brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
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brdgt: (Happy Dance by queen_hermione)
The Process: I decided to take on the Modern Library Top 100 Novel list in 2000 when I read Ulysses and saw it was number one on the list. I love a good challenge. I could cross a handful of books off right away, having read them in high school (your Grapes of Wrath and 1984s), and then I treated the list as my fall back - whenever I wasn’t sure what to read, I would pick something on the list that seemed interesting at the time and was available at the public library.

When I got to around 50 left I realized I should probably have a strategy so I wasn’t left with all Faulkner and Hemingway at the end (these are my least favorite authors on the list). So then I started to try to move between shorter and longer lengths, higher and lower on the list, and authors I knew I’d like vs authors I knew I didn’t like. I’m a fan of audio books, so I definitely relied on that for multi-volume entries (A Dance to the Music of Time is counted at one entry on the list, but is 12 separate books, for example). When I had ten left, I decided that Finnegans Wake would be the final book, as a fitting bookend to Ulysses starting the journey.

The Takeaways: One of the primary reasons I tackled the list was cultural competency. These are certainly NOT the top 100 best novels written in the English language in the twentieth century, but they do represent a certain canon and historical record of what many have agreed over time to be important. On this point, I felt the list was worth it. There were books that were everything they promised to be (Ulysses, Lolita), there were books I didn’t necessarily enjoy but understood their importance (the U.S.A trilogy, Finnegans Wake), and there were dozens of moments of “oh, that’s where that reference comes from!” (perhaps my favorite of these being from E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End: “Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.”). There were also books I hated and wanted to throw across the room, but I know others love (Under the Volcano, Scoop, The Ginger Man).

I also saw patterns to what we, as a society, have decided are important themes in literature (at least at certain times). For example, Chicago appeared much more often as the epitome of the American experience earlier in the twentieth century than New York City (Native Son, Sister Carrie, The Adventures of Augie March). There is also a very large strain of nostalgia for class based, colonial society (Brideshead Revisisted, The Ambassadors, The Good Soldier). Non English or American settings are, for better (The Bridge of San Luis Rey) or worse (The Sheltering Sky), portrayed as colonies, not as independent locations. Related and dependent on that strain is the valorization of white male existential dread, primarily through the lens of alcoholism (Under the Volcano, The Sun Also Rises, Tropic of Cancer). Female authors (and main characters) are extremely lacking, but always gems (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Sister Carrie). Humor is rare, but similarly, excellent (Henderson the Rain King, Catch-22). I was surprised that actual combat was rare (The Naked and the Dead, From Here to Eternity) but the effects of combat are pervasive (Parade’s End, Sophie’s Choice).

My Recommendations: I’m not going to include in this list seminal authors that people love or hate. In my case, I’m a huge fan of James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence, despise Hemingway and Faulkner, and am mixed on Conrad and Dreiser. These authors appear the most on the list and most of their books you have had someone recommend to you, so I’m not going to tell you to read Sons and Lovers or A Farewell to Arms. I’m also not going to recommend books I would be shocked if you got out of high school and college unscathed from (Heart of Darkness, The Great Gatsby). These are the top ten books that I loved, but would have never read but for this list (the order is just as they appear on the list, not my ordering):
 1. The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler - a biting and sarcastic critique of Victorian society. If you have a dysfunctional family you will be highlighting many quotes in this book. Another one of my favorite stories about a family on the list is The Old Wive’s Tale, focused on two sisters whose live go in drastically different directions.

2. Henderson the Rain King
by Saul Bellow - by far the most hilarious book on the list. Imagine The Dude from The Big Lebowski as a main character in a colonial farce. If you’re looking for more humor Portnoy’s Complaint is a solid (if more offensive) runner up (and Philip Roth passed away this year).

3. Winesburg, Ohio
by Sherwood Anderson - one of the more insidiously dark works on the list, this is a collection of connected short stories depicting the darker sides of small town American life. If you are a fan of David Mitchell’s narrative style, you will enjoy this. If you need a humorous chaser, The Wapshot Chronicle delivers a lighter critique of traditional mores.

