Sunday, August 26, 2012

Michael got married

My brother Michael got married last weekend, but instead of taking his name his wife took mine ;). Her name is Brooke, so now she is Brooke Eddington, which is a trip when I see all these comments on Facebook that I did not make. It's fun, though. Anyway, the wedding was really gorgeous, and it was great to see my brother in the temple. I'm glad they made such a great decision and things went so well. Also there wasn't any work for the family to do, so we just got to hang out, which was AWESOME. Thanks to everyone who made that happen - that is the way to go for a wedding. It was fun to see Michael and Brooke together, but I'm looking forward to getting to know Brooke in more casual settings over the next several months. Somehow I never thought much about what it would be like to have a sister-in-law on my side of the family, because until last week only boys married into our family. Ha :) I think it will be fun.









By the way, I haven't been to many Salt Lake Temple wedding celebrations (no weddings, which isn't that hard because I think I've only been to three live sealings now, counting Michael's and not counting my own), so I wanted to say - it was predictably crowded while we were waiting (for everything - the sealing, them to come out of the temple, the picture-taking area), but unpredictably, it didn't feel pressure-y and crazy. I've always thought SLC temple weddings must be terribly rushed-feeling, on account of there being more than a hundred weddings there on some days, but it wasn't too bad.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Curiosity, or "How you know you married a nerd"

I guess it's only appropriate that my first post would be about something so nerdy as to be almost embarrassing.  Tonight at 10:31 PM PDT (05:31 UTC), NASA landed a rover (Curiosity) on the surface of Mars.  I watched the live video feed from the control room from the point the rover entered the atmosphere until they received confirmation that it had landed (and uploaded some pictures).

Here are some lovely pictures of me watching the action:




And this is a video shot without my knowledge showing the actual moment they knew it had landed (the rover had actually landed 14 minutes earlier, but that's how long it takes the signal to get back to Earth).

video

I admit it.  I'm a nerd.  I like science and math, watching scifi shows and spending long periods of time reading random Wikipedia articles.  I genuinely got excited about this.  More excited than I had expected I would.  The fact that we can take a 4 ton spacecraft, launch it from Earth, send it through space for 253 days and land it on Mars within an area 12 miles by 4.3 miles is just incredible to me.  


Here are some pictures sent back by the rover.

This is the very first thumbnail.  Don't bother clicking on it.  This is as big as it gets.

 This is a higher res version of the same picture.  You can see one of Curiosity's wheels.

Here is another picture.  You can see the afternoon shadow cast by the rover.  So cool!

Anyway, I had fun watching this tonight.  It was exciting.  It makes me think about helping to design spaceships to take astronauts to Mars.  Being an engineer is so much fun!  

OK, I should probably get to sleep.  That is, if I can convince Brooke to put down her book and come to bed.  I'm not the only nerd in this family.  We may be different kinds, but we're both nerdy.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

books

Tonight, Jon and I are going to watch "Coraline," which I think is the next big creepy fairy tale classic, perfect for my children to say they grew up with. I was thinking about books I loved growing up, and how I appreciate that I don't need a different version of operating system to read them. Mostly I just have to not lose them, in order for them to stay just like I left them to read again later. The movie "Coraline," on the other hand, while awesome, won't be a "just pop in the DVD" in twenty years. It may be easier to access, actually, but I just keep thinking of all the music I've bought online and then lost over the years, or computer games whose floppy disks or CD's won't load anymore because they don't work in new computers. It's cool that I can go back to read "Megan's Island" (my favorite book for lots of years, that my second grade teacher gave to me because I read it so many times in her class) and it still says "Mrs. Yeager" across the front.

Friday, August 3, 2012

eating out in Oakland

We have a lot of friends who rave about the restaurants in Oakland, but I swear we are just totally unlucky or something. We have found one or two places we love, a couple of places that are okay, and then there's stuff like tonight. We went to a Chinese place where we basically each had a few bites of our food and then asked for the check. We filled up on the white rice because the rest of the food was gross. (There's a problem when you can't tell the difference between the pork, chicken, fish, and fat.) When it all tastes kind of like fat ... no thanks.

But if you want to go to Oakland for good macaroni and cheese or fan-freaking-tastic burgers, that I can help you with.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

education

Oh, education. Jon and I probably have more discussions about this than about most in-depth topics. Tonight he read an article that essentially said that algebra, being a difficult subject and one that most people don't use in everyday life, should be dropped as a requirement in high schools because it's driving students to drop out. It also said that it could be replaced by social sciences that have a math element to them, to make math more accessible. The counter-article said something along the lines of, "Well, if you decide that algebra isn't worth keeping around, what about basically every other public education subject?"

I feel like a high school education is all about choices - giving students the tools and knowledge base to go any direction they want to after they graduate. It seems silly to drop a subject from a curriculum because it's hard (and this is coming from someone who only just figured out that math should be learned with puzzles instead of flash cards - math was ALWAYS hard for me).

However. I don't love how our high school system is so narrowly focused on English, math, history, and science. (Although I think science does it best by offering biology, physics, chemistry, etc.) I remember everyone asking me what I wanted to do in college and saying, "Well, are you better at English and history, or at math and science?" That was both limiting (establishing that I'm good at one and not the other, so I should only consider things in one direction) and vague enough to feel pretty directionless, especially when I can think of relatively few majors that have clear English-as-taught or history-as-taught roots, etc.

I kind of wish math growing up could have always been related to practical things (starting in elementary school). I will never care how many apples Sally has, but I do remember how cool it was to have to come up with an invention in elementary school. In the same vein, I wonder if people who didn't like English classes wish that English could have been presented in a more practical way with an end in mind (i.e., journalism) - to give them more of a reason to care.

But would that work? I know these kinds of classes often exist as electives, but would more kids be more successful in them if they completely supplanted the pedantic "this class is mostly about parts of speech" sort of class? Part of me thinks I would have been better at math if it had always been presented in an engineering sort of fashion - "here's what you can do with math" instead of "learn this irrelevant equation." However, the other part of me wonders if adding math to my invention project (I "invented" a new kind of fishing pole by hanging a purse over the end of Mom's old twirling baton - sue me, I forgot about the project until the night before) would have opened my eyes to the fact that I was being taught a tool with which I could actually figure out how to make an idea real, or if it would have just sucked the fun out of everything.