Thursday, December 31, 2009

On being alone

UPDATE: Being alone is all well and good, but sometimes it would be nice to have another person in the car when I'm going skiing and have to put chains on the tires to get there...

At the age of about 8, I was lucky enough to have a horse-crazy mother who was finally able to fulfill her lifelong dream by getting me a pony - Paleface - and then later, a horse - Najmah (she also got herself a horse for a while). By the time I was a young teen, I was doing things like riding Najmah through the Dairy Queen drive-thru and sharing a hamburger with her. I ate the burger, she ate the bun. This was Texas in the '70s, so the only really unusual thing about that was that I was riding English style instead of Western. Although I often rode with friends, we lived in a rural area where I was also able to just saddle up and ride off by myself pretty much whenever I wanted. It was very liberating.

It would be just me and Najmah. Usually Whiskey, our border collie, would come — ostensibly for protection, but in reality she mostly just chased squirrels (she did attack and drive off a much larger Keeshond who was trying to bite Najmah's heels once). I had a feeling of exhilaration and well-being and thought I never felt alone or lonely because I was enjoying the company of other beings. I had these same feelings years later with my horse, Sandpiper.

The weird thing is, I get the exact same feelings when I'm skiing, and I'm almost always alone when I ski. I even prefer to ride the lift alone if the resort isn't too busy. Making conversation with a complete stranger on a long lift ride can be interesting, but is sometimes just too stressful. My mother actually recently asked me if I get lonely skiing. No, never. It doesn't bother me to have lunch at the resort restaurants alone, either.* I have more recently started riding my bike regularly, and yes, I get those same feelings. I often ride with friends, but far more often alone.

I actually kind of find it sad that the "company" was all in my head. This, of course, doesn't mean that I didn't love the horses. When we left Texas for California, we had to leave them there, and I missed them terribly and cried for weeks (that was back in 1979, and I'll still get choked up thinking about it). Or perhaps I should say that I WAS enjoying their company, but that wasn't why I wasn't lonely.

I like company, but I guess I'm also just comfortable being by myself.

* My mother told me once that she had never eaten in a restaurant alone. I was flabbergasted. I've even been to movies by myself.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lolcats, birds, horses, elephants, goats...

I know. Lazy post. Hey, I did all the hard work of weeding through for you!
Yah, I would have been right up there with them. Srsly.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

funny pictures of cats with captions
He might actually be able to catch that starling...

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captionsIf I know horses, he's actually just about to rip out the spark plug wires.

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captionsIf my mother reads this (highly unlikely), she's just going to worry in case he hurts himself. She's probably worried about the upside-down starling, too.

funny pictures of cats with captionsZombies are more of a problem in our front yard.

funny pictures of cats with captionsMy brother actually sent this one to me.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Proof that I've been to Scotland

I took Bill to England two years ago last October/November for my grandfather's 99th birthday. Since this was the second time Bill had ever been off this continent (he went to Hawaii once), we decided to cram as much into the three weeks as possible. After heading down to Devon with my parents to see my grandparents, my aunt Hilary gave me a few driving lessons (it was very nice of her to put her car at such risk), and Bill and I rented a car (well, I rented a car. Nobody wanted Bill to try and drive on the other side of the road, including Bill) and headed back to London (with a side trip to Stonehenge) where we met up with my brother. After a few days in London, we took off on a road trip that went up the M1 up through Leeds (I might do another post on the Royal Armory at Leeds) and then cut across through Jedburgh to Edinburgh. Bill was in archeologist heaven the entire time.

Before we got to Scotland, we had to stop at Hadrian's Wall (Phil, does this count as another post about you? It does have photos of you...). You can see in this photo that the wall was built as two parallel walls, and then the interior was filled in with rubble and concrete: There were several forts along the wall. This is the ruins of Vercovicium (Housteads) The pillars supported a raised floor (some of which is still there). Hot air from wood burning stoves circulated under the floors for central heat. The Romans were big on comfort. The granary:The latrines:And an artist's rendition of what the latrines probably looked like:We could tell we were getting close to the border, because we met a large Border Collie. He looked very similar to and was about the same size as (huge) the one my parents had for their first 12 years of marriage. We finally made it to the Scottish border, and took the typical touristy pictures:Bill is in the Vauxhall Astra in the background because it was cold and rainy and he's a wuss.
Next post - maybe some actual photos of Scotland....
All photos taken with my Canon PowerShot A540.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kiva - Loans that change lives

Over the past year or so, several atheist blogs I read (but mainly the Friendly Atheist) have mentioned a microfinance site where you can loan money to specific low income entrepreneurs throughout the world as a way to fight poverty. A couple of months ago, I wandered over to take a look.

It sounded like a good idea, so I joined the Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious (AASFSHNR) team but didn't make a loan for a while. Via a lot of blog promotion, the AASFSHNR has become the number one lending team on Kiva, but I felt I had to research more about it before I actually gave Kiva any money.

The way it works is you loan to an individual or group somewhere in the world and the loan gets paid back over a specific period (like any loan, of course). Then you have the option of either loaning the money again, donating it to Kiva to cover operating expenses, or withdrawing it. Although Kiva does not charge interest, the loan goes through a field partner in the borrower's country, and they do charge the borrower interest. The loans you make are interest free, so this is not a way to make money, and in fact, there is a chance you will lose it if the borrower fails to repay. Researching what might be going on (e.g., political or economic problems) in the part of the globe to which you're sending your money, and the microfinance field partner is probably a good idea. Over $99,700,000 has been loaned worldwide through Kiva so far.

Then, Bobby Henderson, founder of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, made a plea on the AASFSHNR message board because the FSM team was getting close to the $100,000 mark (note that, although the AASFSHNR name is rather long, and in fact might possibly be the longest team name on Kiva, it does NOT include Pastafarians). I went over and checked, and found that the FSM team is the number two lender in the religious organizations category! It seemed as though I was being tapped on the shoulder by His noodly appendage (or maybe I just had an itch. I don't know), so I, of course, had to make a couple of loans (Ok, if you click that link, you'll notice 11 so far). I figure that I can afford a few dollars better than most of the people on this planet. I've already been able to re-lend a substantial amount of the money I've loaned, so my "investment" is fairly minimal.

On October 7, the AASFSHNR team became the first group to loan over a million dollars (the number two team is still over $300,000 away). Here is a press release regarding the event. We are currently over $1,100,000.