4. Sister Carrie
by Theodore Dreiser - a rare example of a genuine and endearing female main character on the list. It subverts many common themes related to female characters in literature at the time. Carrie is a character you can root for. A runner up in relatable female characters is the main character of The Death of the Heart, a timeless story of teenage angst.

5. Deliverance
by James Dickey - you’ve probably seen the movie, but the novel is the best example of poetic prose on the list. Combine it with Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose for a comprehensive and grand portrait of vanishing American landscapes.

6. The Secret Agent
by Joseph Conrad - I’m going to cheat and put Conrad on here, mostly because you probably haven’t heard of this one and it is my favorite by him. It’s an efficient but complex story that is still relevant to today’s “security theater” world. For another timeless take on the dark side of the “war on terror,” Darkness at Noon is pretty terrifying (and, notably, the only book not originally written in the English language on the list, but allowed because the original manuscript has been lost and the English version is all that remained).

7. A High Wind in Jamaica
by Richard Hughes - when I read The Bell Jar I thought to myself “I should have read this in high school instead of The Catcher in the Rye!” and when I read this I thought “I should have read this in high school instead of Lord of the Flies!” Imagine Lord of the Flies (but written before that more popular book) on the high seas, with a female protagonist, and even more shocking take-aways about human nature. Combine it with Wide Sargasso Sea for a female-focused perspective on colonialism (and also an excellent film).

8. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
by Muriel Spark - short, extremely witty, and timeless. This is probably the book I recommend the most to people from this list (to add another enticement - the film adaptation stars Maggie Smith). Combine it with I, Claudius for peak witty banter.

9. Ironweed
by William Kennedy - I admit to a bias here, as the novel is set in Albany, but I resisted reading it for that very reason. That was stupid. Out of all of the many books about alcoholism on the list, this is by far the best. Also, if you are a fan of magical realism, you will see some precursors in this highly original novel. For a more lovable drunk, Under the Net is a “fun” option.

10. The Magus by John Fowles - this is the trippiest book I have ever read. If you like Cronenberg films, Hesse’s Steppenwolf, and Twin Peaks, you will love this book. It gets so inside your head, you don’t know if you aren’t losing it a little by the end. I think the only book that made me more uncomfortable on the list was Native Son.


Nov. 2nd, 2018 02:14 pm
brdgt: (Default)
Harrisville has become my favorite vendor at Rhinebeck. Every year they have limited edition patterns that I drool over. The sweater I'm just finishing is from them and I picked up this pattern this year. It's pretty basic, but I've never done grafting like this before, so I'll learn something new too. I'm going to go with cheaper yarn this year though - what do ya'll think for a color? I'm almost inclined to go basic heather grey? Maybe something from KnitPicks? Other than DK weight, I'm open to anything.

brdgt: (Default)
Made the move over to Dreamwidth - didn't want to, but most journals I read already did and I know how people disappear once they do. Same name over there. This is a test to make sure the cross posting feature works...


Oct. 13th, 2014 02:38 pm
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
The Move: We've booked a moving truck (even with gas for the truck and the car this was still the cheapest option and at least we'll have our stuff right away), are about to sign a lease on a 3 bedroom apartment in Albany (wood floors, pantry, dishwasher, front porch, built ins, good neighborhood, previous tenant was there 9 years), and have started packing things up here.

Work: Sent my latest chapter off to my advisor and it was returned with reasonable edits (I'm very happy with this one, it's a turning point in the dissertation's argument) and my boss is very sad to see me go at Ancestry. One of the things I've enjoyed about that job is the performance monitoring they do - you can check your productivity daily and compare it to your squad, team, shift, and other shifts. Unlike grad school, which leaves you constantly wondering how you are doing, I know that I am one of their top performing workers (images per hour, QC disagreements, amount of time actively working in programs), even after only 90 days on the job.

