Tessa for President

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Chamber of Horrors Reveals How Science, Technology and Engineering and Math Make Fear Come Alive

You don't have to wait for Halloween to see a haunted house, and this one is also educational. 

Chamber of Horrors, the famed Long Island haunt hosted at Play it Like a Pro, brings fear, mystery and horror to life for over 10,000 guests each year. The team behind the attraction applies science, technology, math and engineering principles to nearly every aspect of the haunt experience, demonstrated a unique way that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields are present in entertainment.

Have you ever watched in wonder as dry ice vaporizes in to cloudy haze? That effect takes places when carbon dioxide transitions from its frozen state, which can only exist below -110 degrees Fahrenheit, to its gaseous state in a process called sublimation where it skips being a liquid altogether. While the food industry relies on dry ice to store and transport perishables, haunted attractions know that dry ice sublimating in water makes for a spooky witches’ brew with slow, wispy clouds of vapor billowing out low to the ground.

Dry ice is just one of many spooky substances. Chamber of Horrors offers a variety of experiences. 
“Haunts are built on a lot of authentic terror and a horrifying storyline, but we rely on good science to make it a world class experience. We use insights about the human senses from a biology perspective and manipulate those with precise chemical and physical processes to produce top-notch special effects,” said owner Marty Arominsky.
Consider, for example, inhibiting reliability of the sense of sight using strobe lighting to make your surroundings appear as if they’re moving in slow motion. The technology of strobe lights that pulse at a set speed are key to the masters of terror at Chamber of Horrors, as the intermittent illumination in a room otherwise devoid of ambient light forces the brain to merge perceived images.
The resulting effect is feeling trapped in spite of moving or believing that an object or person is farther away than it actually is. The induced panic and sensation of inescapability is just a failure of the eye to differentiate images that get momentarily “stuck” on the retina.
“The strobe effect is an old favorite, one that’s been around for a while, but still mystifies guests. It’s truly just a mastery of blending basic light technology with a carefully crafted ambient setting,” said manager Frank Ingargiola.  
One of the more involved engineering feats involved in the Chamber of Horrors experience is the creation of ghosts using lighting techniques known as “Pepper’s ghost.”
This involves constructing the haunt in such a way that an ultra-clear glass material is set at a 45 degree angle to the audience creating a divide between two scenes. The image behind the glass is then cast in a partial reflection to the audience side, creating a transparent, ghostlike image.
“Refraction, reflection and careful construction—it’s an exercise in introductory physics that defies our desire to make anything we can see tangible,” said Arominsky. “We can create a ghostly projection of some gruesome images.”
Beyond the hard science, the entire haunted attraction is driven by fear—an emotion that triggers countless neurological reactions by releasing a chemical cocktail of dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline throughout the body. The biological and psychological reactions to fear that are very much instinctual and uncontrollable are some of the most critical scientific components at play in the attraction. 
Chamber of Horrors actors know that this is where the root of the fear is—the psyche and the conscious mind that can’t quite make sense of the unknown, unexpected and downright unworldly experiences of a world-class haunt.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Swag Code for 3 Swagbucks

One of the ways that I get a little extra to spend is by earning Swagbucks. Then I trade the points for gift cards, usually at Amazon. You can also trade your points for cash through Paypal.
If you sign up right away, you still have time to gather 3 Swagbucks with the Swag Code.

It ends at 11 a.m. Pacific, 2 p.m. Eastern. Don't worry if you miss this one. There will be more Sag Codes next week.

  • Swag Code: GetSchooled
  • Amount: 3 SB
  • Time: Thursday, Aug 6 from 10am PT - 11am PT (1pm EDT - 2pm EDT / 6pm BST - 7pm BST)
  • Available: US, Canada & UK
To sign up, if you are not already a member, here's my referral link: 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Half-price lasagna at Brio Tuscan Grille!

One of my favorite restaurants is having a half-price sale. Get their delicious lasagna for half-price on Tuesday July 28.

The service is quick, courteous and competent. The food is delicious to the last bite. It looks so beautiful, it's almost a sin to dig into it.

I got this from the proverbial "horse's mouth".

Ciao Tessa!

Tuesday, July 28, is National Lasagna Day, and BRIO Tuscan Grille is celebrating with 50% off their mouthwatering Lasagna dish! This special will be offered ALL DAY at BRIO Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga.

Specializing in delicious, northern Italian cuisine with an emphasis on the finest and freshest ingredients available, BRIO’s signature Lasagna Bolognese Al Forno is not to be missed! On Tuesday, July 28, full sized Lasagna portions will be offered at half the regular price.