Twenty-five dollars is the minimum you can loan, but you can re-loan it as often as you like. That $25 can turn into $50, $75 or much more. Go and loan now. Join any of my teams, or a competing team (we like the competition! It means more loans!). There are plenty of them: GLBT, Team Obama, Animal Lovers, and even Beer Goggles Never Lie...much. Or you can start your own team. It doesn't matter what team, or even if you aren't on one - for a minimal amount of money, you can help change lives. This may not be an investment for you, but it is an investment in the world and our future.
Paraphrasing LeVar Burton, you don't just have to take my word for it:

'Revolutionising how donors and lenders in the US are connecting with small entrepreneurs in developing countries.' (actually, there are lenders from all over the world)
-- BBC

'If you've got 25 bucks, a PC and a PayPal account, you've now got the wherewithal to be an international financier.'
-- CNN Money

'Smaller investors can make loans of as little as $25 to specific individual entrepreneurs through a service launched last fall by'
-- The Wall Street Journal

'An inexpensive feel-good investment opportunity...All loaned funds go directly to the applicants, and most loans are repaid in full.'
-- Entrepreneur Magazine

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Prince's Rainforest Campaign

Not much of a post, but this wouldn't fit in my sidebar. I was floored at the speed of the counter at the top of this page displaying the m2 of rainforest that has been destroyed since the page is opened. It is really, really depressing.

On the other hand, Princes William and Harry are really cute in this video.

Friday, August 14, 2009


The first earthquake I ever felt was a small one that barely shook the stage while I was in band rehearsal a couple of months after we moved to California. The Drum Major screamed, "Earthquake!" but the rest of the band just sat calmly as the room swayed back and forth a little.
I was also in class at UC Davis when the 6.9 magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake (otherwise known as the earthquake that interrupted the World Series that almost nobody cared about anyway) hit the San Francisco Bay Area on October 17, 1989. Davis was about 100 miles from the epicenter, and we actually felt it quite strongly. I was in Human Physiology in the largest lecture hall on campus, and everyone in the room thought that the person behind them had kicked the back of their chair. Hard. The professor was standing, and couldn't feel it, but slowly realized that he had suddenly completely lost everyone's attention. Finally the class managed to point out to him that 1) his bike was rolling back and forth behind him, and 2) the trees outside were whipping back and forth without wind.

I got out to my car after class, and KGO, the Bay Area talk radio station to which my radio was always tuned was off the air. That's when I started worrying about my parents, who were living in the Bay Area at the time. By the time I was able to get home and call them, the phone lines were completely overwhelmed and useless.

Cut to my parents:

My parents were sitting on the couch watching everything swing and sway around them, and after a while, my mother said to my father, "Do you think we should get in a doorway or something?" by which time, it was over. They sat and watched as a large vase on the wall unit spun around and around on it's base, but eventually righted itself rather than falling over. My collie, Robin, was staying with them for a few months, and had had a couple of dizzy spells. They said he stood in the entryway with his legs splayed, obviously thinking this was another one.

KGO was off the air because their radio transmission tower...broke and fell into the bay.
I happened to be in Redlands, CA when the Landers and Big Bear twin earthquakes hit, June 28, 1992. I was doing field work for the consulting firm for which I worked and I had dragged one of our field technicians, Burt, down to Southern California to help. We had fyke nets in the Santa Ana River and Big Bear Creek up in the San Bernardino Mountains that we were checking a couple of times a day.

Unusually for me, just as I was falling asleep on the 27th, I thought to myself, "What would I do if there's an earthquake tonight? I'll get under that table." No, I had never thought anything like that before. No, I'm not psychic. I either felt one of the pre-shocks, or it was just a coincidence. I was literally thrown out of bed when the 7.6 magnitude Lander's quake hit at 4:58 AM (Redlands was ~40 miles from the epicenter), and woke up under that table thinking, "Damn! I should really wear more clothes to bed. I can't run outside wearing this!" Yes, if the building had collapsed, I would have been killed due to modesty.

I wasn't really frightened - more excited than anything. When I finally got dressed and outside, it was mostly over, the water was sloshing around in the pool a little, and the completely freaked out Burt was at my door with his bags packed, ready to leave. I convinced him that we should at least eat breakfast first. I also called my parents to tell them I was OK even though it was 5:00 AM, because I knew from previous experience that the phone lines would soon be overwhelmed.

A fairly strong aftershock hit while Burt and I were eating, but I convinced him that we should just stay and finish our job. We couldn't just leave the nets there, and "What are the chances that there will be another earthquake," I said, rolling my eyes. I remember saying this several times.

We left to go up into the San Bernardino mountains and a really strong aftershock hit while we were gassing up the truck. This helped him convince me that we should go back to our hotel and at least call in to see what our supervisor said. While we were on the phone, the 6.7 Big Bear earthquake hit. Although it was a much smaller earthquake, it was also much closer (~25 miles away) and a MUCH sharper jolt.

It was probably one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to me. Burt and I were taking turns yanking the phone out of each other's hands and relaying the earthquake to our poor supervisor blow-by-blow. We were on the second floor, and had a pretty good view.

Large amounts of water in the pool started sloshing out, which was just amazing to see.

The television in my room kept tilting forward until it was caught by the cord, and then thrown back onto the table.

The hotel we were in was right next to a freeway overpass, which was swaying violently back and forth. The teflon-lined joints in the road bed were doing their job, and sliding against each other - one half of the overpass was going one way, and the other the other way. The friction was so great, the joint started smoking. Although it was only offset by a few inches, it was incredible to watch!

It was an unusually clear day, and as I looked out at the mountains, it suddenly looked as thought they had spontaneously burst into flames. What looked like smoke started billowing up all over them. I realized this must be from numerous simultaneous land slides and relayed this to my poor supervisor.

Everything calmed down fairly quickly, and Burt was finally able to convince me to leave. Before we left, we drove out to explain to our client's office to let them know we were going and ask them to pull the nets when they got a chance. They told us that they had several work crews stuck up on the roads unable to move because landslides had blocked them on either side. Yes, the very same roads we would have been on if I had had my way. Later, we also found out that the nets had actually been buried under boulders. THAT would have been exciting had we been there... The nets were only a few miles from the epicenter of the Big Bear quake.

Amazingly enough, there were only three casualties from these two quakes, although sadly one of them was a three year old boy.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I haven't written enough posts about my brother. Apparently.

Ok, I've tried to keep several members of my family pretty much out of this blog. My father has really been the only one that reads it regularly, and he never comments except in person (well, usually on the phone since they live thousands of miles away). He does send me blog material occasionally. He's a retired helminthologist, and when I was growing up, dinner table conversation often turned to such interesting things as parasitic nematodes and tapeworms. This was sort of an unofficial litmus test for potential boyfriends (and girlfriends in my brother's case) — if they didn't run to the bathroom and vomit, they had promise. If they joined in, even better.[1]

My mother is terrified that I will be found and shot or harassed or lose my job or something because she feels that the religious nuts in this country are highly unstable and I shouldn't be putting myself and family in danger by actually coming out as an atheist. I've told her that there are a lot of far more prominent atheists out there, and I would be way down on the list if people started gunning for us. I think she doesn't read my blog for the same reason that when she's a passenger in a car, she won't look over the edge of a cliff in case the car goes off.

