Mr. Wizard, my hero

glass

Science geek.

That’s me.

AGMA’s always loved science. My undergraduate degree is in Geobiology.

Huh?

FYI, the most memorable part of my undergraduate curriculum was the summer I spent in Baja, Mexico in 1974 studying crabs. Crabs. Seriously. But I think that needs to be a separate post.

I wanted to become a environmental scientist and maybe get a job with a fledgling five year old government agency called the EPA.

But that goal demanded an advanced degree. AGMA said “Nah baby nah.” I was tired of school and was ready to bail. Guess I wasn’t totally committed to the environment thing after all.

I blame myself for global warming.

So AGMA went into the new frontier of IT after working as a hotel clerk, and a corporate credit and collections agent. A career progression that makes perfect sense…

But I never lost my love of science.

Hubs likes science stuff too. This has made us dedicated fans over the years of everything from Cosmos (astronomy) to our beloved Kangaroo Dundee (zoology).

Hubs also likes understanding how things are put together. He’s had an obsession with the TV show How It’s Made for quite a few years.

How It’s Made is a Canadian production that has been shown in the US since 2001 on the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel. In a documentary format, it’s name says it all. It literally shows how stuff is made. Everything from bubble gum to guitar picks to alligator handbags. They show you how three totally unrelated, random things are manufactured in each episode.  All with a monotone, droning voiceover.

ZZZzzzz….

AGMA’s not a huge fan.

Sometimes the Science Channel will have a How It’s Made marathons, playing episodes back to back all day. Hubs loves that.

My eyes just glaze over, roll back and I start drooling.

But I saw something in it that caught my fancy the other day. And the AGMA fancy is very difficult to catch.

Season 27, Episode 22. They showed how to make uranium from uranium ore (along with endoscopes and megaphones, naturally.) WTF??

I wonder if Kim Jon-un and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took notes.

But it got me all gooshy nostalgic. It stirred up a passion of years gone by. A longing for one of AGMA’s most cherished childhood possessions.

Something I had hours of fun playing with that probably caused my little body irreparable damage. Something that stoked my love of science, but could have been my untimely demise.  Something that appealed to the left side of my brain while at the same time potentially destroying it. In other words, one of those “toys” that kids absolutely loved!

My Chemcraft chemistry set.

science-4

If you had one, you know how awesome they were. But evidently they were somewhat dangerous even by 1960’s standards.. Which is kinda what made them so awesome.

I read a great article about chemistry sets back in the day. The title, Cyanide, Uranium and Ammonium Nitrate: When Kids Really Had Fun with Science, says it all.

I’m not sure if my set had cyanide in it, but AGMA’s fairly certain there was ammonium nitrate and some radioactive substance in it. I remember a pamphlet, Fun With Radioactivity.

This could explain a lot…

And although my cherished Chemcraft set gave me hours of “living better through dangerous chemistry” fun as a child, sadly, it turned out chemistry was not older AGMA’s strength. I’m more of a “close enough” type person rather than an “exact” type of person.

Chemistry evidently is not down with “close enough”.

I struggled to get a B in Inorganic Chemistry as college freshman. None of my experiments in lab turned out because of my “close enough” philosophy of life.

And chemistry prevented AGMA from graduating with my college class in the spring when I should have. It’s a sad story…

Organic Chemistry was a requirement for my degree. I had to drop it the previous year because I was close to failing with 2 weeks left in the term. I know…AGMA can hear the gasps. I hope I’m not letting you down too hard.

This meant that I had to retake it before I could graduate. And I had to pass.

Picky, picky.

Better to extend my college career a few more months and take it during summer school than shove 4 years of college down the port-a-john.

Damn carbon molecules…

Second time around, I barely got a C. But I graduated albeit 3 months late.

BS for AGMA!

A life mantra…

As it turns out, the chemistry set wasn’t the only old school toy that was a bit iffy from a safety standpoint. For those of you who want to toddle down memory lane a little bit more, check out this article with the irresistible title, The 8 Most Wildly Irresponsible Vintage Toys.

GenXers and Millennials, eat your hearts out.

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13 thoughts on “Mr. Wizard, my hero

  1. That explains everything, from global warming to the need for safety laws. And I had a 70’s version of that chemistry set. Sadly they’d didn’t supply the fun chemicals by then, but I did make some ink that mother could never wash out of my clothes…

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  2. I used to be a big fan of ‘How it’s Made.’ I think I learned a lot from the show and it gave me insight into how other things were made. Of course, I believe I have forgotten it all and can’t even bake biscuits. 😦
    I loved working with glass, even got a torch to melt glass, but the doctor put the kibosh on my using it with oxygen in my nose. Sigh … too bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh the memories! My ex liked How It’s Made. The “music” reminded me of the reel -to-reel films we would watch in grammar school. I do remember having a microscope as a kid. I put anything and everything on a slide. Good times!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had a microscope too, but I don’t think I knew how to “work” it. I could never see anything but a blur. That should have been my first clue that I needed glasses, but I was only 10 so what did I know? And you are spot on about the music. Reminds me of the films about Michigan tulips and Wisconsin cheese!

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  4. Your posts are fun to read;awfully witty! I was a nerd thanks to my parents also. I had a microscope, chemistry set, steam engine but no train, develop your own photos kit, Crystal radio. I even play chess, weird Eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love it! I didn’t really have encouragement from my mom. She bought me the chemistry set and microscope, but I had to figure out everything by myself. It was at that point that I realized I was NOT a genius. And Hubs LOVES chess! He wanted to play against me, but is uber competitive so I just said, “No thanks!” to him after he taught me the basics. Same with bridge. And golf. I’m just not competative so it was not fun for either one of us. Ha!

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