All I Have to Say About the Super Bowl

Yes, my beloved city of Seattle is cheering on its own Seahawks today. Has been for the past several weeks, even the fabric store is sporting Seahawks colors. I have no bloody interest in football – horse racing, Quidditch and MMA are my great loves – but I do love one thing in particular about this Super Bowl:

Image shows the Broncos logo on top, Seahawks logo in the middle, and Dr. Evil doing air quotes at the bottom. The caption says, "The two states that legalized pot are getting together for a "Super Bowl."

No idea who created this, because there are ten million copies abounding, and I couldn’t find you. But I love you for it.

It’s too much to hope both teams stop playing while tied in the 4th quarter, and instead of finishing the game, sit down together to get baked, isn’t it? I mean, they could continue later for those fans who insist on a winner. But I think it would be an awesome if, just for a while, there were no winners or losers, just people having some happy fun times together.

Sigh.

But it’s not in Seattle or Denver, so I suppose the police tromping in to arrest everyone for possession would kinda put a damper on it. Not to mention some of the fans would become upset.

Yet still I dream…

Something Beautiful, Something Blue: Seattle from Alkai

I love my adopted city. I’ve never been much of a big-city person, and I’d frankly rather be out in the mostly wild spaces most of the time, but I’ve always adored Seattle. I find her beautiful from most every angle. I love wandering round downtown, rambling among the hills and the shops and the art and architecture. I love her culture, and her old buildings, and her waterfronts. The only thing I don’t like is driving there, but even that isn’t horrible. Merely awful. Best to take the bus and a comfortable pair of shoes, and make a day of it.

"Something Beautiful, Something Blue." Seattle from Alki, view across the Sound with a spray of water over the Space Needle.

“Something Beautiful, Something Blue.” Seattle from Alki, view across the Sound with a spray of water over the Space Needle.

I love her skyline. I took this image from Alki Point one summer. There’s a strip of beach with excellent views toward the city center, and a set of concrete stairs, and waves that splash dramatically against said stairs, and give a photographer a chance at a little artistry. I like how, after a bit of mucking about with contrast and saturation, it ended up looking a bit like a watercolor.

My fair city isn’t without her faults, though. In fact, we’re pretty much standing on one here, and one day I shall tell you about it, once we’re done with all this volcano nonsense.

Would You Like Some Geology With Your Coffee? One Mountain or a Range?

I have to admit, when my coworker Mitch told me he’d bought a drive-through coffee stand, I thought he was nuts. He’s rather the last person I’d expect to buy a business of any sort. But then he was smart enough to filch a known excellent barista, and the whole enterprise began to look more sane.

He also had the great good sense to buy the one that’s close to the Martha Lake Airport Park glacial erratic. It’s also close to Highway 96, which leads to some gorgeous views of the Cascades over the Snohomish River valley. So I figured, hell with it. I’ll kidnap Cujo and do a wee field trip with coffee. We’ll start at 511 164th Street Southwest, Lynnwood, WA, head to Martha Lake Airport Park in Martha Lake to ogle a very large rock, gape at the Cascades from Glacier Peak High School, and end in Woodinville at Teddy’s Bigger Burgers.

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Intimations of Spring

Seattle does this. In the midst of a chilly, drab, damp gray winter, a few days burst out with sun and warmth, as if the Pacific Northwest has gotten as tired of the cold and dark as its inhabitants and decided to skip forward a few months. It will go back to being winter again before long. Gather ye sunshine while ye may, then.

I fled the house after some lounging about in a brilliant sunny bedroom with a cat lolling in sunbeams, and headed off on a ramble up over the drumlin to North Creek. I propose to take you with me. There’s precious little geology to be found along this route, but there are a few points of mild interest, and birders may scream with joy.

One of the things I like about living here is the shy little glimpse of Mt. Rainier. You wouldn’t expect it in Bothell, exactly, but over the shoulder of a drumlin, Mt. Rainier puts in an occasional appearance.

Mt. Rainier from a drumlin

There were rather fewer clouds than it appears in this photo, lurking about on the horizons as if ashamed to be intruding. We’re supposed to have more of the bastards tomorrow, but I put about as much stake in the predictions of the weather reports around here as I do in the prognostications of psychics and most economic forecasters. The weather seems to delight in proving them wrong on the fine details.

But I digress.

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Scenes from Snowpocalypse 2012 Vol. 2: Wherein I Am Thwarted, Plus Rocks

You know, I don’t normally like to go anywhere. I like being at home. Snuggling with the cat, reading and writing, maybe watching a movie or some teevee, that’s just my speed. But having been snowed in for days, my usual amusements no longer amuse. It’s the knowledge that I can’t get out. It makes me think of things I’d do if I could get out, and since I can’t do them, I actually want to do them.

