Archive for adventure

Laser Day

maimanToday they’re on everything from our pens to the heads of villainous frickin’ sharks, but before 1960, lasers were just a dream. In that year, Theodore Harold Maiman invented the laser using a pink ruby, proving that diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but they won’t remove that regrettable tattoo. Maiman was born today in 1927, and to say his work at Hughes Research Laboratories changed the world is an understatement. Lasers have revolutionized medicine, electronics, communications and, of course, pop culture. Without lasers, could you have the idea of a lightsaber? Or a phaser?

Maiman created his own company around his invention in 1962, and continued to be a major part of the high technology world until his death in 2007. Celebrate his creation today by digging out the laser pointer and entertaining the cat.

Harriet Quimby Day

J.Lo? Please. Harriet Quimby was the original Fly Girl.

Today in 1912, Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly over the English Channel. This was her second record-setting accomplishment; the year before, she was the first woman in the U.S. to receive a pilot’s license.

Quimby’s life was like three movies squashed into one. She started out as a farm girl, then headed to California to become an actress and screenwriter. When she realized she was more suited to covering news than covering the classics, she became an award-winning photo-journalist for a magazine in New York. Her life was a fascinating and independent one; she supported herself, never married and drove her own car, three major quirks for the time period in question.

Airplanes were simply one more challenge Harriet Quimby couldn’t resist, and after she received her license, her fame grew even stronger. She continued her career as a writer and aviatrix until the end of her life, three short months after today’s flight. At the age of 37, she died in a stunt plane accident when she and her passenger fell from the monoplane. Her accomplishments set the stage for Amelia Earhart and other strong, capable women across the country and around the world.

Celebrate today by reading some of Harriet Quimby’s articles, including one describing her English Channel flight, and go out to do something remarkable of your own today.

Star Wars Holiday Special Day

It only appeared once, but that was enough.

On this day in 1978, this televised holiday special followed Han Solo and Chewbacca to the Wookiee home planet Kashyyyk for a LifeDay celebration, and to imply that things get weird is an understatement.

This special included Bea Arthur and Harvey Korman, and no Star Wars fan should see it without a blankie and the phone number of a good therapist. On George Lucas’ personal list of Things That Never Should Have Happened, this ranks way ahead of Jar Jar Binks. Even more frightening is the thought that this show could be topped by a future Disney project.

It still floats around the Internet in bootleg form, if you have a free evening and feel the need for some emotional trauma. (Hint: YouTube.)

Sigourney Weaver Day

Alien, Avatar, Ghostbusters, GalaxyQuest…is it any wonder one of our best geek movie heroines kicks awesome ass? Her characters are not only sexy but smart, too, which makes her an icon in our book. Happy Birthday! Celebrate by watching the clip above as she discusses Ripley, one of her most famous roles.

Talk Like A Pirate Day

Unless you’ve been abandoned on a deserted island by your crew, you know today is Talk Like A Pirate Day! This yearrrrr marrrrks the 10th anniversarrrry of the holiday, and each one holds more booty for the swarthy mates of the sea. Dress up in full pirate gear and walk into a Krispy Kreme for your complimentary dozen donuts, or just talk like a pirate to receive one donut. But really, who wouldn’t go full Johnny Depp for the whole treasure chest? Arby’s is also offering discounts for the day via their text marketing program.

If you’re on Facebook, make your day more arrrrthentic by switching your language to Pirate. If nothing else, it will liven up those endless political jabs and inspirational doggie photos cluttering your Wall. If you need more Yo-ho-ho-motivation, visit the official Talk Like A Pirate Day site or enjoy the Talk Like A Pirate Day song above.

Gemini 5 Day

Astronaut Charles Conrad on the Gemini 5 mission. Photo credit: NASA

Today in 1965, astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad left our earthly terrain to push the boundaries of manned space flight. Their goal was to spend eight days in space so NASA would better understand the effects of spending more time in space. It was also a nose-tweak to the Russians, who set the former record for man in space just two years earlier. Cooper and Conrad easily beat the Russians’ duration record of four days with a then-whopping eight days in space, although the mission didn’t always go smoothly: there problems with water supply, thrusters and general conditions. While the men had experiments to keep them busy, at least one lamented the lack of reading material. You know, because looking down on the gorgeous site of the earth gets old when there’s nothing else to do for eight days.

Still, the mission was deemed a success, and took man one step closer to the reality of living in space. This mission is also noteworthy since it is the first one to have its own patch, thanks to Cooper. After Gemini 5, every NASA manned mission in space would have an insignia patch, a tradition that continues to this day.

Batman Day

Batman swoops down on an unsuspecting Gotham for the first time in Issue #27 of Detective Comics, 1939. No circus sidekicks, no movie Bat-nipples, just a rich man with a pair of tights, a can of whoop-ass and a dream.

Things have changed a bit since then, but whether you like your Caped Crusader light or dark, there’s plenty of Batman to choose from. Take a peek at the evolution of Batman in the above video, and see just how far he’s come since the 1930s.

MacGyver Day

(03/07/2012-Note: We see you out there tripping through the blog stats, RDA fans. Although usually each post expires in three days, we’ve seen enough of you come here looking for a little 70s eye candy with your fave, so this post from RDA’s birthday, Jan. 23, is going back up just for you.)

 

If you have a stick of gum, a piece of wire and a handy wisecrack, you’ll sail through MacGyver Day, also known as the birthday of Richard Dean Anderson. Before he struck it awesome with the seminal 1980s show, Anderson worked as a street mime, Marineland whale prop and soap opera hottie.

While it’s hard to forget MacGyver, the man who could make anything happen, geeks (and especially geekettes) know him as the sarcastic yet true blue Col. Jack O’Neill from Stargate SG-1. In that show, he was killed, beaten up, exploded, frozen, cloned, invaded by an alien Wikipedia and worst of all, promoted to General.

For a moment even MacGyver couldn’t get him out of, catch the video above of RDA rockin’ in the 1970s.

Buck Rogers Day

It’s almost 2012, and we still don’t have those jetpacks.

This influential radio show hit the airwaves today in 1932 after the huge success of Phillip Nowlan’s comic strip. How inspirational can death rays be? They lit a spark in a young Ray Bradbury and brought about other heroes such as Flash Gordon.

Guess everyone wanted in on that Wilma Deering/Ardala sandwich, because Buck Rogers went on to star in novels, films, and two television series, including Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, which aired from 1979 to 1981 on NBC. Geeks of a certain age still have soft spots in their hearts for Gil Gerard, Erin Gray and even Twiki.

If you want to get back to Buck’s early years, though, you can still listen to episodes of the Buck Rogers radio serial online. It’s a slower pace of action than today’s smash-boom-angst movies, but these episodes are a mind-bending slice of history as you go back in time to hear them go forward in time.

 

Weather Day

Brrrrr. Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gemstone/

The U.S. Weather Bureau became official on this day in 1870. A committee was immediately established to think up awesome names for weathermen like Storm Brewing and Rainy Dayes while two dozen weather observers sent their reports to Washington, D.C.

Exactly one week later, the brand-new organization issued its first storm warning for the Great Lakes area, although reports of newspaper writers branding it “Stormpocalypse” have yet to be proven.

If you’re anywhere in the country except the East, you can celebrate today by thanking your dear and fluffy lord for clear skies. If you live along the eastern seaboard, you’ll probably be celebrating Weather Day by shoveling snow, eating out of cans and bartering your children for chainsaws so you can get out of the driveway.