quasigeostrophy: (map man)
List the towns or cities where you spent at least a night away from home during 2009. Mark with a star if you had multiple non-consecutive stays.

Louisville, KY*
Ipswich, MA
Buffalo, NY
Oak Park, IL
Stillwater, MN*
Boulder, CO

2010 hopefully will have Portland, OR, Boulder, CO (again), and either Leeds or York, England added.
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Photos from my trip to Colorado last week are posted here.
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Finally got mostly caught up on posting photos to the Gallery:

I hope to get last week's trip to Boulder posted sometime tomorrow.
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Just got home from 7 full days out there. Too brain dead for a long write-up, so here are some bullet points:
  • I got a good mountain fix, but the more I see them (particularly the Flatirons), the more I want to see them regularly. I got a couple of nice prints of the Flatirons at an arts co-op on Pearl Street, because I have yet to be satisfied with any of my own shots of them. The best lighting was this morning, and of course the camera was packed and I was on my way to the airport.
  • On every trip to Pearl Street Mall, I encountered at least one street musician doing a rendition of "Big Yellow Taxi". Not surprised.
  • Speaking of music, I found a decent Denver radio station I could leave on in the rental car: KIMN "Mix 100". Pretty funny morning show duo ("Dom and Jane"), and a decent mix of older stuff I like and not annoying new stuff. There may have been even better stations, but I didn't search after landing on KIMN.
  • Speaking of radio, the time- and space-varying electromagnetic interference in the area drove me crazy with cell phone service interruptions. At first I thought it was the interior of the NCAR building my class was in, but I started having intermittent trouble with service all around town. It's not like the mountains were blocking me during most of the trouble times. Then yesterday, I remembered that not only were NCAR and NOAA there, but so is NIST. And I drove by the Table Mountain Field Site and Radio Quiet Zone. That and the presence of NIST could account for cell phone weirdness.
  • Found a good beginner didgeridoo with a CD of instructional videos from a couple that plays on Pearl Street Mall. [livejournal.com profile] lightning_rose introduced me to them when I was out there 2 years ago, but I hadn't decided to pick it up then. Still didn't buy it, though, because I had enough stuff to hassle getting home on my flight today. Price was $30, but I'm also going to look around online to see if I can't find something similar.
  • One hopefully positive effect of this visit was a less than subtle kick in my own ass about getting back in shape, at least to bike ride. Getting a chance to see how well the community provides for bicyclists and the beautiful areas in which to ride was inspirational. Tomorrow, between catch-up chores, must get on exercise bike.
  • Last Sunday, I went down to the Colorado Irish Festival in Littleton, to catch a show by Eileen Ivers. She was awesome as usual. Got a CD signed and a pic with her.
  • Learned more than I expected at the WRF model users Basic Tutorial at NCAR. I'll need to make changes to the software for my Ph.D. work. This may involve working closely with some of the folks at NCAR that I met during class.
  • Toni and I have talked about Boulder being an area high on our possible relocation list. There's a major NOAA lab and several spin-off weather-related corporations all in the area. Getting on at NCAR is tough, but they do have a program that might just make it easier. To do some of the close-knit work with folks out there, I can try to get a long-term visitation grant (anywhere from 3 to 12 months). Actually, the way it works is that I would have my advisor contact the appropriate NCAR staff person to submit an application.
  • Just over a week quasi-alone (I was out there for class with my office mate and 80 other attendees) was nice in a way, but I missed Toni more than I expected. Probably because it had been so long since I'd been away for any significant length of time without her. This doesn't mean we couldn't make an extended NCAR visit work. She could come out and even work from my residence there.
  • I have pics from Boulder (and 2 previous trips, Massachusetts and Minnesota) still to post. I hope to work on those starting tomorrow.
quasigeostrophy: (medical)
Toni and I got back from vacation in Massachusetts over a week ago. It was nice. Hung out with B and M and their kids. B and I ran around a couple of days - to Gloucester and Rockport, down to Cambridge. Otherwise, didn't do much. Decided after driving out there in one day, especially considering we stop a lot more these days, we're getting too old to make that drive in one day, so we left for home a day early and stopped overnight in Buffalo, NY.

