Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekend Links

[A ton of links this weekend thanks to my failure to hit "post" both of the previous two weeks. Enjoy!]

The Myopia Boom (Really interesting. Even more reason to send kids outside more often.) 

10 Things You Didn't Know About Vitamin D (My dad, who is a doctor, has been frequently mentioning the need to get more vitamin D. He takes a supplement and wants us to, too. I haven't yet, but luckily it's getting nice outside so I can spend most of my day outdoors. Maybe I will try it anyway.)

How Smartphones Hurt Sleep (By now we all know that using electronics before bedtime is bad news, but here is more evidence with some graphs. I won't let us have electronics in the bedroom - no TV, no phones, no nothing - mostly for this reason.)

How To Raise Creative and Self-Reliant Free Range Kids

Sleep Better at Night by Increasing Your Daytime Light Exposure

Your Internet Habits Create Your Reality

Funny / Awesome
Florida Hotel Wakes up Spring Breakers by Playing "Circle of Life" ("Wakes up" at 11am. Still, I want this to happen to me.)

The Internet can be a wonderful place. This series is basically the best thing ever (read in order):
1. Who is This Man and Why Are His Photos Showing Up On My Phone?
2. How I Became a Minor Celebrity in China (After My Stolen Phone Ended Up There)
3. I Followed My Stolen iPhone Across the World, Became a Celebrity in China, and Found a Friend for Life

Things You Should Never Say to Women Working in Tech or Science (or ANY field. Don't even.)

MakerBot Lays Off 100 Employees, Closes All Retail Stores (Guess you can no longer go to the MakerBot store in NYC, which is a shame because it was awesome! I wonder what this means for the future of consumer 3D printing.)

You Can Now Google "Find My Phone" To Locate Your Lost Android Device (It works!)

A couple of articles via Eric about the Cincinnati Reds

Oh, poor Cubbies. (Also via Eric)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bloomington, IN: Hoosier Half 5k Race

This past weekend I ran in my first race since college!

The Hoosier Half Marathon and 5k has become a staple race in Bloomington, drawing people from all over the country. Over 1000 people ran the Half Marathon this year, and over 300 ran the 5k. We all started the race together (there are no heats) and it was a little bit crowded and crazy until people spread out. It was so much fun though, and I'd love to do some more 5k races this summer!

The whole race starts and ends on 17th St across from Assembly Hall. The 5k route takes you up to Walnut, down Walnut to Kirkwood, then Kirkwood to Indiana, and back up to 17th St. The Half Marathon meanders all the way down to Winslow/Tapp and back to 17th St. It's a very hilly course!

My goal for the race was to run a 30 minute or under 5k. I knew the paces I had been running at for the past several weeks and thought that was doable. Also, my previous 5k race times were in the mid-to-high 30 minute range. (I have the distinction to have come in last in every race I've ever run...until 2015.)

I wound up running a 27:21 5k with a pace of 8:50/mile! After my first mile I couldn't stop smiling. I felt great and picked up the speed. Passing people was a new experience for me and it fueled me on. My second mile was over 15 seconds faster than my first, and the third mile was over before I knew it. The race finishes with the uphill on 17th St (the finish line is literally the peak of that hill) and I decided it'd be a great idea to sprint. It really was a great idea and I even passed a few more people on my way to the top! There were professional photographers at the race, including one stationed at the finish line. Here are my finish line photos, if you are interested.

In terms of general results for the 5k race, I was 15th out of 86 in my division (females aged 20-29), 24th out of 204 of all females, and 77th overall to come across the finish line. I was only 7 minutes slower than the women's 5k finisher. I am still feeling proud of myself for not only way surpassing my goal time, but also doing so well overall compared to the rest of the field. Especially for my first race in over 5 years, I think I did pretty well!

After the race, I was directed to go get a medal (all finishers get medals) and a water. Then I was surprised by my friend Christine who was waiting for me at the finish line! It was so awesome of her to come out and watch the end of the race (hopefully she and the other spectators weren't too cold - it was pretty chilly even with the sun, if you weren't running). She took the photo of me you see above :) and we went over to the tents to grab all the food goodies they were handing out: protein bars, bagels, bananas, water, coconut water, and granola bars. The protein bar people took this photo of us. Thanks again, Christine!

I would totally recommend doing the Hoosier Half or 5k if you are looking for a race around Bloomington! It seemed really well set up (parking was easy, registration was easy and online, packet pickup the day before was easy) and was a fun race to run.

