Footprints in the sands of time
20 most recent entries

Date:2015-03-28 18:37
Subject:bsg fic pointer
Mood: accomplished

I really didn't think I was that into BSG. But it got me writing again, amazingly enough, after ~5 years in grad school just writing science. (Plus, now I'm writing just canon characters and in present tense--two things without precedent.) I suppose I should acknowledge this. My fics have been posted elsewhere, so here's the handy pointer for Those What Are Interested:

BSG FicCollapse )

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Date:2014-12-08 15:32
Subject:Day two
Mood: accomplished

Because you all should get to share in the joy, too:

if only there was a different way to ensure the students get what I want out of this assignment...Collapse )

Finally, today:

Final postlabs plus the final exam left, but that's cake, baybee!

Also, pubquiz and cider tonight. \o/

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Date:2014-12-06 20:47
Subject:my day
Mood: exhausted

(today's quota: 20 lab project reports. And I had to add 2 that I didn't finish from yesterday's quota.)

(I did a new set of assignments this term geared toward giving them practice at parts of the report. I don't feel like it was all that helpful.)

(Good God, I have to do another 20 tomorrow. *whmper*)

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Date:2014-11-19 14:22
Subject:shiny planetarium on teevee!!

Last Friday a local TV person came to the planetarium and shot some stuff for morning local news. It aired yesterday!

Difficult to get the theater on camera (it's dark in there!), but super excited about the publicity!

(aaaargh, video embed not working! gotta go back to work grading exams...)

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Date:2014-11-12 20:09
Mood: impressed


Hey hey heeeeey you guys! We landed a spacecraft on a COMET!

(by "we", I of course mean "humans".)

(Actually, considering that the harpoons didn't fire, it bounced a few times. We seem to have landed three times.)

SPAAAAACE!Collapse )

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Date:2014-06-17 10:50
Subject:allllllllmost summmmmmmer....
Mood: drained

Sitting at Study Day not expecting many students to come ask questions (the one who does has already been through), so I could maybe post something, eh?

I am SO VERY GLAD this term is ending. My health-majors cell bio class was one of those classes who make my job not fun. They just would. not. engage. I build questions into my lecture to encourage my students to think about what's going on, and sometimes it takes classes a few days to get comfortable with the interactions, and admittedly there's usually just a small core of students who do respond, but NO ONE would in this class. The WHOLE ELEVEN WEEKS. oof. I'd even lead them into it, and UGH. (When you ask them "what happens to the amount of the product as a chemical reaction keeps going?" and get silence--and then tell them you're seriously worried that nobody seems to know the answer? Yeahhh.) (I know that most students don't like being called on, which is fine because I don't like calling on them anyway, but JEEZ.) So anyway, good riddance to them. (They totally didn't deserve me giving their last quiz yesterday in the planetarium and then showing them "Cell! Cell! Cell!" afterward.)

The majors cell biology was better, though I did have several students drop, and several students switch to audit. This means less stuff to grade, but pretty small classes at times. But they did get into the groove and asked some REALLY GREAT questions just from their own curiosity. YAY! they DID deserve me skipping the last four slides of the last chapter and showing them the planetarium movie. :-)

So I am really (really, really) ready to sit on a beach and do nothing for a few days. Unfortunately, the best ones would involve a long drive or a long plane trip, either of which make me want to stab things through my head. So I compromised and rented a little cabin in Sandpoint for a few days next week. Still a 3+ hour drive, but hopefully Lake Pend Oreille will be peaceful! (and given that I got nothing but phone calls for both parents for Mother's and Father's Day, I do need to go visit my parents...which I'll do on the way home.)

Let's see, what else?

Last month was ASMCUE, the microbiology educators' conference. In Boston this year, which I've concluded is just too far to go for a weekend conference before school gets out. It was a great meeting as always, but I was already tired, and the long damn plane rides did not help. On the plus side, I did blow off Sunday morning's program and walk around downtown Boston a bit (maybe I'll get some photos posted?) and then met some dear friends from college for lunch. (they're finishing up post docs at Harvard, and had a baby last fall!) Next year it's in New Orleans, and I think I might skip it (and save my faculty development money for the planetarium conference!)

It may not have helped that I gave myself extra stress by holding the premiere event for our new planetarium movie ("Dynamic Earth") the day before I left for Boston. The Associated Students gave us the money to buy it, and it's a gorgeous movie narrated by Liam Neeson about global climate. I invited a few climate scientists from PNNL and a local business owner who does solar hot water heaters and other environmental stuff, and we had a panel discussion after the movie. It was a great event and it sold out despite us not doing much publicity, so yay!

