Friday, August 27, 2010


Music I am currently (and probably temporarily) obsessed with:

(Yes, you have to watch all 3 videos. No, you may not just watch the first one. No, you may not just watch the first thirty seconds of each one and then comment as if you have an informed opinion. No, I don't care that you are trying to watch this at work and the third video happens to feature a guy dancing (prancing?) around in his underwear) : )

BTW, I love all these, but they are in order from best to not-quite-as-best. : )

Friday, August 6, 2010

Yearbook Photos

Thanks to Troy and Laura (and my slow workdays) for these gems:

Ah, 1960. What a lovely year...

I was a good girl in 1966

1980, not quite fully into my crazy grunge period yet...

Ah, there it is. 1984!

I think I look just like Jaima in this photo (Jaima of 1992, not Jaima of 2010)

But things finally started coming together by 2000. Whew!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Solar Tsunami

As many of you may know, this week held some pretty cool solar activity. Four large coronal mass ejections took place, allowing for fabulous aurora borealis viewing on Earth. Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are similar to and related to solar flares, but the relationship is not yet fully understood. Flares generally produce a visible, well…flare.., which shoots away from the sun. As you can see from this video, no flares were visible during these recent events, though you can glimpse the power of a large CME.

CMEs of this magnitude are cool because they cause such bright northern lights that folks in non-polar regions have a good chance of seeing them. Unfortunately, they also may knock out some unprotected parts of the power grid and mess with satellites.

Nevertheless, the sun is cool (figuratively speaking). Also check out this crazy-awesome photo:

This image is an extreme ultraviolet snapshot from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. It shows the sun's northern hemisphere in mid-eruption. Different colors represent different gas temperatures ranging from ~1 to 2 million degrees K.

*Note: "Solar Tsunami" would be an excellent band name.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Otter Fodder

On a hot summer day, there is nothing like an ice cold Otter Pop to cool things down. Otter Pops--frozen fruit juice in plastic tubes--were originally created in 1970 to compete with a similar product called Fla-Vor-Ice. Not having cute otters with funny names on their packaging, the good people at Fla-Vor-Ice knew they were fighting a losing battle. They bought out the Otter Pop brand and discontinued Fla-Vor-Ice in 1996.

Otter Pops come in six colors, each color assigned a “personality”:

Blue-- Louie-Bloo Raspberry (blue raspberry)
Red-- Poncho Punch (Tropical Punch) (originally Rip Van Lemon until the mid-1970s)
Green-- Sir Isaac Lime (Lemon Lime)
Light Red-- Strawberry Short Kook (Strawberry)
Purple-- Alexander the Grape (Grape)
Orange-- Little Orphan Orange (Orange)

One major event in Otter Pop history is the Sir Isaac Lime protest of 1996. The parent company had made plans to replace Sir Isaac Lime with Scarlett O’Cherry. However, a group of fourth-graders from California mounted a signature-gathering campaign and picketed the company’s headquarters. An email campaign was also put into effect (one Stanford University professor accused the company of “otter-cide”). Company executives relented after meeting with the children; they wisely decided to retain the Sir Isaac Lime flavor.

Per the Otter Pop website, each otter personality is also a member of a band called the Otter PopStars. Each otter has his or her own fan site complete with photos and bios. For example, here is the skinny on Louie-Bloo Raspberry:

Instrument: Upright Bass

Louie is a Jazz poet whose book of verse The Sweet Raspberry of Yesterday and Other Poems has been translated into twelve languages including Beaver and Cockatiel. Originally from New Otterleans, Louie met the Otter PopStars when they were just a band of street musicians playing for clams and rocks outside "Café Le Bloo" - the spot where Louie does his best writing. Their music touched him so deeply that he put down his pen, grabbed his upright bass and immediately joined in the fun. A friend to nature and all its creatures, Louie can often be found cultivating his window box garden of purple snap dragons and bandaging up the bite marks on his fingers.

