Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween and a pumpkin stew.

I have missed this holiday for the past 3 years. Last year I finally found some Jack o' lantern  pumpkins and made some stew with one, and a Jack O' lantern with the other and of course roasted pumpkin seeds from them both. The pumpkin stew was really more using the pumpkin as a stew pot, an idea that a friend from boulder had used and I have to say is a whole lot of fun, as long as you don't accidentally poke a hole in the bottom of it.  Since I couldn't find the recipe, and my friend only ever goes off of "once I think I read that" I'm not sure what to call it, but I did find a few things that look familiar.
Shrimp stuffed Pumpkin from Cantina di dom Fuas. This recipe looks familiar, but I didn't use tomato cause and I also added Chorizo.
The Creamy shrimp and pumpkin stew from Mainstream Masala  also looks close to what I made, and knowing me, I'll add as much alcohol as I can to any dish (have I ever told you about my guacamole with tequila???) but you get the idea.

Pumpkins from the local flower store... I hope you have yours ready for tonight
Beware of lost souls roaming the streets! 

See Australia isn't the only place where one can find giant spiders. 

I would avoid this door if I was you! 

Have a spooky safe halloween! Make sure to get/give lots of candy, but don't eat so much that you are sick in the morning! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Some thoughts on Mississippi - No on 26.

A few posts ago I rambled on a bit about Mitt Romney and how he stated that he would have endorsed a bill on personhood (as defined as starting at conception) if it had been brought to him while gov. in Mass. This seemed inconceivable to me, and what I thought would have been science fiction not even 5 years ago, but the unthinkable my happen in a little over a week in Mississippi. I know this clip is a bit long, but it is well worth watching. Towards the beginning of the interview with Cristen Hemmins she states that it appears that since Mississippi teaches mostly abstinence only in their school systems, people do not understand how babies are made, and how contraception works. Perhaps an unintended consequence of abstinence only eduction.  I've always wondered where those against sex ed class expect people to learn about contraception if not in school, but that's another topic.

What I think this video does is show how easy it is for an ill thought out law to take away rights of others. Here we have a proposal written with good intentions to try to help children (although I don't agree that a fertilised egg is a child as I stated in a previous post) but has damning ramifications for women and their health. This is what happens when people with good intentions but with little knowledge about how the body works try to write laws affecting medical conditions. This is an example of why we need better science education/appreciation. This would allow us as the general public better understand these laws that we are asked to vote on.


First snow, but some more photos of Fall

We just woke up to the first snow... but haven't gotten photos yet, so more photos of fall in Boston. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall in New England... Well Boston and Somerville

One thing that I have missed while living in Oz was the northern fall! I love the colours, the crisp air, the apples, the carmel... well the whole darn season. So I've tried to make up for three fall less years with lots of photos this year.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

White House Encourages Women in Science

This morning I woke up to a great e-mail sending me to the White House website where they had posted a video titled Advice for Young Women Interested in the Sciences 

This topic, women in science and women's rights, seems to be following me around lately. I suppose when you get to be of a certain age and a certain education status people start asking you these questions. Or maybe it's a snowball effect, one person asked, then I asked someone else, then I started noticing it in the news, then someone thought I might find this interesting.... Either way it' been on my mind a bit.

If someone were to ask me what advice I would give to girls wanting to go into science I'm not sure what I would say. I would suggest working on having thick skin, learn how to not be intimidated by aggressive body posturing (the guys don't mean to do it, but when they think they are right they sometimes just fall into it), become confident in what you know, and don't let anyone tell you differently. Really I think it comes down to confidence, you will be continuously tested, Profs, colleagues, and students will always question your handle on the subject matter and you have to stay strong. You won't always be right, but that does't mean you are not capable, it just means that you had a hole in your knowledge base which is now filled. Everyone has holes in their knowledge even if they don't want to admit it. If you go into Physics or engineering and many of the mathematic fields you will be one of the few if not only women in your class. This can sometimes be hard and lonely, but know that there are others of us out there cheering you on. Just look, the President of the United States of America is encouraging you!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Boston Regatta 2011 cont.

It was a beautiful crisp fall day for watching the regatta. 

More from the Weekend Regatta

And more from the weekend... Absolutely beautiful day, and wonderful clouds to add a bit of drama to all the photos. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Boston Regatta 2011

It was a beautiful day at the Regatta, got a few good shots in. 

Are women's rights eroding in the US

So after yesterday's post I decided to look up women's rights in google News and see what came up. I was astonished to see this article from the New York Times  about how on a bus which goes through a Jewish neighbourhood women were not allowed to sit in the front of the bus, in some instances such as if the bus was crowded they were asked to pay the driver then enter the bus through the back door.  I understand that some of this stems from the religious ideals of some in that community, but they are forcing their religious views on other patrons. To some extent I want to say we should respect others' religious freedoms, but at what point do we allow religious freedoms inhibit others personal rights? For me it's when they start to inhibit others rights. For example any one should be able to wear what ever religious dress they like as this guy won the right to, but if it allows you to force me to have to wear your religious dress then you've gone too far. You can eat what ever you want, or don't want, but I'll have my bacon and lobsters and cheese burgers thank you. Where I can sit on a bus, that I think has gone too far as well.