Utah: Last weekend we went down to Arches again and did a backcountry trip in Canyonlands. Nick's old roommate had flown out to go with us and it was a little bit of an adjustment for him to do desert hiking (no peak to conquer or even trail to stick to - just explore!) but I think he ended up really enjoying it and appreciating nature more than he usually does camping. (It was also sort of funny to realize I am now in better shape than Jason, when he kept trailing behind us. Back in Yellowstone a few years back I was always the last person up the hill)

Jason imitating Edward Abbey:

Taking our packs off for a few minutes - about to descend into the Canyonlands - our destination is that bend in the river behind us, about a 21 miles round trip. It was nice to have a third person around to take photos of the two of us!

The descent mostly occurred here, at this rock slide (looking back up it). We descended 995' in .95 miles over dozens of switchbacks. Gorgeous views.

Looking back at where we had descended.

Taking a break on the way back up, with a view of Airport Tower and our hiking buddy. <3 Utah.
brdgt: (Audrey Reading by iconomicon)
I started this post in 2005 to keep track of this life goal I have to read all of the Modern Library Top 100 Novels (yes, I know all the critiques of it, I'm not doing it because I agree they are the best 100 novels of the English language in the 20th century, but because it is a fun goal and provides a certain cultural and intellectual literacy that I have already benefited from). My Ancestry job has made it easier to listen to audiobooks and get back on track with the list, so I updated it and redated this post...

Thus far: 79/100

1. ULYSSES by James Joyce (2000)
2. THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald (high school)
3. A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN by James Joyce (November 2005)
4. LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov (2004)
5. BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley (high school)
6. THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner (August 2009)
7. CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller (October 2009)
8. DARKNESS AT NOON by Arthur Koestler (August 2009)
9. SONS AND LOVERS by D.H. Lawrence (high school)
10. THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck (high school)
11. UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry (August 2014)
12. THE WAY OF ALL FLESH by Samuel Butler (March 2015
13. 1984 by George Orwell (high school)
14. I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves (September 2014)
15. TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf (July 2009)
16. AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Theodore Dreiser (December 2016)
17. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers (August 2005)
18. SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut (high school)
19. INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison (August 2014)
20. NATIVE SON by Richard Wright (September 2014)

Modern Library Top 100 Novels )
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
On Sunday we woke up before dawn to drive down to Mount Timpanogos, the second highest peak in the Wasatch mountains (11,752'). We saw moose, a ptarmigan, mountain goats, pika, and llamas! It was a long day and my legs and feet were sore the next day, but, despite the elevation, it wasn't nearly as hard as Olympus or Pfeifferhorn.

The hike starts overlooking meadows, but you start to go up a "Grand Staircase" of plateaus. The autumnal colors were hard to capture, but really beautiful, as were the shadows the clouds made on the landscape all day.


After climbing the "staricase" you reach the "basin." That is Timpanogos behind us. You ascend to the saddle on the right and then allong the back of the ridge, through a narrow pass in the first rise, then across the ridge to the last steep ascent.


This is just after leaving the saddle, you can see the trail on the lower left. It was scary, but not as scary as it could be - at least it wasn't a straight drop off?


Looking up toward the summit. There is a little hut at the top.


Looking down from the summit on the Timpanogos glacier and Emerald Lake. Some people continue along the ridgeline and slide or ski down the glacier (when there is more snow). They are crazy people.


We had a friend.


On the way back down. We had plenty of time so we decided to check out Emerald Lake.


Mountain Goats at Emerald Lake. They were introduced and have thrived up here.


Sadly, there is not much left of the Timpanogos Glacier...


On the way back we tried to find the 1955 wreckage of a B-25 bomber, but only found the best restroom view on earth.


