Mystery Flora: Tiny Treasures

On my long ramble along North Creek a few months ago, I noticed a sort of purple aspect to some of the plants alongside the trail. I bent down for a closer look. These were among the tiniest flowers I’ve ever seen.

Mystery Flowers I

My camera sometimes has trouble with pale purple things, and when they’re this tiny, the chances of getting it to focus are slim. We discussed the matter. We tried a few different angles. It still didn’t understand quite what I was getting at. Finally, desperate, I grabbed a few and used my hand to block out some of the background greenery. At last, my camera sort of got it.

Mystery Flowers II

Not ideal, but you can see some detail rather than just a vaguely purple blur.

The whole trailside was filled with these, happily growing with the grasses. I’d never really looked closely at them before. They’re tiny, easily overlooked, overwhelmed by larger things. But when you zoom in, they have this perfect, elegant shape.

Mystery Flowers III

The plants themselves are taller than you might expect, anywhere from midway up the shins all the way to nearly knee-high. Their shape and size makes me wonder what pollinates them.

Mystery Flowers IV

The following week, I introduced my intrepid companion to them, and got a few extra shots. Here’s a full view o’ ‘em:

Mystery Flowers V

The blooms may be minuscule, but the plants themselves are certainly vigorous. Yeesh.

And, because I couldn’t help myself, a couple of extra macros, which seem to have turned out a wee bit better than the previous:

Mystery Flowers VI

Mystery Flowers VII

That last really gives you a sense of how itty-bitty they are, doesn’t it?

I love tiny, beautiful things. They’re easy to overlook, but once they’ve caught your eye, they’re part of your landscape forever.

New at Rosetta Stones: A Walk in the Forearc

I’m sorta-kinda back, my darlings! I’ve written up a nice little hike you can take should you ever find yourself down Corvallis way. A few hundred feet, and you can see many of those important bits of subduction zones you so often see in diagrams.

So there’s a bit o’ geology for ye, and some nice photos. It’s been a long time since we’ve had that!

Updates below the fold, for them as wants ‘em.

In other news, I’ve learnt an important lesson: if you spend two weeks being a lazy bum, doing nothing but lying round reading with the occasional amble down the parking lot to look at the frogs but no other appreciable exercise, it’s a very bad idea to suddenly take it into your head to clean your entire apartment top-to-bottom whilst you’re offline. At least, it’s an incredibly silly thing to do when this entails hoofing the recycling down three flights of stairs. I’d let the cans pile up a bit, so this required several trips. Up and down the stairs. Up and down. Up and down, and down and up, and then scrubbing floors, and pushing the vacuum cleaner round, and stretching up to get things down, and hauling rocks from various spots to other spots, exercising all the major and minor muscle groups which had lain dormant so long… you get the picture. I haven’t been able to walk properly for two days now. Ow.

My brain is still in a bit of a haze, which has led to research being put on hold while I give it a rest. And emails are piling up in the inbox. Sigh. I shall get round to them, my dears, never fear. Someday.

But I haven’t had a single cigarette, and the house is mostly lovely, and I’ve read lots of things by 19th century freethinkers, and found some more feisty freethought women whom I think you’ll adore, so that’s something. The cat learned how to tell me when she wishes to go out on the porch, since she can’t count on me heading out there for a smokie anymore, and that’s adorable. Old kittehs can learn new tricks!

Eating continues apace. This seems to be the major way I’m compensating for no longer smoking: enjoying quality kitchen time with fresh ingredients. I’m thinking of writing up recipes. Anyone interested?

It’s been a necessary break. But lying abed reading is losing its appeal. My fingers have begun itching for a pen. Time to write again. Things may remain a bit light, as I’ve got a fuck-ton of research to do before I can continue our Mount St. Helens series, and as I said, brain haze hasn’t completely cleared. I’ve got a salvaged shelving unit that’ll be perfect for displaying rocks, but it needs some intensive TLC before it’s ready. The weather’s hinting it might not suck this Labor Day. I also have a hankering for Doctor Who, and damn it, I’m gonna watch it. So, don’t expect wonders from me just yet, but I do have a few nice things for ye, and I’ll get them going.

