Steelhead trout swimming in the hatchery
The lake formed by Camache Dam
Pardee Dam and the associated hydropower facility
The highlight of the weekend (and yes, I do mean highlight since the rest of the weekend was mainly spent working on homework), was a field trip to some facilities run by the East Bay Municipal Utilities District (commonly referred to as East Bay MUD). East Bay MUD supplies water for all of the East Bay area, so they need a lot of water. Hence, two large reservoirs on the Mokelumne River, Camache and Pardee Dams.
Since they built these two huge dams on the river, and the river is a salmon and steelhead trout habitat, East Bay MUD had to build a fish hatchery to mitigate the dam's effects. It seems to be working pretty well, with the returns from to the hatchery exceeded those found in nature. Maybe this will help take those fish off the endangered species list.
As we all know, I'm a nerd, so I think that looking at dams and hydropower facilities and fish hatercheries and learning how they operate is pretty cool. Doesn't hurt that I would love to work for East Bay MUD next year (fingers crossed!).
- see lots more pictures at flickr
Actually, it's close to 5am and I'm still up working on a crazy problem set for my Groundwater Flow class.
I thought I had escaped Matlab, but its back to haunt me big time in this class.
Sure, its totally wrong, but doesn't it look pretty?
OK, all the figures are printed out now, so I get a whopping 3 hours to hit the sack.
Have I mentioned recently that there are only two weeks left of class?
Sure enough, Sam comes to visit and it rains for three days straight. Then again, its been raining all week, but that doesn't mean I can't still be bummed.
However, there were periods where it wasn't too bad.
Friday afternoon, after dragging Sam around campus all afternoon, we took a beautiful drive up Page Mill into the Santa Cruz Mountains. I love being so close to nature! We stopped and took a hike in the Los Trancos Open Space Preseve. Sure it started raining half way through the hike, but we were in the woods so it wasn't too bad.
On Saturday, it wasn't raining much when we finished breakfast, so we decided it would be a great idea to go into San Francisco, get lunch at the Swan Oyster Depot, then head over to Chinatown for the New Years Festivities. Sure enough, it was raining pretty hard by the time we got into the city, so by the time we finished with our amazingly yummy lunch, we were not in any mood to get drenched even more. Instead of the Chinese New Years Parade, an evening of baking, steak, and movies.
And today, overcast all afternoon, which makes for perfect weather for shopping. Since I'm a modern bride, I had no qualms asking Sam to help me pick out shoes for the wedding, or for help with the veil. Thankfully, there was a Best Buy nearby so that Sam could redeem his manliness by ogling plasma screen TVs.
Unfortunately, the weekend went by too quickly and now Sam is back on a plane to the Big Apple. Only one more month until the quarter is over and I'm back there too.
Since I've gotten to grad school, I've mastered the art of napping. Not midday naps, mind you, but naps from midnight to 1am or 2am. Which means I can say I finished both take-home midterms before going to bed, even though there was a couple hour nap in between and sleeping from 6:30 - 8:30 probably doesn't count as a nights sleep. With the take-homes out of the way, and my problem set that was also due today miracliously turned in on time, I don't have another assignment due before next Wednesday. Which means I get to enjoy the weekend with Sam without feeling guilty for avoiding work.
Now, to just finish updating a cover letter for a job prospect before collapsing into my bed.
Sam sent me flowers for Valentine's Day. They're very pretty, or they will be when they open. (I never realized that flowers were delivered before they bloomed so that they don't die during transit). The delimma, however, was what to do with the flowers once I got them out of the box. Once upon a time, I had a vase. But that was in pre-grad school life. In grad-school life, the flowers sat in my soup pot until the makeshift vase could be found. The makeshift vase being an old juice container with the top cut off, naturally. Soon I'll be married though, and I'll go back to having proper household items. At least that's what I keep telling myself.
In other news, we had a frisbee tournament over the weekend, the qualifiers for the Stanford Invite. Even though we are a Stanford team, so many teams come to the tournament that all the teams that aren't ranked high have to qualify for one empty spot at the tournament. We rocked on Saturday, winning our pool and enjoying the beautiful weather.
