Thursday, July 24, 2008

Things that don't really exist and something you probably didn't know

I'm not a big magazine reader. In fact, I often have an urge to buy one and then forget I have it, leaving it to collect dust in the magazine bin on the side of my couch. You probably wouldn't guess this however since I have almost an entire shelf on my bookshelf just of magazines. But by digging through them you would find out not that I buy a lot of magazines, but instead I'm a bit of a packrat and I keep them forever (or at least until I get that spring cleaning urge). You would also learn that I'm completely OCD when it comes to how things are organized as all the magazines are grouped together by title and then put in order by date, but that's a discussion for another day.

Anyhow, grocery shopping last week I again got the urge for a magazine. Usually I grab some cheesey girly magazine like Glamour or Cosmo, but I wasn't feeling that this time. I was instead drawn to the bright red cover with an enticing picture of abowl of pasta on it. A Real Simple magazine. Flipping through I came upon "20 20-Minute Meals." Now that's I something I really need. I love to cook, but hate to cook for myself. It just seems like such a waste of time. I feel like when I put a lot of work into a meal, its just not satisfying if there's no one to share it with. The recipes in the magazine are simple and for once, there are a lot of things I will actually eat! Not something that happens very often, if ever. So I bought the magazine. Three pages in, I was hooked. Not only is it colorful and friendly, there's lots of good stuff in it. But it's that third page entertained me that I want to share.

First was "8 Words to add to your vocabulary from The Daily Candy Lexicon: Words That Don't Exist but Should"

1. Crappuccino n. a poorly made coffee beverage that costs upwards of $4 (I don't drink coffee, but that's still funny)
2. Fearrors n. Dreaded dressing room mirrors that exacerbate every flaw on your body (I would disagree that these are instead public bathroom mirrors that aren't actually made out of glass and makes it look like your face is melting)
3. hybris n. Excessive pride based solely on one's hybrid car (unfortunately I only have filthis - excessive pride based solely on the amount of dirt on my truck)
4. Mapquestionable adj. Word describing directions provided my MapQuest that somehow cause you to drive in an enormous figure eight (So true! Ever since MapQuest tried to take me to a street that doesn't exist, I use Google Maps)
5. Mathzheimer's n. The inability to calculate a foreign-exchange rate without elaborate financial or tech support (Who does that? I would say that this is actually the inability to do simple math in your head after two semesters of calculus and one semester of statistics. I definitely suffer from this condition!)
6. Mouse trap n. An internet purchase that looks a lot different upon arrival than it did in the picture (makes me think of the pictures on fast food menus, but I guess that would be called a grease trap)
7. nontourage n. A group of undesirable sycophants. (Umm...sure.... I think this would be better defined as something a loser says to make themselves look like they have a lot of friends: "Sure, I'll be at the party and I'm bringing my nontourage" "so how many people will that be" "ummm, one...")
8. Yellular n. The loudness adopted in response to a bad cell-phone connection in the misguided hope that talking louder will improve it (yeah, that's it. There's also yellingual: the loudness adopted when talking to someone who doesn't understand the language you're using in the misguided hope that talking louder will make them understand you)

The second thing I read was on the third page was this:

"40 - The total number of dog days each summer. Technically, the dog days are from July 3 to August 11. They're named after Sirius, the Dog Star, in the constellation Canis Major, which shines most brightly during this period. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed the star was responsible for the heat and blamed it for periods of drought, sickness, and discomfort, or as we know them, bad hair days"

I've probably heard the expression the dog days of summer a million times, but I've never thought anything about it. I just thought this was an interesting tidbit to share. But at the same time, I must admit that the first thing I though was "That's how Sirius from Harry Potter got his name!" (for you non-HP fans, Sirius is HP's godfather who can turn into a dog) I know, I'm a dork...

But back to the grocery store and my magazine-buying urge. Apparently it couldn't be satisfied with just one issue. I also grabbed an issue of Backpacker. Now as much as I love camping, I haven't yet been backpacking. It's something I hope to do when I'm in a little better shape. But this was the "National Parks Issue" so I had to buy it. For a few years now I've made it one of my goals in life to visit all of our national parks. Ok, maybe not all, because there's a buttload of national monuments and stuff life that. But at least all of the major ones are on my list.