I did get a little bit of zen back at DANCE CAMP the weekend before last. Oh, I miss those people so very much. The weather was perfect, and the food (as always) was wonderful, and I actually managed to dance most of the Scottish workshops without my knees wanting to murder me! Of course, more evidence that I'm a fool: the last Faculty Senate meeting was the morning I left to drive down there, and someone else actually was willing to be Secretary, so YAY! I dumped that little job! ...and then at the Heather & Rose Membership Meeting, I volunteered to be Membership Chair. (DOH!) I do have some organizational ideas (hello there, Google Docs) that will hopefully make it not much work. Plus, I really do want to be more involved with this group....someday (I keep saying) I will start my own branch here! First, I need a handful of local friends who would actually do this sort of dance....

Next month (OMG IN LESS THAN 30 DAYS AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH) we're having an afternoon camp for 8-10 year olds in the planetarium. I waver back and forth between thinking it should be fun and panicking about trying to get 30 grade school kids to do science. (E chose the age group!)

Summer's already starting to fill up, between camp, and the planetarium conference, and hopefully going on a road trip with my mom to Vancouver Island, and camping in Central Idaho (one of my favourite places on Earth!) with the fam. Still have to find a time that I can drag some of my friends up to Vancouver, too, because VANCOUVER! And Meg is directing The Tempest for Bard, so I definitely want to see that. (They're doing Midsummer Night's Dream, too, which is always a fun one.) silmaril! turnberryknkn! Come over to V-town!

It's cherry picking time, and almost blueberry time, too! YAY SUMMER!

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Date:2014-05-19 11:10
Subject:trovia is AWESOME!
Mood: busy

Hopefully will have an update soon about, if nothing else, the conference from which I just returned, but first I have to catch up from being gone for said conference. I do, however, need to bring to your attention that it is once again That Time:

o/*\o trovia IS AWESOME DAY!!!1! *\o/* :-D

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Date:2014-03-27 19:59

I spent part of my tax return on an iPad Air! Whoa this thing has a friggin beautiful screen! And is really amazingly light...especially when you're coming from a 1st gen like I was! Poor Datapad, it still worked fine, but was becoming occasionally crashy. It was still a little emotional wiping it and trading it in.

However, the Smart Cover that I got for Datapad2 is forcing me to work in a new orientation--i.e., with the Home button on the left. It's really throwing me off! I've been using iPads since they came out, and I'm used to having my home button on the right and the volume buttons on the top!

I know, I know, #firstworldtrauma.

Hey, check out today's XKCD! It's one of those that not only made me laugh, but also say to the screen, "Yes, yes, yes!"

Here's hoping that the weather will cooperate next week so I can fertilize the lawn over spring break! It's not going to be that much of a break--lots of prep for spring term, plus planetarium stuff to take care of--but it's nice to be on a flexible schedule with no classes to teach or papers to grade for a little while. :-)

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Date:2014-03-15 19:53
Subject:our story was epic

Wow, has it been that long since I posted to my LJ? Well, OK, it's not like any of us are surprised by thiis. I will admit that I've switched to Twitter quite a bit, because it's short and you can read just a few things at a time if you've just got a few minutes and also BOBAK FERDOWSI REPLIED TO ONE OF MY TWEETS OMG but I definitely don't get the same stuff out of it. Twitter is a good way to stalk watch people I think are interesting, and occasionally vent about something, but it's definitely not the same sort of thing as LJ.


So recently in my life: the world lost Aaron Allston right before my birthday. :-( My favourite memorials here and here.

I am Not Okay with this, universe. The world is a poorer place without his wit and kindness. I am thankful for the extraordinary grace of all the lives he touched, and the wonderful stories he left for us to keep.


*pulling up bootstraps*

And now what I really came here to write about: OMG Y'ALL VERONICA MARS MOVIE!!!1!

I am proud to have jumped on the historic KickStarter in the first day, before they hit their $2mill goal (IN ELEVEN HOURS). So I've been following this for a year. And things even worked out, without me planning them this way, for me to have only a few students finishing up their lab projects on Thursday, so that I could drive up to Spokane / Newman Lake to see the movie on Opening Day (since it wasn't showing in Tri-Cities)!

They sure showed a lot of trailers that I was not interested in at all. But the one interesting one was for The Fault in Our Stars, so that was a squee moment! (I have, BTW, also become a Nerdfighter recently (after watching all of Brotherhood 2.0).)

But, you ask, how was the Big Movie? (I can't call it the BigDamnMovie...that title is always and forever reserved for another.) It was GREAT!!!! It had basically everything that makes VMars VMars. But bigger and better and YAY!

