Archive for December, 2010

Hungry Trees – Benches

They may fancy metal signs, but trees also have a taste for nearby benches.

Tree eating a bench in Lazio, Italy
Hungry Tree in Lazio, Italy (Photo by karstensfotos)

Swallowed Bench
Hungry Tree in North Dublin (Credit: Shellonious)

December 20, 2010 at 5:00 am 2 comments

Qubit’s First Anniversary on Hunter Street!

A year ago today, Ryan taught the final class for the Computer Literacy Program and a little black kitten showed up on our deck afterwards. Despite our claims of taking him to the SPCA, the kitten ended up part of our household.

So happy one year anniversary to the egg-nog drinking, Christmas ornament batting, grapefruit chasing, dog food stealing, adoreably forgivable Qubit!

I wanted this post to be accompanied by never before seen (on the blog) Qubit pictures. It turns out that was harder than I thought. It seems I don’t take a lot of pictures of Qubit, but I managed to scrounge some shots up. Luckily there is no relationship between the quantity of pictures and the magnitude of my affection for the cat. He’s one of my favorites. : )

20091225 - Clint (bg), Qubit - (by Dad) - 4255656988_f5b19fc967_o
Qubit Yawning (Photo by Vic L)

Qubit Models Hat
Qubit Modeling a Crochet Hat for Henry’s Bark for Life

Elizabeth City Snow - Qubit and Tree
Qubit’s First Snow

Elizabeth City Snow - Tyrek and Qubit 2
Qubit and Tyrek

December 16, 2010 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

Interview with Ryan at Extreme Biology!

Last year at Science Online 2010, Ryan and I were struck by a session called “Blogging the Future – The Use of Online Media in the Next Generation of Scientists”. In that session, high school teacher Stacy Baker brought a number of her students to showcase their projects on social media and online resources. As I wrote last year, the session was quite powerful and one couldn’t help but be impressed (and humbled!) by the students.

This January, Ryan and I will be attending Science Online 2011. Stacy Baker and more of her high school students will be attending as well. As part of their preparation for the conference, the students are interviewing conference organizers, presenters and attendees and posting them on their Extreme Biology! site.

Yesterday student Paul published an interview with Ryan Somma on computer science. Be sure to check it out!

Extreme Biology Interview - Ryan Somma

P.S. The image of Ryan was taken with WireGoogles, an Android app written by one of my bestest best friends, Brian Nenninger. It’s available on Android Market.

December 15, 2010 at 8:29 am 4 comments

Google Earth Compare: McAfee Knob and Angel’s Rest

I recently downloaded version 6 of Google Earth so I could check out some of the new 3D trees they added to locales such as San Francisco, Chicago and Tokyo. While I was flying around, I took a quick detour by one of the most photographed points of the Appalachian Trail – McAfee’s Knob (also featured in the Virginia Appalachian Trail license plate). The knob itself appears a little more green in Google Earth than in real life, but I was quite impressed by the view of Tinker Cliffs. It made me instantly nostalgic. The ridgeline was perfect!

Vicky, Jimmie and Henry at McAfee’s Knob in 2003

Google Earth - View of Tinker Cliffs from McAfee KnobGoogle Earth’s View of Tinker Cliffs from McAfee’s Knob
Credit: Commonwealth of Virginia via Google Earth

I also found the view of the New River, Pearisburg and Butt Mountain from Angel’s Rest to be accurate enough to make me smile and wish I was there.

Angel's Rest 2002: Jimmie Admires View
Jimmie at Angel’s Rest View of Pearisburg and Butt Mountain – November 2002

Google Earth - View From Angel's Rest
Google Earth’s View of Pearisburg and Butt Mountain from McAfee’s Knob
Credit: Commonwealth of Virginia via Google Earth

I would still prefer the real thing, of course, but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed visiting my favorite hiking spots in Google Earth!

December 13, 2010 at 1:00 am 1 comment

Hungry Trees – Metal Signs

Apparently, trees tend crave metal signs the way I crave popcorn. Some more examples thanks to Flickr and Creative Commons. Enjoy!

Sign-eating tree
Yosemite National Park (Photo by justinsomnia)

Sign Eating Tree
Indiana (Photo by cindy47452

tree eating sign
Philadelphia (Photo by misskoco)

Metal-eating tree
Austria (Photo by Rafael Peñaloza)

December 9, 2010 at 5:00 am 3 comments

Science Fair Season on Hunter Street

It’s Science Fair season again! Last year, Ryan and I helped Shadonna with her project– “How Does Humidity Effect Plants?” We took four babies off my spider plant (which was once a baby itself on my paternal grandmother’s plant), grew two in “normal Vicky & Ryan Kitchen Air” and two in humid, ziplock bags. The plants grown in the ziplocks ended up so much greener and happier! That experiment definitely left an impression on me. This summer when I started some new baby spider plants for myself– I started them off in a ziplock bag as well. : )

Science Experiment - Plant in Dry Environment versus Plant in Humid Environment
Flash Back to Shadonna’s Experiment.
The Plant on the Right was Grown in a Ziplock Bag

