Monday, July 31, 2006

Ah, summer

Hour at the gym, working breakfast at Starbucks, doctor's appointment, arrival at my office by 10am. Ah, summer vacation... Actually, this past weekend had quite the summer vibe to it - I read an entire book in four hours on Saturday. I haven't done that in years! The book was Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold. If my doctor had been running late as usual this morning, I would have been able to finish Barrayar, too. Oh well, I'll finish it later. Two books in three days - now that feels like summer vacation.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Answer: Both!

Question: Chocolate bread pudding or sopaipillas?


Thursday, July 27, 2006


Morning rain has cooled the air and made my hair all curly and foofy. Happy Lisa. To rejoice, I shall share a pretty picture - NGC 7331, courtesy of APOD and R. Jay Gabany.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Good Reads

The much beloved Jon Hansen has a delightful story up on Abyss & Apex - "Goddess". Go give it a read!

My favorite writer-dude Greg wrote a new short story that I was lucky enough to read before its official debut next month in "Show and Tell and Other Stories", from the good folks at Tropism Press. The new story "Far As You Can Go" made me feel wistful and small, yet hopeful. It's a beautiful piece.

ESPN has been running a series on the friendly fire death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan two years ago. The part that struck me most was the following reaction to Tillman's parents by the Army officer who conducted the first inquiry into the incident: ...these people have a hard time letting it go. It may be because of their religious beliefs. ...When you die, I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don't believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt. So for their son to die for nothing, and now he is no more — that is pretty hard to get your head around that. So I don't know how an atheist thinks. I can only imagine that that would be pretty tough. It can't possibly be that they just want to know how their son died. Nope, it's because they aren't good little Christians. Sigh.

I've been meaning to read some of Lois McMaster Bujold's books ever since I saw her on a panel at WorldCon years ago. The wonderful SarahP sent along "Young Miles" to Greg, who enjoyed it, so I had to read it, of course. Fun space opera, with moving character exploration. I'll be spending a serious chunk of time working through Bujold's works this year. I'm always so happy when I find a new author to explore. Thanks, Sarah, for getting me hooked!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

This place is stoopid

Valley summer nights hotter than usual - like we needed that! I know, I know...the whole country is suffering a heat wave, but when the low temperature is 93 degrees, it sucks. I'm all heat cranky. This is how I feel:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Five questions

The five questions meme. Here's how it works:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."

2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your journal with the answers to the questions (or leave your answers in my comments).

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Greg interviewed me:

1. What's the most beautiful object in space?

Just one? JUST ONE?!?!?! Alright, there's the pretty blue marble. There's also Rho Ophiuchi, but that technically isn't just one object. But it always comes back to Saturn, for me. Especially with the images that Cassini keeps sending back, Saturn is a constant battle of sunlight and shadow, globes and rings...there's a sense of perspective here that we can't get anywhere else (yet).

2. You've got two weeks, a full tank of gas (and means to refuel), snacks and a credit card. Where you going?

Assuming I need to start from home, I drive north from Phoenix, heading through Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. I stop for good food in Flagstaff. I then drive north and go through Zion and Bryce National Parks in Utah. Continuing north, I head into Idaho, driving through the Sun Valley area, and continue on to Glacier National Park in Montana. From there, westward to Vancouver. I head south and hit Seattle. Now that I've had a few days of city life, I head out to the Washington coast and then take Pacific Coast Highway all the way down the west coast. I'll take a detour to Powell's, I mean, Portland to restock on books, but otherwise I'll stay on the coast all the way through Oregon and California (stopping off at the Ferry Building in San Francisco) down to Cambria where I'll turn inland because the southern California coast is boring. Time for a quick meal in L.A. with friends before heading back to Phoenix. (My suitcase is calling upon me to fill it. Restless!)

3. Old stand-by: Dinner with any three people, living or dead. Who are they? (And, yes, you can just sit quietly and eavesdrop on the conversation if you want.)

I am obviously well-known by my interviewer, because I would definitely want to be quiet and eavesdrop. This is a hard question, because for the most part, I find ordinary people discussing their daily lives to be the most interesting. Maybe just three people off the street. (The sentimental part of me would invite Dad to have one last meal with Mom because she misses him so much and I'd leave them alone.)

4. You can teach your students one concept and one concept only, but they will completely understand and embrace this concept. What's on the syllabus?

How science is done. So many students want to learn the immutable truth, but science is all about change, a process and not a set of facts. And I would hope that, by the end of the course, I'd never hear the question, "Is that true?", but rather, "How'd we figure that out?"

5. What's one fear you wish you could eradicate from your system?

My biggest fear is of doing the wrong thing. This extends to all parts of my life, and I wish it didn't. It isn't just the big things like where will I move to or what my next life goal will be. I worry about making a bad choice of route to take or dinner I'll cook. We all make bad choices, but I don't want my fears to stop me from making choices at all.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Nothing much to say. Just feeling kind of blue and amorphous. Makes me think of reflection nebulae; here are a few in Corona Borealis.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I hope that y'all had a lovely holiday weekend. We spent a blissful few days in Vancouver. The weather was glorious - cloud-free and 70-degree temps. The food was yummy, the scenery was gorgeous, and the downtown area was full of interesting neighborhoods to explore. We logged over 25 miles of walking in two days. Highlights: walking the perimeter of Stanley Park, eating dessert on the balcony of our hotel room, perusing an amazing Chinatown, observing Canada Day celebrants. We definitely want to return to Vancouver some day. None of my pics could capture the wonderful time we had, but I'll post one anyways.