Last Thursday, the first morning we were home, I awoke with a sore throat, serious PND, and very stuffy sinuses and nasal passages. Worked both Thursday and Friday mornings in the lab (and was annoyed that meetings I had scheduled were postponed by the other attendees - I could have stayed home and rested). By Saturday afternoon I had a very persistent and productive cough. I'd had an allergist follow-up in Indy on Friday and the nurse practitioner thought it may have been a severe allergy attack, a "Welcome home to Indiana". Monday afternoon, our new local doc decided it could have been that in part, but was definitely also an infectious strain of bronchitis, so he put me on a carpet bomber antibiotic. I went in on Tuesday for my rescheduled meetings with other students. Wednesday I stayed home and planned to rest, and took Toni to the doctor because she had caught it from me and gone from nothing to bronchitis in less than 48 hours. Met with my advisor yesterday morning (who told me her husband caught something similar in between trips out to the Great Plains for work on VORTEX2), but I'm not planning on going back in until I feel better. Not before Monday, anyway. I've made an appointment with a local allergist as well. Not that I don't like the one I have in Indy, but if I like this local guy, it means I won't have to drive all the way down there anymore, and even if I don't switch to him, I'm frustrated to the point where I want another brain working on WTF is up with my allergies, sinuses, and in particular, my Eustachian tubes.

I have to do some calculations and literature review for work by next Thursday, but otherwise I just need to get a draft of my AMS journal article to my advisor before I leave for WRF training in mid-July. I've made all those travel arrangements. My office mate C and I are arriving late in the afternoon on Saturday, July 11. Free day on Sunday the 12th, during which I think I may head down to the Colorado Irish Festival, at least late in the afternoon to see Eileen Ivers. The WRF class at NCAR is Monday through Friday, and then I have another free day Saturday the 18th before flying home the next morning. I'll be away for Toni's and my 17th wedding anniversary on Friday, July 17, so we'll celebrate sometime ASAP after I get home. We've already talked about it, and we move holidays all the time. The specific date is not a huge deal for us.

It looks like I may take one class in the fall, along with my TA and research duties. There is a proposal writing class on Monday afternoons, and since my advisor is having a hard time fitting my project into her current proposal, she thinks whether or not I end up being covered by her proposal, submitting one of my own will be a good experience. I agree with this comment.
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I thought I'd share a bit about Toni's and my recent trip to Minnesota, including photos.

Sunday we drove up to Stillwater, MN, taking the long way through Wisconsin so we could hit Mars Cheese Castle and the Jelly Belly factory gift shop just a little over the border from Illinois. The former was okay, but I think I've been in better cheese shops. At the latter we were hoping to replace my very old Jelly Belly t-shirt, but alas, nothing was in stock that was appealing. We did get some cheese at Mars and some jelly beans at Jelly Belly, though, along with lots of stuff from nearby Pepperidge Farm and Tupperware outlet shops.

We stayed right in Stillwater at the Water Street Inn, since one of the reasons we made the trip was to see Paul & Lorraine (I'd link them, but their domain seems to be offline - they're a quasi-Celtic duo. Lorraine plays fiddle, Paul plays acoustic guitar, and they both sing) play for 9 hours on St. Patrick's Day in Charlie's Pub downstairs and in the Inn ballroom.

Monday, we drove over to south Minneapolis and hit Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore. I'd been there back in the early '90s when visiting a friend who lived and worked in Rochester, MN at the time, and it was pretty much how I remembered: disorganized, dusty, but what an awesome selection. We spent too much money, of course. Afterward, we hit a Borders so I could get an updated map/atlas of the area (my previous ones dated from the last time I was there), and had lunch at Big Bowl, a great Singapore Thai/Chinese fusion place that makes their own awesome ginger ale. And I had salmon pad thai. Then we headed back to Stillwater, hit Valley Bookseller in town, and I took some photos around the (frozen but cracking thanks to 60-degree temps) river's edge. For dinner we went to Freight House, which was yummy.

