Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hallowe'en (people now, not Kiki)

Poison Ivy

Regular Ivy

A Musketeer

Mel chats up Helen

Spartacus looks on as Fred takes advantage of Minnie

A Musketeer, a witch and a mummy...

Paula Radcliffe and Minnie huddle by the fire

A couple of Republicans give a "cheers" to Bush

The priest scowls at Bio Babe and I (yes, another "Ivy" costume - this one's warmer) freely posing for the camera

Politically Incorrect... but also fairly clever and incredibly amusing

volkslauf revisited

Thanks to the Extreme Chef, I received two more great photos from "The Ultimate Challenge".

Here I am suffering the last metre of the ropes - soooooo close! Ohhhhhhh the pain!!!

Here's the only pic of EMTim - apparently he completely elulded the professional photographer. Oh well, Texas Gal and I found him at the end (after he threw up).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

THIS Hallowe'en -

This year Kiki is going as a tiger.

I figured out the secret to creating a kitty costume that kitties can walk in - AND that takes all of 5 minutes to make. Pinking shears + fleece = no hemming. Jacket style = no sewing, AND freedom of movement for kitty.

Also it makes me laugh a lot.
What's sad is how it's better than my costume (again).

Kiki thinks it's a sweet pimpin' coat. His ample fur even gives the illusion of a fur collar on it. Now he's the "man of the town" - you can tell by the way he's lounging.

p.s. I'm working on a fabric collection and design to make this small-scale marketable for people who would actually buy this sort of thing for their cat. I have been informed that such people are called "Americans". I have even thought of a name for the "line" of "clothing" and other design options...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Say WHAT now?

In contemplating an appropriate reply to the random e-mail spam I received not too long ago, it seems Nathan, my correspondent, has decided to send me some more news:

From : Nathan K Glessing
Sent : October 26, 2006 12:37:10 AM
To :,
Subject : we luv you baby!

HI Natlie in Ecuador!
Sorry I haven’t written . My computer hasn’t been hooked up to the
phone, but I am now.
I got you a pair of water shoes at Wal-Mart for $1! They are pink and
We have some exciting news that we will tell you about in 4 - 6 weeks.
Can’t tell you yet.
Nobody knows that there is even any news. Actually we don’t even know if
there will be any news to tell you then. But if there isn’t I will tell you what this
was all about anyway.
We heard that Levi is loving MTS. What a nice article on MTS in our
recent Watchtower.
WE got the new video from a couple that just started Gilead. It is so
outstanding. It makes you so proud of our organization. I took it up to the hospital for
Grandma and Grandpa to watch. Grandma wanted to take it from me.
Our kitchen is about complete. Nathan got arch -happy and put one in
above the sink.
I have a Lao talk tomorow night with Arliss, if she doesn’t skip out on
We had a study with the crew tonight. Stan and Donna’s son cooked for
us. super goood! Saute’ garlic, chicken in butter. Add heavy whipping cream and
heat to boil for a while, stirring. Then add in diced parsley. next add cooked fettuchini
noodles. stirring.
Once the cream starts to stick to the noodles, add some parmessan
cheese. stir. serve and eat! I think it’s fettuchini alfredo.
We are doing well. Working our tails off trying to get our kitchen done.
We had a guest over for the weekend from Duluth. She says she’s moving here in Jan- mar
sometime. She loved the cong.
That’s all for now. Love you much and be have! Be careful , please and
watch your alone time with people of the opposite sex. You remember what you told
me before you left about your weaknesses. I love you and don’t want to see you
marrying someone you might not have wanted to just because you got too close to them.. I’m
not saying you are, but remember your weaknesses and warnings from your caring sister and
We love you and hope you are well and having a blast!
Love April and Nathan.
It's ... interesting.
Apparently I have a tendency to marry people on a whim.

I'm not sure what to say, but it's the most interesting spam I've ever gotten.

Product of Canada

Why is my Trader Joe's (Trader Ming's) microwaveable sesame-chicken emergency lunch bowl a product of Canada?
Do we even HAVE Trader Joe's stores in Canada? I'm pretty sure that we don't.
This country is insane.

Monday, October 23, 2006

54 students and a limo...

The group standing on the North American Plate (by the bridge to cross to the Pacific Plate).

This weekend I ran another field trip out to Parkfield with a fossil collecting stop in Avenal.
I had 66 students sign up for it.
Luckily, only 54 showed up... Aieeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Among those 54 I had "that" guy - you know, the guy who doesn't follow the directions and gets lost? Yup, him - that delayed things.
I also had speedy guy - who got a ticket between fossils and fault (never made it to fault).

And I had limo guy - with limo breaking down on the way home.
All in all, I'd say it went really well.

The creek running along the San Andreas Fault at Parkfield.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ground Rules

In December I'll be taking a tour of _________ Air Force Base (top secret you see - government stuff) and received the following in my confirmation e-mail:

Also, please take note of the following ground rules:

Allowed Items

  • Diaper Bags
  • Purses
  • Handicapped items such as wheel chairs, mobility and oxygen carts and prescription medications.
  • Cameras (Except when on the Flight Line)
  • Video Recorders (Except when on the Flight Line)
  • Binoculars (and similar items).
  • Service Animals

  • Disallowed Items

  • Weapons of any kind, to include pocket knives, leathermen tools, scissors, large nail clippers, box cutters, num chucks, large or heavy link chain belts or necklaces and firearms of any type to include toys or items that resemble fire arms are absolutely prohibited.
  • Illegal drugs to include marijuana, and offenders are subject to prosecution.
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Pets
  • Ice Chests
Num Chucks...

Also, I have to apologise to my loyal readers for not having reminded you that September is Velociraptor Awareness Month. Oops. Read more here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Random e-mail spam...

