Athletes aren’t the only ones into winter sports. Cobalt and I are pretty excited about them too. And as much as we’ve enjoyed watching curling and figure skating, we really wanted to get outside.
But there’s a problem. We haven’t had much winter here. So this weekend, we and some of our friends went on a mission to 1) find snow and 2) go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing through it.
Cobalt and I, plus six of our friends and their three dogs, headed to White Pass, Washington where we skied/snowshoed on and around the Pacific Crest Trail. Cobalt went snowshoeing with four of the friends and all three dogs, and I skied with Q and J.
The Pacific Crest Trail was pretty narrow and it went straight uphill, so we were worried that we were going to have a rough time going down on skis. But that turned out to be the best part of the whole day! We cruised (and fell a lot) down the trail and came out the other side smiling. And then we went up and did it again.
And then we all went out for beer and pizza afterwards. Yum. Good day. :)
Short post today because there’s lots of other stuff going on. But I’ll see you guys next week! Same time, same place! Meanwhile, anyone else have some winter sporting activities they want to share?
Hellllooooo everyone! How are your Novembers turning out? Good I hope. Did everyone remember to vote today? Very important.
Anyway, this past weekend, Washington state got hit with its first snow of the season. On Friday, I saw a lot of pictures and videos of some wet snow falling to the west of us. But it was actually quite pleasant in the Tri-Cities. It was a little chilly but it was mostly sunny and beautiful. Then on Saturday, it was just cold. When Cobalt and I woke up, it was 27 degrees out. Yikes! Where did our brisk fall weather go? It stayed chilly all day and on Sunday we woke up to SNOW. Big, fat flakes that looked like soap suds rained down from the heavens on and off all morning. I might have lived in Colorado recently but I am still a native Californian at heart: The first snow of the season (no matter how wet it is) always makes me super excited. I jumped out of bed determined to take fun videos and pictures.
Because I lived in Colorado for 8 out of the last 9 years, my first-snow-of-the-season pictures usually look something like this. You know, with snow-coated mountains and such. We do have some hills here but I couldn’t really see them through all the haze. Plus I was intrigued by the clumpiness of the snowflakes.
So this time, I gave myself a new challenge: Photograph the fat flakes as they were falling. It was hard. I had a really fast shutter speed to capture the flakes in mid air. And I also had to manually focus on the fat clusters as they were falling. I took a lot of pictures and I still mostly missed my target flakes. But it was a fun challenge anyway.
Meanwhile, Tarantula was sitting on my desk chair watching the whole ordeal with annoyance. Humans… why is it so cold? And can you please turn on the sun?
Anyway, I want to point out that pretty much none of those fat flakes stuck so yesterday we were back to fall. Sort of. It was still super cold. But at least it was also super pretty…
PS: Today is my Sister in Law’s bday! Hurrah! Happy day! Can’t wait to see you soooooon! :D
Hello everyone! How were your weekends?! I hope they were good. We are on spring break so Cobalt and I headed up to Steamboat Springs to hang out with our friends L and B and their kiddos. We had tons of fun eating, playing pool, skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, game-playing, hot springs-ing, etc! It was so awesome to get away from Boulder and relax a little in great company. Plus I think I am finally succeeding in teaching myself how to snowboard!
One night, B set up his telescope so that we could see Jupiter up close and personal. I have only seen Jupiter from earth without the aid of a telescope or in books that show it waaaaaaay up close with its huge spot that can fit 3 (!!!) earths in it. That night, I got to see a middle version – Jupiter with two rings around it! So cool. I tried to take some pictures with my cell phone camera but it was hard to point the tiny phone camera into the eyepiece of the telescope. I ran upstairs to grab my big DSLR so I could try that instead. It still turned out to be a bit of a challenge. Jupiter was moving around in the sky so B had to readjust the telescope frequently and I had to hover with my camera around the vicinity of the eyepiece to try to catch Jupiter in the eyepiece of my camera! Plus, autofocus was not working (it has a hard time in the dark) so I had to hover around the eyepiece while constantly fiddling with the focus to try to bring Jupiter’s cute little rings slightly more into focus. Whew… 50 pictures later, I think this picture (which is actually one of the first ones I took) takes the cake! Introducing my new friend: JUPITER!!
