Monday, July 26, 2004

I Saw the Moon Last Night

It's been raining a lot here this summer, making the usual talk of Colorado summer fires and droughts seem extremely ridiculous as they show up on the same page of newspaper where they describe recent flooding in the area. The other side effect of all this rain is that we rarely have clear nights. But last night, Mark and I left to go grocery shopping and stopped just outside our front patio. The sky was clear. We quickly took care of that whole "buying food for the week" task and returned home to see about setting up Mark's telescope. Living in the north Denver Metro area makes finding a dark sky difficult, but we decided to use some protected areas in our apartment complex to look at the moon.

I know I've looked through a telescope before. I must have. My brother had a telescope once. I think. But I don't really remember the experience. So when Mark put his swanky scope together and plopped on one of the high power pieces, I was a bit stunned to actually, really, truly see the moon. Not only could I study the craters and the other surface features, but I had to keep adjusting the scope to keep the moon in my field of vision because that squirrelly sucker of a celestial object was huffing it across the night sky. Unfortunately, there was way too much moisture in the air to really see anything else. Jupiter had already set by the time we got the scope set up, and the bleeding of Denver's light prevented us from getting a lock on Pluto or Uranus. But we have the scope assembled and on display in a corner of our dining room (along with the keyboard, the cookbook shelf, the display thingy for some crystal vases, and, of course, the dining room table; yes, it's cramped, but we'll survive).

If you haven't looked through a scope and studied the moon's surface, you just haven't lived. Check out your local astronomy hobbyist club or, if you're near a big university, see when they have their public viewings. It's a bit indescribable to be standing outside of your apartment, looking into a cardboard tube with mirrors and staring at the detail of the moon as it passes through the night sky.

And in other big news, Mark was able to update our website yesterday. He's even included a little sidebar of entertaining snippets from this humble blog. Check it out.

Friday, July 23, 2004

More Internet Fun

I love playing around with quizzes and such. Via Kat:

create your own visited country map

Which doesn't look nearly as impressive as this:

create your personalized map of europe

Western Europe is MINE! Muahahahaha!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

More Good Books

Per my therapist's suggestions, I've been working my way through I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was by Barbara Sher and The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Good books, especially if you feel a bit lost in your own life, as I've been feeling for the past two years. Reading these two books has been an exercise in catharsis for me. Very helpful, if somewhat emotional at times.

I tried to post twice yesterday, but Blogger thwarted me each time. So I decided to wait until today. I had my sixth interview on Tuesday, and it went really well. I'm still waiting to hear back from interviews four and five as well. I'm hoping these three loose ends will wrap up by the end of the month, and it'd be nice if one of them wrapped up in such a way as to get me a job. I'm just sayin'....

Found this via Jenny:
I will be stung by a swarm of killer bees

How will you die? Take the Exotic Cause of Death Test

Given my penchant for sneezing, I expected I would go by way of "Sneezing your brain out". And I have an issue with the "death by West Nile" option listed. The West Nile mortality rate is nothing, and your immune system usually needs to be compromised in some other way before the virus can be that serious. Although I've been seeing reports that West Nile leaves a lot of lingering side effects (dizziness, fatigue, muscle ache, etc). If people were this vigilant and freaked about HIV....

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Joys of Unemployment

There are so many.  Truly.  Sleeping in.  Watching TV whenever you want.  Discovering the bliss that is twelve hours of uninterrupted video gaming.  But nothing compares to the ability to go on extended reading binges.  In addition to the books mentioned on the sidebar that I've been working through, I steamrolled through One for the Money and Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich, and The Gathering Flame by Debra Doyle and James D. MacDonald.  Evanovich's Stephanie Plum mysteries are hilarious, though the actual mystery-threads in the stories seem bland.  Maybe that's because I'm used to suspense/mystery elements in scifi and fantasy.  Speaking of the Plum mysteries, I should mention a peril of unemployment:  setting foot anywhere near a book store with a credit card in hand.  I suffer this danger every Tuesday when I go to Border's for my RMFW critique group.  But I guess I'll deal with having a ton of reading material at my disposal.  There are worse things that could happen.  Such as the lowering of your television viewing tastes.  Spending all this time at home as made me far less particular in what I'll become a couch potato for.  Case in point was yesterday morning when I decided to watch the Travel Channel's special on the best Caribbean Resorts.  They were even so kind as to mention the price tags for a stay in some of these places.  I was more scared after that then after I watched Signs.  But the strangest thing happened when they did their little montage thing on the number one resort.  They interviewed the hotel manager, who happened to be Slavic.  No biggie, I'm sure they've got hotel management training everywhere in the world.  Then they interviewed the activities director, and she was Slavic too.  Ok, I think, no big deal, so he brought a team from wherever he trained with him.  But then they interviewed three guests at the resort, and they were Slavic.  Do you smell a conspiracy?  I did, if only to give me something to occupy my imagination for a while.

