Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

Ho ho ho!! Merrrry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Season

I'm at home in San Jose with my family for Christmas. It's been a good break so far, although I'm missing Tiffany and perhaps not sleeping as well without her. I wrapped some presents this morning and will probably be baking some cookies in the afternoon, then it's time for walk with Tucker followed by a Christmas movie to top off the evening!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Backpacking in the Catalinas

Our first back-packing expedition ended in failure last night around 4am. At least no one in our party perished... Here's what happened.

At the end of the day yesterday, around 5pm, we decided to go on a back-packing trip up in the Catalinas near Mt. Lemmon. We were not concerned at all about the fact that the low in Tucson at 3000 feet elevation was below freezing, and that we were planning to drive up to about 6000 feet elevation before hiking. I mean, who would be?? Anyway, we arrived at the parking lot at 7 or 8pm, put our gear on, and started hiking.

We made it about a quarter mile before noticing a medium-sized pile of poo right in the middle of the trail. Me: "Huh, I wonder what could have produced this fresh steaming pile of poop?" (ok it wasn't steaming, whatever, it still had that shiny look) Tiff: "Oh, probably a mountain lion." Me: "A mountain lion, wow! Well they're probably sleeping at this time of night, no need to be worried." Tiff: "Actually, they're nocturnal animals." Me: "I see...."

We walked onward for a bit, then came under a tree when Tiff stopped and thought she heard branches rustling like there was some deadly cat about to jump down and tear us apart limb from limb before devouring us for a nice tasty dessert. This didn't exactly make me feel comfortable, but we plodded onward anyway, until we came to a bridge crossing where the bridge was mostly underwater. Since it was so freezing cold (I had no spare clothes in case anything got wet) and since I was afraid of getting mauled by a mountain lion, we decided to turn around and head back to the car. A half mile of hiking later, we made it back, disappointed but still determined to spend the night in the wilderness. So we set up our tent in the parking lot near to where a couple other groups were camping. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a disaster too.

When we left on our hike, a nearby RV had its generator going. It was still going by the time we had returned and set up our tent. Eventually, after a couple of hours they turned it off. In the meantime, however, another group arrived that made noise continuously throughout the night, until we finally left at 4am because the tent was too cold. They were either talking loudly or had their car on for some unknown reason. At one point I got up and went to the car to eat something (hadn't had enough for dinner), but that only made me colder, as the car was just as cold as the outside air! Not long after I came back into the tent Tiffany started coughing and we decided enough was enough. We made it back home by 5am and now here we are awake at 10:15am!

Probably the best thing of the whole night (aside from being out in nature) was watching the stars with Tiffany after the hike but before we went into the tent. We looked at the Pleiades with Tiff's binoculars and also a fuzzy blob that might have been the Andromeda Galaxy. We saw a bunch of bright shooting stars too. It was cool to be in a place where the night sky was so dark. Made me want to have my telescope!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Was sick, but not too much anymore

After the frisbee tournament I was a little sick, but now I'm doing better. Unfortunately the cold I had is hitting Tiff pretty hard right now. She's trying to study for finals too, which is probably not making recovery any easier. Hopefully those Zinc pills will actually start doing something soon!

I went for a long bike ride today (long by my standards anyway) of 38 miles. It took me about 2 and a half hours to finish. Most of the route was on city streets and wasn't that great, but part of it was through Saguaro National Park East and that part was an amazing 8 mile ride. When it was over I couldn't believe it. I thought I'd only gone 4 miles! It had lots of ups and downs, almost no traffic, and was extremely well-paved. Not only that, but it was in a beautiful setting and I saw snow on the tops of a nearby mountain! Pretty cool.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

End of November Update

It's been raining like crazy the past day or so! Tiff and I have really been enjoying the change in the weather from the monotonous sunny-all-day-everyday pattern that the desert usually serves up.

The past couple days I've been going to a conference here in Tucson that was all about how galaxies evolve in conjunction with the gigantic black holes that reside at their centers. It was a pretty good conference; definitely better than Protostars & Planets V, but definitely worse than Z-Machines. I had the opportunity (along with most other Arizona grad students) to present a single-slide, 3 minute talk on my research. I was really nervous and kind of bungled it, but hopefully not too badly. It's hard to summarize your research in only 3 minutes!

