Monday, July 28, 2014

Cat Bite Fever: A Tale of a Jealous Bif

I'm not allowed to smoke in my new apartment, so four or five times a night, I trudge down the stairwell and go outdoors. Once the sun gets low, it's often nicer outdoors than in the apartment anyway, so it's turning out to be not as much hassle as I was afraid it might be. And as a bonus, there are a number of friendly cats running around the neighborhood, so I often socialize with them while I'm outside.

Saturday night, I met a new one to me... very affectionate. It (Didn't notice what sex it was.) spent a good five minutes rolling around, rubbing its head, belly, back, and tail against my right hand- I was holding my cigarette in my left hand.

When I went back inside, Bif was fixated on the smell of the new cat. He would not leave my hand alone. I would put him on the floor, and without pause, he was back up on my desk, sniffing at my right hand. Finally, without really looking him, I picked him up to set him down again. And he bit the hell out of my right wrist. I yelled OUCH! which apparently startled Bif out of his hypnosis; he ran off. I washed the wound area with soap and water immediately, then patted it dry until it scabbed over and stopped bleeding.  It wasn't that bad Saturday night, but by yesterday, it was pretty clear there was an infection in the area. I decided if it didn't get better by this morning, I'd bum a ride to the ER.

It's worse. It's red, stiff, hot and swollen, and my right hand is next to useless for any task involving more than an ounce or two of exertion. I can type this without too much difficulty, but it's uncomfortable at best, and painful much of the time. So I'll be off to the hospital soon. Expect delays in regular posts.

On the plus side, even though it's painful, I don't think the infection has progressed to the point it'll present any serious difficulties, or risks of secondary problems (e.g. sepsis). But I'll have to have a real doctor make that call. Wish me luck.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Geo 730: July 26, Day 572: More Amygdules

There are a number of calcite amygdules in this photo; the largest is in the upper center, and there are several smaller ones nearby. This spot sometimes gets overgrown with brambles, then a road crew will come through and clear them out. Over the next few years, the brambles will grow back, and the cycles repeats. So don't count on being able to find this spot, but it's definitely worthwhile looking for it.

Photo unmodified. June 14, 2014. FlashEarth location.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Geo 730: July 25, Day 571: Calcite Amygdules

At the southwest (downstream, toward the dam) end of the basalt outcrop near Green Peter Dam, there is what I would guess is a different flow of vesicular basalt. (It's unclear to me just how many individual flows are present in this outcrop.) The vesicles in this flow are less abundant, but much larger than elsewhere, and entirely filled with calcite. In addition, due to shearing in the flowing lava, they are typically pulled out into flattened teardrop-shaped lenses, reminiscent of almonds, the etymological source of the term "amygdule." There's a large one to the right of the upper yellow flower- the angular nature of the calcite cleavage obscures the form of the amygdule itself in that case. There's a smaller bit above and to the left of the same flower that shows a more representative section. There's a third, still smaller, and almost circular, amygdule between the two larger ones.

Photo unmodified. June 14, 2014. FlashEarth location.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Geo 730: July 24, Day 570: Stilbite Closeup

A closer view of yesterday's vesicular basalt. This shot is close enough that in crops of the full-size image, one can make out the individual blades. Compare the shape of the circled bits below to the diagrams and photos at this site. I will say, I take issue with their claim that "single individual crystals are very uncommon." Larger crystals that are not in clusters are not common, but smaller crystals, easily identified with the naked eye or with a hand lens, are pretty common, in my experience, in the Western Cascades, where these photos were taken and in Oregon's Coast Range.
(Crop from the upper left edge of photo) These two aren't in very sharp focus, especially on the right, but the "house outline" shape is pretty clear to me. On the left, the axis is pointing nearly straight up; I'll call it 12:30. On the right, it points to about 10:00.
(Crop from about a third of the way down from my index finger and a bit to the right) This one is the best I could find; it points to about 11:00.

Photo unmodified. June 14, 2014. FlashEarth location.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Geo 730: July 23, Day 569: Stilbite Vesicles

I'll be mixing in photos from three different trips to Quartzville over the last couple years for this portion of the series; this one is from the middle of June, and shows a bit of vesicular basalt. The gas bubbles are partly filled with (mostly) stilbite. Note that I can't make that identification from this photo; the resolution isn't good enough. You need to get up close and personal with a hand lens to make that call. With the exception of natrolite, that's generally the case at this outcrop. Natrolite comes in larger pieces, has a very distinctive fabric of radiating crystal fibers, and can often be identified from several yards away.

Photo unmodified. June 14, 2014. FlashEarth location.