I found another blog post on Mitt Romney's misunderstanding of how the pill works on Jezzabel. The comments are awesome. I love how they point out that at conception yes there is life, but the egg and sperm cells as all cells are alive as well, so if life is equivalent to personhood, washing your hands is murder because you are killing bacterial cells. I realise that this argument is a bit sensational, but I don't think many who take this position actually understand what is happening at this point in the process of the making of a baby. I understand the whole religious nature of their argument, but I think that they have sensationalised this to the extreme as well. Do they really think that God would want to punish a women who needed an abortion to save her life? Maybe they do, maybe they really believe that the women's life isn't worth as much as the unborn child's.  At what point does the zygote become a person? Personally I think I would define it as either when it can feel pain, or more probably, when it can survive outside of the mother, then it is an individual human. Then after this is decided, when the rights of the women and the child clash, how does one choose whose rights should prevail, especially if each of their lives are at stake? Not easy questions, and I'm sure there will always be conflict with any answers given, but I think the more important question is do we as a country want politicians to make hard and fast laws on topics that a) they might not understand completely, and b) on topics that are incredibly personal and the answers probably vary based on your religious beliefs.

Halloween and Icabod Crane

One thing I missed a lot in Australia was Halloween... I know it doesn't seem like one of those big holidays so why should I care, but it was something more because it's very much apart of the American folk lore. It seemed like every fall in Elementary school we would go to the apple orchards and have Macintosh apples, watch a film strip of Night on Top of Bald Mountain, and either read about Ichabod Crane or local ghost stories. Of course there was also apple cider, pumpkin bread, spiced wine when I got older and pumpkin seeds... All much harder to find in Oz than one would think, especially the pumpkin bread. But if you are in the mood for a scare, check out some of the ghost stories from American Folklore. Who doesn't like a good ghost story sitting around a fire with some hot cider and s'mores?

Friday, October 21, 2011

I can't believe Mitt.

I've been fairly quiet as to my long therapeutic (at least for me) posts on politics and my world views, but Mitt has just really gotten my goat. Well many on the GOP side of things have, but he might actually have a chance at winning the presidency and to have this extreme view on women's rights is just scary. When I was living in Oz I saw how horrible it was to live in a country where women are considered to be fairly equal, but less so than what I've experienced here in the US. Now many might disagree with that last statement, but that's purely based on my and my friends experiences, completely personal experience, yours might be different. Now some in the US government are suggesting that we as a country push women's rights even further back than what they are in Oz or any other first world country. Mitt has stated that he wants to ban all abortions (what about when the mother's life is in danger?) and would support an amendment that defines life as starting at conception, not implantation, but conception. So not only is he denying the mother's right to choose and right to life in some cases, but he would also be banning many forms of birth control. Rachel Maddow did a wonderful piece on this in her "virtual man-cave" explaining how a baby is made, and how many forms of the pill and other methods of birth control work.

Many political commentators against defining life at conception state that it's then a slippery slope where a miscarriage could then be stated as man slaughter, maybe a bit dramatic, but who in my generation would ever think the pill might be banned someday? However, according to Wikipedia... I know it's wikipedia but they got the figures from a school in London... only about 40 -70% of fertilised eggs will ever make it to implantation and of those about 25% will be lost within the first 6 weeks. So would those 40 - 70% which naturally wouldn't get to the implantation stage also be considered to be aborted? This doesn't even then look at miscarriages. From everything I've read and heard about miscarriages they are more common than we generally think and absolutely horrible to go through, I can't imagine then adding the pressure a law state that by having a miscarriage you have committed murder when all you wanted to do was to be a mother and have just lost this potential child. Not just lost this child, but according to the law murdered it. What sick people would want to do that to someone. I'm sure that Mitt or the other supporters wouldn't, at least I hope that they wouldn't, but I don't think that they are really thinking through their actions.

Besides the world is already becoming overpopulated, we do not need to increase the population by accidental births because we don't support women being able to use the pill, one of the safest and most effective forms of birth control. I know that many of the conservatives teach that one should wait until marriage to have sex, and fair enough if that is their believe, but what about after one is married? Are they really expecting that a married couple will only want to have sex to reproduce? I don't think they should be forcing their religious believes on others by saying that we should all wait for marriage, but what about after that? Is the women suppose to live in fear that every time she and her husband make love, there is the potential for a love child? I can't even fathom a marriage without sex, but without birth control how is the women ever going to be able to plan her career, or is it just a given to them that after she is married she is not suppose to work? Michelle Bachmann insinuated as much when she stated that women were loosing their homes because their husbands were loosing their jobs, but that's a whole other issue....

Okay I've probably ranted enough, but it's something that I think should be ranted more about. In undergrad I once had a feminist tell me that I needed to be more of a feminist because at any moment the government could vote on bills and pass them saying that I had to stay at home and be married, that work was only for men. I told her that I thought that was a load of baloney and that there was no way the women's movement could be taken back that far... I now think that maybe she was right. It won't happen in one vote, not even this one would do that, but it will and is happening over a series of votes. It's happening by letting people like Mitt and Michelle say these anti-women's rights and some times down right anti-women statements without crying out against them, or at least making them laughing stocks for wanting to go back to their rosy coloured view of history.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Some old photos 6

A couple of photos from Jesmond, a suburb of Newcastle Australia.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Old photos 5

The Farmer's Market in Boulder CO

A random house on the side of the road on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park... It looks like it sunk into the ground!

The Beach in Acapulco Mexico

Some old photos 4

Some trees near the University of Newcastle Australia. Those trees always made such interesting shapes, or maybe I think that since they are so different from those that I grew up around.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Some old photos 3

This first photo is again from Melbourne and then the final three are from the beaches in Newcastle Australia.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Some old photos 2

The first two are again from Blackbutt in Newcastle Australia, and then the bottom two from Melbourne Australia. Good times...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Some old pics 1

I haven't had a chance to go out and take photos lately, but have been going through some older folders, so I thought I'd share what I found. Some of these I posted before, but I really liked them and thought they deserved a re-post. The three I'm posting today are some of my favourites! I especially love the last one, it reminds me of old National Geographic photos... although taken by an amateur.