Saturday, November 2, 2013

TBBT.136.701. The Hofstadter Insufficiency



My favorite show is back!

We started with a bang as usual. Sheldon over active imagination making him dream Leonard getting eaten by a Kraken.
I always liked the way the show introduces special effects. Subtlety and enhancing a funny concept and this first episode delivered the visuals as usual.

I expected a predictable beginning of the season with Leonard pining away for Penny in the cold waters of the Arctic wishing he was back in sunny Southern California. Man I got served. Leonard is a scientist first and is a great break on his normal sort-of-there self, see him so into the whole culture of the job for a change. Nothing is more satisfactory than a group of your peers talking and laughing and sharing the same jokes. Leonard often times show little personality next to Penny. So it was nice watching him relaxed and enjoying himself. As much as I love Lenny I think often times a time apart does wonders for them.

I found a bit petty of Penny to expect Leonard to not have fun because they were apart. I guess it was a bit of trying to project her own feelings on the matter still she wants him to succeed and be happy, good thing it lasted little. Sheldon being petty about Leonard not missing him is business as usual.

I did liked that Sheldon opened to Penny about his secret and how much it hurts him  when Penny though nothing of it. Penny apologizing and hugging him broke the cutemeter. Well done show.

Raj was missing Lucy which I liked, but Lucy is not back which I didn't. I'm not sure how I feel about the romantic potential of Janine with Raj. I don't think they have chemistry and  Can you imagine a well adjusted mature and successful woman sharing Chinese food with the group? Yeah me neither, but this brought back my faith on TV series again, so who knows maybe they will surprise me again.

My favorite part for last.



Amy and Bernardette together sharing time and ideas and fighting with each other. Amy was excited to be the center of attention without actually implying that her feelings for Sheldon are just out of desperation. I like that when show takes its time to make it clear once in a while. Is true that this two girls came together almost by accident but slowly are growing closer. I do hope this is the beginning of more interactions surprising interactions.

I laughed my head off at the closing scene with Penny's shower scene, in that B-movie, BTW.



Overall great beginning, lots of promises and wonderful use of the already established relationships with a twist.

5 Bazingas out of 5!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I wrote a book!





I'm sorry for leaving the blog alone for so long but I was finishing up the last details of my book and I finally finished it! You will be able to download the book for FREE starting Monday October 7, until Wednesday October 9 HERE!:

Here is the blurb:

College sophomore Gabrielle Bridge is falling for the wrong guy. One would think a physics student would be smarter than that. In her defense though, he was wearing the most surprising disguise.
We meet our geek girl while she is plotting to win the Nobel prize one day. But with an absentee father and an alcoholic mother, she knows her chances are next to zero.
To achieve her goal she tries to recruit her current crush, the brilliant Toby Harker, as a partner. Sadly her big stupid mouth lands her pretty but dumb William Wyseman, instead. This unfortunate pairing though turns out to be enchanting -literally.
William is a wizard, magic is real.
There is a secret world hidden in plain sight, a world at war with Sekeem Soulless a sorcerer powerful enough to destroy it all.
William unable to beat him with his powers was posing as a science student to seek a human weapon to stop him. And turns out that Gabrielle might be what he needs: she is immune to magic.
William promises to help her prove to the world that witchcraft is real. The Nobel will be hers with this breakthrough. That is if they find out how to use her strange 'gift' before Sekeem kills her, with his own hands if magic won't do.
Gabrielle thinks she will learn the mysteries of magic. However, her most shocking discoveries are going to be about herself.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My baby came with the Endeavor




I was due in October 15 (My dad's birthday!) but my mother warned me, told me to monitor anything out of the ordinary. In her four pregnancies sometimes she didn't felt the labor pains until the last minute. I had my clothes packed and ready with me in every hospital visit from week thirty three just to make sure.
I wanted a natural birth and I even told my husband I was going to try and go without painkillers. He of course stared at me like I was insane and repeated what he told me many times during our courtship: “Bastow's boys come sideways and twisted like a pretzel, also our head size is hat sizes labels say one size fits most” I, of course, rolled my eyes trusting my Dominican genes will make this prophecy null and I will deliver naturally a beautiful mixed baby with ease and grace.
I lost my plug in the day nine or ten but nothing happened until the night of eleven. Around nine pm I though I broke water. Just a drip but I read, sometimes starts similarly. I should had gotten ready to go but since I didn't felt any pains I though I could watch the new episode of The Big Bang Theory before I headed to the hospital. I knew I how busy things will be with a newborn at home, so I might as well watch it before hand.
I know I'm insane.
Luckily after finishing the show's episode The Higgs Boson Observation and telling my husband I though I broke water. I took a quick shower and in less than fifteen minutes we arrived at the Kaiser Permanente hospital. I must add they did an excellent job. Great facilities, great treatment and great service. No complains at all.
My water didn't broke after all, but I did had contractions, which I didn't felt, so in normal situation I would had probably being sent home and told to wait for stronger ones and come back.
But oh the irony! They discovered the baby was breech. My husband didn't laughed but I'm sure he though about it.
Manually turn the baby from the outside was out of the question: My belly was too narrow. I wanted the natural birth mostly because I scar very ugly. Under the circumstances though, I was not going to mess with the way the baby wanted to come into this world out of vanity.
I was not amused about the C-Section

Anyhow, they scheduled my Cesarean the day after early morning because I I had a big dinner which is a risk in case I threw up, which I never do. Not even pregnant but doctor's orders. At seven the doctors checked on me and gave my husband a funny looking suit, with a protective hat. They gave me one too.
The procedure went quick and simple the pricked me with the needle in the back while I holding a pillow. Tested if I felt something in my back, when I said no they quickly tied me up in the operating table and put a curtain to cover my lower half. I was a bit disappointed I wanted to look at the process, but I though it was too late to ask. I did requested to take a look at the placenta afterwards. It resembled a giant kidney or liver. Didn't looked like something I would eat.
I felt some pulls and before I realized it they showed me a big head over the curtain with some blood in his nose. I knew I had a boy from the sonogram but my first though was “He looks pink!”
In DR is common for interracial couples to have pale and white kids but I didn't though they could come on crayola pink.
Still crying they put him on my chest, he immediately latched in my boob and started to suck from it like a shark devouring a seal.
I think that was the most I had seen him cry, ever. At least before he got sick (post for another day).
He was so beautiful and soft. I felt in love, a love I never knew before.
The same weekend the Endeavor made its way towards California Science Center. We had a TV in our room where we could see the local channels showing every movement of the shuttle coming home to our beautiful state.
It was so fun to watch people lining up and camping to see it pass and how the news reported how much it moved.
“The Endeavor moved four inches! The crowd goes wild!”
I haven't seen that much excitement in the Southern California streets, since we had that big rock on its way to LACMA.
Aside from watching this event while the baby fed. I spent the mandatory three days, calling the nurses for every freak out I had over anything I didn't had prior experience.
I also tried to remember some of the things newborns did from when my mom brought home all my siblings, during my childhood. Hubby and I spent almost twelve wet tissues in our first ever diaper change so I was kind of rusty.
The baby had a good latch so the feeding was easy. He was usually quiet, except when the nurses came in. Since he was born over nine pounds they were worried he might diabetic. They came to take blood samples every three or four hours for the first twenty four hours of his life. Kind of a sad welcome to the world, but necessary. He doesn't has diabetes thank goodness.
I was still mad about not having the natural birth I dreamed, but then I heard his weight and that his head size was in the top ninety five percentile I was like “Thank you God!”
Newborn hats fits most...