We got back to the trailhead at 7:30pm, after 12 hours of hiking, close to 20 miles, and over 4,000' elevation gain. It was probably the most scenic hike we've done here, especially the variety of scenery over the course of the hike. This was also our highest peak yet and the altitude sickness wasn't nearly as bad as I've had at lower elevations, so I think I'm finally adjusting - just in time for a trip to King's Peak (13,528') this weekend with our neighbors! It's the highest peak in Utah, and, alledgedly the hardest non-technical state high point in the United States. 
brdgt: (Pollen death balls by iconomicon)
How a Weed, Once a Prehistoric Cavity Fighter
By RANJODH SINGH, The New York Times, August 18, 2014

Cyperus rotundus, commonly known as purple nutsedge or nutgrass, is considered one of the world’s worst invasive weeds. But new research suggests that prehistoric humans in what is now central Sudan may have gotten an unusual benefit from it.

Stephen Buckley, an archaeological chemist from the University of York in England, analyzed dental calculus — a form of hardened plaque — in fossilized teeth from people who lived thousands of years ago, in the pre-Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Meroitic periods.

In a paper published in the journal PLOS One, Dr. Buckley and his colleagues report that the teeth had remarkably few cavities and high levels of the chemical compounds found in purple nutsedge, suggesting that the plant may have protected against tooth decay.

Read more... )

Tuberculosis Is Newer Than Thought, Study Says
By CARL ZIMMER, The New York Times, August 20, 2014

New research indicates that some seal species carried tuberculosis across the Atlantic Ocean.

After a remarkable analysis of bacterial DNA from 1,000-year-old mummies, scientists have proposed a new hypothesis for how tuberculosis arose and spread around the world.

The disease originated less than 6,000 years ago in Africa, they say, and took a surprising route to reach the New World: It was carried across the Atlantic by seals.

The new study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, has already provoked strong reactions from other scientists.

“This is a landmark paper that challenges our previous ideas about the origins of tuberculosis,” said Terry Brown, a professor of biomolecular archaeology at the University of Manchester. “At the moment, I’m still in the astonished stage over this.”

But Helen Donoghue, an expert on ancient DNA at the University College London, rejected the idea that tuberculosis could have emerged so recently. “It just cannot be right,” she said, citing earlier fossil evidence of the disease.

Read more... )

Neanderthals in Europe Died Out Thousands of Years Sooner Than Some Thought, Study Says
By KENNETH CHANG, The New York Times, August 20, 2014

Neanderthals, our heavy-browed relatives, spread out across Europe and Asia about 200,000 years ago. But when did they die out, giving way to modern humans?

A new analysis of Neanderthal sites from Spain to Russia provides the most definitive answer yet: about 40,000 years ago, at least in Europe. That is thousands of years earlier than some scientists have suggested, and it narrows the period that Neanderthals and modern humans overlapped in Europe.

“After that, we don’t think there are any Neanderthals on the continent anymore,” said Thomas Higham, the deputy director of the radiocarbon accelerator unit at the University of Oxford in England.

On the other hand, the dating also argues against the view that modern humans overwhelmed the Neanderthals as soon they arrived in Europe. While modern humans and Neanderthals do not appear to have intermingled in the same locales, the findings suggest they co-existed in neighboring regions for up to several thousand years.

The findings, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, run counter to claims that pockets of Neanderthals persisted in Portugal, Spain and Gibraltar until just 30,000 years ago, even as modern humans spread outward.

Read more... )
brdgt: (Smiling by ABM)
I know everyone is different, but I really try to separate my different social media postings - LJ is for personal documentation, FB for sharing things with a larger group of friends, Tumblr for griping, Twitter for mostly professional usage, and Instagram for photos. I honestly wish there was an app that blocked something that someone crossposted across platforms if you've already seen it.

Yesterday I used the "list" function on Tweetdeck for "friends," "work," and "fun" and I can already tell I'm going to love it. I felt like a lot of friends posts were lost in the professional tweets and vice versa. I also want to be better about trying out new people to follow but keeping up on if they are worth continuing to follow, rather than just clogging up my feed with too much content and I think this will help.

