Thursday, December 23, 2010

How To Cross Country Ski

Disclaimer: this is definitely NOT how to cross country ski.

Follow the signs.

Keeping a low center of gravity is important for balance, though it's more useful when you're a) moving and b) going down a hill.

Skis are long. Picking up your feet to take giant steps with them in random directions is difficult. But it is not impossible.

Always keep your ski tips up while jumping.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

holidays in the great white north

due to my sister's work schedule, we did the whole gift thing early this year - which was fine, since that meant that we covered my birthday one week prior as well. to celebrate my last Monday being 30, I got to eat real bagels and lox, and my parents got me a new camera, which I "desperately" needed (this is, of course, relative - my old camera still functions, however since the lens cap hasn't opened or closed on its own in over 3 years, the lens is most definitely scratched and photos have been getting duller as a consequence - also, relatively - no one "desperately" needs a new camera, seriously there are far more important things in life than material goods... but I digress)

ok, where was I? right, so we did the last Monday of my being 30, and also, so far, we have country skied and eaten.

my dad bakes bread, excellently, and is also renowned for cutting enormously thick slabs of it - this is a fairly good representation of the following: dad, thick slab of freshly baked bread, and sister

a couple of streets away from where my parents live is a park that has a decent loop around it for x country skiing, it's very convenient, except that dog walkers seem to be taking advantage of the somewhat flattened ski tracks, using them as trails, consequently destroying the tracks, and also (joy of joys) leaving us frozen turds to ski over... anyway, here's mom skiing

here's me standing and posing with a stupid grin on skis

greatest thing about the new camera? (ok besides that the lens cap opens and closes and the lens isn't all scratched up) there's a ridiculous function that allows you to swap colours. this also allows you to take photos of people and make them look like zombies without photoshop! I have a very bad feeling that I will be taking a lot of absolutely terrible photos for the humour of them

one of several oddities inherited from my dad's parents, this wooden horse is apparently dressed like santa this year (actually, I'm here so rarely that I can't be sure it isn't ALWAYS dressed like santa), mostly I was just messing with my new camera and thought it looked crazy rabid from this angle

me messing around with my new camera, the best part of this tree is the 2 birds on top, which are so incredibly old, and no longer have either beaks or tails - those birds rule!

the very red looking moon during the total lunar eclipse (at -10 degrees C) on the solstice, pretty awesome despite the numbness - this is my dad's photo, my frozen fingers and shivering prevented me getting a single photo that wasn't blurry

Saturday, December 11, 2010

One day I'd like to take flying lessons

Triathlon-geology colleague from exploring mines with thigh-deep water came through big time to make amends with presenting an opportunity to fly in a Cessna 172 over the legendary and iconic view point of the San Andreas Fault in the Carrizo Plain. I jumped right on that bandwagon, and took my Brewmate with me.

Saddling up and getting ready to go!

Ugh. This is the nasty haze over where I live - can you see traces of "civilization" below? Look hard, it's there... Gross.

Meanwhile, above the hideous haze, there was an amazing cloud cascade "flowing" through a gap in the Western Transverse Ranges.

Soda Lake in the Carrizo Plain was looking much more lake-like than I usually see it, so I suppose the clouds must have left behind a deposit recently.

Finally, the pièce de résistance, the big one itself, the San Andreas Fault. Its line is straight, crisp and true and literally goes on for miles. Oh how amazing it is to see it from the sky!!!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

it's December already?

Wow this year has flown by. It's been a doozy for sure. Well, the beginning of December in Bakersfield is marked by Mr Toad's Wild Run for those of us who like to participate in that sort of thing. I happen to be one of them, and I really do love that race, it is the most fun footrace I have ever done - starts with 1.5 miles of uphill, followed by about .5 miles of flat, and ends with a mile of downhill in a steep and windy gully. Totally awesome. This is the race that I did for the first time, on a whim in 2006 and placed 2nd in my age group - but did not stay for the medal ceremony and thus did not get my medal. Then did again in 2009, slightly hungover, wanting to get a medal, and came in 4th in my age group... sigh. This year, new age group, more competition, no chance to medal - but I sure was happy with 9th!

Meanwhile, later on that same day, was our last roller derby bout of the season. This one was to benefit Toys for Tots, and we had a huge turnout and loads of donations for the charity. It was great - really the only thing that was missing was our newest fan Ramón to cheer us on! A surprise for me was to get thrown into the Jammer hat - more surprising was that I didn't suck at it on the first run, and got thrown out there in that position 2 more times... I even scored us some points! I don't know the full tally by any means, and so far have nearly failed at locating any photographic evidence, but thanks to Into the Void Photography and Firefly Photography? There's at least these photos.

Finally, this blog post is brought to you via a break in reviewing the proofs of my article to be published in the Journal of Economic Geology. Oh yeah, that monkey will be off my back before 2011. Which ultimately means that in this year of disasters, I've managed to pull out the publication of a book, a peer-reviewed scientific article, and 2 presentations at GSA.

On the note of the book, it's being carried at the Buena Vista Museum, and I'm trying to get it at Russo's and Barnes and Noble. Meanwhile it's available in limited quantity from me (if you're in Canada and want a copy - let me know!) and from the publisher.