An abbreviated version of my running backstory leading up to the race, if you are interested:

In college, as a result of missing varsity team sports after playing them for most of my life, I switched from an IM soccer/frisbee player/casual runner to running for the cross country and track teams. Everything was great until my senior year, when I developed a very painful stress fracture in my left foot. Despite significant time on crutches, in a walking boot, and weeks of PT during cross and track seasons, it turned out that my stress fracture would take literally years to heal. I stopped running after January of 2010.

Fast forward to last summer, June 2014. One of my former co-workers and friends, Jeff, runs (a lot) and is sponsored by a great brewery here in town, Quaff On!. He and another one of his running friends decided to start up the Bloomington Beer Runners Club, a fun social running club that meets at Quaff On every Thursday at 6pm, does a no-pressure run, then comes back to the brewery afterward. Jeff and I still worked together at the time and he knew I had been a runner in a previous life. He convinced me to come join the club (you just show up and you're a member) and I haven't looked back since. My foot has finally healed and I've been able to run consistently since last June, which, after not physically being able to run for over 4 years, is a huge deal. Plus, I have met a lot of fun people and they all basically convinced me that I should join them at this race. Most of the people I run with did the half marathon, and a couple of us did the 5k. It was so fun to feel like part of a team again, and at least see lots of people I know.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Weekend Links

Sports (Awesome Things)
It's March Madness. We are about to finish the best 4 days of college basketball of the year. 

Nigel Hayes and his Wisconsin teammates are fascinated by the NCAA stenographer (This is really funny)

You want to see Roy Williams in a mosh pit? Of course you do.

The Bearcats might do one thing better than Kentucky (via Eric)

Keep a One-Sentence Journal to be Happier (Eric got me a journal like this for Valentine's Day! I am enjoying it a lot.)

Whatever Happened to GeoCities, Lycos, Netscape & Other Giants of Web 1.0? (I had soo many GeoCities websites. I have tried to go back and find them in the past few years - via the Wayback Machine, which is the greatest thing ever - but have no idea under what directory they were under.)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Kansas City, MO: Power & Light District

The hotel I stayed at in Kansas City for the conference I was at was just a couple of blocks away from the Power & Light District. One night I had some time after dinner and went exploring!

It's an aptly-named area of town -- there are lights everywhere.

All the restaurants and bars are lit up, as well as the theaters! I love old-school theaters like this (or any building) with bulb lights under the awning.

This is a grocery store - Cosentino's Downtown Market. Usually on trips I try to bring back some kind of souvenir, and especially since Eric wasn't with me on this trip, I wanted to bring him back something. KC is known for BBQ, and Eric likes BBQ, so I picked up some barbeque sauce (Arthur Bryant's and Jack Stack's) here. I also got us some local beers. I didn't have time to go on any brewery tours so this was the other option. I picked up Boulevard's Irish Ale and Free State's Copperhead Pale Ale; both are pretty good. (I stopped here on my way after exploring, since I was walking a few blocks back to my hotel, and beer is heavy.)

The Sprint Center is a UFO of glass, and looks even cooler at night than it does during the day.


I didn't really go anywhere except the market (I'm not much for going by myself into restaurants/bars at this point in life) but it looked like people were having lots of fun. There were  We were in this area for lunch both days of the conference, and during the daytime this area is also nice! For lunch we at one day at BRGR - specializing in burgers, of course - and the other day at Drunken Fish, a sushi place. Both were good!

If you are looking for some place to go/eat/drink and are nearby, check out the Power & Light District! I didn't make it to any other areas of town except the River Walk area (where the Steamboat Museum is; we also ate at the Blue Nile Cafe one night for dinner in that area), so I can't vouch for those, but this was a fun place to spend some time walking around (both evening and afternoon).

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Weekend Links

See Your Favorite Movies Reimagined as 8-Bit Retro Video Games (Awesome. Completely awesome. Now if you'll excuse me, I need my GameBoy and time to sit and play Zelda and/or Pokemon for several hours.)

Crayon Sculptures (via Kottke)

Florida Company selling "new" 1960s Ford Mustang (Yes please.)

Photo Finish (From NCAA Magazine, a really nice article about a photographer who's been photographing the Final Four for 60 years.)

D1 Sports Costs & Revenue in Indiana (The Indy Star puts out this article every year showing the breakdown of the various public D1 schools in Indiana cost- and revenue-wise for sports. Interesting stuff. Only public schools have to disclose this information.)

How Your Name Affects Your Success (My name matches up not at all with my location, is hard to say and even harder to spell, gets me TSA-searched almost every time I fly... yeah, names definitely matter. But I'd like to say that my list of names to not ever name anyone include all the ones on the most-successful list, so sorry to my future kids.)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Kansas City, MO: Steamboat Arabia Museum

Last week I went to a conference in Kansas City, Missouri. The conference was pretty good but sometimes I need to get away from really large groups of people for a while -- and go take a walk or be by myself. Before heading to KC I did some research about what I might like to see there if I had a chance. I've never actually been to KC besides driving through (Eric and I once drove to Los Angeles from Indiana and we stopped in Independence, but not KC) and had no idea what was even available to me.