After B and I had so much fun trying to get cool pictures of Jupiter, he decided to set up the telescope to look at the moon. It was REALLY bright and also REALLY COOL. I was completely floored by how much detail we could see! Again, I am used to looking at the moon without the aid of a telescope or seeing pictures of moon craters in a book. I couldn’t believe that all the rocks and crags that I was looking at through the telescope belonged to the same moon that I usually see outside my house! Photographing the moon through the telescope eyepiece had its own interesting set of challenges. First of all, it was much brighter than Jupiter so I could mess with some of my camera settings to decrease the chance that I would make the moon blurry by all my hovering around. I learned that I could change some camera settings but not others (e.g. the f stop, or how much light you let into the camera, had to stay the same). Second of all, the moon is BIG and my camera was limited to how much it could see through the eyepiece of the telescope. It was really hard to get the entire moon into frame with the lens I had chosen to use (a 50 mm prime lens). That was kind of okay with me though because I really liked focusing on various parts of the moon and didn’t really feel the need to have ALL MOON in my pictures. Finally, the focusing – still hard. Even with a bright moon, I was still messing with my focus to try to get the moon details as sharp as possible while hovering around the telescope eyepiece. None the less, I really like a lot of my pictures, including these awesome ones:
Another fun thing – we also looked at sunspots during the day (obviously not through the eyepiece). B held a piece of paper up by the eyepiece so that the BRIGHT light from the sun was projected onto it. There we could see tiny little sunspots hanging out with the sun. Before I got a chance to look, apparently a plane flew in front of the sun and Cobalt and B saw a tiny plane projected onto the sun on the paper. Jealous…
Anyway, that’s all for now too. Do you get a spring break? Are you doing anything fun? It seems that the most popular options for spring break are: a) go to the beach, b) go to the mountains, or c) staycation/sleep. What did you choose? Back to work for me today – technically postdocs don’t get spring breaks. :(
PS – If you remember me talking about the moon in my Top Books of 2015 post, yes I am still unhealthily obsessed with the moon (you try reading a book in which the moon blows up without warning and then having a normal relationship with the moon after that…).
This past Christmas eve, Cobalt, our nephew C, and I were inspired to go outside and take pictures of the moon. I am not really sure why we thought it was a good idea considering it was COLD and windy outside but we were determined! C borrowed his mom’s camera and I grabbed mine and we set up our cameras in the freezing cold on the front porch. After playing around with camera settings and trying to photograph the moon from many angles, C went to take cool pictures in the street using the light from nearby street lights and I decided to play a little with night time photography. For those of you who’ve read my blog for a while, you probably remember seeing some pictures with ghost Cobalt or double Potassium and Cobalt ghosts. Fun times! For this one, I wanted Cobalt standing in front of an empty swing with his arm around a ghost. So we planned the picture where Cobalt was standing there throughout the exposure and then I would run into frame and then out again to give me some of that “ghosty see through look.” It turned out to be more challenging than I originally thought because the snow in front of Cobalt was sooooo bright that it overpowered my slight existence in that area. Cobalt suggested that we both start out in the picture and then I leave and then stop the exposure super fast after running away so that the snow wouldn’t have time to overexpose me too much. We ended up getting C to control the camera for all this maneuvering and I think it turned out pretty neat.
Sometimes this picture makes me sad because it makes me think about when I am super anxious or stressed out about something and I am totally in my head, then that is kind of all I really am – just a shell of Potassium. I feel like this is sort of a self portrait of me right now while I am freaking out and trying to figure out the next step in my career. The problem is that it’s hard to live life and spend time with the ones you love when you’re stuck in your head. So this post is also a reminder to me to get out of my head and see what’s already happening around me! I hope you’ll join me in non-shell land.
PS – More science posts still to come! In February! Now…. tell me about your three day weekends! Anyone do anything cool? Cobalt and I started working on a comic strip/book/issue!
We have a lot to talk about today so let’s get started!
What to say?! My heart broke when I first heard the news and I’ve continued to feel uneasy about this situation since then. I’m so sad that this keeps happening – with the few crazy members of a culture wreaking havoc on so many people they don’t know. It breaks my heart to see a city that I love filled with terror. Plus I am sad about all the other places are being attacked and no one is talking about them. It also breaks my heart seeing people younger than me committing suicide to hurt other people. And finally, I worry about the anti-Islam backlash this attack is going to cause… Be careful with your blame everyone… :-/
For all of you who got excited about my post last week, yay! I am so excited too! I got a lot of comments concerning “who to trust?” considering anyone (including yours truly) can talk about science on the internet these days. Also I got a great question about what types of jobs we scientists can get these days (excellent question and super relevant to me as I am on the market for a specific type of job that may or may not exist right now). Finally, I had some general comments about what it feels like to talk about science with people who “get it.” I can’t wait to address all of these questions and comments. Soon… >_<
Tolerance vs. Acceptance
Last week, I spoke on a panel of Tolerance vs. Acceptance on the CU campus. I think it turned out really well! The room was packed! The first part of the panel was to ask our audience to discuss the definitions of tolerance vs. acceptance and we found that it was much easier to define tolerance over acceptance. I talked about how “tolerance” to me means being acknowledged but not being invited to “the party” that everyone else is talking about/attending. We decided that acceptance would then be being invited to the party and asked to dance! I talked about how I was at a loss about what to do with feeling accepted – I can’t figure out how how I got there. I don’t understand that I can just be accepted as I am. Clearly I had to have done something “right” to make people like me? Then everyone else started sharing their own personal stories about what acceptance looks like to them. It came down to opening up and being authentic with each other as well as being curious about people’s lives. So we practiced these in small groups! I feel much more closer to my fellow panel members after that and I hope everyone else in the audience feels closer to their group members now too! I think it was a pretty successful panel. I’ve heard a lot of really interesting stories about what it feels like to be an undergrad/grad student, postdoc, faculty, or staff on CU’s campus and excellent personal examples of what tolerance vs. acceptance looks like in general. The stories have continued over the course of this week and I hope people keep talking about this issue!
