Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Circus!

It was a day of two firsts, my first circus and my first pair of sweats (well, first pair since fourth grade anyways).

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to join the circus. I have no idea why-I'd never even been-but I dreamed of running off and becoming a trapeze artist. As you can imagine, when we finally went (I was in high school), I was nothing short of ecstatic! I even wore my new blue capri sweat pants (which, to this day, mystifies me almost as much as the lady hanging by her hair).
My experience under the Big Top (of the Delta Center) left quite the impression on me. It inspired me to create two new goals. 1: ride an elephant, and 2: get up on a trapeze.

To be honest, these goals proved harder to accomplish than I had anticipated. First, in an attempt to stop animal cruelty, people had shut down the elephant rides at Hogle Zoo years ago. I quickly realized that if I was going to get anywhere near the majestic beast, it would have to be in a country where PETA holds less sway. (Hence my desire to visit Thailand)

Second-it turns out the circus is a tight knit community and they are not exactly recruiting new members, and where else was I going to get on a trapeze??

So I did what I could. I took gymnastics and while it was amazingly fun and fab, it was not quite the same thing. (Not to mention, my lack of anything resembling arm strength proved to be a bit of a hindrance. Translation- I could barely lug my body up on the parallel bars even with my teacher shoving me from the ground). All in all, I started to wonder if I was really made for the trapeze.

Well, imagine my delight when E found a life-long learning class called Aerial Silks and Trapeze!! I don't have to tell you that I signed up before I even read the description. It proved to be one of the most marvelous things I have ever done! In fact, I think I have begun a life-long love affair with the trapeze and aerial silks!

I was initially concerned that I would not be able to do anything (the weak arms again), but, in our five session class, we learned quite a bit.

Here are some photos-courtesy of L and O. They were kind enough to come to my "recital" as I was fairly desperate to capture these moves permanently!

Wish I could go back to 7th grade gym and climb the rope now!
I don't think I could walk for several days after this-been a little too long since ballet class

I look quite pleased with myself, and, I'll admit, I was :)
Made it up, which proved to be quite a feat
Swinging around, hanging on for dear life

My crowning glory

I think even the great Vivacamente himself would be proud! (Now all I need is for O to turn into a homicidal clown and my story will be complete)
Look for me at Ringling Bros 2027!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A tip from a cleaning chemist

So, everyone keeps asking what I do all day at work.

Let me rephrase that-no one ever asks me what I do all day at work. However, you really ought to because I have the most phenomenally interesting job ever!
And to prove that, I thought I would attempt to imbue in you all a little love for the magic of chemistry

So today-something practical- how to clean your glass shower door with chemistry, not work :)

Fill a spray bottle with vinegar.
Thoroughly spray the shower door.
Let the vinegar sit for a period (a few min or sometimes I leave it there for an hour).
Wipe off the door using a sponge and plenty of water.
When it dries, it should be nicely clean and clear. If the door has quite a bit of build-up, you may need to do this twice.
(you can also soak a rag in vinegar and leave it hanging on the faucet overnight to clean off any calcium there)

I don't want to disappoint you, but this is not magic at all.

The hard water stains on the door are calcium carbonate, which is not soluble in water. Calcium carbonate will however react with vinegar (dilute acetic acid-just image how fast this would be with concentrated!) to form carbon dioxide and calcium acetate-which readily dissolves in water.

CaCO3 + 2CH3COOH = CO2 g + H2O + Ca(CH3COO)2

Voila-you have a clean shower door!