I’m convinced this is a universal conspiracy to prevent me from ever obtaining another Agatha Christie novel on something more comfortable than my laptop, which is a desktop replacement and not suitable for curling up in bed with. It’s no use suggesting that things can be downloaded to my smartphone, because I haven’t got one. And I’ve read blogs on smartphones, and shudder at the idea of attempting to read a novel on one. And I’d read on a tablet, but I still haven’t got one of those, either. You see? Evidence of a conspiracy.

Staples was open just long enough for me to drop in and play with the paltry few tablets they had on display. I have no idea how any of their employees made it in. On top of the snow, we had an ice storm. Then more snow. And I really thought, after making my various phone calls to my mother’s mental health care professionals, and leaving messages for others, that I’d not get a chance to play with tablets. But Staples was open for part of the day, so I bundled up and hoofed it down. I made friends with their display copy of the Kindle Fire. It does what I need a tablet to do, and it’s cheap. I told them I’d take one. They said they hadn’t got any in stock.

You see? Evidence of a conspiracy.

I’ve ordered one from Amazon, to be delivered next day air, because I’m getting desperate. I guarantee you that despite the fact that the delivery trucks have chains on their tires and the weather’s supposed to stop being absolutely evil that something will happen. Seatac will close due to flooding as the incoming rainstorm melts all this snow and ice, or the Kindle Fire will self-destruct inside the box, or a tree will fall on our powerlines just as I’m getting ready to charge the damned thing, or the delivery company will call everything off due to drivers having nervous breakdowns en masse after dealing with trees falling all over the roadways, on top of the ice, snow, and insane drivers. I cannot be optimistic at this point, because I still want an Agatha Christie novel on a device that fits comfortably in my hand, and the universe seems determined to ensure I shall not have it.

The weather also froze my rocks to their shelves, nixing my plans to take the hand lens to them today whilst waiting for various and sundry social services people to return my calls. That was the last straw. I took a nap, and then watched Have You Heard About the Morgans? If you haven’t seen it, take my advice and don’t bother, unless you need practice rolling your eyes. It’s one of the most poorly-written movies I’ve ever watched. The writers seem to have sat around a table with pages of the script and asked each other, “What can we do to make this scene more trite and full of cliches? What can we insert here to ensure it’s overdone?” And then they threw in everything they could think of. I don’t deny it has it’s moments, but only those. Afterward, since I was annoyed and still suffering cabin fever, I watched Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.” As far as I’m concerned, Darin Morgan can do no wrong. Any X-Files episode written by him is well worth your time. This is why I love my Amazon Prime membership: I can watch Darin Morgan episodes of The X-Files whenever I wish, for free, and feel better about life.

This doesn’t help me with identifying rocks, but they’re still pretty, and perhaps the geologists in the audience will weigh in. All of the following rocks were picked up around Richmond Beach, on the Sound, and had a considerable way to travel in most cases.

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Scenes from Snowpocalyse 2012

This bird’s arse illustrates how I feel about yesterday:

We’re snowed in. I took the day off, and spoke to various relatives regarding deceased and mentally disabled relatives, and prepared to put out a few brush fires which I shall tell you about when we know whether they’re truly out or liable to erupt into a crown fire. Then I snapped this picture of a bird’s arse through the window, because I am cooped up inside and getting bored. It turned around a moment later and presented a more suitable angle for photography:

Cujo has a rather more flattering portrait of a similar bird. They were adorable. They were also the only entertainment on offer.

Relations spoken to, equipment in readiness for some firefighting on the morrow (now today), I found myself no longer amused by bird butts, and bundled up to walk to Staples. I’ve been deprived of bookstores due to snowstorms since Sunday. I’m out of the turn-of-the-century detective literature I’m craving. So, I thought, I’d get myself a tablet. That way, I could sneer at the weather and just download whatever the fuck I pleased, thus thumbing my nose at the weather whilst still being able to comfortably read in bed.

Staples, however, had closed due to weather. Bastards. How dare they care for their employees’ well-being when I’m literature-deprived? And then, having denied me the chance at a tablet, make me applaud them for their good sense and kindness in allowing their employees to head home while there was still a chance of making it there alive?

There was nothing left to do but drop by my friend Starspider’s apartment and help torture her cat.

This is Galahad, learning that outside is made of cold, wet and pain. We did this to him because he thought outside was made of birds and rainbows and fun, and threatened to run out into traffic. We think he’s been disabused of these tendencies.

This is Galahad considering whether or not to murder his mother. He decided if he did, the chances of the door being opened were minimal, so he refrained.

We tortured the cat until we’d finished our cigarettes, then relented. He still loves us. I’m not sure why. And before you have too much sympathy for him, remember he’s a long-haired cat who never even got damp, and it was ultimately for his own good. He has not, as yet, asked to go back outside, so the experiment so far seems successful.

This experiment will not be repeated with my cat. I value my life.

