Role-playing at JPL: Send your name to Mars and build your own space mission without leaving home


As part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, you can now send your name on a microchip to Mars. That’s right: This is your (probably only) chance to go to Mars, even if only in name.
The Mars Science Laboratory rover, which will be exploring the red planet to determine if its environment is habitable, heads to Mars in 2011. Your name could be there, or be … not on Mars.
Less real, but with even more interactive fun for you and the kidlets: Build your own space mission on the JPL Web site.
You get to:
  • Design your Mii-like scientist/engineer
  • Equip your laboratory with data-capturing devices
  • Choose an orbiter or rover as your spacecraft
  • Outfit it with more information-gathering instruments
  • Select a destination like Mars, Saturn, its moon Titan or Earth
  • Launch your rocket — with a countdown and everything
  • Study your destination and collect data and samples to send back to Earth
And, at the end of it all, NASA always requests that you build a new mission! How’s that for positive reinforcement? (And, no, I have not played it three times already today.)
That’s me, below, in my casual-Friday look. I actually use two of those three instruments in my real-life job.
37339-RBLOG-MII-SCIENCE.jpg(Photos via JPL/NASA)

This cut is the deepest: Funding to foster care and treatment programs slashed



Cuts in state funding are forcing local foster-care and residential programs to reduce services — and beds — for children in need, reports Alfred Lee in today’s Star-News.

“The reduction took effect Oct. 1 and was approved by the state Legislature in an effort to fix the state’s budget gap.

Pasadena, Rosemary’s Children’s Services will lose out on $660,000 in
funding and is looking at cutting services, Executive Director Greg
Wessels said.”

Other local agencies are also reeling from the cuts:

  • Five Acres in Altadena: Will lose about $800,000 in funding
    per year, and has shuttered a six-bed
    group home and reduced staff. There could be further cuts in the number of children served.
  • Hathaway-Sycamores in Pasadena: Has closed six beds and made cuts at its residential center and to foster care. The agency will lose about $275,000.
  • Hillsides in Pasadena: Will lose about $450,000 and has made administrative cuts.

Rosemary Children’s Services held an open house on Wednesday at its Rosemary Cottage. The agency is seeking to close the gap with additional support from the community. Here’s a look inside the cottage, which is home to 19 adolescent girls in Pasadena.

On duty supervisor Rosemarie Chavez, right, and Jodi Kurata, a child welfare policy director
Tahra Goraya, district director for state Sen. Carol Liu
A shared bedroom at Rosemary Cottage
A Cottage resident’s bulletin board

(Photos by Sarah Reingewirtz/Staff)

Jumping Jellyfish children’s boutique makes the leap to One Colorado



Jumping Jellyfish is featured in our fall issue, and, as of press time for the magazine, the children’s boutique was nearing a transition from its shop on Fair Oaks up to the One Colorado complex. Well, the leap has leapt. The new address is below.

Above and below, check out some of the achingly adorable finds you’ll be able to nab there. It’s sugar, spice, everything nice. (The photos were taken at the former location.)

34 Hugus Alley, One Colorado
(626) 578-1838

Follow Jumping Jellyfish on Twitter.

(Photos by Keith Birmingham)


Shop local: Eco-conscious furniture designs for babies and children



Muu is a year-old eco-conscious children’s furniture company that says it won’t compromise safety, sustainability or style.

products, finished with non-toxic lacquers, are manufactured locally to
reduce the environmental impact of transporting them to retail stores,
according to Muu founder Robert Kwak. The wood used is certified MDF,
made of recycled wood fibers, obtained from local sources.

The furniture is designed to adapt to the child as he
or she grows.

“We really felt like there was an opportunity to create a
product that had all of the customizations to it,” Kwak said. “It’s
furniture that is designed to grow with you.”

Muu’s current line, the Sam Collection, features the Sam
Crib, that can be transformed into a toddler bed with a conversion kit.
The collection was recognized as a 2009 International Design Excellence
Award finalist among 1,600 entries worldwide.

Kwak developed the concept with the environment and safety in mind.

“We have children, and we make sure they put out a product that is safe,” he said about its manufacturers.

The Sam Collection is available at:

Stacey Wang (Photos courtesy Muu)

Jumping Jellyfish preparing for fall leap to One Colorado complex


South Fair Oaks children’s clothing boutique Jumping Jellyfish is preparing to make like its name and leap a few blocks north to a new home in the One Colorado complex, owner Ann Monzon said.

Monzon said the move is expected to take place in October.

The boutique has been open at its current location, 107 S. Fair Oaks Ave., for more than two years.

Its new neighbors in the One Colorado courtyard will be Origins and Juicy Couture. Jumping Jellyfish will fill the vacant space there that once housed Urban Baggerie.

The top two photos at right show the boutique’s current location on Fair Oaks. The bottom two images show the future One Colorado location, and a sign announcing the transition.

Jumping Jellyfish will be the subject of an editorial shopping spread in the fall issue of Rose Magazine. (Photos by Keith Birmingham and Evelyn Barge / Staff)