Thank you for standing by, my darlings. Your support has been a major factor in my ability to refrain from smoking – without that, I probably would’ve said “Fuck it” and gone back to it, I miss it that much. And thank you for understanding why I needed to walk away for a bit.

Your patience shall be rewarded. I have some gorgeous stuff waiting for you. Stay tuned…

A+, Plus Drool-Worthy Geology, AW #49 Info, and Other Bits

Blowing the dust off ye olde computer to say “Allo, allo, I’m still alive!” Taking a break, still, although I’m dipping my toes back in to a desultory bit o’ work. Like, this post.

First off, I just want to throw my support to Jen McCreight’s brilliant Atheism + idea. When my brain is back from its temporary vacation, I’ll have something more to say than “Woo! Count me in!” But this, plus the overwhelmingly enthusiastic reception, reminded me once again why I’m so damned proud to be a part of FreethoughtBlogs, and why I won’t ever give up on the atheist movement. People like Jen see problems that almost seem intractable, roll up their sleeves, and get to work.

Judging from some comments I’m seeing, at least a few folks are going to say, “Huh huh humanism!” with a greater or lesser degree of snark. So allow me to provide some links to read before too many people start protesting that A+ is just a snotty way of saying secular humanist. I have helpfully put the links most focused on the humanism vs atheism+ discussion in bold, which means you should read them carefully before launching into a tirade.

How I Unwittingly Infiltrated the Boy’s Club & Why It’s Time for a New Wave of Atheism

Atheism+

Why Atheism+ and not Humanism?

Atheism+: It’s time to walk the walk

A new atheism

Standing on Our Own

A new dawn

The difference between “atheism+” and humanism

Atheism Plus: The New Wave of Atheism

Is “Atheism Plus” Just Secular Humanism?

Atheism, Plussed And Nonplussed

The New Atheism +

I hereby join my fellow atheists +. This is it. This is the right spot for me. Although I’m a rebel and just had to change up one of the logos to suit myself, because I don’t like red and blue juxtaposed. Deeep riiifts!

A+ logo by by One Thousand Needles, with one minor modification by moi.

I like this. I feel very good about this. And I hope Surly Amy gets to work on the A+ Surly-Ramics ASAP. Want.

Right. Position staked, on to other matters. I’m in week 3 of nicotine withdrawal, for those interested and wondering how that’s going. Answer: nawt too gooood. I think this is the week where The Addiction Strikes Back, because it’s being a bastard. I still, however, am not smoking, although at the moment, I’m not happy about it. I feel like most of my personality has been cored out. That’s the trouble when a not-insignificant part of your identity was tied up in a particular habit. I will adjust, and I am definitely enjoying the fringe benefit of not coughing all the damned time, but it will take a while longer before the physical addiction subsides and I have managed to reinvent myself. In the meantime, I’m staying mostly offline and away from the usual routine. I’ve chosen to spend the majority of my time reading classic freethought and atheist works, in between bouts of cooking and eating all the food in the universe, and sleeping. Lotsa sleeping. Soooo much sleeping. It’s as if a twenty-year sleep debt has tracked me down and demanded paying. Chantix combined with ordinary pre-Aunty Flow fatigue, I’m relatively certain. The cat’s mostly enjoying my immobility, except when she becomes bored by it and amuses herself by yowling in my ear.

The dreams continue apace. Some have been rather dramatic, some have been prosaic (I hate the dreams about work. Chantix makes each dream more vivid, so I feel like they should be paying me for this shit). Some have been wonderful sci-fi extravaganzas I hate waking up from, because I want to know what happens next – and for some reason, I always wake up on a cliffhanger. And then there was the wonderful one where I was talking to a theist, one of the sorta mushy-gushy mystical ones, who dramatically announced that religion is the moon and stars, then asked me what atheism is. I thought about it for a moment. Then I looked up at the blue infinity above me, held my hands up to compass it, and said, “Atheism is the sky.” And I believe he got my meaning: a bright, clear place where a person can breathe and think and is not boxed in by old myths.

I quite liked that dream.

Food-wise, this has been an adventure. One side-effect of quitting I didn’t expect was a sudden interest in vegetables. Seriously. I’m craving things I don’t ordinarily crave: squash, spinach, corn and the like. I’m more of a meat-and-taters person, so this is rather odd. I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, and since quitting smoking, I’ve wanted sweet stuff even less. To the point, mind you, where I even like water. In moderation, of course. Let’s don’t get too crazy. Water’s still mostly for washing in, but I’m drinking more than before. Weird.

And yes, I’ve put on weight. Not much, but some. There are a few bones I can only feel if I prod for them now. Judging from my father, I’ll end up looking malnourished, though: pot belly with chicken arms and legs. That’s just how our side of the family rolls.

Now, I promised you some eye-popping geology. Courtesy of Hexidecima, here ’tis, and I’m shamelessly stealing a teaser photo so that you’ll go read the post and look at the others and begin to drool with soft noises of ecstasy, as I did.

Looking westbound. US 322. Image courtesy Club Schadenfreude.

Want.

And this brings me to a point: those of you who write geology posts should always be bold and pimp them in the comments, even if unrelated to the current discussion, because I like to drool.

Also, if anyone wants me to start open threads to encourage jibber-jabber and such sharing between cantina regulars, I’m happy to. Say the word, and it will be so.

A quick note on Accretionary Wedge #49: some of you have never encountered the Wedge before. It’s basically geobloggers getting together monthly to post around a common theme, chosen by the host of the month. The host announces the theme, those of us inspired by it write a post about it, plunk the link into the host’s comments, and then, ideally, the host gathers all links together into a single post for all to enjoy. Does that mean you have to have a blog to participate? No. If you haven’t got a blog, but want to write up a little something on otherworldly geology, I will be happy to put you up as a guest post right here. Just send the draft to me at dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com. Make sure you have the rights to any pictures you include, because this is a commercial blog, and copyright rules are important.

And, finally, it’s time for the arachnophobes to avert their eyes, because Jean Gogolin sent me this link. Yes, that’s a new spider. Yes, it dwells in the Pacific Northwest. Yes, it has wicked claws. And yes, I’m going to be looking for one! I’m hoping to catch it using its claws on some poor unsuspecting prey, so I can make a new discovery for science. Hopefully, I won’t be announcing it eats humans….

That’s about it. I’ll probably be going dark again, have to get some research done and fight my poor addicted brain a bit more. Thank you all for your support and understanding. I’ll be coming back refreshed soon, and then I will present you some geology that will make your eyes pop.

Especially if Lockwood and I end up following Trebuchet’s footsteps into the John Day Fossil Beds this fall… Yum!

Stuff and Nonsense

I hate doing this, but circumstances insist: I shall be going to a somewhat light to virtually non-existent posting schedule over the next week or so. I’m getting me arse kicked by research, my darlings. On top of this, I’m still adjusting to a lack of nicotine, which seems to involve endless eating, sudden bouts of inertia and exhaustion, and other such woes. When I attempt to concentrate, my brain wails, “But I haven’t had a smoke in almost two weeks!!” and I have to stuff it with non-taxing stuff to get it to stop sniveling. My memory is shot, my concentration ditto. The weather is, by Seattle standards, blazing hot. All signs point to dialing back for a bit.

So I’ve been avoiding the computer. Which, alas, means neglecting you. But that won’t last forever! Soon, you’ll get some posts I’ve written but haven’t yet typed up, some of which will contain substance.  And you’ll get a few things like this:

Moi at Meadowdale Park, pausing at the exit of the pedestrian underpass to gawk at the creek flowing out from underneath the boardwalk. Image courtesy Cujo359.