I feel like I've finally found a good relationship with twitter, but it took a few years!
brdgt: (I Know by cannons_fan)



brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
On Sunday we hiked the Pfeifferhorn - a 11,326' peak in Little Cottonwood Canyon that several people had recommended to us. It would be our highest peak yet.

We got to the trailhead at 9:30 AM and saw mostly trail runners on the way up. The trail is very steep after the first few miles - 2,000' elevation gain in 3 miles.


The peak in the distance is the false peak we would have to summit before reaching the Pfeifferhorn.


We had lunch at Red Pine Lake, where we watched a fly fisherman catch several fish and asked around about the trail up to Pfeifferhorn but only succeeded in finding out that no one knew anything other than it wasn't marked.


Read more... )
brdgt: (Pollen death balls by iconomicon)

An artist's impression of Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, a newly discovered dinosaur from the Jurassic Period that had feathers. Credit

New Find Hints at More Feathered Dinosaurs
By SINDYA N. BHANOO, The New York Times, JULY 25, 2014

A new dinosaur species, one with feathers, has been discovered in Russia.
The finding could mean that feathers were more widespread among
dinosaurs than previously thought, the researchers say.

The dinosaur, described in the journal Science, was about five feet
long and belonged to a group of herbivorous, beaked dinosaurs known as

The first feathered dinosaur was discovered in China in 1996. A
number of others have been found since then, but those specimens were all
theropods, the suborder that includes Tyrannosaurus rex.

Read more... )

When the Caregivers Need Healing
By CATHERINE SAINT LOUIS, The New York Times, JULY 28, 2014

“This has happened before,” she tells herself. “It’s nowhere near as bad as
before, and it will pass.”

Robbie Pinter’s 21-year-old son, Nicholas, is upset again. He yells. He
obsesses about something that can’t be changed. Even good news may
throw him off.

So Dr. Pinter breathes deeply, as she was taught, focusing on each
intake and release. She talks herself through the crisis, reminding herself
that this is how Nicholas copes with his autism and bipolar disorder.

With these simple techniques, Dr. Pinter, who teaches English at
Belmont University in Nashville, blunts the stress of parenting a child with
severe developmental disabilities. Dr. Pinter, who said she descends from
“a long line of the most nervous women,” credits her mindfulness practice
with giving her the tools to cope with whatever might come her way. “It is
very powerful,” she said.

All parents endure stress, but studies show that parents of children
with developmental disabilities, like autism, experience depression and
anxiety far more often. Struggling to obtain crucial support services, the
financial strain of paying for various therapies, the relentless worry over
everything from wandering to the future — all of it can be overwhelming.

Read more... )

The Great Giant Flea Hunt
by: Carol Kaesuk Yoon, The New York Times, July 28, 2014

GIG HARBOR, Wash. — In the Pacific Northwest, we live among behemoths — snowcapped volcanoes, towering trees, great splashing salmon and lattes as big as a child’s head. Yet one of the region’s undeniably superlative titans has slipped beneath everyone’s radar.

The land of Bigfoot and Starbucks is also home to the world’s largest flea. The flea, Hystrichopsylla schefferi, is an awe-inspiring colossus that can reach nearly half an inch, its head alone the size of a cat or dog flea. Until last month, however, there existed not a single confirmed photograph of a live member of the species.

Read more... )
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
We had a wonderful time up in Glacier, getting in a three day, two night backcountry trip on the far northeast corner of the park.

Sometimes 20 hours of driving through the night are worth 72 hours of glacial lakes, thundering waterfalls, friendly foxes, and jagged peaks.




brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
Dissertation: Trying to finish a draft of this rheumatic fever chapter by the Fourth of July. Not sure if I'll make it, but I'm enjoying writing it and getting in a good productivity groove around it. It makes me hopeful for finishing the whole dissertation this fall. I can write a chapter a month, I really can. The chapter combines some old favorites (The Welfare State!) with some topics that I'm discovering are very understudied and would be great material for future articles (especially the history of convalescent homes and the field of occupational therapy). I also have some meta thoughts in my head right now about the privileging of fiction writing over non-fiction writing....