Sunday, not so pretty - tight games that were tough losses. Cold overcast weather - and I'm not just being a wimp - my visiting brother even put his jacket on over his sweatshirt. On the plus side, I played pretty well in the second game on Sunday. There's a picture of me playing some hot zone defense over here. And, I had my first score in a college tournament. It was sweet.
Since we didn't qualify for the invite, then we don't have another tournament until next quarter, leaving me plenty of time to work on things like my midterms. Argh.
When I finished my Groundwater midterm a bit less than an hour ago, I felt pretty good about myself. I answered all the questions with reasonable answers and felt like I knew what I was doing.
Five minutes after the test, I didn't feel quite as hot seeing as I had TOTALLY different answers than everyone else.
Oh well, nothing I can do about it now. Maybe they were the wrong ones.
Now, to relax from one midterm by starting on my Oceanography take-home midterm that's due next week. Or should I go pick up my Water Resources take-home midterm and start on that instead. The choices I have.
P.S. The exciting thing about midterms means that I'm half-way done with the quarter. And seeing as my program is three quarters long, that means I'm half way done with my master's degree!!!!
I saw Thomas Friedman talk last night. He was great. He talked about 9/11 and the Iraq war and explained why he supported it - 52% for, 49% against. Incidentially, I heard Bill Maher on Fresh Air yesterday and he said that he was 49% for, 51% against the Iraq war.
Anyways, the part of the talk that interested me the most was one of Friedman's concepts that he says can bring peace and harmony to the Middle East - Geo Green. If we can reduce our dependency on oil, not just in the Middle East but in Venezuela, Russia, et al, then we can bring down prices and keep the oil tsars from having all the power. It will force development among the rest of the population and foster legitimate governements instead of dictators with unlimited funds.
Great idea, but as much as I am an environmentalist, I think it will be a looooong time before people in the US to equate their need for a Hummer with tyrannical reign in the Middle East.
Last night, I had a dream that spanned the rehersal dinner and wedding. In the dream, I remember being confused as to where the time went.
I also remember being confused that an utterly random girl I went to high school was at the rehersal dinner. She told me that she was getting married, and I responded that I was engaged as well. Duh, its my rehersal dinner after all.
I don't remember much else about the rehersal dinner except that I was wearing this dress, which I love and probably will wear for the dinner in real life.
However, that doesn't explain why the next thing I remember was standing at the end of the aisle in the same dress. And Sam skipping down to me while his dad played something. Yup, totally dyslexic. Around that time, I also started remembering, hey, we never remembered to pick out music to walk down the aisle! And we forgot to meet with our cantor to firm up the rest of the service! And I never did get around to the fittings for the dress (hence wearing the rehersal dinner dress redux).
I don't remember much else about the ceremony except having a blast.
Which goes to show that, at least in my dreams, even if I forget to do anything else to prepare for the wedding, it will still turn out great.
(Note to self: call dressmaker to schedule fitting appointment while home in March....just to be on the safe side)
Friday night, we held the first EFMH/EES (i.e. environmental engineering nerds) frisbee golf game of the year. I came the the conclusion that even though I doubt I'll ever look very good playing, being the only female does not help in the least bit. But even my inability to throw the disc 100 yards didn't stop me from having a good time. Definately worth doing again.
Saturday, the bulk of the sunlight was used visiting the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, where we were able to see the tide pools at low tide. We got to touch everything and walk pretty much everwhere, so it was a pretty great experience.
Sadly, the evening hours were spent working on a particularly frustrating problem set. Yep, the glorious life of a graduate student involves working on problem sets on a Saturday night.
But to balance it, I took today off to run errands and watch the Super Bowl. Watching the Super Bowl at 3:30 in the afternoon is quite the surreal experience, but yummy chili helped make it seem less unusual. Now, to go use the rest of the evening productively to get ahead on the rest of the week's work....
I have a job interview next Tuesday!!!!!
I left both my keys and cell phone at home this morning, so not only was I locked out, but I couldn't call my roommates to tell them. Luckily, my roommate's boyfriend lives in the building next door and has a key and he came home after an hour. However, my motivation/ability to work on Oceanography homework was dashed so it will just have to wait until this evening.