It's also partly because she and my father are really busy as licensed wild animal re-habbers. When my mother sends my father out on a wild goose chase, he usually comes home with an actual wild goose. No, they don't get paid, they do it for the animals, and yes you do have to have both federal and state licenses to do it, so don't try this at home. Oh, and thawing rats (to feed the carnivores) on the kitchen counter can also be a BIG turnoff for potential dates for both me AND my brother.[2] Just sayin'

In addition she's...well, lets just say my brother and I both got her the same birthday card this year:

Outside - Mom, This year I'm going to program your phone to play Happy Birthday whenever it rings

Inside - And you won't be able to do anything about it, will you?
My brother Phil, on the other hand, actually has commented several times, but wanted to remain anonymous due to what I can only assume are some shady dealings at some point in his life. He did at one time frequent a speakeasy, after all. Or maybe it was something about not wanting any of his ex-wives to find him. Whatever. He also has stated that he doesn't want to be associated too closely with me when they start rounding atheists up and putting us into concentration camps. SORRY PHIL. Too late. They have a file on you now, too. Not that he's paranoid or anything, but then again, he used to be a registered Republican. Which could possibly be a symptom of mental illness in itself. Luckily, the previous administration brought him to his senses. Now he's in the Prohibition Party, AND the Marijuana Party, which causes him a lot of cognitive dissonance.[3]

When he discovered he wasn't exactly internet anonymous, he started commenting more and suddenly became REALLY NEEDY! For example:
See why I don't spend much time reading this blog? It has nothing about me in it. The whole page and nothing. She took days to write about her whole life, tomatoes, hives, horses. Me? Nope. Oh, wait. She mentions me in a reply to a post. Here. On this little backwater of a page. Humph.
Did anyone who reads this know I had a brother? (PLEASE SAY YES, OR I'LL NEVER HEAR THE END OF IT!) And congratulate him. He's getting married soon! Again! Hey, wait. Do I have to get him yet another wedding present? I can only assume she passed the dead rat litmus test already.[4]

He's my younger brother, and I was always really mean to him. For instance, I slammed the door shut in his face once. Unfortunately, the door was exactly the right height to rip the toenail off his big toe. I also pushed him down a vine out of a tree. Unfortunately, the vine had a broken offshoot which caught him in the groin area. He had to have several stitches. I'm sure he still has that scar. Considering how I treated him, he's always been really nice to me. I don't know why...

He's actually posted a picture of himself on his profile (Yes, it's the same link as before. He doesn't give me much to work with).[5] I like this photo better, though.And you thought I was odd. Obviously the orange peel should go the other way around. Sheesh.

[1] Both Bill and David passed with flying colours

[2] Again Bill passed with flying colors. He was also accidentally fed rice that had confused flour beetles (they WERE cooked!) in it. Well, it wasn't actually accidental. My mother and I looked at the rice and then at each other, and quietly and quickly started picking the small black things out. We didn't tell my father and Bill until AFTER dinner, and Bill STILL married me two years later. It didn't bother either of them at all. But now nobody is ever going to come to my house for dinner again. Especially not my son, who has an irrational fear of insects (No, William. You were not there. As far as YOU know).

[3] I suppose I should put a disclaimer that, no he is not in either the Prohibition or the Marijuana party. Especially not the Prohibition Party. I don't think...

[4] Getting to Wallis and Futuna for the wedding is going to be a pain in the butt.

[5] Contrary to what his Blogger Profile name might indicate, my Brother Phil is definitely NOT a monk.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Warning: Boring tomato post. If you couldn't already tell that from the title.

Bill and I usually have three tomato plants in tubs in our backyard, at least two of which are heirloom. This year we have Bull's Heart (my favourite - we grow it every year), Belgium Giant (Bill picked it out), and Jetsetter (which, contrary to the name, was the last to ripen yet again this year). This usually means we have so many tomatoes we can't eat them all before they rot, so I can many of them. Last year started out promising, but ended up being a dud. I canned 4 jars of Bull's Heart, and we easily kept ahead of them and ate the rest as they ripened.

This year:
First harvestA few days later it had grown into a big scary pile. Time to can:After the massacre:Done deed:This year they are very juicy. I usually use a slotted spoon to spoon them into the jars, and that only leaves a little liquid at the bottom. Usually. I actually canned 3 more jars after this photo was taken.

When you grow tomatoes, tomato hornworms often show up eventually and can do some major damage. I call them an attractive nuisance. They're really quite pretty.(click to embiggen) Bill called me outside to see a small black wasp "stinging" this one. I ran out and there was a pitched battle going on. The wasp was landing on the hornworm's back, and the hornworm was flinging it's head and upper body violently around at it. I said, "Um, no. It isn't stinging. It's laying eggs."

Then I wouldn't let Bill kill the hornworm (what he normally does when he finds them) because I thought we should allow the parasitic wasps to survive to adulthood. The hornworm hung around in the top of the Belgium Giant plant for about a week, and then disappeared yesterday. I didn't see any signs of wasp infestation (it is apparently fairly obvious when they pupate). Now I don't know if it died due to the infestation, or has gone further down into the plant to pupate and metamorphose into a moth.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

WOW! She got it EXACTLY... well, maybe not.

Although PZ Myers already posted about it, I thought I'd throw in my two cents worth.
This woman sums up what a lot of people seem to believe about atheists. Because they know us better than we know ourselves. Apparently.

There are some key factors involved in this thinking by atheists that are not usually published. (Actually, these idiots write about it all the time)

Being the hot topic of the day, any discussion of atheism, should include these 'difficult to admit' points:

Firstly, atheists claim that they themselves are god. They claim they have superior knowledge then* the rest of us by trying to say that they have better knowledge because of their own thinking. They will not acknowledge anyone else to be above them.
I have been an atheist all my life and have never once claimed to be a god or goddess, except in the kitchen and maybe once in the bedroom.** Come to think of it, I may have only used Green Goddess salad dressing in the kitchen, and may have only been called one in the bedroom.

I love PZ's response to this - Personally, I only rank myself as a lesser demon.
*Note, I refrained from correcting her misspellings, but not from making fun of them.
** If you are my father - DON'T READ ANY FURTHER!

Secondly, atheists have been hurt somewhere in their lives, can't understand suffering, and are mad at God — so it is easier to deny there is one.
Um, nope. I'm a generally happy person who has not been hurt any more than anyone else, very happy with how my life has turned out so far, very much in love with my husband, happy that my family is in fairly good health, and happy in my job (except for the potential 20% pay reduction - but at least I still have a job!). I have occasional "down" periods, but those are just part of normal cyclical ups and downs.

