Friday, June 30, 2006

new things!

it's amazing how many new things you can notice just by walking across campus for the first time in a few weeks. since i really only spend time in the mechanical department, i generally only make it to the very tip of tech campus, so i pass the library every day, but that's about it. today is pay day, however, which called for a walk to The New Sub (it has some fancy title of course, i think named after a new mexico senator, but it will be a few college generations before the students call it anything but The New Sub). so i walked out the south door of weir, and check it out:

new thing #1: the construction on cramer is done.

this is a big deal, because it means the construction crew is done using the larger part of the parking lot. there are about forty "new" spaces now. yay! of course, this would have been a lot more useful to me if i still lived far enough from campus to drive, or if i still had class in those buildings, but it means that another fence is gone. yes, i walked between weir and cramer for the first time in years, and it was surreal.

new thing #2: construction on something else has started.

reinforcing carmen's theory that if they take down one fence they put up at least two more. i didn't look around for the second one, since i can't figure out what the first one is for. it seems that a long strip of land around The New Sub needs a nice orange fence to surround it. so i escaped the cramer fence only to have to walk around another one. oh well.

new thing #3: leering weirdos galore!

okay, so it's not exactly NEW, but it was a whole group of new ones.

on the way up the steps to TNS, i heard a group of guys talking loudly. you know the kind... people who try to be overheard because they think what they're saying is so cool that it will draw people to them. i was surprised that i didn't recognize any of them. not that i'm miss popularity or anything, but this is a small school and i usually recognize at least one person in a large group like that.

then i noticed that they were looking at me weird... aggressively, sort of high-and-mightily. well, most of them were. the rest were trying to see who i was without looking like they cared enough to actually turn their heads. both actions seemed familiar, like... like... freshmen. it was creepy. i was just thinking about how the summer students were a weird pack of mutants when i walked into TNS and everything made sense.

lots of kids walking around with their parents. ah. summer orientation day.

this explains the several suit-and-tie professors i saw today, and why i can't find dr. ghosh anywhere. he's probably in the gym, helping the poor little kids pick out their weeder courses.

don't get me wrong, i have nothing against freshmen. i haven't forgotten that i once was a freshman. but orientation is funny. all the kids wear the coolest t-shirt they own and project this attitude of who they really want to be in college, and it's hilarious. the leery aggressive ones try to make as many friends as fast as possible, trying to get a head-start on their freshman popularity. they force themselves to be more outgoing than they actually are. it's a painful thing to watch. the snobby up-downers are either more selective or more shy, and are therefore a little less frightening but equally entertaining. they force themselves to be cooler than they actually are. every year there's a few cool ones that actually calm down and act like themselves, but for the most part it's the freaked out little weirdos.

it's too bad i didn't know today was orientation day earlier. last year pablo and i got a lot of free doughnuts and plenty of laughs pretending we were froshies. it was great.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

the vicious circle

you know how it is when you have a blog...

whenever there are lots of things happening in your life, you have lots of blog fodder to write about. however, there is also the flip side of that coin: when all the stuff is happening, you don't have time to write. likewise, when you DO have time to write, it's usually because nothing's really going on, and you realize you have nothing interesting to say. it's like the vicious blogging cirlce.

well, either i'm getting really lazy or i love paul maccartney a lot more than ringo starr. i'm going to see mr. starr and his all-starr band in albuquerque on sunday with my dad. i'm sure you've noticed that i haven't been posting pictures of ringo and gushing about how like, totally awesome he is for the last week and a half, and i certainly haven't been making banners or thinking about him non-stop... well, i haven't been making banners, anyway.

but i did go and buy two of his cds yesterday. i bought the latest one he made, choose love, and another one that turned out to be a live performance of the 2001 installment of the all-starr band in chicago. the live cd is cool. they sang "i wanna be your man," which i just learned was the very first U.S. hit for the rolling stones, even though lennon and maccartney wrote the song. choose love is really good too. i keep listening to it and thinking with a shock, "this sounds like the beatles!" and then DUH hits me and i think, "riiiiiiiiiiiight..."

you know what? maybe i will make a banner.

note: interestingly enough, blogger's spell check does not include the word " blog." the internet is sort of dumb.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

concert 1; chicago, huey lewis & the news

on sunday carmen, steve and i went down to the journal pavilion to watch chicago and huey lewis and the news. it was FUN! :) here's what i thought.

i'm not really familiar with most of huey lewis' songs, but he and his band were really good entertainers. they had about an hour and a half set, and they played "new drug" and "back in time" and a really nice acapella version of "it's alright", and of course "the power of love" brought down the house. i noticed on some songs (like "if this is it", for example) that huey wasn't hitting the high notes very well, but he was very energetic running around (and jumping around) the stage, and he tore it up on the harmonica. steve was stoked. you should have seen him.