Random outtakes. Yes, indeedy. And your UFD, and probably Mystery Flora, and perhaps a reader-submitted geomystery, if I’ve got one I don’t have to attach many words to.

Anyway. Outtakes. Meadowdale. Yes, my intrepid companion and I decided to go there on Sunday because hey, we’ve never been! And it turns out it’s a long bloody walk to the beach, and my lungs are readjusting to this oxygen idea, and it was exhausting. But the view of the Olympics was nice, and the itty-bitty estuary was pretty, and there were trains, and I saw UFDs.

Moi stalking UFDs. Don’t worry, I didn’t upset them any more than the kids chasing them with sticks did. Image courtesy Cujo359.

You notice I’m paying bugger-all attention to the train, but never fear – I shot a video of its arrival, and if a few of you clamor for a train video, thee shall have it.*

This is one of the few times you’ll ever see me in flip-flops. Enjoy.

Moi getting ready to wash sand off my feet in this very convenient creek-under-a-boardwalk. Image courtesy Cujo359.

I’ll be back to more intensive posting soon. Never fear! We have enough delicious geology to keep us busy for the next few years – I just need to get it studied and organized for you.

 

*I’m using Terry Pratchett’s version of thee/thou etc., so don’t bother to correct it. I can also speak Elizabethan English when talking Shakespeare. I just find this more charming.

Call For Posts – Accretionary Wedge #49: Out of This World

The time for our next Accretionary Wedge is nigh. I suppose it’s about time for your host to let you know what the topic is, then, innit?

With Curiosity landing at the base of a three mile high mountain on Mars, I think we all know there’s only one sensible choice: we must head for other worlds!

Curiosity’s first photo of Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp). The 3 mile high mountain in the middle of Gale Crater was named for geologist Robert Sharp, one of the finest field geologists America ever had. He worked with NASA on several Mars missions before his death in 2004. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Dude. That is us, snapping photos on another planet like typical tourists. Okay, science tourists, but still. And this mission has got a lot of geology in it. I’m loving this mission. But it’s not the only time we’ve done some exogeology. So let’s don our space suits and explore some alien geology! There’s lots to choose from:

Mountains on Mars

Mercury Messenger’s unprecedented look at a hot planet

Io’s volcanoes

Venus’s bizarre surface

Plate tectonics on other worlds*

Hydrogeology on other planets (and if fluvial morphology is caused by liquids other than water, what do we call it?)

And more!

This image is the first high-resolution color mosaic from NASA’s Curiosity rover, showing the geological environment around the rover’s landing site in Gale Crater on Mars. The images show a landscape that closely resembles portions of the southwestern United States in its morphology, adding to the impression gained from the lower-resolution thumbnail mosaic released early in the week. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Can’t get out of the Earth’s gravity well this month? Not a problem! There’s plenty of “other-worldly” geology right here on our home planet, from features so bizarre you’d swear they’re from outer space to places where space agencies have tested equipment like rovers and trained astronauts to walk on other worlds. Places so remote and inaccessible we’ve been to Mars more often than we’ve explored them. Places that are so extreme that we turn to them for ideas of what to look for beyond our pale blue dot.

Since it’s already mid-month, I’ll give you a smidgen of extra time to explore: try to have your posts in to me by September 7th. We’ll publish the 2nd week of September.

Don’t miss the rocket – this edition’s gonna be a blast!

 

*Sorta like this, only a little different, because I’m going to see if I can arm-twist Steven into submitting this one.

I Just Gave Away My Emergency Pack of Cigarettes

For those breathlessly following my quitting saga, and who might have missed the update yesterday: the deed is done. I’ve not had a single puff since last Saturday night. Haven’t even stood downwind of smokers inhaling deeply. In fact, I walked past the smoking area at work Thursday and quit breathing because it smelled bad. My nose is changing its opinions.

