A couple weeks ago I enjoyed a "Rails and Trails" local Sierra Club daytrip to the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. We took the train from Los Angeles to Goleta, hiked about 3.5 miles of sidewalks along the roadways of Goleta to the Preserve, enjoyed a few hours there, then hiked back (stopping for snacks/dinner along the way) to catch the train, and so home by that evening.
Seeing the coast from the train to Goleta was lovely, and of course the thousands and thousands of butterflies were so beautiful. It was a gorgeous, gorgeous trip.
I managed to capture some (admittedly slightly wobbly) video of some of the clusters of butterflies.
Carrizo Plain De-Fencing and Exploring
This weekend, I took part in a volunteer work-day at Carrizo Plain National Monument, getting rid of old barbed-wire fence on Saturday, and then exploring on my own on Sunday. It was a great weekend!
I took some photos today as I explored... I've posted them as a photoset on Flickr.
For more info about Carrizo, please see:
official BLM website for Carrizo Plain
Friends of Carrizo: Volunteer Opportunities
Nature Conservancy webpage about Carrizo Plain
Wikipedia page about Carrizo Plain
Speaking of which... enter your zip code into
http://www.volunteermatch.org/ and search on the keyword "outdoor" :-)
http://www.dargenziowine.com/ - there's a Burbank tasting room open Friday and Saturday evenings
(I used to have this on an About Adele page on my old website, and when I moved to adeleshakal.com in 2008, creating a shortened About page was a more appropriate and modern thing to do. I decided a blog post wass a more appropriate place for this, anyway. Sometimes, it helps to write out my beliefs, my priorities, my activism, my soapbox… and other times, I just need to get out in the fresh air and hike alone with the rocks and trees and open wind. And other times, I just need to go for coffee with a friend. Today was one of the soapbox days, I guess. The original version of this content was in part inspired by NPR’s This I Believe.)
I live passionately, and I focus intently on activities at home and at work. I am a perfectionist endlessly fascinated by life, the universe and everything. This also means that I am endlessly striving for one of those “work-life balance” things I’ve heard so much about.
I believe in imagination. I believe in hope. I believe that the journey to explore ourselves and our world is infinitely engaging.
I believe humanity needs to explore beyond our planet to have a better perspective on ourselves and our universe.
I believe that no single religion has all the answers, nor even all of the questions.
I believe that the United States and our world deserves better than the mess made by megacorporations and politicians.
And I believe that each individual person can make a difference.
I yearn for open spaces and fresh air. I find gardening to be cheaper and more useful than therapy or organized religion. I find peace and solace in wilderness.
However, I also love living in my current urban apartment, which is walking distance from used book stores, a used music store, a lovely little farmers market on weekends, more than a few fabulous restaurants, the public library, and the convenient mass transit rail station.
I enjoy organizing information, writing, reading, crochet, knitting, dancing, sewing, science fiction and fantasy, making jewelry, gardening, going to open-air markets, marking the passage of the seasons, road trips, learning about ancient cultures, camping (day-hiking, car-camping and backpacking in wonderful wild places), and enjoying good food and long talks with good friends.
I retake the Myers-Briggs/Keirsey indicator test every few years, and the results always seem slightly inconsistent; although I’m always coming up a rational NT, the other letters sometimes fluctuate slightly. In 1999, I came up as a Fieldmarshal (eNTj). I also took the Kingdomality test a while back, and apparently, my medieval occupational inclination is to be a Shepherd.
I’m an idealist, a feminist, an environmentalist, an independent thinker, and I care very much about equal rights for everybody regardless of gender or skin color or sexual orientation. I believe very strongly in womens’ rights to control what happens to our own bodies. I believe that the right to self-defense is a fundamental human right. I’m intolerant of intolerance and willful ignorance.
I’m a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, the Nature Conservancy, the Sequoia Natural History Association, Descanso Gardens, the System Administrator’s Guild, the League of Professional System Administrators, and the Project Management Institute.
Whenever my financial situation allows, I donate to the following charities:
- Heifer International
- Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders
- Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
- the we campaign to repower America — we can solve the climate crisis
If anyone cares about astrology, I’m a taurus, and my eastern zodiac sign is the water ox. This may have something to do with certain people’s observations that in certain situations, I’m a bit… stubborn.
To be honest, family and friends have actually used the terms “bullheaded”, “tenacious”, and, er… “damn hard to sway about anything” to describe me, though I’m sure they meant that in the best possible way! I take it as a compliment, and my peers and leadership at work certainly value my “sticktoitiveness.”
Note that any undergraduate anywhere can apply for the SURF program. This past year, between 1/4 and 1/3 of the SURFers were non-Caltech undergrads.
The SURF program provided me with the opportunity to do research in an academic setting far earlier than if I had waited for grad school to try it out, and it taught me that I didn’t really want to be a protein chemist, though I respect them greatly. I also learned that I like talking about scientific research more than doing it. That’s not a drawback, it’s a strength, and I got to use that strength in the morning when the SURF office folks asked me to give an hourlong revolving introduction to the day and to Caltech to groups of visiting prospective students and their parents. I need to find ways of using that strength more often; it felt wonderful to flex those muscles again.
Researchers need to share their efforts to both let other prospective researchers know about the good and the bad of the process, and just as importantly if not more so, to justify funding, research space and staffing. It’s also important on a larger scale to share the knowledge and challenges of an individual’s work with other researchers and the public so that it can both spawn other ideas and have other ideas yield insights which might assist in it.
It was an awesome day.