HL&TN played songs that were more upbeat and, well, concert-ish, but there was no question that most people were there to see chicago. the audience was very appreciative of huey and was really responsive to the music, but... during one of his songs his brass section slowed waaaaaaay down and started playing the riff to "does anybody really know what time it is," and the crowd went wild.

the two bands really complemented each other, and they worked together well. HL&TN brought out bill from chicago to sing and play guitar during one of their last songs, and he was awesome. unlike huey, he had no problem hitting some really high notes, and it was sweet. he reminded me of when i went and saw yes, and steve howe was ancient but still the best guitar player i'd ever seen. and again, at the beginning of chicago's set, a voice offstage started singing, and huey and the rest of his band walked on and sang along with chicago for a song or two. the two bands looked like they really liked singing with each other.

chicago's set was mostly filled with their more up-beat songs, and they left out most of their slow mushy stuff. they started with "make me smile." carmen swears she heard "you're the inspiration," but i must have missed that. even without most of the slow songs, they're not what you really call mosh pit music, so the concert was mostly just chill. it was a lot more like a jam session than a show, but it was still really enjoyable. the songs from their new album, XXX (as in thirty, okay?) sound a lot like their older material, which i think is a good thing. they have the same style that they had back in the day, and even if you've never heard the songs before, they still sound familiar.

albuquerque's journal pavilion isn't my favorite venue. i like the sandia casino ampetheater a lot, but it was still nice. it has regular seating and then a big hill that's covered in grass. people pay about twenty bucks for "lawn seats" and sit out on the grass with their blankets and picnic baskets and stuff. a couple times the bands dedicated a song to "all the people out there on the grass!" i think that one was "saturday in the park." appropriate.

it was a really nice show.

Monday, June 19, 2006

the pretty issue

i wonder how many of us have been in the same situation...

have you ever seen a girl or woman that you thought was gorgeous, and then heard her say, "ug, i'm so fat!" or ask another girl, "how come you're so thin and i'm so ugly?" and wondered what the heck her problem was? or how 'bout this. i played sports in middle and high school, and the girls would stand around the mirror in the locker room after practice and argue about which one of them was the ugliest... and they were all rooting for themselves. one would say, "but my pimples," and another would say, "but my thighs," and another would say, "i'm way too tall," and another would say, "my arm fat is gross," and i just stood there watching these beautiful, athletic girls tear themselves apart, wondering what was going on.

this morning a friend of mine asked me why i disapprove of her new diet/exercise plan that she's trying out. i told her that i don't like the idea that she's rewarding herself according to her dress size. it just seems wrong, especially when i think she's absolutely beautiful. statistically overweight, but beautiful nonetheless.

she went on to tell me about how unhappy she is, about how all she thinks about is exercising and losing weight, about how she hates getting ready in the morning because she doesn't like the way she looks, about how she can walk into a meeting and know that everyone in there is her friend, but still feel too big and think "everyone's looking at me because i'm too big."

now, she's not stupid. she's not going to get anorexic or anything on me. but what about the girls/women who aren't as smart about their bodies and don't have good friends or good guys to support them?

needless to say, i'm pretty ticked off at society right now for holding women to such an unfair standard. i was reading a magazine last week and i was stunned at the range of products out there... there is a way to fix everything, or at least products that claim to fix everything, which implies that everything needs fixing. that until everything is fixed, a person is incomplete. what is wrong with people? i used to think that girls were just fishing for compliments when they said stuff like that, but some girls really do think that everyone judges them according to their imperfections. i could probably offer up a dozen of my friends as case studies... each one of them gorgeous, but they just can't see it.

honestly when i hear stuff like that i just get uncomfortable and don't know what to do. saying things like, "no, you're pretty just the way you are!" or, "but look at your shiney hair!" seem so cliche and unsincere. with my closer friends i tell them that i don't like when they talk like that, or i just say, "stop it!" but is that the right thing to do?

i wish i had a pretty stick. i would beat my friends with it relentlessly.

happy birthday, anyway

yesterday was father's day, but also happened to be june 18th, sir paul maccartney's birthday. and not just any old birthday... his 64th birthday.

now it's a pretty safe bet that you all know how i dearly love sir paul. between that and his birthday, i'd say it's about time i said something about this whole... thing.

