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The Nonsensical Ravings of a Lunatic Mind
Recent Entries 
21st-Oct-2012 10:54 pm - New Arrival
I'm on LJ so infrequently these days, I even neglect to post important stuff.

Benjamin Thomas Roberts was born at 9:08 am on October 12, 2012, weighing in at a beeftacular 8 lbs. 12 oz. Everyone came home on Monday. David's adjusting pretty well to being a big brother. Benjamin's a champion sleeper, though he could be a bit more efficient when it comes to eating. I'm headed back to work starting tomorrow.
5th-Jun-2012 09:36 pm - Transit of Venus.
Almost a failure. Hung out at APL for a while. David got to go nutter-butter with Alex and Maggie who he doesn't see a whole lot. Too many clouds so we went in to the auditorium to watch the stream from Mauna Kea. U-stream cut out about thirty seconds before ingress. Waited until that came back up, and then went to get dinner, with the hopes that it might clear up afterwards and we could try again.

The instant we left, it cleared up. And dinner was extremely slow, and we almost missed the end! Should have packed a picnic. But we managed to get back before sunset and got a good look.

David still preferred charging around to looking through the telescopes. Sigh. Perhaps he'll appreciate the next one if he lives to be 109.
25th-Aug-2011 12:15 am - Zombie Balloon
The last of the helium balloons from David's birthday party finally lost its buoyancy last night, thirty-eight days after the party.
17th-Mar-2011 07:14 pm - MESSENGER
For those of you who haven't heard, the MESSENGER spacecraft goes into orbit around Mercury in about an hour an a half. It's already flown by three times, but this will be the first time a spacecraft has ever orbited Mercury. I'd hoped to have a paper out on the topic by now, but I haven't even finished writing it up yet.

You can follow along with the mission here:


Up-to-the-minute updates will be posted there. I think there's also a live feed.

I also mean to post an entry on the results of the Decadal Survey, about which I have mixed feelings, but that will have to wait.

David and I are off to APL for the "festivities" in a few minutes.
5th-Sep-2010 12:31 am - New cookie recipe
1. Make a mess of pancakes. Blueberries optional.
2. Hold batches of pancakes in 250 F oven to keep warm as you prepare subsequent batches.
3. Serve up and eat final batch of pancakes.
4. Turn off oven, but forget to actually package up leftover pancakes.
5. Wait.
6. Preheat oven to 400 F in preparation for cooking dinner.
7. Open oven and discover pancakes.
8. Remove dry, crispy pancake-cookines (pancookies?). Replace with casserole dish containing Mac'n'Cheese (or whatever else you happen to be cooking.
16th-Aug-2010 10:57 pm - Grammar
The phrase "A whole nother ..." infuriates me. There is no such word as "nother". The phrase is either "Another whole ..." or "A whole other ...". I would also accept "An whole other ..." if you're being British or something. I'm ok with splitting infinitives, but not articles.
27th-Jul-2010 11:37 pm - Ooh, a meme!
Stolen from tirani ...

1.) Do a web search and type in "You know you're from [your area] when..."
2.) Cut and paste the list
3.) Bold or italicize items that apply to you.

Washington, DCCollapse )
18th-Jun-2010 09:36 pm - Temper temper
I hate it when I lose my temper and then end up regretting it for the evening. Kate's driving us home. We're about to make a turn, when I notice the car next to us motion to roll down the window. Thinking he needs directions or wants to let us know we have a tail-light out or something, I tell Kate to stop, roll down the window and am greeted with:

"I didn't mean to make you stop, but I could fix the body damage back there..."

(We had a fender-bender almost a year ago. There's a minor dent and some scuffing we never bothered to get fixed.)

The correct response is to just ignore him and drive off, which Kate did. But before I got the window up I let fly an F-bomb. I was more annoyed at stopping in traffic for something so trivial than at the unsolicited contract for auto detailing, but it was still unnecessary. And set a bad example for David. I'd apologize, but it's too late for that. I wouldn't have auto work done by some stranger anyway, but I'm weirded out that my first instinct is not to take an offer at face value, but to assume the other guy has an angle.

This happens in more civilized settings as well. I was at the Apple Store for the sole purpose of buying a laptop. Of course they were slammed, so I put my name on the list for sales assistance and started poking around. When someone finally did come to me, I instinctively told her I was just poking around and didn't need help. It took several seconds for me to realize what just happened, and had to chase her down so I could actually buy the dang computer I came in for.
29th-May-2010 09:09 am - Delicious seared Corningware
I've developed a bad habit over the last couple years of setting cooked dishes on unused burners, since every single square inch of the counter is usually covered. Tried that with the bacon this morning and turned on a pot to boil. Came back a couple minutes later to discover I'd turned on the wrong burner, and that smoke was wafting from the blackened mess on a spot on the plate. While the bacon and paper towel were destroyed in this way (I admit, it's shameful), the bottom of the plate was barely scorched! Go Corningware!
22nd-May-2010 08:26 am - Busy busy busy
Man, I hardly ever post any more.

Lot of grant proposal writing. No sooner did Cassini Data Analysis go in than I had to start working on Planetary Geology and Geophysics. And once that's in, it's time to start on Mars Fundamental Research. Perhaps I can support myself 100% time writing grants! It would be better if I didn't totally suck at writing grants. This is extra interesting because one of our two budget people is out with an injury for an extended period. The other goes on maternity leave in two weeks. Don't know who will be doing the budgets then.

I'm off to LA tomorrow morning. Giving the Planetary Science Seminar at JPL on Monday. Tuesday evening, I pop up to Santa Cruz for a meeting with some colleagues there, return home Thursday and hopefully beat this proposal into submission. Pun intended.

On the electronics front, I acquired a Macbook Pro last week, which I'm reasonably happy with. Imagine, the Unix-style interface is built into it. I don't need Cygwin! I can ssh without having to download PuTTy or anything!

For a phone I have ordered (but not yet received) an HTC Droid Incredible. I'm sure it will arrive half an hour after I leave for the airport.
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