This weekend I'm playing in a frisbee tournament called Hoasis. I'm really excited to play and I think it will be a lot of fun. The weather is going to make it even more fun (in my opinion, anyway).

To finish up, here's Tiffany jumping into a pile of leaves in the front yard of my parent's house. Pretty cool action shot, eh? I posted all the pictures I took in November this morning, so feel free to check them out.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back in Tucson

After a wonderful Thanksgiving break Tiff and I are back in Tucson. The plane trip back was entirely uneventful, which is a good thing when you're flying. I had Thanksgiving lunch with my family in San Jose and Tiff went up to Sebastopol for dinner with her family. All in all it was a great break for both of us! Tiff got to hang out with our friend Abhishek from Stebbins in Sebastopol too. Mr. Roy was visiting the bay area from Illinois for the break and unfortunately I didn't get to see him, but I hope the next time he's in town we get a chance to hang out. In any event, I'm sure he'll agree that all in all it was a nice break for all parties involved.

Last night's events focused on figuring out what exactly a doxology is, what the melody that goes along with it, and also the words that make it up are. Thanks to youtube, we got the lowdown. Tiff's mom was especially grateful for that.

Lots of work to do before Christmas break, which will start for us on the 20th of December it looks like.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nearing Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving Eve. Tiff and I went to Berkeley last night and met up with Jessica for dinner at Char-am. Let's see, what did we all order... We shared three plates of chicken and vegetables with various types of curry sauce. There was a bit of confusion over the tea... "We'd like Thai hot tea please" "Thai iced tea for 3, ok" "No no, we want the hot tea" (it was darn cold outside!)". And there was a bit of confusion over the meat "We'd like number 28" "What kind of meat with that?" "Yes!" "What kind of meat?" "Oh, sorry! Chicken."

Then we marched over to Yogurt Park for some frozen yogurt. I over-did it by ordering a small and having a tough time finishing it. Just like the old days...

Lots of reminiscing overall. Tiffany ran the fire trail earlier and really enjoyed it (perfect running weather!). Oh yes, and the tree-sitters protesting the construction of a new practice facility for football by living in the trees that would have to be cut down for months straight without coming down. Ahh, Berkeley!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The El Tour of De Tucson

Tiff, Tiff's Dad Jay and I biked 66 miles in the El Tour of de Tucson today. Right in the middle of the day too, when it was as high as 85 degrees out in the sun. It was a whole lot of fun, although I'm pretty tired/sore/exhausted right now. I first died at mile 8, but I think that was more of a mental thing, like I couldn't believe that I still had 60 miles to go. Then around mile 40 I REALLY died. My legs were like lead and I couldn't pedal at all. People were passing me like crazy until I reached the next aid station, where they had food and water. I ate about 12 bananas, several oranges, pretzels, and grapes along with a cliff bar before heading off for the last 17 miles. Thankfully those last 17 went pretty well. They even called my name out when I crossed the finish line (I was pretty much alone when I finished)!

Tiff and Jay waited for me for most of the tour which was very nice of them. For the most part, they weren't too far out in front of me, but they definitely waited at least a minute before I showed up the three times we stopped. Then at the last aid station (the one where I had been dying the several miles before I reached it) they ended up leaving before me since I was so busy stuffing myself with food. Apparently Tiffany "really dropped the hammer" over the last several miles and refused to be passed by anyone!

It took us about four hours to finish 66 miles, which isn't so bad. I finished 15 minutes or so behind Tiff and Jay, which I think is not so bad, given that my main goal was just to finish the darn thing!

Friday, November 9, 2007

End of a Short Week

My parents left town this morning. It was great having them stay here and Tiff and I wish they could've stayed longer, but I guess it was time for them to go. Aside from a major picture project on my part, we also went up to Mt. Lemmon for a short hike and did a lot of walking around the neighborhood with the four legged furry animal commonly known as Tucker.

Next weekend Tiff's Dad comes to visit to ride in The El Tour of De Tucson, for us a 66 mile ride around town. I've been training by riding my bike at least 1.5 miles every day on the way to and from work. I'm pretty sure I'll be in great shape for the race.