In my hotmail inbox I found this treasure...

From: Nathan K Glessing
Sent: October 19, 2006 1:33:56 AM
Subject: i think i found you
Dear Bratalie,

Thank you for the call. It was one of the two times in the last 6 months
that I did not have my phone with me. April has indeed written you, but
she had a little trouble with your address (something about spelling,)
and the messages were returned. I'm sending this behind April's back to
see if I have the address correct. I smart.
You are really missing out on a lot. I just spent 16 hours sanding my
floors. Tomorrow I might even varnish them. Don't even try to top that.
I'm sure April will write you in the morning.
Here's your homework: 6 scriptural reasons why christians don't smoke --
in Spanish. If you come up with 7 you get a prize.

Love, Nathan
There is nothing attached - no viruses. There is nothing being sold. No bank account info requested. None of that... It could almost be taken as an e-mail that was misdirected. ALMOST... Except that NOONE is named "Bratalie" - or are they?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Volkslauf: The Ultimate Challenge

Texas Gal and I, still warm, clean and dry, naively anticipate the unknown...

Texas Gal, 24th St Cafe Girl, her BF (Captain Kindness), and his bro EMTim all joined me on a Saturday morning of craziness. It is affectionately known as the "mud run".

This weekend I ran in Volkslauf, which in summary, is a military-run obstacle course race.
It was hard. It was fun. I laughed. I nearly cried. I bashed and banged and ran and climbed and crawled and slogged my way through. Not surprisingly all my muscles hurt and my legs are completely covered in bruises (although they don't photograph well through the tan).
I came in 6th in my age group, 59th out of 261 overall who did the 5K. I did it in about 50min - which is about twice as long as it takes me to do a 5K, but then again... this one DID have 55 obstacles - and hardly any running!

Texas Gal gets down and dirty. Look at that goo!!!

He teaches physics in my department at BC!!! (Did 10K)

24th St Cafe pushes through the pain.

Captain Kindness pulls through to 19th overall (10K) with smiles and good wishes.

More photos - real ones, not stolen thumbnail proofs, are coming eventually.


Stupid tan hiding evidence my having gone balls-out at Volkslauf.

Friday, October 13, 2006

speaking of rain...

we had this low pressure system come through last night, it was pretty cool - thunder and lightning and everything!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

When it rains, it pours

Today I FINALLY got in to see the neck doctor about these shoulder/arm troubles I'd been having - this appointment took a month to get, of course.

The diagnosis for these same symptoms 2 years ago had been a pinched nerve in my neck, so I just assumed that's what it was still. Of course, 2 years ago nobody took xrays or anything, so it was a diagnosis based on shoulder pain/tingling/numbness that occasionally pinged and twanged its way down to my thumb. So this doctor, with less than acceptable bedside manner (take note sister-mine, bedside manner is important - you don't want grouchy patients!!!), decides before looking at me, the xrays or the MRI that it's carpel tunnel syndrome. He then sets out to prove it. Carpel tunnel? Yes, he says, then whacks my wrist a bunch of times with his hammer thingy to show me that it hurts and tingles when he does that. Annoyingly it does, and it doesn't do the same on my other hand. Curses! Then he pokes and prods around my shoulder, corrects me that it's not actually my "shoulder" persay - as that's just the top of my arm, but where this pain is actually, is my upper right back. He decides that pain, and the connected headaches and tingling are due to muscular scarring. He asked me, are your headaches related to your "shoulder" pain? I don't really know, I say, I have headaches, I have pain in the back of my shoulder, how can I tell if they're related?

Suffice it to say it was an annoying visit to the doc, and I am now undergoing the task of typing on my blog with a granny-style wrist splint on to treat the illeged carpel tunnel. He threatened surgery, but you have GOT to be kidding!!??!??!!?!!

So on the way down to the docs this morning my engine light came on. SUPER.

Oh, and this weekend my office suffered an infestation of FIRE ANTS, so naturally I have itchy bitey welts all over myself. Thankfully I'm friends with many of the maintenance staff, and Tim came in right away to spray the office and get rid of them.

Did I mention that this week I'm getting evaluated on my teaching skills?

Fire ant bite photos for km - I waited too long before taking them, so now they're little and sorta scarry... well there you go.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Engineers: welcome to the middle of nowhere

I took the engineer's club up to see Burro Schmidt's tunnel on Saturday. Since the last caretaker, Tonie Seeger, died - the route isn't super well maintained. We had to follow sparsely arranged signs, examples above.

Of course I made them jump. It is difficult to coordinate a group. Especially if they don't understand what they're doing.

I had to get the other profs to help me show them how!

You know you're in the middle of the high desert when...

Meet Olga of Randsburg

Randsburg used to be a mining town. It was named for "Rand" of Whitwatersrand in Africa. Yes, geologists, it's a gold mining town. It was actually very productive - in two ~20 year spurts, the last of which ended just over a year ago.

Randsburg, the town (claim to fame: only real living ghost town - total contradiction in terms) has stayed somewhere in the past and besides the gaping stares of tourists (not many) lives quietly several decades ago.

In fact, besides those who purposely venture there (i.e. me) it seems as though cyclists doing the "Furnace Creek 508" (508 miles of biking through desert in 48 hrs) and dirt bikers are the only real Randsburg visitors.

This is "The Joint". It's been owned and run by the same woman for 50 years. She also ran the grocery store in Randsburg for 10 years.

This is the woman: Olga. She just turned 95. Happy Birthday Olga! She still works and runs the place. Walking around all 4'9" (perhaps less???) of herself. She's been in Randsburg since the early 40's. She must've thought I was a dirty dirty excuse for a woman in my Carharts.