The Periodic Table: It Really Has Nothing To Do With Your Period

Saturday I posted this picture:

IMG_1684

She was so stinking proud of herself, except that she didn’t know what exactly it was.  She kept changing her story.  It was flowers, it was an alien, it was a thing.  The one thing she was sure of was that it was for me, because she lodes me.

Then Evil Genius came home, took one look at it and said “Hey, she made a molecule!”  It figures that this would come from my husband, the man who took quantum physics FOR FUN.

This piqued The Professor’s interest.  He piped up “What’s a molecule?”  Thus began a scientific journey.   They talked about atoms, and protons and neutrons and isotopes.  At some point the big giant Chemistry 101 book came out.  They spent a good chunk of the evening discussing chemistry, including poring over the periodic table and discussing what the different letters were for.

So now my son is trying to memorize the periodic table.  Yeah, you saw that right, THE PERIODIC TABLE!  He’s eight, and he is absolutely obsessed with it.  Of course me being me, I made the mistake of having Evil Genius pull up the periodic table song on YouTube.  Now he wants to listen to it over and over, because he wants to learn ALL of the words.  For those of you who have never heard it, it’s all of the elements on the periodic table set to the tune of “Modern Major General” from The Pirates of Penzance.  And yes, I included the link:

Interestingly enough, although I have seen the Pirates of Penzance, I know the “Modern Major General” song with different lyrics.  My sister and I were obsessed with The Pirate Movie,  which is a spoof of the Pirates of Penzance, when we were kids.  I know that the original song doesn’t have the lyrics “Maaaaaan, I’m older than the Beatles, but I’m younger than the Rolling Stones…” in it, but every time I hear that tune THAT’S what I think of…

The geek part of me is thrilled, the not so geeky part of me is having some pretty bad flashbacks.  I almost flunked Chemistry.  I barely understood it, and it didn’t help that we moved in the middle of the year from Florida to Iowa.  Fortunately I had a wonderful, very understanding teacher who spent a lot of time with me and helped me pull a C in the end.  Don’t ask me to tell you anything about it because I really didn’t retain anything from the class.  I do remember that we watched “Connections” with James Burke a lot.  I didn’t actually remember his name, but I just looked up “Connections” on YouTube to look really smart.  Turns out they have every stinking episode.  The only thing I remember about it was that he always wore the same clothes.  Feel free to browse YouTube for it.  Come on, you know you want to.

What I took away from Chemistry is this-“Entropy” is the measure of randomness or disorder of a system.  This is probably the single most useless piece of information I have retained from school.  However, I liked that I remembered that definition so much that the following year I wrote a poem about it in English class.  Yes, I wrote a poem about something from Chemistry. You know, now that I think about it, I could write a song about it.

Entropy
(To the tune of Yesterday)

Entropy
it’s not really what it used to be
Randomness for us all to see
Oh I believe in entropy

(Ok, I’ll quit while I’m ahead…)

I took the definition a bit differently than it was actually used.  At the time I thought it described my life, my room, my car.  My life had high amounts of entropy.  Nowadays I’d like to think that it is an accurate way to describe my brain.  So I really don’t understand it, I’d like to pretend for a minute that I know a scientific principle besides the states of matter-solid, liquid, gas, wasn’t there one other???  There is a reason why I took the route that I did in college-no more science classes with lots of formulas!  Which is really too bad, because I am such a sci-fi geek.

Anyway, back to my children.  I hope that people don’t think that we’re like Rick Moranis’s character on Parenthood-that we sit around with flashcards of physics equations and foreign languages trying to cram every bit of information we can into their brains.  Nooooo, they are just naturally weird like we are.  They ask good questions, and we try to be good parents and answer them.  Usually the family scientific discussions revolve around some kind of physics or engineering.  These discussions start with a question about such things and my brilliant reply is “Ask the engineer.”  Believe me there are a lot of these questions, because nobody cares about the things that I know about like music and writing.   Now we’re adding chemistry into the mix.  Before long he’ll be mixing up concoctions and using a bunsen burner in the basement.  When he blows the house up, I’ll blame his dad.  Or I can blame his sister for making that molecule.

I love this picture, that's why I'm using it again!

I love this picture, that’s why I’m using it again!

If you still believe I’m a funny person, please vote for me in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Funny Moms Contest!  You can vote once every 24 hours, and vote for everyone you want to.  I’m hoping to be included on the Top Blogs page by the time this posts, probably waaaaay down at the bottom.  That’s what happens when you run with the big dogs…

Ok, ok, I know you want to see what I’m talking about-here just for you is the clip from The Pirate movie that we loved as kids.  Now you’ll get an idea of where all of this insanity comes from.  New followers, be very, very scared...

Learning to Embrace Geekdom

I am a geek.

Harry Anderson of “Night Court” fame once told of the origin of the word geek.  He said it was what they called the circus performer who bit the heads off of chickens.

Today’s version of a geek is much more friendly.  The “I Geek…” program that has been so well promoted has really helped with that.  Geek more refers to something that you have a keen interest in.  I also think the show “Big Bang Theory” has a lot to do with it.  I love that show.  Geeks trying to relate to people who aren’t.  It’s kind of like my life.  It’s almost cool to be a geek these days, depending on what kind of geek you are.