Tuesday we headed back over to south Minneapolis, this time to hit DreamHaven Books, Neil Gaiman's favorite local bookstore. They didn't open until Noon, so we took our time, also looking for a sign we saw Monday along the way. A tool renter's shop was advertising (that they) "Dump Bodies". I'm tempted to submit that to Fail Blog. :-) Next, we stopped at Uncle Hugo's again and got more stuff there (of course). Then we went to DreamHaven. They had a different variety than Uncle Hugo's, were a lot cleaner, and seemed to venture more into the comics market. They had the obligatory Gaiman shrine rack in the middle of the store, where I picked up a few things we didn't have, and it was difficult not to get signed copies. After shopping trip number two, we went back to the Inn in Stillwater where Toni napped for a little while, and then we headed downstairs to the concert at Charlie's Pub. Paul & Lorraine played there from 3:00pm until 5:30pm, then relocated to the Inn ballroom where they continued from 6:00pm to Midnight.

The concert was a lot of fun. We met several folks Toni had been getting to know online through Lorraine's blog ("Fiends"). She and Paul are great musicians and know how to entertain a crowd. And IMHO, Lorraine could give Eileen Ivers a run for her money on the fiddle. Toni and I stayed until Midnight CDT, which was way past my usual bedtime. :-) Drove home brain dead yesterday, around Chicago at rush hour (blech), getting back about 7:30pm.

Photos are here.

Traditional logic (and likely my advisor) says I shouldn't have gone since I'm working on my M.S. thesis for hopeful defense in late April, but Toni convinced me, and I'm very glad. I needed a break, and I don't think I'm all that behind in my school work because of it, and Toni and I hadn't been anywhere together on a longer trip since I think before I went back to school.
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Today has been meh. I didn't get up until 9:00am, which is actually late for me. Studied a bit for my math test that's tomorrow morning and did a bunch of dishes, except I can't get the pre-filter container out of our Brita to wash it. Trying to extract it left me extremely frustrated.

Yesterday, however was a lot of fun. Friday after I got home from school, Toni and I headed up to Chicagoland to visit [livejournal.com profile] elmegil and [livejournal.com profile] gremlin44 and their boys. We gave Pete, K, and G birthday cards and K his present, and they gave me a copy of Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku and Kushiel's Justice by Jacqueline Carey.

Toni and Steph took G and went to Yarncon Chicago while Pete and I took K to Chicago Mayor Daley's Kids and Kites Festival on Montrose Harbor in Lincoln Park. The weather was perfect. They had some tents for kids to make and decorate little sled kites out of paper bags, including some line. I almost wished I'd brought a kite of my own, and none of the ones for sale there really caught my fancy, but with K flying his handmade sled kite and Pete's delta, I think we were covered between the three of us. I forgot my camera, too. Pete's delta kite got up to the whole length of his line, which we think was 200 feet. Wasn't the highest of the day by far, though - one guy on the beach had a delta kite we think must have had at least 500 feet of line on it. There were a few collisions and tangles, but nothing major, and everyone at the event seemed to be as polite as possible, considering the number of kites in the air. I got a little sun on my ears, but I'm not burned, thankfully.

Toni, Steph, and G met us at the park right at the end of the festival after they were done at Yarncon. We went to Wishbone for dinner, where I had salmon cakes, red beans and rice, garlic mashed potatoes, and brownie sundae. Toni and I left Steph and Pete's around 9:45pm, and got home about 12:15am, so it's now 2.5 hours there (without the traffic such as we had Friday evening on the way up) from home. Cutting an hour off the trip makes it seem so much shorter. It was great to see them all again - I had no idea it had been a year. Where'd that year go? ;-)

Tomorrow is my math test (8:00am!!), lunch with some of my labmates, class, and then Toni and I will probably go out for dinner. This week I start getting even busier. My 3D software is (I think - knock on laminate) finally working well enough I can get some results, and my advisor wants to see some info from two of my seven case days by next Friday if possible. She also, based on my outline, green-lighted two chapters of my MS thesis, and would like to see drafts by the end of October. Oy.
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Came back to work/school today. First time making the drive from the new place.

