Monday, May 30, 2016

Magnum Monday Memorial Break

Due to the holiday today, I'll be skipping Magnum Monday and Three's Company Thursday this week. So go out and enjoy your extra free day!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day Luminary Workout

Yesterday's Workout:
Not pictured is all the little stuff I did. Like working on the railing at the rental house. Working in the garage. Working at the pool. You get the idea. But I did stop to take a break for a photo-op with my apprentice for the day. He seems to like my old tractor.

After a long day of work, we cleaned up and went to Fredericksburg for the annual luminary at the National Cemetery. It was way cooler than I expected and I'm so glad the kids got to go (and to learn how to be respectful in a cemetery).

The photos don't do it justice.

Today's Training:
Hot and humid. Welcome to summer in the south. Yuck.

Can't even walk around the house without busting out in body fluids. The only time you feel clean is in the shower. And then as soon as you turn the water off, you start sweating all over again.

That pretty much sums up the past few days around here. Especially today's run. It's my own fault for getting up so late but damn that was a cool dream. How often do you get to chase down the bad guy and be the hero?

The morning was a little touch and go. I was slowly waking up with coffee when my son decided he wanted to ride his bike while I ran. So I waited for him to finish his breakfast. When he finished, he said he didn't want to go. So I was halfway out the door and he changes his mind. And my daughter decides she's going to run with me. Despite just downing a bunch of donuts. But she survived. And so did my son. And so did I.

Temps were about 85F. Sun was out with only a few light clouds. Humidity was high.

Fluids and Fuel:
Few sips of coffee before the run. Small bottle of water during the run. Recovery was more coffee and several donuts.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really hurt.

Wore shorts and a t-shirt. Shirt came off at the halfway point.

Today's Motivation:
Well, I thought I was going alone but ended up losing my self-prescribed therapy. Instead I decided I was setting a good example for my kids in exercising. We'll just ignore the bad example of the donuts.

Naughty Neil:
Hey, I said we'd ignore the donuts, didn't I?

Loop 1 - 17:41
Loop 2 - 17:34
Finish - 35:15

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Three's Company - S1 E4 - No Children, No Dogs

Three's Company
Season 1
Episode 4
No Children, No Dogs

This episode has gone to the dogs. Well, one dog to be precise. Jack brings home a puppy but Mr. Roper doesn't allow pets.

Physical Comedy
  • Chrissy pacing in the living room.
  • When Larry puts the rubber dog bone in Jack's mouth.
  • Chrissy sleepwalking like a zombie.
  • Jack tripping over just about every piece of furniture in the apartment.
  • The dog food. And Mr. Roper eating it.
  • That damn swinging kitchen door.

With the puppy as the central point of comedy in the episode, one of the jokes is about dog food. They mention the ingredients as "horse meat" and "bone meal and marrow bone jelly." And of course the side effects of scratching, fetching, and the proverbial "ain't fit for a dog" line at the end.

But is dog food safe for human consumption?

In a word, no. It's pretty gross when you get into it, but pet food is generally not considered safe for human consumption. Yes, there are potential sources of "human grade" or "human safe" ingredients, but that doesn't necessarily make it safe to eat.

Today, pet food is fairly well monitored and regulated and is relatively safe for pets to eat. But even with stricter rules regarding ingredients and production methods, it's still not safe to eat. Back in the 1970s when Three's Company aired, the rules were likely far less strict. So that joke about horse meat being an ingredient isn't much of a joke. In fact, during the recession in the mid-1970s, humans ate horsemeat.

In the end, don't eat dog food. It's not safe. And the STEM angle on this? There are a lot of pet-related science projects out there from "left paw vs. right paw" to "what food will my dog eat." I'm not sure I can recommend doing any of those as they rely upon a living animal. However, with a little more work and money, you can test what types of meat are in dog food to see how accurate the labels are.

April 7, 1977 People's Drug ad from the Fredericksburg, VA Free Lance-Star newspaper. Ironically, this is the same day this episode of Three's Company aired.

Teacher Resources:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

360 Videos and the Future

Once upon a time, YouTube was a little-known website that hosted funny videos. Now it's not only as popular as Google, it's also a profession for many people. And while I wish I created quality content like so many YouTubers out there, I'm still new to this game. Sure, sure, I got on the YouTube VLOG wagon ages ago. But I never followed through because I didn't see the platform as viable for anything beyond consumption.

