Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Friday, April 6, 2012

I Wonder If Dr. Frankenstein Got His Start in a Basement Labooooratory

See if you can guess what this post is about:


No. It's not about how the House that Hick built is held together with miscellaneous wire and Scotch tape. Nor how an Easter wreath can be constructed from eggy-looking light bulbs.

I had big plans today. Plans to whip some submissions into shape. Genius, however, had other plans. I know this, because within ten minutes of settling down to write, the pitter patter of large, sweaty feet echoed through the basement. Echoed over the dulcet tones of Sammy Kershaw's Vidalia. "Ain't nothin' so precious as a firstborn child..." I didn't name Genius Vidalia. But I often find myself murmuring Sammy's tag line: "You always gotta make me cry." Sometimes with sorrow. Sometimes, with laughter.

Genius holed up in Hick's basement workshop. It shares a wall with my office. A wall that doesn't quite seal to the floor. That's Hick's partitioning for you. I could hear Genius exclaim something every now and then. I tried to tune it out with Queen of My Double Wide Trailer, but Sammy wasn't forceful enough. Because I'm a curious cat, with no desire to expire any time soon, I called Genius into my office.

"What are you doing in there?"

"Dropping lightbulbs."

"I told you not to do that in the house. I don't feel like dying today."

"It's the old lightbulbs. Not the new twisty ones. These don't have mercury fumes."

Let the record show that Genius is not some weird, lightbulb-smashing freak. He has been wanting to take pictures of lightbulbs shattering. I forbade it several months ago. But he's a persistent little devil. His tactic is to wear people down. Or just to do what is forbidden, then justify it.

Genius asked for a brain for Christmas. It's really called an Arduino. Some kind of circuity thingamajig. He hooked that to a camera flash, a laser, and a resistor. Oh, he excitedly explained to me how it worked. I threw up my hands. "Um. Dog here. Learning to fly a plane. You've lost me." Genius went on. The best I can gather, he drops a lightbulb and breaks a laser beam and the flash goes off and the camera snaps a picture. He started in again about resistance and volts like three AA batteries, and I just said, "Woof."

"Where'd you get the lightbulbs?"

"Walmart. I even bought them with my own money. Five dollars. Did you know that the Walmart bulbs break great, but the ones I got here from the house BOUNCE?"

"No. What are you doing breaking our GE lightbulbs?"

"Oh, I save them when they burn out. So I can break them."

"What are you using for the backdrop?"

"My Harry Potter cape. And my 7th grade science fair project board. The project about cooling a soda in the freezer, ice, or ice water."

Let the record further show that Genius is not some weird freak who walks around in a Harry Potter cape. It was his Halloween costume. Made by his maybe-girlfriend, Hermione. The one who made him a wand because his stick wasn't good enough.

He is, however a weird freak who splices wire and gadgets together to save me $200 on a store-bought instrument that uses a laser to make a camera take eye-catching photos of breaking lightbulbs.


I'm kind of impressed. Because I'm not very smart about electronic thingies.


Or lightbulbs.

5 comments:

Sioux said...

That lightbulb "wreath" is quite unique. I'm hosting a party for my science nerd teacher friends. Where could I order one of them to use as decoration? (We're having lima beans in a baggie to eat and playing "Pin the Tail on the Just-Found Wooly Mammoth."

Doesn't it sound like a rollicking good time?

Stephen Hayes said...

Wouldn't it be great to have a crystal ball to see where Genius will be in twenty years?

Linda O'Connell said...

What a bright idea this young scientist had. Now, when he makes a mint selling the photo and explaining the technicalities, you'll be unscrewing bulbs from the bathroom and showering in the dark. Seriously, tell him I think this is very cool!

Tammy said...

Beautiful melding of art and science. I'm kind of impressed, too.

Val said...

Sioux,
I wouldn't be surprised to hear it described as "breathtaking." You can order it direct from Genius. Please note that all sales are final. Not responsible for damage during shipping.

I certainly hope your lima beans are on damp paper towels. The mold that grows there is the perfect complement for those tasty legumes.

Careful not to damage the Woolly Mammoth. It's a national treasure.

**************
Stephen,
Hopefully, not in my basement, blogging about his glory days.

**************
Linda,
Well, we have to make sure he has enough raw materials to work with. Because I think those old bulbs are shattering by the wayside, with the twisty mercury killer bulbs supposed to take their place.

He read the comments for himself. The Narcissist As A Young Man. He said he liked Stephen's comment, but I'm thinking only because he's planning to get his hands on a crystal ball to shatter it.

**************
Tammy,
He has an eye and a vision.