i'm really sad that he's getting a divorce. i think my image of him being the most romantic guy ever is a bit rocked by this, but then again, maybe it's not. maybe he was the most romantic guy and linda was the most romantic woman, and that sometimes things don't work out even for the best. this is not to say that i'm buying the press image of heather mills being an evil gold-digging attention whore... yet... but i think it's only natural for everyone to blame her for breaking off a marriage to a man who spent all but nine nights away from his previous wife the entire time they were married. people look at how devoted paul was to linda, and they think that it can't possibly be his fault.

i just feel really bad that he's been singing about being 64 and having and old lady to dig in the garden with for forty years, and when it's finally his 64th birthday/father's day he's going through a divorce and looking at loosing custody of his two-year-old daughter. i'm pretty sure that's not what he had in mind. poor paul. :(

Thursday, June 15, 2006

what i've been doing at work

okay, i'm pretty unhappy with the way this turned out... grr... but trust me, it's much bigger and prettier and higher resolution in person.

anyway, this is an area of southeast new mexico (carlsbad is just on the other side of the bottom left corner), and, using data taken from well samples from this portion of the state, this is the average predicted concentration of chlorine in the ground water. neat, huh? i MADE this.

the colors are different concentrations of chlorine, the grid squares are the township/range that the mining companies use, and the thick red line is the border of the potash mining area. the little black lines are roads (that are actually labeled, ooooooo!), and you can sort of see the village loving down there in the corner. oh, and if you were actually looking at this picture before i internet-ized it, you could see the new mexico hillshade on there, too. that is really cool. it actually shows the hills and mountains and stuff with little shadows on the map. this area is pretty flat, so it's not as noticeable as it would be for other parts of the state, like say, los alamos, but still, it's cool.

don't ask me what this has to do with mechanical engineering.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


oh, and i guess it's 6-6-6, so... happy hell day, or whatever.

5-5-5 was a really horrible day. but on 4-4-4, i remember sitting in class, thinking about 12-12-12, and wondering if on that date i would remember the 4-4-4 me, a sophomore in college spacing out and not paying attention to whatever the heck the teacher was saying. but don't think about the past and future too much... it'll weird you right out.


have you ever WATCHED a baby bird fall out of it's nest? just sat there and watched? it's awful.

last night the ants came back, so carmen and i brushed them off again. scott and i were watching from the kitchen window, all worried (at least i was), especially about the bird that was teetering on the edge of the nest, trying to get away from the ants. first he fell onto the ledge, and then fell about eleven feet to the cement.

before i go any further... i think he's fine. i read online that the whole "won't touch a baby that smells like human" thing just isn't true for mama birds, so i picked him up and put him back in the nest. i've seen him and the three others (i was wrong about the number at first) several times since then, and i think he'll be alright.

but watching him fall was horrible! and then the parents just didn't DO anything and they let him just lay there and twitch and they didn't even look at him... wow. it was bad. i yelled at them, but of course it didn't make a difference.

so like i said, i got some garden gloves and stuck him back in his nest, which was hard, because he got his claws all tangled in the gloves and wouldn't relax so i could put him back in. a little while later, another bird was doing the same thing, so carmen and i put an old mattress pad under the nest. another baby fell out, but seemed okay because it landed on all the soft stuff.

these poor little birds... it really stresses me out that they're not doing well. i hope this year they fly away instead of dying. :(

Thursday, June 01, 2006

poor babies

the swallows came back a few months ago and built their nest on the porch. one of the parents (they look exactly alike, so i'm assuming it's the mom, but you saw march of the penguins, right?) has been diligently sitting on the eggs for weeks now. two days ago i noticed that the eggs had hatched. today i counted three birds. they only really stick their heads out when the parents come with food, and they only do that when no one's around, so you have to watch from the kitchen window.

this evening i was in the kitchen and i saw that the parents were freaking out. the nest and the entire ledge and wall and ceiling around it were crawling with red ants.

i called like five "24 hour" animal rescue hotlines and got answering machines for all of them. i don't know what to do! even when the parents aren't there, the little birds are sticking their heads out of the nest and opening their beaks and it looked like they're trying to climb out. when the parents are there, they pick at the babies and then spit stuff out, like they are picking off the ants.

i got a little broom and swept the ants off the wall and the ledge as best i could without getting too close to the nest, going really slowly so i won't scare the birds. i've done that about five times now. the first time the parents went into what i suppose is their "wounded bird" routine. they flew low around the front yard making lots of noise. the next few times they flew to the roof and watched me. the next time, one of them stayed in the nest and kept picking for a while before flying away. this last time, one of them stayed in the nest the whole time, and just hopped to the ledge and watched me towards the end.

it seems to be working... there aren't as many ants, and the babies are calming down (or dying, but i hope they're calming down) and the parents are definitely calming down.

i hope they're okay. :( two summers ago all four of the babies died one by one and then the parents tore down the nest and left. it sucked.