Sunday, July 23, 2006

Wildlife in Yellowstone

In our whirlwind tour of Yellowstone, we saw a grizzly bear, a black bear, a wolf, a river otter, bison, deer, elk, and the world's fattest marmot--all in the space of about an hour and a half.

The world's fattest marmot. I saw marmots everywhere we went, including City of Rocks (way hotter and lower in elevation than I thought they lived), further reinforcing my suspicion that we share a spiritual connection of some kind. Or maybe just a talent for sleeping.

Thanks to Picasa, this black bear came out really good. He was trotting right through the rest area, just as calm as you please.

Okay, this stonefly isn't as exciting as some of the other animals, but it's always neat to see the real-life versions of the fly patterns you've been fishing with for years.

See? I told you he was fat. Seriously, I had to double-check to make sure he wasn't a badger.


More kayaking pictures

Nick paddled all the way back (about 3 miles!) by himself!

Tyson and Nick in the tandem on Leigh Lake.

Teddy mugging for the camera just moments before falling out of his boat. We had to tow him and his waterlogged kayak back to shore.

Nick and Teddy, just before they started screwing around and Ted fell in the water.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Kayaking in Teton National Park

As promised, here is the first batch of pics from Grand Teton National Park.

Although you wouldn't guess so, driving up the 89 from Jackson, there is a string of lakes that parallel the Snake right up against the mountains. We spent three different days on the water in Teton, and all three involved some kind of adventure.

String Lake is barely more than a wide spot in the river between Leigh Lake and Jenny Lake, but it is a very popular place for kayakers and canoers. Our first evening in the park we loaded the four of us into our three boats (it was awkward, at best), and dropped Tyson, our friend Teddy, and one of the kayaks on the far shore of the lake so the guys could fish the creek and Nicky and I could paddle. It was all good, tame fun until a sudden thunderstorm blew up from the back side of the mountains--then it was good adventurous fun as Nick and I paddled our asses off to get back to shore in the choppy water. Considering that the lake was no more that 10 feet deep, it probably wasn't really very dangerous, but the little bit of adrenaline made it really exciting.

By the time we got the boats back to the trailer, Tyson and Teddy had walked back, leaving the third kayak on the far shore. Tyson had to paddle across and tow it back. We realized then and there that we would need a fourth boat.

The next morning we started out on String Lake again, this time headed to the north shore and the short portage to Leigh Lake. Ditching the smallest, flattest kayak, we rented a tandem so that at least one person at a time could rest.

Everything went great all the way to the other side of Leigh Lake, a total paddling distance of over two miles. We pulled the boats up on the far shore and walked the half mile to Trapper Lake, where we were very nearly suffocated by the swarming flies. They would have been tolerable if we had caught any fish, but we didn't.

The picture-uploader is not happy with more than two photos, so I will continue the Saga of Leigh Lake, etc, a little bit later.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My "Battle with Cancer" ends abruptly and anticlimactically

And, thanks to the top-notch plastic surgeon my insurance company sent me to (okay, this is one reason I actually like CCSD), I probably won't even have a noticeable scar. I think it will actually look better now than it did after the dermatologist took a knife to it the first time.

So how did this all come about, you ask? And why am I spending the once-in-a-lifetime feeling of having beaten cancer tapping away at my pathetic little blog instead of starting some kind of cancer foundation or competing in the Tour de France?

Do I really have to answer that one? It's because I'm pathetic. There was no life-altering realization of my own mortality, no sudden epiphany, nothing. So, ergo, no post-cancer afterglow to report. Just three (very neat, I might add!) stitches in the side of my nose and a funny little tugging sensation when I smile or eat or smell something funny. I'm also grounded from getting sunburned for the rest of my life.