Being a geek is now cool!

I am a geek on several levels.

The version that most people know me as is the band geek.  The music geek.  I was in marching band and LOVED it.  Symphonic Band, Orchestra, Pep Band.  My life in high school revolved around instrumental music.  I had a hard time understanding that other people didn’t enjoy it like I did, like my high school boyfriend (he quit band-he rolled his eyes when I talked about it.  No wonder we broke up.)  I was good at it because I worked hard-it didn’t come naturally for me.  I was so jealous of my friends that were naturally so good they got to do things like All-State Band and the State Fair Band.  In college I was in those things and then expanded into vocal music.  I played in the municipal band and the regional symphony.  For a while I was a music teacher.  Now I’m now.  That’s another post.

You know I never actually got to go to band camp?

Then there are the other layers of geek.  I like movies.  I like some TV.  I love Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Superheroes.  The original Star Wars movies are still some of my all time favorites-there was a time when I could recite “The Empire Strikes Back” word for word.  My son has all the action figures that I had as a child (sorry collectors, they are not still in the boxes).  I get excited when there I find “Star Trek:  TNG” on TV.  I went to “Star Trek:  Nemesis” on opening night.  When I went to the new Star Trek movie, I almost cried when it was over because I never wanted it to end.  I waited in almost painful anticipation for the Avengers movie to be released. Harry Potter was magical to me-I saw the movies wishing that there had been such a thing when I was a kid.

I’ve just been waiting for an excuse to use this…

I have not read “50 Shades of Gray”, though I did check out an excerpt online because I wanted to know what the hell everyone was talking about (It’s PORN!  I’m sorry, that is porn.)  I have however read most of Robert Heinlein’s vast collection.  Alan Dean Foster, JR Tolkien, Brian Daley, Isaac Asimov, those are all very familiar names to me.  I used to read a book a day.  I was a little bookworm as a child.  I am trying very hard to get back to reading something that isn’t a magazine article these days-but when you have kids it’s hard!

But not all the geeks like the same stuff.  For the record, I’ve seen a little of Dr Who, but never got into it.  Never seen Babylon 5.  Saw the Stargate movie-never seen the show.  Watched some of Battlestar Galactica, but kept forgetting it was on (if it wasn’t for my DVR, I probably wouldn’t know when anything was on.  Again, another post).  Watched Smallville for a spell, then lost interest.  I don’t get into the whole Twilight/Vampire thing-though I have really enjoyed Being Human on the Sci-Fi channel.  Oh I’m sorry, it’s Sy-Fy.  Never quite understood why they changed the spelling-just how stupid do they think people are?

When we moved back to the Midwest after years of being a military family I started to get embarrassed about the things I liked.  For years I pretended that I had no interest in the stuff.  Mainly because I liked guys and I wanted one to like me back.  Thank goodness I finally met my husband.  I married him because I could be myself around him, and he likes the same stuff I do-movies, sci-fi, books, music, etc. We often speak in TV or movie quotes at home.  Let’s face it, he’s the Band Geek who never joined the band (I love the American Pie movies, and there is a good reason why).  Yes I am in a Geek Marriage.  But that’s ok.

He is a geek in more ways than I.  For example, he is a science geek.  He took Quantum Physics FOR FUN.  He also loves video games.  He plays World of Warcraft and City of Heroes.  We have every older video gaming system they made, including an Atari and a 3DO.  I think he salivates whenever we pass a Gamestop.  And he loves Comic Books-he takes my kids to the comic book store for fun.  He is currently designing metal signs for people’s cubicles at work based up their interests.  When his is complete, the world will stop and take notice.  That’s because it’s the Iron Man face, complete with a replica of an arc reactor that lights up.  He wants to be able to take it out and wear it.  I’m glad they embrace his weirdness at work… I tease him about it, but I love it.

I’m so glad he has found his niche.  His love of sports (mainly football-once again, that’s another post) is something that is very relatable to others. Outside of our family it’s hard for me to relate to other people that like the same things I do.  I guess because I’m a girl.  I’m still seen as the odd girl.  Quiet until you get to know me, developing the social anxiety hasn’t helped!  I remember vividly a few years ago when I was working with kids in a local after school program.  My boss told an entire room of people right in front of me how I’m kind of odd, and that was good because I could relate to the weird kids.  I wasn’t sure whether to be embarrassed or proud at that moment.

My husband has never been embarrassed of his interests.  He proudly lets people know what he likes.  He wears Star Wars and Star Trek t-shirts.  He lends out the movies he really likes to people who haven’t been exposed to the stuff.  I’m still embarrassed to show up the book that I’m currently reading in public-it’s the very first book ever written based upon “Star Trek:  TNG”.

Part of my goal now that I have more time to devote to being myself is getting to the point that I’m ok with being me.  Learning to embrace Geekdom, and learning about what is actually interesting about me being, well ME.  Developing the part that counts, the part on the inside, and stop worrying so darn much about what other people think!  So if you are offended that I am, well, such a GEEK, then stop reading my blog!!!

Not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have found a partner in Geekdom as I have.  Oh boy, my kids are DOOMED!  Again, that’s another post…