Finances: I have an interview with next week for a part time historical digital specialist, so send some "good luck" my way. I have about one hundred dollars to my name, although some careful planning from earlier this year means I can survive a little longer (combined with Nick's salary), but I need something soon, especially with fall tuition coming due in September. Chatting with a fellow historian girlfriend of mine about the realities of this job market, the two-body problem, quality of life, and altered expectations cheered me up some. We both struggle but also count our blessings that we are with our partners, live in a part of the country we like, and can practice our profession even if it's not the way we expected to. I struggle with the bitterness sometimes, but playing the victim about the status of academia right now is naive and disingenuous - there are lots of things I could have and can do, while still seeing being righteously angry about the status of our profession.

I mean, apparently, we live in the least stressful city in the United States!

Fun: We got out to a minor league baseball game on Monday, which was really fun.


We have two apricot trees in the back yard (one hanging over the fence from the neighbor that is ripe now and the one just outside my window that will be ripe soon) so I am looking into canning, drying, and fermenting them. The first two I've done before but I've only ever made kombucha, so it will be a fun new endeavour to try making mead. I need a few supplies (a carboy and an airlock) but I can get the books from the library and have a perfect home set up for it (our wine cellar has seen more use from aging beer and kombucha than wine...).


We are planning a trip to Glacier National Park over the holiday weekend. It's a ten hour drive, which we'll probably do overnight. It's Nick's favorite park and he's been there twice - once car camping and once backpacking. The Glacier NPS website is ridiculously helpful - they have trail updates, historical fill times of campgrounds, and daily updates on plowing (the main road through the park is still impassable due to snow - welcome to the Rockies!). We will consult with rangers when we get there about what we can access and have equipment for (we aren't as hardcore as ice picks and crampons... yet), but the Three Passes hike looks perfect.

Big Drift, 6-25-2014
brdgt: (Creationist by iconomicon)
A Sunken Kingdom Re-emerges
By Katrin Bennhold, The New York Times, June 23, 2014

BORTH, WALES — There is a poem children in Wales learn about the sunken kingdom of Cantre’r Gwaelod, swallowed by the sea and drowned forever after. On a quiet night, legend has it, one can hear the kingdom’s church bells ringing.

When the sea swallowed part of Britain’s western coastline this year and then spat it out again, leaving homes and livelihoods destroyed but also a dense forest of prehistoric tree stumps more exposed than ever, it was as if one had caught a faint glimpse of that Welsh Atlantis.

The submerged forest of Borth is not new. First flooded some 5,000 years ago by rising sea levels after the last ice age, it has been there as long as locals remember, coming and going with the tides and occasionally disappearing under the sand for years on end. But the floods and storms that battered Britain earlier this year radically changed the way archaeologists interpret the landscape: A quarter-mile-long saltwater channel cutting through the trees, revealed by erosion for the first time, provided a trove of clues to where human life may have been concentrated and where its traces may yet be found.

Ancient animal footprints on a beach near Borth, Wales. Archaeologists have had to race against time to study and preserve such remains before the sea further eroded them.

“We used to think of this as just as an impenetrable forest — actually this was a complex human environment,” said Martin Bates, a geoarchaeologist at the University of Wales Trinity St. David, who oversees the excavation work in Borth on a beach he played on as a toddler. “The floods have opened our eyes as to what’s really out there.”

Read more... )

Searching for Answers in Very Old DNA
By Caludia Dreifus, The New York Times, June 23, 2014

As he puts it in the subtitle of his memoir, “Neanderthal Man,” Svante Paabo goes in search of lost genomes. Dr. Paabo, a 59-year-old Swede who leads his own laboratory at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, was the first to extract and sequence the genomes of the ancient humans called Neanderthals and Denisovans, and to compare them with those of modern humans. Genes, and the stories they tell, are texts he reads.

