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Today I finally made good on a project I've been meaning to do forever and set up my telescope for solar viewing via a projection screen. The idea is that the sun is too bright too look at, as parents everywhere know, and obviously that problem is literally magnified when using a telescope. You can get fancy telescopes designed for solar viewing, or you can rock it old school the way Galileo did, and put a piece of paper a few inches in front of the eyepiece. I managed to see two small sunspots and got it really nicely in focus. I want to get some posterboard though, since I think that will hold up better than a piece of paper if I want to bring my telescope to a school and show a bunch of kids. I might also get a shade so that the picture shows up a bit clearer, but really, it was pretty nice as it is.

I want to sign up to be a solar system ambassador, but you need to come up with four projects you can do. A solar system ambassador is a person who does, essentially, the public outreach stuff I've been doing, but formally, for NASA. So I think I could offer to give another talk at my university, and I'm thinking of calling my high school classmate who is now a physics teacher at my old high school, and asking if I can come in to talk to her class and maybe bring my telescope, either for nighttime viewing or daytime, solar viewing. I'm not sure what else. The problem I keep running into is that I'm too well connected, so everything I can think of to do, I know other people who can do it way better than me.

In other news, Tom is gone this weekend at PAX, a big videogame convention, and my roommate is off with her boyfriend, who is visiting from Australia. In having the house to myself, I decided to watch Orange is the New Black, and I'm really liking it. No one told me Kate Mulgrew was in it, and she's definitely one of my favorites. I have three episodes left, so I'll probably finish it tonight or tomorrow. Everybody's been talking about it, but I'll just echo all the reasons I picked it up, which is that it has a great, big cast of mostly women, with a lot of women of color, and a lot of non-straight people, and the best TV depiction of a trans woman I've ever seen, who is in fact played by a real trans woman, which is pretty impressive. I don't find the main character, Piper, to be the most intriguing character, but the actress who plays her is fantastic, and I don't dislike her yet. But the race relations are interesting, the characters are mostly all pretty well fleshed out, and it's got surprisingly good directing. I'm not sure how they manage to make a show that takes place in a prison look so nice, but there are some fantastic shots sometimes. Also it's a hilarious show. This is one of the more bizarre scenes, but Kate Mulgrew makes everything amazing.

Hm. And lastly I made this cake tonight. It takes a bit of time, because you have to make the cake, the filling, and the frosting, but it is definitely worth it. And all of it's kind of fun. I didn't do the layering step as carefully as I should have, and I let the frosting cool too much, which made spreading it hard (tip I know now: if that happens, microwaving the frosting for about 10 seconds will melt it enough to make it spreadable again), so the resulting cake was sort of lopsided. But it still tasted amazing. It's really not a hard cake to make, especially considering the outcome, though making it beautiful might take a bit of practice. My family was very impressed, which always feels nice. I love cooking, but I'm very self conscious about cooking for other people. If it's not perfect, I have a tendency to apologize all over my food, and then I sound like I'm fishing for compliments on it but no, I'm just really paranoid about all the stuff I know isn't 100% correct about it. Also, there's all the things that I like, like sauteing vegetables too long so they start to caramelize, also known as burning all your veggies slightly, which is not something everyone loves. I will also douse food in lime or lemon juice, and I don't believe there is such a thing as too much garlic. So when I make things like that, I think the outcome is great. But when I'm cooking for other people, I freak out trying to cook to their palates, which is kind of an impossible task, but one that's hard to stop attempting.

Life is good.

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dancinguniverse

October 2015

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