Speaking of this panel – I will be on the radio this morning at 8:35 am (it looks like you can stream it live or listen to an mp3 recording on that website) talking about this panel and the new seminar series I helped start at CU. Check it out!
I turned 30 last week!!! How does this happen?! Anyway, to celebrate my birthday and the fact that we had an unusually warm weekend, Cobalt and I went to Golden Gate State Park and ended up doing a 3 mile hike around in the snow. I injured my knees this past summer and have been not allowed to do any exercise besides walking for the past few months. It felt pretty good to be able to play a little in the snow with minor knee pain. I’m slowly getting better…
Now it’s your turn: What’s the weather like for you? I think everything is shifted back a month for us – nice October weather goin’ on for us in Colorado… not so great for people who like to ski though. Also – tell me your definitions of tolerance vs. acceptance or give me an example of what it feels like to be tolerated vs. accepted!
Wow! It’s been forever since I posted again… Sorry you guys… this semester has been really busy what with trying to graduate and the hurt ankles and all… It’s been a rough month for this Potassium, that’s for sure.
Anyway, there have been some good things that I’ve been photographing and not posting so let’s talk about that! Last weekend, Cobalt and I went camping with our friends The Chocolate Pudding and her husband the Millionaire Space Accountant and J and her husband K for K’s birthday. Before you freak out about what kind of people would go camping in Colorado in March, let me tell you that by camping I mean sleeping in a warm cabin while it snows outside. Yay! So yeah, we drove up to the cabin on Friday evening and settled in for the night. The cabin had a firepit and a picnic table in front of it so we set about making delicious hobo packs for dinner. Yum!
Now the thing about TCP, MSA, J, K, and Cobalt and me is that we are pretty much the best of friends. We can talk forever! So we brought games and other activities but did we do any of them? Nope. Suddenly it was really late and J and I were falling asleep sitting up. So we went off to sleep in the comfy beds in our cabin! In the morning we were going to do some hiking/walking around for Potassium and her messed-up ankles but it started snowing like crazy right as we were packing up the cars (see that top picture!) so we ended up just leaving. Still it was a fun weekend and I can’t wait for more cabin/camping adventures as this year finally warms up a little.
Below are some of the pictures I took while everyone else was toasting marshmallows!
First up, we have K and J looking awesome with their headlights!
Now we have MSA roasting a marshmallow while TCP supervises. I like the way the fire illuminates their faces.
For this picture and the following two pictures we were playing with “light painting.” I put my camera on a tripod and then put the shutter on the “bulb” setting. With this setting, I tell the camera when to open and close the shutter so it’s really good for night time photography (especially star pictures… too bad it was cloudy for us…). Anyway, then we took K’s headlight and “painted” J and K with it while I had the camera shutter open. I think it has a really neat lighting effect. Also it’s a bit like taking pictures a long time ago because you can’t move while you are getting painted or you will be blurry…
After J and K’s picture turned out so well, we all wanted to try it!
MSA and TCP. :D
Now it’s your turn. Tell me about an adventure with your friends. Doesn’t have to be camping related though. I’m excited to hear your stories! Also, tell me what you want to hear me talk about! It’s been hard coming up with ideas lately when I am so busy/stressed out. Maybe we should have a “blast from the past” and I can talk more about my trips out of the country (France, Germany) last year? Let me know! :D
Hey everyone! Looks like I’m sticking to this once a week on Wednesdays post schedule for a little bit. Life is crazy with trying to graduate and all…
A lot of stuff has been happening though so I’ll give you a mini update!
So first of all, two weeks ago, Cobalt and I made a plant home in our office! Look at those happy plantys!
