Thursday, October 28, 2010

Denver's Adventures

I've been in Denver this whole week at the Tribal Energy Program Revue.  I sit in a room all day and listen to what people are doing to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency with the money provided to them by the Tribal Energy Program.  I am learning a whole lot, and doing a little networking, surprise surprise.

I met some weatherization trainers, which is what I was hear to learn mostly about.  They took me out to dinner and got really excited about a possible project with my work and tried to sell me (subtly) their company.  I was a little wary b/c I really have no idea what I'm doing and I never really trust people looking for money.  Even though that's basically everyone.  Here's the ironic part...the guy who runs the company lives in or near Fremont.  He knows and is related in a weird way to the Duers, as everyone is in Fremont.  He camps out at the Hardy Damn every weekend.  So we were able to relate very well in that we both understood our backgrounds and general lack of professionalism.  I also realized that there are Fremont people everywhere.  How can that be?

I went out two nights ago with Jonny Knapp my friend from college.  He's always an adventure.  Always.  His car was in the shop, so I took a taxi, alone, to downtown (yeah, my hotel is out in the middle of no where) and met him there for dinner.  He had already made friends with people from Michigan.  Then his other friend from MI showed up, and we went to another bar.  This one was very small and sort of 50's themed and there was great live Jazz music.  On my way to the bathroom, I stopped by the singer and danced to the song.  When it ended I went to the bathroom.  She was so impressed that I danced before I peed, that she bought me a shot.

Oh side note.  I went to the bathroom at the first bar too, and there was this guy talking to the waitress outside the bathroom door.  I had to ask him to move, and he was all "Go do your thing!" While I was "doing my thing" someone tried to get into the bathroom (unisex), and when I left, it was that guy that saw me go in there!?!?  And while at the Jazz bar while I was "doing my thing" and the jazz lady was talking to the whole bar (10 people tops) about how I was peeing, someone tried to get in!  Really?  Twice in a row?  I'm telling you, these Denver people are something different.  I won't even get into all the weird and super random conversations I've had with strangers so far.

So, in the Jazz bar, Jon makes friends with this boy who introduced himself as Tiger.  Tiger is 20 yrs old.  He moved to Denver in August and 2.5 weeks ago his girlfriend broke up with him.  Now he is staying in a hotel and living out of his car.  But that was great because he wasn't drinking and offered to drive Jon and I around.  We went to Jon's friend from MI apartment for a few minutes to collect his brother, then we walked to the Thin Man bar....there were hundreds of Jesus pictures in there looking down at you drink.  It made me happy, but I think it freaked Tiger out a little.  He's out there "learning about life" instead of going to college.  Basically he's doing something I was never brave enough to do.  He asked me all kinds of questions like what it's like to be married as apposed to single, and what it's like having a real job, and how have things changed for me now that I am older.  Yeah, to him I was OLD. :)  I still get carded though!  He also asked me how I managed and what it was like when my parents stopped paying for things for me.  I think it surprised him and shocked him a little when I told him they haven't paid for things for me since I moved out.  Which is slightly untrue, my parents would help out here and there in the beginning of college before the other siblings needed help out too.  But nothing like paying a car repair bill or cell phone bill or anything...just maybe car insurance once in a while.  Tiger's question about parents paying for things made me think that his parents are probably helping him out a little here or are threatening to cut him off if he doesn't move home.  He's probably got a pretty good parent safety net going, so I thought it would be good for him to see that not everyone has that.  Then, this was the dangerous part, I let him drive me back to the hotel.  But is that more dangerous than taking the bus for 1 hr, if it was even still running that late at night, or more dangerous than a taxi alone?  At least I knew I could probably beat Tiger up.  Heh, he was just a very young boy trying to figure things out.  It makes me happy to be this old now.

So those are my adventures so far.  It's not living out of a car or anything, but I'm a hell of a lot more comfortable. 

