day thirteen: someone you would want to switch lives with for one day + why

Nov 29, 2010 3 comments

A while back, I watched a really cool documentary about caves.  The story followed the travels of two women, a biologist and a professional caver, to three different caves around the world.  It was incredible.  From belaying in the Grand Canyon to spelunking in South America.  I have always loved caves, well, ever since my 8th grade class trip to Washington DC and our little side trip to the Luray Caverns in Virginia.  Or maybe it was the iron ore mine on our family vacation to the U.P. back in elementary school.  In any case, I like them a lot, and I envied these two women who are able to spend their careers exploring their depths.  So when I saw that the community college I (sometimes) attend was offering an Introduction to Caving course, I signed up for it.  I have until tomorrow to make a final decision and pay for my classes (I'm also taking Database Design and SQL).  Should I do it?  Should I do it?

But really, I'd switch lives with anyone who gets to do cool stuff for a living.  Like Mike Rowe.

He gets to meet new people and try out a different job every day.  Admittedly, some of them aren't so pleasant, but I'd just pick a day he was doing a fun job (like ping pong fireball shooting!) to switch with him.  Plus, he's cool.  Ok, maybe I just want to meet him.  He should do my job for a day!

Or I'd totally switch with any research scientist who has ever been featured on NOVA.  Not that I necessarily want to be on NOVA.  I just want to try doing their jobs.

So, basically, I'd trade my science nerd job for another, different science nerd job.

day twelve: a photo of something you ate today.

Nov 26, 2010 3 comments

You may have noticed that I skipped a couple of days.  (You may also have noticed that I don't post every day, either) But I have my reasons for skipping these particular days (10& 11) from the 30-day blogging list.  But never fear!  I will come back to them.  If I don't forget.  I probably won't but it may take a while to get back to it. 

Anyway, the main reason I wanted to write about this particular prompt today is because we have just encountered a holiday that revolves mostly around eating food.  I could talk about what I ate today, which was: ghoulash that tastes better than my mom's (sorry Mom, but it does), Texas toast, a slice of leftover pizza with pepperoni and pineapple, a piece of amazing chocolate cake (made by me!) with rainbow chip frosting, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  But what I really want to talk about is the most unique Thanksgiving dinner I ever had.

So we ended up going to a Chinese restaurant.  A buffet, actually.  It was one we hadn't been to before, and I was just a tiny bit nervous about it, but it was actually really good.  We walked in and there were about five rows of buffet trays, including stuff for the teppan grill. 

I decided that I was going to be a bit adventurous and try some things I had never had before.  Besides the usual chicken and noodle dishes, I tried bok choy

 (which I didn't really like)

and tuna sushi rolls

(which I actually did like).

But there was one thing I could not bring myself to eat, and it was this:

Yes, those are chicken feet.  They had them in two different varieties.  Plain, like in the picture above, and in some sort of sauce to make it taste better and help you forget that you are, in fact, eating chicken feet.  The waitress insisted that they were good, but umm... yeah, they're chicken feet.

For dessert I had something that was essentially tiramisu (but they called it something else), a scoop of chocolate pudding and chocolate and strawberry ice cream (my plan to eat healthier is going well so far, as you can see).  And of course, fortune cookies.  My fortune was just a statement.  It said something like, "You enjoy having a good time."  The best was Matt's.  It said, "For better luck, you have to wait until Spring."  Ha ha! 

The whole thing was definitely an experience.  If anything, I can now say that I had Chinese for Thanksgiving dinner.

day nine: a song for every mood

Nov 23, 2010 0 comments

This is grand.  I like music. A lot.  And I think I have a pretty diverse and unique taste in music that I would love to share with you.  Perhaps more music posts in the future?  Maybe, but I wouldn't hold my breath...

As for today, I will post a song (or two?) for every mood.  Well, maybe not every mood.  Because there are a lot of moods, and lot of moods in between moods.  I'll just stick to these predetermined originals, if that's ok with you.  And if it's not... umm, too bad?


One of my absolute favorite songs to listen to because it puts me in a good mood every time is Ventura Highway by America.  The tune is just so sunny and happy and the lyrics are kinda trippy, in a good way.  It's my favorite driving song.


A really, really sad song is called Sad Eyes by Bat for Lashes.  It's a good song but I'm not sure I like it because it makes me so sad to hear it.  Anyway, it's not their best song.  My favorite by them is Prescilla.  I'm not sure what category it fits into.  Maybe sad?  But also hopeful.  And the music video kicks ass. 


Disturbed - Down With The Sickness
Drowning Pool - Bodies

These are the two most angry songs I can think of.


I absolutely love The Luckiest by Ben Folds.  It's a beautiful, sweet song and I like to listen to it over and over.  That and Emmaline, which is the song that comes right after it on his live album.  Oh, and at the end of The Luckiest, he says "Stars!" for some reason, and it just makes me smile every time. 


