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Andy Brokaw
YA Writer, Winter Spirit, Board Game Geek, and Harmlessly Crazy Person...
YA Writer, Winter Spirit, Board Game Geek, and Harmlessly Crazy Person...

Andy's posts

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It's too hot to go out playing Go, so I'm messing around indoors instead. New Shaymin-inspired avatar created at

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Chloe must have missed me too. She was never willing to sit on me before. 

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I think Zakara missed me while I was in Vermont. I have received more kitty nuggles in the last hour than I usually get in a week! 

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If this wasn't in midsummer and I didn't have my heat and sun issues, this would be right up my alley. Sharing in case people who aren't summer intolerant are interested.
Join Women's Rights National Historical Park for Convention Days 2017! Convention Days commemorates the First U.S. Women's Rights Convention held in 1848. This three day event will be filled with exciting speakers, workshops, historical interpreters (Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Frederick Douglass), theater performances, music, films, children's activities, and art exhibits.

We are currently seeking people & organizations who would like to table at the event. We welcome groups with themes of equality, human rights, civil rights, and women's rights. If you are interested at tabling, please contact Ashley Nottingham at:

The park is also seeking various musical performances, singers, speakers, authors, artists, organizations, etc that are involved with equality, human rights, civil rights, and women's rights. If you are interested in performing or having programming at Women's Rights National Historical park, please contact Ashley Nottingham at:

We look forward to another fun-filled event this year! 


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This is some seriously wicked ice! 
Crystal Canvas
This image needs some explaining to fully appreciate. You’re looking at a thin sheet of ice photographed with cross-polarized light to induce vibrant colours created by the structure in the ice itself. View large, and PLEASE read on!

This is an experiment I’ve been wanting to do for a long while. If you have ice at the right thickness, this type of fun can be had. You’ll need to polarize your light source (I use a small cut sheet of polarizing film) and polarize your camera in the opposite direction. The light source should become dim or completely dark, which is what happens when two polarizers work in opposition to each-other. This is also have most “variable neutral density” filters work in the photographic world.

Normally, you see nothing. However, if there is an object that messes with the polarity of light in between the two filters, you’ll see the effects of this mischief. The effect is called “birefringence”, and many common items can create similar effects. Clear plastic cutlery is always a great choice, but most clear plastics behave this way. You can easily test this: if you have a polarizing filter for your camera, hold it up to your computer screen or cell phone and put a cheap piece of plastic in between. Birefringence colours! Magic!

Ice can do that too. Snowflakes are too thin for this effect, but ice growing on the surface of water can get much thicker. This ice was found in a bucket I left in our sunroom because the roof is leaking and it was collecting water a few days prior when it was warmer. During a recent cold spell, the surface of the collected water froze, and I thought to myself, “what if?” – and proceeded to do the above-described experiment but instead of a plastic utensil I used ice from the bucket. As soon as I saw the colours, I got excited, dropped everything on my to-do list and focused on this project for the next half hour.

Behind the scenes image 1:
This depicts the general setup: bright flashlight with a polarizer taped to it, aimed at the piece of ice.

Behind the scenes image 2:
Align the polarizer on the camera to be opposite of that on the flashlight (spin it until the light source goes darker), and the colours emerge.

Cropping in on just the good bits, we’ve got an abstract display of lines and colours resembling stained glass artwork in the window of a cathedral.

I tried experiments with window frost and other thin sheets of ice, but nothing performed as well as this very slow-growing ice I discovered in a bucket. All because I didn’t fix my sunroom roof in time for winter. It’ll be a spring project, but I’m glad my procrastination paid off. :)

If you’re interested in winter macro photography, you need to grab a copy of my book Sky Crystals: - it doesn’t contain the birefringent ice stuff, but it’s a great winter companion to understand snowflake physics and photography!

We have ascertained that I am, in fact, the type of person who licks the Nintendo Switch cartridge. I can confirm that it is quite nasty.

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One of my big regrets is that I never skied Etna. The first time I was there, there was actually a functioning ski resort, but I couldn't ski then and didn't want to try to take lessons in Italian. After that, the resort was closed because lava took out the lifts and I didn't yet have AT gear. But maybe one day I'll go back, even though my parents don't live there anymore.

Skiers chase a smoldering lava bomb down the slopes of Mt. Etna

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The other day, +Rick Wayne​ mentioned the existence of corn tea. As I had never had such a thing, I had to order some. It has a pleasant, toasted sort of taste that I wouldn't have labeled as corn if I hadn't seen the specks of dried corn in the teabags.

Also, the packaging says "For Thirsty Africa". I'm not sure if that means it was supposed to be exported to Africa rather than North America... Or if maybe it's sold to raise money for thirsty Africans who need clean water? Because it says other stuff, just not in English.

Also also, note my cool snow leopard mug. The Snow Leopard Trust sells them to raise money to help snow leopards. :)
2 Photos - View album

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I would have taken a before pic of the closet, but when I started, I couldn't even get the door open! Am trying to be proud of myself for finishing this organization rather than annoyed that I had wanted it done a week ago.
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