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Poetry Friday: Triolet

It’s time for poetry Friday again!

This month’s challenge, from Liz Garton Scanlon, is to write a triolet, a French form with seven lines and only two rhymes. The first two lines are repeated, giving a rhyme scheme ABaAabAB. “Heat” is our theme.

I’m going backpacking for a night this weekend, so I have campfires on the brain.

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Poetry Friday: Dizain square poems

And we’re back for Poetry Friday!

This month’s challenge, from Sara Lewis Holmes (poet, author, and also my mama) is to write a Dizain, a French form with ten lines of ten syllables each and rhyme scheme ABABBCCDCD.

Extra credit was to be given for using the word “square”, which made me think of boxes, which made me think of cats, which are one of my favorite topics. I was also packing for a trip to Pasadena, which is always made more exciting by the fact that if I leave my suitcase unattended for one single second, I’ll come back to find a cat inside making sure his fur gets to go to California.

So I wondered… what do they think they’re going to find when they plunge into suitcases and shopping bags like Indiana Jones diving under a closing temple gate?

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(First ever!) Poetry Friday: Mask poems

Exciting blog news! The Poetry Sisters have kindly welcomed me into their writing and critique group, and I’ll be joining in on Poetry Friday this year. We take turns choosing monthly poetry challenges, and share our poems on the first Friday of the month. I’m really excited because I haven’t been writing much since I finished school. (I need deadlines and peer pressure to accomplish anything.)

This month’s challenge, from Laura Purdie Salas, is to write a mask poem from the point of view of a non-human object or animal. I decided to write from the point of view of my house, which is a duplex built in the 50’s as part of a government housing project to provide living quarters for employees and their families at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The duplexes are old, but solidly built, with wood floors, big crank-open windows, and stainless steel countertops. All the homes were eventually sold to private owners. It’s fun to see how people have modified and renovated them, from adding solar panels to covering the whole thing in adobe. If you go to a friend’s house you’re likely to recognize your doorknobs (or hideous flowery bedroom light fixtures).

The serial number on my stainless countertop. And the mint green paint I've grown to love.

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Poster for QCMC

I made this poster for the 2016 QCMC meeting in Singapore earlier this month. It summarizes our research using quantum states of light to study the human visual system, and focuses on a study we did to learn about how the eye adds up signals from multiple photons. Click the image to see the full version.

I wanted to try something different from the last poster I made, using no full sentences and focusing on data and diagrams that would be difficult to describe in words. I don’t have much of an attention span for reading posters and I doubt most people do either… and what’s the point when the researcher is standing right there?

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SEA legislative blitz and bipartisanship in space

Last month I went to D.C. to participate in the Space Exploration Alliance annual “legislative blitz.” The Space Exploration Alliance is a coalition of about ten of the major space advocacy organizations, including the Planetary Society, the National Space Society, the Mars Society, AIAA and the National Society of Black Engineers. Volunteers from these groups gather in Washington every February (when Congress is deciding what to do with the President’s budget request) to meet with lawmakers and push some talking points about the NASA budget. (Summary: Please increase the NASA budget.)

I had never done anything like this before, but my parents live near the Capitol in D.C. and I wanted to visit them anyway. I got the sign-up link in a Mars Society email, found some cheap tickets from Indianapolis, and decided to go for it.

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