The only things that come to mind right now are two songs I heard at a party a while back.  One is called Mr. New Mexico (I think?), and another one is about Pandas.  Pandas like bamboo.  In the wild, they do it panda style.  Hehe.  Pretty much anything techno and/or house style is good for partyin.


This is difficult because I have an entire iTunes folder dedicated to "chill" music, but my favorite at the moment is anything by Charles Afton.  His music reminds me of sitting on a beach drinking Pina Coladas. 


One morning, I was hung over after a party and the song that came on the player and woke me up was a weird song that said "Hey, you!  What's your name?  You have a name so you're playing this game.  Jump up and down and turn around and sit back down so we can start again!"  It was very demanding, and not sleepy at all.

day eight: 4 simple short term goals for this month + reasons why you picked them

Nov 22, 2010 2 comments

After thinking about this for several days, I have decided what I really need is a personal assistant.  Someone to schedule my appointments, balance my accounts, pay my bills, organize my clutter.  Stuff like that.  So if you know of anyone who could do that for me, for free, please be sure to let me know.

Until then, I've decided to take things one step at a time.  Tomorrow I'm going to my first dentist appointment in... who knows how many years?  It took me a while to figure out my medical insurance covers some dental things as well.  But not all of them, which means that the first thing on my to- do list is:

1) Get dental insurance.  That should be about as fun as my impending wisdom tooth removal.  Actually, no. I'm sure the wisdom teeth thing will definitely be better.  Can't wait.

2) Clean my front closet(s).  About a year ago, when I got my new computer and my dad took my old one, he asked to find some software disks that came along with the old computer.  I knew that they were somewhere in my closet, but I have yet to determine exactly where in my closet.  I actually made decent progress on this yesterday afternoon and found a whole bunch of stuff that I thought I'd lost.  So... yay me!  Still lots more to do, though.

3) Pick one day a week to work out in my office gym, apartment gym, and play Wii Fit.  Three workout days for sure.  Maybe more.  And sit-ups every day.

4) Be more confident.  Ok, this isn't a simple goal and it definitely isn't short term.  But it needs to be done.  I guess my simple goal will be figuring out what to do first.

As for now, though, I am exhausted and want nothing more than to lay on the couch and watch Gossip Girl.  Ahh, I love mindless television.


day seven: a picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you.

Nov 15, 2010 3 comments

The outdoors.  It's my life's work, my career.  And no matter where I go or what I end up doing, I hope that the Earth sciences will always be a part of it.

Picking an influential person in my life is easy too.  It's a person who has always been there for me no matter what.

It's my Mom!  She would totally laugh at this picture and tell me not to quit my day job.  Apparently she gave all the artistic talent to my sister.  And she laughed at my tree painting.  Actually, maybe I shouldn't have chosen her.  Hmmm....  : )

day six: what’s in your bag?

Nov 13, 2010 3 comments

A lot of stuff.  Seriously.  A.lot.of.stuff.  My purse is a good insight into what I'm like in the greater scheme of things.  Ahh, disorganization. Anyway, it's good that I'm doing this because maybe it will inspire me to clean some things out.  Starting with this thing.

My mom made this purse for me.  It's great.  I've gotten a lot of compliments from people on it.  If only they could see the inside...  Let's journey into the great abyss.

Contents (all 50 bazillion of them, give or take a few):

1) Vitamin C packet one of my coworkers gave me when I got sick in the field 3 weeks ago
2) Random Halloween candy and pieces of candy wrappers
3) My phone
4) A bunch of old receipts from September and October
5) A compass key chain that I used to have with the rest of my keys until one of my professors in Vegas decided I didn't need it on there anymore and took it off.  (Drinking may have been involved...)
6) Sunglasses case
7) A bunch of twisty ties
8) iPod
9) iPod charger and iTrip for the car
10) Two pens
11) Camera memory card
12) Midol
13) Post-its
14) Work ID
15) Fortune cookie fortune that says, "A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not why ships are built." A Chinese word: waw tung yee, which means "I agree."  Lucky numbers: 14, 2, 37, 49, 15, 26.
16) Chapstick from the goat milk store in Glenwood
17) $3.58 in change
18) Wallet and zipper that fell of off wallet
19) Half eaten gingersnap Lara Bar (That I didn't like but somehow felt compelled to keep)

Uhh, so yeah, that's about it.  I crammed a lot of stuff in there, huh?  No wonder it always takes me forever to dig out my keys...

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day five: favorite superhero + why they are your favorite

Nov 12, 2010 2 comments

This one was easy peasy!  My favorite superhero is, and always has been...  du du du du...

Inspector Gadget!

Why?  Because he's awesome.  He has lots of cool gadgets that don't always work right, which makes him even more badass because it never brings him down.  In the end, he still gets the job done, even if it is done so with the help of  his niece, Penny, and his genius dog, Brain.  They're his sidekicks, his partners in crime-fighting, even though he may not always realize it.  I also like that the Chief always has something self-destruct all over him.  And of course, the mysterious Dr. Claw and his cat.

I'll get you, Gadget!  Next time, next time!!!

Funny, entertaining, nostalgic.  What more could you want in a superhero?

Of course, if I did have a runner up, I'd have to pick

Donatello from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

What can I say?  I like the scientist/inventor type.

day four: a picture of you as a kid + 7 facts about your childhood.

Nov 11, 2010 4 comments

1) I wanted a puppy for a really long time, like, as long as I can remember.  Ok, maybe since I was eight.  Or was it six?  I don't know.  I never got one, though.

2) My hair looked like this (see ridiculous 'fro above)

3) We still have that dress I was wearing.  My sister found it in her closet and tried it on.  It fit, albeit very tightly.  She showed my mom, who got very upset and said, "It's not a dress, it's a costume!"

4) For about 10 years (maybe more?) my mom organized a block party for our neighborhood.  We kicked it off with a "bike parade."  Here we are getting ready, decorating our bikes and such.  That's me on the trike.

5) I got my hair cut really short one time and I hated it.  After it got cut, I cried.  And people at school called me Corey Matthews (from Boy Meets World).  One day, I got really mad about it in gym class and I pulled on a string that was hanging from the bleachers a little too hard, and the railing broke.  No one noticed, though.  So I just left.  Ha ha!

6) I really liked playing in the sandbox.  My favorite thing to do was dig really deep past the sand into the soil, which was really clayey and collect it to make art projects.  At one point, I had all the kids in the neighborhood helping me to get more clay.  Most likely all the ones pictured here.  And maybe a few more. 

7) Oh, look.  There's me in the dress again.  We still have that couch, although it has been reupholstered and is now blue.  Its back consists of a flimsy wooden board that is constantly falling off.

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day three: a habit that you wish you didn’t have.

Nov 10, 2010 1 comments

This is a tough one because I have a lot of habits I wish I didn't have, but the one that comes to my mind first is this: I eat too much junk food.  In fact, here is what I am eating right now.

See?  Not photogenic.

But I'm going to try to do better.  Now that I am no longer going to the field, I have no excuse to buy tater tots from Sonic or gas station potato chips, or anything else of the like.  I really want to start my self made up diet again, which is basically not eating crap.  It's hard, though.  For motivation, my work has started up a biggest loser challenge.  We're on teams and whoever loses the most weight/inches in 13 weeks wins some sort of cool prize.  The collective weight of my 4-person group was somewhere around 630 lbs, I think.  My goal over the next 13 weeks is to help make this number lower, one potato chip/piece of candy corn/etc. at a time.  Maybe I should put the chips away now...

Meal planned for this evening:

Butternut squash soup (recipe courtesy Small Home Big Start)
Wild cod fillets
White jasmine rice


day two: your favorite season + what makes it your favorite.

Nov 9, 2010 0 comments

Hmm, tough one.  I kind of like all the seasons, for different reasons.  I guess since I have to pick one, it would have to be fall.  I know, I know, it's fall right now, so it's a bit biased.  But here's why I like it.

Balloon Fiesta October 2009

Balloon Fiesta October 2010

4th of July Canyon

Rio Grande Bosque, near Alameda

Alameda Bosque    

North Bull Basin, Gila National Forest

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day one: recent picture of you + the meaning behind your blog name

Nov 8, 2010 3 comments

Ok, I'm gonna try this out.  I was trying to find a recent picture of me, but they all look crappy.  I don't want ugly pictures of myself on my blog.  That will just not do.  However, as it turns out, I'm just not that photogenic.  So you're just going to have to deal with an ok, not so recent, picture of me.

That's me in the VCNP, or Valles Caldera National Preserve.  I chose it because I think it goes along with the essence of the title of this blog.  I decided to call it Adventures in the Underground because of a couple reasons.  The first and most obvious one is because I'm a soil scientist so a lot of the stuff I deal with on a daily basis is underground.  And to get to all the different kinds of soil, I go on lots of adventures, of course.  The other reason is loosely based on my Russian ancestry, and the fact that I like Dostoevsky, although I have yet to read 'Notes from the Underground.'  Perhaps someday...

4th of July Canyon

Nov 7, 2010 2 comments

As usual, I am behind on my posting.  Let's get up to date with some pictures from 4th of July Canyon (obviously not taken on the 4th of July; I'm not that far behind) in the Manzano Mountains.  East side, yo!