Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dream come true

I'm sick, which makes me very cranky. I have a sore throat and am achy all over, but at least the low fever is gone. I barely made it through teaching today. During my half hour break between teaching lab and lecture, I went into the office and there it was: the dream cake. Moist chocolate cake, whipped cream frosting... a Halloween gift from one of the publishing reps. I took a tiny piece and ate it with my fingers. I didn't care that I was getting whipped cream all over the place - it was my cake! I did not go back for seconds, but I was so tempted! I am sick, after all, and I am convinced of the curative power of chocolate. Must administer more doses!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Weekend in review

This was quite a lovely weekend. On Friday night, we went out on a date. We ate dinner outside in the cool air at a nice restaurant and wandered around a bookstore. Then we went to a concert of spooky music at the university. The acoustics at Gammage Auditorium are really good, and I very much enjoyed the selections from John Williams' Harry Potter soundtrack. "Hedwig's Theme" is just a perfect bit of music - magical and melancholy, just like Harry. I hadn't been to a concert of symphonic music in a long time. Brought me to tears... I used to play flute and oboe and, as a teenager, my goals were torn - pursue music or astronomy? I chose astronomy, arguing to myself that I could continue to play music on my own. There are an oboe and a flute, long untouched, sitting in my closet. I really should drag them out. Warn the neighbors!

The rest of the weekend has involved yummy food, some work, and cozy naps. I also finished The Pox Party - The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, vol. 1 by M.T. Anderson. The book is amazing. It's marketed as YA, which is appropriate if you go by age of the protagonist, but this book is rich on so many levels. I hope that it receives wide readership. If you haven't read it, do so. I give it my highest recommendation.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Much like my urge to spend today playing outside is running up against my need to do my $@!# job, galaxies collide - the Antennae galaxies, from Hubble

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


My allergies are bothering me, and their most annoying manifestation is the clogging of my ears. Yesterday morning, I found myself pleading to the kids in the back of the lecture hall to speak up. Blah. Makes me cranky. I've started on some allergy medication, so I'm hopeful things will clear up soon. Until then, I'll just continue on in my soundproof world. Bah.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bits and Pieces

I haven't written for awhile, so it's time to catch up:

  • My talk for Math Club went quite well. Over 50 people showed up on a Friday afternoon!
  • We have discovered a tasty bakery in Tempe - Pleaissant Croissants. They only make plain and stuffed croissants, no other pastries, but let's just say that they do one thing very, very well. Mmm...
  • A former student was shot two weeks ago. He's going to be alright, but still...
  • Along with my cake craving, I have developed a cookie craving. Luckily we found another bakery last night - La Grande Orange Grocery. I had an MJ cookie - a double-chocolate cookie the size of my head. Mmm... the pizza is great, too.
  • I spent most of this past Friday in an incredibly dull meeting. I don't feel like I've woken up since.
  • Bought the latest Tamora Pierce book today. Yay! I'll start reading it when I finish the latest MT Anderson, which is a well-written, disturbing, not very "young adult" novel.

Yup. That's my life currently. Must go prepare for class tomorrow. Carry on.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Lessons and Loss

My ex-brother-in-law (my sister's ex-husband) died today. He was always very good to me. He was an avid reader, had a wicked sense of humor and a sharp wit, and was a gourmet cook. He had wide-ranging interests, loved his kids (including my niece), and was incredibly generous. He had been a brilliant, well-known trial attorney until he retired to raise cattle on a remote farm in Oregon.

He was also an alcoholic, and that's what caught up to him today. He'd been an alcoholic for as long as I'd known him, although it wasn't obvious at first. He'd had his sober periods, but could never stay away for long. This final binge led to fatal alcohol poisoning. He is the second of his brothers to die of alcohol-related ailments, and the only surviving brother has recently had a liver transplant.

I don't drink. I resist using medication. The closest I get to mood-altering substances are daily chocolate, occasional caffeinated beverages, cuddling, and NIN. My choice to not drink or use drugs is a lesson I learned from my former brother-in-law. I saw him, his family, and indications in my family that my path could lead down a similar road. If such an intelligent man could not battle his demon, this horrible disease, I surely had no hope of doing so. It is a lesson I am glad that I heeded, but I'm sorry it came at such a high price.

Rest in peace, Wade.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


More than the sum of its parts - Saturn and newly discovered rings, from Cassini

Monday, October 09, 2006

Good Idea, Bad Idea

I have agreed to do another presentation for the Math Club at my community college. A good idea. Agreeing to do it on a week's notice? A bad idea.

We went to see Michael Chabon give a reading this weekend. That was a very good idea. It was the best reading I've ever attended, with short fragments of existing prose set amongst an interweaving narrative. He was charming, funny and intelligent, and I came away with an even greater appreciation of his work.

What's up with the quarterback rating system? A bad idea. What sort of rating system has a maximum value of 158.3? What got into these people? Normalize that function, please!

I was torn between biscuits & gravy or chorizo & eggs on Sunday morning. So I split an order of each with Greg. I'm still not sure if that was a bad idea or my best idea ever!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


A storm passed through today. I was in my astronomy lecture, talking about the Moon. I was comparing erosion processes on the Moon with those on the Earth. Every time I said "rain", "running water", or "weathering", thunder would rattle the room. It was like I had a soundtrack for my lecture. My class was in hysterics. It was awesome.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


The recent school shootings have bothered me more than I would have anticipated.

I have yet to obtain the perfect cake.

It was still 100 degrees today.

I had to skip the gym to get work done.

I keep feeling like I'm supposed to be somewhere else.

And that damned face recognition/celebrity match software said I most resembled a Japanese dude.