Saturday, April 29, 2006

Alphabet Meme

I got this meme from Mike: "Write ten words beginning with that letter in your journal, including an explanation what the word means to you and why, and then pass out letters to those who want to play along. " He gave me the letter N.

1. Nice - this is typically how I'm described. Not that it's bad, but it is boring. Whenever I try to break the mold, though, I fail. Guess I'm doomed to be nice.

2. Niche - thought I'd found mine; turns out I haven't. That's a good thing, I believe, because I'd hate to think that life couldn't change after the age of thirty-five.

3. NASA - from Mercury to Apollo, Hubble to Cassini, grad school funding to E/PO grants, NASA has had an effect on my life that's almost impossible to describe. Perfect? No, but where would our understanding of the cosmos be without NASA?

4. Nebula - birthplace of stars, birthplace of dreams. The cycle of life and death playing out on an unfathomable scale. Seeing this image of the Vela supernova remnant when I was a young girl marked the beginning of my journey towards being an astrophysicist.

5. Nerd - gee, ya think?

6. Nature - you might be sensing a theme here. Taking the time to appreciate the universe around me is very important to me - looking through a telescope, touching a moon rock, sitting on an cliff overlooking the ocean, pressing my nose against the airplane window to peer at volcanoes, hiking in the cool mountain air... It isn't that I don't appreciate man-made works of art and literature, but nature awes me.

7. Night - I love the darkness, the cool air, the silence. I love the stars, Moon, and planets all shimmering above. I love moonlight streaming through the window and the last lingering stars before dawn.

8. Never - I never thought I'd fly alone on a plane. I never thought I'd lose 60 lbs. I never thought I'd drive across country alone. Never is a word that I will attempt to use more judiciously in the future.

9. Nine Inch Nails - the last few years been rough, and I don't know what I would have done without Trent Reznor - new album, concerts, and lyrics that speak to me like no others.

10. Next - mmm...the possibilities are endless.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


  • The Grand Canyon illuminated by the early morning Sun
  • Nevada reminding me of Mars
  • Mt. St. Helens ominously steaming
  • The Space Needle looking tiny in the distance
  • The Tacoma Narrows Bridge and its "strong winds" sign
  • The Port Washington Narrows while eating a chocolate chip cookie
  • Mt. Rainier so pristine, so close, illuminated by the setting sun
  • Night-time Phoenix, reminding me of Coruscant, because that's just how I am

All in one's an amazing world.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Last night I had a very odd dream. It started with a discussion with a student, who said he owned a bookstore specializing in history books. (Surprising, because he doesn't strike me as being particularly bookish.) However I was reminded that I had been neglecting the course I was taking on running my own business. So I dragged myself to that class, where we were doing some sort of trust-building exercise by singing solo in front of the class. Everybody else performed lovely renditions of Beatles songs or snippets of opera arias. Me, I couldn't think of anything. No songs, no words were in my head. When it was finally my turn, I burst into the only song I could think of at the time - "Particle Man" by They Might Be Giants. Much laughter ensued. I left the class, but on the way out I did sure take that last chocolate donut.

My dreams are typically straightforward to interpret: student interaction is done on a daily basis, I'm obsessed with books, and I want every bit of chocolate I see. The singing was prompted by chancing upon a student who was demonstrating her singing skills by singing "Country Roads" by John Denver in her best soprano vibrato. Now that's weird.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Good day

Today is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Many people celebrate this day - we did so by preparing a breakfast of bacon, eggs, and banana walnut pancakes. It was a very pleasant day overall, a nice respite from the hectic semester that this has become. Only four weeks left, including finals. I'm not convinced I'll be able to finish all my grading and other obligations. But for most of today, I forgot that. It was a good day.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Moon!

Alright, it isn't a spectacular image, but it is my first astrophoto, taken after tonight's astronomy lab. Moon!

Monday, April 10, 2006

To Do

Last week was so busy that I didn't even have time to write my weekly to-do list. Now I'm fearing that I've forgotten something important. I'm sure the students will let me know. I did accomplish one thing on my mental list - to have a nice mixture of work and play this weekend. I graded and completed bills/taxes, but I had a massage, and we also ate at two restaurants we hadn't tried and spent part of one evening reading at a coffee house. I feel a little bit better about beginning these last five weeks of the semester, but they're going to be hectic.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Evil M&Ms

They were calling to me, those peanut M&Ms. I usually don't have them around, but there they were, leftover from the Vegas road-trip. I could not resist. All gone now. I guess I'll call this M&M incident "dinner" and move on.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

NIN in Vegas

Got back not too long ago from a weekend in Las Vegas with Greg, who graciously escorted me to my fourth Nine Inch Nails concert of the past year. Vegas, as always, was fascinating and repulsive. NIN, as always, was spectacular. Opened with "Mr. Self Destruct" - aaiiee! Performed "Something I Can Never Have" - as a guy behind me blurted out during this song, "God can strike me down now". Saul Williams was an amazing opening act. I'm glad I've been introduced to his work - kind of punk hip-hop. Gotta see if I can squeeze in one of the shows on the NIN summer tour, which Trent says will be the last for the US for awhile. And is there any man who looks sexier with a tambourine than Trent Reznor? I know, it makes no sense unless you see him, but oh my goodness...