Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Photos for Falling for neighbors

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Photos for Long live Chilly Billy article

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Photos for Grandpa's cake article

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Photos for cutie pies article

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Always picked last

I write a weekly column called “Neighborberry.”

If you would like to see "Neighborberry" in your local paper/website, please tell the editor to email me at krisjane7@gmail.com. Thanks so much!

Always picked last

By Kris Kolk

Our family holiday functions are not complete without the playing of board games.

Sounds like fun, but for me, it’s not. You see, many in my family are scientists. Since we usually play teams on trivia games, I end up sitting in silence while watching my teammates avoid the arts and entertainment categories.

Here’s what happened on Thanksgiving:

“Oh! We’ve landed on a green square. Read us the science question,” we demanded of the other team. Here was the question:

“What is the manner by which an amoeba’s contractile vacuole releases water to the systole?”

The entire table of players (except one) groaned, because the answer was so obvious. Our team almost took another turn without even answering such a simple one; but our opponents insisted on playing by the rules.

Everyone looked to me while shushing one another. They agreed to let me go solo since I’m rarely able to contribute. Unfortunately, the answer did not occur to me so easily.

“I have no idea,” I admitted.

The house rumbled as nine people chanted in unison, “Exocytosis!” Banter ensued regarding my negligence on pursuing all matters amoeba.

“Well, she’s had a long day,” someone justified for me.

I routinely petition our team to land at any pink or purple square to prove I’m not as dumb as they think. I just enjoy different topics than they do. Bach was a composer during the Baroque period. I also happen to know what a lute is.

But they don’t even pause at my favorite categories, not as long as a science question is within reach. The game is plagued with spicules, quantum electrodynamics, and molecular orbitals. I must admit, though, I’ve learned a lot from these mandatory lessons, I mean festive recreation. I now understand what makes popcorn pop, the names of the bones in the hand, and that lemurs purr.

The Thanksgiving game wrapped up as our opponents silently read the last question of the game before agreeing the card must have been misplaced from the Junior edition. I thought perhaps this would be my moment.

The question was: “What is the transformation rule for a pseudovector?”

The answer, “v’=(det R) (Rv)” was stated almost at the same time as the question.

The game ended quick as a wink (approximately 1000 picoseconds). My hypotheses on pseudovectors were unnecessary. Fine with me.

All I really wanted to do was enjoy the season in a traditional way. Nothing beats biting the phalanges off Zingiberbread men and making angels out of chilly crystalline oxygen and hydrogen flakes.

Kris Kolk has been a writer and neighborliness promoter for more than a decade. You can also visit her at www.neighborsabouttown.blogspot.com. Email her at krisjane7@gmail.com.