Now I'm back on that wagon creating.

But that's not what I want to talk about today. Today, I want to talk about the wave of the future: 360 degree video.

I don't know where Gary Vaynerchuk stands on 360 video but I know he's created some 360 content. For me, I'm betting on it being the next big thing in a few years. Here's why.


My last employer never understood "mobile" and still doesn't. Sure, they've bought mobile app companies but they just don't "get it." If you think of all the people out there, not only in the US but across the world, the mobile phone is so common-place, many people have more than one. In order to reach a wide audience, you need to be on mobile.

360 video is not only available on mobile, it's the perfect platform. Think about it, you spin around in one spot, tilt the phone, move it around, it's so easy to understand, my eight year old son gets it. And when he asked if it would do the same thing with my laptop, I had to explain that no, it wouldn't. I needed to use the keyboard or my mouse to pan and tilt the 360 video. He seemed confused but understood enough to not ask anymore questions.

But 360 and mobile go together like bread and butter. They form a relationship so symbiotic that the viewer doesn't even realize they're the third wheel.

Everything Else

When viewing a 360 video on any other device, it stumbles. And this is where I think 360 will fail. Sort of. So when you view a 360 video, it doesn't require you to have a special TV or laptop or anything other than some way to manually move the image. A keyboard (the WASD keys), a mouse (click and drag), or the icon on the video (kind of like a virtual joystick). Any of these will allow the viewer to move around "inside" the video.

And that's a stumbling point. Sure, it's possible. Sure, it's easier to see the video with a larger screen. But it's that "manual" part that makes it fail here.

And that's where it will fail in other platforms too. It's not easy to pick up your TV and move it around like you can your phone. And sure, you can pan/tilt manually, but then everybody else that's viewing the video is going to be subjected to your choices. So unlike the standard TV show where you stare at the hot babe and everyone else stares at the funny pig, now everyone will have to stare at the hot babe and that will take away from their experience.

Which will make them change the channel or want to watch something else.

And the same applies to movies but on a greater scale. Clearly you're not going to be able to physically move the screen. And if you had control over where the screen was "looking," I'm sure most of the people would be pissed when you moved it away from the primary source of the action.

The Future

This brings me to where I think the future will take us, specifically in terms of the impact of 360 video on movies. As I said above, 360 movies won't work. They barely work in 3D. But this doesn't mean that 360 videos won't leave their mark.

Let me back up a minute. I think in the next 5 years, 360 videos will slowly become more normal on your phone. In 10 years, the demand will be great enough that movie companies will begin to ponder how they win viewers over when they're all clamoring for more 360 videos.

I think the answer for them lies in one of two directions.

First, there's the obvious answer because it's already out there; IMAX. IMAX movies give viewers a larger image to look at which naturally causes them to move their heads around. The IMAX Dome gives viewers a 180 degree field of view. I don't see domes going up all over but I do see some retrofits coming.

A shorter screen than IMAX, but wider could be the solution. Yes, it can go up and down a little, but the downward view is going to be blocked by the people in front of you. And too much screen above is going to leave you with a stiff neck like you were sitting in the front row. But there's room on the sides that aren't used. I don't think the screen would expand too far beyond the midway point because those in the front would be looking to the sides too much. So maybe a quarter to a third would be used.

As for the movie itself, I still think the primary action will be in the front and center. But there may secondary actors or scenery or plot that takes place on the sides that may add to the experience or the story or just make things cooler.

Image this. You're watching Lawrence of Arabia. You look left and right of center and see sand dunes all over the place. Sure, Lawrence is right there in front of you but think of all that scenery to the sides that could add to the movie. Or the train tracks going off into the distance on one side while they're planting the bomb and way way off you can see the puff of smoke from the train.

You get the idea. It's an option. And I think what makes it work is that it could add to the viewer's experience. It could make the movie better. Then again, it could be like 3D and be completely over-used and end up making people mad.

The other possibility I see working is visors. Or goggles. Or Google Cardboard. Or something like that where the viewer watches the movie through their VRware glasses and can look in all directions in the movie. They can be in the middle of the Gryffindor table during the Christmas dinner and see Ron on one side of them and Harry on the other. Hermione could be talking to Ron from the other side of the table but it would feel like you're there in Hogwarts.

The downside to this possibility is that it takes away from the movie going experience itself. Not so much the movie, but the trip to the movie theater. The popcorn, the sticky floors, the annoying kid behind you that kicks the seat. All of those would be gone and you'd watch the movie at home or where ever you wanted.

Sure, the goggles could be an added feature for select movies like the 3D glasses, but the goggles wouldn't be disposable and would therefore be the source of disease, damage, and equipment failure. It would be like walking into the movie and your date gets a great pair of goggles and yours show everything in green. Or you get pink eye. Or they just don't work.


In the end, I think 360 videos will slowly set the pace for technology changes in the movie industry as well as the mobile phone industry. As demand grows, the related industries will need to adapt or die. And if you made it this far through my rambling predictions, it should be pretty obvious that I think this will be the wave of the future in some form.

Or maybe it'll just be a fad like laserdiscs.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Magnum PI - S1 E4 - Thank Heaven for Little Girls and Big Ones Too

Magnum PI
Season 1
Episode 4
Thank Heaven for Little Girls and Big Ones Too

It's Christmas in Hawaii and a group of girls from Vermont are stuck on the island after losing their teacher.

Cell Phones
If Magnum had a phone, we wouldn't laugh at people having Robin Masters' private phone number.

Magnum could have called Higgins and alerted him to the girls trying to steal the painting, or return it if you believe them. But that would have spoiled the scene when Magnum catches them red handed.

I'm sure the girls, even as young as they are, would have cell phones. And while they may not be able to get a signal from inside the cave, they should have been able to drop pins or leave some sort of bread crumb behind. And if Magnum didn't have connections in the police department, I'm sure he could have called them in to at least trace the cell phones to the last known location.

Well now, what have we here? A mobile phone in the Robin Masters Audi? I'm shocked. But it just goes to prove, that Rick could have used a cell phone of his own to update Magnum.

I know the little girls are in some sort of private school based on their uniform, but sheesh. Those shoes and jackets. But at least one of them had a very cool Pan Am backpack. And did you see TC sporting that leather visor? Where in the world did that come from, Tandy Leather?

Those high-waisted pink pants on Ms. Booton are stellar. And paired with the thin red belt makes such a statement They were both such a staple of the 80s.

What is it with white shoes and this show? The head bad guy, who happens to look a bit like George R. R. Martin, was sporting white leather shoes. Not the saddle shoes like the girls, but still. And TC running around with his shirt un-buttoned was classic.

The airport. Oh the airport. My eyes are hurting from thinking about Rick in his velour track suit. And all the background outfits are just about as painful. And of course we have the flight attendants uniforms.

Hawaiian Shirt
I think my last post had it a bit wrong. The signature Magnum shirt doesn't have flowers, it has purple birds. But still, it looks very nice. So does Rick's 280Z sports car.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Three's Company - S1 E3 - Roper's Niece

Three's Company
Season 1
Episode 3
Roper's Niece

Jack is planning for Janet's birthday and Mr. Roper's niece is in town to visit. Mr. Roper decides to let Jack take his niece out so Jack skips out on the surprise party that isn't a surprise. Mr. Roper catches them kissing at the end of the night but after the confusion settles, Jack is allowed to stay in the apartment.

Physical Comedy
  • Mrs. Roper falling asleep.
  • Jack "hitting" on Mr. Roper.
  • Jack opening the can of beer just after Karen drops her dress.
  • Janet taking the cake from Jack.

Mr. and Mrs. Roper are talking about sex change operations and Mr. Roper begins to wonder how it works. He says something along the lines of "I can see how they can take stuff off, but how do they put stuff on?" Mrs. Roper has a witty comment about Scotch Tape.

What they call a sex change operation back then, is now called "gender reassignment." As to how they "attach things with scotch tape" it's more of a skin graft. Most have a mastectomy (breast removal), hysterectomy (uterus removal), and then use skin grafts and a prosthetic to create the rest of the necessary anatomy.

Teacher Resources:
Seeing as a sex change operation isn't an ideal topic for students, I'm just going to skip this section this time around.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Magnum PI - S1 E3 - China Doll

Magnum PI
Season 1
Episode 3
China Doll

The intro is different. We see some clips of future episodes now instead of the pilot intro. In this episode, the action starts out in the Red Light district. The big bad guy uses Wang Chung. I swear that's what I heard him say. Anyway, Magnum is hired to protect Mai Ling from the bad guy who just wants Wang Chung everyone.

