Tuesday, August 29, 2006

fall 2006 semester outlook

why oh why oh WHY didn't i start out in technical communications in the first place?

this semester is going to be SO easy. i'm taking statistics (which is a freakin walk in the park compared to finite element analysis and vibration dynamics), technical editing (been there), article writing (hooray!), and web design (which will maybe be a little challenging, but it's dr. mott, so i'm not worried). that's twelve hours. that's like nothing. i'm used to eighteen. this rocks.

oh course i'm also taking a two-hour digital photography course which will be enormously easy, and... jen talked me into taking bellydancing. don't laugh!

no kidding, bellydancing is the hardest class i'm taking this semester. it's twice a week. the bellydance lady stands at the front of the room and makes us move our hips like one inch, and it's torture. i was exhausted. i was totally the worst one there. i'd watch the instructor and try to move along, and then i'd look at myself in the mirror and i wasn't even close. all the other girls were looking at me like, "i'm so much better than you, little moron girl. you suck at this. and at life."

i wanted to yell in the middle of the first class, "i can skate faster than all of you losers!" but i didn't. it's really hard, and makes me hurt, but it's a lot of fun so i'm not going to quit. i even go to the first part of the advanced class with jen to practice more.

it's weird to actually have homework to do again, after such a boring summer. every time i think i'm done, i still have things to do. another thing that's weird? it was really nice not having to see mike this summer. between statistics, math lab, and photography, it turns out i have class with him about five or six hours a week. it's lame. he still ignores me.

worse than that, i think, is that he and kc have started going to swing again. i'm really bummed about that, because swing used to be so fun and relaxing and FUN, and now them being there makes everything so uncomfortable, for me as well as other people, and it's hard not to think of it as a competition. i wish they would just move away and have their dream life somewhere else.... or that i could.

despite all that, i think this semester is going to be okay.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

my so-called desert

by an sudden and odd turn of events, i actually flew in a small aircraft from socorro to hobbs and back again on wednesday with ryan, elliot (my co-workers), dr. ghosh (my boss), and dr. romero (my boss's boss) to check out the site where we're actually going to use this machine that we're building. we played cards in the plane. i won. i beat my boss's boss at cards. bwah hah hah.

but much more interesting than that was how green, really green, the desert was below us. i mentioned before how much it's been raining. i don't think i said that it was all over the state. albuquerque, socorro, escondita, magdalena, elephant butte, deming, hatch, alamogordo, las cruces and el paso have all had problems with flooding this month. albuquerque and el paso are roughly 300 miles apart... that's a lot of flooding.

and from the looks of it, the places that haven't been flooding are getting plenty of rain, too. the ENTIRE desert is green. i saw quite a bit of it during the plane ride. well, i think white sands is still white, but this doesn't happen very often. it's usually brown, i promise. i can't remember when new mexico has ever had this much rain... and it's all over. hobbs was all green with little square patches of brown where the oil wells are. the contrast made it really obvious.

i didn't get pictures from the plane, but here's a couple i took driving from socorro to las cruces later that day:

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i mean look at that! it's green! really green! okay, this might not seem like much for people in other parts of the country, but it's really unusual for us.

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this is the lake (and before you make fun of me, non desert-dwellers, it's really long and thin, okay?). it actually looks sort of full. and the hills are all green. it's so strange.

i drove back to socorro this morning, and it was raining almost the entire way. i think most new mexicans can tell you that rain on the highway usually lasts about ten minutes or so before you're through it, but this was almost two hours... and there was fog and low clouds and actual standing water in the desert. no kidding. i really wanted to stop and take some more pictures, but i was afraid i'd be late to my first class... yay first impressions.

here's one of socorro's own "m" mountain, for your viewing pleasure.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

concert in the park

i have so many exciting things to write about! but first... is this beatlemaniac blasphemy? that i am writing about a free beatles tribute band concert before i write about the ringo starr concert? that i enjoyed the fake beatles... can i say it?... more than i enjoyed the real beatle?

okay, i take it back, i didn't like them more than the real, honest-to-god ringo starr himself, but i gotta tell you, it was close. very close.

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my grandma and i went to see imagine tonight at young park. they are a beatles tribute band (don't ask me why they named themselves after a john lennon solo career song). of course any band that plays two hours of nothing but beatles songs is going to be a hit in my book, but these guys were so much fun. it was very exciting. you could tell (well, i could tell, and i constantly kept pointing out to my grandma) that they're diehard fans who had really, really done their homework. i was extremely impressed when "john" actually delivered a line that the real john actually said at a concert once. he asked the people in the cheap seats to clap their hands, "and the rest of you just rattle your jewelry." of course fake john, at a park concert where all the seats were free, paraphrased a little, but afterwards they played "twist and shout," which is what the real beatles played in the real concert when real john really said that line.

confused? sorry. i'm so hyper. they were so awesome. i'll try to be cool.

