Thursday, September 25, 2008


Yeah, my birthday rocked. Like, it was great. After I got out of class at 9 pm, I went straight home and this was waiting for me:

Yeah, my cake say "Yeah buddy happy." That's right. And those are Smooth 'n' Melty mints and that card does say "Happy Birthday Buddy."

J made me tacos for dinner, which was awesome. Because tacos are awesome.

And then we all retired to the living room and I opened my gifts, which were also awesome.

The telescope: Celestron Astromaster 114az
The shoes: sweet Gore-Tex trail running shoes. Green.

Guess what I'm trying to do with the telescope? Here's three hints (or two hints and one shot of J just because):

The bird was in the top of the tree to the left of the house in the first picture!

So I'm not too good at it yet, as you can tell from the grainy and out-of-focus last picture, but I figure some more practice and I'll have at least something I'm proud of.

I've been wanting to try this ever since I read this post over at Ask Dr. Vector.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A long long time ago...

I attempted to emerge from my mom's womb, ass-first.

I've don't a lot of things backwards since then and today marks the anniversary of that first attempt of ass-backwardsness. I'm now 26 and to mark the occasion, by body has produced this:

My first grey hair!

It's been a fantastic day so far. Not crazy remarkable, but nice and sweet and normal with a lot of birthday wishes coming to me in every way imaginable: text messages, phone calls, facebook comments, mail, email.

Tonight, J and his sister and I are going to have cake when I get home (I have lab until 9:30, so it's a LONG day for me) and I'll open my gifts. Hopefully, I'll have enough time to watch some Battlestar Gallactica and relax before bedtime.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Belated Greetings!

From the Ben and Jerry's factory!


Amanda and J

Thursday, September 18, 2008

After the Cut

So, I DON'T have to burn $90 in a video for you. Maybe only $30.

The haircut was great. Is great. Whatever.

It doesn't look all that different in a photograph, but it looks much nicer in real life - it's curlier, has more body, has less zingers (those little flyaway things), and just generally looks healthier. Plus, it weighs at least 20 pounds less.

The hairstylist thinned it out with thinning shears and halfway through, he was like "Hey...can someone come help me???" I thought he was maybe doing to do some crazy clipping maneuver that required another person holding him up or something, but I guess he just wanted someone to sweep up all of my hair, because he was up to his ankles in it. Seriously. The girl who swept it up looked like she was sweeping up a large capybarra that wouldn't let go of the broom. TONS of hair. And I still have more than enough.

I rode my bike to the salon because I'm on a save money and the environment kick, so I also had to ride the bike home. By the time I got there, all the styling was gone and my hair looked

And of course, I didn't have 1,000 hair products to put into my hair this morning, so it doesn't look half as nice as it did last night. But, I'm 75% happy with it, and that's WAY more than usual.

Haircuts and Majors

It's almost my birthday. I'll be 26 on the 22nd...that's on Monday, if you were wondering when to send my gift.

As a present to myself, I'm getting a haircut. And not just any haircut, but a REALLY expensive haircut.


Well, I suppose it's because the hair stylist in town that I've only heard positive things about charges that much. He'd better be good. I mean, REALLY good. I'd better leave there feeling like I've got the sexiest hair ever. Or with a new car or something.

I have to be in a wedding in a week, so I need to look presentable. Plus, I only get my hair cut, like, once a year, so I'm going to stop feeling guilty right NOW. Or now.

Nope...not working.

I'm actually going to buy myself two gifts this year. The haircut and these shoes:

J swears by these things...they're waterproof and green...what else could anyone ask for?

I'm not really rolling in the dough right now, but I have finally caught up with my fiances* since Echo died. Finally, I have just a little money in the bank and a little in savings.


I'm thinking about switching my major back to geology and possibly scrapping this whole "oh my gawsh I really need to be an expert on everything by grad school" thing. I'm taking a fantastic geology course and I'm totally in love with it. While my professor is new and awkward and not so hot at keeping control of the classroom, the information is enough to keep me engaged. And the labs are really really cool. We spent last week at the beach measuring wave ripples and grain size and talking about the energy of the environment and how we might determine the velocity of the waves in an ancient beach. This week we went to a gorge and made a profile of the river there, determining the probability of flooding and identifying the components of the river (like the point bars and floodplain). It's very hands-on. So, I'm thinking that I still want to study paleo, but that I might actually be more interested in the geology part of paleo...

