Sunday, March 22, 2009

The One Less Serving Club

I have reached that stage of life where I need a new wardrobe --- not because my clothes are all out of style, but because they're getting too tight.

I can't afford another wardrobe this year.

Instead, I've started a One Less Serving Club. If I'm gradually gaining weight and I don't have any other health problems then that probably means I eat more than I need to. Let's face it - most Americans eat more than they need to. My son (who has been slightly overweight since fourth grade) and I made a pact to eat one less serving at every meal. He used to eat three or four servings of everything, but now he has two, sometimes three. I used to eat two or three, but now I have one. I can eat whatever we're having - I simply eat less of it. When it comes time for dessert I have some, I just have less than I used to.

I started this about three weeks ago. On the third or fourth day I felt hungry between meals, but then that went away. Now if I try to eat two servings at a meal, my stomach feels too full! I still can't get into that cute denim skirt I used to wear in college, but that's not my goal. I feel great knowing I'm no longer wasting food that I don't need to eat.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nancy Drew Vs. War Games

We had a double-feature night tonight, Warner Bros. 2007 version of "Nancy Drew" Vs. MGM's 1983 sci-fi classic "War Games." One of my old physics professors said that once a theory is proved false it acquires "classical" status. That's the sense of the term I'm using here.

"Nancy" wins hands down. The film is charming. Everything is just a little larger than life, capturing with a wink and a smile the sort of teen adventure fiction that Nancy Drew fans all love. Woven through the mystery and action you'll find a good human story as Nancy struggles to get along in a world where she doesn't fit in, deal with pressure from her dad to kick the dangerous sleuthing habit, and finds that trying to be helpful sometimes hurts. There's a cast of great characters and a whole lot of good one-liners. My favorite was probably Nancy's cheerful and pragmatic reaction to nearly being run over by a car "When someone tries to kill me, that usually means I'm onto something."

As the opening credits of "War Games" flashed across the screen I warned the kids we were going back over twenty years in film-making. First thing they noticed was the silly missile silo set. You see, they've been to the Titan Missile Museum, toured the facility, and met some of the men who used to work there. "After seeing the real thing, it all looks so fake," my son said. No one in my living room believed that the Missile Commander Guy would actually refuse to turn the key when push came to shove. Of course this failure of people to actually turn the key when ordered to do so prompts the U.S. military to turn over control of missiles to a large computer that looks something like a giant, elongated jukebox with lots of blinking red and yellow LED's.

So the movie got off on the wrong foot. We scoffed at the brainless teenage girl who liked to giggle a lot, ask stupid questions, and occasionally kiss the main character. I could not believe the profanity in this film! Do they let them talk like that in PG movies? In fact, we decided in general that all the characters needed brain transfusions, except maybe the old professor. But if everyone had been as smart as normal human beings, the story wouldn't have happened in the first place, so there you go.

Oh, and my favorite line was, "He's intelligent, does poorly in school, estranged from his parents, hardly any friends - perfect candidate for recruitment by the Russians." Oh, yeah, all those punk kids are just commie spies.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Apollo 9 Mission Journal

My science fiction novel includes a space mission launch. While poking around the internet I found the Apollo 9 Mission Journal. This is SO COOL! It shows a map of the spacecraft's orbit around the Earth plus a FULL TRANSCRIPT of the radio transmissions!

Not that I'm going to read the whole thing, but I can skim it for some good concrete details.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What is Santaif?

"What is santaif?" my six-year-old asked as we drove down the street.
"What is what?" I asked.
The other kids all started talking at once.
"That's not a word."
"I've never heard that word before."
"What is it?"
"Santaif!" my six-year-old insisted.
"Did you make that up?" I asked.
"You'll have to spell it," my husband said.
"Where did you see it?" I asked.
"On a train."
"Santa Fe!" we chorused.