I'm not sure what she means by "can't understand suffering." Suffering is a normal part of life. I know many people who suffer or have suffered both physically and emotionally far more than I have, and I know I've been fairly lucky so far. Suffering actually seems to me to be an argument against the existence of any sort of "loving" god. A truly loving and omnipotent god wouldn't allow it, and would actually be an evil god if he/she/it could stop it, and yet still allowed it. However, suffering has to be explained somehow, so it seems to be a big part of the religions of many cultures.

As for being mad at God - how can you be mad at something that doesn't exist? It's like being mad at the Tooth Fairy or Santa Clause or the Loch Ness Monster. I am sometimes mad at religious idiots, but not at their imaginary friend.

Thirdly, atheists are looking for God for the same reason a thief would be looking for a police officer. They don't want to be accountable to a higher being because of the wrong things they do.
I knew someone would finally catch us on that. Bill and I will just have to stop having sex in the street* and robbing banks. We tend not to do illegal things (well, I speed a little sometimes) not because some magic book tells us not to, but because they are either illegal or morally** wrong.

*I actually had someone ask me what stopped me from having sex in the street. That would be...HELLO! cars and a healthy sense of self preservation. Oh, and not only would it be illegal, it would be WRONG! I'm an extremely private person and wouldn't do it even if it was legal.

This same person then went on to accuse me of having sex with my dog. Now I loved Charlie more than any other dog I've ever had (or possibly ever will have), and we had a very, very strong bond, but if I had wanted to do that, I wouldn't have had him NEUTERED, would I?

** Morals have been around far longer than any present day religions, and the basics (such as the taboos against murder and incest, and reciprocity (aka the Golden Rule), are most likely evolved, while many others are learned depending upon the culture in which you live. Many other animals also exhibit morality, and they certainly didn't learn it from a magic book.

Fourthly, atheists forget that when a person goes to a museum and admires a painting, that there was a painter/designer of that art piece. The art piece is absolute evidence of a painter and not caused by random nothingness.

All of the world, stars, animals, plants, oceans, and mountains are absolute proof of a divine intelligent being (beyond our human ability and thinking) who made these things.

Can the atheist make a tree? It is scientifically impossible for bees to fly (laws of physics) and yet they do. It is impossible for our eyes to see and yet they do. What more proof does an atheist need than their own heart pumping in their chest without them commanding their heart to pump each beat in perfect timing each and every second necessary?

Of course things weren't caused by random nothingness (except maybe this woman's brain). Evolution by natural selection is actually the opposite of random, and over millions and millions (sometimes billions) of years only gives the illusion that something was designed.

Complex, image forming eyes may have evolved up to 100 different times, so obviously they are a handy thing to have. Actually, if you look at the physiology of the vertebrate eye, it is not "designed" very well at all - sort of back-to-front, actually - because the light photons have to travel through all the nerves and blood vessels to get to the photoreceptors, which are pointing backward. These nerve cells and blood vessels all come together at the optic nerve, and create a blind spot. This is exactly what you would expect from something evolved, but not purposefully designed. Cephalopod eyes, on the other hand are "designed" correctly. The photoreceptors are pointing toward the light source rather than away, and there is no blind spot, as the nerves are behind the retina rather than in front of it.

Can the theist make a tree? If not, then why should an atheist be able to?
This interesting article
shows it's not scientifically impossible for bees to fly and they in no way contradict the laws of physics. Obviously, SINCE THEY FLY! Duh!

Fifthly, denial is a strong coping mechanism in crisis, but does not serve anyone in the long run. Like an ostrich with its head in the sand, an atheist denies God not because God does not exist—but because the atheist doesn't want God to exist and does not want to see the truth and evidence in front of their eyes.

I would rather believe in God and make sure my life is doing what is acceptable to this Superior Being than to not believe in God and find out I will be accountable to this God for everything I've done after I die. With 84% of the world's population believing in the existence of God, I think the majority rules in this case.
Yeah, actually there is no evidence of a god. If there were, I would believe, but nobody's come up with anything at all convincing or that could only have a supernatural explanation yet. Gods were invented by man to explain the unexplainable. Over the last 1000 years or so, we've been slowly chipping away at things that previously could only be attributed to a god until we will eventually understand every one.

Pascal's wager (better to believe than not just in case there is a god and he gets mad at you) has been done to death. An omniscient god would be able to tell you were only believing in him because you were afraid not to. I would ask her how she knows for sure she's worshiping the correct god? There are so many. What if the Hindus or followers of Shinto are actually right? Maybe the ancient Greeks were. What if she's following the wrong type of Christianity? There are numerous Christian sects. Maybe the Amish or the Mormons are right.

At one time far more than 84% of the world's population believed that the Earth was the center of the universe. Did majority rule make that correct? Up until the latter part of the last century, most people believed that the continents were static and had always been in their present positions. Did majority rule make that correct? And 84% may believe in gods, but does she believe that Mohammad was the true prophet and flew up to heaven on a winged horse? I doubt it. And to which version of Christianity (I'm assuming she's one of the many Christian sects) does she adhere? There were numerous Ecumenical councils where church leaders got together and decided what biblical canon to keep and what to throw out.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

And introducing...Clio!

Alright, already! I'm being badgered by someone who shall remain nameless to post some photos of our new kitty, Clio. A little while after both Kitty and Isis (yes, she's the gorgeous fluffy goofball in the fishtank) died within a month of each other, Bill thought we should get a kitten. I did a little online research and found a cat rescue place nearby, so we went over. It turned out the woman and her husband also rescue horses (no we already have one, thankyouverymuch).

There were cats (and horses) everywhere. We went into the detached mother-in-law's cottage which was entirely devoted to cats. There were about 5 cats who immediately came out to greet us, one of whom was a skinny little long-haired calico who had just been spayed. Bill's eyes literally lit up as soon as he saw her, and she was the first one he picked up. Over the hour and a half we were there, the woman kept bringing more and more cats in to show us. Cats of all ages, but mostly Maine Coons, Ragdolls, Turkish Angoras and Siamese. I wanted to take them all home. Bill couldn't stop picking them up and cuddling them, but he kept coming back to the calico. I finally told the woman that it looked as though he'd fallen in love, and we'd take her. Here is a photo from the day we got her. On the way home, Bill suddenly said, "Clio. I think we should call her Clio after the Greek muse of history." We got her home, and she immediately jumped up and tried to steal my dinner. I pushed her away, and she just looked affronted and swatted at my hand. I pushed again and she swatted again. Bill picked her up and put her on floor. She jumped up again. About 12 times. She doesn't take no for an answer.

She quickly made herself at home.Bill happily smothered in cats.

A few days after we got her, one of her eyes started watering slightly and she started squinting a little. It didn't look very bad, and I didn't think much of it. Then suddenly both eyes started watering and she could hardly keep them open. I figured she had pinkeye, and we had just decided to take her to the vet when they opened on Monday when Alice suddenly got really lethargic and wouldn't come out from under the couch - very un-Alice-like behavior. When we dragged her out, she obviously felt absolutely crappy. Alice is the love of Bill's son's life, and Bill completely freaked out. He rushed her to the outrageously expensive emergency clinic on Sunday, found out she had a very high temperature, and came back with broad-spectrum antibiotics, but no diagnosis.

