Saturday, June 27, 2009

Disturbing lifestyle choice

This evening, while Derrick and I were eating a delicious dinner made primarily from veggies from our garden (green beans and new potatoes in a Thia curry--yummy!) we received a knock on the door. A young man offered to sell me steaks--cheap--$2 to $3 for T-bones and New York Strip steak. I told him no thanks, we don't really eat that much red meat. So, he offered pork and chicken. Again, I explained we don't eat much meat and didn't want to buy anything from him. Finally, he offered seafood at a steep discount, which I again declined.

So he asked, "What do you guys eat? Broccoli or something?" (with a look that could only be described as incredulity.)

"Pretty much," I replied. "We have a big garden and we mostly eat from that."

I think he thought we were weird.

Oh, and the broccoli we harvested from our garden Thursday and had in stir fry that evening was excellent.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Experimenting with food storage

I can just imagine how this experiment started.

BYU professor/grad student: "Hey Mom, how long have you had this stuff in food storage? The layer of dust on these dried apples is pretty thick. And the label on the oatmeal here is so faded I can hardly read it."

Mom: "You know, that's the food that's going to save us in an emergency. We've probably had it since the year your Dad and I got married. A lot of people gave us food storage items for the wedding, and it was hard to get you kids to eat a #10 can of applesauce before it went bad, even with nine of you."

BYU P/GS: "Gag. Do you really think something from 1973 is any good?"

Mom: "You're a food scientist. You figure it out."

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Sylvia in her natural state (and eating natural food).

Natural landscaping.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Berlin, Saturday

Saturday morning, after a very late start and a nice brunch at a cafe near the train station with the archaeologists, we parted ways--they to Leipzig, and I on to Berlin. As I came up to the Reichstag, I came upon a puppet troupe:

After taking a few pictures I continued on. I found a book store, where I dropped about 40 euros on books for Sylvia and ran into Lindsey from the conference! We went to lunch at an excellent pizza place her friend suggested (who knew Berlin would have excellent pizza?), and then walked to the Pergamon museum.

I saw three main galleries at the museum: one for Greek artifacts (including an almost complete reconstructed temple of Telemachus), one for Assyrian artifacts, and one for Arab artifacts. Here are a few of my favorites from the museum collection.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Things that are important, that I deal with or use every day, and yet I only infrequently really think about.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back to the real world

This report was released today. I haven't looked through the whole thing, but what I've seen seems like a good overview of our current understandings of the impact of anthropogenic climate change on the US.

I did hear Diane Rehm talking to one of the authors and a couple of reporters about the report. One was pro, one was anti, and both were predictably spin-happy. I really wish the climate debate wasn't so stuck in the rut of scientists and pro people dragging the latest and greatest (or at least the well-accepted by this point) in statistics, while the anti-GW types pull out the same old tired innaccurate, misleading, and downright wrong statistics to muddy the water. It's so frustrating--critical thought is hard enough without people spreading sweet sounding lies.

I've really got to get another climate post up sometime.

Berlin, part II

After three and a half rather intense days of talks (most very interesting, a few not so interesting) we had a social event that consisted of a castle tour. Now, the castle tour advertised that we would see I believe 11 castles on our tour, so I deemed that worth the 30 euro price tag. Unfortunately, 10 of the 11 castles were viewed at high speed from the back of the bus, like this:

I was fortunately seated in the back of the bus, so when the tour guide pointed out the sights in Potsdam I had time to look toward them without giving myself whiplash. Even so, I'm not sure I'll ever spring for another bus tour. Pictured below is the front of a building I took a shot of while we were stopped at a light.

During our driving tour of the city we saw many buildings in a state of moderate to more severe disrepair (none pictured, again, due to the speed of our travel). According to the guide, when East Germany (which included Potsdam) was under the rule of communists, there were rules about how many employees craftsmen could have that basically prevented people from maintaining buildings. A lot of work is being done to renovate the old, stately buildings, but there are still probably as many run-down as well-kept buildings in the city.

When we arrived at San souci we were greeted by a man in 18th century garb playing the flute:

Again, we couldn't take pictures inside, so all I have are a few pictures of statuary and the gardens outside.

Apparently Friederich was so beloved Germans still leave potatoes for him:

Friederich loved fresh fruits, including melons, pineapple, grapes, and figs, and insisted on having them year-round. Today that's not so much an issue because we just truck things from wherever they're in season, but a couple of hundred years ago that wasn't a possibility. Instead, Friederich built the Orangerie (which isn't all that unusual), and also built these semi-greenhouses (which are more unusual):

Fig trees and grapes could be kept warm in these little glassed-in alcoves, which allowed Friederich to have the fresh fruits he loved well into winter. Adam West noted after the tour that we really do eat like kings today.

It started to rain, so we walked to the bakery via this arbor.

European bread just looks so good!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009


From my last post it should be obvious I'm back from Germany. I was over there for a conference, which was also a lot of fun and really reinvigorating for my work. I don't know why there are some conferences that energize me and others that drain every ounce of enthusiasm I have for science away, but I'm glad this one was one of the former rather than the latter types.

Given that I took upwards of 700 pictures, I'm going to break up the posts on my trip into days (starting with the 1st and working my way through).

I arrived in Berlin at about 8 am local time (which was something like 2 am according to my body), having only slept perhaps an hour or two on the plane. After navigating the bus, I found myself at Zoologisher Garten, which was to become probably my most visited train station. I don't speak any German, which meant I had no idea how to operate the ticket machines for the train, so I had to find someone who spoke English to help me. The first of June happened to be Pentacost (I think), which is a national holiday in Germany, so crowds were very light--making me all at once more obvious in my cluelessness, but also making the wait in lines amazingly short.

Zoologisher Garten

Proof that I was in Germany on the first of June

After checking in to the hotel, I found my way back to the park San Soussci in the center of Potsdam, where I took many photos. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take pictures inside the Neus Palais (the museum I visited there) so all I have to show are pictures of statuary on the outside.

The skies turned ominous after my tour of the museum and, about half-way through the park, it started to sprinkle, then thunder. Not wanting my camera drenched, I sprinted to a building that turned out to be the Orangerie, where I waited out the storm with a handful of others.

A reminder that tomatoes were once ornamentals--and considered inedible, even poisonous!

I walked down this picturesque little street behind the Potsdam Brandenburg gate, where I bought an ice cream (eis) for 1 euro (so cheap!) and then found a place that sold bratwursts. When I'm on vacation, I love eating dessert before dinner.