Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Heading Home

So, my shift ends at 6am tonight, but the fog has been relentless. I did manage to get a couple good nights in this run but it's mostly been writing. I've done a decent amount on my thesis and some hardware stuff, but I think my productivity hasn't been horribly great. Basically I can't wait to go home. One interesting thing I did was make a table of all the observing days I've spent up here. It was neat to see the last 4 years in a simple table. Only one more run to go.....

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thesis Go-Ahead

I had a talk with Jeff and we decided that I should write up my thesis before working on the "data" paper. That means I get to go ahead with everything a bit early. This weekend was spent "stapling" my previous papers into one giant thesis document. The UH thesis format is basically a waste of paper. I took what was about 50 pages worth of journal articles I've written so far, and even after deleting repetitious sections and condensing figures, it's about 180 pages! Good god. They require double-spacing and huge margins. I've also been told by a few grads now that the ProQuest company that UH uses publish these things looks like a bad photocopy. I'd be better off printing it at IfA on a decent laser-printer and just stapling the thing together. Half-way to the third world..... At any rate, I've got one more run in Dec to go and then I'm done with this observing crap and I finish writing the data section. I've learned a lot about the different LaTex formatting packages lately, so I'm getting good at formating my figures and things like that. It is kind of crazy to think that this will be a compilation of over 100 nights spent on a mountain top.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fire Timelapse

I think I've found a really neat new thing to try - timelapse of fire!!! At Point Reyes, that last night there just before we hiked out, I set up my camera on the picnic table and got a decent video, zoomed in, of the little fire we had in the grill. The table moved a lot, but the video came out really neat anyways. Download this!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Big Island in NIR

I've been hooked on NIR photo's from up here for a while now. The timelapses are just great. Someday I'll get around to updating my website. At any rate, here's some HDR stacks from the timelapses.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Milky Way Madness

This shot by Gleason is just fabulous. A cloud of stars.... It was an APOD a few months ago. You've got to check his website out - film and ccd north & south. Makes me want to go lay on the roof and huff oxygen on some moonless night up here....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Flying to Maui

Today was a very long day.... I woke up at 5am Cali time and didn't make it to bed until 4am Hawaii time the next day. I flew from San Jose to Honolulu and killed 2 hours waiting for my plane to Maui. Then, once I got there, I met with Jeff for an hour and then drove up the mountain. The weather was ok, great seeing and low winds but with high cirrus. The program before me canceled so I got to observe from 8pm to 3:30am. I came down with the bug Jesse had, so I felt pretty much awful by the time I went to bed, 25 hours after my day started.

San Jose
South Bay
The coastline south of San Fran with Half-Moon Bay
The city....
Kaneohe Bay
The Ko'olau Mtns
Ko'olau further North
A wide view of the windward range
Pearl Harbor

Monday, November 19, 2007

Santa Cruz Day

Today was the "buffer" - I'm on a plane for Maui tomorrow morning, and I'm observing tomorrow night. Today was about packing and getting ready. Jesse put in some time on his thesis. It was a beautiful day and I took a couple walks along the waterfront. You could barely make out the other side of Monteray bay. I spent a bunch of time behind the computer, and the last few hours was a "mac-party". Everybody talking geek at the kitchen table.....

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Harrington Hike

Jesse woke up feeling sick, so he slept for the day while Bri and I did a 13 mile hike down and around the coast. We dropped the 1000ft along a ridge in the fog and got to the coast as the day started clearing. The coastline was really dramatic. The hike up had some really cool views of the fog rolling in as well as some good greenery. We dedicated this hike to dad and made sure to keep the hat on at all times.

We got back around 3 and had a camp dinner and prepared for bed. Jesse sounded horrible. He resisted leaving that night but by 8pm I had talked him in to it. He was sick and stressing about work. Not a good way to camp. We packed up and hiked the 1.5mi back to the car in the dark and saw a bunch of deer. It was nice to shower and sleep in a bed, even though we only did one night away from civilization....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Point Reyes Afternoon

We drove up to Point Reyes park and hiked up to Sky Camp. We had an awesome site with a view of the sunset and the point. Excellent. We wanted to do a big hike on Sunday so we just played low key and caught the sunset from a near-by hillside. We forgot cutlery so ended up making chop-sticks out of some nearby twigs. Great idea! We ended up just sitting around talking for the night. I set up some night pics of the exploding comet, Holmes. It's physically as big as the sun and is a noticable, fuzzy blob in the sky! Brian brought some binoculars that I put up on my tripod. It was crazy. Very cool. I have a pair of 70" astro-binoculars that I can't wait to use when I get home.

