Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification

Have you ever pulled into the parking spot at Stop&Shop/Price Chopper/Market Basket/Wegman's/Hannaford/Too many to list/Tops/Whole Foods/Many More and found a stray cart occupying your spot?  Or gone for a scenic hike only to notice a shopping cart nesting nearby?  Have you ever wondered how to distinguish between these species to correctly identify each type of cart?

Me neither.

But apparently, someone was so intrigued by shopping carts that they wrote whole book about it.  I'm not kidding.  Check it out.  I read through some reviews and was suitably pleased by the amount of wittiness:

Or, check out the most helpful critical review:

Sometimes I'm glad that the rest of the race is capable of good humor. Check out these other awesome reviews, but this time not found by me and my genius-ness but by some random interweb person.  But since I feel like this whole post is stealing from other people's weird ideas, behold:

Flyergirl13's Field Identification Guide to Stray Shopping Carts

Shoppingcartus caementum-incola
Photo of shoppingcartus caementum-incola in its natural habitat, by a renowned wilderness photographer.
This species of the genus shoppingcartus is most commonly found in parking lots, as it's Latin species name implies.  It's diet consists mostly of old gum, dropped groceries, and the souls of small children whose mothers don't allow them to ride it down the hill in the lot.
This species of cart is very territorial and often will not allow any man-made objects to enter its area, often clearly marked by yellow lines.  They are usually not vicious, but will bite your vehicle if you get too close and provoke it.  Wresting or hand-to-cart combat not recommended.

Shoppingcartus saltus-incola

This species of shopping cart lives in the deciduous forests of Eastern North America.  It's habitat is within the leafy confines of a forest.  There, it scrounges for food, usually berries or nuts.  It will often find another cart nearby and make a nest.  The female is dominant in these relationships, given that she will often know more about wilderness survival.  They are friendly and usually welcome visitors, with no marked territory.

Editor's Note:
At this point in the book, the author took a trip to Ohio to go to an awesome amusement park (Cedar Point.  Been there?  It's fairly amazing.) and will be unable to complete the field guide in its entirety at this time (because I don't feel like spending my time in close proximity to roller coasters by sitting at the hotel computer writing about shopping carts.  Sorry).  The author send her most sincere regards for being unable to complete this book, and promises a follow-up post, so that you will not be left unable to identify certain species of wild shopping cart.  The author wishes you the best from three hundred feet in the air.  We hope you enjoy this first installment of Flyergirl13's Field Identification Guide to Stray Shopping Carts.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wow, we are so nerdy

As a opener at the Science Olympiad Club, we got a bunch of brain teasers to warm up.  A bunch of standard ones, you know about the farmer crossing the river with the fox and rabbit and carrots and whatever, that kind of thing.  Simple stuff.  But there was one problem that threw us.

"Turn this roman numeral into 6 using only one line."
So we worked on it.  My first idea was something like this:
You will note that it is all one line.  However, it wasn't the right answer (sad face).  So we kept experimenting.  Next came:
That says "- 3" using only one line, in case you couldn't tell.  But, weirdly enough, our amazing solution was still wrong.

We decided that using roman or arabic numerals wouldn't work, so we tried other options.  First: Greek numbers.  Failure.  Then came our epiphany:  maybe we had to write it in binary!  9 in binary is 1001, so maybe if we subtracted a 3 (11 in binary) we'd get 990 in decimal form, which in roman numerals is XM, so maybe if we flipped the whole thing upside down so it looked like XI then turned the I into an M....

We went on like this for a while.  I came up with the glorious solution that 6 was 110 in binary.  So if we let "X" represent 0, then all we had to do was add another line at the beginning.  I was so proud for having figured it out.

I was wrong.

At this point, we'd worked on it for about ten minutes, trying every combination of binary and decimal and roman numerals we could find.  Nothing yielded.  The teacher hinted that the answer was painfully obvious.  And it hit me like a brick wall, disregarding the fact that brick walls are inanimate and incapable of motion, let alone hitting someone.  If I really wanted to be in contact with a brick wall, it's I who would have to do the hitting.  Just sayin'

So the answer hit me (the answer is also inanimate.  See above).  I knew it.  I danced around the room mocking those poor fools attempting to use Braille.  Just kidding.  I politely mentioned that I knew the answer.