A few spoilery commentsCollapse )

I enjoyed giving "Kickstarter High Five!!"s to people who were wearing backer T-shirts outside the theatre yesterday. :-)

I do wonder how the movie works for those who aren't fans of the show.I have a feeling that they'll enjoy it if they can get past the very exposition-y beginning. I hope that's not a detriment to the success of the movie. It IS pretty exciting that it was also released on digital download / on-demand yesterday. I also hope that goes well, since it's a new risky thing for a studio to do! (it was #3 on iTunes earlier today...couldn't find its Amazon rank.)

As a backer, I got a free download...but I still want it to do well in theatres! (Get it on screens other than at AMC theatres so I can take some friends!) Plus, Mom and I took my nephew to Spokane's little children's science museum yesterday morning. He is still SO DAMN CUTE!!! So, totally worth the trip.

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Date:2014-01-14 13:41
Subject:lj straw poll

When my students submit an assignment online (which is becoming more common with our switch to Canvas and its easy submission process), I always send them a note back so that they know I received it (there seem to be homework-eating gremlins in the Internets!). Usually it's "thanks". But I'm tired of that! Yesterday and today I've been replying "got it!" but I don't really like that as much as I did when I started using it.

So, clever LJ friends, give me suggestions for quick, witty, one-to-three-word responses I can use to let students know that their assignments have been received! (keep in mind these are community college students who are nowhere as nerdy as we are, many of whom are Hispanic, and that I LIKE my job and don't want to lose it.)

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Date:2013-12-31 23:55
Subject:2013 Book List

Books read in 2013Collapse )

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Date:2013-12-19 19:34
Subject:missed it
Mood: lazy

Aww, man, in all my being lazy and enjoying being out of school, I missed the 10th anniversary of my trip to the bottom of the ocean!! Man, I am OLD. I can't believe it's been ten years since that!!

...I suppose it's fitting that this year, I got back the bottom-of-the-ocean Nativity that I made for my grandma's collection. Sad that we had to move her out of her house so that I even had the opportunity, but...timely, I guess. And no way in hell was that going in the estate auction!!

I ALSO missed Quote Leo McGarry Day! It's going to take me a while to find FIVE that I haven't used before. So I'll stick this one here, and come back to it. (well, maybe. We all know how I've been with LJ this year.)

"First one to find the next Supreme Court Justice gets a free corned beef sandwich!" ["The Supremes" 5.17]

one of my very favourite episodes, AND bonus Foodie Leo!

For the record, the term ended pretty well. My students did AMAZINGLY on their last two exams. I don't feel like I made them easy! I think two things were happening: both lucking into a fairly good crop of students this term, and also having taught this class enough times that I'm starting to get good at it.

I'm now (in between sleeping in, WHEE! and spending time on the couch with the kitty) trying to put together some stuff for getting donations to the planetarium. We've got some fulldome movies on one-year licenses that need to be renewed by February, and a few new movies we want to buy. Plus our warranty is about over, so any day now I expect to get info about long-term System Protection Plans, and I imagine that won't be cheap, especially considering we've got the top-of-the-line projection system!

Next Tuesday I'll head up to Newman Lake for a few days with the fam, and then back by the weekend so I can start getting ready for the next round of classes. Oof. At least I am done shopping and making goodies, and I shall start on cards as soon as I'm done writing this!

Finally, what I really wanted to post about: becoming a "layaway angel" at Toys R Us this Sunday. (for the record, "angel" was the store manager's word, not mine.)

Inspired by Anne Wheaton (yes, Wil's wife--who is almost more awesome than he is!), I stole her idea wholesale and dropped in to TRU while doing other gift shopping. I explained what I wanted to do to the girl working the service counter: I was there to pay off layaway for some random people. She was confused, but the lady standing next to me in line backed me up and told the girl to call the manager. He knew exactly what my goal was, asked about my budget, and after much arguing with computers back in his office while I waited, he brought me a list of a few accounts to choose from. He didn't give me names, or lists of items, just the account numbers and remaining balances. I wasn't sure how to choose, so I asked him what he remembered about the accounts. He chose just the ones I would have wanted: those who had started the layaway in October, so they'd have plenty of time to pay them off; accounts without video games; and accounts that had at least one payment made already, to weed out those who may just have been holding items. Perfect! (He said he'd used the criteria he would have used if it had been him in my position; it's good that they're similar to the criteria that Anne used. I don't know much about layaway, or the sorts of things that would be good to look for in this situation, so Anne's writeup, and the fact that the store manager's judgement overlapped, was helpful!)

Not only did doing something to make the holidays a little brighter for three other families feel awesome for me, but it was fun to make the manager's day, too. He told me they have a few people who do this, and calling the account holders to tell them is one of his favourite things about his job. :-D

I don't write this to toot my own horn, but since I got the idea from someone else, maybe one of you will be similarly inspired in the future. Seriously, though, more people should do this "kindness to strangers" thing!!

