Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

I used to know what that was. Well, I still do. But one time, at college, I was smart. I took classes with names longer than the course description, and read books about Darwin, and people who didn't agree with Darwin, and Stephen Jay Gould, and another fellow who wrote a great book whose name I can't recall at this time. I read articles, integrated knowledge and formed opinions and linked ideas, and overall, I functioned on an intelligent level, with my thought processes revolving around God, and creation and animals, and change over time, and closed mindedness, and open mindedness, and once, I even wrote a final paper about how a professor's approach to teaching contradicted what he was trying to convey in his lectures and discussions. How can you teach people to be open minded about the possible moral implications of scientific research when every time students ask a question or make a suggestion you tell them they are wrong? That seems very closed minded of you!

I was driving home from work tonight and I heard an advertisement for a lecture series at the U of O. It is in celebration of the bicentennial of Darwin's Origin of the Species. I have two points regarding this. 1: The general population doesn't understand evolution. 2: I used to be smart. Now I play bingo.

Point # 1
If you know much about the subject, you know ol' Charlie was reluctant to publish, until he received a manuscript from a colleague with a similar thesis. You'll also know that Charlie's bit was a knock-off of Grandpa Darwin's book, Zo├Ânomia. I'm a little jaded, so I think it's pretty ridiculous for a public university to spend time and taxpayers' dollars celebrating the life and works of a man who, some might say, did a little plagiarizing.

Consider the battle within Charlie: Hey, I saw this. I think this is a possibility. I was raised to believe this. The possibility contradicts the teachings of the church. The possibility, if correct, could give new understanding of the world around us. Well, it's darn hard to prove. I'll sit on it, no need to rock the boat. Wait, someone else thinks this is a possibility too. But hey, they'll get the credit if they publish first. Ne'ermind about the church, I want credit.

So the U of O is celebrating Charlie's decision to rock the boat. Well, I hope that's what they're celebrating, because plagiarizing isn't a very legit reason for celebration. Remember people, I'm not saying I believe humans came from monkeys. I am saying evolution is real, on a microscopic, cellular level and on a huge organismal level! Damn straight. I was raised a Christian, I made profession of faith in my church, believe the words written in the Bible, and make an effort to trust in the Lord, because I know I'm not strong enough for this life on my own. That said, I'll continue.

My mom had her hands full explaining things to me when I was in high school, I had a lot of questions, like if being gay is wrong, why did God even allow for it to enter the world? What about evolution, can I believe in evolution if I'm a Christian? I think one of her best answers from this period in my life was "Katie, God is greater than our human minds can fathom. Sometimes he has to simplify things so we can understand." So I've adopted this answer, and when people ask me how can I call myself a Christian and believe evolution exists in our world, I tell them my God is so great, evolution isn't a problem. If you can't believe in the possibility of atoms and cells and organisms and ecosystems changing over time, you doubt the power of my God.

There are 5 situations that cause change over time, and I'll dig them up and get back to you if anybody ever writes to ask what they are.

Point # 2: I used to be able to list what those 5 things were without having to look them up.

Problem solving is often divided into creative or analytical solutions. Students often do well in arts and music, or math and science. (Some students don't do well at all and that is a result of bad genes, poor parenting, or socio-economic situations the child can't control, and will struggle to overcome all their life.) The right brain is responsible for vision and processes information in an intuitive and simultaneous way, looking first at the whole picture then the details. The left brain is responsible for language and processes information in an analytical and sequential way, looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole. I plagarized that from here. People often assume that being able to paint and understanding math are mutually exclusive. Sorry folks but my corpus callosum proves otherwise. The more time I spend away from school (science school that is!) the more my right brain starts to dominate, and I can feel my left brain getting lazy. I took Lyman Briggs Calc II, people, (that's level 3 calculus in the real world) and passed! But I can paint pretty pictures, and a have the ability to take great photographs without much effort. But my best work is the result of A: my left brain dominating the process, i.e. the paintings hanging in my parents home, or B: natural talent and the greatness of digital cameras speeding up the learning process. The more time I spend away from having to think about things in a logical analytical scientific manner, the more difficult painting is, and the lazier I get!

Damn it, I need to get to bed. I would finish this tomorrow, but my lack of excercising the left half of my brain won't allow me to... or maybe my vanity will overrule that decision. Or I'll take the whole thing down.

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's 5 am, do you know what your blogger is up to?