Bill then took Clio in to our regular vet on Monday, and came back with more broad spectrum antibiotics for both her and Alice, eye ointment, and a diagnosis for both cats. Feline rhinotracheitis or herpesvirus (FHV-1). The antibiotics were to treat the secondary bacterial infections. I was really concerned about my son's 11 year old cat, Smokey, but I'm not sure if she ever got it. She was really sick when I found her next to the road when she was a tiny kitten, and perhaps she had FHV-1 then. She did, however, cough a few times and suddenly completely lose her voice, so I got her some antibiotics too, even though I believe they are way overused. The vet was concerned that she would contract a respiratory infection more easily than the younger cats, and after Kitty and Isis, I was NOT going to lose another cat. We then spent the next two weeks dosing three not-very-happy cats twice a day.

Clio was already looking at us suspiciously before all this, but us grabbing her twice a day, stuffing nasty bubble-gum flavored Clavamox down her throat, and squeezing ointment in her eyes just confirmed all her worries. She still really doesn't want us to catch her and pick her up, although she's getting better about it.

The vet thought she was a very small 8 month old when we got her, and she has grown tremendously over the last couple of months because she never stops eating. I think she was starved before she was rescued. She's supposedly at least part Maine Coon, and they can keep growing for up to five years, so we'll see how big she actually gets. She'll definitely grow out if not up.She's almost as big as Alice now. They love this crunchy tunnel, by the way. Clio loves jumping on it, so we just have to fluff it back up every 3 minutes.I keep interrupting their wrestling to take photos. They stop as soon as the red-eye reduction light comes on.
We even got them all a big new toy from
Please stop flashing that nasty light in my face.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Poppies and lupins and a bridge?

This is a photo I took of California poppies down in the Sacramento Valley.
And lupins from the same area.Here are some poppies just struggling to survive in a rocky river floodplain up in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Ditto for the lupins. You sometimes find poppies that are lighter or darker than the typical California poppy. I was trying to take a picture of the bee, but she kept moving.This rocky river floodplain is not natural at all. It is 30 or 40 or more feet higher than it should have been because the bottom of the canyon was filled in back in the late 1800s due to hydraulic mining during the California gold rush. I talked more about that in this post. This gravel layer makes a very unstable substrate on which to try and build a bridge. The gravel is slowly being washed out from under this tree. Note the rocks embedded in the roots.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Donated blood today

That brings it up to 4.5 American gallons (~3.75 UK gallons). I've been deferred twice in the past 3 weeks, but I finally managed to get my iron levels up high enough. Must have been the maple and brown sugar Cream of Wheat.Can you tell the clip art was free?

Monday, May 25, 2009

100 things about me

1. My feet are so ticklish, I can't even touch them sometimes. Seriously. Don't even try unless you like being kicked in the teeth.

2. My husband, Bill, is 15 years older than I am.

3. But his kid's ages bracket my son's age.

4. I have the worlds worst memory.

5. I was once pissed on by a lion.

6. I have met several other people who were pissed on by lions, so it's apparently not that uncommon.

7. I did not think it was funny at the time, but my mother almost died laughing.

8. I have never believed in a god.

9. Any of them.

10. I vaguely remember believing in Heaven — sort of the same way I believed in Santa Clause — until I was about 7 and someone told me that non-human animals don't go to Heaven. Then I decided it wasn't anywhere I would like to go, anyway.

11. This was right around the time I was pissed on by the lion, but I don't think the two were related.

12. One reason I became a fisheries biologist was because my father used to take me fishing. He let me gut the fish so I could cut open their stomachs and see what they had been eating.

13. Another reason was that I started out as an Animal Science major in college, and was wrestling with a sheep in Ani Sci 101. Sheep stink.

14. I decided to change my major and went through the catalog alphabetically. I made it all the way through to W and found Wildlife and Fisheries Biology, and the rest is history.

15. I married my high school sweetheart, David.

16. Anybody who's read this blog a while knows that he turned out to be gay.

17. Actually, he's one of my four readers, and I'm pretty sure he knows he's gay, since he married his partner of 16 years.

18. I've had to have my appendix and my gall bladder removed. I'm running out of extraneous organs.

19. I used to get really awful stomach gripes, and then come up in hives all over my entire body.

20. The doctor thought that it was systemic mastocytosis, but the only way to tell for sure was to biopsy one of the hives the next time it happened.

21. I haven't had hives since.

22. I still get the stomach problems, and the doctors can't find anything.

23. Both Bill and David used to be avid comic book collectors.

24. I have a skull collection.

25. Pseudoscience of any kind irritates the hell out of me. This includes, but is not limited to; astrology, homeopathy, phrenology, acupuncture, anything to do with the paranormal, chiropractic, crystal healing, magnetic therapy, intelligent design/creation "science," therapeutic touch - they are all bullshit. The list goes on. And on.

26. Intelligent falling, and the terrible threat of Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) however, are real. I was appalled to find out that DHMO is even an additive found in my tea, and I drink gallons of that!

27. I was born in England.

28. All my relatives except my immediate family and two cousins live in England.

29. I was a resident alien for over 30 years.

30. I got my US citizenship in 2000 because I wanted to be able to vote.

31. Lotta good THAT did.

32. I have three college degrees.

33. I only really use two of them.

34. They look impressive on the wall, though.

35. I have oligodontia - I was born without eight teeth, including my wisdom teeth.

36. I think I passed this on to my son, but I don't remember (see #4)

37. I've always joked that I am just more highly evolved.

38. I hate milk. It is only acceptable in tea, and sometimes on cereal. It also usually contains DHMO (see #26).

39. I had to drink it while I was pregnant, though. I hope my son REALIZES THE SACRIFICE I MADE FOR HIM!

40. I also don't like many other dairy products very much, such as yogurt and ice cream. No, I don't think I have lactose intolerance - I've tried cutting it all out, and still get the gastrointestinal problems. I just don't like them.

41. Many people don't have a problem with my disbelief in a god, but they think that not liking ice cream is just UNNATURAL.

42. One way I will eat ice cream: smother vanilla ice cream with hot fudge, raspberry sauce, and put it all on top of warm chocolate cake. With a cherry on top.

43. Contrary to everything I just said about dairy products, I love all kinds of cheese.

44. I hate clowns.

45. But I like mimes. The mention of Shields and Yarnell brings back fond memories. Of Laugh In. Even though they were never on Laugh In.

46. I may have a terrible memory (see #4 again), but I can remember everything that ever happened to Ross and Demelza Poldark.

47. I've lived in California all except two years since 1979, and I've felt quite a few earthquakes, including a several fairly large ones.