Quitting, I will not lie, has been hell. A primal part of my brain has spent the last two weeks frantic, believing it’s going to die. It was merely unhappy as I was cutting down. It had a few bad moments on Sunday, when I told it sternly that it could do without. And then came Monday, and work, and I thought it was going to end one of three ways: with a suicide, with a homicide, or with me busting into that unopened pack I’d got in Oregon assuming I wasn’t actually quitting completely on Sunday.

I survived, others survived, and the pack stayed closed. Barely.

Writing was awful. I’m in the habit of going out every hour or two to puff and think. My thought process revolved around: I have to get this done, I need a smoke NOW. And all the while, that physical addiction, pumping ye olde body full of panic juice. Chantix, I thought, should’ve cut down drastically on that. It blunted, but did not stop.

But it’s been getting better. Each day, a little less frantic. And the pack stayed unopened. I decided to get sour straws, so I could do the whole stand-on-the-porch-and-think thing smoke-free. That’s worked, to a degree, and replaced my favorite thing about smoking: unexpected moments. I stepped out for a breath of air and a sour straw before bed in the pre-dawn darkness the morning I finished my most recent Rosetta Stones post, and saw a meteor send a silver streak down the sky. That swath of silver against the deep blue was phenomenal, and no nicotine required. This will do.

Thursday, I dropped in on Dr. John to advise him of progress and ask about increasing the dose. He agreed we should since my body burns through drugs at a remarkable rate, and put me on three milligrams of Chantix a day. That led to fun times with nausea, but otherwise, a glorious lack of needing nicotine. My brain is no longer freaking out, even though I cut out the third milligram forthwith. And I’m so over smoking that I handed the emergency pack to another smoker that evening. Don’t want it. Don’t need it. Between Chantix and native stubbornness, I’ll get past the initial stage wherein it’s hardest to quit, and end up staying smoke-free once I’m off Chantix.

Oh, I miss it. I will not lie: I loved to smoke, and I wish I still could. Someday, I may even break down and go with the nicotine-free ecigarettes, simply for the joy of drawing something (this time safe) into my lungs whilst I contemplate life, the universe, and the turn of the next phrase. But I may not need to. A deep draught of earthy night air might start doing the trick. And I do very much like not having to drop what I’m doing to feed the nicotine demon. I like not hacking up my lungs. I like not spending insane amounts of money on a habit that will kill me. Only problem being, I now wish to eat everything in the universe, so total savings is probably in the negative digits. Still, it’s tasty spending.

Now I just have to convince my lungs we can breathe and hike at the same time. Argh. It’s like having iron bands slowly tightened around each side. I’m told this gets better. I hope so, because I didn’t used to be such a ginormous wuss.

So yes, going well so far. I shall probably stay on Chantix for an extra three months, just to be sure – it’s something they suggest you do to stamp out smoking completely, and helps ensure you don’t slip. I want this to be the only time I have to quit, because I never want to have to endure physical withdrawal again. Besides, I’m enjoying the dream life. For that, I’d stay on this stuff the rest of my life if I could. I got very lucky: Chantix doesn’t work this way for everyone.

So that’s that. I’m leaving my profile pic up as is, because I like it, and that’s still me. I may not have a cigarette in hand, and there has been a lot of water under a lot of bridges since that day, but I’m still that person, kicking back in Mexico on the way to see the Peacemakers. Just like being transplanted to the Northwest didn’t take the Southwest out of me, quitting smoking and very rarely drinking hasn’t taken away from that tequila-marinated, sun-soaked person I used to be.

I suppose that’s the moral: for those who didn’t heed the warning not to start smoking in the first place, quitting’s all right. You get past the withdrawal. You don’t give up your identity, just the little burning cylinder. And you can do it. With prescriptions, with patches, with sheer stubborn force of will, you can do it, if a part of you is ready to say, “Enough.”

