Monday, November 27, 2006

More Thanksgiving

Spent a pleasant weekend with friends and family. Ate way too much. Didn't work nearly enough. Came back to the end-of-the-semester frenzy.

I'm thankful for meteorites, especially those I picked up today to show my classes.

I'm thankful for the well-being of my friends. I came back to school to hear that the boyfriend of one of my students was killed in an automobile accident this weekend. Hug your nearest and dearest.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I am thankful for my friends and family.

I am thankful for my health.

I am thankful for my work.

After yet another drive across the desert, I am thankful for peanut M&Ms and judicious use of caffeine.

I am thankful for beauty.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Flagging fan

The Cardinals, Bills, and 49ers (5-5!) all won today. Surely this is a sign of the apocalypse. Just in case, I want you all to know I love you.

I grew up in the Sacramento area, most of that time pre-Kings, so Bay Area sports were what I followed. The As were my American League team, the Giants were my National League team, and the 49ers were my great passion. Now the Giants are tainted by the Bonds scandal, the As are probably moving from Oakland to Fremont, and the beloved 49ers...are moving from San Francisco. Most likely they are moving to Santa Clara, but there have been rumors of a move to L.A., at which point I will just gut myself with a rusted spoon. Is there no such thing as loyalty? Sure these places are still in the Bay Area, but what about the communities that have supported them for so long? Grrr....This will test MY loyalty, to be sure.

Speaking of my 49ers, though, reminds me that the great Bill Walsh is suffering from leukemia. I send healing vibes in his direction.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I know it when I see it

Recently I was asked a question during astronomy lab that I hadn't been asked before: "Does this look like porn to you?" Upon this utterance, a black-and-white image of a naked woman, kneeling on a bed with her arms above her head facing the camera, was shown to me. I'm proud to say that I didn't blush, but said, "I could see how some may call it pornographic." Then the student asked, "How about these?" He then showed me more images of the same woman, naked still, but in more chaste poses. Turns out that this was part of an assignment for a photography class, and he had been upset that the instructor deemed them porn rather than art. This led to a very good discussion about pornographic material versus obscene material, whether or not his instructor should be making such distinctions, and questions he could ask himself about his work if he was worried about offending classmates.

But still... it was a different experience that I usually have during astronomy lab.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


I'm wearing a sweater, sipping cocoa, eating granola with soy milk and banana, and listening to a fiddler in the vegetarian coffee house. Ah, Flagstaff...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


With my intrepid fellow astronomer Wayne and with the help of lab tech extraordinaire Todd, I watched Mercury transit the Sun today. We set up a 10-in telescope with a solar filter, as well as a wee, but impressive, Sunspotter and showed passersby Mercury and a glorious sunspot that had just peaked over the limb of the Sun. I wish it hadn't been 90 degrees here in the desert, but the hot, dry, clear sky provided a great view. It also provided us a great opportunity to play with a camera. Not great pictures, but not bad for just pointing and clicking in the heat.

Mercury - yup, it's just a dot against a vast, brilliant background.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Citizen Lisa

Got up early and voted, leaving raging liberal marks all over my ballot. Depending on the results I wake up to tomorrow, you may all get quite a rant.

Went to work to help out with our yearly Science Day, hoping to show 450 underprivileged elementary school kids that both science and college are fun.

Taught two astronomy classes, focusing on Saturn.

Volunteered two hours in a tutoring center, helping out with physics and chemistry questions.

It felt like a very civic-minded day overall. I liked the vibe.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Let's get this week started already!

We got though last week. Sick computers, sick car, sick me...all on the mend. Of course, the snowbirds have brought the air pollution with them, so there is wheezing and an eerie Moon to enjoy.

Check out Amy and Brian's latest venture, a funky shirt business called "Robots in Orbit". many political ads do I have to sit through just to watch football? I really want this election to be over. Also, if you're not going to vote for the candidates I want and for the propositions I support, please stay home. You're making the country worse.

Now, on to some peanut butter cup ice cream!

Saturday, November 04, 2006


I'm still sick, so I decided to sleep in and then curl up on the couch and read all day. It was a good plan that has more or less worked, except that the phone keeps ringing with pre-recorded election crap. There are several propositions on the ballot here that I feel very strongly about, so I will vote on Tuesday, but between these incessant phone calls and all of the negative TV ads, I now have more sympathy for the people who ignore the election altogether.