Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Random Thoughts

Striding Out

Freaking Out? I hope not.
Just Out
I photographed this raven on 9-22-07 at Point Reyes in the Drakes Beach (there is no apostrophe s in Drakes on the web site) parking lot. From the name of my blog, you can guess that I heart corvids :-)

My co-worker saw a bunny on a leash (it was not up for adoption; it was shopping with its people) at the pet store last weekend. That reminds me of the beach bunny at Happy Mundane.

Preserving oak leaves with glycerin at Martha Stewart

I'm reading The Science of Everyday Life by Jay Ingram. The chapter on coffee is my favorite one so far, and I was sure to look at the convection cells in my coffee this morning before I added liquid creamer. Neat!! There is a sound experiment you can do with powdered creamer (or instant coffee), but that's gross! Well, in the interest of science, I will subject myself to powdered creamer (there must be some lurking in the back of the cabinet). Ooooo, I just checked and he has another book, The Velocity of Honey: And More Science of Everyday Life. OK, that's next.

Good night,

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Citizen Science in Action!

I left something off of my list of important dates in December. It’s dates, actually. The count period for the Christmas Bird Count is from December 14th to January 5th. This is the 108th year. According to the Audubon web site, “More than 50,000 observers participate each year in this all-day census of early-winter bird populations.” How cool is that? It is our winter tradition to participate in several counts. One of my favorites covers some of my old stomping grounds from my youth. It starts at daybreak at my old high school – we count the ducks as they fly over (they spend the night on a small lake in the housing development) and count the Black-crowned Night-Herons roosting in the trees over one of the school’s parking lots. I hated high school – not the best place for a nerdy outsider – so it’s nice to return there each year and to feel good.

Today was a very rare day for me, indeed – 1) I was at home all day; and 2) I cleaned. I alternated between cleaning and de-cluttering and watching TV – How Clean is Your House (a British program that I love that is a thousand times scarier than Clean House), a Howard Hughes documentary, a program presenting new evidence on when humans made it to the Americas, something on dinosaurs, a show about dogs, Doctor Who, and Torchwood. I’m getting to like Torchwood – a spin-off of the newest Doctor Who. Torchwood is kind of a poor man’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Buffy was much better). I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who since I was a kid, and the latest version is disappointing to those of us who knew it in its heyday (OK, I’m only 36, but I did watch re-runs of Doctor Who and The Prisoner on PBS as a kid). I am not a prude, but they need to leave the sex and romance for Torchwood and leave that out of Doctor Who. The old Doctor never flirted with or kissed his companions. What’s up with that? As my uncle, a fellow Doctor Who fan who is also a bit disappointed with the latest series, said “There is no place in the Doctor’s two hearts for love.” Well, at least David Tennant isn’t as annoying as Christopher Eccleston was. I could go on, but I will now step down from my nerd soapbox :-)

Good night,

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Important Dates in December 2007

This Ring-billed Gull looked pretty in the glow of the evening light at Lake Natoma on 12-1-07.

Important Dates in December 2007
December 10th: Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I read this every December 10th, and it never fails to warm the cockles of my heart. Here is a snippet from the Preamble:

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people ...

December 13th and 14th: Geminid Meteor Shower

December 15th: Birthday of the Bill of Rights. The new United States of America adopted the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, confirming the fundamental rights of its citizens on December 15, 1791. Here is an “old school” version. For a more contemporary layout, go to this site and look for the “printer-friendly version” button.

December 23rd: The day after the Winter Solstice. The days will be getting longer! Yay!!

Be excellent to each other.

Good night,