Slept an hour later, got here at the same time I did when coming from 75 miles away, even diverting for breakfast and caffeine.

IIRC, it's the first time I've lived and worked somewhere that the combination resulted in a commute in the direction of the sun. I think I'll manage. :-)

Still have a metric frak-ton of unpacking and arranging to do at the new place, and cleaning and picking up a few things at the old, but we'll get there.

Note to self: Look up the Purdue home football schedule and put it on the calendar, so we know when to avoid going near campus. [Edit: 2008-2009 Purdue Football Schedule]
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Both albums are highlights, but I think I pulled the best ones:

- Shots from Cancun and the ICCP Conference

- At the Mouth of the Well of the Wizards of Water (Chichen Itza)
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Well, ICCP 2008 is now over. Tomorrow I have to be in the lobby by 7:15am for a long bus ride to Chichen Itza. I have no idea how long the tour is supposed to be or what time it's expected to get back to my hotel.

I noticed something this week that my advisor had talked about before, that I'm sure is present in any field. There's an Old Guard that runs the ICCP (International Commission on Clouds and Precipitation, a division of some other body which is itself a division of the World Meteorological Organization, which in itself is a United Nations body) - a handful of elderly cloud physicists who, with the exception of the committee president, have been pretty grumpy during presentation question and answer periods all week. Despite their pressing of the younger crowds to keep open minds, they have built up a lot of cynicism with age. There is a lot of age striation in the field as well - apart from the Old Guard, there are people around my and my advisor's age, and then post-docs and grad students in their 20s like my lab mate.

On the actual ICCP sits the Old Guard and a just couple of people in my age group who were voted on at the last meeting four years ago in Bologna. Apparently there was another opening that they voted on in private last night, and my advisor is now on the ICCP. Considering how she got grilled after her talk Tuesday morning, by some of the Old Guard, one of whom flat out told her he didn't like her modeling framework at all and she should do something else, I think that's pretty cool.
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Nothing like making a quick trip down to the hotel market to get a bottle of water and hearing, from the karaoke bar (sounds from which carry very well throughout the main pyramid atrium), a girl singing "My Girl" in Spanish, waaaaay off key. :-)

Yes, this.

Jul. 5th, 2008 08:32 am
quasigeostrophy: (snoopy share)
Loud Cellphone Users

ION, I was highly amused while checking in for tomorrow morning's flights at Delta's web site, when I clicked on a link to go to a TSA page to verify the liquids in carry-ons regulations, and IE returned this:

This website does not have a valid security certificate.
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Anyone been to Cancun, Mexico that can offer any helpful hints/advice?

I leave Sunday morning for the International Conference on Clouds and Precipitation, wherein I have a poster presentation on Tuesday, July 8. The conference in Monday through Friday, and the following Saturday I was thinking (weather, health, and mood depending) of taking one of the resort's organized tours of Chichen Itza.

I know practically zero Spanish. I'm flying down on Sunday with a lab-mate, and we're planning on sharing/splitting the (cost of the) ride from the airport to the resort hotel.
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We got little over a dusting at home. About the same up here at school, less in-between.

Took the wagon just in case I hit any rough spots. It didn't take me any longer actually to drive to school, but it did take longer to get here this morning, because I stopped at two different exits on I-65 to scrape off my windshield and clean the wiper blades. The defroster on full-blast couldn't keep up with the light freezing rain. It didn't seem to be making the roads bad, but it was hell on the windshield.