That's a lie, I've got a sleep number bed at the hotel and I hate it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Emerald Ash Borer

In 2002 an ex-boyfriend and I were trying to get into Canada to go camping and see a Shakespeare play in Stratford.  Because he was half mexican, we got search at the border, in immigrations.  The mounties took all of our fire wood we were transporting with us.  (Side note:  I almost got arrested for having drugs because they thought my mom's 2 yr old baggie of venison jerky was pot.)  Everyone there was mean. 

Then in college, Elliot, and other people around, had bumper stickers that said "Don't move my fire wood, it BUGS me!"  I didn't know what it meant, and that bugged me.  My mom, or someone, told me that it's to prevent the movement of invasive species (bugs).

Through the years I've been aware of different bugs, fungi, and sicknesses that are killing different trees in our forest.

Once I moved to my new place in Nashville with a fireplace, I asked my parents to bring me firewood so I would have to purchase it.  They would not b/c they were not going to move firewood across state lines.

All this to tell you that Emerald Ash Borer (and other invasive species) outreach is working!  I told that to the speakers we had last week at my work's Annual Meeting, and they were happy to hear it.  I was excited to see how their outreach and work has affected me and changed me through my life.  Pretty neat to think about really.  The speakers talked to the Natural Resources Committee about what the Emerald Ash Borer looked like, what it did, what they were doing to stop it, and the best way to stop it from spreading...stop the movement of firewood by humans.

Below is a paragraph stated far better than I could from the above linked website:

"Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is an exotic beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. It probably arrived in the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia. Because ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) in North America have no immunity to the insect, EAB has the potential to wipe out more than 700 million ash trees in Michigan. Since 2002, it has killed more than 30 million ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone. State and federal agencies in Michigan, and researchers in Michigan universities, are working to stop EAB from spreading. This includes the initiation of quarantines to stop the movement of infested ash wood and wood products, research to understand the pest's life cycle and what methods and strategies can control or eradicate it and development of educational and informational materials to help communities detect and deal with EAB infestations."

I was able to get one of those bumper stickers for my truck that was magnetic, so I don't have to worry about sticking it to it.  I also received a key chain with an actual Emerald Ash Borer beetle in it!

Now, why is this interesting enough to write about?  Well, doesn't it speak for itself...who wouldn't find this interesting?!  

Well, there is another reason beside pure deliverance of was mentioned on my favorite tv shows last week (but I didn't watch until last night), Bones.  Bones is a murder mystery drama show that is lighthearted. The entomologist (Bug Scientist) on the show located the murder site by finding "the Emerald Ash Borer, a rare bug only found in parts of high elevations of Virginia" on the body.  RARE BUG!?!?!  I am outraged!!! Outraged!!  I heard that and I grabbed Josh by the collar and shook him, yelling that they're wrong.  How can Bones let me down like that?  It's like they weren't even trying!  The least they could do is make up a bug name, like they did on Avatar and The Core with Unobtainium...not a real mineral, but didn't ruin things for me.  Not like this.  The government is paying good money to get rid of this bug and my favorite tv show is doing nothing to help!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Work Work Work

Work is hard this week and last week.  We are preparing for the Annual Meeting and things are getting busy.  I spent all day learning Corel...which I think is better than illustrator/photoshop, but I don't really know.  I am having a real issue getting the graphics to remain clear and not pixallated.  Pixallated is a word I don't know how to spell and neither does word. :/  Failings of modern society really.

Soon (as in directly after posting this) I will be working on making figures pretty for a paper Calvin is having me help write to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.  The paper is on part of my Thesis Research, the sphene part.  And really, the coolest and most interesting part.  Basically, I am showing at what temps sphene forms in a cooling magma body underground and which Rare Elements it sucks up so that other minerals can't use them.  In the future geologists can use this data and findings to estimate magma temps and composition just based on the presence of sphene or not.  I promise you it's awesome.

Another good thing is that Josh found all my thesis research on his thumb drive the other day!  I didn't really know where it was, and this way I didn't have to look for it.  Poor Josh was unable to use his thumb drive though.

Ackbar Fun Fact:  While Josh is sleeping, Ackbar will clean him.  While I am sleeping, Ackbar will nibble on all of my exposed bits (toes, elbow, calf, etc.)  No cleaning for me!