What's on my mind.

25 November 2008


While I wait for a software quote I thought I'd introduce the latest visitor to my home:

I first met him last week when I opened the dishwasher and he fell in (from under the edge of the counter). I'd much rather have an American anole (commonly called chameleons) drop into the dish washer than and American cockroach (which has happened a time or two - can we say dishwasher run half full?). Sunday night he was hanging out on the dog's water dish; I advised him to sit still because the cats* (following me in hopes I might accidentally open a can of tuna and drop it on the floor) would love to chase him. Last night he decided the clean clothes were a good place to hang out and he was still there this morning. I think he thinks he blends in.

*speaking of the cats - I must be well loved, there were TWO field mice on the porch last night. Not nearly as much meat as the dove a couple of months ago but presented with just as much love.

21 November 2008

A performer, really?

I've been lurking on some geo-blogs for the last few weeks and today Silver Fox has a post about Typealyzer. It is suppose to figure out your "type", similar to the Meyer-Briggs. Apparently I'm an ESFP, a Performer:
The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.
They don't know me too well, do they? I most definitely don't live in the preset moment (always thinking to much to notice it). I adore planning ahead (and/or obsessing about the past). I'm rarely at risk of exhausting myself (my favorite hobby is napping). I do like helping people but it's not my career. I do avoid conflict (like the plague!) and don't want to move into management but not because of the confrontation issue - it's all the paperwork and other BS. My boss spends probably half his time doing non-geology stuff. His boss doesn't do hardly any actual geology anymore, just administrative stuff that allows the rest of us to do geology.

Good thing I don't put a whole lot of stock in these types of tests. They can be useful but only if you recognize their limitations and weaknesses. (If you want more on the subject talk to my mother, the educational psychologist.) At least the makers of this analyzer admit that it only tests what you write and suggest that you use it to think about how you write.

19 November 2008

Alabama Geology 101

Yesterday I actually got to go out and look at some real rocks. (Wo0t!1!) I took a bunch of pictures so of which were actually geological in nature. I thought I'd share a few to give my far-flung readers an idea of what it is like doing field work in Alabama.

First off, it was chilly (around 40°F/4.5C); although it wasn't so bad since I could do my work wearing real gloves and a hat didn't seem weird, as opposed to being in the office where I can only wear half-finger gloves to type and wearing my hat seems a bit of overkill.* It was almost nice in the sun for a little while. And it isn't nearly as bad as it can be (it is Alabama after all). Heck it was WAY nicer than field work in August and there's less foliage to deal with. Procuring lunch can be difficult is some areas. Ashville has a relatively new Mexican restaurant (in the shopping center with Ashville Drug, towards the interstate) that was pretty good. It is definitely a positive addition to the area. And to be fair, we were looking for shale outcrops in the 'mushwad'^, so large fresh exposures don't exist.

First stop was the longest and highest (3-5 feet tall by 160-180 feet long or 1-1.65 m by 56-60m), here's a representative picture:

It was a little too sunny for good pictures. There's a mylonitic zone right where my boss is looking about where the shadow starts. The contrast between sun and shade is almost too much to make zone visible in pictures.

Second stop was in the ditch on the side of a road:

This outcrop is about 1 foot high and 2.5 feet long (.3m high and .75m long).

Here are my co-workers take a strike and dip. The book is to even out and extend the tiny bit of rock sticking out of the weathered material. It doesn't give you much room to work with though. This outcrop does have the advantage that every few years the county will come and scrap it out potentially and temporarily creating better exposure.

Third stop by the railroad, very interesting, very complex:

We could spend days just getting data from this stop but it might give some clues to the internal structures of the mushwad.

Fourth stop by the railroad tracks further down, yay for resistant beds:

We tried to get a strike while the train went by but that amount of steel completely screwed up the compass. So all we could do was count cars until it passed.

The fifth outcrop we went looking for has been sodded over by the highway department. DOT is one out the best outcrop makers in Alabama (probably throughout the SE) and in Alabama we can stop and look at the rocks (in VA that's not allowed). Unfortunately the DOT doesn't appreciate the need to keep outcrops free of trees and bushes and likes to (at least try) to grass over rocks. They also have a tendency to shotcrete less competent strata - gunite running parallel to bedded - likely shale, gunite at high angle to bedding - likely fault, gunite over the entire outcrop - g@ddamn engineers, the secrets of the Birmingham anticlinorium could be hidden behind that.

*Actually, right now the system seems to working and it's comfortable. This may or may not last.
^area of thick structurally complex Conasuaga

14 November 2008

What is Normal, Anyway?

As early as Tuesday I was trying to think of something to do this weekend. Not go to the park or should I clean type stuff (Evening game rules out the park Sat. and I always need to clean.) but something around other people, people not related to me. Something normal 30-somethings do - whatever that is. I think I've mentioned this before but every once and a while I really really want to not be by myself. Unfortunately being alone while surrounded by people is extremely depressing, so as much as I'd like to go out I don't want to just as much. Here's a list of options:
Go to a bar - have to time that one really close, too early and the dance floor's too empty (or the band hasn't even started) and I leave before I can get tipsy enough to get on the dance floor and have fun.
Dance (Sat) - been there not done that; I just can't bring myself to go alone.
Spend the weekend with Mal and his crew, the Epps brothers, and other people with the script writers on their side.

Well, I'm going to toss the cat out, let the dog in, and turn on the TV.

07 November 2008

Ladies, can we talk?

So no one had an opinion about voter registration fraud, huh? Well, I have another question and PSA for teh interweebs today: Why don't women wear appropriately supportive undergarments while exercising?

Many mornings I pass a group of city cops jogging. Twice now I've passed one youngish woman who could really use a more supportive bra. Both times I've thought 'ow ow ow' with each step I witness. Then last night CBS 42 did a segment on a woman who has lost 105 pounds over the last two years by taking up running (and some other exercise) and eating right. And that's awesome and inspiring and all but OMG does she need better sports bras. They had several shots of her jogging and I thought it looked a little painful. Then they had her finishing a 5k and that bounce was even worse. It looked like she was wearing reasonably supportive bras in the shots of her in everyday/work clothes. Why was she running in a bra that left her boobs near her waist? Does it not hurt to bounce that much? Is it just the cost of a good bra? I don't understand. I can't trot down the stairs in my pjs without an arm across my chest, I can't imagine running five kilometers (approx. 3 miles) like that.

Where I taught, there were several students who needed more than a Walmart sports bra could offer. (This was obvious during volleyball, never mind basketball.) I brought it up one day with several and I happened to have an equestrian catalog* with me and showed them a bra that is designed for high impact activities for all (offered) cup sizes. They choked on the $50 price. I mentioned some other catalogs/websites that have a wide selection of sports bras, with no takers. It probably didn't help that the English teacher/assistant coach simply suggested wear up to 3 bras at once which is what she sometimes did**.

Part of the problem is that some woman aren't wearing the right cup size to begin with. Part of the problem is that one style bra may be appropriate for high impact for an A or B cup but only good for moderate impact for a C or D and light impact for Es and above. So if you go to the store and they have a bra marked high impact and think you're good or that that is as good as it gets for a D - but it's not. I get a couple of catalogs that rate sports bras and if a style's bounce minimizing isn't as effective at larger sizes the description will say that. Also some sports bras are designed for larger woman and the different engineering problems posed by large mammaries. (I'm sure there are more catalogs/websites than those linked here.)

So here's the question to y'all: Is it not as painful for some woman as for others? Do some woman think there is no alternative? Can I set up a fund for well-endowed athletes?

* If you don't want your boobs to move, relative to your shoulders, look for a bra that lists horseback riding as one of the activities it's good for.
**In case you are math adverse: 3 $15 bras cost $45, which will buy you one good bra that will probably last longer than the 3 together.

04 November 2008

Have you voted?

If not, go vote, then you can come back and read.
If/when yes, I have a question for you - does this appall you?

When I was working in Andalusia (LA*, not Spain), one of my co-workers was telling us, almost proudly, that when she'd changed her voter registration after getting married she used the office address because it'd be so convenient to vote. Our office was, I believe, within the city limits; the young lady in question lived two towns over. This means that she could vote for mayor, city council member, etc. for a city she didn't live in and couldn't vote for her county council member, mayor, school board... for where she DID live. I have no idea where the state legislative district boundaries are/were, but she may have been voting in the wrong ones for that, too. She seemed to only look at the convenience factor of voting closer to work. (BTW, she worked 7-4 and lived at most 45 minutes from work.) I was horrified, but not so much that I thought to contact the registrar.

*Lower Alabama for those not in the know.

01 November 2008

Pumpkin guts anyone?

I was inspired by Yes We Carve to make my first jack-o-lanterns in at least 12 years. I discovered that there is a reason I don't carve pumpkins - I suck at it. But I persevered and here are the results. Some of you will find these more frightening that others.

More photos here.