Sunday, April 27, 2008

Big Sur Marathon Relay

The closest I'll come to doing a marathon is in this format - the relay. This happened today. This way we are in teams, and only do a small chunk of the relay each, handing off an imaginary baton between each leg. A description accompanies the photo below (yes, I carried my camera with me while I ran) - lots of eventfulness occurred at this relay!

Clockwise from bottom left:
1)Peace drummers- among many interesting "side show" amusements including, but not limited to, jazz bands, brass quartets, highschool orchestras, pianists, duets, rock bands...
and (inset) cowbells.
2) One of the jazz bands
3) View near the beginning of my leg, runners in front, runners behind, hill ahead, sea to the left.
4) Topo profile of the course - I ran from the 17 mile mark (see runner symbol) to the end.
5) Relay finisher medal
6) One of the best views of the leg - soooo pretty
7) View of runners going up one of the many hills - this was (surprisingly) my strongest, keep the same pace on up, down and flat - you beat everyone on the up. They beat you everywhere else, but you still feel good about the hills!
8) Ocean
9) Trees
10) Strawberries! Best road-side addition, free delicious strawberries for the runners. YUM!
11) The majority of our group, we had 7 teams participating who trekked up from Bakersfield. I mostly kept track of all the people I saw from Canada during the run by seeing a maple leaf on some item of clothing and yelling "hey, Canada! Good job!". It was fun.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Field Trip Round 2

With a success percentage somewhere around 90, calculated by the loss of several students at the beginning who we eventually found somewhere near the middle of the trip, the Mojave adventure certainly ended with big grins, a beer & a burger at Bun Boy at Barstow - not with all the students of course...
Only one more to go this semester - time sure flies!!!

Birds, in a lava tube nest. Normally I only see a rat (of the pack kind) and a bat in here, but it seems that some feathered fliers moved in too.

Butterfly - died in a pool of salty salty brine. Makes for a pretty neat photo though.

Duck, not dead, swimming in a pool of salty salty brine... never seen a duck in the desert before.

Photos of the rest of the adventure can be found here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008



Or... wait... is this barely double the value of the postage?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring is Sprung

Well a weekend of 30 plus degree days, it's clear that Summer is here already. We don't get Spring quite so much here evidently. But my avocado-tree-in-a-pot appears to be doing something Springy. Is it even possible that it is FLOWERING???

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


This morning during my office hours I got the following phone call:

Me: "Hello, this is Natalie"

Person: "Hi, this is Tony"

Me: "Tony... Do I know Tony?"

Tony: "Probably not" (pause) "How are you?"

Me: "I'm fine, but confused"

Tony: "Pardon?"

Me: (louder and slower) "I'm fine, but confused. You asked how I was, and I say that I'm fine, but since I don't know who you are, I am confused by this phone call"

Tony: "oh, I'm sorry I'm confusing you" (pause) "I was told by my councellor that you will be teaching Earth Science again in the fall"

Me: "yes I will"

Tony: "Great! It's in the evening, right?"

Me: "no, it's at 11:10 in the morning, Monday and Wednesday, someone else will be teaching Earth Science at night"

Tony: "Oh, I thought you were teaching on Tuesday evenings"

Me: "I am teaching on Tuesday evening, but NOT Earth Science, it's Engineering"

Tony: "so you ARE teaching on Tuesday evening"

Me: "NOT Earth Science"

Tony: "but I thought you were teaching Earth Science in the fall"

Me: (slower, louder) "I AM teaching Earth Science, in the MORNINGS, someone ELSE is teaching Earth Science on Tuesday evenings, but we haven't hired them yet so I don't know who it will be"

Tony: "oh, so you're NOT teaching Earth Science"

Me: (slowly, loudly, more annoyed) "I AM teaching EARTH SCIENCE ON MONDAY AND WEDNESDAY MORNINGS, but NOT TUESDAY EVENINGS, there WILL be Earth Science OFFERED on Tuesday evenings, but it will be taught by SOMEONE ELSE"

Tony: "oh, ok, thanks" (pause) "one more question, what's the textbook for that class?"

Me: "It hasn't been decided yet, I am trying to find a less expensive text to use for the fall, so I can't tell you"

Tony: "ok, thank you!"
(we hang up)

Me: (out loud to myself) "I'm SO GLAD he won't be in my class in the fall"

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Field Trip Success Again

After much chaos, dilemma, funding, lack of funding, bus, lack of bus, stress stress stress, my first field trip of the semester went off tremendously. WHEW! This one was a new one, a journey along the San Andreas Fault, and below are my two favourite photos from the day.

Always do the "does it stick to your tongue test" to determine the rock diatomite. I love the expressions on the other students faces in the background...

Always encourage students to participate in jumping photos on the San Andreas Fault to see if they can generate an earthquake. Not very many were keen to do so - but this group had loads of enthusiasm, and I think there's potential for new jumping moves here!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Griping about students... AGAIN

I just did a lecture on control surveys and map projections for my surveying class. Consequently I also gave them a simple quiz on the subject. One of the questions was as you see below. All the images will grow when you click on them, and all my comments on the quiz papers are in green scrawling writing. Shall I weep? The class average was 48%

The question. You see, not too difficult I thought.

When in doubt... keep writing the words all over the place, surely one of them will land on the right item?

Interestingly, we didn't even talk about the poles during this lecture, they are left off the mathematical model because they get too distorted...

Equator? Of all the things to NOT remember? Equator? BLUEWICH? Funny, but really really sad.

Well, at least they got "equator" on this one...

The best right answer, with added bonus of being pretty. There were few of these "right" answers.