Radiation Level: Gory and bloody
Listening to: Killing Me Softly with His Song by Robert Flack
Today I taught a science class to some second graders where we learned about the physics/history of the boomerang. After, my students all took turns throwing it. The boys went crazy – anything they can throw and chase is always a winner.
After about a half an hour, we went to make propeller-type flyers out of foam. One student, Jared, insisted he didn’t want to make one. When I asked why, he said, “It’s not fun.”
I thought this was very strange because all the other kids seemed to be enjoying themselves, so I handed him a piece of paper and a pencil and said to make a list of “fun things” that he thinks I should include in my classes from now on. Here’s the list:
Eyeballs are most certainly fun – I prefer them to remain in my head, though. I suppose there’s a science lesson about trucks somewhere – please comment if you know one. Shark fins and snake flesh sound more like a bad meal, however.
Well, at least the world finally knows what a seven-year-old boy thinks is fun.
Listening to: Electric Pow Wow by A Tribe Called Red
This Canadian dance party takes traditional rhythmic Native American music and mashes it with techno beats, pushing the envelope for remixers everywhere.
You can even download their CD for FREE by clicking here.
The perfect way to dance-off all those Thanksgiving calories. Enjoy!
This was on Facebook:
From Michelle Carr —
Greetings friends! The John Napier memorial as been confirmed, please save the date:
Sunday, December 2  from 3 to 9 at The Echo.
Please visit the John Napier Remembered [Facebook] page for details as they unfurl. Anyone who loved John is invited to come celebrate his life so please spread the word. Love, love, love!
Radiation Level: Too much for words
Listening To: Ripened Peach by Ethyl Meatplow
I woke up this morning to an email that John had passed. I haven’t seen him since the ’90’s, though we used to pass each other often on the 10 freeway (I know, how LA).
I was 23, I think, when I met John. He was in the band Ethyl Meatplow which was managed by my on-again, off-again boyfriend. I’m sure he regretted introducing us.
As a performer, John was a madman. Watching him was intoxicating. It was as close to watching one of absurdist Antonin Artaud’s insane plays as I had ever seen. On stage, he’d pull out his penis and wrap it around his microphone. Why not? This was surrealism at its best.
He would come up the hill to my house in Beachwood Canyon at 11 or 12 at night. We’d have cappuccinos or I’d heat up some food and he’d tell me about the band. Things were really starting to happen for Meatplow and they would soon be making videos, touring, etc. It was a terribly exciting time for him. All his efforts to get his life together were paying off in a big way.
John and I dated the way two kids “go out” in 5th grade. We spoke to each other in funny voices. We kissed. We crank-called each other (this was before *69), we talked about the lady ghost that lived in my house as we’d lay awake at night.
He took me (and many other girls, I’m sure) to his favorite Thai restaurant. We’d wander downtown, though the California market. He loved to play characters, as did I, and we’d spend hours in fantasy, acting out kooky scenarios. I think he liked me because I indulged his inner child that just wanted to be silly and play.
My little sister was in awe of John. She was maybe 15 or 16 at the time. She was such a brave soul. I remember her looking at one of his numerous tattoos, including one on his arm that read “Brenna”. My sister flat out asked him who she was. I had assumed she was an ex. Turns out it was his daughter. He didn’t know where she was. It was such an incredibly sad and complicated situation for such a young person. I wonder where she is today and if they were ever able to know each other.
He told me stories of being on heroin and driving his car into a swimming pool. He went to prison. He got clean, then sober. He finally gave up cigarettes. Caffeine was his only drug when I knew him.
I knew that John had a dark side. He would make references to a sexual underworld that didn’t involve me or perhaps women at all. I don’t know if this came about in prison or much earlier. His father had been a boxer and I had assumed beat him, if not worse. There was some kind of sexual divide in him that was too dark a place for me to tread. We both knew it. It was never said. But it kept us from knowing each other in a deep way.
One time he looked at me and said, “You’re pretty.” I smiled, I liked that he thought this. Then a flash of bitterness crossed his face. “But you know that,” he said, almost disappointed. He was a complicated soul. All great artists are.
Though it hasn’t been confirmed, it’s easy to assume that John overdosed. There are some demons, like heroin, that never leave one’s body. Heroin is a powerful dragon that seduces and kills. I know, because my sister was seduced and killed by the same dragon. It is a horrible plague I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
John, you fought the good fight. Thank you for leaving the world your music, your videos, your memory.
Here is an interview – the sound is horrid, but worth watching the very end when John says, ” My mouth hurts… from lactation… from Pappa Daddy”.
Radiation Level: 332 Electoral Votes
Listening To: Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours by Stevie Wonder
Thursday I went to teach my science classes. I walked in at 3pm on the button, having barely made it past the construction on Overland, and greeted my 12 boys and one girl, Darci.
All the boys sat in the first few rows, smiling, throwing things, wrestling. Darci always sits alone, in the back. All the other girls are taking a class on fashion design, and I can’t say I blame them. I would have done the same at their age. But not Darci.
Darci is a thoughtful, often serious girl but grins widely when she answers questions correctly. Today, though, alone in the back of the room, she was crying.
When I asked her what was wrong, she said, “No matter what, they always make fun of me,” pointing to the group of wily boys.
The boys got quiet, guilty looks on their faces. I don’t tolerate bullying, and when it’s a group of boys ganging up on a girl, it really makes me angry. But I also don’t want to coddle my female students. It IS hard for women and they DO need to be tougher, especially if they want to succeed in a male-dominated environment such as science.
I said, “Darci, come here,” and I took her just outside the classroom. I brushed one of her blonde curls behind her ear as tears ran down her face. I said, “Boys like to tease each other. It’s just what they do.” She looked up at me, knowing this was true, wishing it wasn’t.
I crouched down to her eye level and said, “You deserve to be in this class, just as much as they do. You are just as smart, just as capable as they are, so don’t ever let them make you feel that you’re not.” The second-grader nodded, wiping her tears away. “If they ever say anything mean to you, you just tell them “forget you!”
I felt her pain. All the challenges she’ll face as a girl, because she’s a girl, flashed before my eyes. I didn’t have the heart to tell her how hard it’s really going to be. But something in me told me Darci was going to do okay.
We walked back into the classroom and I looked at my students and said, “When we’re in this room, we are scientists. Scientists MUST work together as a team. Do you think we could have ever made it to the moon or put a rover on Mars without working together?”
The boys understood this. Will it keep them from taunting Darci? Probably not. But the idea of being part of something bigger than themselves — for science — did appeal to them. I don’t want my boys to simply tolerate girls. Girls are necessary, important, particularly in science.
I said, “On the count of three, we’ll all yell teamwork: one, two, three!
And we all yelled teamwork. Darci smiled. Balance created/restored. Learning is good.
Radiation level: 1902
Listening To: Cocoon by Bjork
Heard about this Georges Melies film today and not only did I have to watch it, I had to share it. Enjoy this from your fallout shelter…
Radiation Level: Flying sky-high
Listening to: Malcolm McClaren’s Madam Butterfly remix
Here’s what Science Simian Shanee Edwards has been up to:
Radiation Level: Angular and Illusive
Listening to: 16 Saltines by Jack White
Here’s the latest episode of She Blinded Me w Science that reveals some never before seen film of M.C. Escher, the father of optical illusion.
Radiation level: Eight legs of plutonium
Listening to: Angels by the XX
Here’s my favorite science simian’s new project – enjoy!