Second of all, it’s been snowing a lot…. Not a fan. But at least this picture is pretty.
Finally, last weekend, we made dumplings with some of our friends for the Chinese New Year! :D This year I got to learn how to make the wrappers too. It was fun rolling them out into perfect circles. I also love folding the dumplings into these cool shapes. This year we put almonds into a few for good luck. Because four of us making/eating the dumplings are hoping to graduate from grad school this year, we decided that eating a dumpling with an almond in it meant that we would definitely graduate this year. We all got almond-filled dumplings so hopefully we will all graduate! :D
Anyway, in science news, yesterday I finished the last of my repeats for the first part of my project! So minus a few tweaks or running the assays I designed for other people’s experiments, that means I am done with the first part. Now I finally get to focus on the more nebulous and less thought out second part of my project! Things are coming along (even though they are slow)!
Your turn. Tell me about life. It’s February! Is the weather looking any better there because it’s cold and snowy here… Did you watch the Superbowl last weekend? Got any Valentine’s Day plans for next week? Let’s discuss! :D
So we got a pretty good snow storm earlier this week. It would have been fine if it hadn’t been followed by ridiculously low temperatures… I woke up yesterday and it was -11 F outside. I’m originally from California… we do not do below 0 F there. Luckily for me, I have a ton of data analysis to do so I stayed home working on my computer while burrowing in blankets and snuggling with stuffed sharks all day. At one point, Cobalt even brought me the fanciest hot chocolate ever! Maybe I should stay home and work again today!
I did actually end up braving the cold last night to go to a girls night where we attempted to decorate Christmas ornaments. My attempts are below – there’s a shark on the clear one (as well as a shark in the 3 of 2013) and a skull for Cobalt on the red one!
What temperature is “cold” to you? Can you handle -11 F? HOW?!?!? Anyway, what do you have planned for the weekend? I have some pretty exciting things planned! I can’t wait to tell you about them next week! :D
It’s spring break here in Colorado. Unfortunately for grad students like me who are done with our classwork, spring break doesn’t really mean much except that there are less undergrads everywhere. We still have to go to lab and we still can’t park on campus because spring break doesn’t count as a holiday for the crazy parking police. Booo…
Even with that said, my spring break has been pretty exciting so far. First my mom came to visit this weekend! We had so much fun even though it snowed almost a foot (yeah Colorado doesn’t really get the whole “spring” concept). Below is a list of fun activities that my mom and I did together:
We went out to lunch at this fancy French restaurant in Boulder. We pretended we were in Paris and babbled a little bit in French while eating our super fantastic meals… mmmmm
We made homemade rosemary crackers from scratch… Oh man they were so easy to make and so delicious. I wish I could post some for you guys to try on here…
We watched the crazy snowy USA vs Costa Rica game (which happened in Commerce City, CO… not too far from here) on Spanish television and screamed GOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL along with the newscasters. I also babbled along with them in Spanish whenever I was happy that I knew a word or phrase.
We made delicious shrimp tacos for dinner for Cobalt since he had to work late.
We braved the crazy snowy streets to go run some errands and get tasty breakfast at Mom’s favorite breakfast restaurant here: The Buff (it’s on Man vs. Food – the Boulder edition if you want to learn about it).
We had a party for the 50th anniversary of The Birds because it was mostly filmed about a 30 min drive from my hometown/where Cobalt and I stayed on our minimoon and because my mom had never seen it. I always get super homesick when I watch it so it was nice to watch it with my mom…
I worked on trying to make alligator earrings in a similar style to my shark earrings…
We planted the seeds for Cobalt’s and my summer garden. Obviously they won’t be heading outside for a while…
Did I forget anything Mom?
After my mom left, I took advantage of the crazy snow everywhere and went cross country skiing around the hill by my house. No one else was out so it was a peaceful adventure through the fluffy snow for me and my sharks (Gustav is featured in the picture on top).
And now for the reason why I didn’t write on Thursday last week – I’ve been working extra hard in lab (except for when my mom was here) so that I can take some time off to actually have a spring break. Cobalt, our friend A, and I are road trippin’ to Dallas to see our friend Jem later this week! So exciting (so excited about WARMTH too…)! So I might not write this Thursday either… Or maybe I’ll make Jem cowrite a post with me (you were warned Jem… ;)). Jem and I have already planned to work on our street photography techniques as she shows us Dallas. Also, maybe Jem and I can finalllllly get our Etsy store up and running! So much excitement!
Now it’s your turn. What kinds of things do you do with your family when you visit them or they visit you? Is it spring there yet? What is your ideal spring break activity? Do you want that tasty cracker recipe? Have you been to Dallas? If so what do you think of it?