We recently spoke for three hours in Washington, and later on the telephone. Here is an edited and condensed version of our conversation.


A. I wouldn’t say so. When I was 13, my mother took me to Egypt. That made a big impression; afterward I thought I might become an Egyptian archaeologist. I had a very romantic idea what that would be
like: discovering mummies and pyramids and things like that. I even started studying Egyptology at the university. But there, my romantic ideas caught up with reality. In the 1970s, Swedish Egyptology was very linguistically oriented. It was about ancient word forms and translating hieroglyphics. I couldn’t imagine spending my life with it.


A. In the late 1970s, while I was doing my medical studies [at Uppsala University in Sweden], these new techniques for studying DNA wereintroduced — cloning, sequencing. I was amazed by them and learned how to do them.
And that brought me to thinking again about Egyptian antiquities. I knew that there are hundreds of mummies stored in museums across Europe. Mummies, after all, are the dried-out bodies of dead people or animals. I wondered if in some, their DNA might still be preserved. If it was present, we could study it just as we study the DNA of people alive today.
My thought was, “If we could do this, we can answer many questions in history that we cannot otherwise answer.”

Read more... )
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
Now that the snow is off of the >10,000 ft. peaks we are enjoying bagging one a weekend that have been on our list for a while. This past weekend was Mount Olympus (9,026 ft.) - strenuous 7.6 mile roundtrip with over 4,000 feet of elevation gain. This meant a constant and grueling uphill grade, often 30%.


Honestly, this trail is about the destination and not the journey - the trail didn't have much of a view (mostly of SLC itself) and despite the elevation you could hear traffic from the freeway most of the way up.

The best part, by far, was the class 3 scrambling for the last 600 ft. before the summit. Yes, that's the "trail" going straight up - it was just one hair shy of "too" scary - therefore, perfect.


At the summit the views were mostly of Twin (11,330 ft.) and Lone (11,253 ft.) peaks (behind us - Twin is the peak nearer on the left and Lone is in the distance - we'll be hiking those in July, after we do Pfeifferhorn (11,326 ft.), which is supposed to have great wildflowers this time of year).

I don't have a great camera, so I can't show you the proof, but we also saw a mother mountain goat and her baby on the lower peak to the North - I swear I see more charismatic fauna within SLC city limits than I do in the National Parks!


Since we had tickets for a Lions game that night we needed to hustle down the mountain, so we ended up ascending it in 3.5 hours and descending in 1.5 hours. My quads are STILL killing me - not just sore or sore when I do something, but burning even when I sit down. Still, that didn't keep me from a five mile run yesterday and cardio class today.

Back to the rheumatic fever chapter... and a sort of last minute idea of ours to head up to Glacier National Park for the Fourth of July weekend to give me something to plan when I need to cheering up :)
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
When we drove back to Wisconsin last summer, after apartment hunting, we briefly stopped at Dinosaur National Monument and knew we had to go back - so that's what I asked for for my birthday :)

We left Thursday night and spent the first night at a campground near the Visitor Center - convenient to get started the next day. Sadly, the park rangers were not as useful with back country advice as we've experienced in the past, but we were able to put together a nice weekend, including several hikes, an amazing drive, and the best backcountry site you could ask for.

Seriously, when people say Zion is their favorite Utah national park I am starting to think they are oncrack.

The Mitten Park Fault - our view after we hiked out to a beach on the Green River:


Happy campers:


The view of the Mitten Park Fault and Steamboat Rock from 2,500 above. It's hard to tell, but the Yampa River (which you can see a little of in the center of the photo) is actually meeting the Green River (which you can see more clearly on the right side) behind Steamboat Rock, even though those rocks look continuous.


Lots of abandoned (and not abandoned) ranches:


Our campsite at Ruple Point. No complaining allowed:


Split Mountain dominates the center of the park. The Green River splits the mountain (which is the far eastern edge of the Uintas - the highest east-west mountain range in the lower 48) in half lengthwise - so, you can see how each side would match up with each other by matching the geologic layers.