I joke that baby was smarter than mommy realizing he didn't fit down there he turned around or else I would still be in hospital. We also joke that he came with a superpower: he can kill Macbeth! There was a lot of silver linings to this C-Section and the scar is not even that big. Even if it was I got a baby out it, totally worth it.
I'm plan to take Orion to see the shuttle at some point and tell him that both of them share their birthday.
If there was any doubt our baby will be a nerd prince, there is none now.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

TBBT:135.624. The Bon Voyage Reaction



RAJ SPEAKS! ITS A SEASON FINALE MIRACLE!

This was a marvelous ending for this season. Penny and Leonard said their good byes and "I love you" like the most normal couple in the world. A delight to watch. I liked how they did mentioned again the M word and we again had Penny being the one in control. I think the distance will be revealing like last time and we are going to have a new development.

I do wonder if Shamy is stalling them. I mean Leonard moving in or marrying Penny would be a huge step and Shamy had to get ready to move in together or marry themselves. The solution Could be Raj or Stuart becoming the new roommate if Lenny gets married.

This episode revolved more about Raj lack of love life, about time. It needed extra attention and all our couples pretty much had their own developments in previous episodes. Chuck Lorre understands, how everything needs their time and space in order to flow organically.

Amy showed a lot of nobility offering herself as the ambassador for the group to make Lucy feel more comfortable. Although it was a disaster the gesture was nice.

I do hope that since Amy was socially challenged growing up and managed to break her shell in the group. She can try and track down Lucy and convince her to give Raj another chance. We shy, awkward girls need to support each other.

Raj needs to understand that social anxiety takes time. Maybe he should had suggested adding her friends on Facebook to get familiar with them. Talking over the phone for one minute or two before real world interaction would had created a similar safe situation for Lucy to start becoming part of the group. He seems to assume that since she is comfortable with him she should be with his friends.
My heart did broke for him when she didn't showed up at the party. I love that he wanted all his friends to know. This is one of the most close groups in comedy I had ever seen.

I hope for next season Lucy comes back I think she and Raj make a cute couple and I hate to waste a portmanteau name like "Racy".
I also hope we get to see more of Lenny progressing they are in a make or break stage and should move on forward. Sheldon  also needs to learn to be less petty and more affectionate in real life with Amy.
Bernadette and Howard should start the family planning next season and it would be good to see how that will affect the group's interaction. Also I cannot imagine what kind of grumpy pregnant woman Bernadette can be. Surely very funny to watch.

Overall 4 1/2 Bazingas out of 5.

September can't come soon enough.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Movie Review: Man of Steel


Super-Franchise Launched


I liked it. I didn't loved it but it was good and I will watch it again. Here is my review, spoilers included.

The Good

OMG Superman can fight! This was the action movie we had been waiting for since Donner movies. He used his powers well and the punches, flips, flying scenes were exciting and done in a creative way nothing you had seen before. They also effectively conveyed the threats that could actually kill Superman and how great were the feats he could accomplish. I loved the way they built it up with small saving scenes to lead up to big show down. To end with a bang by fighting the big boss Zod.
 
Henry Cavill is one of the best Superman's to date, Christopher Reeve is still number one but he is very close to him. He is gorgeous and has a noble quietness to him that fits the character. He also has a sense of wonder, loneliness and uncertainty. He really sold me as the "Alien" in our planet and that cares for us. I can't wait to see him more in character as both Clark Kent: reporter and as Superman.

Lois Lane is by far the best incarnation of the character. They managed to convey she was both successful, smart, and accomplished. But she also possessed integrity, warm, courage and a good head in her shoulders. The way she quickly bond with her 'mystery man' was believable and charming. The moment when Clark calls him “a friend' and smiles to himself. Shows that he also felt the connection to one of the few humans that accepted his alien origin and still though on protect his secret at her expense.

I kissed an alien and I liked it...

No triangle for two: About time. Its charming the first few 20 years but after a while you get to, like Lois and Clark TV show put it “The most galactically stupid woman in all history” I'm okay with Perry and the others members of the planet staff not knowing. But after being face to face with the man so many times Lois not knowing was kind of silly. I never liked love triangles so I might be biased, though.


The bad
They stole Queen Amidala's old clothes! No wonder Krypton exploded. The Nabooans are that serious about fashion


The editing needed work.
The flying sound worked in some scenes others was odd.
It dragged a bit specially the Krypton scenes. It  slowed down the movie and if you think about it you could had edited out ten minutes of it with no changes in the plot.
Plot needed some work. So they had been sending technology for thousands of years that is not only, always compatible with the new ones (try to use a floppy disc in a laptop and see what I mean) but that had the capacity to create new Kryptonian planets and they just went Kaboom without trying to emigrate to other planets?
My fanwank is that they are setting this for future alien villains, or the Kryptonians eliminated self preservation from their genes while breeding kids ala Matrix.
Pa Kent heroic death was very lame Clark should had said “I'm the goddamn Superman and I will save you even if you ground me forever” I do think I know what happened though more on that later.
So Superman is pregnant with thousand of Kryptonians? Ok.
The ending was anti climatic the last scene should had been of Superman going to save the day. Maybe he even flying. It was kind of “What? The movie ended there? For real?”




The Ugly
"Not Jennifer Connelly. Get me some ketchup for the scenery I'm about to eat..."

Hollywood Executive: “So Russell Crowe we want you in our Man of Steel movie”
Russel Crowe: “Thank you, Superman should be played by an Oscar winner like me”
H.E: “Errr you are kind of too...old to play him.”
RC: “Old...I'm going to punch you right on...”
HE: “But we got a better role for you: his father...”
RC: “Unless you make the role to embody all my Awards winning roles Savior of Krypton, genius scientist with a hot wife, but that can also fight like a warrior I'm out”
HE whispers to his assistant “How many Awards do we need to make this movie legit?”
Assistant: “At least 10, sir”
HE: “We can rewrite the script in 24 hours: lots of lines, plots revolves around you and... Your screen-time would be second only to Superman”
RC: “ Add an heroic death and you got yourself a deal”
HE: “Deal”
Kevin Costner “I want a heroic death too!”
HE “You got awards?!”
KC “Yes”
HE “Deal!”
Henry Cavill “What.... do I get?”
HE “Sorry pal we only have villain's and lame lines left...and you are the hero so...Better luck in the sequel”

4 stars out of 5. Really good and entertaining but could had done away with some stuff. I can't wait for the sequel!