It's 5 am and your favorite employed (but not as an) artist is stiil awake, after taking a 4 hour nap after a 2 hour walk! And eating veggie pizza (note to everybody, including self, fresh tomatoes are a bad idea on pizza... too juicy) But for the first time I intentionally ordered a veggie pizza! With red sauce, not white sauce, because you know, the calories and everything associated with white sauce. I just don't like white sauce.

How serendipidous! I switched channels on Pandora and it opened with Cat Stevens "the First Cut is the Deepest"! On my top 10 of all time. Helped me through last summer, many nights spent dancing to that in the kitchen. Brett Dennen's "Heaven" has replaced that at the top of my playlist, but moving on is a good thing.

SO in the disgusting news, I burnt my hand on Friday. It's like a ritual at this point, cleaning the popcorn machine at work, but this time it was turned on, in operation, and it was on the pinky side of my hand, (medial or lateral, I have a hard time remembering with hands, I know it's my 5th metacarpel, so there) instead of my super hairy forearm. I'll post pictures tomorrow, maybe. Usually it bursts within a day, and the top layer slides off. This one melted back on to the skin, and only filled with pus (yuck, i just used the word "pus") 4 hours later. Let me note, I had tears in my eyes, and had my boss finish up for me, which is unusual, because I'm tough, and my treatment of most ailments is to "walk it off"... I even accepted 3 anti-inflamatory pills from a med-aide.
Before bed, I pricked and drained the blister, and have been doing so about 4 times a day. At this point it feels like there is a bruise under the blister, and my pinky is stiff. The pus isn't as clear as it used to be, so I'm freaking out about Mersa. On the plus side, if I let it build up, it gets a pretty solid, albeit tiny, stream shooting out of it.

Who doesn't love Van Morrison's Crazy Love?

MORE DISGUSTING NEWS: I've started a 7 day cleansing treatment, to remove toxins from my body. This isn't a colon cleanse, and I haven't had the horrifying results I've read about and was partially prepared for.
Getting me to take anything once a day is a challenge, so the schedule I take the doses at is a little irregular, but I'm not overdosing! But my skin is clearing up! The horrible condition it has been in since 3rd grade (yes 3rd grade) is clearing up more than it has with countless soaps, including Nivea, Nutragena, St. Ives, Cetaphil (no I haven't tried Pro-active, but I won't patronize any company with Jessica Simpson as a spokesperson (sorry Macy's)) I am going to pick up a tube of generic white toothpaste when I finish the cleanse (I use red toothgel) to see if that works as well as people say.

It took me a half hour to write this, and I have 2 more projects to work on before bed and trying to give blood, and picking up an application for a city council seat, because what the hell, might as well give it a shot. I leave my mother shaking her head.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

yummy bean burritos

Recipe Posting #1

Because I'm switching to pesce vegetarianism, I'm working on new recipes. With these bean burritos, I didn't miss the meat!

For 4 medium size burritos.
2/3 c of black beans (dried)
1/2 - 1 c hot sauce
4 flour or corn tortillas
1/2 c shredded cheese (mexi-blend, sharp cheddar, or your favorite soy based cheese)

1) Soak beans 24 hours (follow the directions on the package, sorting, rinsing, and all that) in 2 cups of water in a bowl with a tight fitting lid.
3) Rinse, transfer to a 2 quart pot, add 3 cups of water. Cook 3 hours on simmer (bubbly, but not boiling). When the beans smoosh easily on the roof of your mouth with your tongue, they're done.
4) Drain the water off. Stir in 1/8 - 1/4 c of your favorite hot sauce. Using the back of a large spoon, smoosh the beans. This is way yummier and healthier than re-fried black beans!
5) Warm up tortillas just enough to make them pliable. Place 1/4 of the beans in the center of you tortilla, in a nice rectangle. Place 1/8 c of cheese on top of the beans.
6) Fold the bottom up, then both sides, and roll into a tight roll. Finished burritos can be placed in a freezer bag and frozen for later use, or serve right away.
7) To serve, either microwave with 1/8-1/4 c of enchilada sauce over top, for 45 seconds if thawed, 2 minutes if frozen (times vary by microwave); microwave same way without enchilada sauce, or if your diet allows, microwave, then deep fry for 30 secs (15 on each side).

Monday, January 19, 2009

And my hopes are jaded...

I like the new president, I do. But I would like him a whole lot more if he made all the reporters put down their cameras and tape recorders and pick up paint brushes with him. If it hadn't been a press op, and work was actually accomplished.
Hopefully this isn't foreshadowing the next 4 years.

