What I’ve been up to… (real life Angry Birds, tornados, Venus transit, Willow and more!)

I haven’t posted normal life pics in a while, so here we go!

We have this cardinal that keeps attacking our window at work. So we decided we’d be ready for him the next time he attacked. So here is some Real Life Angry Birds.




To try and keep him from seeing his reflection, we put a 2-D level of Angry Birds up on the window. After we put the 2-D level up, we set-up a webcam. So, here is more live Angry Birds:

Here is our best screenshot:
Screen shot 2012-06-11 at 11.24.59 AM

And a little movie from the webcam:

We made our new young guy, Alex, (the one who looks like Daniel Radcliffe) climb over my desk and onto the windowsill to put a new 2-D level up for us. We made it bigger, but even doing that hasn’t deterred our cardinal.



In other bird news, I came home late one night and saw something asleep in the wreath outside our door. It was a fluffy bird! Boy, was he out cold too. Good thing I wasn’t a predator, because he didn’t even budge when I took a flash picture!

The Friday I went to Dress U, we had big storms pass through the DC area, spawning a ton of (fortunately weak) tornados. I’m not even sure any touched down. But over the next few days, people posted pics to Facebook and Twitter of our area, which is a little freaky. Here are a few – none of them are mine.

From the New Carrollton metro station garage:

The “Murder Mall” (Beltway Plaza):

Not sure where this one was..

The Goddard Visitors Center:

Near 201 in Greenbelt, by Dan Reyes:

My friends and I made an attempt to see the Venus Transit, but it was cloudy. :-/ We went up to the roof of Building 34, which was cool, I’d never been up there before. We had to walk single file on the paving stones!

Yeah – the sun was behind that.

So, we went down from the roof – but the cool way. This ladder was really neat!

So then we cranked up the computer and monitors from the LRO display and got a couple live feeds going, one local, and one from Norway. Historically, Venus Transits are important because you can actually measure the Earth-Sun distance if you can measure the parallax between the position of Venus on the Sun from two places very far from each other. Transits tend to happen in pairs about 8 years apart and then not for another hundred years or so. The best story was the guy in the 18th? century, who wanted to observe it from a city owned by the French. But he got there and it wasn’t any longer. So he spent that transit on a ship at a geographically undetermined location. Strike 1. He decided to hang out for 8 years to catch the next one. So he spent 8 years hanging out around nearby islands. Fortunately, that city was again owned by the French once the transit came around. Except…he got clouded out. Then he got dysentery, shipwrecked and finally got home to find that his family had had him declared dead and looted his estate. All for science!


Here we are watching the transit. With our solar observing glasses on. Safety first!

Here I am photographing the transit!

Yes, we were being silly!

We finally went back on the roof and we got a few seconds where a sliver of the sun was visible before it went away again. Craig snapped this shot – and he got lucky – Venus was in it! It’s kind of a cool shot!


But maybe not as cool as the amazing images captured by SDO:
Path of the 2012 Venus Transit

and Hinode:
Hinode Views the 2012 Venus Transit

Now for some Willow. For some reason she likes sleeping on dirty laundry. We had it out and sorted to wash and I caught Willow sleeping on Doug’s dirty running shirts. o_O

She’s also been enjoying sleeping under my gown. She even dragged her toy with her:

One morning when I was checking email, I almost stepped on her because I didn’t realize she was curled right at the bottom of my chair! So sweet!

She likes it when I hold her like this, but it looks a little awkward when Doug does since he usually doesn’t. So funny!


Last Friday we went and saw Jonathan Coulton. His opening act was pretty funny, and he made LARP jokes. It was that kind of crowd. My favorite joke of his was when he was tuning his guitar and he said, “Normally for a rock and roll crowd I’d just let it go, but I know that most of you…are probably on the autism spectrum.” He got a huge laugh for that. It was that kind of crowd. :-) Jonathan Coulton was great too – I really enjoyed the show.


Friday at lunch, I had a birthday lunch at our favorite Indian place:


And on Saturday I also had a birthday dinner! Two pictures so Amber and Janine could both be in it!


Janine was awesome and made me cupcakes! Here are the ingredients:

yes, that is bacon! They were chocolate bacon cupcakes – and tasted good!

This caught my eye at Starbucks. Wow, 50 years since the Beatles began?