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

NERDRAGE: Ang Lee's Hulk


Puny Movie...

Where I bitch about Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk movie. Given that Lee's wining for The Life of Pi has motivated some people, to re-evaluate this movie as not as bad as everyone seem to make it. I want to say is not only bad, is very wrong.
http://www.anabastow.blogspot.com/p/nerdrage.html

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dr. Snow White. Geneticist



White Labs were in the edge of bankruptcy. Mrs. Queen White took over her late husband lifework and used all of White Labs resources to find the fountain of youth testing the genes of different plants and animals. But this was not a scientific endeavor to help the world but a personal obsession to her: being young and beautiful forever, the fairest of them all.

Her stepdaughter, encouraged to protect her father's memory, completed her education as geneticist and managed to get a small budget to work in the industry using a few shares her father left on her name.

Snow White, outsourced a huge part of her research with underground geneticists The seven dwarfs. To protect her work from the clutches of her step mother.
After seven years of research she stumbled upon a rare compound extracted from a genetically manipulated apple. The substance extended telomeres in the living cells and repaired the damages done by aging. 
Sadly Dr. Hunter, Queen's main scientist was keeping a close watch in the young girl and upon hearing her discovery alerted the Queen. Both attacked the young girl with the intention to steal her research, destroy her lab and silence her by any means necessary.
During the struggle Snow swallowed the only sample of the compound to keep it away from her stepmother. Hunter in rage stroke her and she fell down bumping her head. They both though she was dead and decided to hide the body in the freezer while they though what to do with her.
Mrs White decided to take her heart to test the chemicals in it and see if they could replicate the formula.

Fortunately Snow colleagues, the seven dwarfs, suspected the worst when they didn't heard from her and rushed from their underground lab to find Snow White. They discovered the body, but found out she still had a heart beat and took the body with them. Before they left, they managed to hack into Snow White's computer and extract her research leaving the Queen empty handed once more.

They contacted and old friend Dr. Prince specialist in Molecular phylogenetic and taking a sample from her lips found a way to replicate the formula and brought the young scientist back to life and denounced .
Mrs White managed to blame it all in the hunter and he was arrested while she remained free.
Dr. Prince and Snow White kept working together and fell in love. Their wedding present to the world was release the formula patent free. Queen upon hearing that she won't be the fairest of them all. Given that everyone would have access to the formula committed suicide eating a poisoned apple of her own making. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

TBBT:134.623: The Love Spell Potential

Shamy and Racy got closer in this episode. YAY!

So Sheldon is not a virgin anymore. I know, sounds I'm reaching, but read my reasoning. Sheldon has demonstrated countless of times that 'imaginary experiences' are vivid and real to an extreme for him. In fact maybe the reason he has such a hard time connecting with people in the real world is because for him the real world is so intense than the interaction overwhelm him in an unpleasant way.
To expand upon my point, in many episodes he has commented how fun was to imagine other scenarios and worlds even something as dull as flatland was described as exciting for him. In this particular episode his references to how "thrilling' D&D was for him were a crucial part of the leading up to the ending.

If he ended up imagining his character and Amy's engaging in Coitus. I think we can say his feelings and sensations during the role-play were as intense as any experience he had before hand and count as something he never experienced.

It will be interesting to see the aftermath of this experience. Will Sheldon seek more of this kind of interactions? Did he got scared by the intensity of this experience and seek distance? Will Amy add a weekly D&D private game to their relationship agreement?

I think this two are growing together in their relationship at a nice pace and I loved how Sheldon offered some comfort to his girlfriend even if Amy wasn't expecting it from him. I love this couple and I hope that when they consummate in this realm, it will be satisfying for them and us as well.

Howardette was low key since they had their development episode last week. Lenny as well was very sweet and low key too. Probably saving the most screen time for the season finale.

I think I can officially start calling Raj and Lucy: Racy.
They did great this episode. I liked that Raj talked to Lucy a lot more, and tried to understand her and even to help her to achieve her goals and learn to be more assertive. A bit condescending of her to use the "He doesn't get our ways" argument to get out of the situation with the waiter, but Raj takes everything with such a good nature that it didn't even registered. He overdid the pushing her out of her comfort zone, of course, but he himself is not the smoothest guy in the planet. This is a great couple with their ups and downs and weaknesses and strength to work around.
The moment in the dumpster was both funny and heartwarming and I loved that they finally kissed. Awkwardly and cute.
I think in many ways they are the mirror couple to Shamy. Raj might have some issues but not as much as Lucy who seems to be the Sheldon in the relationship.
I know they didn't announced Lucy as "the one' when she entered the show. Just another love interest but I do think this couple has material to work with and be a good addition to the dynamics of the group. I guess we need to wait and see how she interacts with the gang once she feels comfortable enough to meet them.

I can't wait! Long live to Racy.

Loved this episode 4 1/2 Bazingas out of 5

TBBT: 133.622. The Proton Resurgence

So much potential *lesigh*


I was underwhelmed by this episode. Clearly a filler, but this show has had better fillers than this one, much better ones.
Maybe I was over-hyped by the presence of Bob Newhart guest starring, but in the end the plot was predictable and not much character development happened to the rest of the cast. In fact I think we had character regression. I mean Penny never has been this clueless.

It seems they were going for heartwarming when Sheldon gave his speech about "You were my only friend", supported by Leonard declaring all the scientist he helped inspired, but I saw this coming a mile away and it's been done before by many other shows. It doesn't hold the emotional power it once did.
The rest felt more like a clips show of all the characters most recognizable traits. Sheldon has issues sleeping and bothers poor Leonard. Leonard is lucky to have landed a girlfriend as pretty as Penny. The broken elevator is a pain in the neck to climb for the elderly and injured. Overused jokes are not funny after a while.

Professor Proton 'conflict' was a bit hard to buy too. Inspiring young people to enter a STEM career is a necessary and noble pursue so I find hard to believe than having a TV show forbid him for working for real in his field once it was cancelled. Now I could be wrong and scientists could be a bunch of elitists pricks that don't respect anyone that tries to bring science to new minds. In which case I read this wrong and God help us all.

I did liked Professor Proton as character, but not what they did with him. I also loved how Leonard supposedly knows how to act 'normal', but he was all the way behind Sheldon's crazy ideas like the calendar.

I also enjoyed Howardette and Raj. They got an interesting take on the idea of having a baby of their own which is good character progression for them as individuals and as a married couple and Raj got to show up his cute and over pampered Cinnamon.

I don't think I can hate any episode of this series but this was seriously close.

2 Bazingas out of 5.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Geek mom of the Month: Merit Ptah



Sorry couldn't find a decent pic of her and settled for generic Egyptian doctors, meh...