"They" are still saying 1-2 more inches up here in the Lafayette area, at least, throughout today. We'll see...
quasigeostrophy: (Hurricane Katrina)
Went to a few presentations today. Most were either standing-room only or almost empty. At Noon, I took a tour bus out to Lakefront Airport which looks to be closed to the general public (not sure if it was Katrina damaged or not), but the Hurricane Hunter WC-130 and the NOAA research P-3 aircraft were both there. Very cool tours. And [livejournal.com profile] cjsmith, the WC-130 pilot said that they don't do any structural reinforcement above the normal combat-design for flying it into hurricanes.

The AMS offered bus tours of Katrina damaged areas of New Orleans each morning this week. I opted not to take one, because I didn't want to feel like I was looking at a show. Turns out I didn't really need to buy one of those tour tickets after all - the bus ride to and from Lakefront Airport passed through vast areas of damage. Houses in various states of disarray and reconstruction. Trailers in front yards. Debris and dirt everywhere. Sad.

This afternoon I met two scientist/authors at a book signing (Kerry Emanuel from MIT and Louis Uccellini from NOAA). Yes, I had them sign books I brought from home.

Tonight is the official opening of the vendor exhibition. At 5:30, I'm going to check it out and see what kind of free swag is available. :-)

Tomorrow begins a conference on lightning. My advisor is self-admittedly ignorant about lightning, and it's an interest of mine, so I figure this will be a good opportunity. I just need to get to the room in time to get a seat.
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Check out my recent Boulder trip galleries.
quasigeostrophy: (Dru needs Geek)
I'm on a "public" terminal at the NCAR Foothills library in Boulder (down in the city, not up in the Mesa Lab overlooking the valley). I just met with my grandadvisor, and within minutes I was extremely tickled by a particular situation.

Background: Waaaaay back in high school advanced chemistry, my friend M and I had the class first period, and during lectures, one or both of us would often stand at a nearby lab bench and make hot cocoa using a clean beaker, clean glass stirring rod, and a bunsen burner.

Upon meeting my grandadvisor and following him back to his office this morning, he stopped by the Cloud Microphysics Lab, wherein he was making his morning tea in the same manner. :-)

After a great approx. 90 minute meeting, he's left me here in the library and I'm supposed to go get him for lunch at the NCAR cafeteria.
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Anyone want to see me for a long weekend this summer?


Feb. 17th, 2007 08:17 am
quasigeostrophy: (Default)
  • I should have known none of the seniors in my radar meteorology class would get my Torchwood t-shirt yesterday morning, when before lab most of them were talking about The O.C..
  • Looking back at Thursday's headline in The Indianapolis Star of "Promise: Roads clear by Saturday" makes me laugh that they didn't consider that we're currently getting 2 - 4 inches of more snow.
  • I don't feel so bad for being achy after all the shoveling Wednesday, when my radar & dynamics prof/advisor's husband, who is fairly fit, was still achy yesterday as well. :-)
  • I need to start studying for my atmospheric physics test that is next Friday, although it's open book/open notes/according to the prof, "open anything" (I joked about bringing my laptop). Also next Friday I have dynamics homework and a radar lab due. The former looks easy, the latter, I'm in the middle of, and it's a pain.
  • I'm bummed Trader Joe's seems to have stopped carrying the ginger slices I love. I got a bulk order of chunks from a place called The Ginger People, and it's pretty good, but has had waaaaay too much sugar added.
  • I need to order a t-shirt from Pandemonium Books in Cambridge, MA. They're one of the places I love to hit regularly when in the area (in fact, it's probably one of the few places we'll venture away from Ipswich for over spring break). I want to get one of these to help them stay in business, as they've got an awesome selection, particularly of UK-published imports.
  • More later as events warrant. :-)


Jan. 22nd, 2007 09:10 pm
quasigeostrophy: (biking)
Le Tour de France opens with the Prologue and Stage 1 in London and Kent this year.

Cool. Can't afford to go watch any of it in person, though. And I can just imagine the crowds, anyway.


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