hesperornis: (Default)
That is all.  A bit late, sure, but what the heck. 
hesperornis: (Default)
The Tenth Doctor is moving on:

http://www.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idUSTRE49T8VB20081030

Oh David Tennant, we will miss you.  :-(
hesperornis: (gecko)
Well, it's 3pm and my eyes are crossing from the microscope, so I'm taking a break and eating a cookie.  And posing a semi-serious question. 

Chris and I went way out of our way to go shopping a couple of weeks ago so as to avoid the vicinity of the university, as there was a home football game going on.  Traffic tends to be crazy and you can never tell who's just come from a drunken tailgate party. 

Chris made a comment that the world would be better off without competitive sports, as sports make otherwise reasonable people do stupid things in the name of their team, or in the case of the players, do stupid things period because they're drunk on power.  I countered that there was nothing wrong with sports in general, and in fact it's the sports fans that ruin what would otherwise be a perfectly healthy activity.  Sports fans are frequently the ones acting stupid, and if it weren't for rabid sports fans, there would be no overpaid professional players doing stupid stuff with their money.  Chris pointed out that if there were no sports, people who tend to behave that way might put their enthusiasm toward something productive, say political debate (I don't know that political debate counts as being productive, but that's beside the point.) 

I would invite anyone with five minutes to waste to weigh in on the debate. 
hesperornis: (Default)
You know, I gave up hoping for the perfect candidates a long time ago, but I was really looking forward to having a couple of really solid choices this time around.  I was cautiously enthusiastic about both candidates and their respective VP choices. 

Now I find out that Governor Palin is a friggin' creationist. 

I hate to be a one-issue voter, especially since deciding to vote pro-life was one of the main reasons I voted for Bush, and I eventually ended up disagreeing with virtually everything else he did.  I also hate to reflexively vote against the Republicans.  I'm not a fan of heavy government involvement, and my dad keeps telling me just how much "universal health care" is not going to work as promised. 

But I have very, very few buttons to be pushed that I really feel I know something about, and keeping "Intelligent Design" out of science classrooms is one of them.  Normally, I would assume that the VP doesn't really have that much say in such things, but I've been recently reading about how Dick Cheney personally managed to see to it that the Endangered species act was violated, in Oregon, back in 2001, with the blessing of the National Science Foundation.  So I guess there's some clout to be had.  And there are enough people willing to believe the line that "all views deserve to be heard" (so go take a comparative religions class!  grumblegrr...) that it would worry me a bit to have another person in the White House who thinks that ID is science.  

It's tempting to give up what research I'd been doing into the issues and just resign myself to voting Democratic, but I still feel the need to try to convince myself that Obama is all we've been hoping for... or at least a little bit of what we've been hoping for. 

Please forgive this barely informed ramble.  *puts away soapbox*  God I hate politics so much.
hesperornis: (Default)
Seeing as I haven't posted in awhile... 

The wedding went very well, despite three solid nights of virtually no sleep beforehand, and various degrees of pre-wedding panic on my part.  The bachelorette party even went well despite my reservations (we went to a bar and did karaoke, a first for me).  I don't have many pictures of my own to post yet, but there are plenty up on facebook for those who are so inclined.

Now we're in the process of getting settled in.  We're actually going to have some real furniture for the first time in our lives.  It's kinda nice.  And every so often I just stop and think, huh, we're actually married.  We don't have to go our separate ways once school starts.  This is permanent now.  I still vaguely feel like I was at someone else's wedding and Chris and I are on a much-deserved vacation.  It's thrilling every time I remember that, though I'm starting to settle in to being a wife (!) and having a husband (!), so it doesn't happen as often now.

I'm hoping that everything will sink in a bit better once I get all my various official documents changed over to my new name.  This is proving to be a royal pain in the rear, because I'm missing another critical document required to get this done.  There's nothing like waiting in line for an hour only to be told that I need a _different_ marriage document, one which, in theory, will be sent to me by the county courthouse at some unspecified time in the future.  I suppose I just need to relax and wait for that one to come in before I bother with the rest.

That's all for now, as I have a ton of thank-you cards to write.  Seriously, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends and family, which was largely responsible for us being able to _afford_ real furniture.  We also now have an awesomely stocked kitchen and what's generally turning out to be a pretty cozy home. 

Now as soon as our shiny new real furniture is delivered, we can stop sleeping on the floor and eating on the couch.  That would be awesome. 
hesperornis: (Default)
Well, I'm home for a month before my wedding.  It's a little weird. 

I've been cleaning out my closet.  I have a lot of old crap.  Special shoes and jeans and a helmet from when I did horseback riding for awhile, my gloves from when I took karate, my ice skates that I haven't used in ages.  Old t-shirts that I've been hoarding to someday make a quilt out of.  My lab coat from bio in New Zealand. 

As fondly as I remember all of these things, though, it's truly amazing how the knowledge of the size of my apartment in Lubbock, coupled with the growing pile of wedding gifts in the basement, makes me more inclined to let go of these things.  My parents will probably hate me for leaving this stuff for them to deal with, but at least I'm giving them implicit permission to get rid of it by any means they choose. 

I have, however, discovered my box of treasures from grade school and high school, which is strange and nostalgic.  Among the things I have found:

A number of interesting rocks (some things never change)
About a gazillion pressed leaves, loose in the box and crumbling everywhere
Some raw sheep's wool (grey and greasy... eww)
Several origami cranes signed by my old friend Nicky, who presumably made them
A tiny book about crocodiles
A lollipop stick (what the heck?)
A small plastic elephant
An origami box with smaller origami boxes inside
A functional cardboard camera obscura that I made at the museum once... I think I'll keep that, it's cool
A keychain with 8 buttons that make different battle noises... or used to, before the battery died
A sharp stick with bark so pretty I don't really want to throw it out
A bouncy ball
A contraption of unknown function which seems to involve hefty wire, a spring, tiny metal scraps and a friendship bracelet
My high school dance card (the one which says that I signed an agreement to abide by the school's dance rules)
Several cookie fortunes and illegible movie ticket stubs
My first high school schedule and progress report
A stack of letters

And, my favorite...  A notice of the continuation of Bryce's high school soap opera, "Life... And Then Some," with episode 24, in which:  
    Brian and Claire narrowly escape death
    Greg, Cathy, and Marie's problems compound
    and Angela has a black hobby

I might have to save that... just for nostalgia's sake.  :-)

Fireflies

Jun. 30th, 2008 11:45 pm
hesperornis: (Default)
Driving north through Kansas tonight, I saw lots of fireflies, which was exciting until they started splattering their bioluminescent guts all over my windshield.  Yuck.

That is all, courtesy of my lack of sleep.  Chris just came down with the flu, and I've spent the last week with him, so I'm hoping that I somehow manage to make my 10-hour drive home tomorrow without showing any symptoms.  *cries*

'Night, all.

Chicken

Jun. 24th, 2008 01:55 pm
hesperornis: (Default)
Chicken, chicken, chicken.  Chicken. 

You have to see this. 

http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2008/06/chicken_chicken_chicken.php

Chicken.

Gah!

Jun. 7th, 2008 12:15 pm
hesperornis: (gecko)
Well, it's official--I'm starting to suffer from wedding-related stress.  Namely, I had my first wedding nightmare last night.  It involved realizing, 30 minutes before the ceremony, that my dress was coming apart at the seams (not to mention that it was, for some reason, jet-black).  Then, I had no bouquet, so my mom handed me hers (wtf?).  My bridesmaids were both missing, and the groomsmen were wearing blindfolds.  The church was dark and there were about three people there.  There were no musicians and no decorations.  I felt like I hadn't had enough time to rehearse my vows, and I didn't know what the ceremony was supposed to involve. 

Strangely enough, the dream ended on a positive note--talking to Chris and basically saying, it doesn't matter that everything went wrong, we're married anyway, right? 