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Date:2013-11-30 15:02
Subject:more like schrödinger's comet...
Mood: curious

Yeah, now ISON is just jerking us around. It's looking like there's just a bit of fluff left:

(From the SOHO LASCO C3 coronagraph. Time is UTC.)

The STEREO spacecraft also got some great shots: go here to see them animated, and see how many unanswered questions there still are. The verdict is still out...

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Date:2013-11-29 11:48
Subject:thanksgivukkah miracle
Mood: enthralled

So I was actually checking Twitter while over at a friend's mom's house for dinner yesterday afternoon, because animated gifs were happening:Collapse )

I'd been doing expectation management in the planetarium for the past few weeks, because this comet was going really freaking close to the Sun. We didn't know whether it was going to survive--and thus be a lovely comet with plenty to show off (They think this is ISON's first trip into the inner solar system)--or if it was going to break up before or after perihelion--or maybe it was going to just get eaten by the Sun. Whatever happened, we were going to learn a lot of new things about comets. And scientists love learning new things!

I had my doubts about it surviving, and those seemed to be realized yesterday morning....but this crazy guy just keep hanging in there! Yay! Who knows what will come in the next week or so, but it will be interesting. (The SOHO website is still pretty socked!)

Favourite fact about this comet: its nucleus seems to be about 2 km in diameter (pretty small, actually). And that's just coincidentally about how far I went under the ocean in Alvin ten years ago!

(Holy crap, ten years ago!)

[EDIT] HEEEE, appropriate XKCD is appropriate!

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Date:2013-11-24 17:02
Subject:catching fire

Got all my chores done, so, Catching Fire! Um, I don't really think any of this is spoilery.

NEEDED MORE CINNA. <3 <3 Hoping for some flashbacks in Mockingjay(s), big-time.

I loved Johanna, Wiress, Beetee. They were perfect! Really, all the casting was excellent, again. (These movies could not exist without Stanley Tucci. Go ahead, try to deny it.) I never really got Johanna in the books, but now I am definitely on board! I would have liked an actor for Finnick that *I* found more attractive--he really did nothing for me. (Sad to not have had the line about [Spoiler (click to open)]seeing him in his underwear--I could have used a little levity.)

We all know the love triangle is way too overblown, so no further comment on that.

And if I may be a girl for a moment: her interview gown was AWESOME--both pre- and post-spin! I didn't really like the visual execution of the interview outfit in the first movie, so WOW.

Speaking of weird Capitol fashion, Plutarch really participates in none of it? I miss Seneca's beard.

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Date:2013-11-20 21:25
Subject:who's making me a son of coul icon?

I'm sort of glad I saw Thor 2 this Sunday, because tie-in with this week's SHIELD. (Although, according to Buffistas who haven't seen it yet, it wasn't too confusing/spoilery.)

[Thor 2 Spoilers]I did wonder where the hell SHIELD was, for, I don't know, THE WHOLE MOVIE. Let's ignore the wierd dimensional anomalies (which they probably should have detected) for the moment and wonder why in hell they let the *RAF* (try to) deal with the giant alien space ship above Greenwich?? So, nice shout-out, I guess, to SHIELD having to clean things up.

NON-SPOILERY: ZACHARY LEVI!!1! I wasn't sure I was going to be okay with him being blonde, but: blonde, being badass with a sword, and then surrounded by ladies? ummmyesplz. (Fandral, stop making "come hither" eyes in my head. YOU'RE DISTRACTING ME. All the fic I saw on AO3 was Fandral/Loki, which: only slightly less "ewwwww" than Thor/Loki.)

...Um, did the Bifrost get re-built?

Also? Overall fun movie!

Other SHIELD thoughts: That episode was called "The Well"? Um...huh?

I still love the Science Twins soooooo much. They're just so damned CUTE. The past two episodes ("F.Z.Z.T." and "The Hub") have probably been my favourite.

Still so much not caring about Skye or Ward. MEH.

Coulson: still a badass puddle of love, and OMG DOLLHOUSE SHOUTOUT OF CREEPY. I don't think he's a Doll--I think that was just a wink to Mutant Enemy fans--but I do hope the payoff is good when we finally find out how he came back.

Finally, the Buffistas compare bared Avengers arms. FOR SCIENCE.

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Date:2013-11-12 21:10

It's 9:10 on 11/12/13!!

(okay, it's really 21:10, but at 09:10 I was riding my bike to work and hadn't realized the date yet.)

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Date:2013-11-03 16:38
Mood: geeky


If you love me, you'll go vote for this right now.

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Date:2013-10-25 18:33
Subject:huh. i suppose i need a planetarium icon.

Evidence that being a planetarium director for half a year has broken my brain:

During the planetarium scene in this week's episode of Castle, I spent the entire time trying to see what sort of projection system they had.


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Date:2013-10-23 21:15

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