Saturday, October 28, 2006

More Cane-Fire

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Summit Work

I just got a student license to photoshop so I can start working with my raw photo's. I can do a lot more processing..... The contrast is pretty amazing. I'm doing a lot of processing while we're observing (it's 4am... again).

We spent a ton of time doing optics - You have no idea how excited/happy I am that I came over here and got all this stuff done. Basically, 2 motors got fixed, we got about 150 times more calibration light to the camera, the spectrograph is 6 times more efficient in gathering the starlight I need, and I've got tons more thesis data. Excellent! I'm exhausted, and there's still tons left to do, but this has been a very very productive few days of work.

I could tell you more but then I'd get executed in a "secret prision" after an "extrordinary rendition" to a "terror-supporting-country" that we just happen to send our prisoners to.....

Friday, October 27, 2006

Switchbacks Hike

We took a break to go hike a few miles of the switchbacks trail......

It was a really clear morning and you could see 4 of the Big Island volcanoes clearly. I don't think I've ever seen it this clear...... The inversion layer is really obvious from up here - you can see the moisture and air down below you.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Flying to Maui

Some part of me feels like I should stop with the whole "I flew to Maui" thing. I work on Maui. I take a "bus" to maui which happens to fly. I'll be there 3 out of the next 4 weeks for a few days doing something workish, probably putting in 80 hour weeks. I think most would get sick of the flying by now. I guess I'm somewhat autistic/spacey in that I never seem to get sick of staring out the window.

Anyways, I came over here with Joe, a grad interested in spectropolarimetry. He'll be doing polarimetry of asteroids so the trip is somewhat tutorial/useful. Too bad he has to sit through a 2 hour "security breifing" on how we must shred every paper we write on......

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Natural Bridges

I spent my last weekend in Santa Cruz just hanging out and working / code. I went down to the local park on the coast, a few minutes from Jesse's place. It's a really nice vibe, especially when the fog is hanging out just on the coastline.......

I had a ton of fun tweaking this one out....

Santa Cruz Sundog

I like these things.

I had a ton of fun tweaking out the colors to bring out the dog......

Friday, October 20, 2006

Cone Peak

Jesse and I wanted to do some back-country camping. Since Jesse's cat freaked out, peed on my sleeping bag and then diarrhea'd on Jesse while he was sleeping Wednesday night...... we didn't leave till 1ish on Thursday. Instead of heading to a long hike to some hot springs, we headed a bit further south to cone peak. My dad and I had been there in March, a year and a half before. It was perfect weather and I talked Jesse into spending a night on the summit with me. We camped in a little flat patch on the Vicente flats trail and then hiked the 4 miles to the summit the next day. We caught a great sunset & sunrise then hiked down and drove back to Santa Cruz.

Here's the shadow the mountain cast at sunset. It had one at sunrise too....
Some cool coastline rocks from the summit.
Colors looking north at sunset from the peak.
Jesse snoozing at the summit lookout. He slept 14 hours the first night and maybe another 12 the second. Not that you get good sleep camping, but maybe the length makes up for the interruptions.
Cone peak from the Vicente flats trail.

Forrest Fires

California was burning. Again. I saw it from Lick & and Cone Peak. It finally died off at the end of the last night at Cone Peak.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lick Observatory

After dropping Bri off in San Jose, I drove up to Lick Observatory - it was so close..... The sunset was great.
Zoom in on a "sundog" - an ice-crystal effect - that happened near sunset.
The sundog.....


The waves at Davenport were crashing into the big rock, making for some great splashes.

I decided to try a funky image-strech to some of the wave pictures to bring out the big foamy parts......

A Day With Brian

Brian and I took the long way to the San Jose train station - we stopped by Davenport Beach, Henry Cowell Redwoods, and Big Basin state park. The Santa Cruz mountains are actually very pretty. They're not very tall but they've got some really nice forrests & views......

A lookout towards San Jose.
Brian being a tree-hugger. Damn hippie......
Flower power!

Driving across the country?

So...... Bri & I stopped at a beach near Santa Cruz and saw the funniest thing. Can you imagine a better chauffeur?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Santa Cruz Biking

Jesse and I went on an early-morning loop ride. The hills here kill me. We gained and lost about 2000ft elevation over the 25 miles. I basically did nothing but relax the rest of the day.

Monday, October 16, 2006


I went up to campus today to meet with some CfAO people and to get some work done. UCSC has an awesome campus set in the redwoods. I would love to work here and the lab has some really neat projects. We'll see..... I'll be done with my thesis in 1-3 years, give or take.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Maps

Saturday, October 14, 2006

For My Father

My dad always reminded me of Indiana Jones with his fedora. I think he's been wearing them since way way before I was born. Unlike Liz, my memory of my childhood is spotty at best. She remembers watching her mom's butt bounce from the baby bike seat when she was 2. I barely remember the girl I chased around in 2nd grade. I can however remember many rainstorms at Fonda where my dad was in a rubber trenchcoat (think scary movie) and a fedora diverting the mudflow from the road or doing something else out in the rain. I also remember him picking me up from school and joking with my friends that he forgot his whip or should have had more leather instead of paint-stained jeans. I think he's had the same fedora for a decade now. I guess I had never tried one in the rain until recently. They work. They really really work. Especially for us geeks with glasses. So...... being out in the cowboy country and having a lot of rain to deal with, I dedicated this trip to exploring the many uses of the fedora. Instead of being like the real locals (super-white-kid in a crappy trailer with a decked out POS car listening to hardcore rap, trying to escape his culture), I was running around the mud-soaked desert in a cowboy hat. Sunshade, rain-protection, and greasy-hair-masking all in one. Here's to you dad!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Giant Trees to hug - Sequoia Park

After leaving Zion, we drove through Vegas (what a trip) and into Cali. We hit a major lightning storm. It was crazy - flashes every second or two. We didn't think we could camp up in the mountains with that storm. We tried guerrilla-surfing to get the weather, but nothing worked. It was 4am and we ended up in a motel for the night an hour outside Sequoia. In the morining the storm was clearing so we headed up to the park for an afternoon. Jesse and Liz were pretty burnt out from all the driving & hiking, and Liz's foot was gimpy, so we decided to not camp and head back to Santa Cruz two days early. It was nice to shower and have a bed/house.