I wanted to do something a bit 'vintage' this month. Merit Ptah is to this date the first female named scientist in all the history of humankind. Born in ancient Egypt around 2700 BCE she was the Chief Physician, according to the inscription done by her son on a tomb in the necropolis near the step pyramid of Saqqara.

Of course this is a bit of a controversial title. In Ancient Egypt there was no separation of science and religion and superstition. Even her name means Beloved of Ptah, a God.

Nevertheless this is the same civilization that created very sophisticated mummification techniques impressive even to modern Egyptologists. It would be unfair to measure them with the strict modern standards of science when they had their own way to deal with their knowledge of the human body.

Ancient Egypt was one of the few civilizations that allowed a high level of freedom and independence to the women in their society. Egyptian women could receive education, work, be represented in court, get equal pay for equal work, inherit land, own businesses and receive compensation in case of divorce, whether it was male or female initiated. The Egyptians also passed the 'divinity' of their rulers through women's blood. Any man desiring to be the Pharaoh had to marry a female with direct royal blood, sometimes even if this woman was his sister or daughter. They also allowed women to rule. True not as Queens, but as co-rulers or bearing the title of Divine Wife. But some like Hatshepsut, managed to take the place of the male Pharaoh by using their attributes during rituals and official appearances.

We know little about Merit Ptah but the fact that she managed to mark her place in history as a doctor surely deserves to be remembered by all generation of mothers and scientist in the world.
Deservedly so, The International Astronomical Union named the impact crater Merit Ptah on Venus after her.

Friday, April 26, 2013

TBBT:132.621. The Closure Alternative


Best opening opening ever in this show. I also was a fan of Heroes, when it ended. If only Smallville would had taken the hint, stupid show...

Anyhow I like how Amy is so hands on right away. Putting her knowledge to work to better Sheldon's life.

One of the many things I share with my beloved Sheldon is a need to know how things end. My idea of hell is an infinite library with every single book ever written in it...with the last page missing. Greek torture for all eternity for me. It was kind hard to watch the treatment. Specially the dominoes, all that job wasted! I feel your pain, Sheldon.

Our poor Amy's needs keep unmet one episode more, poor girl. Sheldon has no idea. The treatment might had been something she learned for herself given her circumstances.  Also did Sheldon had a sort of orgasm caused indirectly by Amy? I'm counting it as getting to third base if you don't mind. SHAMY... SORT OF...DID IT... IN A WAY! YAY SHAMERS!

Lenny is progressing even more. Penny acknowledged how good her life is  at this point. She just needs to accept her natural mellow personality and I think is part of the reason she managed to become friends with our guys and fall for Leonard. She doesn't get impatience or desperate she is  'go with the flow'. That is not a bad trait, never change Penny.

Penny also did some introspection in the episode and confronted some fantasies she had as a little girl. Like the movies she wants to act in as an adult, she needs to let go of the pictures and embrace the more amazing reality. I hope my predictions are right and we finally get the proposal from Penny. I actually though she was going to do it for a moment, but that is season cliffhanger material. Wait and see.

Although Leonard, Buffy? Really? Joss-creates-characters-for-people-to-love-and-then-kills-them-when-they-are-at-their-happiest-Whedon, is not a good universe to introduce any human being with the idea of getting her hooked on. I hope next time he sticks to something less prone to heartbreak, like the Tudors...

Oh Bernadette you little megalomaniac...
Our Howard is still himself even if he is married now. The show wouldn't be the same if he wasn't a bit creepy once in a while. I think Bernadette and him connect in part because they are both a bit weird with social conventions. I can only imagine what kind of kids they will spawn.

I would feel less comfortable about Raj reading Lucy's blog, if it was not for the fact that Lucy published her personal life for all the net to see. Hard to claim privacy invasion when she decided to make it all public.
Raj is so cute when he doesn't get things. I like that he is worried about looking manly even though is not what he is.
The conversation between of Raj and Howard kind of showcased that.  They are all nervous weirdos but, Lucy acknowledges her own quirkiness so he doesn't need to pretend to be a man he is not and she accepts his peculiarities too. They can bond over their own special way to see the world. This two are growing on me a lot. Wishing them a good run.
Although, doggie kisses? Ewww not a dog person here, no matter how cute.
The show was good enough. Not, memorable but good. Can't wait for the cliffhanger.

4 Bazingas out of 5

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Babymoon Geek Style. Flagstaff, Arizona.


This is the most famous hole in the ground I had seen!

Even though the term babymoon implies sadness, over our time as only the two of us disappearing. At least until the kids leave the house to create their own lives. We personally consider it a celebration of things to come. We couldn't wait for Orion to be in our arms as he was in our minds. This just the last time he gets to travel for free!

Flagstaff, Arizona was chosen as our destination because its a strategic vacationing point for visiting geeky places in the zone. We planned to use it as stepping stone to visit the Grand Canyon, the Meteor Crater and the Percival Lowell's Observatory and some peaks, volcanoes, elevations and Native American settlements. All in one week or less!

We decided to make the trip on train instead of a plane. Neither hubby or I ever traveled by train. I know is crazy but I'm still not over fear of flying so I jumped at the chance of moving in safe land as a secondary benefit from traveling by train.
That turns into a bed. Here I though I was savvy.
We didn't wanted to leave our car in the parking lot of the bus station for a week. So I was in charge of getting us from home, to Union Station in Los Angeles using the bus. Hubby has been driving since High School, but since I can't drive the way I move around when he is not available, is taking public transportation like I used to do in Dominican Republic.

The bus trip was pretty straightforward and easy and cheaper than gas. Of course it took twice the time, this is the reason most people end up getting a car and I will be driving soon enough as well. We had time to take a light lunch before the Amtrak train arrived, since we made it a few hours before time, calculating for the unavoidable vacation 'problems'. Hoping missing our train wouldn't be one of them. Sadly they are never what you expected them to be. We only had three inconveniences in this trip, so we consider ourselves lucky.

The trip in the Amtrak train was delightful. For the price of your tickets , they serve you a delicious warm dinner, like in old movies in a common dinning wagon. I love small talk with strangers, we meet a nice lady with whom we talked about cats and living in the center of the country where she was going to.

The sleeping arrangements were comfortable enough I usually cling to my husband all night long and we usually can share a fairly small space since we are both lightweights. But, with seven months pregnant bump I settled for the down bed and had the chance to enjoy an spectacular view of the desert at night and later on an electrical storm. Worth it in the end.

We arrived around 12 hours later we arrived to Flagstaff, got our reservations. The room was comfortable and functional except for problem #1.
No vacation trip should be without a leaky toilet.

They offered us another room,but once the bathroom was fixed we decided to stay. Being close to the lobby with coffee, tea 24/7 and in the first floor it meant less walking time for the heavily pregnant lady aka me. Never mind how much walking and hiking for several miles I did  in the days to come...