Offer is valid on full portions of lasagna on Tuesday, July 28, while supplies last (not available for takeout orders). Promotion does not apply to catering and children’s menus.

Mille Grazie!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hope for the kitchen Challenged

Philip K. Dick once wrote to his mother that I was the worst cook he had ever met.  Well, no more! I've learned to make a few edible dishes and even some tasty treats. Now I'm sharing them with the world in my book A Cookbook for the Kitchen Challenged by the Kitchen Challenged.

A second volume will soon appear, but first I have to get more ideas and try new recipes. The first book is mostly family recipes, and the second book will also include a few of those. However, I continue to read cookbooks and try recipes. If I fail to make something good from a recipe, I don't include it in my book. If it comes out tasty, then I will share it with you.

Here are a few of the sources that I'm trying now:

by Amna Fadel

by Amna Fadel

by Danny Gansneder

Please buy them through my links, so I can make a few pennies. Thank you so much!


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Aftermath: when help is not helpful

I was delighted when Rebuilding Together Mountain Communities selected my house this year. It needs work that I can't afford to have done, especially trimming tree branches away from the roof. Sadly, my joy soon turned to pain. And they never trimmed those tree branches.

They did tear out my rotten deck, but they left me without a porch for three weeks, and the porch that they built has to be torn out and replaced. They simply buried some wood beams in the dirt, so it is rotting after only two months. Even worse, they ransacked my storage and took things that I told them not to touch.

You see, I had some things sitting out in the driveway because I was in the middle of cleaning out my shed, as I do every spring. I take everything out, and then I clean the shed and bug bomb it before putting things back into the shed, I sort them into things to sell, donate, toss out or keep. I hadn't even finished emptying the shed because it kept raining, so I just had a few things sitting out under tarps, and I told the volunteers on Rebuilding Day to leave those things alone. Most of those things were in six plastic crates that had lids, were covered with tarps and were not in the way of the work that I had asked them to do for me. I also had a stack of lumber and some tools under the tarps. I had more crates in the back yard, and I told them to just leave those alone.

My back shed had been torn apart by burglars during the winter storms, so many things got rain and snow on them before I was able to rescue what I could and toss out what was ruined. I had already spent weeks sorting out the trash, and most of it was done. I tossed the little things into trash barrels for the trash truck to haul away once a week. I piled up the big things, which were mostly fallen tree branches, in one spot in my back yard. I had already arranged for someone to haul away the big trash, but the volunteers took it upon themselves to toss it into the dumpster that they had parked in front of my house. That was unnecessary, but it was okay.

They came on a rainy day, and most of them deserve high praise for working so hard and being so kind. However, a few bad actors took it upon themselves to ransack the things in my driveway and take away things that I told them I was keeping. They also left the door to my front shed open. The latch does not work, so I had a heavy box holding the door shut. They took away the heavy box, and the door swung open, during a rain storm. Many things inside that shed got wet, and many things are ruined.

They moved plastic crates that I had left in the back yard because they came from the ruined shed, and they stacked them up in my driveway on top of the crates that I had pulled out of my front shed. They covered everything with tarps, so I could not see that my stack of lumber was gone, along with my tools. I had bought that lumber, cut it to size and painted it, so their claim that it was rotten does not fly. It came from inside my shed, where it did not rot. They also tore apart the wooden walk that I had built in my back yard and took away more lumber, which I had bought, cut to size and painted. Now my garden borders, walkways and raised gardens can't be built because the lumber is gone.

As I go through the things in my driveway, and I find so many little things placed there with care, I feel bad for the many good volunteers from Rebuilding Together and St. Richards Episcopal Church. It's a crying shame that a few bad actors ruined it by taking my tools, hardware and lumber, along with a few antiques, collectibles and other things. I suspect that they threw them away, but I did not see them when I checked the dumpster before it was hauled away. They even took the bucket of Lego blocks that my son had as a child. And they took my garden sign, which a friend had made for me. The paint was faded, but I certainly do know how to brush on new paint.

I guess that I should have been more suspicious on Rebuilding Day, but I thought that I could trust the volunteers from St. Richards Episcopal Church. After all,they were here to pull weeds, so what could possibly go wrong? Within a few days, I realized that many of my things were missing. They said that they threw out some rotten wood, but I was missing lumber that I had cut to size and painted, as well as trellises, gopher cages and garden stakes. Besides, I hadn't seen any of those missing things in the dumpster when I checked it before it was hauled away. They admitted to taking some of my tools "by accident", but they never returned anything to me, and it has been two months.