I haven't quite made it though this magazine yet either. In fact, I don't think I'm even 1/4 of the way through. I got stuck on a one page article on The Apostle Islands in Wisconsin on Lake Superior. The article merely gives three suggestions for activities in the park, but the picture of the sea arches at the top of the page spurred a two hour internet search for more info and pictures. This place looks awesome and is definitely now on my list of places to visit. I think paddling through the sea arches and caves would be an amazing experience! Apparently, there are also more lighthouses in the area than anywhere else in the country. And I might have to go back during the winter to see the ice that collects on the formations. Anyone want to join me? Check out the website:

Apostle Islands National Seashore

And here's some pages with pictures:

Someone else's blog

Superior Waters Project

Winter Cave

And now I just want to tour the great lakes

Great way to waste some time

Entertaining website brought to my attention by Monica:

I'd have to say my favorite is "I think it's going to be a long long time" under the "most popular" section.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Field Work 7-10-08

On Thursday I unexpectedly got to go out to Rancho San Carlos to help with aquatic sampling training. We were trying some new techniques for sampling to see if we could finally get some salamanders. Dave and Josh tried out the cast net, which was highly entertaining. I'm still not sure how they could actually stand to hold part of it in their mouths after it had been in the pond. I spent about an hour straight dip netting each pond (and later I thought my arm was going to fall off!). Unfortunately we didn't get any salamanders, but found lots of red-legged frogs.

As we were sampling the last pond, big plumes of dark smoke started billowing up on the horizon. The plume got bigger and bigger as we worked, so when we finished we decided to go out as far as we could on the ranch to see if we could see the fire. I had no idea that the Basin fire was so close! It's right on the edge of the ranch, however, as far as I know this is the back fire that was started. Word also has it that the fire breaks in this area are in the same place as the fire breaks from a fire in the 70's and they range in size from the width of 3 bulldozers to the length of a football field. We could see flames on the ridgetop and helicopters flying over dropping fire retardant. I could have stayed there all day. I guess fire chasing is just in my blood. But, we had to get back to the office. Monica had just arrived and was waiting for me!

I'm having issues with the pictures tonight, so I'll tell you what they are in order:
1-4: CA red-legged frog (CRLF) metamorphs
5: Super ugly bug eating a tree frog tadpole
6: Bringing up the seine with Josh and Dave
7-8: Dave throwing out the casting net
9: Josh caught a CRLF adult
10-11: Smoke as seen from our sampling pond
12: Smoke as seen from the middle of the ranch
13-17: Smoke as seen from the edge of the ranch

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monca's Birthday BBQ

On Saturday afternoon we threw Monica a rockin' birthday BBQ. Everyone got cozy out in my little yard, mixed some drinks, popped some beers, ate till we popped, and laughed until our stomachs hurt. Everyone enjoyed the flamingo cake I made, but I don't think anyone was too fond of the homemade champagne that Whitney brought with her. Ann tried to set the fence on fire when she started the BBQ and Whitney entertained us with stories about her students. It felt like old times again. I wish we could all get together more often, but I think we'll at least have to make this an annual event.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

4th of July Weekend Part 3: Lets pretend to be tourists

We wanted to get out of the house on Saturday so we decided to go play tourists with the other thousands of people in Monterey for the weekend.

But first, apparently Katie and Patrick needed to take a nap:

After stopping by Gold Coast to put Patrick on a list to get called to get a tattoo (which never happened), we went down to Cannery Row and walked up and down the street, stopping in a few stores here and there. Mostly just stopping to take stupid pictures of Katie with all the statues:
Then we stopped by the balcony at the aquarium to check out the ocean and take more tourist pictures:

And to top it all off we walked over by the Fishhopper to get Patrick some shrimp cocktail. But we would have never guessed what we would find over there:
That's right. He's playing a keytar. And not only was he playing it, he was totally rocking out with it.

4th of July Weekend Part 2: No White T-shirts Allowed

After a great afternoon and evening we decided to head downtown to hang out and get some drinks. We always go to The Mucky Duck, so why break a tradition, right? After standing in line at the door for 5 minutes the bouncer checked my ID and said I could go in. Then as I stood just inside the door and waited for Katie and Patrick he starts to tell me to come back out. Apparently the Duck doesn't allow white t-shirts. "White t-shirts?!? What? You're kidding me right?" He assured me he wasn't. Is this something new? I dunno. I guess I've never worn a white t-shirt there before. Does the color change every night? If I go there tonight wearing a blue t-shirt will I get in? I really don't understand. On the other hand, I'm not surprised. It's the Duck.

So we walked down to Crown & Anchor instead. As the bouncer took my ID I asked "you're not going to not let me in because my shirt is the wrong color are you?" He proceeded to pretend to throw my ID down the street and laugh. I told him what happened and he said "well, that's the Duck. We pride ourselves on not being like the Duck." I had to laugh. I won't say I hate the Duck. I don't. It's nostalgic, a tradition, it's fun to dance, there's usually people you know, on occasion they play the 'white trash mix' and you get to jump around to AC/DC and Joan Jett. But it's certainly not the greatest bar in the world...

Anyhow, we were lucky enough to get a table outside on the patio at Crown and just hung out for a few hours. It was probably for the best anyways since I was wearing really tall shoes and probably would have broken my ankle. But next time I'll just have to make sure that I'm not dressed inappropriately to go somewhere as classy as the Duck!

Do you see what Patrick ordered us
Good stuff!
Katie, is that straight vodka? Oh, right, water with no ice...I guess the ice cost extra...Bestest friends!Did Katie say smile or look like a crazy person?
It's a good thing they married each other, 'cause they're kinda weird...My toes match my drink!Patrick...I loooove you!

4th of July Weekend Part 1: Ooooo! Ahhhhh!

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! I know I did! Katie and Patrick came down on Thursday night and stayed till about 11 this morning. It was so good to spend so much time with them! It's been a while!

Friday morning we just went to breakfast, grocery shopping, and then hung out in my yard all afternoon and played games. The sun came out and it was really nice. Pat and I decided to start the holiday off right with a drink called a California Rattlesnake. Really sweet, but pretty good. Then around 6 we went and parked the car at my office and walked downtown where we had dinner at Lolla's and then started out to brave the crowd at the beach. There were people everywhere! They were sitting in the plaza at the top of the wharf and all along the pathway, all over the first wharf and then the beach was completely filled! Standing on the wharf I couldn't see where the people ended. People had dug huge holes, carved out benches, and taped off their areas with flagging. So our strategy was "lets just walk till we find a place to pop a squat." As we weaved ourselves through the groups we eventually got to a spot where we weren't sure where to go, so we just spread out the blanket and sat there. It was pretty cloudy out, so we weren't sure if we were going to be able to see anything except for maybe some flashes in the sky. But as the show began, the clouds proved to be higher than the fireworks. It was a pretty good show and we were fairly close the the barge they were shooting them off of. Patrick said he'd never been so close, but Katie and I laughed and said "next year we'll take you to Pleasant Hill and we'll sit under where they shoot them off!"

The show lasted about 20 minutes and less than 10 seconds after the finale the great migration began. We decided to be part of the "lets get the hell out of here as quickly as we can" crowd. We didn't even bother to shake the blanket off well or fold it up. We made our way off of the beach pretty quickly, but then got stuck walking down the sidewalk behind a pretty slow group. It was a bunch of girls, who I'm convinced weren't even 21 yet, and they were basically carrying one of their friends back to the car as she proceeded to yell everything she was saying at the top of her lungs, trip, and lose her shoes in the middle of the street. As bad as she seemed, her friend was worse, which she proved by walking into a telephone pole as she was texting someone. It was kinda funny, but I must be getting old because they were really getting on my nerves. I mean, it's not like I haven't been there, carrying my drunk, screaming friend down the street.

Anyhow, it was a fun afternoon and evening. It was great to just hang out and finally experience a 4th of July in Monterey!

Dinner at Lolla's
Mr. and Mrs. Haggerty....weird...Waiting for the show to begin...
Patrick: "I don't like sand" (maybe the beach wasn't the best place for him!)Self picture!Patrick is a giant! (He's very handy for changing light bulbs though)
The finale.
It got really bright with all the clouds and smoke!