"paul" was the most impressive. he looked and sounded just like paul. his accent was perfect, and please trust me when i say i know my paul accent. his hoffner looked just like paul's. he had quite a bit of trouble hitting all his notes, but wow, he was uncanny. the only thing missing was that paul is left-handed, and "paul" is right-handed. but i suppose that can't be helped. sigh.

"ringo" did a great job sounding just like ringo, but he didn't look much like the real thing. "george" looked nothing like george, and didn't sound too much like him either, but he played guitar like george, and that's no small task. i thought he was the best musician in the group, except for maybe "john," who sounded somewhat like his counterpart but actually looked very much like george and played the piano like paul.

by the way, in case you were wondering which one is which, check out the sgt. pepper's suits. ringo wore red, paul wore blue, george wore orange and john wore green. of course that's only necessary if you can't recognize them by their guitars... which i totally can. ;)

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so since i've seen paul, and i've seen ringo, and i've seen john lennon's rolls, and i don't really like john that much anyway, and because "paul" was totally getting most of the crowd's attention, i spent a lot of time cheering for "george." really, he was very good. after "here comes the sun," i yelled, "i love you george!" and he looked right at me and yelled back, "i love you too, love!"

i guess that's as close as i'm getting to the real thing, huh? hooray! george loves me!

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okay. here's the really exciting part. after the show i went and talked to the band and took pictures. i mostly talked to "paul." i congratulated him on sounding just like paul. i told him that i saw paul in november. i saw in his eyes instant recognition of what i was talking about. the US tour.

he said, "in las vegas?"

i said, "no, the show right before las vegas. in phoenix."

grandma said, very excited, "he blew her a kiss!"

paul's eyes widened a bit and i told him about my banner that said "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! BLOW A KISS!"

and get this.... paul says, "OH, i HEARD about that! that's great! wow!"

turns out he heard about that because we were both reading the same website with the tour reviews, the one that listed all the banners that were at each show. when i saw that they mentioned my banner, i sent in the story behind it and they posted that as well. and this paul mccartney man READ about the REAL sir paul mccartney blowing ME a kiss for my birthday.

okay, how cool is that? i'm known among mccartney fans. that's just about the best thing ever. i really can't put into words how badly i'm geeking out about this.

after the pictures i shook his hand and said, "nice to meet you!" and he said, "NO, nice to meet YOU!"

i could die. right now.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

socorro for dummies

in the two and a half weeks between the summer session and the fall semester, socorro becomes a desolate ghost town. everyone leaves. the swing dances are cancelled. nothing. happens.

and for some reason i'm here by myself while all this is going on.... or NOT going on, to put a finer point on it. carmen and steve are in utah. scott went to alamo. even my job has slowed down, which i didn't really think was possible. with my co-workers either gone or down with strange illnesses (i swear jason is the most unlucky person in the entire world), i'm down to pretty much sitting on my hands until we get the funding to start ordering parts. it's very lame.

so watching movies by yourself isn't much fun. computer games will only get you so far. my usual internet stuff has been really slow, and i've already cleaned the entire house from top to bottom and read the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. and to top it all off, for some reason my stereo and my computer are not communicating, so most of my music is inaccessible. seriously, i think i'm ready to learn kung fu and create a training montage or maybe write the history of my life in french or something.

the cure, for now, seems to be solidworks for dummies, which i borrowed from dr. ghosh the other day. yeah, go ahead and say it, i'm desperate. that's okay. laugh.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

planet zombie

i guess when you're really bored, every idea that comes along seems inspired. but how can you know whether it's brilliant or just plain okay unless you get an outsider's opinion?

when we were little, my grandparents used to take my brother and sister and me to this place called planet fun. it was this extremely elaborate indoor playground that was probably overpriced and definitely had a hokey name, but we loved it. there was this gigantic three-story jungle gym, a lazer tag room, and a couple other things that weren't as appealing as the jungle gym and the lazer tag room. for some reason i was thinking about the jungle gym this afternoon. it really was enormous. there were several slides inside it, at different levels, and nets you had to climb up and soft things that you fell onto and even a few ziplines. it rocked. i was also thinking about how little kids have all the luck and get these awesome things that aren't allowed for people that are over five feet tall... those light-up shoes are another issue i have with folks getting special treatment just because they're under seven. no fair.

it's not that i don't understand the concept... you obviously can't have big people and little people playing in the same pit of balls because the little people would get squished and legal ramifications would ensue. the only way for adults to have a jungle gym is if little kids aren't allowed.

hmm... but "adult jungle gym?" sounds like a video you'd see at an adult bookstore. what self-respecting adult would pay (and you'd have to pay, you know, to defray expenses) to climb around in some nets for a couple hours just for the heck of it? i mean, i would, but is there even a market for this sort of thing?

