Getting Back into the Groove of Things

Alright! So of course it’s been nearly a month since I last posted. Fear not, for I am still alive!I’ve been trying to keep up with school and stay afloat, after starting the semester off at a disadvantage thanks to gallivanting around far away lands for the first two weeks of the semester. So writing anything here has basically been at the bottom of my priority list.

Anyway, it’s nice to be back in the States, but I do miss New Zealand. Air New Zealand now has some crazy sale going on for another week where you can by a round trip ticket from San Francisco to New Zealand for $800… and they’ll throw in a free flight to Australia as well! Oh dear… how I want to take advantage of that! (Of course the offer is only valid for their winter months, but that might be an interesting time to go there)

As far as the rest of my life is going, there hasn’t been too much exciting going on other than school (which has taken up the majority of my time lately). Up until this last week, the weather had been absolutely beautiful and was a very nice thing to come back to. We even got to see some incredible sunsets from the house as well!

The Farallon Islands silouhetted off in the distance by the setting sun.

For our geologic mapping class, we went up to the Marin Headlands (north of San Francisco) yesterday and the previous Friday to begin some mapping exercises for our course. It’s quite hard to concentrate when you have this view behind you however…

San Francisco and the Golden Gate from the Marin Headlands

I’ve also been working on my senior thesis lately as well, which involves looking at diatoms from a place near Death Valley called the Tecopa Basin. It’s basically a paleontology thesis where I’m trying to determine a paleoenvironment for this area about one million years ago. I haven’t done the field work for it yet (since I was in New Zealand), but a professor brought some samples back from when he was in the area in January. So I’ve really just been in the lab for the most part processing the sediment. I’m supposed to do my field work out there (and collect more samples) around the beginning of April.

Some samples sitting in baths of hydrochloric acid. Fun! (It looks like urine… I know.)

Here is a pic Michelle snapped of me when she stopped by the lab and wondered what sort of ridiculous outfit I was wearing. Hah. I’m trying to follow in my father’s footsteps and be a mad scientist!

Lastly, to leave you with a picture comparing where I was to where I am now. Here is a pic we took in New Zealand one night while playing with a fellow student’s digital SLR (those were soooooooo nice). It’s the constellation Orion (upside down compared to what we’re used to).

Constellation Orion viewed from New Zealand (upside down!)

Orion as viewed from San Francisco. It’s flipped the other way, but hard to tell since there’s so much ambient light in the picture that washes out the stars.