Even worse, they have not even scheduled the main thing that Rebuilding Together promised to do for me. They don't even have the decency to tell me that they are not going to trim the tree branches that are rubbing against my roof, but they have removed the "Rebuilding Together" sign from my front fence, which tells me that they are not going to help me.. Before they stopped responding at all, they told me that they are upset by my complaint. I am upset by their theft of my things and their broken promises. They should at least return the tools that they admit to having taken "by accident".

I have many complaints, but here is one big one that demonstrates how shoddy their "help" has been. They tore out my deck and left me without a porch for three weeks, and then they buried some wood beams in the dirt and called that a porch. It is rotting after only two months because there is no air circulation to dry it out after rain falls on it. It is simply sitting half-buried in dirt and mud. I have to find someone to rip it out and build a proper porch. I dug down into the dirt at least six inches before I found the bottom of the porch.

Perhaps if some of my friends will contact them, they will at least return my push broom and my long-handled spade. I need them to work in my garden and to sweep my driveway and walkways. They told me that they were "too busy" to look for my tools.

Here are some photos of the aftermath:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Another Swagbucks team challenge

Swagbucks just announced a new Team Challenge: Swagbusters! From now through June 19th at 12pm PDT / 3pm EDT, earn as many points as you can for your team & get bonus SB!   There are 4 teams, and all members who join and contribute at least 100 points to their team will be rewarded with more SB: 1st place team: 80 SB2nd place: 50 SB3rd place: 30 SB4th place: 20 SBContributing points is easier than you think, and there are many ways to earn SB AND contribute to the Team Challenge: Encrave – Discover great content, earn SB, and contribute 25 pts to your team! Search - Grab rewarding search wins through the Swagbucks Search Engine & contribute 20 pts to your team!SwagButton - Just by having the SwagButton on your desktop browser, you will contribute 15 pts to your team each day of the Team Challenge.Swagstakes - Are you feeling lucky? Redeem your SB for a Swagstakes entry! Contribute 15 pts to your team.Referrals - Spread the Swagbucks love! Contribute 15 pts to your team when you have a referral register during the Team Challenge.Special Offers - Earn SB discovering Special Offers! Contribute 10 pts to your team.Mobile Offers - Have a busy lifestyle? Earn SB on the go with Mobile Offers! Contribute 10 pts to your team.Mobile Videos - Waiting in line at the grocery store? Watch SBTV Mobile anywhere and anytime! Contribute 10 pts to your team every time you fill up your SBTV meter.Swag Codes - Redeem daily Swag Codes through the SwagButton browser extension or the Swagbucks Mobile App! Contribute 5 pts to your team.Not a Swagbucks member yet? It's how I get gift cards to spend on shopping, holiday gifts and more [fill in your examples of what you get gift cards for, or what stores you get gift cards for] . And with many different SB-earning opportunities like the Swagbusters Team Challenge, you can get your first gift card even faster. Sign up here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dissenting Views II, by Joseph E. Green, well-reasoned essays

This is a preliminary review of the book that I am currently reading. Dissenting Views II is a collection of essays covering, as the subtitle tells us, "More Investigations into History,
Culture, Cinema, and Conspiracy". The essays are well-reasoned, and the facts are documented with copious footnotes. They are also well-written and easy to read. 

So far, I have read  "JFK & Other Conspiracies", which is the first of four sections. Green sets out to discover why President John F. Kennedy (JFK) was killed, rather than who did it. This approach frees him from the pitfalls of conspiracy theory, which often involves following false leads down blind alleys. One essay addresses the term "conspiracy theory", which has become profanity tossed at those who disagree with the official story on any topic. 

Another essay addresses the theory that Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) was the mastermind behind a vast conspiracy to murder Kennedy. He shows why this particular theory fails to hold water, without resorting to the name-calling that we hear from official sources such as the mainstream media. With patient logic, he takes apart the LBJ theory, showing how it falls apart under its own weight. 

I'm really enjoying this book. It provides information that is new to me, and the author maintains an even tone. There is no hysteria here, as you might find in other books on the same topic. Green simply explores the facts and backs them up with sources. 

DISCLAIMER:  I was paid a token fee of $5 to read and review this book. Nevertheless, this is my honest opinion. If I did not like the book, I would inform the author and offer a refund. 

For more information about Joseph E. Green and his work, please visit his web site: