Hi Ho, Hi Ho

It’s off to the Brickyard I go.

Indianapolis, I am almost in you.

Work gig, several days worth, and while I am not a fan of the Indy 500, it will still be a little bit fun to walk the track once.  I would be way more excited if they’d let me drive.  Like a fucking maniac.  I mean, really, that would be something worth writing about. Amirite?

The animals are all freaking out from the hustle and bustle of suitcase and packing and running around.  I always have to be careful not to leave the suitcase open on the bed.  The cats think that is an open invitation for exacting revenge on me for leaving.

Did you guys see this shot today? Someone with a good camera and view of the Bay Bridge out his office window took this.  Click the link and see it bigger.

Here’s the original link with the whole story.  Awesome shot. Maybe the best lightning pic EVER.

So, cheerio, more later, have a good week, etc.



Had to go into work today; worked with a nice young man from a consulting company.  Smart.  Clean.  Stinky sinus infection breath.  [Why do so many men have sinus infections?]   He has virtual server labs set up at his house for the three major types of virtual services – VMWare, HyperVisor, and .. something else.  That’s a dedicated geek.   I forgot to look for a ring, don’t know if he has a wife or not.  Server lab in-home makes me wonder.

My more or less DIL appears to be getting religion if FB is a reliable indicator.  That’s too bad.  I think it’s one of her numerous cries for help.  Don’t know what to do about it, though.  Quit worrying, is probably the best answer here. Sigh.

I miss Bob.  He’s been gone for a few days.  The one at home is always the lonesome one; the one on the road is having too many adventures for loneliness to set in.  Usually that’s me on a work junket.  I’ve hardly ever been home sans Bob since we got married lo these x number of years ago.  I loved it the first couple of days.  Now, not so much.

Did you guys see this? Now you KNOW I’m feeling lonesome and weird.

*The stuff I was having a quandary about I erased because it was stupid, so now the title makes no sense.

Sally Ride

Wednesday Geek Woman: Sally Ride, astronaut and first American woman in space

Posted: 13 Jul 2011 08:00 AM PDT

This is a guest post by Maya. This entry originally appeared at the Project Exploration blog.

Sally Ride. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Sally Ride was born in 1951 in Los Angeles, California. As a young woman, her interests included science and tennis. She was a nationally ranked amateur, and she briefly left college to pursue tennis as a career. After several months of practice, she gave up on the idea and transferred to Stanford University, where she double majored in English and physics. After completing her undergraduate degree, she remained at Stanford to earn a master’s degree and a doctorate in physics.

After completing her education, Ride joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). She trained rigorously for a year, during which time she collaborated on the development of the Space Shuttle’s robot arm and worked in mission control as a Capsule Communicator. Once her training was completed, she was assigned to the Space Shuttle Challenger. When the shuttle was launched on June 18, 1983, Ride became the first American woman in space. Her second and final flight took place the following year. Over the course of her two missions, she spent a total of 14 days in space.

Ride was scheduled to take a third flight, but all training was suspended after the tragic Challenger accident in 1986. Instead, she was appointed to the Presidential Commission responsible for investigating the disaster. After the investigation was completed, she was assigned to NASA Headquarters.

Sally Ride aboard the Space Shuttle. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In 1989, Ride was offered a faculty position at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). At UCSD, she filled two roles—professor of physics and Director of the California Space Institute. In 2001, she founded her own company, Sally Ride Science, with the goal of promoting science education. She is now on leave from the university, working as president and chief executive officer of Sally Ride Science.

Ride has received numerous awards for her accomplishments. She has been inducted into the California Hall of Fame, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the Astronaut Hall of Fame, and the Aviation Hall of Fame. She is also a two-time NASA Space Flight Medalist.

Science is Ride’s passion, and she has written 6 books for children about space. She continues working to improve opportunities in science education, particularly for girls and young women. She hopes that today’s young people will come to share her love of science.





Sally Ride Science


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Unconscious Mutterings Week 411

I say … and you think … ?

  1. Block ::
  2. Comforter ::
  3. Santa ::
  4. Tape ::
  5. Humor ::
  6. Charity ::
  7. Receipt ::
  8. Hospice ::
  9. Stuffing ::
  10. Binge ::







I say … and you think … ?

  1. Block :: and tackle
  2. Comforter :: down
  3. Santa :: Claus
  4. Tape :: recorder
  5. Humor :: me
  6. Charity :: sweet
  7. Receipt :: Target
  8. Hospice :: dying
  9. Stuffing :: turkey
  10. Binge ::purge

I think this looks like I may have …. issues.  Or maybe I’m just old.


On a completely unrelated note:

I love this picture.  My mother and my son.  On Crete.

Color coordination and a little vacation

I’m a poet and I don’t know it but my feet show it cuz they’re LONGFELLERS.  OMFG I have regressed back to second grade.   Onward and upward from here.  Hopefully.

We’re trying to buy a new bedspread, and are looking for one that is the same color as all of our cats because it’s spring and they’re all shedding like crazy.  And it needs to be washable. Very important to be washable, as we have at least one cat barfer. I guess gray would be the base color, with some brown and orange thrown in. Needs to be Cal-King. And inexpensive. With shams and a skirt.  As it turns out, I’m asking for a LOT here.
Any good ideas for online shopping places would be welcome.

Bedding color 1, Grumpy Gray Cheetah

Bedding Color 2, Not Quite Sharing Gray, or Could I Get Any Farther Away Gray.   The current bedspread weighs about a hundred pounds (definitely not summer weight) and has to go to the laundromat for washing in the giant machine.  Not my favorite place to regularly spend 3 hours.  Also, I should have made the bed better before taking this picture, but then the animals would never have obliged.  Amirite?

We went to Ft. Bragg for my birthday last weekend. Got to celebrate being able to take a bath again with a jacuzzi tub. That was really nice and also cemented the knowledge that I don’t like jacuzzi jets, just like the bath part.  Good to know for future renovations.

Nice view from the tub.  What this shot doesn’t show is the giant construction mudhole right under the window.  Still, this was very nice.  And it smelled like bleach, a serious plus in a hotel tub if you’re planning to plant your arse in it.

I didn’t have enough energy to do much yet but that worked out as it rained like a motherfucker the majority of the time we were there. Got some “good” rain and rainbow shots, a few of which I have shared below.  The term “good” is used loosely here, as a) I was the photographer sometimes and b)when I wasn’t Bob was shooting from the moving vehicle.

For reference: Captions are mostly below the pictures.

We’re almost home here, looks like the rainbow ends at our house.  Yes, we live in the sticks.

I think these are cool pictures because they have a rainbow, rain on one side, and blue sky on the other.  Try not to look at the truck.

Rain and also not rain across Clear Lake.   This was beautiful.  The picture doesn’t do it justice or capture the sheer drama.

Bob took lots of wave pictures which I’ll spare you from, and a lot of animals.  We saw MANY vultures hanging out, and two wild turkeys standing by the road in two different places trying to decide whether or not they should step in front of a speeding car.   These two animal sightings may be related.   Also, geese on the bluff.

Duck duck GOOSE.  This was probably a nesting pair.  Below, Bob scares them away.

Okay, ONE wave picture.  The surf was very high from the storms rolling through.  I may have to use this one as my desktop picture for a while.

Warning, scary road ahead.

Said scary road, where the road had been washed away and repaired/repaved very recently.  There were two spots like this.   The ocean is right there on the left, you can’t quite see that but trust me, it was close.  Made me a tiny bit nervous going over it with the surf so high and the clouds rolling in.

The trees were so dense over this road that they blocked the satellite radio.  I thought that was amazing, but it probably wasn’t.

Some typical coast scenery, foggy trees in the background.  Lot of cloud drama going on here.  If you want to see these pictures in a bigger, clearer format either click on them (pretty slow) or they’re on the picasa site here.

PR Part 3

Here are my promised observations of Puerto Rico, and a look into my psyche via what made my favorites list.  Before you comment, let me just say, yes, I know I’m a little bit weird.

Favorite thing:  The lighted magnifying mirror in the hotel bathroom.  It made eerie white circles around my pupils and I looked like an alien when I put my makeup on. Cool! I could not get a picture of it, dammit.