The only problem is, our geology department is small and there aren't enough people to teach all the courses that are listed in the university catalogue. So, I could plan out the next two years of courses, but at any point, the courses I want to take could just fail to exist; most specifically Sedimentary/Metamorphic Petrology, which I think is kinda important.

Anyway...for the record, here's a BEFORE shot of my hair (and my dad...he came to visit this past weekend):

I'll post an AFTER shot tomorrow. Hopefully my hair will look different. If not, I'll make a video of me burning $90 and post it the day after.

*I'm not engaged...I meant "finances"...but it's too funny to fix.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Check out this new blog! It's about Triassic vertebrate paleontology.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Good morning!

I woke up at six yesterday morning; an hour earlier than usual. Not by chance, no, but because I had to. It was still pretty dark and I don't know about you, but nothing about the dark makes me want to hop out of bed and skip to the shower or anything like that.

I emerged from my bed like Dracula - arms crossed over my chest, body unmoving, feet planted on the bed and serving as an axis of rotation. Only when completely vertical did I open my eyes. Since my mattress is now on the floor, thanks to my recent poverty and a certain friend who really needed her bed frame back, I literally stepped out of bed.

The vibrations created by my first footsteps apparently also woke up one of our resident house centipedes, though he did more of a snake-like wiggle than a Dracula maneuver. He, with all his gross little legs and his silvery body and his side-to-side undulations, shot out from under J's bureau and charged at me, full-speed. Emily, good for nothing, watched on as if she were in a 3D movie - batting at the bug while remaining several feet away from it.

I let out a shriek, grabbed the nearest crossword puzzle (thankfully I never throw them out unless they're 100% finished and have 30 at my disposal) and slammed it down on Mr. Pedie. I slowly lifted the paper and BAM, he went dashing back toward the bureau, hoping to escape with at least 99 limbs still intact. But I was too quick for him, in my adrenaline-induced panic, and caught him again, making sure to slam on every square inch of the newspaper.
After ensuring Mr. Pedie's death (HA! I almost wrote "full death" which is redundant, eh?) I left him, exposed, on the floor while I got dressed. No sense in making two trips to the bathroom, right?

It was then that Emily decided to take more than just a lazy swat's interest in Mr. Pedie. She circled the smooshed carcass and just as she was about to give him a little nibble, I realized that I didn't want my cat breathing centipede breath on me. So I swatted her lightly with my shirt.

Apparently, Emily was also pretty terrified of Mr. Pedie, because when the the shirt touched her, that little stinker jumped straight up in the air - so high that I could have pet her without bending over (and I'm tall for a woman).
I don't normally kill bugs I find in my apartment. I usually let them out and hope they stay out. But, I draw the line at house centipedes...and spiders...and ticks...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Day of Classes

Was yesterday...but MY first day was today. I had both classes, back to back, during lunch time (10-12). I'm glad I decided to eat before going to the first class because even after a snack, my stomach was SCREAMING after the second class. I rushed back to my office and ate my lunch in three seconds and I'm still really hungry. *gurgle*

It was a good first day. I mean, as first days go: syllabus review, academic honesty policies, accessing Blackboard and course expectations. We did get to some of the material in my Bio class, but just a brief introduction.

My biology professor is pretty great. He's a research assistant professor who specializes in evolutionary biology and ecological genetics. He's confident, friendly and seems really interested in instructor/student communication. He also seems determined to keep us up on the latest research and to use it to teach the basic principles of biology. Today we discussed monogamy/promiscuity of voles and how research surrounding hormones and receptors involved in those behaviors is being extended to human beings - all as a means of comparing hypothesis driven science with discovery science.

My geology professor can't be much older than I am. He is a newly minted PhD and is teaching his first class ever as an instructor and not a TA. He is nervous and not very confident, though I suppose that will change as the semester progresses.

The geology course is going to have some interesting labs, many of which are field trips. Unfortunately, because I'll be missing two days to attend the SVP meeting, I will also miss a field trip. Those can't be made up, so I'll have to deal with the consequences of missing the lab (which is worth 35% of my grade!!!). I'm hoping that someone will switch lab sections with me for that week or that if I just show up for another lab section there will be room for me in the department van.

It'll be an interesting semester...