We went to the Meteor Crater first. Its full name is Barringer Crater, named after the first scientist that suggested it was created by a meteor and not a volcanic explosion. Back in the day, many scientists were convinced it was a volcanic crater and considered the alien origin unlikely. The zone is full of volcanoes it surely made sense back then. But later with time and tests Daniel Barringer was proven right.

The museum explains everything about the history of the crater and has exhibits showing other meteor impacts around the world. It also features one of the biggest pieces of the meteor they found, is not even chained. Our tour guide joked that anyone that could carry the rock was welcomed to take it home.
You think Cthulhu will eat us first?
We are posing here with our meteor rings. Hubby has a meteor iron band and I have a Moldavite* stone in my wedding ring. I call this my 'gifts from the stars' photo.  In hindsight sounds like the beginning of a horror sci-fi movie: "The stars are right. When two unsuspecting tourists bring together three fallen pieces of the sky, they awaken an ancient evil." Maybe a B-Movie.
Tip for Orion, this why you always buy the insurance when you rent a car. A.L.W.A.Y.S. In our way back we had problem #2.
I should had kept it as a souvenir... or spare parts
Our next stop: the Grand Canyon.  We don't have canyons in Dominican Republic so I didn't have any idea of how it will look in person. Of course you can guess how many movies, TV series, cartoon and comics show some bits of this masterpiece of Mother Nature. Nothing in comparison with the real deal though.

Most people visiting the Arizona Grand Canyon National Park starts on Mather Point which has the big museum, the cafe and the exhibits and later go East to the other points. But since the guide we had warned us about parking issues, we decided to go backwards in the tour in case we couldn't find a parking spot. It was a great idea.

Honey? I think your country is broken...

From the first barely visited point, to Desert View impressive watchtower, we ended on the most visited area. The warming up to the other views just made us more awed with the beauty of Mather Point. I definitely recommend the backwards approach for any visitors. It also makes for a quicker return home.

We almost though we will spent our vacation in the hotel reading and watching movies due to Problem #3 Tornado warning. But thankfully we only had to take one day to rest and continued with our trip as planned.
I'm the only one that though The Roadrunner was a jerk?
The Lowell Observatory was the next stop. The Clark Refractory Telescope* and the Astrograph are two of the most important attractions, the whole complex is devoted to astronomy and has at least two telescopes in active use and the other as educational tools. The tour guide walked us over a scale solar system represented by plaques in the terrain. We got a solid idea of how far away our brothers and sister planets are and why . The museum has all sorts of testing gear to demonstrate the planetary science. They also host star parties in a regular basis with instructors detailing several astronomical facts, of course the classic tale of how Pluto was discovered and a brief explanation about its 'demotion'. The gift shop has quite humorous T-shirts about the whole issue with Pluto not being a planet anymore.
This was probably the highlight of the trip for me. Also save the Clark!

We got lucky in this visit. The day of our visit was the first night during our stay, clear enough to get the telescopes out and see Saturn and other constellations and planets. And they had an special event  celebrating the week of the anniversary of the moon landings. Flagstaff played a crucial role for the Apollo Program*. The town hosted a team of scientists that taking advantage of the nearby volcanoes and the meteor crater went to run experiments and studies. The astronauts of the Apollo program went there, to learn geology so they could pick the most geologically telling rocks from the moon and bring them back to Earth.


Neil Armstrong hand print and the original practice Rover they used at Cinder Lake

The coordinators of the space program took a nearby cinder lake and several pictures of Mare Tranquillitatis, the place the Lunar Module was planned to land and using explosive charges they created a reproduction of the terrain.  The future astronauts practiced geology and how to drive around the craters in The Rover.
The geological society even has Neil Armstrong's hand print and the practice vehicle in exhibition.

Later, we did a Google search and found out the cinder lake still had some of the craters made back in the 60's and it was just a few miles out of town. You can probably guess what we did next day July 20...

ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: The first woman to walk in a reproduction of the moon!

The same day we visited some impressive volcanic craters. We decided to take it easy the rest of our trip and visited local attractions, the other Planes of Fame Museum and Native American settlements and we even spent the last hours waiting for our train to arrive playing Settlers of Catan in a nice little store called The Geekery.
That hairdo seems familiar somehow Mmmm...


Orion this was a memorable trip. Maybe we can go back when you can enjoy it all with your own eyes.

*The Clark is in need of repairs. Go to indiegogo to help maintain this scientific instrument for the generations to come.
* Moldavite is not a meteor rock. But it formed when a meteor hit Earth 15 million years ago. I like to joke that since is green and 'fell from the sky' is actually Kryptonite. Superman you better keep your distance.
*Another point against the moon landing hoax believers.  Ocam's razor says that they if NASA spent years, resources and recruited places like this, with clear evidence of research, practice, studies and even a reproduction of the landing site. The more simple explanation is that we went to the moon.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Geek Mom of the Month. Ellen Ochoa



This month I will be honoring an amazing mother, scientist, Latina and astronaut: Ellen Ochoa.

She is the first Hispanic female cosmonaut and sadly so far the only one. She has around 1,000 hours accumulated in space and she also has researched extensively optics systems to detect defects in a repeating pattern, owning three patents to date. She is currently the Director of the Johnson Space Center.

She was born on May 10, 1958 in Los Angeles and we almost lost her to her other passion music, since she planned to make it her professional career. Luckily for us the geek muse song was stronger than the flute's and after receiving her Bachelor's degree on Physics she pursued a Master's degree and a PHD in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

She didn't forget her classical musical training taking her flute with her to orbit. She is one of the few musicians in the world to have, the rare privilege of playing in zero gravity with the notes floating around her like an space siren.

It was another female astronaut Sally Ride with her amazing accomplishments that inspired her to continue her love for science by pursuing a career in Aerospace. She was accepted into NASA's astronaut training program in 1990 and in April of 1993, she  traveled into space for the first time, in the Discovery Space Shuttle.

In her missions she operated the Station's robotic arm several times. To maneuver space-walkers around the Station, to deploy and capture the Spartan satellite, which studied the solar corona. She also used the RMS to retrieve the CRISTA-SPAS atmospheric research satellite. Among other duties and studies.

Dr. Ochoa has received seven awards from NASA to date, in addition to the Women in Aerospace Outstanding Achievement Award, the Hispanic Engineer Albert Baez Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution to Humanity, and the Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award. In 1999, she was selected by then President Clinton to serve on the Presidential Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History.

Playing the flute in space!


She also has two schools named after her: Ellen Ochoa Middle School in Pasco, Washington, and the Ellen Ochoa Learning Center in Cudahy, California. And is Member of the Optical Society of America (OSA), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi honor societies.

She is married to Coe Fulmer Miles, with whom she has two sons. Ochoa and her husband would encourage them to become astronauts, if they choose. "Being an astronaut is a wonderful career," Ochoa said. "I feel very privileged. But what I really hope for young people is that they find a career they're passionate about, something that's challenging and worthwhile."

I dream that in the near future, we will work as a species to reach the moon again and among the privileged ones we will have the first woman to set foot 'La luna'.  I'm sure that whoever she might be. It will be the road started by pioneer women as Dr Ochoa that will make it possible. She is a  wonderful example for all women and future mothers of the world that love science into pursuing their rightful place among the stars.

Friday, April 12, 2013

TBBT:131.620.The Tenure Turbulence.



I liked this episode although the jokes about Sheldon being blind to politically correctness regarding to race are a bit old at this point. Once a season should be great but now it looks like even the genius Sheldon Cooper cannot make a simple connection or/and at least ask Amy before he interacts with people of races he is not familiar with.

I have to give credit to Amy for incorporating her social skills to their relationship dynamic and to Sheldon to be 'humble' enough to accept her input in an area he should know at this point he lacks. The fact that Sheldon praises her and trusts her is a big step in the right direction for this two and I think she is already used to being the initiator in physical matters. I'm guessing that even if their relationship becomes sexual at some point. Sheldon will ask her to sign a "coitus contract"to regulate their sex life. Hijinks will ensue with discussing clauses and activities if it comes true. I think is also an interesting issue to explore of having the guy being the less interested on sex in the relationship, not many fictional couples have this dynamic.

Penny and Leonard seem to be on a good place she is supportive of his dreams in the best way she can master. Although I do wonder if the fact she thinks her beauty is her only asset to Leonard's career plays up on her insecurities about the relationship. Trophy wife is only fun when you plan to be a trophy wife from the get go, no when you seriously want to have a meaningful marriage. I don't think the season will end without addressing their relationship status at least once more I'm hoping for an engagement.

Howard was a bit mean this episode. I guess since he couldn't apply. The second best was to watch the train-wreck. Let loose a couple of train tracks, grab a chair, the popcorn and let the show begin. He must be bored, jealous or both. Although, knowing how vicious Bernadette can be when she is competing I can see how him just being an spectator was best for all involved.

Is funny I don't remember Raj being a spoiled brat. He is usually humble about coming from money. Maybe part of his issues with women, are because he never gained confidence from actually earning his own money and seat warmers. Also how much he can trash an apartment on his own? A cleaning lady more than twice a week sounds excessive for a single guy with a tiny dog. I was glad to see her again. I'm a cat person but even I find her adorable.

I have to say I'm kind of disappointed on the guys assessment of Kripke. What makes him a jerk? He is in their same footing: Nerdy scientist with some social issues relating to people and women. The only difference is that he doesn't belong to the same group and I will admit his sexual innuendo is very unsettling but is not like he does it to everyone all the time.

In this episode they did the same things Kripke did to gain the tenure position and it seems he at least talked to Janine a couple of times before the exercise scene started. A contrast with our group of nerds that only knew her because of the sexual harassment incident of some episodes ago.
Our guys, had showed prejudice before, when they were making fun of Penny's ex in earlier seasons. I do hope they understand that is not fun when is done to them so its not fun when done to others.

Overall decent episode, not as funny as usual.

3 1/2 Bazingas out of 5.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mammalian placenta reflects exposure to stress, impacts offsprings' brains




"Most everything experienced by a woman during a pregnancy has to interact with the placenta in order to transmit to the fetus," said Tracy L. Bale, senior author on the paper and an associate professor in the Department of Animal Biology at Penn Vet. "Now we have a marker that appears to signal to the fetus that its mother has experienced stress."
Read more at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-03-mammalian-placenta-exposure-stress-impacts.html

This type of articles have fascinated me since I read about biology, evolution and genetics as a child. Intelligence, goodness and creativity were the traits I admire the most all my life. Both in friends and in romantic interests. My curious nature always led me to try and find the connection to nutrition, environment and genetics, preparing myself for when I started my family.
There is no much anyone can do about their genes, aside from selecting a suitable mate with the qualities you want more in the world of course. Once we have the mate we dreamed on, the actual actions we can take to ensure good brain health for our babies are:
  • Good nutrition for yourself before, during and after pregnancy and for all the members of the household specially babies, 
  • Provide a stable, consistent environment, 
  • Breastfeed,
  • Stimulate brain development from early on, one to one interaction seems to be better than anything else. Create a strong and safe emotional bond. 
According to science this seem the key points in creating a set of conditions that help, whatever IQ points their parents can pass into their children, to reach their maximum capacity and allow to develop the highest amount of brain power.
I tried to get pregnant for a few months even using ovulation prediction kits to accelerate the process. Patience is not my strong suit.
I was already taking prenatal vitamins when I finally got my two lines in my pregnancy test. I went to all my appointments and followed all the doctor's recommendations. My pregnancy was really uneventful the first weeks I didn't got nausea or vomited not even once.
I kind of guessed everything was going to be smooth, though. My mother never looked happier or healthier than when she was pregnant and she told me this was a family trait. I just got a bit of 'food stinks' syndrome the first three months and with that I developed an aversion to garlic. I used to love it, but for some reason the smell became too strong and to this day I still haven't gotten back to my old garlic lover self. I ate a lot of eggs, chicken, beef, fruit and salads. I delegated kitty litter cleaning duties to husband.
I got acid reflux when the baby started to grow pushing my stomach up to my neck around week 30. And given that I was carrying a huge baby, my back was killing me. The last 4 weeks aside from wanting to eat the whole fridge, and having a bad time sleeping. I could barely stand up for more than 20 minutes.
My husband and I get along pretty well so I didn't had many stressors during my pregnancy. Except for a couple of situations at work and an ill encounter with a friend. I did made an effort to avoid situations that might end up making me stressful and tried to keep myself surrounded by positive supportive persons. Is too early to know how my choices will impact Orion's development but I had always believed, is better to try and fail than to never try.
At the very least the baby is crossing his milestones a tad earlier than expected so I'm hoping I did something right. No matter what, I love him and that is probably the best gift I can give to him to ensure whatever her capacities are going to be he will be happy. That is all that matters in the end to me.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rapunzel. Astronomer



Years ago Dr. Mother Gothel became the director of the Observatory Of Tower City by predicting the appearances of the “yearly lights' with precision.  Rapunzel Towers a grad student Mother took in to mentor had an interesting hypothesis: The lights are man made and there is intelligent life in the other side of the mountain. Gothel ridiculed her in front their fellow scientists and demoted her. She told her, she loved her too much to fire her for her 'stupid mistake' and turned her into her assistant. She forbade her from ever discussing the lights again and  made sure any request for funding went trough her first. Depressed and discouraged she took solace in spending the night shifts looking at the sky with the telescope.
One night Eugene Flint and amateur astronomer  approached her with the same theory. She knew Gothel wouldn't believe him so they decided to go in a  journey to find enough proof that the lights were man made to convince the board of scientists to further fund  their research.
Gothel had been recording Rapunzel's visits, expecting the worst. She discovered years ago she made a mistake, but she didn't wanted to lose her new power and position. Her only option was to suppress any research that proved her wrong.
She followed the pair and in a moment Eugene left for supplies, she convinced Rapunzel that he was going to steal all the credit. With promises of helping her and returning her to her old position she managed to lure her back to the observatory.
But Gothel was planning on murdering her young assistant and make it look like Eugene killed her. Rapunzel back at the office discovered the proof Gothel had been hoarding: years of research kept in files to avoid anyone finding out the truth.
Gothel was ready to strike but Eugene appeared in the right moment, took Rapunzel and locked her in the room calling the police. Gothel decided that she wouldn't want to live without the glory of her position and ended her life before the police opened the door.
Rapunzel  and Eugene shared the credit for their discovery. Rapunzel substituted Gothel as director and her fiance Eugene became his assistant in the new project. Search for Other Mountains Intelligence. SOMI
And they lived Geekily Ever After.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

And Kitty makes three


Stupid Crystal Window...