Saturday Night Lights

Confession: I love street lamps and porch lights.
I promised when I started this blog to review my favorite places in my chosen home. Up until tonight, I've failed to keep that promise. But, TA-DA! My first review:

When I moved to Roseburg I was disappointed with the lack of a nice bar/cafe to hang out with friends at on weekend nights. Coming from a college town and attending school where the town was built in service to the university, I was used to coffee shops being open until at least midnight. Night life in Roseburg was limited to trashy bars.

Gradually I found better places to visit, but they were hit and miss as far as quality of entertainment, drinks and food, service and price.
Bella Sera is the relatively new endeavor by the lovely proprietors of Anthony's Italian Cafe. It's located behind the main dining room, and shares a kitchen with the restaurant.
Bella Sera features an extensive beer and wine list, limited menu of delicous appetizers, entrees and desserts from next door, and an intimate, upscale/casual atmosphere for gathering with friends. Roseburg has a limited selection of venues for a relaxed evening with friends. Mark V, the wine bar upstairs on Jackson, and Brix 527 are on the list, but I'll wait to review them.
Bella Sera is set apart by the friendliness of the staff and the comfortable furnishing. The walls are decorated by original artwork by local artists, the tables and chairs are clean and weathered without being shabby, and the bud vases on the table are perfect examples of the attention to detail executed by the proprietors.
Bret Gardin was the performer on Saturday night, and was fabulous, with a breath taking a cappella preformance dedicated to his father. He is the perfect fit for this venue. His stage presence was more polished than you would expect for a young musician, he was very talented, and didn't cast our table dirty looks as we chatted for the majority of the evening.
At the end of the evening every one I was with agreed that we would visit again.

The Need to Know:
Bella Sera @ Anthony's Italian Cafe
500 SE Cass Avenue, Roseburg, Oregon 97470, behind the main restaurant, in the courtyard
Thursday, Friday and Saturday Evenings
8-12 pm

Food: 4/5 Stars
Beer and Wine Selection: 5/5 Starts
Service: 5/5 Stars
Atmosphere: 5/5 Stars

Saturday, January 17, 2009

So I'm confused and frustrated

That's right. I feel like I need a break from things that are distracting me from what I should be doing. But what I need to be doing is focusing on accomplishing the job at hand, and making better use of my time when I have time. So... this weekend I print.
I've stuck to my New Year's Resolutions fairly well... And I'd like to relax this weekend and pat myself on the back, and binge, but that's not the point of the resolutions. So I'm going to tighten up, stick to the diet a little closer, and play at least 6 hours on the Wii Fit (thanks Joe!).
I've come across the occasion to question what I want to be doing in 5 years, and I know I said I would move home if nothing happened in 2 years, but I don't want to. So that leaves... making sure something happens in the next 2 years. But what?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009


So I wrote about all my "official" resolutions here, but there are a lot of unofficial resolutions going on. The main focus is to be an all around healthier me. The stress of my class is allowing me to lose focus, and through out the day I remind myself to tighten up, and relax. I allowed myself to slip from my diet, but it was still within my self prescribed guidelines, and the only new things I have bought were class related, or artwork related.

There's a whole shit-list of things that are decent reasons to be stressed (not being able to keep up with class, finances, relationship (or lack thereof) and work) and I'm trying to not lose hold of the inches (that feel like miles) that I've gained.

I wrote to Santa and asked for a raise and a nice boy. I was surprised to find the form for a raise on my desk (merit based, woohoo!) the other day, and I'm just going to be patient for the boy.

So this weekend has more carving, homework, psuedo-date (maybe), and working out on the agenda. And maybe sushi. AND CHURCH. I need some spiritual renewal, and to get a God Hug.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Matthew 2:1-12

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea,
during the time of King Herod,
Magi from the east came to Jerusalem
and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?
We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed,
and all Jerusalem with him.
When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law,
he asked them where the Christ was to be born.
"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied,
"for this is what the prophet has written:
" 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.' "
Then Herod called the Magi secretly
and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
"Go and make a careful search for the child.
As soon as you find him, report to me,
so that I too may go and worship him."
After they had heard the king, they went on their way,
and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them
until it stopped over the place where the child was.
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
On coming to the house,
they saw the child with his mother Mary,
and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Then they opened their treasures
and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod,
they returned to their country by another route.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Resolution #3

5 years is enough.

In the middle of formulating my New Year's Resolution it became very obvious I'm not completely happy. Following through on Resolutions 1 & 2 isn't going to be the key to happiness, but they are going to remove some of the barriers I've put in the way of achieving happiness: healthy body and financial freedom. The third resolution has to do with the fact I'm approaching thirty, am unmarried, maybe want children, and live 1000 odd mile from my family. Around the holidays I spend more time on the phone with my family, lamenting the fact I'm not with them. More so this year, because I'm not chasing a career or spending it with a man I had hoped to build a family with.

I was home twice this year, once for Sister T's wedding shower, and then for her wedding. Sister T's pretty self sufficient, and has never really needed me for much, and as a result, I feel closer to Sister J, but love each one equally, and would willing shell out any necessary body part for either. Sister J and I spend more time on the phone together, and as we were talking these past months it occured to me one reason I would drop everything in Oregon to move back to Michigan would be for a niece or nephew from either of my sisters, especially if there was any complications.

This got me thinking, and at this point there isn't a whole lot holding me here other than my own stubbornness. I started working in Oregon on April Fool's Day of 2005, and as my 3rd and final resolution, if circumstances don't change by April Fool's Day of 2010, I'm going to set out looking for a job in Michigan, preferably somewhere where I can live in a rent to own cabin near a small town to become as my sister describes it, CRAZY AUNT KATIE.

This doesn't mean I'm going to spend 2009 moping around, waiting to leave, or whooping it up as though it was my last night in town. I'm planning to continue with school, photography, statistics*, basic design and independant study, and looking at Oregon State, trying to get a scholarship. I'm going to try to put some structure into my position at work, and some format and class into the programs. I'm going to be braver about meeting new people and going new places, and dancing in public. Well, maybe 2/3 of that last part.

In March of 2010 I may look back at this and shake my head, and pack up everything in a U Haul, and make my 6th trip across this great nation. If I do, hopefully I can visit some ghost towns in N. Dakota along the way.

*Statistics, what the hell does an artist need statistics for? It occured to me when I wrote this post, 4 days before it was posted to the blog, that at this time 2 years ago I wanted to become a surveyor on commercial fishing vessels, and statistics was the one course I was miss to be eligable to train for this position. That dream fell to the wayside as I became involved with a man, but it feels good to realize that dream is still a possibility.

Happiness is not a destination. It is a way of life! -Burton Hills

Resolution #1

Weight Loss.

Oprah's favorite subject. The national past time, well, right after eating.
I've decided I have to do it. I have to commit to making an effort to losing weight, to reshaping my body, to making myself a little happier, a little more confident, and a lot healthier.

So I began by writing out a food plan for the entire month of January. I have the calories budgeted out, day by day, with wiggle room. I've started reading the Best Life Diet by one of Oprah's guru's. It has three questions to answer before I start the weight loss.

Resolution #2

My second resolution is also very personal, and a matter of survival, but a trivial matter of survival. My budget needs to be tightened up, and outside of food expenses for the 1500 calorie/day diet, and a minimal entertainment allowance, everything is going to pay bills, school, financing artwork, and savings.

Translate: NO NEW CLOTHES TOYS GADGETS for the year 2009. If I need something, it HAS TO BE SECONDHAND. I think I won't need new clothes if I am successful with the weight-loss efforts, because I have a LOT of clothes, and if I loose the weight the clothes will fit better, be more comfortable/flattering. I look at dresses in my closet I wore 2-3 years ago and can't wait to wear them again this summer. And shopping secondhand will be easier with smaller sizes too.

Included in this is the cost of repairs for items I currently have, like my camera! (Insert a whole big spiel about taking care of what we own rather than buying the newest and latest of everything). This will be a hard resolution this summer when my cell phone contract is up, and I want the newest whatever super high tech gadget they have available.

And I should note here, I will have to make myself accountable to this blog for my purchasing behavior. A wise idea would be to purchase a cheap secondhand sewing machine and buying remnants from second hand stores around town. The way I go through denim, I should be able to make a small quilt in the next 2 years.

So Blogosphere, I hereby express my intent to not buy an item from Wal-mart, Fred Meyer's Target, or any of the glorious merchants of excess in my town, at my finger tips (no ebaying) or within a days drive, or visiting my mother. Oh my, I'm going to have to forego shopping trips with my mother unless we go to Goodwill/Salvation Army or the antique mall.