Monday, November 22, 2010

images from a wet exploration

I somehow got convinced to spend a rainy Saturday poking around some "mines" in the Keyesville area with a semi-professional mine explorer and one of my triathlon-geology colleagues. I then convinced another colleague to come along too so that I would have less driving to do. It turned out that 1) the first "mine" was, in my eyes, not a mine at all; was quite filled with water, which for the height-challenged such as myself, meant getting a greater percentage of the body wet to explore; and contained at least 2 dead rodents: Bloaty McBloaterson and Fluffy, 2) the second mine was clearly a mine, and also clearly had Jarosite (and indubitably other sulfur-based minerals and bacteria growing in it, or some such stuff that was also off-gassing when the murky waters were disturbed), which resulted in an incredibly nasty sludge coating on our footwear.

Me, pouting, with my bra stuffed with my socks so that they would at least be dry, other stuff shoved into my fleece, my pants rolled up to my thighs, but still wet, and looking at the partial ladder that needed to be climbed in order to proceed; with its lowest rung being the height of my shoulder...

Irony. Rusted "iron"y. That might be the worst pun I've ever made...

Clean vertical shaft in the mine, unlike the other 2 we saw, which were rendered nearly invisible due to the rusty sludge coating (see above photo for sludge example) - but this one looked eerily awesome. It also made a fantastic sound when rocks were lobbed into it. The other shafts made cool sounds when rocks were tossed their way, but also sent replies in the form of potent H2S farts, we heard the message and trucked it out of there.

The following night and day was spent in my old favourite, Red Rock Canyon SP, where a full moon and relatively wind-free evening allowed for flash-light free night hikes to check out the few constellations that shone out against the brightness of the moon, as well as catching the last few stragglers of the Leonid meteor shower.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Garbage Cat, then and now

Loki, AKA Bitey Whitey, is a 2009 model. So that means he's... going to be 2 or so in the next few months. When I first acquired him, some of the names tossed around, like "X head", were based on the big grey X on his head.

X head in an book box, spring 2009

X head in a waste basket, Kiki for scale, 2009, inspiring the name Garbage Cat

Garbage Cat in the kitchen trash, 2009, inspiring me to always close the lid, even if I'm just taking 2 steps back into the kitchen to pick up more un-compostables to dispose of.

Now Loki is as long as Kiki, though not as tall or as wide, and interestingly, he is completely white - there isn't even a single grey strand of fur on his head. Thus the continuance of the name Bitey Whitey.

the semi-irregular knitting update

Recently I finished a couple of big projects and whipped up a couple of totally ridiculous and small projects. For those who are interested in knitting, enjoy.

The world's itchiest sweater, knit from this pattern in this yarn.

I had a request from a friend if I would be capable of knitting a cthulhu hat. I had no idea what that was, but found that I was, nevertheless, capable of knitting it. I also wrote up the pattern to distribute on ravelry.

I finally finished my Bergen Street cardigan, knit from Finnish lambswool - it only took forever because I had to wait for the final ball of yarn to arrive from Finland, I am sooooo happy with this sweater!

Then I had to whip up a cat hoodie for Salsa in Calgary, it's starting to get pretty cold there you know... She obviously hates it. However, in comparison with Loki (below), who was forced to try it on before I sent it, she is significantly more cooperative.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

GSA 2010

I got to go up to GSA in Denver this year (that's Geological Society of America, in case you didn't know), and in amongst the regular conference stuff, I went ahead and went on field trips before and after the meeting.

On the pre field trip we looked at a lot of table mountains, flat-topped and capped with basalt flows, and then adding to the contrast was a fresh layer of snow. Pretty spectacular scenery, especially in comparison with Bakersfield.

When we stopped at "Finger Rock" on the pre-trip, pretty much the last stop of the excursion, 4 filthy farm cats came out of the woodwork immediately upon the extraction of muffins from our vans. The muffin kitties mewed and purred until their muffin cravings were satisfied - they were so cute! Even though at least 2 of them (like the one above) seemed to be missing their tails.

At the conference I not only got to meet a ton of great new people, but I also got to catch up with several Queen's folks from the good ol' days. Here's me getting out the 3D glasses for a "virtual field trip" to Death Valley with my old friend the Cycling Geochemist.

Finally, after the meeting I went on day trip around Dinosaur Ridge and the Morrison Formation - two especially fun things from the day were baby stegosaurus footprints - look at that scale bar! And, seeing the Great Unconformity at Red Rocks Park, with 1.4 billion years missing at Dimitri's (that's the Dimetrodon in the photo below) feet.