The only things I can't readily explain from things that have gone wrong in the planning so far are the blindfolds and the black dress--and those might have explainable reasons, too, they're just not as obvious.  I spent much of yesterday struggling with the zipper on my dress, which involved putting in and ripping out the seams at least three or four times, not counting the hand-sewing portion which took several hours.  I also found out yesterday that the church won't let my friend cantor, but that I need to hire someone from their approved list.  (She can still be a soloist, and I'm working things out, but it's still a point of stress.)  I haven't been home to deal with details like the flowers, so my mom has been taking care of that.  I've lost two bridesmaids already, and I haven't heard from a third in awhile ([personal profile] damasque, you out there?).  We've received equal numbers of acceptances and regrets so far--it's a long way for a lot of people to travel, and I know it's going to be hard on people with gas prices the way they are.  In addition, we have received a very small percentage of the total RSVPs so far, which is stressing my mom out, at least.  I still feel vaguely lost regarding the ceremony procedure, and having a guest priest is going to make things even more interesting.  The black dress might refer to Chris's mom's dress, which is black, which I think is fine but my mom was horrified by.  The blindfolds could be an expression of my own lack of knowledge of what's going on, or it could mean that I think they're oblivious to their duties, or it could be something else entirely, who's to say. 

As a matter of fact, I think the only major issue that _didn't_ come up in the dream was my nerves over the marriage license.  We're going to have a window of about four hours in which to get that taken care of, and it won't happen until the day before the wedding because both Chris and I need to be present to obtain one.  If we don't make that window, the wedding won't happen.  If that isn't something to be nervous about, I don't know what is!
hesperornis: (Default)
I volunteered to help out with judging interp events at a high school speech and debate meet on campus this afternoon.  So I judged one round of poetry interp, then I somehow got talked into judging Lincoln-Douglas debate.  Which I've never judged before and only observed twice. 

It was kind of harrowing. 

Fortunately for me, my very first round was no contest.  Affirmative steamrolled Negative in every possible way.  I kept smirking during the cross-examinations because it was so painfully one-sided.  I would have felt bad, but Neg had such lousy eye contact that he couldn't see me trying not to laugh at him. 

The other three rounds were very tough.  Many good arguments were made.  I think I voted each way twice--the statement in question was "Sanctuary Cities are morally justified."   You'd be amazed at just how many different ways you can argue that point.  Well, you might not be.  I was.  One girl made it all about logic.  Another emphasized human rights.  Another held up justice.  It was quite fascinating, but also exhausting.  Especially because at least one of my debaters apparently had a background in Cross-Ex, because she spoke so fast I couldn't follow her reasoning.  I don't really understand why cross-ex debaters do that...  it can't be helpful.  Do you ever hear a politician or a lawyer talk that fast?  Of course not--people would think they were crazy.  I don't see what it teaches, and in this poor girl's case, she stumbled so badly over her own too-fast words that it hurt more than it helped, in my opinion.  Better to make a few concise points. 

I was also reminded of several philosophical concepts that I'd forgotten since Core at Whitman.  Heh.  I learned about someone's six levels of morality, too. 

I'm exhausted--and I went and signed up to help tomorrow, too, so I have to be up there by 7:45--but this has been a most interesting endeavour.  And I got a couple of hastily devoured slices of pizza out of it, so what the heck. 
hesperornis: (Default)
I posted a little while back about Ben Stein and his new creationist movie "Expelled."  I had been wondering why I hadn't heard anything about it except in the directed ads on the gmail site.  Turns out that it is being exclusively marketed via mega-churches and the creationist market.  As a matter of fact, it is being kept away from the general public, and _expressly_ kept away from the scientists who were interviewed for the movie (and had their interviews subsequently mangled to make them look stupid). 

Behold an absolutely brilliant example: 

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/expelled.php

It's not long, and it's funny, and extremely ironic.  Read it.

Sally Ride

Mar. 20th, 2008 10:56 am
hesperornis: (Kaylee)
My sister wrote a story about (and presumably got to interview) Sally Ride!  How cool is that? 

Why is it that she never tells me about these things?  *glares in case she's reading this*

Hopefully this link works.

Papers!

Mar. 14th, 2008 10:53 am
hesperornis: (Default)
I just sat down to start my 20-odd page term paper for my Correlation class, and I have gleefully re-discovered that just setting up the title and section headings and copying my introductory paragraph and starter references from my proposal means that I have two solid pages without having written a word. 

Of course, I still need to find 18 pages worth of content on the Eocene - Oligocene boundary, but having two full pages right at the beginning makes starting this kind of project way less intimidating. 

Heading out for spring break tomorrow--yay!

Primaries

Mar. 1st, 2008 10:30 pm
hesperornis: (Default)
I voted in my very first primary (early) on Friday.  I must say, it was kind of exciting, except for the part where I suddenly realized that there were other offices on the ballot that I wasn't prepared to vote for.  And, I felt a little bit dirty signing the bit declaring that I'm a Democrat (and therefore won't be voting in any other primaries).  I don't like aligning myself with a political party--but I guess it's not exactly signing my soul away.