I always liked cats, even though I shouldn't. My mother doesn't care for animals and my father doesn't care for cats. In fact back in Dominican Republic when I was growing up cats had all sorts of superstitions surrounding them. I remember a few neighbors had cats and my mother used to tell me “Don't touch their fur, you will get a fever!”. My dad called them “Ladrones!” (Thieves) so I never had one as a kid.

I always been a rule follower but I promised myself than when I grew up and got married I will have a cat as a pet. Sadly, the lack of felines ended up with a huge population of mice and rats at least in the capital city (Santo Domingo). Its a miracle we didn't ended up with the Black Death 2.0 or something like it.
So out of necessity, things improved for cats as time passed by and nowadays we have a lot more cats around. My husband was surprised that we don't spay cats in my country. People with a pregnant cats start to get requests for the kittens before the cat delivers them. Some people even harass the owner to make sure she will get one out of the litter. I remember one of my Facebook contacts yelling at another friend because she gave away kittens and didn't gave her one.

My best friend had a cat named Princess, she got pregnant a few months before my paper work was ready so I asked her to give me one of the kittens. Since we are both Twihards I told her “Give me the male one. I will name him Edward” and she agree.
Now, my plan was to take the kitten and leave it in the house for my parents while I would get a couple of American cats here. I assumed my parents dislike for cats, was because they never actually had one. And since we had an infestation of mice I though this will be a great solution for them. If it didn't worked out I could just return the kitten to my friend and she will find a new home for him.
I can imagine the cat owners reading this are guessing what happened next.
Princess, even though she was less than ten pounds, delivered five kittens one of them died so she had four almost healthy live ones. My friend already had six people asking for kittens. She called me one day and told me that one of the persons she denied the cat to was suspiciously visiting around a lot so she was afraid she will steal my cat. I took a small bus (guaguita) with a cartoon box and got my cat that weekend. To this day, that neighbor is still in not speaking terms with my friend.
My friend  assured me that according to her husband, who is  a "cat expert" male kittens are always one or two colors. Cat owners are laughing at this part.
Dominican Cat to the left Gringo Cat to the right.

Weeks passed and I noticed that the only one playing with the cat was me. My parents could feed her when I was at work and my sister kept an eye on her but nothing else beyond that. My plan had failed but then I already loved her too much and couldn't bear the idea of returning her to my friend.
I called my nerd prince when we got the date for the immigration office appointment "What would you think if I tell you I want to bring the cat with me when we get the paperwork done?”. I had been adopted by a cat.
Since we didn't knew for sure if the immigration department will give me the Spouse visa or not (You can get your Visa denied if the consul got out of the wrong side of the bed that day, specially if you are Dominican) the plan B was that he will take the cat with him and wait for me to get the Visa in case I didn't got it at the first go.

Hubby met Edward and found her cute since the beginning. He was a little suspicious of her lack of...manly attributes but decided to wait for the vet to tell us for sure. The vet had to make sure she was healthy and should give us a certification to allow her in the country (waste of time, in the airport they barely looked at her paperwork). We also asked him the gender he picked her up turn her around and said “Una gata”. The color thing was proven just an 'old wives' tale'.
I though on calling her Bella but hubby told me “She comes when you call her. Don't change anything!”.  The girl in Cowboy Bebop seems to de doing okay so we kept the name. Interestingly enough there is a cat in my new neighborhood named Bela and they don't get along, they will totally fall in love now of course.
Hubby noticed how smart she was. She will not only come when I called even if she was around three months old. She also will use the litter no matter where you put it right away.
Happily, I got my Visa and it took us a week to arrange our trip.  Travel with your pets in the plane,  costs almost as much as a plane seat and you put your pet under the chair like any carry on, not happy with that.Thank goodness my hubby's parents helped us with the money for that.
I pet her with my hand in the carrier all the time to make sure she will feel safe and she tolerated the two plane trips well.
She did had a small accident since she had never seen glass windows, upon getting released in the house she tried to jump outside. Ouch! She did okay but she surely learned her lesson that first day.

It has been interesting to live with her. Hubby always commented how tiny our cats are when I found them normal size. Now that I live here: the land of fifteen and twenty pounds cats I see what he means. We guess it might be due to Insular dwarfism
Another funny thing is that Edward doesn't like catnip, she runs away from it. We call her Straight Edge cat.
Also it seems that technically she is fourth feral since Dominicans didn't breed house cats. They mostly get in and out of the house and Princess mate seems to part of a glaring. That manifested when we took her to the vet the first time. She was crying, screaming and biting everything within sight. My eight pounds of cat needed four people to get her to take a pill. To this day she has a red label in her medical record that says "Will bite". My husband nicknamed it "The little blender in the shape of a cat"
"Please little monkey don't eat me"

She is actually very sweet to us and the people she sees often enough. She is warming up to the baby but when I brought him home she didn't entered our room for almost a whole week. Of course the baby was almost two pounds bigger than her so she probably wanted to make sure he won't eat her. She is kind of a coward. One day we heard a strong noise and she disappeared for almost an hour.

I'm really thankful for Edward. I would had been sad to be alone at home while hubby worked if it wasn't for her keeping me company and life would be a lot duller without her trying to steal his bacon when he has breakfast.
I love you Edward (both Cullen and Bastow)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

TBBT.130.619. The Closet Reconfiguration





Leonard was telling the truth.

One will think his wife might be the one telling him the truth, except that would be too obvious. Also Bernadette just saw Howard looking at the pics of his father before he left. It will be too much of a coincidence that the letter also had a pic. She was lying too.

From the girls we got Amy left, unlikely since she is new in the group and Penny who has never be close to Howard. Her also version sounds a lot like a movie and she is an actress.

We know Sheldon was lying. They purposely took away the only one who actually read the letter out of the race in an obvious way.

Raj was obviously lying both because of the last bit of comment and because Howard is Jewish. If this was a you-had-become-a-man letter he would had gotten it at 13 not 18.