Favorite things:
-Watching the waves crashing upon the shore
-A warm café ole in the morning

Pet Peeves
-Oil spills
-People who don’t know what an estuary is

Info on the rest of the Otter PopStars can be found here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Going Dutch

The phrase “going Dutch” is a slang expression that means each person on an outing will pay for his or her own food, drinks, and entertainment. This is in contrast to a date scenario where one person is likely to pick up the full tab or a group scenario where the total cost of an evening is evenly split amongst all participants.

The phrase may have originated based on the idea of a Dutch Door, which is one of those cool doors that is split horizontally so the top half or bottom half of the door can each be opened separately. However, “Going Dutch” has often been considered cheap and tasteless, so more likely is the possibility that the phrase originated as a derogatory jibe against the Dutch (which is stupid, of course).

Several other languages have similar phrases, however:
In some parts of Italy the phrase pagare alla romana (to pay like people of Rome) holds the same meaning as going Dutch.

In Turkish, hesabı Alman usulü ödemek means “to pay the bill the German way.”

In Egypt it is called Englizy, meaning “English-style.”

And, ironically, the Dutch phrase Amerikaans feest means American Party and holds the same meaning as going Dutch.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Green Drinkery

I've been involved in GreenDrinks for over a year now, first as a volunteer organizer and now as a board member; not sure why I haven't written about it yet. Time to rectify!

First of all, GreenDrinks is totally awesome. Here is the deal: GreenDrinks is held once a month and is a forum for networking and socializing within the local green community. GreenDrinks clubs are active in over 600 cities and towns worldwide. All GreenDrinks clubs have their own local flair, but also follow the official GreenDrinks Code. The guidelines in the code shape the way that our events are run.

The code, in short:
1. GreenDrinks is open--all people and ideas are welcome
2. GreenDrinks is agenda-free (you will not be preached at)
3. GreenDrinks is not for profit. Though some cities charge a small fee to attend, most are free and drinkers purchase their own food and drinks.
4. GreenDrinks is local and decentralized--Though we all follow 'the code', each city also has the power to do things their own way.

In Spokane, we meet on the second Tuesday of every month at roving locations. Most months our event is held at a local bar or pub, although sometimes a local business or organization will sponsor us. For example, we have had a GreenDrinks in a Laundromat, a print shop, a building supply store, and an advertising agency. We always partner with a local business or non-profit, so each meeting has a focus. The organization is then allowed 2 minutes to talk to the group about what they are all about. The rest of the night is taken up with chatting, meeting new people, exchanging ideas, drinking, and laughing.

For more info about GreenDrinks International, click here.
For info on starting a GreenDrinks in your own city, click here.
For info about GreenDrinks Spokane, click here or here.

Friday, May 28, 2010


As some of you know, I fancy myself an armchair neuroscientist. I love thinking about the brain and learning about new discoveries. My curiosity was initially piqued by Mind Wide Open, and I haven't been satisfied since. There are so many new advances and discoveries in the area of neuroscience! Personally, my excitement stems from the idea that what we know about the brain gives insight into human behavior and ethics. We cannot know how best to live without first knowing how we function as human beings. It's hard to improve yourself when you don't know where you are starting from.

In any case, in celebration of the brain--and of thoughts and dreams in general--please enjoy the below images, via the Allen Brain Institute (link):

Monday, May 24, 2010

Art Heist!!

I love art. And yet, I also love art heists. What is wrong with me?

In any case, here are the paintings that were stolen from Paris' Museum of Modern Art over the weekend. If your were coveting any of these, they are now officially available on the black market.

They are:
Modigliani's "Woman with Fan"
Leger's "Still Life with Candlestick"
Picasso's "Dove with Green Peas"
Matisse's "Pastoral"
Braque's "Olive Tree near l'Estaque"

Which is your favorite? Or, rather, if you were the thief, which one would you keep for yourself? : )

Friday, May 21, 2010

A (Very) Brief History of Badminton

The esteemed and highly-respectable sport of Badminton was invented in the mid-18th Century by English soldiers stationed in the India colonies. The inventors basically just added a net to an older British game called (I’m not making this up), “Battlecore and Shuttlecock”. According to early drawings, that game looks quite a mess, but Badminton was a gentlemen’s game from the start.

The sport was officially launched back in England in 1873 when the Duke of Beaufort opened the Badminton House at Gloucestershire, the first badminton club. Over the next 50 years, rules became more and more uniform and rigid. In 1934, the Badminton World Federation was established among Canada, Denmark, England, France, Netherlands, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales. This organization now governs international badminton and develops the sport on the global scene.

Some fun facts:
*To determine which side serves first, a shuttlecock is served and wherever the shuttlecock is pointing, that side begins.
*When playing repeated matches between the same players, each individual game is called a “rubber.”
*The most powerful stroke in Badminton is the “smash”, whereby a player hits the shuttlecock in an overhand manner, smashing it to the court just over the net. The world record for the fastest recorded game-time smash belongs to Fu Haifeng of China, whose shuttlecock was clocked at 206 miles per hour.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How It Happened

It was a sunny, summer day in Paradise (nine years ago today!). He was tall (still is) and dressed all in black (I like to think I’ve improved his wardrobe). He was smoking (yick). I had no idea that one week later I would be falling madly in love with him and that before the year was out we would be married.

He was immediately useful. I promptly locked myself out of my dorm room (in the men’s dorm?!) and he helped me find someone to let me back in. And he lent me his copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide, which I’d been meaning to read for ages. He organized games of Trivial Pursuit in the evenings (when in doubt, “Abraham Lincoln” is always a good guess).

One week after our initial meeting, we went on our first date (summer romances have short timelines). We caught the shuttle down the mountain into the big city of Ashford, WA (population: 267). We walked and talked (at the same time!), stopping in at the General Store for a snack. He bought me a popsicle (multi-colored, but NOT red, white, and blue!) which we shared as we walked back to the shuttle to catch a ride back up to Paradise. All I remember about the ride back up the mountain is that I was trying desperately to get up the nerve to hold his hand. I was smitten (still am).

That was how it happened.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Picasso is not my friend

My first 12 hours in Vienna were not very excellent. First we got lost trying to find the hotel in the dark after traveling by train from Hungary, then we slept (I was jet-lagged and kept waking up), then we went out into the beautiful Viennese morning and visited a Picasso exhibit at the Albertina. Not so great. Picasso is not one of those painters who painted just a few very good paintings. He painted a million paintings*, many of them less than awesome. After spending the morning looking at Picasso's strange rendition of sex in painting after painting after painting, I was ready to not eat lunch and go do something less disturbing. Luckily, Vienna had a lot more in store. All told, it is one of my very favorite cities.

This week, Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" sold at auction for a record $106.5 million. This one, I like. Not that it's worth that much, but at least is isn't disturbing to look at just after breakfast. : )

*Possible slight exaggeration

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Longer I Blog, the Crazier I Get...

This is what brought it on:
The Bloggess (an avid blogger and twitterer (tweeter?)) started a bit of a ruckus yesterday when she randomly wondered what would happen if she started a random 15-minute zombie apocalypse over twitter. Well, results are here. Such fun!

In any case, it made me wonder if maybe I was missing something by not being a twitter-ite (twit? twitterererer?). So. I signed up. My twitterific name is thinklikeajill. Wouldn't let me have any more characters than that. Also, I have no followers.

For any readers who live in a cave somewhere, I should explain that Twitter is a social networking program that allows you to post 140-character updates around the clock. Anyone who wants to regularly read your updates would be a "follower". Twitter came to be in 2006. It was the result of a brainstorm session (isn't everything?) of Odeo company and was initially called "Status" and then "Twitch" before they settled on "Twitter" (seriously--they used a thesaurus).

I'll keep you updated on how this little social experiment goes.

Above: The Twitter FailWhale. This image comes up on your screen whenever Twitter's servers are so overwhelmed with tweets, they just can't take it any more.

Monday, March 8, 2010

My New Hobby

I counted. Since the inception of this blog, I have written 16 entries about kayaking. I have used the words kayak or kayaking 41 times. I have made a lot of progress between the 03/05/08 entry, “With Friends Like These” an the 12/31/09 entry “10 Things I have loved about 2009.” And I am sure I will make further progress.