The aggressive campaigning has been driving me nuts, though.  Hillary's using scare tactics in her TV ads and is starting to sound desperate.  Bill _and_ Chelsea came to Lubbock, which was surprising.  Obama backed down from an appearance out here because supposedly we're too much of a Clinton stronghold... what?  Last I heard, we were so conservative out here that Bill Clinton spoke at a high school auditorium that they didn't think they could fill. 

...And, Hillary was just on Saturday Night Live.  I'm going to be so happy when this is all over.  :-P

Defeated!

Feb. 20th, 2008 07:43 pm
hesperornis: (Rogue)
I was so excited about watching the eclipse which starts... oh, now-ish, but then the Lubbock weather had to go and turn nasty at the last possible minute.  The weather map radar isn't showing anything, but I sure can't see anything for the murky cloud ceiling outside. 

Grr.  The timing was great to see the eclipse in this part of the country, but it had to go and be ruined by the local weather.  :-P
hesperornis: (hespersurface)
I've been spending most of my day lounging on the couch watching Chris's Justice League DVDs because I get a headache and feel woozy when I stand up.  This is due to having given blood for the first time in about a year.  Last time I was woozy a lot afterwards too.  I'm starting to really dread going to give blood.  My roommate seems to think I'm nuts, but I figure I'm doing what I can...  I actually mentioned to the guy interviewing me that I was nervous because of past experience, and would giving something like plasma or platelets be less likely to make me try to pass out after donating?  He said maybe, but with my blood type (O+, not the rarest but very useful) they'd _really_ appreciate it if I gave whole blood.  I figure saving someone's life is worth some wooziness and an afternoon watching cartoons, so what the heck.  I'm losing a bit of weight, so I might not even be eligible soon if that goes well...

Anyway, they gave up on finding a usable vein in my left arm, so they took out of my right, which usually makes me try to black out after--and I warned them, so they got ice packs and juice and stuff all ready for me.  And lo and behold, a minute or two after they finished drawing blood and took the needle out, I started getting ringing in my ears and black around my vision.  I've come to expect this, but it's still freaky.  They told me that my lips looked practically transparent.  Normally, this goes away after a few minutes, so I just wiggle my fingers and toes to keep circulation going and let it run its course.

This time was more than usually freaky, though--my hands were seizing up.  Like, I couldn't open them up all the way.  And then I could feel it in my feet and calves.  And then it started affecting my tongue, so my words were slurring.  Creepy _and_ uncomfortable.  I kept talking to the phlebotomist telling him that this was NOT normal, and then this German lady comes up and hands me an open bag of chex mix and tells me to eat some.  Within minutes of taking this advice, I started to feel fine. 

Turns out my blood sodium was low!  I always forget that sodium, as well as potassium, is necessary for proper muscle function.  You need those electrolytes in order for muscle fibres to _release_ after contracting.  This is why eating a banana can help with muscle cramps.  People don't normally think about sodium because it is so overwhelmingly present in most peoples' diets that overabundance is usually more of a problem than a deficiency.  And I'm not a serious athlete, so I've barely even heard of the salt tablets that they recommended to me afterwards.  As a matter of fact, I'm so paranoid about high blood pressure that I take great care to check my food labels for low sodium content.  I'm not sure, but this may count as bona fide irony!  English majors?

Anyway, I'm feeling mostly fine now.  Enough, at least, to sit up and do a bit of work.  I meant to get more done on my wedding dress today, but that kind of went out the window.  Maybe I should read some for my thesis proposals. 

I'll have to remember to take the elevator tomorrow.  Falling down stairwells is usually considered a Not Good thing. 
hesperornis: (Default)
So Bob Knight just up and quit yesterday.  Decided mid-season that he was done coaching.  His son will take over the Men's BB team at Tech. 
The great indicator of how important he is to this community is that we found out when an emergency news flash came scrolling across the TV screen.  You know, the kind that normally tell you that there's a tornado about to bear down on your house and kill you. 

Of course, as soon as we found out, we checked the internet and discovered that it was already headline news on AOL, MSN and Yahoo. 