That leaves Leonard.
In  other episodes he shared the common bond of father issues with both Howard and Raj and in this one he was talking about how much he has grown. Makes sense he will ask to be the one to tell him the truth.

With the mystery out of the way let's talk about the episode minor details.

Raj needs to get married. Seriously, the guy is pouring husband skills everywhere and has no one that needs them and appreciate them.Since we are in the subject.
I was sad there was no mention of Lucy. I do think they could be a good pair of someone like her. Bonding over their quirks and he can take care of the social duties he likes so much while she can make new friends and take small risks on her time.

For a moment there I though Leonard was going to propose again when he was talking about the dinner party with Penny. He is also ready to get married he talked about Howard step in adulthood with pride and a hint of envy. And the dinner party was a clear indication of his strong desire to change status. He promised Penny not to propose again but then will he wait around forever? I can see Alex being a danger if she shows signs of being ready for commitment too. It would be interesting if there is another crisis coming on for Lenny.

Amy is still very much into Sheldon and still finds his weirdness endearing. Sheldon is also very much into "don't touch me!". So adorable. Progress has been made!

Lovely episode again. Fun, charming and full of heart. 5 bazingas out of 5.

Monday, March 11, 2013

TBBT.129.618. The Contractual Obligation Implementation



First things first. STEM majors dressed as Disney princesses? Copycats! Sort of...
Is there is such a thing as a Show Soulmate TBBT is mine.

Yeah I'm crazy...Moving on.

This was a very sweet episode. Leonard trying to encourage more young women to join the hard science and almost twisting the arms of his colleagues was kind of him. We need more of that in real life.

I really can't fault the guys for not wanting to help I mean this guys are willing to forsake sex and food in order to play video games helping their fellow humans? Same category: not the sightless chance.

After some convincing Howard used his 'connections' to help out and there was no 'creepiness in high school' jokes. I think Howard is past that at this point so I was thankful for not going there.

This characters is in spite of their many issues they still try to do their best as citizens and in their personal lives I admire this trait in our geeky gang. Leonard is still not over a lot of her family issues and be constantly compared with his siblings. Howard has more issues than Spiderman, Raj also tries to overcome his uber shyness and Sheldon...Well his problems are biological, a different type of challenge. Yet they all try to rise above their circumstances and find happiness. Is a great example for everyone.

Sheldon as usual was his brilliant annoying self. Is funny, for all the belittling he does and all the mistakes he makes, the guys still respect him, help him and are willing to listen to him even though more belittling comes with the territory. Loved the mention of Marie Curie, although he overplayed the bad part.

His idea of contacting their female counterparts was brilliant and I love the whole "We are encouraged to be pretty but we can be pretty in order to be happy, but we can be pretty and smart too and be happy" part of the argument. Particularly coming from Amy that is going through a second puberty of sorts with the girls and Sheldon.
 
Raj was really sweet trying to find a way to make Lucy comfortable in their date and it was smart to work around both issues with a texting date in a library. I like that whatever small gestures of encouragement Lucy allows herself to express. Is met with enthusiasm and accomplishment by him. Very understanding of him I'm glad he is giving her the space she needs and I can see this making him grow in her eyes. Although I think he should confess his issues about talking to women so they can bond over their awkwardness.
 
Is it me or every time a male in this show comes to the women for advice he comes out empty handed?
 
I will give this episode 5 Bazingas. It was funny, it was cute, it was nice, it was uplifting and it had a lot of heart and princesses! LOVED IT! :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Geek Mom of the month. Marie Curie



I'm going to start honoring mothers geeks from around the world in a monthly basis. I decided to start in March because is the month I was born so call it a little treat to myself.

I'm using the broad pop culture definition of geek. This section would be about mothers that one way or another had found time between breastfeeding and changing diapers to contribute to the interests most geeks cherish, science, technology, literature, video games... Bonus points if their children ended up inheriting their passion for our pursuits.

Although a bit predictable, my all time favorite is Marie Curie. She was the first woman that won a Nobel prize along with her husband Pierre, in 1903. She also continued her research after he died and won another in 1911.

So far she is the only woman to win the Nobel in two fields, and the only scientist to have won it in different sciences. Since, aside from physicist, she was also a chemist. To make her even more outstanding she was the first female professor at La Sorbonne in Paris.

Madam Curie managed to find time between her research and homemaking  to give birth and raise two daughters. One of them became an award winning scientist. Irène Joliot-Curie won the Nobel with her husband Jean Frédéric Joliot-Curie for Chemistry in 1935.Her brother Pierre Joliot-Curie is a biologist. Irene's children continued the Curie tradition.  Hélène Langevin-Joliot is a nuclear physicist and her son, Yves is an astrophysicist.

A whole dynasty dedicated to the sciences. Some of the memories of their descendants show Marie encouraging science, not by appealing to intelligence but to hard work and dedication. One of the biggest barriers for many people to pursue STEM fields is to think that you need to be a genius to be able to become a researcher. In reality what is more important is patience, dedication and a huge amount of curiosity than a high IQ.

I can only dream my child will inherit a love for discovery from me and their dad. Regardless, if he become a scientist, a comic book artist or an accountant. I will do my best to teach him to respect the legacy of women like Marie Curie.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Early Childhood Mental Health


The science of child development shows that the foundation for sound mental health is built early in life, as early experiences—which include children’s relationships with parents, caregivers, relatives, teachers, and peers—shape the architecture of the developing brain. Disruptions in this developmental process can impair a child’s capacities for learning and relating to others, with lifelong implications. This two-page summary—part of the InBrief series—explains why, many costly problems for society, ranging from the failure to complete high school to incarceration to homelessness, could be dramatically reduced if attention were paid to improving children’s environments of relationships and experiences early in life. The brief provides an overview of Establishing a Level Foundation for Life: Mental Health Begins in Early Childhood, a Working Paper by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.
You can download and print the PDF  here:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Disney STEM Princess. Aurora Psychoanalyst



Dr. Aurora Rose is convinced that dreams are the key to our past and she is willing to die to prove it. Going behind the back of her colleague and fiance Phillip Prince. She arranges with her three lab assistants: Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather to induce her into a coma and monitor her while she travels the dream world. In it she will finds ways to retrieve the memories she lost as a child to try and track her missing parents.
But her rival, Dr Mallory (Mal) E. Ficent tries to make her coma a permanent one. She locks her assistants and follows Aurora progress planning to steal her data and take the glory before ending her life. The assistants manage to contact Philip who gets just in time to stop Mal. Deliver her to the authorities and saves her fiance from a certain death. Aurora successfully retrieved the memories and is finally reunited with her parents. The university impressed with her findings grants her the funds she needs to continue her research and she and Phillip lived Geekily ever after.
To see all the princesses as scientists click here: http://anabastow.blogspot.com/p/disney-princess-as-scientists.html
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