New Geokittehs Post by Moi!

Y’all should be checking Geokittehs on a regular basis already – Evelyn’s done an excellent job keeping the site up-to-date whilst I’ve been busy (or busy wasting time) elsewhere. But thanks to you lot, I’ve got a post up there at last! Do go enjoy the Dipuurgent Boundary, and remember to show Evelyn some love for keeping the site running single-handed. Love you muchly, Evelyn my dear!

In Which The Cat Is Not Amused

So I did some mad cleaning, the kind you do when you’re disgusted with life, the Universe and everything, and decide to take it out on your poor innocent apartment. Misha slept happily through most of it, except for those bits where she stirred to come snigger at me whilst I was down on my knees scrubbing the linoleum. But there’s one thing guaranteed to wake her up, and that’s Mommy sprinkling carpet freshener around.

Kitteh sez "Whut?"

Kitteh sez “Whut?”

She’s learned that carpet freshener means the icky evil vacuum cleaner’s about to be busted out, and nothing pisses her off more than the vacuum. Well, guests. She despises those. And dogs. And other cats. Okay, lots of things piss her off more than the vacuum cleaner, but it wins when we’re alone together.

What is the meaning of this outrageous conduct?

What is the meaning of this outrageous conduct?

So she gave me and the carpet freshener a sustained glare. I found it hilarious, so of course I photographed it. Besides, the light from the window was just right for her gorgeous green eyes.

She might be going a bit deaf, or she’s just getting obstinate in her old age, but when I switched on the evil icky vacuum cleaner, she just gave me another outraged glare, and then determinedly pretended to sleep rather than running away like she normally does. Then again, it could be her insecurity issues surrounding her pillow. Ever since a friend interfered with her enjoyment of it, she’s mostly kept herself planted upon it. Especially when people come by. Except for that one time the other morning when I was trying to sleep in, and she was trying to encourage me to embrace the new day by hurking up a hairball loudly a few feet away, and then a bit later, tearing up and down the house, then pausing to yowl loudly in my ear, by way of announcing she needed to poop.

She is, in fact, the reason I never found myself tempted to have children. Whyever do you ask?

If anyone can think of what sort of geology she’s illustrating in the photos above, I shall publish them on Geokittehs and credit you. Fame will be yours. Alas, not fortune. Sorry.


“Needs an image illustrating oreogeny,” Chris Clarke says. Not happy with a geology prof’s work, are we? Well, then. Never let it be said I ignore reader requests – and I even fulfill them when I’ve got a bag of Oreos in the cupboard and the request comes in during an afternoon where I have some blogging time free. Voilá!

Oreogenic Belt.

Oreogenic Belt.

Stay tuned – I shot a whole series of photos illustrating oreogeny, and I’ll be writing them up on Rosetta Stones. We’ve gotten a tad too serious over there lately – time to inject a bit of sugary goodness.

Thanks for the inspiration, Chris! And thanks to Bob Lillie for the original idea – genius.

Oreo Tectonics

I’m one of those freaks of nature who doesn’t much like Oreos. However, I feel differently about them now that many of you, along with my Facebook friend Raymond Dickey, shared this:

oreo tectonics

Okay, now I want an Oreo cookie! I didn’t realize they could be such perfect geology teaching tools. I’ll have to employ them when I get a chance to speak to people in person about how the earth works. Gotta love lessons you can enjoy with milk afterward.

“GeOreo theory.” Ha! Nicely done, sir, nicely done.

*Edited to add: Image created by Lockwood’s former geophysics professor Bob Lillie. Thanks, Lockwood!

What About Teh Menz? – Answered!

The next time some sniveling asshat starts the “But what about teh menz?!” whine, don’t sweat it. Yeah, it’s annoying as shit, and we’ve answered that “patriarchy hurts men too” about five quadrillion-zillion times, and we’re tired of it, but it’s all good. The question has been answered by someone with a masculine voice and a penis who identifies as a menz. All we have to do is aim the sniveling asshat at this video. Seriously. Watch it. Just use caution if you have any medical conditions that make punching a fist into the air and screaming “Fuck yeah!” at the top of your lungs painful. (And remember to say thank you to Mary at Skepchick for finding it.) [Read more…]

Ron Lindsay’s Extraordinary Bullshit Part I: Wherein We Have a Discussion About Open Letters

I’ve been meaning to parse and publish this for some time. Remember all the way back when Ron Lindsay published and signed that open letter that wasn’t so much a call for civility as a call to STFU? Remember when people got upset? Yeah. Well. According to the letter, we were supposed to call folks before reaming them, so I asked for his phone number on Twitter. I was pretty shocked when he actually gave it to me, but then, he’d just signed the letter saying people should phone each other, so that bit was fresh in everyone’s mind. We couldn’t come up with a good time to talk on the phone, our schedules being what they are, so we eventually conversed via email. By the time all that was done, the furor over the open letter had subsided, and there was always something more pressing to publish, and most days I forgot Ron Lindsay existed.

Obviously, after his extraordinary fuck-ups at WiS2, my memory’s been jogged.
[Read more…]

“A Pattern Called a War”

Memorial Day… Traditional to remember the sacrifice of soldiers on this day, the battlefield fallen. And we do. But today, let’s also remember those the fallen leave behind.

“Au Jardin.” Gioacchino Pagliei via Wikimedia Commons.


by Amy Lowell

I walk down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden paths.

My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whale-bone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

And the splashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover,
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.

Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
“Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday sen’night.”
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
“Any answer, Madam,” said my footman.
“No,” I told him.
“See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer.”
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.

In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”
Now he is dead.

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down,
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

Sunday Afternoon - Ladies in a Garden. Detail of painting by unknown English School artist.

Sunday Afternoon – Ladies in a Garden. Detail of painting by unknown English School artist.