The trail to Sky Camp.
The view of the beach.
A zoom in NIR shot.
Fog from the hillside - I've got a few timelapses of this.
Fogset HDR.
Holmes wide.
A deeper zoomed image - the comet is smeared same as the stars but, since it's fuzzy, all you see is a fuzzier core.

A zoom-in on the comet. There's lots of noise, but you can see the fuzzball. IfA grads measured it (on slashdot) as being physically bigger than the sun!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Going Back-country!

We're going back-country Sat-Mon up in Point Reyes - the national park just north of San Fran. We'll be staying at "Sky-camp" up on a ridge and hopefully hiking all over the place. I've been running a decent amount the last couple weeks here so I should be fine.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Fog Day

Brian forgot to give me the keys today. I was in his room working 8am-6pm. At least I got some good stuff done. The PASP paper was accepted after my revisions, so that's good. I put that, and the Bioastronomy conference proceedings up on Arxiv. Now they're public. I just hope I didn't screw anything up. Every time I publish, there's this happiness and dread. Good to be done with it, but I really hope there's nothing major wrong with it. Retractions must suck. Say goodbye to your reputation. I guess that's why I'm so paranoid and do all those simulations of reduction errors. Anyways, I got a few good timelapses of the Fog-set. Bri and I went to some mexican place and then I almost got sick. Running that night wasn't too fun... but the fog-city view from Dolores park was great.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Day at Mills College

I went in to work with Bri today. He made it sound like there'd be nothing worth taking pictures of so I didn't bring my camera. Big mistake. But it was interesting even without it. Mills is in nestled in the woods with the enterance in the middle of a rough Oakland neighborhood. There's bullet holes in the buildings closest to the street. Razor-wire fences line the campus. But you wouldn't know it from inside the college. It's a 100-something acre campus, the size of UC Berkely, but with only 2000 students. Bri's "building" is really a 2 story house. Strangely enough, named Kapiolani, like the road a block from my house. Hawaii-Cali connections all over the place. Anyways, I got to know his peeps a bit and we went for a lunch-time swim. Bri's been working on getting a "lake" ready for use as a campus water source. They're also trying to get the campus trees to a more native state. You have to get permits to cut down trees, except the hated Eucalyptus, so he's got to deal with tons of beurocracy. Good times.

That night, Jesse came up and we went to see that band with the "pretend we're in antarctica, pretend we don't exist" song. I don't quite remember the name. Midnight something maybe? I don't know. The first band was pretty obviously novice. I had a good time remembering my highschool metal band days. The singer looked like Bruce Lee: no shirt, somewhat scrawny and flexing the whole time. The bassist looked thoroughly stoned and just kind of nodded his head with his mouth open while repeatedly turning his amp up every minute or three. The second "band" was really two white guys and a cd player. A dynamic duo - one big, one scrawny. I really liked them though - funny rap and lots of jumping around. Comical. "Start smoking" and the make fun of republicans songs were great. Some douche-bag behind us kept yelling "boo" after each song, and the whole area around us was pissed at him. Jackass. Then Midnight whatever came on. They had lights, costumes, and a lot more of a stage presence. Some attitude, but they were tight so they were somewhat justified. After half an hour, we got the point. It started to sound the same. Pop-ish. But good. The dude's stuffed tights were hilarious. Nothing like dressing like a woman and stuffing a bunch of stuff down your tights to make your junk look huge.....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Twin Towers Day

Today I took the morning to walk a few miles up to the twin-towers park near the end of market street. It was a nice walk - the neighborhoods change pretty quickly as you go block to block. The day was beautiful!

Panorama from peak 1
Golden Gate and the Marin headlands
Panorama from the lookout
Da city, and market street. Bri lives in the lower right part of the pic.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Referee Report

I got two good pieces of news. The organizing committe for AbGradCon just got 25k to host the conference in cali. I've got a good shot at going to this one now. Also - I got a really good review of my first big thesis paper. Basically, the referee wanted three sentences to describe something included and found some typos. Great. That was way easier than the month long back-and-forth from the last letter. I spent today doing the corrections and responding. Hopefully I'll have the article accepted and on Arxiv in a week or two. Sweet!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I had an EPOD show up today. Sweet! I think there's another NIR one in the works soon.

Driving to San Francisco

Today we slept in and drove back along the 1 south in to San Francisco. Jesse dropped me off at Brian's new place in the Mission. 15th and Church basically. The drive back was nice. It was a really nice day out. We stoped at Belinda point just outside the campsite - a really neat small beach. Jesse and I took a walk out to the coastline just south of Mendocino on the way south. We took the 128 over to the 101 and passed through 11 miles of awesome redwood forrest and winery country. Very cool.