In the meantime, however, I seem to have acquired a new addiction: biking!

My dear cousin John (bike mechanic, world-class chef, and all-around renaissance man) helped me find a bike last weekend (thanks to Captain Awesome's constant nagging). It is a lovely black road bike with upright handlebars. I was not sure at first if I would love this new hobby, but now I can’t stop thinking about it! Last weekend I went on three separate rides, logging over 25 miles, and I am sure this is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more adventures!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happily Never After

Seven months ago I posted this video. Just found a rebuttal, and thought I'd share. Yes, it's cynical and silly, but it's also well done. And it is true that happilyeverafter is a myth (except in my case, of course--exception to the rules, as ever). : )

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Blogs

To keep track of life's adventures, some friends and I have put together a couple new blogs. Feel free to follow along with our various adventures!

This one you may already know about:
It provides updates of all our whitewater adventures.

This one will keep you updated on all the biking madness

A blog about the FPPC, our local cooking club.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

How to Have Yourself Cryonically Preserved

Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of humans and animals after death. Proponents of cryonics believe that what we consider legal death is really just an excuse for the medical community to give up on saving sick people. It is certainly true that death is a bit difficult to define by medical standards. It’s not terribly uncommon for hearts to stop and then start up again, or for brains to go dead, but hearts to go on a-beating indefinitely. Thus, figuring out exactly when a person is really dead is tough. After all, most of the time when a person is declared legally dead, nearly all of their cells are still living. For these reasons, hundreds of people have decided that the best thing to do is to have their bodies frozen immediately after their legal death, in the hopes that the technology to revive them and then heal them will someday be available.

The central premise of cryonics is that memory, personality, and identity are stored in the cellular structures and chemistry of the brain. Proponents claim preservation of this information is sufficient to prevent information-theoretic death until future repairs might be possible. Information-Theoretic Death is a counter-point to Legal Death. It is the destruction of the human brain (or any cognitive structure capable of constituting a person) and the information within it to such an extent that recovery of the original person is theoretically impossible. The concept of information-theoretic death arose in the 1990s in response to the problem that as medical technology advances, conditions previously considered to be death, such as cardiac arrest, become reversible and are no longer considered to be death.

There are three primary obstacles to cryopreservation at this time. The first is preservation injury. Though the preservation process is intended as a life-saving procedure, there are side effects. Damage from freezing can be serious; ice may form between cells, causing mechanical and chemical damage. Cryoprotectant solutions are circulated through blood vessels to remove and replace water inside cells with chemicals that prevent freezing. This can reduce damage greatly, but freezing of whole people still causes injuries that are not reversible with present technology. In addition to damage from freezing, further damage can be caused by ischemia, lack of oxygen-rich blood circulating in the body for the period of time before the preservation process can begin. Several cryonics organizations now utilize standby-teams who are on hand to begin the process of preservation as soon as possible after the heart stops. For legal (and ethical?) reasons, it is not permissible to begin the cryonics process before legal death has been declared.

The final—and perhaps most disconcerting—obstacle to cryonics is that we don’t currently have the technology for successful revival. Revival requires repairing damage from lack of oxygen, cryoprotectant toxicity, thermal stress (fracturing), freezing in tissues that do not successfully vitrify, and reversing the effects that caused the patient's death. In many cases extensive tissue regeneration will be necessary.

It has often been written that cryonics revival will be a last-in-first-out process. In this view, preservation methods will get progressively better until eventually they are demonstrably reversible, after which medicine will begin to reach back and revive people cryopreserved by more primitive methods. Revival of people cryopreserved by the current practices may require centuries, if it is possible at all. Survival would then depend on whether preserved brain information was sufficient to permit restoration of all or part of the personal identity of the original person.

Still Interested?
The cryonics field seems to have largely consolidated around three non-profit groups, Alcor, Cryonics Institute, and the American Cryonics Society. These are the folks you need to talk to if you want to pursue cryonics for yourself. Costs vary greatly, ranging from $28,000 to $155,000. To some extent these cost differences reflect variations in how fees are quoted. Some organizations don’t include “standby” (a team that begins procedures at bedside), transportation costs, or funeral director expenses in the quoted price, which must be purchased as extras.

While cryonics is sometimes suspected of being greatly profitable, the high expenses of doing cryonics are well documented. The expenses are comparable to major transplant surgeries. The largest single expense, especially for whole body cases, is the money that must be set aside to generate interest to pay for maintenance in perpetuity.

The most common method of paying for cryonics is life insurance, which spreads the cost over many years. Cryonics advocates are quick to point out that such insurance is especially affordable for young people. It has been claimed that cryonics is affordable for the vast majority of people in the industrialized world who really want it and plan for it in advance.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Very Bad Poetry

From my friends at, here are a few gems. Please feel free to share your own bad poetry in the comments. : )

The Story Of A Green M&M Juxtaposed With The Blue-Greenness Of Dill Weed
The M&M is small,
the faded imprint of
the trademark "M"
glaring at the upper
portion of the room

Filamental crackly sort
of opaque plastic hovers
like an electric halo
over cardboard flaps:
Blue-green reeking
Kentucky-esque faux
landscape contained
within the static

Creeping up the wave
and frightening the M&M
into inferiority (it has
no smell) Dill Weed
in it's Rockfly-Nymph
imitation green facade
overpowers the room
and makes me think
of smalltown corner
stores in early September,
which brings me back
to the M&M.
~By Dolores Azul

Broken Television
Broken Television
We were more than just friends
O' baby
I feel the pain, without you
Broken heart, you know it's true
Set me free, heart to heart,
Kissing your lips makes me feel warm inside

Don't hide your love,
Goodbye my dove.


~by John Zodiac

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Boss, Part 1: The Early Years

Who is the best musician/songwriter ever? Bruce Springsteen, of course. This fact is well-known and undisputed. Nevertheless, many people are ignorant about his early life and rise to fame. Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen was born in Long Branch, NJ. His parents were of Dutch/Irish and Italian ancestry, and his surname is actually Dutch for “stepping stone.” Springsteen was raised as a Roman Catholic and attended Catholic school. He was at odds with his religious education early in life, but more recent musical output seems to show he has made some sort of peace with it. His high school teachers say he was a loner who never wanted to do anything other than play his guitar (feel free to hum “No Surrender” here). Though he completed graduation, he skipped the graduation ceremony.

His first small break was thanks to a couple named Tex and Marion Vinyard who sponsored young bands in town. They helped him secure a place as lead guitarist and lead singer of The Castiles. That band recorded two original songs and played a variety of local venues in Jersey. The Vinyards have said that they knew right away that Springsteen would make it big.

The Boss was inducted into the army at the age of 19, but failed the physical examination, so never had to serve in Vietnam. The way he tells the story, he suffered a concussion in a motorcycle accident at 17; that together with his ‘crazy’ behavior at the physical and his refusal to take any test was enough to earn him a 4F.

In the late ‘60s, he performed briefly with a group called Earth, still playing gigs around New Jersey. At this time he acquired the nickname “the Boss” because he took it upon himself to collect the nightly pay and distribute it amongst the other band members. For the next several years, Springsteen played with a variety of different acts, including Steel Mill, Dr Zoom & Sonic Boom, Sundance Blues Band, and finally, the Bruce Springsteen Band, which eventually morphed into the E Street Band.

Springsteen signed his first record deal with Columbia Records in 1972. His debut album was Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ and was a success among critics, though sales were slow. The follow-up album, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, was also critically acclaimed, but had little commercial success. Later, however, songs from these albums such as “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” and “Rosalita” would become fan favorites.

In the May 22, 1974, issue of Boston's The Real Paper, music critic Jon Landau wrote about a show he had recently seen: "I saw rock and roll future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen. And on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time.” The band’s next album was Born to Run. The record was an epic struggle to produce, but an epic success as well. It peaked at number 3 on the Billboard 200.

More to come!