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Visions of the Future Presenting Themselves

Location: Atlanta, GA, USA (central park in At...Image via Wikipedia

Architecture.  Urban sprawl.
We've all gotta go some where. Fortunately there are some true visionaries, like Vincent Callebaut, around  thinking about what to do with all of us people.

If we leave it up to us (and the Walton's) we just might be in trouble or find ourselves camping out and off the grid because there won't be one!  {Settle down... you're scaring the kids.}

Popular Science's Gallery of the cities of the future is a fun romp with the kids. Still no flying cars, but we have the moving sidewalks.

The link that inspires this post:
Archive Gallery: Cities of the Future | Popular Science

Red2 (6 years) OOO! Flying cars! Moving sidewalks! They look like the Sims! Can we play Sims?

Love looking at the urban planning books in the book store. Epcot's Future World was complete when it had Horizons. Loved flying through the ocean dwellings and the orange groves in the desert. Neat stuff. I spent lots of time Arcology doodling when I was a kid. Arcology still isn't even in my word processor's dictionary. But it's a real thing. wouldn't want you to think they are a just a doodle in a notebook.

Modern searching for these new visions reveals we're still at it. And that's a relief. My rain barrels, worm bins and rain gardens around my circa 1960's ranch house will suffice for now, but hurry up with these plans, ladies and gentlemen. My retirement community needs to be out of your notebooks and on the drawing board soon. You have about 30 years. Go!

{Note to self: This post is quickly getting out of hand. It's becoming its own theme link-park.  I'll make it stop soon, but first...}

Part Two: What's happening now? 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

D23 Expo: Imagineering the Future of Disney Parks Part 5 of 6

The Paradise Pier area in 2006.Image via Wikipedia
Get ready for some more cool news. At the end of this post some lucky guest will win a fabulous prize! I'm so jealous!

And speaking of The Jetsons and flying cars we have a weird little moment from Future World at Epcot. Funny how topical we all are. Recently an actual flying car was spotted at Mr. Cavanough's blog.

Back to California now. Disney's California Adventure Park, to be exact. Looks like a new water and light show. The granddaughter to the water shows at Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. Red2 loved the princesses on boats and big scary witchy heads floating around.

Cars Land. How fun. Based on the Test Track technology he says. Test Track is one of the newer attractions at Epcot that I've actually been able to experience. Red1 wanted to go so we almost closed the park waiting to get in. Mrs. SFDaddy and Red2 watched the fireworks instead.

Oh, now for that last surprise... look under your seat! What did you win? I won 2 blank index cards, an American Girl Magazine subscription renewal request postcard and a green stretchy ponytail band!

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

D23 Expo: Imagineering the Future of Disney Parks Part 4 of 6

Hong Kong Disneyland castle by Dave QImage via Wikipedia
There's an exciting tomorrow waiting for you at Hong Kong Disneyland. A North American pioneering theme permeates one of the new kiddie lands here. You are going to get wet from the geysers, but it's probably not going to be boiling hot water. A new twist on the Haunted Mansion. Bad Monkey! 

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

D23 Expo: Imagineering the Future of Disney Parks Part 3 of 6

Model of the New Disney ResortImage by JPhilipson via Flickr
I'm not all that into the cruises or the Disney Vacation Club, but the place they're planning for Hawaii looks beautiful. We should visit when it's done. :)

I do have to thoroughly recommend doing Disney with their one-stop shopping deals. A few years ago we bought the plane ticket, hotel, park tickets and food all at once. The packet came in the mail with special tags for our luggage and they picked us up at the airport and whisked us away. We ate so well. The chefs in all of the restaurants received notices that we were coming and came out to speak to us about our various food allergies. Even the counter service locations had gluten and dairy free selections.

Disney is very good at keeping you in the park. For that trip, we succumbed to the mouse, and allowed ourselves to be totally immersed. It was ver-nice.

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Monday, July 05, 2010

Fantasy and Scifi Award

"Oh, wow. An award."
Mrs. SF Daddy said, "I've never gotten any awards."
I want to thank Alex J. Cavanaugh for spreading this little bit of viral fun onto my blog. I'm a third generation recipient so tracing back the history of this award was quick and fun. I have quite a few new blogs to investigate! Good networking, ladies and gentlemen!

Award Creator: Flutey Words
This Award should be given to any blogs that promote the genres of Fantasy and Science Fiction, whether it be through author interviews, reviews, your own writing, etc. The rules are: you must state 5 of your favorite fantasy/sci fi books and or movies that inspired you.

5 books (or series) that have inspired me and/or the girls (Red1 and Red2)
  1. Star Wars Expanded Universe - I've read almost all of the expanded universe. I'm no wookiepedia, but I'm up a bit on Vader's grandkids.  Kevin J. Anderson and Michael Stackpole seem to be the authors that really stand out. Stackpole is quite busy with other series including the Secret Atlas that I'm starting to enjoy as well.
  2. Voyager series. We started picking up the Star Trek novels from the trift store for 50 cents. Janeway's first book was incredible. I wrote about it earlier.
  3. Harry Potter series - We don't have a lot new to say about these books that hasn't been exhausted elsewhere. Red1 is up to actually reading the 4th book. She's been listening to the audio books for a long time and had us believing that she was also reading the paper versions. (The tests at school can't tell the difference, but I explained how it really really DOES matter.)
  4. The Last Dragon - by Silvana De Mar - Red1 has read this one over and over. It's an all time favorite.
  5. The Fablehaven Series - by Brandon Mull. Red1 was thrilled to be holding the latest installment in hardcover! You could hear the shriek of delight from the next block over.

Fantasy and Sci Fi Blogs:

I'm not following a lot of Science Fiction blogs right now, so went on a hunt. I found StarTrekSpace right away and was instantly impressed enough to share it with you.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Astronomy - a plea to amatuer astronomers

Listening to the NPR app this morning I heard a couple of pleas from a few different stories for all of us - the general public to help figure out space.

Image from NASA.

It was more specific than that, but the gist was that there are not enough professionals to handle mapping and understanding the universe. Now that's a very tall order. I don't expect to be able to contribute as much as I'd like to, but this is a huge wake up call.

I enjoy the documentaries and museums that chronicle our journeys in to space. Our thoughts on time, worm holes, living and working on the moon and Mars. But I've been assuming that there are plenty of people doing this work.

Moon Mapping

This actual call, in what feels like the next version of SETI at home, asks people to help map the surface of the moon. After a little training, a person is tasked to identify the craters. It sounds like a video game. If they turned it into a social networking game on Facebook, they'd probably have a hit and have it all mapped out in a month or two. Click click click. Sounds like Moonville to me.

D23 Expo: Imagineering the Future of Disney Parks Part 2 of 6

Part 2 as promised. This is the ONE that makes the most impact at our house. Will Red2 be able to contain herself? The Princess expansion may actually get us out to California after all eventually. We have mixed feelings about the whole theme park experience, but we're warming up to idea of just 'letting go'. It's a small part of all the awesome things we're doing and probably the most normal thing our kids get to do.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

D23 Expo: Imagineering the Future of Disney Parks Part 1 of 6

Our journey continues with the D23 Expo. We started with clip 4 of 6 and just couldn't contain ourselves. Okay, I'm not going to pretend that the girls even saw these clips anymore. I'm just talking about me now, but we all knew that, right?

Enjoy clip one:


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