What's on my mind.

27 March 2008


And ash.

Like most geologists I get all excited when natural disasters happen. io9 has a picture of the recent ash column from Kilauea and some really pretty pictures from a few years ago. The USGS's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has even more cool pictures of volcanoes in action. Like these:

26 March 2008

Positive and Negative

I was just sitting here wondering why am I so good at picking at the things I don't like about myself and so bad at thinking about the things I do like. (I feel like I'm beginning to repeat myself. I checked some old posts and I don't think I've written this post before.) I am very good at "negative self-talk" (as my ex-shrinks would say), really really amazingly good. And colossally bad at positive self-talk.

Ya' see, trash talk comes easily, naturally, to that little voice in my head. Usually by the time I realize what it's saying I'm already heading for the pint of of ice cream and bed. Sometimes it comes out of no where - one day I woke up in a pretty good mood, then my mind started wandering on the way into work and by the time I got there I felt like a completely unlovable loser. Other times I start kind of 'meh' feeling or something happens to kick off the downward spiral of mood.

Positive self-talk is deliberate. I have to think up nice things to say about myself. And it just feels silly to sit around and think up nice things to say. It feels silly to sit there and say them to myself. And I don't believe them. If I've been beating myself up long enough to notice, I'm already feeling so bad that everything nice I could say about myself sounds hollow, false.

The only guaranteed way I know of to shut up the voice is to go to sleep. Reading doesn't always work but it usually does. Neither challenges the validity of the criticisms.

Why can I explain this so well here but never could to my therapists?

25 March 2008

Computers do like me

I feel stupid. My remote is dying. That's why I couldn't turn on the satellite receiver. The on/off button is still broken but the receiver works. I got it on last night and don't plan to turn it off until I get a new remote. I had to reprogram the remote several times last night while watching TV to control the satellite but it never lost my TV setting, which is why Sunday I thought the problem was with the receiver. I'm going to get a real Dish remote this time. I've probably spent more than $20 on the three generic universals I've had.

My camera will have to be sent off. I emailed Fuji Film's tech support and the response I got was that I needed to call the help line. The help line guy said it could be a small thing or a big thing no way to tell until it got to the shop. Gee, thanks, obviously you couldn't have told me that in an email.

I feel stupid, again.

24 March 2008

Computers don't like me.

I'm not sure I should be using a computer today.

Last week my camera stopped working. When I hooked it up to the computer to download some pictures the picture viewing program didn't start up automatically like usual. I didn't worry too much as McAfee and Microsoft were both downloading updates when I plugged it in. I just figured my computer was thinking to hard at the moment. I opened it up manually and downloaded the pictures fine. Then I deleted them off the card. Monday driving up to the Westin in Atlanta I wanted to take some pictures of all the windows blown out, streets blocked off, etc. (This was the good side of the Westin, round building in the middle, the other side had a lot more holes.) It wouldn't take a picture. It turns on; I can change the picture mode, turn the flash off and on, go into macro mode,....; When I push the button to take a picture the screen goes blank and stays that way. If I turn it to picture view mode it doesn't do anything, I have to turn it all the way off and back on. Picture view mode looks normal but since there aren't any photos on the card it's hard to be sure.

Then yesterday I sit down to watch TV with Nettie and my Dish Network receiver won't come on. A couple months ago I notice that I had to push the button further and further in to get it to turn on/off. I used to always just used the power buttons on the TV and receiver because it was easier than using the universal remote where I have to push the TV button, then power, then remember to push the cable button before trying to do anything else*; and I put the remote back next to the TV so I'm standing right there. (I know, I touch my TV, it SO weird.) When I noticed the button was getting harder to push I stopped using it and used the remote. Yesterday, The remote wouldn't turn it on. I tried reprogramming it; the batteries had been dying and it kept losing the code. Didn't work. So I sat in front of the receiver and pushed the on/off button in as far as I could to try and turn it on. It broke in stead. The button didn't pop back out it sounds loose in there. Oops. I then discovered that the batteries in the remote were completely dead. (Couldn't change the volume standing right in front of the TV, pretty dead.) So I changed the batteries and tried every single code listed for Dish.

Oh, and my cell phone battery is about on it's last leg. It still holds a charge for a couple days, so it should be another month or two before I have to replace it. I'm not going to touch my computer at home for a couple days. Hopefully my bad electronic mojo will go away.

*One day, pissed off at me for going to work Honey tried to eat the Dish Network remote, battery part first. There was no salvaging it. I've used three different generic universal remotes since, two different brands. One got lost; the other (like the one I have) just stopped working the TV and the satellite. None of the codes for my DVD player work.

21 March 2008

Good Friday Mish-Mash

I could have been a patrician but not a roman. I just read How the Irish Saved Civilization and it looks to me like if the Irish had been able to influence the Church more (and longer) Martin Luther might not have had 95 theses. It looks like the Irish took the best parts of their culture and the best parts of Christianity and melded them (or Patrick and his theological successors did). Women weren't subservient (abbesses lead Mass); an understanding that we all sin most of the time (beginning of private confession/penitence and multiple confessions and forgiveness); little concern over celibacy in the priesthood or chastity in the populace (to paraphrase Cahill, Patrick was as silent on sex as the Jesus was); divorce (Celtic tradition was marriages were renewed every year); no slavery (the Irish didn't completely give it up but they did understand that it was not consistent with Christian ideals). Think of how different the Roman Catholic church would be if the vikings hadn't invaded Ireland and disrupted their export of monks to the continent and their influence on the evolution of the church. Think of how different Europe would have been if the Irish hadn't instantly fallen in love with books or had censored their libraries. Obviously I'd need to do more reading on the subject of the early Christian church in Ireland to be sure but I think I could have been an Irish Christian.

Went to the Maundy Thursday service at my church last night. In the past it's been a bit sadder, darker service than last night's (or maybe it just seems that way*). It still ended with the Tenebrae, at 1st Pres. there is a reading of the Gospel account of the last seven words of Jesus, with the extinguishing of a candle after each. Last night there was more emphasis on the new covenant. "Love one another as I have loved you." What more do we need to know?

As I sat there I, once again, marveled at the story of Jesus. The idea of a god becoming human, a human baby at that. Growing up and living as every other human does and then allowing himself to be executed in this horrible manner . Would you wish teenagehood on anyone? God could have plunked himself down as a 30 year old. Surely, had he wanted to God could have worked it so the manner of execution was more humane, right? But he didn't. On purpose. I'm not sure how much of it I believe but the story is incredible.

Also, as I sat there, I thought about how much I like going to church. There is something about the church service that is centering, kind of like meditation. I definitely understand why some find the traditional style service boring (God's frozen chosen) and why someone might not like 1st Pres in particular (it is a bit clique-ish). I'm comfortable there even if I don't feel like I fit in. If they'd just do Vesper services I'd go every week. (Because God doesn't really think we need to give up sleep to worship her.)

Enough ramblings for this morning. Whether you are celebrating the Vernal Equinox (yesterday actually), Easter, Nowruz, or nothing at all go out and enjoy this lovely weekend (lovely in Alabama at least).

*There have been several Maundy Thursdays when I was silently asking "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"

17 March 2008

I seriously overthink things.

I hate "business casual". It's easy for guys. And preppy girls. I have a terrible time figuring out what I'm actually suppose to wear for a "business casual" dress meeting. I'm always afraid of dressing too dressy or too casual. Luckily Nettie helped me pack, she's very clothing conscious. Other than changing the shoes she picked and vetoing the skirt in the car, I'm taking the advise of a 9 year old.

I worry about the stupidest shit.

Have some green beer and kiss a red-head today!

13 March 2008

I don't understand.

Let me make sure I have my facts straight first.

Republican majority Florida legislature sets their primary date too early despite warnings of delegate loss (at least half) from both parties. Republican delegates are cut in half*, Dem's go above and beyond the minimum punishment in the party rules and bars all delegates. DNC asks candidates to not campaign in the state and none do. DNC asks candidates to remove their names from the ballots, none do because Clinton didn't in Michigan. Voters go to the polls and vote; every voter in the Democratic presidential primary was disenfranchised. The primary turns out to be very close. The voters of Florida would really like their votes to count. The state democratic party wants a re-vote, the legislature says the state won't/can't pay for. (I don't know as much about what happened in or what they are thinking about doing in Michigan, so I won't discuss it here.)

I understand that politics is often not pretty and that republicans were not the only people to vote for the new primary date and there was no particular reason to think the state would lose all it's delegates from either party.(Also, I see no reason why this couldn't have happened with a democratic legislature and/or the GOP, it just happens it didn't.) I understand that the moving of the date may have been a protest of the rules that make the early states always the early states. It may have also been attempt at snagging more campaign dollars, the two aren't mutually exclusive.

Do I have all that basically right? Then two questions: Why, since the legislature created the problem by thumbing their noses at both parties, can they not help find a solution? And why did the DNC decide to cut all of Florida's (and Michigan's) delegates anyway?

Also, is Florida having another vote for other primaries and/or other things later like Alabama?

*not the actual delegates that would be very messy and counter productive, you need them alive at the convention, the number of delegates

*Fixed the state. Swear I knew that, don't know why I had Wisconsin on the brain. Other than apparently I can spell Wisconsin but not Michigan.*

12 March 2008

I Has Translation?

I think the Blog Challenge my have died. But if no one minds I'm going to keep using the post topics for Kleeblatchen. I have a hard time coming up with something to ramble about in German, I need a topic.

I just tried Google translate on my latest post. HILARIOUS. If I remember my classes correctly*, at least in spoken German, tense can be implied. You can say "I go to the store tomorrow" or "She teaches me 2nd grade" and it is correct and understood. The translator can't handle that, no big surprise there. It has a hard time with "like", too. "Ich habe es gern" means "I like it". If you translate each word you get either "I have it like" or "I have it happy". My dad
"has sweet peas happy" according to translator; maybe it would have done better if it knew what Edelwicke are?

There are some other amusing mistranslations (I think I all those caused by misspellings) but you can understand the post, which is pretty frickin' cool when you think about it.

*I really need to buckle down and pull out the old text books. I keep meaning to.

Never Played but....

I Am A: Lawful Neutral Halfling Wizard (3rd Level)

Ability Scores:

Thanks to Sarah for the link to What D&D Character Would You Be? Because I don't have enough things to distract me from actual work.

06 March 2008


I was telling Honu-Girl about a "small world" kind of conversation I had the other day at the hairdressers. Since I've been working here at the Survey, the "do you know...?" questions often involve people who work here, or used to work here (I swear I've been asked about people who retired 10 years ago.), or, occasionally, some random geologist that the individual happens to know. This got me thinking about how often people ask me if I'm related to other people in town with my last name. This question often follows asking about where I live. I wondered why the askers assume I'm a local and would have family here. I don't sound much like a native (thank you for confirmation, H-G), in fact I would think my accent (or lack of, depending on how you look at it) would signal that I'm not a native Tuscaloosian. (I do admit it is a bit confusing that my parents live here, but often the asker doesn't know that.) Obviously not everyone makes that assumption, but I wonder if the people who seem to assume that I'm a native with family around*, think of Tuscaloosa as a small enough place that people don't move here from far away. This made me think that in northern Virginia, where I grew up, people would ask you where you were from, where the underlying assumption is that you didn't grow up in the DC area. Honu-Girl so correctly pointed out that the population in the DC area was very transient, making the assumption different.

Anyway all of this got me to thinking about how much of what I assume about the world, people I meet, etc. is based on my childhood. The neighborhood I grew up in is how 'most' neighborhoods are; my blended family isn't so odd (quite true now); having siblings old enough to be your parent is normal (or young enough to be your child); minorities come in many skin colors, countries of origin, and socio-economic classes, and speak many different languages; families are all spread out across the country (or world);...I could go on all day. It's not that there is anything wrong with Tuscaloosa per se, it's just not my default 'normal'.

What do you think? How strongly is your view of the world and what is "normal" colored by where you grew up?

Oh, yeah, I'm pretty happy with my childhood. That probably helps.

*My parents, two brothers with families, and two sisters do live here but the one whose ever shared my last name was born here (littlest sister). Mom's oldest has lived here most of his life but has a different last name. Also, one of my brother's in Birmingham has lived there most of his life and shares my last name, but no one ever asks me if I'm related to him.

03 March 2008


Debris falls on Mars, caught in the act.

Wednesday Child

Saturday, while running errands with Nettie, the song "Wednesday's Child" came on. I asked Nettie if she knew why it was called that. "No" was the answer, as I figured. So I told her the nursery rhyme. She couldn't believe I had it memorized (filed away with all those song lyrics, which crowd out what I did at work last year) but was otherwise completely unimpressed. I don't think she made the connection. (I'm a Monday's child, BTW.)

I was just sitting here wondering if she'd ever heard that nursery rhyme before. Did Mom read them to me more or have my years of aunt-hood and sisterhood made me a repository of (most half remembered) nursery rhymes?

I think my very favorite was the alphabet one in the Better Homes & Gardens' collection (can't find it on Amazon!). "A was once an apple pie, pidy, widy, tidy, hot insidy apple pie...X was once the great King Xerxes, werxes, serxes,..." (those are the only two I can remember just now). I also loved a counting song "Down by the old mill pond"? ("Down by the mill in a warm pond lived a Mother otter and her little otter one. "Swim," said the Mother, "I swim," said the one and they swam all day in the sand and the sun." Something like that, I'm going to have to borrow the book form Mom.) What's one of your favorite nursery rhymes?

Tag lines

This morning I had too many possible "available messages" to pick from. I went with "I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues." It's from the Lorax by Dr. Suess, yesterday was his birthday.

The losing lines were:
Are there ANY vowels in the new Russian President's name? (From the news, a bit long.)
Anarchists have textbooks? (also from the news)
Little snoozing opportunity. (reason I was on time to work this morning)

Some day's I really can't think of anything to put there, making "Time to go home?" a common message. But today I have too many choices.

So...is it going home time yet?

Update: I could add "Blue is my least favorite color" to the list of possiblities, since I just got BOD AGAIN! (but the first time this week:))