Other fave thing:  My entire life I have been trying to learn Spanish but I appear to be functionally retarded at that and every other language besides English (and sometimes English).  I did, however, master the phrase, “Donde esta el banyo?” and have practiced it in my head for years.  I was with a group at the marina looking for the can and we spotted a guard.  One of the women asked where the bathroom was and got an apologetic “no English” answer.  I rattled off my line and the guy lit up and gave us great directions.  In Spanish, which no one understood.  But dammit, he understood me!  I was WAY happier with the whole episode than I should have been.

Other other fave thing:  The city bus drivers drove like maniacs.  I swear to God at one point we took a corner on two wheels.  It was great!  I’m a speed demon myself and truly appreciated their driving art.  Also, the drivers took care of their women fares. They made sure that each woman knew what direction they needed to go for their hotel or other destination.  It restored my faith in humanity.  Sort of.

The not so great part about the city bus drivers was that they obviously ran on island time, and the “every seven minutes” schedule worked out to more like twice an hour.  Still, it was much more exciting and a lot cheaper than taxis.  We went ahead and rented a car for the last two days.

We drove around quite a bit, trying to see if the crazy Puerto Rican drivers deserved their rep, but mainly it was the tourists who drove like spazzes (us included) because there are no road signs to speak of,  and when they were visible they were oddly placed and, of course, in Spanish.  The Spanish part wasn’t so hard, but many of the signs were placed  after where you were supposed to turn or at other odd intervals which was not so good.  Nevertheless, we found everything we were looking for eventually, and then some.  It was a little confusing – the speed limit (maxima velocidad) signs were in miles, and the “distance to” signs (what few there were), were in kilometers.  The gas is sold by the liter and is cheaper than it is here at home.  Proximity to SA, maybe?  The stop signs said Pare instead of Alto like they do in Mexico.

Other observations:  There were a lot of starving dogs around Aricebo.  I didn’t notice them in San Juan or Carolina, but along the Aricebo coast they were plentiful.  I gave one friendly dog at the beach some jerky, thereby probably prolonging its misery.

There are a lot of houses around the Aricebo coast that are being reclaimed by the jungle.  It’s so wet I’ll bet it doesn’t take very long to make one dissolve back into the earth.  I didn’t get any pictures of them and I’m sorry.  They were striking and poetic looking, somehow.  That area seems to be very poor EXCEPT around the observatory.

Horses and cows run around wherever they want, sans fences, on  a lot of the island.  You have to really pay attention when you’re out in the grassy areas where the rainforest has been cut down.  We saw one wreck that looked to be wandering horse-caused.  The horse appeared to be okay, the car not so much.  The tow truck driver had his lights flashing the whole time.

All service vehicles and some wanna be service vehicles in Puerto Rico drive around with their lights flashing, unless they are running a red light, then they turn them off.  We saw that a lot.  Sometimes the cops and ambulances have their sirens on, too. We asked a local how anyone could tell if the cops were actually pulling them over or just driving around like that, and he said You Can’t!  He cited several times of being followed through two or three lights and finally having the cop pull up beside him and holler YOU! YOU PULL OVER!  They’re all used to it but it made us laugh.

The people there were, for the most part, very nice.   Most everyone in the touristy areas was bilingual which made life easier for us tourists.  And the money is US dollars.

We stayed at the Ritz Carlton, if you can believe that.  It was a nice hotel, but my room had temperature control problems, and little bitty ants.  But really great shampoo and soap!*  There were so many free toiletries (which I stashed in Bob’s suitcase thereby adding 15 lbs to it) that Bob was afraid he was going to get snagged for grand theft when we checked out.

I would stay at the Ritz again if I was rich, but we couldn’t afford to eat there this time.  Seriously. Pancakes were $16.  Hamburgers were $18.  I’m not making that up.  A mimosa was $13.  We walked elsewhere for every meal after my conference was over.  We had breakfast at the Ritz once on the first day only.  Buffet was $26.  For breakfast.  So we had menu food, and it still ended up being almost $60.  FOR BREAKFAST, people.   It was good, but there isn’t a breakfast on the planet that’s worth $60.

