The Top Three

The Top 3 Signs that Tell You – You are NOT Alone

I write this with a great deal of hesitation. This is the type of hesitation that causes you to look over your shoulder every so often or jump at the slightest sound. I tell this story so that all of you can be informed of the truth – you are not alone (even when you think you are!). This short story comes with a backstory, of course. So, please allow me to set the scene.

As some of you already know, I integrate story with #stem education. I believe that one does not exist without the other. More readily, #stem education is greatly supported within the context of the story. Additionally, some of you may also know that I favor the fantasy story, mostly in the genre of dungeons and dragons. However, this time, the story crosses over to the psychological horror genre, but not of my doing. The story came to me as an actual event! What I am about to tell you was real! Very real!

You have been warned!

The Story Starts

” Call of Cthulhu”

The story starts with a session of Critical Role, as seen on YouTube. For those who are unaware, I give you a brief synopsis of Critical Role from Wikipedia.

Critical Role is an American web series in which a group of professional voice actors play Dungeons & Dragons.

To bring the point home, the audience watches a group of adults play a role-playing game just like you would watch a game of football on TV. Credit given – done.

This time, however, they were playing a game of Call of Cthulhu. Now I give you a brief synopsis of Call of Cthulhu (unless you are versed, do not try to pronounce this word).

Call of Cthulhu is a horror fiction role-playing game based on H. P. Lovecraft’s story of the same name and the associated Cthulhu Mythos.[1]

Credit given – done!

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

As already indicated, I am not a fan of horror. However, I watched the 4-hour RPG show anyway. Well, I watched most of 3.5 hours of it. That is when things got weird!

Image by Thomas Mühl from Pixabay

Where the Story Really Begins

“It just turned on!”

It was after 8 p.m., and I was watching the pre-recorded episode. Now that it is full-blown Autumn, the sun sets at 5:30 p.m. That means it is nice and dark outside. The darkness outside only added to the fright! My comfortable chair sits next to the fireplace. On the mantle above the fireplace sit 3 electric candles, each of different heights. They are there more for décor than anything else. However, they do work, and that is where this story really begins!

The candle closest to me lit up! All by itself, as if someone had taken the tiny remote and clicked ‘on’. I quickly looked up. Awestruck! Mesmerized! Frightened! And to be honest, a little taken aback! I am not a big fan of things that go pump in the night. So, the very fact that this candle turned on by itself made me a little uneasy.

My response to this incident was immediate. I stood up, found the remote, pointed it at the candle, and turned it off.

The candle to the left turned on ten seconds later!

Please, someone tell me that did not just happen. So, I did the same. I moved over to the second candle, pointed the clicker at the base, and turned the candle off. Ten seconds later, the third candle – the one furthest to the left – turned on.

Please, someone tell me that did not just happen. And yes, I turned it off.

At that point, I did what any reasonable person would do. I stopped watching Critical Role. I’m not saying there was a direct connection between the show and the candles. I was just being cautious.

Then I thought about the situation. And being a reasonable person, I wanted (i.e. needed) an answer to this absurdity. Where could I turn at such an hour? Who would offer me wisdom? Who had insight into my turmoil? I turned to Google for the answer! And I found it.

Apparently, at that moment in time, two identical, but different universes, overlapped. This caused a brief disruption in the space-time continuum with both universes! In one universe, the person was trying to light his electric candles, not knowing that the outcome of his actions was being materialized in another universe. To this other person’s chagrin, the candles in his universe were being turned off. All he knew was that they were not functioning correctly. At this point, he probably threw them out and bought new ones!

As for me, I have kept the candles on the mantle, but they are now without batteries.

Big World of STEM

” Elements of the Maker Mindset”

In the big world of #stem, we need a reason to build things. Usually, there is a problem that needs solving through the incorporation of math, science, and technology. In the classroom, I help students focus on bridging the link between a piece of technology and the problem that it solves. But what if the technology did not exist yet? How do we solve a technical problem without the right technology? Answer: the engineering process.

In my last article, I began talking about the engineering process. The first step in this process is to define the parameters of an issue or problem. We define parameters because not everything is a problem in the sense that it needs a piece of technology to fix it. But when it does, we need to be clear on the parameters:

Image by Genty from Pixabay
  1. What are the issues that cause the problem?
  2. How does the problem impact the people having the problem?
  3. What are some of the expected outcomes – or solutions? That is, what would the problem look like if it were fixed?


Finding the answers to the above questions is the next step.

How does this solve my problem? Will I ever be able to use my electric candles again? Can I ever watch YouTube again? Will I overcome my fear of the dark? Time will tell.

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