I Am The R & D Department

So, I think I've written here before that I'm sometimes afraid I've drawn the attentions of Homeland Security. You see, as a writer, I do research to know what the hell I'm talking about. As I have no car, most of my research is Google-based. (All praise to the Google!) Now, when writing my first novel, I thought that poor, hapless bastard tracking my Internet searches earned his pay. On one day, I did searches for all of the following:Elephant hair ropeC-4 explosives Dynamite Black Powder explosions, video Puppies*

(My daughter was 3 at the time, you figure it out.)

Well, no one came knocking on my door and I kept on writing. My last novel (the one that is on submission at present) didn't have too many searches to raise eyebrows. So, today, I started test driving some new ideas for the revamp of my sequel. This led to a few ideas and the need for some more research to make sure I wasn't writing out of my ass.

Those search terms, though... yeah, I'm a little worried.

White House Rose Garden Pennsylvania Avenue Secret Service Code Names

If I disappear, please know that I am innocent! I'm just a writer trying to hone my craft and inject some realism into my world with hordes of rotting undead--who find love and meaning in the world.

Also, I need to brag about my daughter!

So, apparently her kindergarten class started a unit on the solar system. Awesome! K is totally into astronomy. Has been for years. I think she was 3 or 4 when she explained to me how a black hole works. When I picked her up from school yesterday, her teacher told me that she had told the class a lot about planets.

"We're very excited for her knowledge," Teacher T said.

I couldn't help but wonder if this was code for, "I just wish she'd shut up and let me teach the class."

So, we're driving home and K tells me that the Universe has no edge. "That's right," I said. "The Universe is expanding."

We talked a bit about how the planet doesn't expand, but the Universe does. What's the difference? Oh, okay. That kinda thing. Then she asked, "Mommy, how does the Universe expand?"

If I hadn't known her her whole life, I probably would've stared at K with a deer in the headlights expression and tell her to ask her father.  But, instead, I got excited. I know this one! said a little geeky voice in my head.

"I'll show you when we get home."

I took a bowl of water, a marble and some blue food coloring. The bowl of colored water was my not-to-scale model of the Universe. I dropped the marble in the water a few times and showed K the ripples, pointing out how they get bigger as they get farther from the center. Once I knew she had that down, I asked her, "did they talk about the Big Bang at school?"

"Yes!" she bounced. "It's a big explosion!" "Right," I said. "So let's say this marble is the Big Bang. When it hits the water going to set off an explosion in the center of the universe. That explosion causes shockwaves--like we see on Mythbusters--and that energy ripples out, expanding through the Universe."

"Wow!" she said, dropping the marble again. "Get it? Understand how the Universe is still expanding?" "Yeah!" She looked at the water. "Can we make it green now?"

She's still five. :)