Getting Our Exercise
We went kayaking at night on the ocean and through the Fajardo red mangrove canals into the Laguna Grande wildlife preserve where the bioluminescence bay is.  What a cool thing to do! I highly recommend it to anyone, even in the rain.  But no pictures!  You just can’t really take them there at night, and the guide said all the ones on the web have been photoshopped all to hell and back.   Here’s a daytime video of the entrance through the mangrove forest canal.  It was scarier at night.


Here’s some info on the bioluminescence –   about the light emitting dinoflagellates.  Hey, that makes them LEDs!

I have to go back to PR.  It’s a lovely place to visit and they take pretty good care of their tourists and there are a million things to do.   I didn’t get to see the Aricebo Observatory, which was my number one tourisy goal.  Next time!  And next time, we will stay somewhere with a kitchenette….

Bob took some great pictures of Old San Juan, posted here.

*I always collect all the shampoo etc every day and haul it home – we have a collection point at work and we periodically take it all down to the WEAVE  (Women Escaping A Violent Environment) center a couple of blocks away.  They appreciate it.   It makes me feel saintly.  And it was certainly no sweat off the Ritz Carlton’s back.

PR Part 2

Does this ocean make my ass look fat?


Behold, new pictures below via the links to Picasa.

They are of the Aricebo Lighthouse, which is kind of a weird place with pirates and an aquarium, and the Hacienda Siesta Alegre work party which is pretty much the coolest place I’ve ever been to a party, and our catamaran trip to Icacos Island.   And pics of the caves we toured. Rio Del Camuy.  That was interesting.  It took so long, though, that we ended up missing the Aricebo Observatory which was my main goal during the stay.  I am heartbroken.  OTOH, it gives me a great reason to come back.





I have a few observations about Puerto Rico, mainly why I liked it.  I will write them up on the heinous trip home and hopefully post post haste.

Hello, Puerto Rico!

After a long but unremarkable flight (that’s a good thing) we arrived in San Juan at 10 p.m. local time.  It took awhile to get the luggage but GLORIOSKI it was all there!  Yay! I’m always amazed when my luggage arrives with me.

We got to the Ritz and unpacked and I got my grump on because I was hungry and tired.  The porter had some food suggestions and also said we could get room service, but hamburgers, the least expensive meat thing on the room service menu, are $18 not including mandatory gratuity.  Yikes.  So we each had one of my supplements to take the edge off and give us time to decide whether or not to eat that late.  We went out and walked up and down the street – Isla Verde, I think – and got the lay of the land a little.  Then, around midnight, we found the beach and strolled along the pristine sands of Isla Verde bay for a half hour.  It was nice, and really great to move after being cramped up in that plane for 8 hours.

Walking on the beach at midnight in Puerto Rico. Most days, you can’t get there from here.  Quite idyllic and I got my grump decidedly _off_.

Finally made it to bed around two (fucking jet lag) and slept in a little.  Had breakfast outside looking at the ocean and the little black birds that were very good at stealing food.  There was also a largish iguana and a lot of smaller lizards around.   The flora and fauna here are wonderful!

The grounds at this hotel are lovely, especially the Ti plants.  I remember when I was very young we would buy these $2.00 sticks that were Hawaiian Ti plants.  You’d put them in water and sometimes they’d grow into leggy tropical plants that would die off just as quickly as they appeared.  Anyway, this is the first time I’ve seen what a Ti plant really should look like.  Gorgeous!


And here was the iguana – he/she was chomping the flowers off the impatiens plants like a little goat plowing through the garden.  I loves me a good lizzzard.  Don’t you just ❤ that he has food on his face?


We hung around the pool for a bit around noon but kept missing the wait staff with the goodies, dammit.   We walked on the beach again, then headed back up the street for lunch and adventuring. Our main goal of the day is to find a liquor and grocery store, harder than it sounds because we’re on foot.  Good exercise, though!

We ate fish tacos at a little place called Lupi’s – pretty good, actually.  Didn’t care for the gringo salsa, but the margaritas more than made up for it, or I just didn’t care any more.

More pics here.