Are you ready?  I'll give you time to shield your eyes by presenting you with this picture of Matthew Lewis/Neville Longbottom

Ok.  Are you ready now?

You'd better be.
I kind of love how we spent time converting it to binary and trying to solve that way.  I love being nerdy.  DFTBA <3

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I don't know.
You tell me.
All I can tell you is that this image makes me extremely happy.
And that is all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss"

I can fly.

As my username implies, of course.  Not that it means anything, because if my username was "AwesomePerson" it wouldn't necessarily be true...oh wait it is true!  Bad example.  Sorry.

Anyways, I do this super cool thing called flying trapeze.  Yeah, like the circus thing.  I'm a circus freak and do lots of cool things, one of which is flying trapeze.  Looks like this:
That's what I look like right now.  Except with a nose and other features I've left out of this drawing.

But I didn't look like that a little while ago.  As of before last night, I looked like this:
You will note the key difference.  It's like one of those "Spot the Difference" puzzles, which I would just like to mention that I am damn good at those.
Those green line things are the safety lines.  The things that, you know, kept me alive while soaring through the air about 30 feet up.  Things, you will notice, are missing from the first picture.

I am officially allowed to fly without safety lines!  This is a big deal for me.  You have to go through all sorts of certification to prove you won't kill yourself and sue the trapeze school.  And I did.  And flew out of lines.  It was epic.

Umm...yea....that's it.  I was psyched and nervous and excited and it was awesome.  You may send cupcakes or congratulatory elephants to P.O. Box #3.14159.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Am I The Only One Who Thinks That...

  • Rick Perry looks like a younger Ronald Reagan?
    • Trucks like this look sort of decapitated?

    Just two small musings of the day.  That, and that I feel like I'm stuck in Groundhog Day.  Every day this week been Monday (so it seems, because my school is having us follow a Monday schedule all week) and every day has been raining and miserable.  Hopefully the weekend will make everything better.

    I leave you now with a few posters my friends and I designed for our club, Do Something.
    Which is your favorite?

    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    The Math of Love (Or is it the Love of Math?)

    I have a confession to make.  It has to do with love.  And math.
    Which is not such a weird combination.  Famous awesome people think about it a lot.  Like Randall Munroe.
    Sure, he couldn't figure it out.  But I have.  No, this doesn't have anything to do with a math geek I might have a crush on, it's about MATH.


    Confession time.


    I...ummm....I love my calculator.

    Yep.  That's it.  I hope that's not too weird.  And I don't mean that I, like, want to do things with it cuz that's disgusting and all you people have extremely dirty minds.  Get your minds out of the gutter, people, and think about happy things like calculators.

    Now, explanation.  I've had my scientific calculator since freshman year.  Looks like this: 
    And I love it.  It's so useful!  It can solve quadratic equations and systems of equations and simplify radicals and amazing things like that.  It saved me in Algebra II.  And I love it, oh so very much.

    So this entire explanation has been so that you can understand the situation in the following awkward story that happened to me:

    So I need a graphing calculator for Pre-Calc, so my mom and I go to Staples.  We look at the calculators and try to decide whether or not I need the Silver Edition of the calculator.  Pretty normal.  But then, on the shelf nearby, I spot my beloved Casio calculator.
    "Look, Mom!!"  I say, pointing with enthusiasm, "There's my scientific calculator!!  I love that calculator soooo much!"
    My mom looks a bit weirded out, but then I notice this random guy who was standing there looking at the calculators.  He was looking at the calculators, but now he's looking at me as though I turned into a velociraptor on the spot.  He doesn't say anything, just looks at me for a long while.  In the meantime, I mutters something like "Umm....sorry...just...ummm...talking to my mom, sorry..." and then pretend to be extremely engrossed in studying the TI-84 Plus like it's the most interesting thing ever.  AWKWARD.

    True story.  Now you can see that my love for my calculator has spawned some awkwardness.  Not to mention my friend laughed when I told her the next day and said it was slightly weird that I am unnaturally attached to my calculator.  She's just jealous :P