Astronomical Fun (by )

The last few weeks have seen me going in to help with the scout group for their astronomy badge - I took in my old Astronomy Now mags and some old lab books and mission cloth badges I was given at the museum when I worked there and the stuff I won with Celestial Montage from ESA.

Oh and one antique telescope our lovely friends bought us as a wedding present - this is the fourth time it has had an outing to help infuse you people with the joys of space 🙂

I didn't have time to plan a talk so had to wing it - this was made extra interesting due to the meteorite air burst over Russia and the near miss asteroid which the kids were a little confused over. So I waffled at them and gave them stuff to look at and asked them questions which showed that some were confused over the difference between America and Russia but that they have brains enough to deduce impact behaviour which was interesting.

The some of the girls meticulously pawed over my old note book and I explained abit about blasting rocks with lasers to see what they are made of. One boy shyly asked to keep an Astronomy Now and I think he would have taken more if he could have 🙂

Then they all toddled off to look at the night sky as it had cleared up nicely.

Yesterday I bought in stuff for them to make little models of the Hubble Telescope out of loo roll middles and serial packets - this seemed to go down really well and ended up in interesting conversations about space probe design.

I really enjoyed it 🙂

Turning People Off (by )

I take part in lots of online chats and things one of which is LitChat on Twitter. During one of the chats last year I upset soem 'trolls' and ended up with a rain of abuse - my crime?

I was talking to the guest author about his books, these were his Hate Club - he as a person is basically the oposite of my in the political sphere but we were having a good discussion and talking. He writes a column in some big American newspaper of something so is well known over there hence the rain of abuse.

Now the thing is that politically I am more in line with the attackers but their behaviour made me not want to be. They were not contributing to the group, they were gate crashing and being vile. They were not interested in actually talking about things but just ramming their own ideals down peoples throats and were being very personal about how they attacked. On top of that they targeted the people who were talking to the guest author and I can not make this right.

Worst of all is that some of their points were valid but the way they came over put everyones back up so no one is going to listen to them. They hurt their own cause.

From a social dynamics point of view the episode was interesting.

Mine Craft (by )

There is a new craze in the Snell-Pym household - it is a game called MineCraft and it began with Alaric, now me, Jean, Jean's friends and my Dad all have our own worlds which we are constructing homes and farms and mining in.

Initially I was very bad at it, I could not even work out how to look up let alone move and as for fighting the monsters of this almost eden-esk world - that was impossible. But after being attacked by a spider, a skeleton and a zombie, being stuck in a whole, being suspended in the air and drowning.... I finally seemed to master basic movements.

Being me I skipped the tutorial and refused to play in creative as I like there to be a challenge. Anyway I finally after a week of playing managed to construct a one room house. It started off in mud and then I mined cobble stone which I clad the outside and then mined the mid away from the inside.

outside my mine craft house - week one

The idea is that you mine and farm things and make stuff. I started off by making a crafting table, then a chest to keep things in. I was on the hunt for stuff for torches and a bed - but this proved tricky and so I found myself hiding in a dark corner of my house - it had a door I'd made on the crafting table but no light as I need to make charcoal or find coal.

Fortunately no monsters spawns in there with me - this was why it was all still earth - a monster called a creeper did blow my house up from the out side though which hacked me off! (I may have said a rude word).

Eventually I found the resources to make my torches - I had to build a furnace. So now I have light, food (due to killing poor unsuspecting cows and cooking them in the furnace), shelter, a crafting table and a double sized chest but still no bed! This means I can not sleep during the games nighttime which is annoying.

Inside of my mine craft house - week one

The game is made of large pixels and I can only play a bit at a time as the motion on the screen gives me motion sickness!

I also keep accidentally hitting the left hand toggle as a button instead, this changes the perspective of the little avatar - not helpful when you are fighting zombies!

I am really enjoying it - even more so as there is a quest to be completed!

Each world is a new generated one - mine is called Gaia, Alaric's is Genesis, Jean's Bob and Dad's one is the un-named My World. If I remember I may post the world seeds (the code that other mine craft players can used to generate the same world though devoid what you have built in it!).

Unsigned Sessions and Mention the Bear (by )

Me and Alaric finally made it out to see some live music - something which has not happened yet this year! We went to the Unsigned Sessions at The Playhouse in Cheltenham. These are run by The Record Shop down by the Norwood pub.

arty lighting

It was the first time we had been in The Playhouse which has a nice light fitting I took photos off to try and sort our how my camera works! I only found the black and white setting after the gig!


The first band was unfortunately ill but a young guy came on and played some cracking tunes - I can't remember what his name was unfortunately.

Alaric at the Play House Cheltenham

We then got a band called Red Shift who were a three piece band, a guitarists with two guitars, a saxophonist and flutist in one and the dude at the back with the squeeze box who I unfortunately was not in the right place to photo.

music in motion

They played some lovely covers - some of which had a depth the original songs never had.

Flute playing Red Shift

The guitarists voice put me in mind of David Bowe meets Pink Floyd with a little Bon Jovi thrown in.

sax playing

My one issue was I felt the Gnarls Berkely cover needed more energy, but having it sung by a warm female voice was genius 🙂

Red Shift Saxaphone

Then we got on to our friends' band, Mention The Bear, they were doing a 68 Come Back Elvis Special with guitar cases for percussion and more guitars than you can shake a stick at!

Mention the Bear Elvis Come Back

There was some serious hand blurring on the fret board happening and Richard did not disappoint with raw performance - if Elvis and Jim Morrison had had a love child... just watch the video I took!

Neither the film nor photos are as good as I wanted as I was just mucking about with settings to see what I got and some of them I didn't realise weren't quiet there until I got them up on a computer screen!

Richard Abberline Singing

See guitar case drum!

Stuart Wilding drumming on a guitar case

Richard standing to sing

Guitars galore!

Jon playing guitar

Guitar playing Play House Cheltenham

Dan rocking out!

Really rocking it

Dan Rocking it Playing rocka roll

Richard absorbed by the music.

Richard sings Elvis

Mention the Bear singing Elvis

guitar and sing

Jumping around time!

Jumping about

Singing Elvis

Jumping about whilst singing

Rich on hid knees

Bow down

Hug your fans

I was really happy to have an chance to wear my fifty style skirt I made last year (with modernish heavy metal themed material!) and my ancient blue suede boots 🙂 Though I am still disappointed there was no black leather!

Postcards and Stickers (by )

Tea Postcards and stickers

I decided it was time to get some postcards and stickers made, I used which isn't the cheapest but is the most accessible for what I wanted plus they had a sale!

I needed stickers for the Poetry Writing Challenge I am running and then I needed postcards for the Science-Art Exhibition I'll be running at Centre Arts in March, plus I wanted to give little copies of my Inspira pictures to friends who were struggling with various things in their lives.

I have been over the moon with them - people have been saying I should be selling them but not entirely sure where to do that for best affect at the moment.

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