Tag Archives: the big bang

Rained In

In Los Angeles, rain. Finally. It’s a miracle.

The certainty of impending precipitation has made the last few days feel holiday-special. Grown adults have seemed giddy with excitement. When will it come? When will it be here? Rushing to our windows to check for its arrival, we’ve acted like children on Christmas eve. Amazing to think that we ever took it for granted. We recieve it now with a gratitude bordering on frenzy. Because, believe it or not–and hate me if you must, all you east coasters–sunny, dry, unrelentingly perfect weather can be not only tiresome, but downright toxic after a long enough stretch. We’re so dry here we’re crumbling. Dust has accrued in epidemic amounts. Skin is nail-file rough. Shocks  from the slide at the playground have grown, well, shockingly strong. To say nothing of the larger, drought-related misery.

But no more! Finally, I hear it falling! Weather has come!

And with it, a cold for Myra-Jean. Not as an effect, of course. Their coinciding arrivals are simply bad timing. If it is, indeed, bad. Just as well such an affliction happen now, when she will be forced indoors anyway. Still, it’s never fun. She’s a wreck–angry, red circles under her watery eyes, deep, wrenching cough, violent sneezes. She looks like the guy from the Robitussin commercial, but in astronaut pajamas. And female. And four. And–OK. She doesn’t look like him at all. But her cold sure does.

Anyway. Due to MJ’s ill health we spent the entire afternoon reading. First it was multiple repetitions of Ranger Rick Jr.–I know more about vertebrates now than anyone on my block–then on to one of her favorite books. And mine. We usually read “Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space” in short sections. Tonight, though, it was nearly cover to cover–something that took over an hour. I couldn’t have minded less. “Astro Cat” contains much of the same information as “The Big Bang,” so it felt like visiting an old friend. A clever, smartly-drawn, feline friend in an orange space suit, that is. It’s an effective conceit. Imagine if all tough lessons were delivered by such a spokesperson. “On Particle Physics, by Professor Astro Cat.” “Your 2014 Tax Return,” by same. He could hold forth on nearly any subject and I’d be rapt. I think they should start a series.

All kidding aside, it’s a wonderful book. Did you know there’s a diamond-filled ocean on Uranus? That black holes cause something called “Spaghettification?” That the quicker a spaceship travels through space the slower it will travel through time?

Here on earth we have rain. Far better understood, but, today, at least, just as magical.


Banging Out Bad Titles

OK, let me just say for the record that I realize now that “Big Bang, Little Girl” is by far the worst and most disturbing blog post title ever. It only occurred to me after I’d hit “publish:” Shit, thought I. That doesn’t sound like a post about space at all. It sounds like the name of a webpage my teenaged-boy-babysitter in Nova Scotia might have found awfully appealing.

Ugh. I blame it on my iPad Mini. Trying to blog from it is like trying to give a massage with oven mitts on. Impossible. Useless. Unspeakably frustrating for all concerned. Add to the that the time constraint of trying to post during my lunch hour and you get exactly the kind of ill-conceived, uncomfortable-making prose mentioned above. I apologize. I have recommenced lugging my laptop to work. It may be six years old. It may weight three kilos. But it doesn’t make writing so labor-intensive that my brain stalls out.

I also apologize for saying–somewhat smugly, I now realize–that I intended to teach MJ everything I learned in the “Big Bang.” It was an ambitious statement, made when I was only 40 pages into the book. Now that I’m knee-deep in Einstein’s theory of special relativity I have rethought my position. I aim to teach her everything–provided that a) I understand it myself, and b) it requires no discussion of alternate dimensions. Since this effectively rules out everything from page 41 or so on, we will officially be concluding our little talks. On that subject, at least.

Now, if she wants to talk about the relative merits of iPads versus laptops? I have a lot to say.