I'm suddenly kind of glad that I didn't bother with shelling out the 75 bucks or so to go to the games this semester.  Basketball won't be near so much fun without everybody keeping one eye on Coach Knight, Sr. 
hesperornis: (hespersurface)
I always find it vaguely amusing when someone says "thank you so much for calling" and clearly means the exact opposite.

I feel old

Jan. 30th, 2008 09:12 am
hesperornis: (Default)
On Monday, my students went over the concept of geologic time.  We do a silly exercise wherein I have them list events from their lives in a geologic column style, and attempt to match them up with other people (relative dating), then I ask for a single date to use as a correlatable event (absolute dating).  My second class on Monday was the first class _ever_ who did not immediately pipe up with "September 11, 2001" for that one point in time that everybody knows.  I commented on this while the students were correlating their columns, and a brief discussion started about where they all were on that day. 

Most of the students were in 7th or 8th grade.  I was stunned by the sudden realization that here in a very few years, I won't be able to assume that all of my students remember exactly where they were on that day in history, because they would have been sheltered or at least too young to fully understand what was going on.  Even some of my students now admit to only having a fuzzy notion of what was happening that day. 

Of course, then when I expressed my dismay, one of my students correctly guessed my age based on my being a sophomore in college in September 2001.  On the plus side, at least he grasped the concept I was trying to get across.  On the other hand, ouch.
hesperornis: (Default)
I wonder how many people don't realize that the Battle of the Bulge was, in fact, a real battle that had nothing to do with dieting?

In other news...

I went to see the Golden Compass the other day.  I enjoyed it, but I found myself spending most of the movie struggling to remember who people were and how they fit into the basic plot, because it's been too long since I read the book, but I still have vague memories of what ought to have happened.  I think some fundamental stuff involving our world was left out, but that could be because it comes later in the books.  It was fun, and I enjoyed it, and my parents and I spent the drive home discussing what our daemons would be.  Dad said he wanted an Ice Bear daemon, which made me laugh. 

Regarding the anti-religious theme:

Well, duh.  It's fairly obvious that the magisterium is very churchy, possibly even specifically Catholic.  They throw around the word 'heresy' enough.  I don't recall if they were more specifically churchy in the books or not, but the church-against-science motif is reasonably obvious if you're looking for it.  However, I see it more as anti-authority than anti-God, particularly since there's a certain spiritual nature to the "dust" in the story.  Regardless of what the author has said, the anti-authority, or at least anti-controlling-power theme is very strong and obvious.  Heck, the first thing that my dad said when the lights came up was that the Magisterium was like the Democratic party--they think they know what's best for the nation and they're going to set up government programs to enforce it.  (My dad, obviously, is a small-central-government advocate.)  I think that's a reasonable message to get out of the story, whether you view the authority in charge as church or state or some mixture of the two. 

Assuming for the moment that the anti-controlling-religious group theme is intended, I'll say here again what I've mentioned before:  Any religious person has the option of following blindly or thinking through what they believe.  It's much easier to follow blindly, and lots of people--even most people, to some extent--do just that.  But that doesn't mean that religion is only for those who don't think.  Anyone who thinks that religion is only for the power-hungry in charge and the mindless sheep who follow them has a very shallow view of religion in general. 

I'm inclined to include the author of the His Dark Materials trilogy in that category, but you know what?  That doesn't keep me from enjoying the books, or the new film, or the others that will be out shortly.  And I get annoyed by people who think I should boycott the film because OMG it's anti-religious RUN!  I mean, seriously, folks.  Give me some credit here.  I certainly hope I am steadfast enough in my faith that a fantasy story isn't going to shock me out of going to church.  I know about the _real_ crap that supposedly religious people have done over the years (inquisition, anyone?) and I am more than aware that any human institution is inherently flawed.  But that doesn't mean my underlying faith is seriously shaken, because there's more to it than a mere human institution. 

Anyway, I typically like my fantasy straight-up.  Animal companions who are people's souls?  ARMORED POLAR BEARS???  Count me in!  :-D

In other-other news, it's Christmas Eve, the weatherman called for snow, but is it snowing?  Of course not!  It's RAINING, which is going to mean that whatever remnants of snow were left will melt and turn into a miserable icy-slushy Christmas tomorrow.  Rats!  :-P
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