War is a tragedy. War destroys lives and causes unmeasurable suffering. It should never be entered in to lightly: lives are too precious to waste. We forget that all too often.

Every Memorial Day, I hope we remember.

Geotrippin’ Parte the Thirde: To the Bat Cave!

On the dawn of Day Four, I was about to say, “Sod this for a game of larks – let’s go back and see the bits of the Josephine we missed!” Because, you see, we were headed for Oregon Caves. And I’ve been through caves. And they never let me take pictures. So I end up tromping through all of these spectacular things, and I can’t show you a damned bit of it. Sure, I could purchase other photographers’ work, or find park service photos, or something, but that’s not the same as letting you see it the way we saw it. And that makes visiting caves sort of anticlimactic for me.

But we went, and Lockwood said he’d read that they allow photography, and I squeed. Then they said they allow flash photography, and I nearly screamed for joy. Finally, a cave that is awesome, protected, and that I can show you! I took about nine billion photos, and will show many of them to you when we have a proper write-up. For now, here’s a photo of me providing scale for one of the columns.

Moi with column. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

Moi with column. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

So one thing I love a lot about this cave, other than the fact they allow photography, is that the rangers leading the tours talk about the geology thereof. Also, there are bats, so you can call it a bat cave. Although we didn’t see any bats this time round.

The other thing I adore about this cave is the fact that it’s made of marble. Kind of low-grade marble, but marble none the less. And on the walk to and from the parking lot, you can see some pretty spectacular folds in it.

Moi with fold in marble. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

Moi with fold in marble. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

We met some very nice folks working there for the summer who knew lots about geology and were excited to talk about more. The woman who led our tour even let it go over a bit because Lockwood and I were so busy snapping pictures of great geology. She even pointed out the dikes and other nifty geological features that Hiking Oregon’s Geology said the guide would neglect to mention, so that was awesome – great improvement, Oregon Caves! I like it when geology doesn’t get ignored. It too often does, even when the tour in question is touring a geological feature.

Our own Helena has volunteered at this cave, and she’s helped repair bits of it, so give her a thank-you when you go through those spectacular rooms.

After the caves and lunch, we headed north and did some poking round near Riddle, OR, which has a nickel mine and therefore interesting minerals, but we were too busy looking for said minerals to snap pictures of each other. Then Corvallis – at a reasonable hour! – and a nice rest-up for our adventures the following day.

Of course we did Marys Peak – don’t we always, when we’re hanging about town? The thing about Marys Peak is, there’s always something new and wonderful to discover. This time, it was lots of early lilies. Lockwood seems to have had much fun photographing me photographing lilies:

Moi atop Marys Peak, stalking little lilies. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

Moi atop Marys Peak, stalking little lilies. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

And then we wandered down a trail we’d taken last year. This year, it had snow near it still – and more lilies, although you can’t see them.

Moi investigating leftover snow. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

Moi investigating leftover snow. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.


Then, when we got down off the peak, it was time to go visit Alsea Falls, which is magnificent – and amazingly accessible. First, you hike through a pretty green forest with a lovely big bridge.

Moi on bridge. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

Moi on bridge. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

Then you hike down and can stand pretty much right at the top of the falls.

Ai haz a ponder about how close you can reasonably get before being knocked over the edge by the current... I'm a physical coward, so that's about as close as I got. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

Ai haz a ponder about how close you can reasonably get before being knocked over the edge by the current… I’m a physical coward, so that’s about as close as I got. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

Then there’s a simple trail to the bottom, where you can get a magnificent view of these falls plunging over their lip of Columbia River Basalt, and you can walk right up in to them quite safely, as long as you mind your footing (some of the rocks are slippery).

Moi at the base of the main plunge at Alsea Falls. I love waterfalls you can get right up in to. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

Moi at the base of the main plunge at Alsea Falls. I love waterfalls you can get right up in to. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

And then, the end. We returned to Corvallis, swapped photos, and I headed home to Seattle, arriving back at a reasonable (?!) hour. You know what happened next – the novelty of not coming home from a geotrip with Lockwood dead-exhausted sent me out in search of further adventures. And now I’m home with B, and the weather’s improving, we’ll be having many more. Some of which I’m hoping you’ll be able to come along for.

We’ll soon have some in-depth looks at the geology we saw. Stay tuned!

Geotrippin’ Parte the – Oh, Crap, I Forgot Cape Blanco!

Going through photos for the next installment, I realized I neglected to mention the stop by the fastest-rising most-westernest bit of the Oregon Coast on Day the Seconde*. Sorry bout that. Here ’tis:

Moi at Cape Blanco. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

Moi at Cape Blanco. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

Those holes I’m staring at are places where birds live, carved into this very soft sandstone and conglomerate. That’s at the top of the Cape – the underneath parts are made of sterner stuff. B and I might hike the whole thing someday, given half a chance – he’s the sort of person who looks at the elevation diagrams for various hikes and thinks we should try the challenging ones. I’ll turn him loose on the Oregon Coast and see how much up-and-down it takes before he hollers uncle like Lockwood and I did last March. This up-and-down will be awesome, though, because it’s some of the oldest rock in Oregon. I’ll happily induce suffering in my leg muscles for a closer look.

We found a nice outcrop of some of it that wasn’t inside park boundaries and went after it with hammers. But not the whole time. There was a good bit of staring into a nice serene valley and going “Aww, pretty!”

Moi gazing at lovely little valley. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

Moi gazing at lovely little valley. Image credit Lockwood DeWitt.

Right. So that was Cape Blanco. Back to normal chronology…


*For those wondering: I’ve been doing the “Parte the…” thing long before encountering Comrade PhysioProffe and his eccentric spelling habits. I just like faux Olde Englishe sometimes. It amuses me.