Dinosaur National Monument is named for the massive Dinosaur quarry formed by a "log jam" of dinosaur bones that then fossilized and folded on it's side, preserving many specimens that are usually found flattened.

There are also many Fremont Petroglyphs.


This is the only place one can find Fremont lizard petroglyphs.


Seriously, if you want beautiful scenery, quiet, space, and variety I highly suggest this gem. We are already planning our next trip there to see the northern side of the Green River and explore some slot canyons.

brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
After a night in probably the worst motel room ever, we returned to Arches to hike into the Petrified Dunes and backcountry camp for the night. The website and guidebooks discourage backcountry camping in Arches - it is a small park with limited backcountry areas and requires a lot of water - but once we talked to actual rangers they had tons of suggestions and we were so glad we basically pack our full backcountry gear everytime we go camping, so we had everything we needed.

If you check out this map, our destination was pretty much exactly where the pin is. This is my GPS watch's record of our first day (the battery died halfway through the second day - dream REI purchase? Solar panel charger). You can see where we tried to climb out of the canyon and wandered all over :)

We entered the canyons with the plan of going up the third one and seeing if we could climb out of it to camp for the night (no trail, only rules were camp on rock more than 300 feet from arch, water, and archaeology sites). The canyon was actually quite lush, with lots of water crossings and signs of beavers.


About a mile in the canyon walls got much higher and we started taking breaks to scramble up them and explore.


We resisted the urge to soak our feet in the water.


Eventually we began to wonder how we were going to climb back out...


Looking back toward the main canyon, from about halfway up the canyon wall:


In our attempt to find our way up on top of the canyon we explored caves, shelves, and arches - did I mention there was no trail and not a sign of another human being - well except archaeologically speaking (we saw a campsite that was probably 200 years old)?


This was as close as we got to the top - Nick went exploring and decided we had a 95% chance of making it. We decided it wasn't worth the risk, since the fall was over 200 feet.


It helped that we had spotted a flat rock area at the bend in the canyon, so we knew we had an option for the night. Since we still had daylight - and we are completists - we went to the very end of the canyon and found an even better spot to camp. Desert camping - you may need to carry a lot of water (5 liters per person per day - heavy!), but no bears, bugs, or people? Heck, due to the canyon walls we were able to sleep in!


On the way back out we took a slight higher route, enjoying the Spring wildflowers.


26 hours later!


We had a few hours of daylight left so we checked out Double Arch.




And Delicate Arch.

brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
The weekend before I left for Chicago Nick and I went down to Arches and Canyonlands for the weekend. We left early on Friday hoping to get a first-come campsite, since everything in Moab is booked for ages, but after driving around for a few hours gave up. We booked a motel an hour away (did I mention there are only three towns between Provo and Moab - four and a half hours and three towns?) and spent the day at Arches doing "easy" hikes.

This trail had increasing difficulty - and boy did we take advantage of that...


Our first Arch!


La Sal Mountains.


After losing the trail in one direction, we doubled back to Landscape Arch:


Then attempted the trail in the other direction:


Basically making our trip 9 miles instead of 4.


But we saw lots of Arches :)

brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
1. Sadly, we had to reschedule our trip down to Arches and Canyonlands due to Nick's frisbee injury (cracked rib or torn muscle - just not getting better). Hiking would be fine, but sleeping on the hard ground might exacerbate it.

2. So instead, we are going to get some more work done (new chapter for me, second article for him) and take a break to see Jodorowsky's Dune at the local film society. Maybe a hike on Sunday out to one of the Great Salt Lake islands (Saturday is supposed to be rainy and gross).

3. I scored a great point in frisbee last night - diving catch of an upside down disc by the fingertips - best score of the game if I do say so myself :)

4. I think I might do some gardening today :)

5. I made a YouTube playlist of my half-marathon setlist:


brdgt: (Default)

December 2018



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