I found the Steamboat Arabia Museum listed as being a great attraction and, well, it's something to do with boats, lost treasure, and finding lost treasure, so I had to go check it out. It was about a mile north of the convention center where the conference was held and took me about 20 minutes of city walking to get there.

Upon entering the building where the museum is, you're greeted with a life size turning paddle wheel. You can see this part even if you don't want to go into the museum (like if you're in the River Walk area and just want to pop in for a minute).

The wheel is cool. I have always wanted to take a trip on a steamboat, mostly for the wheels, but have yet to do so.

The entrance to the museum is in the interior of the building, in the museum's gift shop. 

I entered the shop just as the next tour group was about to take off, so I quickly paid the entrance fee (not exactly cheap, but I felt it was worth it, especially since it was the only tourist attraction I'd be able to see during my trip) and joined the group. Two other people were on the tour, but I saw several more people wandering around the museum.

Our tour guide was awesome. It was apparent that she knew pretty much everything about the Arabia and its excavation. She also had a great presentation style, which (as a former tour guide and theater kid) I appreciate.

So what is the big deal with the Arabia? Well, she hit a snag and sunk in 1856 in the Missouri River near KC loaded with over 200 tons of brand new merchandise -- including 400 barrels of Kentucky's best bourbon -- headed out West to the frontier. And she sunk so quickly that virtually nothing except the people (all of them!) was able to get off board before she was gone underwater.

During the years that followed, some people tried to find her, mostly to get the bourbon. But it was expensive and a lot of work to get a 171 ft steamboat like the Arabia up out of the Missouri River. Then, in the 1980s, a local KC family and some of their friends heard about the Arabia and decided to dig her up. The men involved each had a special skill set to bring to the table (excavation, refrigeration, etc) and they decided to go for it.

After doing extensive research, they located the Arabia in a cornfield near the river (rivers move), found her exact location, and dug 45 feet down. The hole was bigger than a football field. They had to install several huge water pumps, running constantly, to keep the hole dry.

And when they found her, they preserved her. Even more research went into preserving the boat and its contents (remember this was before the Internet as we know's 1988).  This whole piece was literally showered with a special preservative to keep the wood from shrinking in the air. It sounded like a fascinating process and our guide told us all about it.

But besides bringing up the ship, the men found those 200 tons of brand new merchandise -- buried treasure. The ship had sunk so quickly that almost everything on board had been completely preserved. The fabric was still wearable, including the silk. There were hundreds of pairs of shoes that we could still wear today. Even the jarred pickles were still good (they tried them!).

It is the biggest and best preserved haul of pre-Civil War artifacts in the world.

I would have been freaking out about such a find. I was kind of feeling it in the museum, too, even though I hadn't been the one to find any of this stuff. One of my main goals from childhood - and okay still now - was to find some kind of journal/diary/artifact of some kind from a long time ago. This kind of thing would have been a dream.

The artifacts are set up general-store style, which was an awesome display idea. I think the tour guide told us they have cleaned and preserved about 20% of the haul so far -- and they'll be cleaning and preserving the rest of it for dozens of years to come.

What they have on display is awesome. Here are a ton of pictures:

The perfume smelled pretty good. This is a replica of one of the actual perfumes from the ship.

One of the coolest parts of the museum is that you can see someone actually working on preserving artifacts.

This lady was working on preserving shoes. She has to keep them wet (like they were for over 130 years) so the material won't disintegrate or set funny. Then she stitches them back together. The rubber held up underwater, but the cotton stitching didn't, so the museum is restoring all of these hundreds and hundreds of shoes. Awesome. Once she's done with that, they go in the deep freezer (machine above) to very carefully dry out so they can be displayed.

This is the actual snag that sunk the Arabia. It was found with the boat when she was dug up. The Missouri River was well known for being hazardous, especially from these snags (thanks to logging along the river), and we were told there are over 400 other ships sunk in the river around KC.

This was another great part of the museum! The engine was brought up and you can push a button and watch it "work" - the pistons move.

One of the best parts about the visit was that one of the men who actually dug up the Arabia was there the same day I was. He even came by our tour group (all three of us) to visit after we watched the movie section of the tour. It felt like a celebrity entered the room, and he was very nice and talked a bit more about the dig.

If you are ever in KC and like steamboats, history, or old stuff, I would definitely recommend this museum. I only had a couple of hours and blew through it, but I could have spend half the day there at least.