The day after the race we head back to San Jose to spend a week in the bay area for Thanksgiving. November is going to fly by...

Friday, November 2, 2007

End of a long Week

Survived through the week somehow... My thesis committee meeting went reasonably well yesterday although it's still fairly early on, so there wasn't a whole lot for them to say, other than "meet the deadlines you've set for yourself."

Hopefully I can relax a bit this weekend while preparing for my talk on Monday. It'll be great to have my parents in town this week (and Tucker too!). Hopefully the earthquakes won't follow them to AZ!

The piano is sounding good after a two hour tuning session on Wednesday. It's already gotten a bit out of tune (not that I could tell) but the tuner dude is coming back in a month or so to finish the job. It's great to have it in the house sounding nice. I'm already learning a bit too. I can play Happy Birthday, using the cue card Tiff made :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Hour at Our Place

Here's a picture from the happy hour party at our house in honor of Maggie and Aleks' wedding the following day. The happy hour was actually happy two hours, since it went from 5-7pm Friday evening. The wedding went great yesterday and today was a fairly relaxing day. It's gonna be a busy week though...

We're looking forward to my Mom and Dad coming into town next weekend!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

At long last, the suspense ends!

We have a piano! Tiff is already rocking out!!

Building Anticipation

Jeffra mentioned that she is on the "edge of her seat" in anticipation for the exciting news. She must have psychic powers! Now, given today's and yesterday's clue, who can guess what the exciting news is going to be?!? You have until 4 or 5pm today to guess!

Pants Day 2007

Today is the first day of the year that was officially cold enough to warrant wearing pants to work. Let's hope it stays cold until next year.

In other news, stay "tuned" for an exciting update tomorrow regarding a new development at 2103 E. Mabel St!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Football Sucks

The 49ers are so awful. Jeez. At least Cal isn't awful, but they haven't been playing like it lately. An indirect loss to Notre Dame is pretty pathetic!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Journal Club Talk Done

Just finished my journal club talk. It went ok. I think I just picked a hard, long paper that was difficult to explain. People seemed to think some of the plots were contradictory and I couldn't explain what was going on very well. It also looked like most of the audience stopped paying attention a third of the way through. I think that's impossible to avoid, though.

My parents are visiting Tiff and I in Tucson Nov 5-9 or so. It will be great to have them in town!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Head Feeling Better

I seem to have recovered mostly from the mild concussion on Wednesday, although I'll probably be hesitant to dive for any frisbees in the near future.

I put some pictures up from the past couple weeks. Thankfully this website automatically updates the links on the right. Yes!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Minor Concussion, Maybe

I banged my head while diving for a frisbee tonight at league. The back of my head felt a little spongy afterwards, but I kept playing. I feel pretty good now, but we'll see if I have a headache tomorrow. It's possible I got a slight concussion from the impact with the ground.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fixing Up the Bike

I spent most of this morning cleaning and changing the tubes on my old mountain bike that I discovered in the garage of the house I used to live at my first two years in Tucson. It's basically been covered in dirt and grease since I got it, so it was long overdue. I decided to do it because I've been riding my nice road bike everywhere, and it's just not a good idea. The mountain bike works better on the dirt-filled roads, and I have lights that I can put on it easily. Plus it's easy to keep a lock with it. Not only that, but it's just not a good idea to lock up the nice bike anywhere. It's too valuable.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Riggs Flat at Mt. Graham

Here's a picture of Tiff and me (Tiff's such a hardass about grammer!) up on Mt. Graham at Riggs Lake. We spent a night there camping to get out of the heat in Tucson. It was a great trip, even though it was so short. Too bad the lake was full of mossy crap or else it would have been fun to swim in. We still went in for a dip anyway though. Good times indeed.

Monday, September 24, 2007

26 Years Old

Now that I'm mature, I think it's time I tried a new blog layout. Actually, Movable Type just got to be too slow and bloated. And since I already have a gmail acount, setting up the blogger thing was real easy.

So far I've had a wonderful birthday! I hope it stays this good all day :)