Monday, July 19, 2004

More Camping

Mark and I went up to Dinosaur National Monument this weekend.  The weather was great, the scenery was beautiful, our campsite was perfect, and we had part of the park entirely to ourselves for most of our Sunday morning drive and hike.  This time, we also remembered to bring bratwursts for the campfire.  Yummy.  There were only a couple bad spots to the trip.  The first didn't become apparent until we settled into the tent for the night.  Turns our the air mattress (yes, I know it's a camping cop-out; so sue me) has a leak.  Thank you, kitty hind leg claws.  So we started the night with a very comfy sleeping surface, and woke to the ground.  Not pleasant.  Then we began our drive into the canyon part of the park and discovered a lovely insect called the Mormon cricket.  These guys are cannibalistic, which means all you have to do is run over one of the suckers on the road and you get a feeding frenzy, which in turn leads to more of the damn things getting squished, which brings on another onslaught of the nasty critters, and so on.  Our tires and wheel wells were absolutely coated with smelly, puke yellow bug guts.  Luckily, it rained on the way home.  And that leads to the last bit of unpleasantness of the trip:  spending two hours on a thirty-mile stretch of I-70 because everyone and their gaggle of long-lost cousins wanted to get back to Denver at 5PM yesterday.

But it was worth the trip.  Seeing a huge rock wall teeming with dinosaur bones of several different species was pretty amazing.  And then all the funky geological processes that formed the canyons and mountains in the park is wicked cool - in the "I'm a science geek" way that Mark and I share.  Plus it was remarkable to see the park on a Sunday morning when no one else was around.  I've never seen a place so deserted.  As sad as we thought it was that the rest of America was missing out on something so spectacular, we didn't mind being able to see it by ourselves.  Mark just got around to scanning in pictures of Sand Dunes from our last camping trip, and he will scan in some pictures of this trip (as soon as we get the film developed - hopefully tonight), and just maybe he'll get around to putting them on our long-neglected website so you can see two places you really need to visit if you're ever in the area.  Just stay in Salt Lake City so you don't have to mess with I-70 eastbound into Denver on your way back from the park.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Jury Duty

So I survived my first experience with jury duty yesterday. And it was a fascinating time. I wasn't selected to sit on the jury, but I wish I had been. If only to have the complete experience. It was interesting to see the process and how everyone handled it. The judge seemed to be having fun just getting to know everybody. He asked us all about our general situation in life, asking for more detail seemingly whenever something peaked his interest. The prosecution tried to see how we handled reasonable doubt, phrasing their questions in a way that made me think they had a few holes in their case. And the defense seemed to want a jury with members who believed cops harrass citizens based on their bumper stickers. I'm not sure if the prosecution or the defense cut me. I'd like to know, just to understand the thought-process behind the decisions, get an understanding of how lawyers on either side like to set up their juries. I could've been cut because of my science background. I could've been cut because my uncle is a cop. I could've been cut because I said that I would admit to a mistake I didn't make if the stakes were low enough and doing so would make life appreciably easier (we're talking about "who ate the last cookie" stuff here). I could've been cut because I'm a total babe and that fact kept distracting the prosecutor (Hey, it was a fun story idea to play with, so I ran with it when the questions turned boring).

If I had thought about before I was halfway home, I would've stayed for the trial (I'm pretty sure it was open). Not because the case was really interesting, but because I wanted to see the whole process. I wanted to hear the prosecution present its case and the defense offer its theories. I wanted to watch all the faces, hear all the word choices, see all the postures. It was a new situation for me, and the observing scientist within me just wanted to soak up every last bit of it.

I can't wait for my next summons.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Catching Up

Another month gone by. I suppose I should get serious about posting regularly again. It's just crazy how little there is to say when you're not in a workplace 40 hours a week. Plus, I'm far too busy watching Stargate SG-1 in the mornings and then writing in the afternoons to putter around on the web. :)

Yes, now that I've managed to get rid of my Victoria's Secret and Bath&Body Works credit cards, I've discovered the joys of the Best Buy credit card. Last weekend I rustled up seasons 3, 5, & 6 of SG-1 on DVD. So I've gotten into the habit of watching an episode or five after my morning workout. The good thing about that is the story ideas this show generates. Not novel story ideas. Short story ideas. In fact, I'm working on one now (although, it's about 10,000 words, so it's technically a "novelette"). I write these stories for about two hours, take a walk, and then I sit down and work on research for The Masque.

Or sometimes I'll read instead of gluing myself to the couch. In fact, I managed to read a few books I forgot to list as my June reading: On Basilisk Station and Honor of the Queen by David Weber, and A Thousand Words for Stranger by Julie E Czerneda. But I'm starting to slow my reading down now that my writing's kicked back into gear.

Yeah, I think I've finally gotten the hang of dealing with myself while unemployed. But there's a part of me that hopes by saying I've got the hang of it that I will trigger God's Wit and land myself a job in a few days.