Monday, December 31, 2012

My Favorite Posts of 2012

There are a number of year's end memes that go around each year, but rather than playing any of those, I'm just going to put up a list with links to my posts of the previous year which I most enjoyed writing, and which give me the most pleasure to go back and read. With the exception of the 6/15 and 12/26 posts, and, arguably (though not persuasively as far as I'm concerned), the 6/9 post, every one of these has a strong geology focus. Gee, hooda thunk it?

Given the increasing difficulty of my previous computer dealing with increasingly unstable updates to Firefox-even though it still does fine with everything else besides Firefox- I didn't even put up my first post until April. With the arrival of a new computer in the late summer, blogging became practical again. In addition, visits from Padawan Dana in March, July and October have provided diverse fodder for writing and photos. Of 16 selected posts, half of them are results of my geogalavanting about Oregon with her.

Happy New Year, all! And may the new year bring you much joyous geogalavanting!

4/12: March 2012 Coastal GeoGalavant, Part I
4/21: March 2012 Coastal GeoGalavant, Part II
5/31: AW #46: Geology, Life and Civilization- Chaotic Feedback
6/9: Twice in a Lifetime
6/15: How the Internet Works
7/26: Quartzville Road Log
9/6: The Little Robot That Could... Visits Miranda!
10/5: Vegetation Gradient
10/13: Geogalavanting Around Oregon with Dana
10/14: Geogalavanting Around Oregon with Dana Part II
10/15: Geology at Oregon State University (And do click through on the links to see all of Dana's glorious photos! Links were added later, so you may have missed those.)
10/21: Cheshire Cat! The Whole Story
11/28: AW #52: Geology Dream Course
12/13: #ObscureGeoHazards
12/20: Bring on the Geopocalypse: Accretionary Wedge #53
12/26: Bif's Best Christmas EVAR!

Runners up: This series was tedious to plow through, but I was happy with the outcome. A reconstruction of my presentation for the Oregon Master Naturalists program in September.
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Funnies: Self Esteem Edition

"Every. Damn. Time." Sober in a Nightclub

"I'm not a morning person." Sober in a Nightclub
Bits and Pieces
Funny to Me
Wil Wheaton's Tumblr
The expressions of a cat left outside in the rain are priceless. Tastefully Offensive has more.
What Would Jack Do? We now have a national ban on assault breasts...
Tastefully Offensive
Medium Large
Bits and Pieces
Very Demotivational
"Meowio" Tastefully Offensive
Sofa Pizza
What Would Jack Do?
Bits and Pieces
Tastefully Offensive
I agree. Rocks trump everything. Are You Talking to Meme?
Cyanide and Happiness
On Circulation

Wil Wheaton's Tumblr
"Why I need to use safety goggles." What Should We Call Grad School?
Ugliest Tattoos
 "When new students ask me for advice on grad school." What Should We Call Grad School?
Sofa Pizza
Senor Gif
Fake Science
Funny to Me
"When I know the answer to a question in lecture" What Should We Call Grad School?
"After hours of counting melt inclusions." Geology is Hard
Hammer for Scale
Funny to Me
Bits and Pieces
Tastefully Offensive

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Census Dot Map

I found a fun website earlier, a map that plots every resident -not residence- as a dot. There is no other information. It becomes sort of a fascinating and disorienting problem to zoom into your neighborhood with no information other than where everybody else lives. Now there is a "cheat mode" in that you can switch over to a Google map and zoom in with geographic features identified. But the first time I found Corvallis, it was purely from the Census information.

Two caveats- in my experience, the point data is very slow to load, so you'll need patience. I just switched over to other tabs and reading, then come back a few minutes after each zoom step. The other weakness of the site, in my opinion, is that I wish you could zoom in another step or two. There is a major transition in street orientation a block west of me, and at the maximum zoom possible, it can't quite be resolved.

Following are a screen capture for my little burg at maximum zoom (scaled to fit; click for full-size), and an annotated version of a few nearby, recognizable features.
It might be kind of fun to do a similar game to "Where on Google Earth:" "Where in the US Census?" But I think if the slow updating is an overall issue, it might get awfully frustrating.

Followup, 6:13 PM PST: I just went back and played with it a bit more. It's loading much more quickly than earlier. I'm begining to wonder if some of my confusion was in not recognizing when some data tiles were missing. Can you figure out where the following is from (City, State)? It's at highest zoom.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bif's Best Christmas EVAR!

Sunday evening, I walked the 3/4 mile or so trip to the grocery store to do some shopping. Food for Christmas for some years now has been a large block (5 or 6 pounds) of frozen lasagne, salad, and garlic bread. It involves little work, and is definitely "treat" food for me, plus there's leftovers for days. (As an aside, I had Stouffer's lasagne Italiano; it was superb!) Also intended to get fruit, some English muffins, and so on, but the reason I had to go then was that Bif was out of food, and down to the little fragments that he prefers to not eat. He will if he's hungry enough, but I don't like to put him in that position. So waiting until light in the morning wasn't really an option. I also meant to get him a catnip toy, but forgot- I'll pick one up in pre-New Year shopping.