Cell Phones
When Magnum and Mai Ling drive out to check on her Uncle Han, a cell phone would have taken care of everything. Sure, they could still drive out there, but a phone call or text would have made things a little safer and easier on Uncle Han. But seeing as Uncle Han is older, he may not have a cell phone. But you'd think he would still have a landline.

One interesting thing was the bad guy setting up a meeting at a payphone. I know they still exist but he would have used a different land mark nowadays. But would he have called using the proverbial burner phone?

One odd thought I had about cell phones was that older couple on the helicopter ride. If they were younger, they would have used the speed filter on Snapchat, I just know it!

From the looks of it, exotic dancers haven't seen much change in the way of fashion. It's all about the sparkles and feathers. I totally dug the matching husband and wife on the helicopter tour. Mr. Wang Chung was sporting an awful suit with wide collar and shiny shoes that look like loafers with a gold buckle. I'm sure it was rather dapper back then.

The swim suits are at times hideous and at times classically timeless. I guess a bikini that's a solid color is always going to work. But short shorts and one piece suits ebb and flow like the tide. And that matching couple was back, this time is some bizarre print shirt.

Hawaiian Shirt
Nice double shot of Magnum and Rick. Magnum's shirt is a nice light cream or white with some flowers while Rick is sporting a hilarious shirt with hot dogs, bananas, and women in swimsuits on it.

And then later in the show, we see what I would consider the signature Magnum shirt. Classic bright red with palm trees and flowers.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Duel In Williamsburg

You decide which one you like better.

My Video:

My Son's Video:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Three's Company - S1 E2 - And Mother Makes Four

Three's Company
Season 1
Episode 2
And Mother Makes Four

Chrissy's mother comes for a surprise visit and to add a twist, we learn that Chrissy's father is a minister. That makes for an awkward night of trying to keep Jack away from Chrissy's mother.

Physical Comedy
  • Not really a physical gag but Janet waters the table where a plant used to be.
  • Jack rings the doorbell while Mr. Roper is holding the wires.
  • Jack hiding in the closet in the kitchen.
  • Jack hiding behind the couch in the living room.
  • Jack pretending to be a lamp.
  • Jack hiding outside in the rain.

The window in the living room is stuck open during the rain storm. This is a little detail but the science behind it is pretty neat. Because wood is a porous material, it will absorb liquid. In the case of the rain storm, the wood absorbed the moisture in the air as well as the rain hitting it. That caused the wood to swell, just like a kitchen sponge swells with you get it wet.

I've always wondered how and why wood cups and curves and bows as a it dries. In looking at the resources below, I now have a better idea. As for the swollen wood in this episode, that's pretty easy for me to understand. Being a fan of home improvement shows, I know that there needs to be some room for expansion and contraction when it comes to certain wood working projects.

Teacher Resources:

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

National Harbor and Williamsburg

Had a few days of busy travel and haven't had time to post. So I'll just throw the photos and videos up for you to enjoy!


National Harbor

Monday, May 09, 2016

Magnum PI - S1 E2 - Please Don't Eat The Snow In Hawaii

Magnum PI
Season 1
Episode 2
Please Don't Eat The Snow In Hawaii, Part 2

Magnum continues his investigation with a meeting with "Snow White," the local dealer of cocaine on the island. We also continue with the flashbacks to Vietnam and Magnum's Special Forces team. What I noticed more this time was the cut scenes between the flashback and the present day. There was a bit more polish and it felt more natural and almost like there was a secondary story to be told. Which I guess is ultimately what the purpose is of looking back in time.

Two security related tidbits I noticed in this episode. First, Magnum and his friend's sister get onto the Naval base without a positive ID. It reminds me of the good old days when my dad would take me onto base and would just slow down so the guard could see the sticker and then wave us through. Second was Magnum taking the gun into the airport. Not sure I miss that part of the old days but it certainly shines a light on how much things were different back then.

Finally, the signet ring. I know the symbol was on the rings, the opening credits, the helicopter in Vietnam, and a few other places. But I'm not sure what it means. Or if it even means anything. I guess I have a few seasons to find out.