And I’ll be here to cheer you on if you need a gothic cheerleader with sonic screwdriver pompoms.

I Had No Idea What an Arenophile Is Before a Geokitteh Told Me

See, this is why this silly Geokitteh idea Evelyn and I hatched is actually not a joke:

Zayna checks out some sand samples. Image courtesy Evelyn Mervine.

(This is where I do the mea culpa dance, because Evelyn’s working in the buttfuck of nowhere with internet access almost never, and she still manages to post to Geokittehs, whereas I keep intending to and never quite get there. Sigh. I haz excuses. I will spare you them.)

So this is an arenophile. I had no idea what that was. Now I know, and I rather suspect I might be one. Well, I suppose you could call me more of a geophile. Never mind that: it just brought home to me once again what a remarkable little teaching tool this is. Completely painless, yet fun! I always walk away knowing more than when I got there, whether reading or posting myownself (and yes, that does happen, if rarely).

U can haz knowings too, if u vizit post!

Thunderf00t’s Potentially Illegal, Positively Immoral Crusade

I’m not going to say much about Thunderf00t’s plunge into probable illegality, because it’s been said better elsewhere. I’m having a difficult time thinking in anything other than expletives, and have since I discovered that little shit hacked our email list after being tossed out on his ear. I know he has a penchant for flouting copyright, but apparently, there are no depths to which he will not sink in order to satisfy a grudge. It borders on stalking. When I encounter asshats like him, my thoughts tend to trend towards words of roughly four letters. Especially when they’ve placed people I love and respect at real risk of physical harm.

In other words, it would be impossible for me to write a measured post.

Other people have managed more coherent pieces on the subject.

Ed Brayton’s statement sums up things nicely. Start here if you have no idea what’s going on.

Natalie Reed explains why what he’s done places some of us at risk of real-world harm, and why people like him drive good people out of the movement. If you read no other post, read this one.

Ashley Miller describes how his loathesome exploits have sickened those who were staying on the sidelines.

Zinnia Jones discusses the right to private spaces, free of eavesdropping asshats, and tells us about what the asshat has already done with some of the information he stole.

Stephanie Zvan describes the difference between a whistleblower and Thunderf00t. This is a useful post to bookmark for those times when folks may be tempted to view him as some sort of freedom fighter.

Jason Thibeault explains how Thunderf00t hacked our system. Combined with the fact he’s now crowing about it (no, I’m not going to link his ass: if you want to see it, either find the link in another post on FtB or Google it), this should satisfy those uber-skeptics who believe nothing without twelve dozen lines of evidence. If not, they’re a lost cause, and I will no more weep for their departure than I did Thunderf00t’s.

Greta Christina walks us through the ways egregious violations of privacy can harm folks who haven’t done a damned thing wrong.

JT has a moving post up on what it’s like when a personal hero turns out to be a complete asshole.

Jen McCreight explains why those of us at no obvious risk are outraged. Her final paragraph sums it up nicely.

Al Stefanelli takes Thunderf00t to task directly.

PZ pulls no punches (you didn’t expect him to, right?) and is curating links.

Ophelia Benson has her say.

There’s nothing much I can add to this discussion. I simply wish to make it clear that I think he’s a loathsome little shit, lest my silence be taken for indifference or approval. It doesn’t matter how angry he is that we decided he was better off our network than on. No amount of personal butthurt justifies what he’s done.

That said, I shall waste no more time over him. I have better things to do than watch an asshat dig himself deeper holes. I will be there for the people he’s placed at risk, and I will happily cooperate with law enforcement if it turns out they take an interest in his doings. I will make it clear to any and all people who wish me to attend conferences that my attendance is dependent upon his not being there. But he gets no more posts. I don’t like wasting my time with scum.

He can fuck right off.

(Before you comment: read the policy thoroughly. Keep in mind that this is not a public forum, I am in the midst of quitting smoking, I have no damned patience left, and I’m not interested in letting people split hairs and excuse his behavior in my comments section. We will not be discussing possible legal recourse, as that is a discussion to have with lawyers. If any of the foregoing has diminished your desire to comment, that’s very likely for the best. Come back for one of the happier posts.)

New at Rosetta Stones: The Cataclysm

You probably thought we’d never reached that day, but here we are: May 18th, 1980. I’ve used mostly witness statements to try to capture the chaos of those first hours. The science will come later, as it did then.

And believe me when I say we’ve only just begun. So much happened that day. So much happened later that year. It’s going to take a while to unpack it.

There’s a video that plays at the Johnston Ridge Observatory. It’s not posted on the US Forest Service or USGS channels, but I was able to track down a copy of it online. It has some excellent computer animations, and a lot of very good information, but the most haunting thing about it is hearing the recording of David Johnston’s last words. It comes right at the beginning, so if you’re prone to being freaked out by that sort of thing, skip the first several seconds.

That video always leaves me with chills.

 

Plenty of science to come. And never fear: when we’ve finished Mount St. Helens at last, I’ve got another series planned. Actually, two. One of which is, indeed, a volcano, but the other is a bit more exotic. But you’ll have to wait a bit before you find out exactly what they are, because I am an evil author and am obliged to leave you on cliffs. It’s okay: you like geology, and will enjoy looking at the lovely strata whilst you wait.

Items of Interest

Some quick updates and interesting items before I get to some epic post-writing:

  • Via Skepchick: a tale of cyber-woe, and some good security tips. I’ve spent a few moments tonight hardening myself as a target – do yourself the same favor. Also, do not rely on companies’ policies for over-the-phone account management to keep you safe. Social engineering is alive and well.
  • At Skepchick: a very nice answer to people you suspect are JAQing off, or engaging in a little hyperskepticism. Not that they’ll listen, but if they don’t, then you know you’re dealing with a doofus and/or douchebag and can respond accordingly.
  • Stephanie Zvan makes me blush quite a lot. Also, she has a post up that connoisseurs of fine fundie fuckery will wish to see if you haven’t already – learn why fundies hates teh maffs!
  • Craig daGeek would like some input on a grad-school funding idea: “Okay. So here is a thought. I got knocked out of my masters degree by being financially dependent on a homophobic and bigoted professor last year. I am thinking I want to return to grad school, but I am ambivalent about accepting funding and being trapped by the whims of unethical profs. I was thinking of giving Indiegogo a try to self-fund at least partially my next go around. I was going to tell my story of harassment, bullying, discrimination, and unethical behavior I experienced as my selling point. That way I have more say and can keep the ability to fight back hard and fast in my hands alone. I was totally brutalized last year and wish not to go through that again. I need feedback from earth science folks in particular.” You can leave comments here if you don’t have a G+ account – I’ll ensure he gets them. Also, if you know of good resources for math practice for the GRE online or off, please let us know!
  • And on the quitting front: the deed ’tis done, absent any backsliding. I had my last smoke on Saturday night. Despite work doing its utmost to make me return screaming to the loving arms of nicotine, and my bronchial tubes informing me they believe the nice coating of tar was a protective against asthma, I’ve not had one since. I reserve the right to the occasional fumble in these early weeks, but mostly because that opt-out has kept me from opting back in. I am now going to go stand on the porch for three minutes sucking a sour straw candy in lieu of a smokie, because I bloody miss those breaks on the porch, and it just ain’t the same without a reason to be out there. We’ll see if that does the trick. The cat will be thrilled – she was getting pissed about this never going outside with Mommy at night anymore. (Also, yes, I have gained weight, for those who might be curious.)
  • Finally: I’m about to begin an epic writing session for Rosetta Stones. You know what’s coming. Grab tissues and possibly something to bite down on, and stand by for Volcano Day.