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|Saturday, April 18th, 2009|
One of the cooler managers here said she would give me a good reference if I am interested in working at Phantom Ranch
when my contract is over here (October). Sounds amazing.
|Friday, April 17th, 2009|
|Thursday, April 16th, 2009|
Late last month about 30 Thai kids showed up here to work for the summer. They all go by nicknames like Dream, Pony, Picnic, Bomb, Bank, Meow, Noon, etc. I image this is because their real names are too hard for us to pronounce, and also because it is probably trendy. These kids are all really sweet and they just seem so happy to be working here.
Thai New Year lasts three days - April 13 through April 15. April is the hottest month in Thailand, and the main festivity of the holiday is to run around in the streets throwing cold water on strangers. Incidentally, Spain has a holiday called "La Guerra de los caramelos", but instead of water they throw candy at each other.
Yesterday I heard through the grapevine that the festivities would begin around 11pm that night. I didn't get out of work until midnight, and as I was walking down the hill I detected what I judged to be a sizable party in the guy's bathroom down in housing. I decided to quickly poke my head in to see what was going on and I was immediately ambushed by a gaggle of very excited Thais. The proceeded to drag me to the showers and pour a bucket of ice cold water over my head, followed by a bucket of hot water, and then several more buckets of cold. Someone handed me an inadequately sized cup and proceeded to seek my revenge. Now let me remind you that although April may be the warmest month in Thailand, last night here in Sequoia National Park the temperature was about 15 degrees F. So needless to say, the walk home was a little chilly but definitely worth it.
|Wednesday, April 8th, 2009|
Yesterday I went into town to stock up on the essentials from Wally-World (bleach, beer, etc.). After we drove down past the snow line it really started to look like Spring. The hills were covered in bright purple Lupin flowers, and once we got into Three Rivers we saw lots of little yellow and blue wildflowers. It started to rain in Visalia around 9pm, and by the time we got to the Giant Forest the snow was really coming down. It snowed all night long and well into the morning. I've hear that it can snow through the middle of June here (yikes). It is beautiful, but I think I'm ready for some swimming and sunshine.
|Friday, March 27th, 2009|
|Wednesday, March 25th, 2009|
Just got back from a hike to Panther Gap. Absolutely no kind of view until the very top and then a spectacular view of the Kaweah River Canyon and the Great Western Divide. What a reward. Even did a little bouldering on the top. In June I plan to hike the High Sierra trail
. Anyone want to come, there may be hot springs involved? I'm feeling much more optimistic about this place these days.
|Tuesday, March 24th, 2009|
|Wednesday, March 18th, 2009|
|St. Patty's 2009
I just got back from an overnight snowshoeing trip to the Pear Lake ski hut. My face looks like a tomato a very ripe, painfully burned tomato but the trip was well worth it. I spent my night at the hut with six men who were probably in their mid sixties. One was even an engineer who worked at Caltech and has been to Antarctica to help drill holes in mile thick ice with a giant hot water gun. They eagerly fed me spaghetti with sausage, excellent red wine, and cheescake! for dessert. Tobin would approve.
|Saturday, February 7th, 2009|
view from my front porch
|Monday, July 28th, 2008|
On Friday the 18 I took a fall at the rock climbing gym while attempting to do a lead climb that was obviously too advanced for me. I had my right hand on a small hold and I was holding the rope in my left, desperately trying to clip into the second carabiner. I felt myself slip and the next thing I know I feel my body slam onto the unpadded floor below. The ten-foot fall knocked the wind out of me, though I didn't lose consciousness. To everyone’s surprise, I was able to get up and walk around shortly after the fall. At that point, I knew that I had injured my back but I felt remarkably good. The next day I felt ok, though I was having some back and chest pain. The following day (Sunday) I had extreme pain in my back, chest, and neck so I decided to go to the hospital. At the ER they took x-rays and an EKG. Nothing was broken, and they told me that I had probably bruised some ribs and strained all kinds of muscles. I may have also had a mild concussion. It is now more than a week later and I can still barley move without feeling pain in my chest. Taking deep breaths is especially painful. Needless to say, this has been a major bummer. Luckily, Tobin is coming to visit this week which makes me very happy.
|Wednesday, May 21st, 2008|
|My grass is blue
Well, I finally heard back from the head chef at Evergreen Lodge (located one mile from Yosemite's western border and the entrance to Hetch Hetchy). They want to hire me as a line cook for the summer.
Should I accept their offer?
By the way, the Lodge has live bluegrass every weekend. Last year Alison Krauss played there.
|Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008|
I have a rash from rolling around in some poison oak in the San Gabriel mountains. This better not turn out like the time I got poison ivy so bad that I was on oral steroids for a week and earned the nickname "Elephant Woman".
|Friday, March 7th, 2008|
|Saturday, March 1st, 2008|
Photo by LizardQueen
Last night Gabe and I rode in the LA Critical Mass. There were about 125 riders and only 3 unruly drivers. The ride was really awesome. I especially like the "circle of death" which is long (~5 minute) roundabout preformed in the middle of a random intersection during which time motorists become somewhat agitated. Not that pissing people off is the main goal, of course.
After the ride we went to a party at a co-op in Silver Lake. When we finally decided that it was time to leave, we rode to Union Station to catch the train. By the time we got to Union Station the last train on the gold line had already left. So we rode all the way back through Silver Lake to wait for a bus at Vermont and Prospect. We didn't get home until 3:30 in the morning, but it was well worth it.
Tomorrow some friends and I are going take a tram up Mount San Jacinto and then hike around the top. It's gonna be cold!
|Thursday, February 14th, 2008|
Over the past year I have toyed with the idea of auditing a geology class at Caltech. This winter I finally got up the nerve to do it.
The class,Geology 11b: Earth and the Biosphere
, is similar to the historical geology course I took last year at PCC (except that it is way more advanced and has a MUCH better rock collection). Over the past month, I've learned a lot about geologic history and the history of life (evolution, mass extinctions, etc.), and the interaction between the two. In addition, we've spent a good deal of time evaluating "nutty" scientific theories. One of these nutty ideas is the Snowball Earth Hypothesis
, a term coined by Joe Kirschvink (who happens to be co-instructing the course). Aside from the great lectures, a major incentive for auditing this class is the mandatory field tip to Baja. The trip is next week, and today we had the organizational meeting and received the trip itinerary. Here it is:
Thursday: "Leave Caltech at 6:30pm. We will take the 210 FWY east, then the 57 FWY South to the 5. We will stay on Interstate 5 all the way to San Diego. We" (all 35 of us!) "will spend the night at the private residence of a Caltech postdoc on Thursday night " (and yes,Tobin, there is a hot tub).
"After we eat breakfast we will drive South on the 5 and enter Mexico at the San Yisidro. Once we get across the border" (hopefully all five vans will stay together and not get lost in down-town Tiajuana) "we will take the coast highway #1
to Ensenada. In Ensenada we will stop at the university (CICESE) and a Gigante market. We will proceed on highway #1
, making occasional stops to examine upper Cretaceous Rudist
fossils at Punta Banda, then on to Santo Thomas Valley, and take the dirt road into the Punta China Cement Quarry, where we will spend about 1-2 hours examining the interaction between volcanism and biology on an island arc setting. Following this, we will take a back-country short-cut " (YES!
) "to Punta San Jose, for a major stop along the beach where we will look at an exposure of the upper Cretaceous Rosario formation, complete with collectible ammonites
. We will camp on the marine terrace near the light house at Punta San Jose for the evening."
Saturday: "We head down the coast to Punta Cabros, following the rough location of the upper Cretaceous shoreline, and visiting a major location of the Cretaceous/Tertiary Boundary at San Antonio Del Mar. We then drive down on Mexican highway 1, to a locality just north of San Quintin (Laguna Figuroa, also sometimes called Laguna Mormona) where we will camp on the beach next to some large sand dunes."
Sunday: "We will spend about 2 hours in the morning examining the algal mats at Laguna Figuroa, which in many respects mimics the early environments of the earth. After gassing up in San Quintin, we will then drive back up highway 1 to a locality just south of the town of San Vincente, from where we will take a shortcut across the Peninsula towards the Valley de Trinidad, joining highway 2, and eventually camp on the beach north of San Felipe. Sunday evening the we are free to spend exploring the town of San Felipe."
Monday: "Proceed north on highway 5 to Mexicali, where we will cross the international border. We then go through Browley seismic zone and north into the Imperial valley. Weather permitting, we may stop and look at the Bishop Ash in the Durmond Hills before following the San Andreas fault back to the LA basin.. We will probably be back in Pasadena by 7-8 pm or so."
Well, are you jealous yet? I can't wait!!! Although I have to admit, I'm a little nervous about being one of the drivers (I've heard the Mexican roads can be pretty treacherous). Also, it turns out that the I am the only person in the whole group who speaks Spanish, so Joe appointed me the official interpreter for the trip (yikes). It should be fun though. At least now I feel like I'm pulling my own weight (considering that this trip will cost me less than $40). What I'm really dreading is the 10 minute presentation I have to give on "Cretaceous magnetostratigraphy and paleomagnetism of Baja" (?!). Anyway, I'm sure this trip will be an absolute blast!
|Monday, February 4th, 2008|
Today was very productive. In the morning we went for a two mile run and talked with Tobin :-) Then we went to Good Foods and bought groceries. It turns out that Gabe likes to cook, so we pretty much spent the rest of the day cooking food for the week. We made:
- spinach potato quiche for the morning
- pita bread
- a HUGE batch of hummus (hummus/cheese/tomato sandwiches = yum)
- burritos with black beans, jasmine rice, cheese, pico de gallo, and spinach
We also ate a cherimoya
that had been given to Tobin by a co-worker. The best way to eat this fruit is to let it ripen at room temperature for a few days until it turns brown. Then put it in the freezer overnight, and the next day cut it up and eat it . . . so delicious!
|Saturday, February 2nd, 2008|
|Smells like contra spirit . . .
My brother Gabe and I decided that we needed to have some fun after a long week of school and job hunting. So we rode our bicycles to South Pasadena for a contra dance, and we had such a blast! Please
look up the nearest contra dance and give it a try, I'm sure you won't regret it! A night of contra dancing really reminds me of how much I miss living in a co-op (although contra dancers are much more eccentric than any co-oper I've ever met). I have been missing Tobin whole lot ever since he left for Louisiana. Life is just better when we're together. But I'm happy that Gabe is here, and I think he will do well in Pasadena.
|Saturday, January 19th, 2008|
|Friday, November 30th, 2007|
|The first rule of Pie Club is . . .
I'm starting a Pie Club. Here's how it works:
1) Buy pie pan
2) Make a delicious pie
3) Give the pie away to a friend
4) Wait a few days . . .
5) And, like magic, the pie pan is returned to you with a brand new pie in it!
(just think of what will happen if you buy 5 pie pans . . .)
Here's one to start with:All Purpose Pie Crust (makes two 9" crusts)
All good pies start with a good crust. This is the best pie crust I have come across. It can be used for all kinds of pies and also quiches and other savory treats. The trick is to work quickly and keep your ingredients nice and cold.
21/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 lb) chilled, unsalted butter cut into 16 pieces
about 5 tablespoons ice water
1) Measure and mix flour, sugar, salt in a medium mixing bowl.
2) Pull butter out of refrigerator and cut into 16 pieces. Toss pieces around in flour mixture to coat.
3) Dump contents onto clean work surface. Begin to roll out a rectangle with rolling pin. Keep sweeping the flour-butter mixture into a pile with a scraper or your hand, and rolling it out again until all of the butter is in large wide flakes 2-3 " long.
4) When all lumps of butter are rolled into sheets, lift dough with a scraper and drop the whole mess back into the bowl.
5) Sprinkle the ice water by the tablespoon into the flour-butter mixture. Use a spatula to mix until the water is absorbed. Pinch a little of the mixture between your fingers. If it doesn't stick together you may need to add a little more water.
6) There will be some large clumps and debris. With an open hand press the clumped dough against the bottom of the bowl to pick up the loose flour.
7) Sprinkle the work surface with a little flour and turn the dough out onto it.
8) Roll the dough out, lifting the sides with a scraper and folding them back to make a bulky package. The dough will be hard to work with. Don't worry if it is not perfectly smooth.
9) Roll the dough into a 9x14" rectangle, then fold the rectangle into thirds. Roll it out again to an 8x9" rectangle. Use the scraper to fold it in half again. The dough will be loose and crumbly.
10) Carefully lift the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap the rectangle tight. Press the dough together be gently rolling the pin back and forth over the package. Chill at least 10 to 15 minutes and it is ready to use.
11) If you are making a cream pie you need to bake the shell beforehand. To do this preheat the oven to 375. Take the dough out the the refrigerator and once it is malleable cut it in two pieces. Roll out one piece and place it in the pie shell. Crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork. Line the pie shell with tin foil and pour some dried beans in to weight it down. Bake covered for about 10 minutes, and then remove the foil and beans and bake for another 10 minutes. The shell should be just barley golden when you take it out. Don't be afraid to open the oven to check it. Let the shell cool before filling it.Chocolate Cream Pie
* before you start, read through he recipe and have all you ingredients ready.
3 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 bar (2 1/2 oz) Scharffenberger chocolate
In medium sauce pan combine:
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
healthy 1/4 cup corn starch
chocolate from above
pinch of salt
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously until you feel it start to thicken (about 5 minutes).
Remove from the heat and add:
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 egg yolks tempered (to temper the yolks pot them into a bowl and mix a little of the hot chocolate mixture in)
Return the mixture to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Be careful not to cook for too long or you will cook out the cornstarch. The mixture should be about the consistency of pudding. Next, pour the mixture into a cooked pie shell. Cover the top with plastic wrap so than a skin doesn't form. Put the pie in the refrigerator and leave it there overnight. Top with fresh whipped cream and eat.
Now, go make pie and let me know how it turns out :)
|Tuesday, November 27th, 2007|
I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with Tobin and his family. Here were the highlights:
1) Stuffing myself with delicious foods prepared by Julie.
2) Watching Tobin and his brothers Eric and Kris torment one another.
3) Swimming with Eric and Oscar.
4) Playing fiddle tunes
5) Drinkin' whiskey sours with my Tobin.
What more can you ask for?