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November 18, 2005


So, I just got back from a two-week stint in California. I realize that it's been a while since I posted anything, and it's not that there's been nothing going on--I just haven't gotten around to talking about it. For instance, I went to Socorro in November with my friend and fellow staffmember Nicole to install two permanent GPS sites. I learned the following lessons:

1) Sometimes the stings felt while welding are not just sparks, but globs of hot metal. Sometimes, these globs get caught in places like the folds made in pants alongside the knee while crouching down. It's a good idea to recognize a glob of metal (pain that doesn't go away, instead intensifying) and deal with it early on.

[Hole in my pants visible above my knee, hole in my skin visible on the side of my knee.]

2) Wear a hat under the hood while welding.

[I lost some hair from this one.]

3) Sweaters, while not synthetic, still do not provide ample protection from sparks.

4) Stainless steel, when cut with a chop saw, gets hot. I knew that part, but it turns out that it stays hot for a while, too.

[Burn the next day.]

[Burn several days later.]

5) Work with Dave Love of the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Geology whenever possible. Nicole and I firmly believe that he is the nicest man in the world.

[Dave victoriously holds some tubing he drove back to town for. He also gave us good chocolate. Daily. Photo: Nicole.]

While I'm at it, I'll show a few other shots from Socorro. I thought I was going to jump right into talking about California, and now I'm going to have to re-name this entry.

Our field work coincided with the beginning of the arrival of snow geese and sandhill cranes, among other birds, to a wildlife sanctuary south of Socorro for the winter. Nicole and I actually--an amazingly amazing feat, given that we both like to get nine hours of sleep and aren't morning people--got up early and headed out at 5:30 AM to see the birds before heading to work. I don't have the attention span right now to do the event justice, but the experience was amazing. I am quite confident that I have never seen that many birds in one place.

[Photo: Nicole]

[Photo: Nicole]

The arrival of the cranes is marked by the Festival of the Cranes, and also by an artist's spoof called the Festival of the Crayons. We had to check out both.

[Photo: Richard Chamberlain]

And afterwards, a full day of work.

[Nicole drills.]

[I weld. Photo: Nicole.]

This makes it look like Nicole and I built the sites by ourselves, which isn't even remotely the case. We worked with Andy Newman and his grad student Jay, from Georgia Tech, and Mark Murray and Susan Bilek and her undergrad Yane, from New Mexico Tech, and every single day of the four-turned-into-six-day-project (including a Saturday) with Dave Love (the nicest man in the world) and Richard Chaimberlin (also pretty high up there) of the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Geology. We had a big group.

[Richard and Dave.]


[Jay and Andy.]

[Did I mention how amazing the cottonwoods were? Photo: Andy]

[Dave and Mark. Photo: Nicole.]

Posted by beth at 10:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 4, 2005

Fall. Still.

The leaves were playing so hard this morning. They were confetti partying all over the place.

[Yesterday, outside work.]

Fall really is something, isn't it?

Posted by beth at 12:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 3, 2005


So what is this? Nobody told me it was going to get dark this early. And it's only the very beginning of November. When do days start getting longer again? December 21st? It could be a long few months. I mean, I knew it was going to get dark early--I've thought back to how miserable I was when first getting back in March, and that wasn't even the worst of it--but I thought that since I was going to be here throughout fall and the darkening would be gradual that I'd be fine. I didn't factor in daylight savings time. What is this? We change our clocks so that we suddenly *lose* an hour of daylight in the evening? How ridiculous is that? Who came up with this, anyway? Silly system.

I don't know. I've been in a great mood for the past three or four weeks, but now I'm starting to struggle a bit. It's been really hard the past couple days to be at work and have night fall before it's even time to leave. It's a funny thing, this whole daylight cycle. We don't even have close to the worst of it. Up north, the window is closing rapidly. Up far enough, it's already closed.

Since cleaning is for daylight and watching movies is for dark, my apartment might not get organized until spring, and I might have seen a lot of movies by then.

Posted by beth at 1:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack