I'm Chels. I blog about science, art, tennis, and my adventures in journalism. Officially, I'm a Science Writer at Brookhaven National Lab and I blog for them, too. Unofficially, I'm pretty awesome.

Or, you know, owsome.

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Reasonably Sound  

Mike Rugnetta, of PBS’s Idea Channel, has started a podcast about sound and It. Is. Awesome. His description says he’ll “provide context, explanation, and a little celebration of the complexities and awesomeness of audio, and the various cultures which surround and have grown around it. Not just for audiophiles, Reasonably Sound will be your guide to the world of sound.”

Go treat your ears and listen to the first couple episodes. The first episode is about the ear and our bodily relationship with sound and I was riveted listening to the entire thing. I never really stopped to think: What exactly is the ear?? Mike takes a few minutes to explore it (and much more) and he really blew my mind.

Holding hands with Decan Bear

Gettin’ up

I slept over at Toph & Charlie’s and woke up to a quiet house. We went out last night with a friend of mine from grad school and had a blast drinking and laughing in the summer air. And then we came home and drank and laughed some more. Everyone else is sleeping it off. 

I’m still on east coast time, so I woke up with the sun and padded into the kitchen to make coffee. Decan Bear followed me around the house and then came over to me on the couch, staring at me with hopeful eyes. I knew exactly what he wanted. I broke the rules and let him curl up on the cushions with me. He’s a big furry dog meant for snow covered mountain life, so he doesn’t often allow major snuggling because he gets too hot. But he let me curl up next to him and put my arm around him. I laid there quietly, feeling his chest rise and fall against mine for a while as I whispered in his ear how much I missed him and how he’s a good dogbear. He licked my face and wagged his tail and snuggled closer. 

The birds have started their frenzied chirping and off in the distance I can hear a train rolling down its tracks. From the upper deck here, you can see past the houses down the street to the tree-lined hills. The fog is settled into the pines, waiting for the sun to bake it off. It’s crisp and cool, but I can feel this afternoon’s heat coming already. 

I can’t imagine a better start to the day. 

Outdoor bar, drinking with dogs. God, I love Portland.

Toph’s home studio. Mallets and almglocken, and Taiko drums, oh my.

Hangin’ with Decan Bear

In the mornings, we sit in the garden. We drink coffee, read the internet, chat about the news and the markets. Dad hollers out crossword clues. The cat comes by to meow loudly. 

It’s been warm and breezy in Portland since I got here. The sun is hot, but the air is clear and free of moisture. I could sleep outside, it’s so perfect. It also smells good. I forgot how the abundance of trees make the air smell green somehow, like they’re reminding me that they’re here and working hard to make the air breathable.

The colors are crazy, too. My eyes forgot how crisp the sky can look, so blue and bright and clear that it’s hard to look away. And there’s that crazy neon of chlorophyll in the grass, a solid reminder of photosynthesis, set against the evergreens on the hills. It’s as if the invisible processes are just more apparent here. Or maybe I’m just slowing down enough to pay attention to them. 

Either way, every sense of mine is simultaneously shocked and comforted by home. 

Uh, yeah. Already checked that off the list.

How Old is Too Old to Win the U.S. Open? 

Rosecrans Baldwin trained for months, traveled the country for a week doing clinics with Mats Wilander, and entered a qualifying round for the U.S. Open. 

"So," Mats said, looking up, "tell me about this tournament."

Ninety minutes later, I was scrambling to write down all he’d said. It was a master class. He disassembled everything he’d noticed in my game, down to the tiniest hiccups in my strokes. “Against these guys”—meaning the opponents I’d see at the tournament—”you have nothing. No weapons. Maybe two things: your footwork and your determination. That’s it.” From there came tips, tactics, solutions. He jumped out of his chair to demonstrate positioning. Compared situations I might face to moments in matches he’d played twenty-five years ago. By the end, my notes ran to seven pages.

"And wear that jacket," he said as he got up wearily to go to bed. "The Borg one I saw you wearing. That’s what it was, right?"

I grabbed it from my bunk. He laughed.

"We all had that jacket, me and my friends, when we were kids. Wear that; then you’ll really intimidate them."

It’s the end of “tennis writing season” (as the majors come to an end), so get some great words in front of your eyes before the long winter lacking in imaginative tennis feature stories blankets us all.  

Late summer hydrangeas

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