I think many of the items I ended up getting were overstocks, and my final bill was surprisingly low to me. But one that was obviously normally priced was the 7 pound bag of cat food for $5.99. Now that sort of surprised me. I've been buying cat food at local convenience stores since last Christmas, and have become accustomed to paying about $3.00/lb. So, um, wow. A mile and a half round trip, carrying substantial weight on the return half, is truly taxing to me, and I dislike it. But this was sort of a wake-up pointing out just how much money I'm wasting in avoiding that chore.

So I get the heavy stuff into my pack, a couple bags of lighter stuff in my left hand, and seven pounds of cat food in my right hand, I set out into the light drizzle, light fog, and complete darkness for the trudge home.

About a block and a half from the store, I was suddenly confronted by a construction project. I couldn't see where it ended, but there was chain link fence extending to the edge of the street. Hoping that it was only a lot or two, rather than cross over to the sidewalk, I just followed the edge of the pavement- there was basically no traffic.

It extended two blocks.

I was nearly to the end when I tripped over one of the perpendicular supports at the base of the fence, and went down, hard, face-first, into the pavement.

I was fine. I managed to toss everything and catch most of the impact with my hands. Other than a bunch of grit on my face, a bit of a tender spot on the bridge of my nose where my glasses got rammed into it, and minor road rash on my left palm, no harm done. The light stuff- mostly bread, a couple cans and plastic bottles, was fine. But...

The bottom of the cat food bag had burst completely open. There wasn't much actually spilled, but from side to side, the bottom was completely open. Brushing the crap off my face, and checking around for wounds I couldn't feel (there weren't any), I pondered the situation. Several options occurred to me, then I realized I could simply carry the bag top-down, holding the burst end closed in my hand. Essentially the same configuration I had been in before my belly flop into the street.

The rest of the walk home- better than 3/4 of the last leg- was uneventful.

So when I got home and through the door, I immediately set down the grocery bags, and made a bee-line for the kitchen to get the cat food stowed in a place where it wouldn't spill.

Right as the top-now-bottom was about to reach the counter, it gave out.

Cat food. Everywhere. Floor. Garbage. Counter. Food Bowl. Water bowl. Miscellaneous dishes and a box.

On the positive side, perhaps only a third of the bag spilled before I had it shoved into a position where no more would spill. On the negative side, you have no idea how much 2 pounds of cat food actually *is* until you've strewn it all around the kitchen.

Bif was in heaven. His tail was flagging like a bandleader as he ran from pocket to pocket, eating one or two kibbles from each. I cleaned up the worst on the floor, and scooped much of it into either his bowl or onto the bag- there is no "into" with respect to that bag anymore- but he was having so much fun, I just felt it would be kind of grinchy to do a full-fledged cleanup just then.

As of last night, I'm still hearing crunching sounds from the oddest places, as Bif finds a kibble here, a kibble there. And sometime in the next few days, I'll actually make a cleanup call on aisle one. But for the time being, this is officially Bif's BEST CHRISTMAS EVAR! The fact I forgot to get him a toy is forgiven.

I just hope he's not going to expect this every year.

Monday, December 24, 2012


I'm not a religious person- perhaps I'd be better off phrasing that as "I'm not a Christian." However, that does not mean I can't or don't appreciate many things inspired by religion. For example:

Lyrics and translation can be seen here, as well as some of the history of this carol. Someone was telling me that they'd never heard an a capella piece they'd enjoyed. Feel awful sorry for them.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Funnies: I Want a Pterodactyl for Christmas Edition

Lunar Baboon. But even a Tyrannosaur would do...
Unnatural Disaster
Tastefully Offensive
Hi, I'm Liz
Bits and Pieces
"Holding a Rock Hammer for the First Time" Geology is Hard
"Maybe it was all just a simple spelling error." Are You Talking to Meme?
Yes, it's a dissected hot dog.  I have a weird family." Hudson Valley Geologist
 Funny to Me
Funny to Me
"Wanna play a game?" Sober in a Nightclub
 Sober in a Nightclub
Bits and Pieces
Stephanie Wright
A lot of fun- a nerd's version of the classic, with lots of fun photos. Can't condense, but here's a strong recomendation to click over, and a single picture preview:
Tastefully Offensive
What Would Jack Do?
Happle Tea
Hammer for Scale
Derpy Cats
Tastefully Offensive
Bits and Pieces
Tastefully Offensive
"Whenever my labmates see me dressed up for a presentation." What Should We Call Grad School?
Fake Science
Danny Zuker
"Cat Bowling" Cheezburger
There's a slew of funnies in this post- "Mao's Little Red Joke Book" may be even better to some- but I resist posting more than one item per post, so click over to Bizarro and show him some love.
 I thought this was pretty funny until I learned it's not a parody. That's right. It's a real ad. Matt Bors.
Funny to Me
Tastefully Offensive
Questionable Content
Spud Comics
Spud Comics
Tastefully Offensive
Fake Science