48. Bill has lived here for about 56 years, and he's never felt one. Does that count? It isn't really about me.

49. I've also lived in tornado prone areas (twice). I'll take an earthquake over a tornado any day.

50. During my time in Texas, I experienced a couple of tropical storms and a "mini" hurricane (it blew up off the coast of Texas with hurricane force winds, but it was very small and didn't even get a name). Hurricanes spawn tornadoes, therefore I'll take an earthquake over a hurricane any day, too.

51. Speaking of tropical storms, I'll have to do another post about the time one hit while my parents were away, and I brought the horses out of belly-deep water and into the garage. My mare, Najmah, then broke through the back door into the house. Twice.

52. I'm the worlds worst slob. Seriously. Oscar Madison is my hero. Dirt and filth, piles of clothes, boxes, etc. - it just doesn't bother me. When I lived alone, I was fine as long as there was a fairly clear path through the crap on the floor. I would wash the dishes, sometimes even before they started growing mold.

53. Luckily for me, Bill is slightly obsessive-compulsive the other way. He just follows along behind me, picking up.

54. The older I get the more Monk-like I become. I'm talking Adrian Monk, not the religious kind. THAT would be a nun. I think. But I'm not religious, so I'm not really up on whether there are female monks. Maybe female Buddhist monks. But I digress.

55. Bill wishes I would be more OCD about cleaning the house, and not wander around leaving a trail of papers and articles of clothing, but my Monk-like behaviour only seems to apply to germs.

56. Almost anything you say can and does remind me of a show tune.

57. Does anybody else go around with music constantly playing in their head? And no iPod or Walkman, or whatever? I don't need one.

58. Right now? Caravan (Duke Ellington).

59. Sometimes I have trouble concentrating on anything if there is music playing in the background. All I can hear is the music.

60. I'm one of THOSE people who walks through the supermarket singing along with the Muzak. Out loud.

61. I am an extreme introvert. I have to work hard all the time to overcome it. I am the awkward moment queen.

62. This also means that I generally avoid controversy.

63. Unless I'm right. Which I always am. Bill still hasn't learned this.

64. Controversy avoidance is why I have generally stayed in the atheist closet until I get to know people a little.

65. Because I was so shy, I, of course, was labeled "stuck up" in school.

66. I'm fiercely loyal to my friends.

67. I used to read books constantly.

68. Then my son got a new computer and I got his old laptop and discovered blogs. Now all I do is read blogs, (sometimes) write blog posts, peruse Facebook, and Twitter. I don't have time for actual books.

69. When I was young, one of my favourite books was Lad: A Dog. The first dog I got when I moved out on my own was a collie.

70. My favourite books of all time are the Tolkien trilogy. I've read them numerous times - the first when I was nine.

71. I used to have a cat named Mink who was a slightly pinkish color. Her nicknames over the years were: Pinky Minky, Sinky Minky (she sat in the sink a lot), and Stinky Minky. My father called her Scrut.

72. Music in my head right now? Turk Murphy - Trombone Rag.

73. I switch between English and American spellings, usually depending upon to whom I am writing.

74. Even more entertaining for my friends - I occasionally switch between English and American accents without realizing. People used to frequently ask if I was Canadian. Not as much nowadays.

75. I had a really weird accent when I lived in Texas. One of my best friends had the same accent, as his mother was from England, too.

76. I have an extremely bad temper.

77. My temper is usually short lived, though.

78. On my first date, I went to The Muppet Movie. With the guy in #74. His mother drove.

79. I have an irrational fear of spiders. Ticks are included, but I don't consider that irrational.

80. However, I won't let anyone kill a spider in the house. They have to be put outside.

81. I once shared the shower with an enormous wolf spider, and didn't condition my hair for several days because she was hiding behind the conditioner bottle. I knew that if I moved the bottle, she would jump. I finally started worrying that she would starve to death if she stayed there, so I moved the bottle. She jumped, and I screamed (several times) as I put a (large) glass over her and put her outside.

82. I actually don't like to kill anything. I feel that all life is precious (except perhaps insects such as ants, flies or mosquitoes that invade my space).

83. I am not a vegetarian, so I guess this means I'm also a hypocrite.

84. I've only had three long-term boyfriends, two of whom I married.

85. I've only had four boyfriends.

86. About 5 years ago, I dislocated and broke the little finger of my left hand so that it stuck out sideways at a 90 degree angle. It has never been the same since. And never completely stopped hurting.

87. This has made me realize that I could fairly easily do something that could cripple me for life, so I probably don't take as many risks skiing, with horses, bike riding etc., as I might have otherwise.

88. I was pissed that the hospital wouldn't let me keep the x-rays, because they were really cool.

89. Did I already say I have a bad memory?

90. I like the smell of skunk.

91. I don't like the smell of lavender.

92. I think Best In Show was one of the funniest movies ever made, but most of my friends vehemently disagree.

93. The other funny ones are: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Princess Bride, History of the World: Part 1, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and A Mighty Wind.

94. The funniest, of course, was Young Frankenstein. Damn your eyes! Too late.

95. I love Sci Fi. TV and books. It all started with Star Trek reruns and Star Blazers.

96. Does anyone reading this (if you actually made it this far) not know that I play the bassoon?

97. I can't decide between Rose's Mango or Pomegranate martini mix. Pomegranate, I think.

98. My attitude is that we only have one life to live, and it is VERY fragile, so we might as well make the best of it.

99. It took me over a month to write this. On and off. Mostly off.

100. Current song in my head: The theme to NCIS. Oh, wait. Bill turned on the TV.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm all of a Twitter

I've been on Twitter for a while now and it has been entertaining, hilarious, as well as heartbreaking, and sometimes just downright odd.

Here are some of my observations:

  • Wil Wheaton really is just this guy, you know? And proof that nerds can be popular!
  • Brent Spiner pretty much wrote a very entertaining short story/elaborate April Fool's joke 160 characters at a time throughout April,
  • George Takei doesn't say much,
  • William Shatner doesn't say much either, but does some self promotion,
  • I unfollowed LeVar Burton because he was just too religious and not very interesting,
  • Anybody else seeing a pattern here?
  • The Bloggess is just as hilarious on Twitter as she is on her blog, if that is possible (I'm kind of surprised she hasn't been arrested, because that much hilarity isn't generally allowed in Texas),
  • The Bad Astronomer is actually quite good.
  • Stephen Fry went to film on location in Malasia and tweeted and twitpic-ed it all.
  • Al Yankovic? Yep, still weird.
  • I don't know how PZ Myers finds time to tweet anything what with all the blog posts he does. He must not sleep.
  • The Onion and NPR tweets can be virtually indistinguishable sometimes,
  • I even follow a fish. Erica's fish.
I have also found several bloggy friends there. Andrew was the first person to ever comment on my blog, and we've commented back and forth periodically on our blogs, as well as on Atheist Nexus. He and Stephen got into Twitter swine flu pun wars the other day (really, really bad puns - Gammontee, Andrew? Please!). Luckily nobody else was around to hear me giggling.

