Wizards of Oz

"Life is fraughtless ... when you're thoughtless."



Mom and baby were discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon, and are resting relatively comfortably at home now. I've discovered I am completely useless between 3:00am and 6:00am -- and only partially effective until about 8:00am.... After dropping Man-Cub off at school this morning, I realized (while heading back to the car, after walking throughout the school grounds) that my sweatshirt was on backwards. Tag in the front. Small logo over my right scapula. Capital "L" Loser fashion statement! :-)


One Day Old

Baby girl made it through the night with some sleep. Actually, with a lot of feedings -- and, now that it's daylight, ample naptime. Our dear friend Becky from Virginia drove in last night from the Hampton Roads, and is showing off her new Nikon D90 SLR digital camera with the shot above (one of the first ever with the new cam).



[Moblog] Annasophia & Mom

[Moblog] Here she is!

Annasophia was born at 1:09pm EDT, about two hours after the Fall Equinox, via C-Section. Her shoulders had not turned, and were too broad to enter the pelvis; after about three hours of Pitocin -- and baby girl's heartrate dropping during contractions -- Renee's Ob/Gyn decided to take her surgically. So baby girl has a perfectly formed head, and is resting comfortably with Mom in recovery.

Day of Deliveries

It is a day of deliveries! What better way to see in the Autumnal Equinox, which is occurring the moment I am writing this.

First, Annasophia-to-be has decided she wants to be an Equinox Baby (or maybe she just wanted to be born under Virgo). So this morning, at 0300 EDT, CINCHOUSE's contractions intensified in their 30-40 second duration every 3-4 minutes. Not quite the "4-1-1" metric for heading to the hospital (i.e., 4 minutes apart, 1 minute duration, for 1 hour), but after three hours of contractions we headed to the hospital anyway.

So now we are in a labor-and-delivery room, epidural administered (as well as Pitocin, to further encourage the Peanut M&M's arrival), and I'm capturing this for posterity:

In addition to a baby girl on the way, today is also the formal release of the first book I have been a part of -- The John Boyd Roundtable, ably edited by Mark "Zenpundit" Safranski and published by Nimble Books.

So it's truly a "Day of Deliveries"!

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Rollin' Down the River

Oak Ridge "Indian Guides" had their annual rafting excursion on the Hiwassee River near the Georgia/North Carolina/Tennessee borders this weekend. Thankfully, the river was about 18" higher than last year -- and our collective ballast this year was significantly less than last year, thanks to Man-Cub and me being paired up with a triathlete and his 1st grade son.


"Secret City's" 66th Year

Today (Friday, September 19th) marks the 66th anniversary of the formal designation of East Fork Valley in east Tennessee as the site of the "Secret City". It was on this day in 1942 that Major General Leslie Groves, U.S. Army (and Director of the Manhattan Project) stood atop Elsa's Ridge on the east edge of East Fork Valley, near a sweeping bend of the Clinch River, and declared that this valley would become home to the city that would house the bulk of the Manhattan Project.

During World War II, the project was known as the "Clinton Engineering Works" -- and housed at its peak more than 75,000 workers and their families. The Uranium-235 that powered the LITTLE BOY bomb on August 6th, 1945 came entirely from the Y-12 site in Bear Creek Valley (just across Pine Ridge to the south), while the crown jewel of Dept. of Energy National Labs lies one more valley to the south (Bethel Valley, across Chestnut Ridge from Y-12). And at the extreme west end of town, between East Fork Ridge and Blackoak Ridge, the K-25 site was a cornerstone of our nation's nuclear deterrent until its shutdown in the mid-1980s.

Happy Birthday, Oak Ridge!

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SNL: Palin and Clinton

NBC's Saturday Night Live brought back Tina Fey last night for a brilliant skit as Gov. Sarah Palin. Tina (who served as head writer for SNL from 1999 to 2006) left the show two years ago to create the series 30 Rock. This is one of the funniest SNL videos I've seen in a long time:

UPDATE: This link points to the official NBC site, so you get to be exposed to their 15-second Chevy commercial before you can watch the video. Ain't capitalism grand?

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Never Forget

LHC: Game On!

The most powerful particle accelerator in the world, CERN's Large Hadron Collider, was turned on yesterday. And we're still around to talk about it! (So no, the fabric of the spacetime continuum was not breeched by the power of the beam -- though the marketing spin citing the 'power of the Big Bang' is a bit over the top...)

Hadrons are particles comprised of bound quarks, such as the protons and neutrons that make up all of the elements on the Periodic Table (as compared to "leptons", or "light particles", with no quarks -- such as electrons). At full power, this 27-km diameter synchrotron will accelerate protons in opposite directions to 99.9% the speed of light -- then shunt them into a collision chamber to see the results. Some are expecting to see the "Higg's Boson", the last of the "Standard Model's" predicted particles yet to be observed. The Higg's Boson would help explain why some massless particles (like photons) can cause other particles to have mass -- which can in turn help us understand "mass" far beyond Einstein's famous relativistic formula "E=mc^2".

I strongly recommend you check out Jorge Cham's brilliant comic strip "Piled Higher and Deeper", in particular his most recent three strips describing his "Tales from the Road":

Tales from the Road: CERN Pt 1
Tales from the Road: CERN Pt 2
Tales from the Road: CERN Pt 3

Stay tuned to this journey of discovery into the very essence of matter!

UPDATE: For an even more humorous spin (pun intended :-), check out Randall Munroe's strip "xkcd" from yesterday on the same topic. Bonus points for those who can find the six quark names hidden in the strip!

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[Moblog] Alabama Bar-B-Q

The gang from Colorado Springs has come to Huntsville. According to the locals, the best bar-b-q in the south ain't in the Rocket City -- it's 20 miles to the west in Decatur.

Big Bob Gibson's on Hwy 31 is some good 'q! Their sauces (a few of which are pictured here) are exceptional, especially the Habañero Red Sauce.


Velo 3


Final day of the Oak Ridge Fall Velo Classic. Today's event was the "Criterium" -- an event much like NASCAR on bikes. The course, a fast 0.9-mile loop on the south slope of Blackoak Ridge, traveled around historic Jackson Square.

While a "Criterium" can often be a spectator sport (especially around the turns, where a tightly-packed group of riders can all fall with the slightest provocation), the first four heats of today's ride had no accidents.

The photo above shows the "Cat-5" group cycling eastbound on Tennessee Avenue; I'm the fat guy with the yellow bike. After our allotted 25 minutes, I had amassed nine (9) laps -- while the winner completed 11!


[Moblog] Velo 2

More from the Oak Ridge Fall Velo Classic. After my last place, 28:05 finish in the Masters 30-40+ Time Trial (which I learned after the fact is the *fastest* of all categories not "Pro") I downgraded my afternoon road race from 68-mi to 48.

So now I'm checking in with dear friends from Red Cross before braving the road!

See you in 3 hours....

UPDATE: O.K., this is clearly above my skill level. The course (across scenic Poplar Creek Valley north of the K-25 site in west Oak Ridge) included two laps with more than a thousand feet net vertical per lap. My pace (approx. 16 mph cruise with a cadence of 80) needs to increase by about 50% to hang with the peloton. So I bailed out after one lap, completing the 28 mile course in 1:50:00.

[Moblog] Velo Classic

Road cycling competition has come to Oak Ridge with the "Fall Velo Classic"! In addition to "Open" and "Masters" divisions, several professional riders have come to Oak Ridge for time trials, road race and "criteriu

I've signed up for all three - the photo below was taken just before my time trial on Bethel Valley Road (on the grounds of X-10, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory). Then a 68-mile road race in the hills around K-25 later today (yikes!) and a 0.9-mile, 25-minute "Criterium" loop tomorrow around historic Jackson Square.

UPDATE: My official time in the 8.2 mile closed-course time trail (along relatively flat Bethel Valley Road) was 28:05. Slowest of the day in all categories.... Good thing I really enjoy this stuff.


[Moblog] Pike's Peak

Just landed in Colorado Springs, now heading to Schriever AFB to officially check in at my new job. It's a blissful 65° F. right now, with no humidity (at least when compared to Appalachia). And these mountains are *BIG*!