undaunted, i began to think of the possibilities. and then it hit me.... halloween. of course the old jungle gym would have made a killer (oh, i crack myself up) haunted house. just make it less bright and all oozey and have some people hide inside to scare people. that sounds like fun, but once you've seen the haunted house, why go back? it would be a one-time thing.

unless it's a game. okay, picture this: there are zombies in the haunted house. zombies that you have to avoid. of course the zombies could have some kind of marker (a paintball-type thing seems too permanent, but what about like a hand stamp?) that you have to stay away from, and if they get it on your hands or face you're "infected" and your team loses points. people could go inside in groups with the goal of everyone "surviving" the jungle gym. it could be a game, something that you play again and again in order to get better at it. and the zombies wouldn't be able to climb or move very fast, but if you, say, fell off the zipline into a pit of balls (that look like little skulls) and there was a zombie in there, you'd have to move quickly in order to survive.

that would be awesome!

of course constructing a haunted house would cost a lot more than a jungle gym of the same size. and there'd have to be some way of keeping the "zombies" safe from over-zealous players. but there could be tournaments, or different levels of difficulty, or maybe the people who have been through several times, who have gotten really good, could be in charge of escorting a whole bunch of newbies through the course. or maybe (and this is a huge stretch) paintball guns? occasionally? i don't know about that, i don't know very much about paintball. probably really expensive, too.

wouldn't that be fun? i don't know, i really like this sort of thing, but i realize that my interests are strange compared to those of other people. would it be popular enough to actually do well? could it be open year-round, or just at halloween? if i could find enough people that like zombies to fill up the zombie roles, would there be any undead-enthusiasts left to actually go through the course? where could it possibly be built? planet fun was in a gigantic building that was like a warehouse. oh, and we'd have to come up with a good name. "planet fun" is lame, but "planet zombie?" horrible.

this would be so awesome. i really really really want to do it. maybe someday, when i'm somewhat rich and i can afford to potentially blow several thousand dollars on building something like this, i'll try it out. until then... planning!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

flood video

here's a link to a video of the flash flood out by highway sixty, if you're intrested. apparently the road was closed for quite some time this weekend, so people got out of their cars and took pictures of what was going on.

keep in mind that what is usually out there is dry ground. it's not actually a river.

EDIT: actually, i made a mistake. this video is not from this series of storms, it's from a lesser storm that hit about a month ago. SO... if this is what a lesser storm did, just imagine.

it's still a cool video.

weather goddess reigns supreme

this is truly bizarre. adam says that if new mexico has a weather goddess, she is either pregnant and prone to extreme hormonal mood swings, or she has multiple personalities and can't decide who she wants to be. either theory sounds fair to me, though i like to think of her as a pining lover who pretends to be happy one minute and then is floundering in grief the next. well, something bad must have happened, because she hasn't been this consistently upset since fall of 2002.

it has been raining here in socorro, pretty much non-stop, since friday afternoon. this may not seem like much to those of you who aren't in new mexico, but for us it's a pretty big deal. jordan told me yesterday that we've had five inches of rain, our yearly average, in the last four days. and it rained all of last night, too. i stayed awake and listened to it... for hours! i can't even remember the last time, before friday, that it rained for longer than about fifteen minutes. this is so weird.

of course our street floods and turns into a river, but apparently someone has been out in the rain working on that because it seems to be draining better every day. others were not so lucky. i've heard about a lot of roads being closed because the water was too deep, and people haven't been able to get home.

and our friends in escondita were actually flooded out of their house. it's rained so much that the levies broke, and their house was filled with water about waist-deep. the kids were home alone and actually had to be rescued. later, when it momentarily stopped raining, a group of people went back to rescue the animals. of course it started pouring again, and the van they drove in was overwhelmed and started to fill with water, and they had to climb out the windows and get clear of it. it's crazy.

this is supposed to be the desert! we're not supposed to have five straight days of rain! it freaks people out! jordan told me yesterday that it's supposed to rain for the rest of the week. that's so weird. and of course it's freezing, too, in a very humid way, and i had to get out my winter blanket and i've worn a jacket for several days now. i don't think the temperature has been over 80 degrees since thursday. i'm not really complaining about this, but still, it's not normal. this is new mexico in july. most people here don't even own an umbrella! my dad actually called me last night to ask if our house was okay and to see if anything was underwater.

it seems to have cleared up for now, but that's what i thought yesterday too. about noon i looked outside and it was all puddles and mud and sunshine, so, like an idiot, i thought our weather monstrosity was over and walked to work. it poured again. i was stuck there until about seven, when it let up long enough for me to get home. so strange.

on the other hand, our lawn is doing really well.