Anybody who's read my blog for any length of time knows Mr Farty. I won a competition on his blog over a year ago and he sent me a VERY nice set of coasters imprinted with Scottish words such as eejit, crabbit, and numpty, and their definitions. I put them in our curio cabinet, which Mr Farty thinks is just plain odd. He obviously doesn't have a house full of teenagers where things get moved and disappear never to be seen again. Currently he's changed his picture (avatar? icon? I don't know either, Lesley) from a flaming fart to Robbie the Robot. Now he's being stalked by all the zombie robots on Twitter. At the time I was typing this, both he and Andrew were commenting on the same TV show. Something about #eurovision?

Lesley from Um..What?? was my first Twitter follower. My big fluffy, and fairly young cat, Isis, (the one whose photo I used to use for this blog) died suddenly of diabetes (which caused a cascade effect of liver and kidney failure) last month, and Lesley was one of the first people I told. She sent me a tweet because she was concerned, and as she was the caretaker of a diabetic cat, and she is just a really, really nice person, I knew she would understand. My grandfather died the next day. It was a very bad week. I, unfortunately, understood completely when her Moses the Cat suddenly became ill and died less than a month later. Sorry, I wasn't planning on turning so maudlin...

There are numerous other interesting people I follow, for instance Lesley's best friend Mo (The Daily Snark), Debra (iamdebra), Steph (quirkyblogger), although I'm not so sure about Clay (mayopie). Oh, all right. He's interesting, too. Liza (wickedlibrarian) just got a cute haircut I might have to copy once the temperature here reaches over 100 degrees. Oh, wait. It's 98 right now. I might need a haircut sooner than I thought.

Oh, and I don't like to brag, BUT Barack Obama is following ME!

So remember:
You're no one if you're not on Twitter
And if you aren't there, you've already missed it.
If you haven't been bookmarked, re-tweeted and blogged,
You might as well not have existed.

Go to your chiropractor to protect yourself FROM SWINE FLU???!

I found a link to this article on Planet on the James Randi website. I'm really hoping it's a farce, but I'm afraid that's just wishful thinking. The article indicates that if you're adjusted twice a week, your immune system will be "boosted by 400%! Sounds good, except there is no scientific evidence for this whatsoever. The only thing that will be boosted will the the chiropractor's pocket book.

I can't believe that people actually BELIEVE this crap! Bullshit like this just make me see red. The only reason to go to a chiropractor is for a good massage, which can also be gotten via a good physiotherapist. These people are just stealing your money. The only thing listed in the article that will actually help protect you from swine flu is washing your hands.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Batshit insane politicians

Phil Plait of the Bad Astronomy blog has been keeping up on some recent Republican insanity (Republican insanity might actually be redundant). I seriously don't know whether to laugh or be afraid. This is a United States Congresswoman:

Yes, the same one that wanted a McCarthy-like hunt for all the left-wing "anti-Americans" in the US Congress.

The scary part? She actually got re-elected after this. And her eyes.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Concerts - not mine for once

I haven't seen many live concerts. Well, I've seen lots of live concerts—heck, I've been in lots of live concerts—but not many involving world famous people. The first one I remember (although, granted, my memory is notoriously bad — just ask my family) was:

Miles Davis
When I was in high school, we had a Japanese exchange student, Yoshiyuki, stay with us for a couple of weeks. Miles Davis was apparently really big in Japan at the time and just happened to be playing in Berkeley while Yoshi was here, and Yoshi was a HUGE fan. All he could talk about was Mile Daybees this, and Mile Daybees that. I wouldn't be surprised if he had coordinated his trip to coincide with the Miles Davis concert. I had never heard of Miles Davis. So my father bought tickets, and we found ourselves in an auditorium on the UC Berkeley campus.

Yoshi was ecstatic, but my father and I weren't that impressed. All Miles did was walk around blatting notes at the ground while his band played. I was more transfixed by the wall changing colors behind him. It was far out! Lest you think I'm kidding about the blatting at the floor, note the third photo down on the Wikipedia article. Blatting. At. The. Floor. He obviously did it a lot.

Yoshi ended his visit by insisting on making dinner for us which consisted mostly of tofu from a can. It was still shaped like the can, and looked like canned, white, opaque, cranberry sauce. This English family of the '70s thought it was extremely odd. We ate it politely, but I don't think any of us had the courage to try tofu again for years.

SIDE NOTE: I was up late last night writing this because I couldn't sleep. Today, one of my Friends M (I have three Friends M) sent me an e-mail which included the sentence, "It was kind of like you seeing Miles Davis." I got the e-mail on my BlackBerry and FREAKED! I was saying to myself, "CRAP! I must have accidentally posted it, but it was only HALF DONE!" Turns out I hadn't posted and it was only a coincidence. I'm just really, really boring, and apparently tell the same stories over and over again.

Maynard Ferguson
I didn't always play just the bassoon. I started out on alto saxophone, and played it in my high school jazz band. The jazz band rehearsed before school and I got up really early (Hey, an hour early is a major sacrifice when you're a teenager) for four years.

In about 1980, we got to go to Reno, Nevada and compete in the Reno Jazz Festival. That particular year, we had a lot of musicians who played more than one instrument, and our band director arranged one of our pieces so that at a certain time, we all put down one instrument and picked up another. Instead of a row of five saxes, we had a flute, clarinet, oboe, bass clarinet and bassoon. In the brass section which normally only had trumpets and trombones, we had at least one French horn and a Sousaphone. We won third place in our division against some stiff competition.

The headliner that they had come and play for the school bands was Maynard Ferguson. Since I recently just had a not-so-great experience seeing another trumpeter, I wasn't looking forward to the concert. Certainly not as much as our trumpet section was. I don't remember much, except that I thoroughly enjoyed it, loved the music, and Maynard Ferguson could play really really high notes. And he didn't point his trumpet at the ground once.

Billy Joel
In high school, my brother's friend won two tickets on a radio show giveaway, wasn't a big Billy fan, gave them to my brother, who knew I was a HUGE Billy Joel fan, so he gave them to me. Yes, I DO have the nicest brother in the world. Who doesn't read this blog, so I don't know why I'm being so nice to him. If I was really mean, I'd stick in the photo of him with orange-peel teeth that he texted me, but I put that as my wallpaper at work, instead. Where was I? Oh, right. Billy Joel. I took my future ex-husband, David.

Fantastic concert, and since it was in 1982, he hadn't had that many hits, and I knew almost everything he sang by heart. AND people all over the building lit up as soon as the concert started and I got slightly high from all the secondhand weed. At least I imagined I did. I asked David what it was, and he said the same thing he said when I asked him what the F-word meant. "What do you think?"