This year another one of my house plants gets to contribute! 4th grader Tyrek decided to do an experiment on “The Effect of Salt on Plants”. He’s going to give three plants fresh water, three plants brackish water and three plants salt water. This time it’s my Philodendron who’s up to bat. This Philodendron wasn’t originally mine. I inherited it in the late 90’s from the CEO of a company I used to work for! To get the nine plants we planted cuttings off that Philodendron. Here’s Tyrek in action:

Tyrek's Science Fair 2010 - Cutting Plants From Above
Tyrek Getting Philodendron Cuttings

Tyrek's Science Fair 2010 - Planting
Tyrek Planting the Cuttings

Tyrek's Science Fair 2010 - Our Plants
Labeled Plants

Tyrek's Science Fair 2010 - Measuing Plants
Tyrek Taking Initial Measurements

Tyrek's Science Fair 2010 - Taking Notes From Front
Tyrek Recording Notes

Tyrek's Science Fair 2010 - Salt Fail
Tyrek Pours Salt (Good Thing We Had Extra!)

Tyrek's Science Fair 2010 - Mixing Salt
Tyrek Preparing Brackish and Salt Water Mixtures

It’s been 16 days so far since the cuttings were planted. I haven’t been taking the detailed measurements Tyrek has, but just from what I noticed when I’m waiting for my morning coffee, it does appear that all the fresh water and brackish water plants are doing well, but two of the salt water plants are starting to wilt.

We’ll see how it goes. Either way, I’m thrilled my humble, silent houseplants have managed to participate two years in a row. : )

December 8, 2010 at 1:00 pm 3 comments

Craft Week with the Neighborhood Kids – Christmas Parade Float #relayforlife

Saturday night, the Elizabeth City Jaycees hosted their annual Christmas Parade which includes a float competition. I believe there were roughly 90 floats participating, including one sponsored by our Pasquotank/Camden Relay for Life. The week proceeding the parade, our Event Chair organized a series of decorating sessions to get the float ready. The theme this year was “Supporting Our Troops”. So we made our float the “Let Freedom Ring” float. One of those freedoms ringing would be freedom from cancer.

The neighborhood kids proved to be very worthy helpers as Ryan and I prepared for the wedding. I checked and they were more than willing to help with the Relay for Life float as well.

Monday night, Ryan and I were accompanied by Vick and Risha. We had a hearty, but not exactly healthy, supper at Taco Bell then we met up with everyone and worked on the float!

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Vick, Debbie, Deanna Coat Front of Float
Vick, Event Chair Debbie, and Kids Walk Chair Deanna Cover the Front of the Float

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Risha Paints Magnolia Leaves
Risha Spray Paints Magnolia Leaves for the Float

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Float with Risha, Deanna and Vick
Float Coming Together on Monday Night

Thursday Ryan had a late conference call, but that didn’t mean I went alone. Khalif, Terrance, Jacal and young Malena all came to help. Our primary focus was lining the bottom of the float with little silver bells to compliment our “Let Freedom Ring” theme. The most difficult part of this operation seemed to be untangling the bells, though reloading the staple gun was a doozie as well.

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Khalif Untangles Bells
Khalif Untangles Bells

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Vicky and Terrance Hang Bells
Vicky and Terrance Hang Bells

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Vicky, Jacal, Malena Hang Bells
Vicky, Jacal and Malena Hang Bells

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Malena Sweeps
Malena Sweeps

There was plenty of time for play too. We posed for pictures and the kids had a chance to play some football.

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Khalif, Terrance, Jacal with Sign
Khalif, Terrance and Jacal with Santa’s List

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Terrance Football Catch
Terrance with the Football

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Jacal, Vicky, Malena
Jacal, Vicky and Malena Pose for Pictures

Afterwards I treated everyone to supper at their favorite Chinese restaurant.

Friday, my helpers were Vick and Risha. Only when we showed up, the float was already done! : ) So we decided to go out to eat and then took in Christmas lights before heading home.

The neighborhood kids, Ryan and I were far from the only helpers on the float. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, I thought we ended up with a great float. Despite some very chilly weather, a number of people showed up to ride the float. Two survivors were particularly determined to walk instead of ride, which was super cool because that is what I wanted to do! The people who rode on the float rang purple bells. The walkers (that’s me!) got to hand out candy to bystanders.

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Side of Float on Friday
Float Waiting for Dark

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Lit Float Tree (Far)
Our Tree and Santa’s Wish List

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Front of Float
Back of the Float – The Flags and Wreath Were Mounted By Ryan!

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Float on the Move - Truck and Front
Float on the Move

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Float Turns on Main Street
Float Turns on Main Street

The judges apparently liked our float as well. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, including the neighborhood kids, our float won 1st Place in the Civic category!!!

More pictures of our float and the Elizabeth City Christmas Parade are available on my Flickr site.

P.S. Touched by the efforts of neighborhood kids? With 2010 coming to a close, you still have time to make a tax-deductible donation to one of their Relay for Life donation pages:

Vick’s Donation Page
Risha’s Donation Page
Khalif’s Donation Page

December 7, 2010 at 1:00 am 2 comments

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