Thursday, July 31, 2008

You're Welcome


My mom contacts me to tell me that my sister, Naomi, and her band The Arbitrarys are in trouble. It was pretty much the same trouble that they were in a few days before: the transmission in their van went kaput in Merritt, and they needed another vehicle to get to their gigs. They had already borrowed a vehicle from our aunt Sandy and uncle Joe in order to go to Vancouver Island, but now they needed a new vehicle fortheir trip back north. That's where I came in. . .


I drive 730 kilometers from PG to Surrey in our Suburban, which I am to give to Naomi. I leave PG at about 10:30 and arrive at a quarter to seven. Excluding bathroom breaks, snack breaks, and lunch, that leaves roughly eight hours of actual driving time. Everyone at Sandy and Joe's is surprisingly impressed by how "fast" I got to Surrey-- I'm more impressed by the fact that I managed to do this trip on 80 litres of Diesel, about half a tank on the Suburban. It was not an especially fun drive. I was so concerned with getting to Surrey at a reasonable time that I couldn't really sit back and enjoy the view (I considered visiting Chasm, about fifty kilometers north of Clinton, but decided against it.) One thing that struck me, though, was the absence of snow caps on the mountains of the Fraser valley, something I've noticed in a mountains near PG as well. In all the years I've gone down that stretch of road, never have I seen the mountaintops so bare. Maybe there's something to this global warming thing. . . .

I arrived just in time to join the gang for dinner. My cousin George recounted how he flipped over his quad and broke his left arm, and injury that required him to have pieces of metal surgically inserted into his arm to keep the bones of his forearm in place. Apparently, this is only the latest in a series quad flipping accidents of which George has been a part. George. . . he's a character!

After dinner and conversation, me, Naomi, Josh and Robin took the Suburban on a drive to Vancouver. After visiting Stanley Park we went downtown, where we got Starbucks and ice cream. While I was waiting for everyone else, a charming older lady with a large bruise across the right side of her face asked if I would like to buy her a pint. Romance.

Owing to Naomi's shitty directions, we didn't get home until midnight. . .


Once we did, Sandy set up our beds for the night. I had been under the impression that I would be getting a guest room, but unfortunately, all that Sandy could manage was foamys and sleeping bags far too small for my frame. I realize Sandy was on very short notice and did her best with what she had, but that said, putting a blanket on the carpet would have done just as well as the foamy that I had been given. Of course, Naomi and Josh got the big inflatable thing. You know, they needed rest after their long day of driving a distance roughly equal to Germany.

Joe got up at five in the morning, and since I was sleeping in the living room next to the kitchen where Joe was preparing his breakfast, I did too. Sandy took me to the airport and by 10:00 in the morning I was home. Fifteen hundred kilometers in twenty-four hours.

So, yeah. You're welcome.

(Note: Naomi did thank me numerous times.)

(Also: A.J., I got you're comments, and replied to them in the same comment thread.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tycho Crater Imaged

Remember Selene/Kayuga, that probe Japan sent into lunar orbit? Well, using photographs and altitude measurements taken by the probe, scientists at the Japanese Space Agency have constructed a 3D map of the lunar crater Tycho.

Click here for a video. It's a big file, but it's worth it.

(Thanks Bad Astronomy)
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