I had a spot on my nose (thank you, mom and Tyson, for harassing me nonstop from Thanksgiving until February), so as soon as I got the new insurance I found a doctor to cut it off for me. Over spring break, in between climbing in Joshua Tree and lazing on the beach in Oxnard, I got diagnosed with a superficial kind of melanoma and got an appointment with the plastic surgeon, who said I was just about the youngest person he'd ever cut this particular type of skin cancer off of. The original plan was to cut a dime-sized hole in my face, leave it open for two weeks until the pathology report came back, then take a skin graft from behind my ear to patch it back up, but when I went in on Monday, I got stitches instead.

So that's pretty much it. Granted, I still have what the plastic surgeon calls "scar therapy," which I'm guessing is some fancy way to put that scar-reducing lotion on (hello, people, look at the ingredients--it's just sunscreen and lube!) and getting the stitches out, and in about ten days I'll have official lab results back saying everything's good.

Unless it's not, in which case maybe I'll get a shot at that life-changing epiphany after all.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ya'll probably thought I was dead, right?

No. I was just in Idaho and Wyoming. I haven't put pictures on the computer yet, but I will.

So we rolled back into town at 5 this morning, and I was ready to be gone again when I woke up to an "excessive heat warning" and 15% humidity that renders our swamp cooler all but useless. I am now firmly committed to moving next June. The thought that this could be my last summer in Vegas is a really, really nice one.

But, readers, I need your advice. Being a teacher means I'm short on the kind of dough that would make a full-scale exploration of the West possible, so I could use all the suggestions I could get before we pack up our stuff and strike off into the sunset. Here's what I've got in mind, as far as criteria for places to live:

1. Summer days in the 80s or 90s.
2. A population of roughly 5,000 to 50,000 (enough for two teachers to find work).
3. A house with two bathrooms on half an acre or so for under $180K.
4. Mountains close enough to see from town. Preferably with a ski area not more than 90 minutes away.
5. In the states of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, or Washington. We'd also consider Minnesota, Michigan, or Wisconsin if there's something there that you could suggest.
6. A minimum of 6 fishing waters within 3 hours' drive, preferably with a variety of fish in them.
7. Access to rock climbing and mountain biking areas.
8. A movie theatre.
9. Snow.
10. Green and growing things.
11. Animals.
12. A university or community college would be nice, but not essential.
13. A 3-hour drive or less to a town of 40,000 or more (because sometimes you need an airport or a Wal-Mart or something).

I don't really think that's a whole lot to ask for. Here, in no particular order, are some of the places we have in mind:

1. Boise, Idaho
2. Idaho Falls, Idaho
3. Bozeman, Montana
4. Helena, Montana
5. Kalispell, Montana
6. Cody, Wyoming
7. Provo or Orem, Utah
8. Boulder, Utah
9. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
10. Heber City, Utah
11. Spokane, Washington
12. Missoula, Montana
13. Pocatello, Idaho

The rest of these might be pipe dreams, but nevertheless are fun to daydream about:
14. Montrose, Colorado
15. Bishop, California
16. Alaska
17. Bend, Oregon
18. New Zealand

Please leave a comment if you think there is a town I've overlooked, or if you feel overwhelmingly praiseful/disparaging about any of the towns I've mentioned. Thanks for your help, and I'll reward you later this week with a virtual vacation to Yellowstone National Park when I get my pics posted!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Urban Ghetto Culture is Depressing

So I was messing around yesterday, just looking at stuff, and I came across this urban slang dictionary. Like the proverbial train wreck that it is, something about the dictionary compelled me to read it. In its entirety.

I found it incredibly depressing for several reasons:

  1. The heavy emphasis on drugs, sex, and material possessions.
  2. The rejection of values such as familial connections (and I don't mean only in the narrowest "family values" sort of way), respect for established traditions/institutions, and the value of education.
  3. I've heard 90% of the entries in my classroom and I'm just not ready to think about school again.
  4. The dictionary itself is poorly and inconsistently edited. (Sorry, but that sort of thing really bothers me.)
  5. While I realize that language is a living system and is always changing, I think that using the degree of slang words that my students use impairs their ability to speak and write Standard American English. I also think that using the most current slang words diminishes the built-in subtlety inherent in the English language.
  6. As a recent college graduate teaching in an "at-risk" environment, I feel like I should be embracing or at least striving to understand the culture that this dictionary represents, and I don't. I think there is something wrong with these people, and with a society or culture or government or whatever that caused this mindset to become normal for so many. I experience pangs of guilt about this, and I question my commitment to my liberal and progressive ideals, but I just want to move somewhere like Idaho or Wyoming that doesn't have these urban problems.

So mostly it's the last thing. I feel like a bad liberal. I feel like I should vote Republican, quit my job, learn to lay brick, and help the right-wingers build that wall around America, and that makes me sad. I see educators like Ron Clark, who really have made a difference in some of our most urban schools, and I have absolutely no desire to teach in that environment.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Just say "NO" to SLOGANISM!

Thanks to the remarkable people at the Surrealist, I (or anyone else for that matter) can generate high-powered slogans for a variety of occasions. Here are some I thought you may find diversionary:

1. "Make Somebody Happy with a Snoochie."
2. "It's Slightly Rippled with a Flat Death Metal."
3. "All You Add Is Nick."
4. "Tough on Dirt, Gentle on Dinosaurs."
5. "Nothing Sucks Like A Republican." (Okay, I got this one using "democrat," but I think the server made a mistake.)
6. "Get Busy with the Chicken Butt."
7. "Wait Till We Get Our Nicksadork On You."
8. "See the USA in Your Windsor Zadoofus."
9. "A Tough Deidre to Follow."

I swear to God, that's how these came out. I am not making this up. As you can see, Nick and I had some fun churning these out.

Advertising really is inane.

I love dorks!

I'll admit it. I get all weak-kneed around science-y boys. Show me a guy who knows as much about random stuff as I do, and I start to feel all mushy inside.

Let's start off with some pertinent examples:

This goober standing in my kitchen teaches science to 4th-graders. He and I are going to open a K-12 private school where we turn gifted, driven kids into dorks like us by teaching them critical reasoning skills so they can wade through the mire of misinformation dissemenated by the media and learn to be active participants in our democratic society. This is probably not the picture we'll put on the prospectus.

Then there's this guy. Aside from the heart-stopping combination of nerdy glasses, receding hairline, and pirate-style earring (doesn't it just scream, "danger!"?), Adam Savage thinks logically about stuff and then blows things up, usually proving in the process that most people are dumb. Adam, I love your intellectual elitism almost as much as your bubble-clad pecs.

I found this link over the weekend, and, despite the grainy photo, I have a total girl-hard-on for this PZ guy. Where he finds the time to make four or five posts a day, I have no idea, but they are all good stuff. I do find I get a little stab of jealousy when I read his oodles and oodles of comments every day, though. I mean, what's his blog got that mine doesn't? Besides focus....and research.....and readers.

Speaking of science-type internet stuff, there is a video here detailing what happens when you mix Mentos and Diet Pepsi, with the accompanying scientific explanation. Contrary to popular opinion, knowing why phenomena operate as they do makes them better, not more boring. Then you can watch this cute British girl try the same thing, with differently entertaining results. I am trying my best to imbed the source code, but my mastery of HTML happened in about the eighth grade when geocities was in its heydey. If all else fails, you can just click here and wait a minute or so.

Interestingly enough, I just caught the very end of a Mythbusters just the other night where they were testing the myth that if you eat poprocks and drink soda your stomach can explode. They figured out it took, like, 2 liters of soda and about 8 tablespoons of baking soda.

That's all I really have for now. In the meantime, try this fun gadget.

My spammer name is Entrant T. Accuracy.
Enter your name to get yours:
It's from The Surrealist, if you want to see more.

My Results

laissez faire
I knew the words in green; I did not know the words in red. In total, I knew 80 of 100.