Fairly soon after David and I broke up, I lived in an apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area with William, my Dalmatian Charlie, and my cat Pepper. Charlie weighed 75 lbs and I lived in one of only three apartment complexes in town that allowed dogs over 15 lbs. Because of this, virtually EVERYONE in the complex had a huge dog, and there were several large areas to allow them to run around.

The guy downstairs had a golden retriever that played with Charlie occasionally. He won tickets (the guy, not the golden retriever) to a Basia concert at the Concord Pavilion from a radio station (Gee. Sounds familiar. Probably the same station), and asked me if I wanted to go. I had never heard of Basia and I was in the process of getting a divorce and certainly didn't want to start dating anyone, especially not someone I saw as frequently as the guy downstairs just in case it didn't work out, but for some reason I said yes.

He drove, and I was acutely embarrassed for him because...the poor guy had the worst flatulence I've While in the car. With me. The silent-but-deadly kind. I was too polite to say or do anything and just pretended I didn't notice. Nowadays, I would just exclaim, "DUDE!" and roll down the window while making rude gagging noises. That's what I do with Bill, anyway.

The main thing I remember about Basia was that she hurt my ears. I think I knew Time and Tide and Promises, but that was about it.

Fortunately Basia's opening act was:

Spiro Gyra
Again. Me. Never heard of Spiro Gyra. I was completely blown away. They were AWESOME!! (although I would have said something like, "Bitchen!," or "Outragous!," except that I was a complete unhip dweeb who only started using, "Cool!" relatively recently. Yes, I was a real Joanie). Basia was even impressed that they opened for her.

And any band that's named after filamentous green algae is fine by me, anyway. I would probably have liked them if they had been called Cyano Phyta.

Billy Joel redux
Or maybe it was Billy Joel's dad. Well, I certainly don't look the same 26 years later, either. I blogged about it here, so I won't say too much other than it was FANTASTIC and he's still got it. Whatever it is.

Leon Redbone
Very recently, my Friend M and I saw him in Sacramento. He was really good, and really funny, but I had some personal things going on so I had a hard time listening. It could also have been due to the two Long Island Iced Teas. We were slightly disappointed to find out (before we went) that he did NOT sing I'm Just a Bill OR Conjunction Junction.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Angels make sense for once!

So why doesn't he reduce human misery and suffering?
Apparently God and all the angels have Australian accents, too.

Found on Pharyngula

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


It's been a long couple of weeks, but taxes are done and maybe eventually I'll feel like talking about other crappy things that happened. But not right now.

Right now I'm just going to say WOLVERINES!! Which you won't get unless you follow The Bloggess on Twitter. UPDATE: I guess I should note that I saw this while skiing the other day. Or maybe that's obvious. Wolverine Bowl: about this steep \

Wolverine fact: The first documented wolverine in California since 1920 was photographed last year by a graduate student who had set up a remote camera to study the effects of landscape change on American martens. It caused quite a stir. Click here if you want to see a good picture of a wolverine butt. They have more recently captured video of what they're pretty sure is the same wolverine.

Contrary to the title of the article, the pine martens the student was studying are NOT birds, and are, in fact, members of the family Mustelidae - the same family as the wolverine. I think they were getting them confused with Purple Martins. You'd think that something called Science Daily would have done a better job with their fact checking.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Brilliant post. Did I say brilliant? I meant boring.

I haven't posted recently, and I think that, along with Mr Farty, this may be my crappiest post ever. Not that Mr Farty's post was crappy. It was totally awesome! It said so in the title.

Right now, I could either be sewing my pirate costume full pirate regalia for an upcoming Flying Spaghetti Monster party, or writing this post, or sleeping. I've had a couple of gin and tonics, and if I can do this:sober, imagine what I can do completely drunk slightly tipsy. (Sorry for anyone who already saw this on Twitter (Hi Lesley!!). Strike while the iron is hot, unless you're ironing suedecloth. That works better on medium. (Speaking of Twitter, as soon as I twittered about male and female strippers, The Bloggess started following me. I'm just sayin')

[WARNING: Completely arbitrary change of topic]
Remember the post about Twister the one-eyed wonder horse? You know. The post before last? Someone (named David) pointed out to me that perhaps Twister is NOT soaking his hay to soften it up, but is, in fact brewing his own alcoholic beverage. A sort of hay beer. He does occasionally bump into things, which I attributed to his blindness, but maybe he's just tipsy.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

She blinded me...with Science! She was not blinded because she was wearing her 3D glasses.

If you don't read Um...What??, specifically this post and this post including the comment sections, you COMPLETELY will not understand this post and think that I have perhaps entirely lost my mind (very likely true, but that's beside the point). Note to all my hundreds of both my faithful readers (Hi Pater and Kia!)(because most of my friends, my mother and my brother all refuse to read this blog)(Except David, who DOES read this, and he's my ex-husband! AND he's gay! Which has absolutely nothing to do with anything): GO READ Um...What??!

Proof positive that scientists DO wear 3D glasses. See?
You: Say, aren't those Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D glasses from the DVD?
You: Then why do they say Journey to the Center of the Earth on the side?
Me:........... Hey! (pointing) Look over there! Isn't that Wil Wheaton? He's just this guy, you know?
Also, you can tell from these photos that, not only do scientists wear 3D glasses, they never wear any makeup. Female ones, anyway. The male ones might, if they're English. Oh, wait. That's just women's clothes they wear (will this prompt my British scientist father to comment? Probably not. Maybe Andrew? Great. I've probably just insulted half my readership. I'll just hope that Mr Farty never sees it).

The only real makeup I have is from when I got married and two of my friends M took me to have my makeup done, so its about three years old now (married to Bill, not to David - that makeup would be 22 years old now)(Note to self: Find out if makeup ever goes bad).

Then there's the professorial look:
(Note to self: Make sure you clean your lunch debris off your computer desk prior to any future photo shoots. Oh, and put some makeup on, will ya?)
Like my Hallucigenia mug from Charlie's Playhouse?

Special thank you to the Wildlife Forensics Lab for the loan of the lab coat and glassware (yes, really - you don't even want to know what smells occasionally waft down the halls at work. You should have been there the day the guys in my office accidentally left a net they found that had contained three dead otters ON MY DESK!!! (yes, there are evil people in the world who do nasty things to poor innocent wildlife, but that's for another post). The guys had been out counting salmon carcasses (the salmon died of natural causes) and APPARENTLY COULDN'T SMELL IT which was almost completely unbelievable to the rest of us standing in the hallway - because you couldn't actually go into the room without vomiting gagging. They figured that it was OK, since they had taken the otters out (I am really, really glad I have my own office now).

I would also like to give a really special thank you to my friend S who enthusiastically took the photos.

UPDATE: On reading through this again, I think I could almost rival (((Billy))) the Atheist for number of parentheses. Almost.