Cell Phones
With cell phones, the show would lose a joke in the scene where TC calls the "red phone" that seems to be the private number for Robin Masters but asks for Magnum.

The large collars/lapels on Higgins' shirt stand out as very 70s era fashion. The rest seem to be more from the 80s. And again, the military uniforms are fairly static.

Hawaiian Shirt
One of the bad guys wore a Hawaiian shirt. But I figure I need to only focus on Magnum. After all, he's the main character. So no island shirt. But it was nice to see I'm not the only one with a hairy chest.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Scavenger Hunt Run

As directed by my coach, I went on a scavenger hunt run today. With my daughter.

But today's story starts last night. Despite going to bed early, I wanted to stay up late and watch TV. But there was nothing on TV. So I put the kids in bed and went to read in my own bed. And promptly felt exhausted so I went to be early.

At 8:30pm.

I felt like such an old man. I didn't even do anything yesterday to cause me to feel so tired. Just ran around town getting groceries and shopping for camera gear. So after sleeping half my life away, and half a day away, I got up this morning to groggily get some coffee in me before my run. Elizabeth was still in bed so I prepped to go by myself. She must have felt the vibe and got up. Since she was willing to go with me, I waited.

I have no problem waiting to help her set good habits now. Something I emphasized during our run, that she shouldn't get fat because it's bad.

Anyway, today we had to find a few things. We found them all.


Temps were about 55F. Sky was overcast but the sun was out here and there. No wind. Some humidity from all the rain.

Fluids and Fuel:
Coffee before the run. Nothing during the run. Recovery was oatmeal and a donut. And more coffee.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really. We were going pretty slow though.

Wore shorts, t-shirt, and jacket.

Today's Motivation:
A fun run is always fun. Even more so when your kid wants to go, then thanks you for letting her go when she's done. Of all the mini treasures we found out there, that's my favorite one.

Naughty Neil:
Ate pretty good today. Skimped on lunch (just a banana) but ate decent food the rest of the day. Except maybe the fries and burger for dinner, but they were fresh and well made, so that makes them at least a little healthier.

Didn't time the run. Just a mile and a half and that was it.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Three's Company - S1 E1 - A Man About The House

Three's Company
Season 1
Episode 1
A Man About The House

Come and knock on our door, we've been waiting for you....

Three's Company is a greatly underappreciated show. John Ritter is a a greatly underappreciated actor. Combine the two and you have a great TV show that tends to fly under the radar. And when you add in the plethora of sexual innuendo, homosexuality, and Suzanne Somers, and many adults my age never got to watch it when they were kids.

But I did. So I'm going to try to pass along my love for the show.

And my love for that swinging door into the kitchen.

Physical Comedy
In the opening credits alone, we see Jack (John Ritter) fall off his bike, Janet (Joyce DeWitt) pour water on Chrissy (Suzanne Somers), and Mrs. Roper (Audrey Lindley) throws a dart at Mr. Roper (Norman Fell). Below is a list of just some of the physical comedy. Most of it is little things that make the show so funny.

  • Jack slips as he gets out of the tub. It's so minor but it gets a laugh every time.
  • Jack's face as he tries to eat the scrambled eggs.
  • Chrissy breaks the burnt toast.
  • Mr. Roper touching the "bosom" of the potential new roommate.
  • Jack putting on hot pants. Right out of the oven.

I know this is coming out of left field but that's kind of my point. How often do TV show reviews cover STEM? Especially when the TV show is a sit-com? Exactly. So let's keep it weird but educational and cover the STEM aspects of the episode.

The ladle turned green after sitting in the punch. Chrissy made the punch by adding "gin, tequila, whiskey, rum, vodka" and maybe a few other things. As viewers, we're left to believe that the alcohol turned the silver ladle green. Let's find out if that's true.

First, the ladle is likely made of Sterling Silver, not pure silver. Sterling Silver is made of a copper base and silver plating. When the plating wears off, the copper is exposed which then oxidizes and becomes green.

Many sites recommend using rubbing alcohol to clean Sterling Silver so it's likely not the cause behind the ladle turning green.

However vinegar would cause this chemical reaction. But vinegar in a punch sounds a little far-fetched. But knowing Chrissy, it's distinctly possible. Anyway, vinegar, or some other acid, would create the chemical reaction needed to turn the copper green.

Teacher Resources: