August 16th, 2007

We're good. Yes we are.

Thor's Day

My everything hurts. I've been at a consistent 7-8 on the pain scale this entire trip.

Seriously. Am on the verge of calling my doctor.

Thank you!
...for the LJ v-gift, Anonymous!

My sister's fuckwit fiance has not gone to work all week. I begin to understand why they moved back in here. They can lounge around watching reality TV all day and night, get free meals...

And - there are too many people in this house. It is not a *small* house. But when it contains 1 shrewish mother, 1 befuddled father, 2 lazy brain-dead trolls (they're made for each other!), 1 exasperated near-teenager, and 1 'song who really just wants everyone to shut the fuck up so she can take a nap, it can feel a bit overfull.

And Elayna is the only person in the house who understands "Hang on, I'm writing" or "Just a minute, I'm editing this." She will nod and sit nearby and wait semi-patiently. My parents keep yapping.

*sigh* Just two and a half more days.

...and have just had a minor meltdown when Mom told me to be ready to go when we got back."Go where? I'm not going anywhere. I need to rest."

Talking Jareth!
This fall, NECA will release another variation of the lord of the Labyrinth - and this time he talks! Jareth is getting the grand treatment with an extra large 12-inch collectible talking action figure. Jareth will come with a crystal ball accessory and an alternate hand (so you can switch his pose between an open hand or a closed fist). The talking figure says seven phrases from the classic fantasy film.</i>

* "Go back to your room, play with your toys and your costumes."
* "I've brought you a gift. It's a crystal, nothing more. But if you turn it this way and look into it, it will show you your dreams."
* "But this is not a gift for an ordinary girl."
* "Do you want it?"
* "Don't defy me."
* "You have thirteen hours in which to solve the Labyrinth."
* "It's further than you think. Time is short."

This is what I want for $WINTERHOLIDAY. Adam, are you taking notes? Talking Jareth.

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Link Soup: Archaeology Edition
* The remains of a massive Neolithic settlement dating back more than 5,000 years have been discovered in Orkney. Archaeologists said the discovery could be as significant as the famous prehistoric village at Skara Brae, which was unearthed in 1850.

* The great medieval temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia was once at the centre of a sprawling urban settlement, according to a new, detailed map of the area. Using Nasa satellites, an international team have discovered at least 74 new temples and complex irrigation systems.

Daily Science
Spaaaace dust! Actually, this is really exciting stuff... I encourage you to read these in full.

The Times says: Scientists have discovered that inorganic material can take on the characteristics of living organisms in space, a development that could transform views of alien life. An international panel from the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck institute in Germany and the University of Sydney found that galactic dust could form spontaneously into helixes and double helixes and that the inorganic creations had memory and the power to reproduce themselves. A similar rethinking of prospective alien life is being undertaken by the National Research Council, an advisory body to the US government. It says Nasa should start a search for what it describes as “weird life” - organisms that lack DNA or other molecules found in life on Earth.

EurekAlert says: Quite bizarrely, not only do these helical strands interact in a counterintuitive way in which like can attract like, but they also undergo changes that are normally associated with biological molecules, such as DNA and proteins, say the researchers. They can, for instance, divide, or bifurcate, to form two copies of the original structure. These new structures can also interact to induce changes in their neighbours and they can even evolve into yet more structures as less stable ones break down, leaving behind only the fittest structures in the plasma. So, could helical clusters formed from interstellar dust be somehow alive? "These complex, self-organized plasma structures exhibit all the necessary properties to qualify them as candidates for inorganic living matter," says Tsytovich, "they are autonomous, they reproduce and they evolve". He adds that the plasma conditions needed to form these helical structures are common in outer space. However, plasmas can also form under more down to earth conditions such as the point of a lightning strike. The researchers hint that perhaps an inorganic form of life emerged on the primordial earth, which then acted as the template for the more familiar organic molecules we know today.
  • Current Music
    Tori Amos - Secret Spell (Santa)
Elayna 2006

Picture of the Day

Elayna and Onyx!

First the negative, then the positive... Miami Seaquarium should be ashamed of itself. The whole place is run-down and crappy. They don't have *much*, and what they do have is often obscured by murky water. This is Miami. The ocean is right there. And you're supposed to be a world-class city. This is a third-world aquarium. So yeah. Pounding heat, poor organization, peeling paint; an aquarium that, to borrow mangosteen's turn of phrase, "time forgot, but entropy didn't."

Contrast this to entering the dolphin area. "This is a new building!" we were perkily informed numerous times. To which I say yeah, no shit. It's spacious and well-lit. It was honestly a mild shock going back and forth from the dolphin area to the rest of the Seaquarium.

Okay. Swimming with the dolphins. :) We received official Miami Seaquarium wetsuits and waddled out to orientation, where we learned very little that Elayna hadn't already known - but she has written papers on dolphin sociology. So. She was able to answer most of the trainer's questions, much to the delight of the trainer - and of everyone else, as she was clearly the youngest participant (there were two mid-teenage boys). She became the darling of a Dutch family in our group... there was, once we got dolphin exposure, a lot of "Let Elayna go first!" and "Oh, oh, let Elayna through!" (The patriarch of said family occasionally forgot that there was a shy little girl there - he was forcibly reminded by his daughters.)

Followed the trainers into the water... and met our dolphins. :) We worked primarily with Onyx and Echo, but also got to see Noel and Bimini after the "ride". We did pictures first - they have a set of poses. Kiss the dolphin, shake hands with the dolphin, hug the dolphin, okay, next! After they finished pictures, it was a lot of silly dolphin tricks - they made seagull sounds, they splashed us - and some trainer-tricks, having us tell the dolphins to do various sorts of flips via hand gestures. We got to rub and pet the dolphins. Elayna learned some new things about dolphin musculature.

And the ride!

The Dutch girls insisted that Elayna go first. She did the eyes-wide "Me? First?!?" thing, but had no time to object, as the trainer was already positioning her, and Onyx zipped alongside her, and like a natural, she let the dorsal fin slide into her hand and pull her along. :)

She was absolutely elated. Me too - that was fun. Fast, but fun. I managed a wave to the camera, but otherwise - just concentrated on the dolphin, lean and smooth and merry and strong.

We got to play with the dolphins some more after the ride - playing catch, rubbing their bellies. And then we emerged into the decrepit Seaquarium, blinking in the harsh light.

We want to do this again. :) At a better place - we'll save up for Discovery Cove or Pennekamp State Park next year.
  • Current Music
    Tori Amos - Secret Spell (Santa)
  • Tags
Capri - color

Life with feste_sylvain and 'song

feste_sylvain, in G-chat, after I sent him Great Big Sea's "Can't Stop Falling":

But... but...
I was expecting to fall for you!
Just not as fast as it happened.
You radiate wit. You are charming from a distance.
One tilt of your head, and I have to fold dimensions to enter your world.
One simple rejoinder, and I knew I had to fence with your words.
I knew. I knew right away.
But because I was still wrapped up in introversion, I had no tools.
No, not true.
I had the tools. I used what I had left.
And you ripped my head open.
You fixed me.

...I am perpetually amazed and charmed, these days.