Word My Definition Actual Definition Notes
abjure to abstain from giving one's opinion 1. To recant solemnly; renounce or repudiate. 2. To renounce under oath; forswear.  
abrogate to mitigate or make less To abolish, do away with, or annul, especially by authority.  
abstemious partaking very little in things like drinking or pizza binges 1 Eating and drinking in moderation. 2. Characterized by abstinence or moderation.  
acumen intelligence, shrewdness Quickness, accuracy, and keenness of judgment or insight. You could say I have vocabulary acumen!
antebellum referring to the time shortly before the Civil War Belonging to the period before a war, especially the American Civil War.  
auspicious portending good fortune (this actually comes from Roman "bird omens" avis=bird) 1. Attended by favorable circumstances; propitious. 2. Marked by success; prosperous.  
belie to misrepresent 1. To give a false representation to; misrepresent. 2. To show to be false; contradict:  
bellicose talking heartily and freely, like a drunk person might Warlike or hostile in manner or temperament.  
bowdlerize oh, crap. i totally knew this one, at one time To remove material that is considered offensive or objectionable from (a book, for example).  
chicanery screwing around Deception by trickery or sophistry.  
chromosome lots of strands of DNA. people have 46 of them in each of their cells except eggs and sperm 1. A threadlike linear strand of DNA and associated proteins in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells that carries the genes and functions in the transmission of hereditary information. 2. A circular strand of DNA in bacteria that contains the hereditary information necessary for cell life.any of the rod-shaped or threadlike DNA-containing structures of cellular organisms that contain all or most of the genes of the organism.  
churlish agressively sullen 1. Vulgar. 2. Marked by a lack of civility or graciousness; surly. 3. Difficult to work with or deal with, intractable.  
circumlocution wandering about 1. The use of unnecessarily wordy and indirect language. 2. Evasion in speech or writing. 3. A roundabout expression.  
circumnavigate to go all the way around, as in, sailing all the way around the world 1. To proceed completely around. 2. To go around; circumvent.  
deciduous seasonal 1. Falling off or shed at a specific season or stage of growth. 2. Shedding or losing foliage at the end of the growing season. 3. Not lasting; ephemeral. close!
deleterious bad for you, especially to your health Having a harmful effect; injurious.  
diffident aloof 1. Lacking or marked by a lack of self-confidence; shy and timid. 2. Reserved in manner.  
enervate give increased strength/vitality to 1. To weaken or destroy the strength or vitality of.  
enfranchise to include, esp. in society or a political process 1. To bestow a franchise on. 2. To endow with the rights of citizenship, especially the right to vote. 3. To free, as from bondage.  
epiphany a moment of clarity or realization 1. A revelatory manifestation of a divine being. 2. A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something. 3. A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization.  
equinox the two days a year when the daylight and night are equal 1. Either of the two points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator intersects the ecliptic; 2. Either of the two times each year (as about March 21 and September 23) when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are everywhere on earth of approximately equal length.  
euro the unit of currency in the European Union The official common currency of 12 European Union nations (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain).  
evanescent ethereal, so light and airy as to seem unreal Vanishing or likely to vanish like vapor. when used in a sentence, nobody would be able to tell the difference!
expurgate to eliminate from a text To remove erroneous, vulgar, obscene, or otherwise objectionable material from (a book, for example) before publication.  
facetious joking around Playfully jocular; humorous.  
fatuous holier-than-thou, snobby, pretentious Foolish or silly, especially in a smug or self-satisfied way.  
feckless acting without attention to consequences 1. Lacking purpose or vitality; feeble or ineffective. 2. Careless and irresponsible.  
fiduciary having to do with financial stuff 1. Of or relating to a holding of something in trust for another. 2. Of or being a trustee or trusteeship; 3. Held in trust.  
filibuster an action in which one member of a legislative body holds up any other work by talking, and talking, and talking 1. The use of obstructionist tactics, especially prolonged speechmaking, for the purpose of delaying legislative action. 2. An instance of the use of this delaying tactic; 3. An adventurer who engages in a private military action in a foreign country  
gamete a haploid sex cell A reproductive cell having the haploid number of chromosomes, especially a mature sperm or egg capable of fusing with a gamete of the opposite sex to produce the fertilized egg.  
gauche crude or low-class (from the French left) Lacking social polish; tactless.  
gerrymander to draw voting districts in a politician's favor To divide (a geographic area) into voting districts so as to give unfair advantage to one party in elections.  
hegemony the dominant class or culture The predominant influence, as of a state, region, or group, over another or others.  
hemoglobin a compound in the blood that bonds to oxygen, allowing it to be carried through the body The iron-containing respiratory pigment in red blood cells of vertebrates, consisting of about 6 percent heme and 94 percent globin.  
homogeneous a set of things having characteristics in common 1. Of the same or similar nature or kind. 2. Uniform in structure or composition throughout.  
hubris excessive pride (don't get me started on Oedipus Rex) Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance.  
hypotenuse the side of a right triangle opposite the right angle The hypotenuse of a right triangle is the triangle's longest side; the side opposite the right angle.  
impeach to bring non-criminal charges against an elected official 1. To make an accusation against. 2. To charge (a public official) with improper conduct in office before a proper tribunal. 3. To challenge the validity of; try to discredit: impeach a witness's credibility.  
incognito in disguise With one's identity disguised or concealed.  
incontrovertible irrefutable, impossible to disprove Impossible to dispute; unquestionable.  
inculcate to steep in a set of ideas, what the KKK does to their kids 1. To impress (something) upon the mind of another by frequent instruction or repetition; instill: inculcating sound principles. 2. To teach (others) by frequent instruction or repetition; indoctrinate.  
infrastructure the support system that makes large entities (machines, societies, cities, etc) work 1. An underlying base or foundation especially for an organization or system. 2. The basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of a community or society, such as transportation and communications systems, water and power lines, and public institutions including schools, post offices, and prisons.  
interpolate to distinguish one from the other 1. To insert or introduce between other elements or parts. 2. To insert (material) into a text or insert into a conversation. 3. To change or falsify (a text) by introducing new or incorrect material. 4. Mathematics. To estimate a value of (a function or series) between two known values.  
irony when what you get is different from what you expect; when knowing some information about a situation fundamentally alters one's understanding of the situation, and the entire situation then looks one way to some people, and another way to the people who know that information 1. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning. 2. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning. 3. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect. 4. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs.  
jejune young 1. Not interesting; dull. 2. Lacking maturity; childish. 3. Lacking in nutrition.  
kinetic having to do with motion Of, relating to, or produced by motion.  
kowtow to be obsequious, to bow and scrape before somebody 1. To kneel and touch the forehead to the ground in expression of deep respect, worship, or submission, as formerly done in China. 2. To show servile deference.  
laissez faire an economic theory popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s characterized by the idea that governments should in no way restrict businesses 1. An economic doctrine that opposes governmental regulation of or interference in commerce beyond the minimum necessary for a free-enterprise system to operate according to its own economic laws. 2. Noninterference in the affairs of others.  
lexicon a vocabulary or dictionary 1. A dictionary. 2. A stock of terms used in a particular profession, subject, or style; a vocabulary.  
loquacious talkative, frenetic Very talkative; garrulous.  
lugubrious sad and morose Mournful, dismal, or gloomy, especially to an exaggerated or ludicrous degree.  
metamorphosis a total change from one state to another, as in the life cycle of an insect 1. Change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means. 2. striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances.  
mitosis the division of cells 1. A process that takes place in the nucleus of a dividing cell, involves typically a series of steps consisting of prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase, and results in the formation of two new nuclei each having the same number of chromosomes as the parent nucleus; 2. Cell division in which mitosis occurs.  
moiety a part of something 1. A half. 2. A part, portion, or share. 3. Anthropology. Either of two kinship groups based on unilateral descent that together make up a tribe or society.  
nanotechnology really, really tiny robots, like that one episode of Star Trek: TNG The science and technology of building devices, such as electronic circuits, from single atoms and molecules.  
nihilism the belief that one's actions have no effect whatsoever on the world and are therefore meaningless 1. An extreme form of skepticism that denies all existence. 2. A doctrine holding that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. 3. Rejection of all distinctions in moral or religious value and a willingness to repudiate all previous theories of morality or religious belief. 4. The belief that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary for future improvement. 5. A diffuse, revolutionary movement of mid 19th-century Russia that scorned authority and tradition and believed in reason, materialism, and radical change in society and government through terrorism and assassination.  
nomenclature the proper way of naming things 1. A system of names used in an art or science: the nomenclature of mineralogy. 2. The procedure of assigning names to the kinds and groups of organisms listed in a taxonomic classification: the rules of nomenclature in botany.  
nonsectarian not having to do with religion, secular Not limited to or associated with a particular religious denomination.  
notarize to witness someone's signature To certify or attest to (the validity of a signature on a document, for example) as a notary public.  
obsequious overly eager to please, ass-kissing Full of or exhibiting servile compliance; fawning.  
oligarchy a small ruling party 1.Government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families; those making up such a government. 2. A state governed by a few persons.  
omnipotent all-knowing, all-powerful Having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force; all-powerful.  
orthography spelling 1. The art or study of correct spelling according to established usage. 2. The aspect of language study concerned with letters and their sequences in words. 3. A method of representing a language or the sounds of language by written symbols; spelling.  
oxidize to become an oxide, to rust 1. To combine with oxygen; make into an oxide. 2. To increase the positive charge or valence of (an element) by removing electrons. 3. To coat with oxide.  
parabola an arc formed by binomial equations; also the shape of the trajectory of things thrown into the air A plane curve formed by the intersection of a right circular cone and a plane parallel to an element of the cone or by the locus of points equidistant from a fixed line and a fixed point not on the line. this is still totally right. i'd forgotten about the whole conic section thing, though
paradigm a set of beliefs, values, or behaviors 1. One that serves as a pattern or model. 2. A set or list of all the inflectional forms of a word or of one of its grammatical categories: the paradigm of an irregular verb. 3. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.  
parameter constraint, specification 1. A constant in an equation that varies in other equations of the same general form; one of a set of independent variables that express the coordinates of a point. 2. One of a set of measurable factors, such as temperature and pressure, that define a system and determine its behavior and are varied in an experiment. 3. A quantity, such as a mean, that is calculated from data and describes a population.  
pecuniary financial 1. Of or relating to money: a pecuniary loss. 2. Requiring payment of money.  
photosynthesis the process by which plants make food using chlorophyll The process in green plants and certain other organisms by which carbohydrates are synthesized from carbon dioxide and water using light as an energy source. Most forms of photosynthesis release oxygen as a byproduct.  
plagiarize to represent someone else's writing or ideas as one's own 1. To use and pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as one's own. 2. To appropriate for use as one's own passages or ideas from (another).  
plasma the fourth state of matter, in which electrons are shared freely between atoms; also the heaviest part of blood 1. The clear, yellowish fluid portion of blood, lymph, or intramuscular fluid in which cells are suspended. It differs from serum in that it contains fibrin and other soluble clotting elements. 2. Cell-free, sterilized blood plasma, used in transfusions. 3. Protoplasm or cytoplasm. 4. An electrically neutral, highly ionized gas composed of ions, electrons, and neutral particles.  
polymer this is a characteristic of molecules and synthetic substances, but I'm not sure what it is, exactly Any of numerous natural and synthetic compounds of usually high molecular weight consisting of up to millions of repeated linked units, each a relatively light and simple molecule.  
precipitous steep, as in a drop. something that is precipitous could also lead very quickly to other, more dangerous things 1. Resembling a precipice; extremely steep. 2. Having several precipices.  
quasar literally, "quasi-star" an astronomical thingie at the very edges of the universe. An extremely distant, and thus old, celestial object whose power output is several thousand times that of our entire galaxy.  
quotidian using "quote marks" for "emphasis" 1. Everyday; commonplace. 2. Recurring daily. Used especially of attacks of malaria.  
recapitulate this is where "recap" comes from: to quickly go over the details of something 1. To repeat in concise form. 2. To appear to repeat (the evolutionary stages of the species) during the embryonic development of the individual organism.  
reciprocal mutual, something that goes both ways, like a symbiotic relationship 1. Concerning each of two or more persons or things. 2. Interchanged, given, or owed to each other. 3. Performed, experienced, or felt by both sides. 4. Interchangeable; complementary.  
reparation something you might do to make up for a wrong; anglo-saxon culture was very big on this. whenever you killed somebody, you paid their family a set price 1. The act or process of repairing or the condition of being repaired. 2. The act or process of making amends; expiation. 3. Something done or paid to compensate or make amends. 4. Compensation or remuneration required from a defeated nation as indemnity for damage or injury during a war.  
respiration breathing. converting oxygen to carbon dioxide 1. The act or process of inhaling and exhaling; breathing. 2. The act or process by which an organism without lungs, such as a fish or plant, exchanges gases with its environment.  
sanguine friendly, talkative 1. Of the color of blood; red. 2. Of a healthy reddish color; ruddy: a sanguine complexion. 3. Cheerfully confident; optimistic.  
soliloquy a monologue. "To be, or not to be" is the most famous one ever 1. A dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character talks to himself or herself or reveals his or her thoughts without addressing a listener. 2. A specific speech or piece of writing in this form of discourse. 3. The act of speaking to oneself.  
subjugate to bring under one's control; to take one's rights away 1. To bring under control; conquer. 2. To make subservient; enslave.  
suffragist someone who campaigns for voting rights An advocate of the extension of political voting rights, especially to women.  
supercilious needy, obsequious Feeling or showing haughty disdain.  
tautology a logical argument in the form of p=p; the result is something so obvious, it doesn't even bear arguing 1. Needless repetition of the same sense in different words; redundancy. 2. An instance of such repetition. 3. An empty or vacuous statement composed of simpler statements in a fashion that makes it logically true whether the simpler statements are factually true or false; for example, the statement" Either it will rain tomorrow or it will not rain tomorrow."  
taxonomy the classification of something 1. The classification of organisms in an ordered system that indicates natural relationships. 2. The science, laws, or principles of classification; systematics. 3. Division into ordered groups or categories.  
tectonic having to do with the plates of the earth's crust 1. Relating to, causing, or resulting from structural deformation of the earth's crust. 2. Relating to construction or building. 3. Architectural.  
tempestuous stormy 1. Of, relating to, or resembling a tempest. 2. Tumultuous; stormy.  
thermodynamics the branch of science concerned with patterns of heat and movement 1. Physics that deals with the relationships and conversions between heat and other forms of energy. 2. Thermodynamic phenomena and processes.  
totalitarian a governmental system based on tyranny and oppression in which there is 1 ruler Of, relating to, being, or imposing a form of government in which the political authority exercises absolute and centralized control over all aspects of life, the individual is subordinated to the state, and opposing political and cultural expression is suppressed.  
unctuous argumentative, contrary 1. Characterized by affected, exaggerated, or insincere earnestness). 2. Having the quality or characteristics of oil or ointment; slippery. 3. Containing or composed of oil or fat. 4. Abundant in organic materials; soft and rich: unctuous soil.  
usurp to take for oneself, as in power or political standing 1. To seize and hold (the power or rights of another, for example) by force or without legal authority. 2. To take over or occupy without right: usurp a neighbor's land.3. To take the place of (another) without legal authority; supplant.  
vacuous empty 1. Devoid of matter; empty. 2. Lacking intelligence; stupid. 3. Devoid of substance or meaning; inane. 4. Devoid of expression; vacant. 5. Lacking serious purpose or occupation; idle.  
vehement enthusiastic, forceful 1. Characterized by forcefulness of expression or intensity of emotion or conviction; fervid. 2. Marked by or full of vigor or energy; strong.  
vortex the eye of something swirling, like a galaxy or a flushing toilet 1. A spiral motion of fluid within a limited area, especially a whirling mass of water or air that sucks everything near it toward its center. 2. A place or situation regarded as drawing into its center all that surrounds it.  
winnow to work one's way into something 1. To separate the chaff from (grain) by means of a current of air. 2. To rid of undesirable parts. 3. To blow (chaff) off or away. 4. To blow away; scatter. 5. To blow on; fan: a breeze winnowing the tall grass. 6. To examine closely in order to separate the good from the bad; sift. 7. To separate or get rid of (an undesirable part); eliminate: winnowing out the errors in logic. 8. To sort or select (a desirable part); extract.  
wrought done or made 1. Put together; created: a carefully wrought plan. 2. Shaped by hammering with tools. Used chiefly of metals or metalwork. 3. Made delicately or elaborately.  
xenophobe someone who has an intense dislike of anything foreign A person unduly fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or foreign peoples.  
yeoman an apprentice or layman 1. An attendant, servant, or lesser official in a royal or noble household. 2. A yeoman of the guard. 3. A petty officer performing chiefly clerical duties in the U.S. Navy. 4. An assistant or other subordinate, as of a sheriff. 5. A diligent, dependable worker. 6. A farmer who cultivates his own land, especially a member of a former class of small freeholders in England.  
ziggurat a stepped pyramid of ancient near eastern origin, also figuratively like a flagship A temple tower of the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians, having the form of a terraced pyramid of successively receding stories.  
I knew the words in green; I did not know the words in red. In total, I knew 80 of 100.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I slay the wyrm!

Besides that, my day was incredibly uneventful. I woke up too late for a lift class I'd intended to go to, so I had a bagel and checked my email before getting ready for yoga. Then, as I was chewing the last bite of my bagel, I felt a wave of "oh god" stomach coming on. You know, where you sit in the bathroom for twenty minutes rocking back and forth, clutching your abdomen and wondering how it could have turned against you so quickly, and muttering "ohgodohgodohgod". So that pretty much killed any plans I had made for contorting myself in a public place. I went back to bed instead.

I got up for good at about 10, then piddled around playing video games, then finally thought of something constructive to do that wouldn't involve much effort at all: downloading avast! and scanning my hard drive.

My computer has been driving me insane because Lime Wire got infected with some sort of ailment that made it keep turning itself on all the time. Like I'd be playing Neverwinter Nights, all trying to put the mojo on some bad guy with my Quarterstaff of Amazingness +3, and Lime Wire would just invite himself over to the party.

To top it all off, my hard drive is as full as my intestines felt this morning. I think I have something like 4% free--not even enough to defragment and get things moving a little faster. The last time this happened I had some kind of virus that kept downloading all sorts of crazy sh*t until it took up all my memory.

Anyway, lucky for me I just found two: Win32 VB-IE (a worm) and Win32 Rbot-Bel (a trojan). My valiant contribution to their demise was just selecting to delete the infected files. I felt like the conquering hero returned from saving the town from a nest of rabid ogres by throwing rocks at them to scare them away. Although from what I read later, the Lime-Wire-Spontaneous-Launching worm is one that can be hard to get rid of, so I felt a little better about it.

That, and Lime Wire is still asleep where I left it. Today is a day of little victories.