Random (but not really)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Vacation: Cabrillo National Monument

While we were staying with Mechanicky Gal, we went to Cabrillo National Monument to visit the tide pools. We also got to go into the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. Most of the rooms were closed off to the public, so you could look in and see what it would have looked like when it was in use.

The tide pools were gorgeous, and I loved walking along them.

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Oh, well yes, there were a lot of rocks. So I took lots of pictures of rocks. Because I like rocks.

This is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse

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You could walk up to almost the top of the tower, but you couldn’t go outside, or climb the ladder to the light.

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I took this picture to remind me to look up when and why lighthouses would use different colored lights.

Short answer (according to the internet): it depended upon the light house. The rate of rotation (sometimes in combination with colors) could designate a specific lighthouse. The color could designate the location of the lighthouse in relation to the bay.

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Also: This guy again.

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Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: California,National Park / Forest,Photos,Travel  

Vacation: Sea Creatures and Shore Creatures and Plants

Gorgeous pine in the entrance circle. (Not sure what species. I didn’t get a close-up pictures of the leaves, and Michael and I can’t decide.)

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Shaw agave (Agave shawii)

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Common Periwinkle (Littorina littorea)

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Coyote Bush/Brush (Baccharis pilularis) has incredibly soft flowers.

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(Thanks Mary!)

Not that you can tell from this picture, but we saw a seal!

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And the next day we saw dolphins!

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Yeah, for both of those you’re just going to have to take my word for it.

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: California,Flowers,Photos,Travel  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Vacation: LA BREA TAR PITS!!!!!!

After we met up with Mechanicky Gal and Carol Elaine, we got to go to THE LA BREA TAR PITS!

Where we saw… FOSSILS!

BISON!

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Why hello there!

American Lion!

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SABER-TOOTH!

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MAMMOTH!

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Ground. Sloth.

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DIRE WOLF!

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OK. Maybe dire wolves weren’t so smart.

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Coyote! Raptor! And some sort of prey!

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MAMMOTH TOE!

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SO ADORABLE! (Well, perhaps not adorable.)

It was MARVELOUS! And I was VERY EXCITED TO SEE IT!

Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: California,Photos,Science, Health & Nature,Travel  

Vacation: JPL!

Carol Elaine generously offered to give us a tour of JPL. (Sadly, it was a holiday of some sort, so I was unable to purchase post cards. You can’t imagine how much pain this caused me.)

I only had my cell phone, so most of my pictures were shit, but here are a few nice ones.

Here’s my favorite thing!

This was a light show that showed you the communication between different satellites and ground control. It was a brilliant way to show the flow of information.

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The lights going down the strand represent data coming from a satellite. The lights going up the strands represent data going to the satellite.

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Some satellites have very little data transmission right now.

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It was a genius learning tool, but also very pretty to watch.

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The text that’s hard to read says:
The Habitable Zone: 00001
Confirmed: 01743
Candidates: 03276

HI!

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This absolutely delighted me, though I have fears it was a set up, and not just the result of some random argument.

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Take THAT Neil deGrasse Tyson!

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Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: California,Photos,Science, Health & Nature  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Vacation: Joshua Tree Wildlife

I still have lots of pictures to go through, but have been trying to get caught back up on, well, everything, so here’s a quick look at some of the wildlife we saw.

Here’s an antelope squirrel (Ammospermophilus leucurus I think), which I’d assumed was a chipmunk.

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I’m hoping this is a coyote (Canis latrans) because I’ve never seen one in the wild, and was excited to see it.

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(there are two other pictures if you click through to Flickr.)

I believe this is a Western Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica)

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(I got another picture of a different scrub jay in a tree.)

I may also have seen a Pinyon Jay, but I couldn’t get a clear picture to check.

LIZARD! Most likely a Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana) but I’m pretty reptile illiterate.

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We also saw lots of ravens, but I didn’t take any pictures of ’em. Mostly because I was too busy taking pictures of rocks.

Written by Michelle at 8:05 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: California,Photos,Travel  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Vacation: Joshua Tree National Park

Since we were only a few hours away (and in California) we made a point to visit Joshua Tree National Park.

Since I always buy books of the places we visit, I decided this time to purchase the books BEFORE we left. One of the books I got was Joshua Tree: The Complete Guide. This was completely helpful, since it divided the trails into types, as well as distance and time.

Also helpful was the Joshua Tree National Park (National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map).

We combined the two, to give us an idea of what we’d be able to manage in a day, and plan the drive to see as much of the area as we possibly could.

We walked/hiked the following trails:
Cholla Cactus Garden
Arch Rock Nature Trail
Barker Dam Trail
Hidden Valley Trail
Cap Rock
Black Rock Trail

We drove up to Keys View

We entered the park from the south, Cottonwood Springs entrance. All of the Cottonwood Springs trails are closed, because multiple floods have exposed toxic mine tailings, so no hiking. This took us through the Colorado Sonoran dessert, which was full of Cholla cactus, Creosote bushes, Ocotillo trees, and Smoke trees.

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But what I liked best were the rock formations.

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We drove north, and move into the Mojave desert, which really did look quite different from the Sonoran.

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Joshua Tree and the desert were interesting places to visit, but I would definitely not want to live there.

Written by Michelle at 8:40 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: California,National Park / Forest,Photos,Travel  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Vacation! Huntington Beach

So Michael’s conference was at Huntington Beach in some really expensive resort hotel.

Really expensive resort/hotel. But I was lucky enough this trip that the hotel was NOT in the middle of nowhere, so I was able to walk to find other (more reasonably priced) places to eat.

If you know me, you are probably aware that I do not much care for the sun. So I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the beach far more than I would have expected, mostly because I found watching to surfers to be fascinating and somewhat mesmerizing.

And there were a LOT of surfers.

Huntington Beach Surfers

I was on the pier at 5:30 AM and noon and sunset, and the water was always full of surfers.

I also noticed that not only did males predominate, but when there were female surfers, it was first thing in the morning, or late afternoon (say, before work and after work), which I found quite interesting. Mind you, it was a very small sample size.

And I also liked walking along the beach at sunrise and sunset. Water is very relaxing, and walking along the water without the sun beating down on me or massive crowds was quite pleasant.

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And the birds!

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I kept watching the Sandlings and giggling with delight as they’d walk down to the water line, and then scurry back from the tide.

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Plus, a pelican that had almost no fear of humans.

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And I did get to spend some time with this guy:

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Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: California,Photos,Travel  
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