The snow’s lingering. Next course on the weather menu is a bit more snow and possibly some freezing rain, followed by a rapid warming, which will mean flooding and possible landslides. Fun and more fun. At least it doesn’t do this often.

I took some good images of my outdoor rocks dusted with snow. In our next edition of Scenes from Snowpocalyse 2012, I’ll find some clever things to say about them. Either that, or I’ll just post them without comment, chuck my cat into a snowdrift as a distraction, and flee. Or I could take the safe route and direct you toward Starspider’s post on bitters. For now, it’s time for another dose of Rex Stout. I believe I’ll filch Archie Goodwin’s personality for dealing with counselors, lawyers and snow today. It could come in useful, especially as a tool for retaining my sanity.

Near Seattle? Bored? I Haz Solutionz For Ye

So, you don’t shop (or you’re done shopping), you’re sick of hanging round the house looking at relatives and leftover turkey, and you’d like to go do something interesting with your life. Possibly even with your relatives.

I haz things for ye.

Burien Little Theatre’s Inspecting Carol opens this weekend. Saturday’s date night will get you two-for-one tickets if you order by email or phone. I believe Sunday’s sold out, but the play’s on until December 18th, so you’ve got a little time. It looks hysterical – don’t miss it. I’ll be going either next Sunday or the one after – if you’re interested in heading down there with me, let me know, and we’ll make a day of it.

On Monday night, the Forum on Science and Ethics Policy has an event you might want to partake of:

FOSEP will co-host the Science on Tap talk on November 28th at 7pm at Ravenna Third Place Pub. A clinical veterinarian from SNBL (Preclinical Services for Drug Development) USA will present “Drug Safety and Animal Research – No safe alternatives”. This presentation will discuss why animals are needed for certain laboratory studies and the role of alternative solutions in animal research. Please note, that this talk does not reflect the views of FOSEP or its members in line with our non-advocacy position; however, we are excited to work with Science on Tap!

I’m hoping to make it, but I’d dedicated this weekend to the gods of NaNo. Even an atheist doesn’t fuck with them. But we’ll see if I can negotiate a temporary release.

So there you go. Things to do! People to see! Fun to be had!

As for my non-Seattle area readers, I’m afraid all you can do is look on us with envy. That, or find local events of your very own.

The Night the Earth Moved

I used to believe I was a geologic disaster coward. I grew up in the shadow of the San Francisco Peaks, which is actually a single mountain that blew itself apart not all that long ago, on the edge of a volcanic field that was merrily tossing out lava flows and cinder cones a mere 900-odd years back. My elementary school was tucked in the flank of a rhyolite dome. Things had been quite exciting round there, and I used to watch the mountains with a wary eye, watching like a paranoid volcanologist for the slightest sign of steam or ash. We had city-threatening fires nearly every summer, winters sometimes dumped so much snow on us that roofs collapsed (and there was still talk of one winter in the 1970s when snow had reached the second floor and everybody was all snowed in, an event we had happily missed). We had all sorts of poisonous and/or violent wildlife running about. None of those more immediate threats terrified me half as much as the volcanoes.

But, said I, at least there were no earthquakes. Earthquakes were terrible, awful, no good, very bad things that I never ever in a million billion trillion years wanted to experience.

Then I moved to a subduction zone.

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And That, Kids, Is Why You Shouldn’t Build on a Bluff

One of my geotweeps, CGKings317, once tweeted this rather remarkable video showing coastal erosion over the course of a year:

It gives you a sense of just how delicate coastlines can be. There’s the ocean, and storms; wind, water and gravity, all working to lay the land low. 17 meters (almost 56 feet) of prime seaside real estate now sleeps with the fishes.

And we build seawalls and groynes, pile riprap, terrace and wire and drain, do our damnedest to make these temporary landforms permanent, but good Mother Earth just sticks her tongue out at us, goes “Nyah-nyah!” and takes another few bites out of what we thought we could preserve.

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So Sorry to Disappoint

My first foray into the realm of public humiliation was a great big flop on the humiliation front, but happily completely successful in the not-dribbling-on-myself front.

I should begin by saying I love the concept of GeekGirlCon. I love a sea of women with a few islands of men getting together to celebrate all things geek. I wish I’d known about it sooner, that it hadn’t happened the weekend a certain popular phone launched and thus closed the vacation calendar, and that I hadn’t already promised I’d attend Frankenstein. I only got to attend the panel I was on, and then we had to skedaddle rather than dawdle. Next year, I sincerely hope, will be different. And I think I shall assemble a costume.

As it was, my poor long-suffering coworker and dear friend and I rousted ourselves out of bed at an obscene hour (we are nocturnal) and raced down to the Con, arriving at ten-thirty. Plenty of time, we thought. We found parking. We went in search of the Con. We discovered that Seattle Center is utterly enormous when you think you know where you’re going but really don’t and nobody at the main entrance has any idea such a thing as GeekGirlCon is taking place.

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