Friday, March 31, 2006

The A-B-C's of Michelle

A-B-C's of Michelle

A is for age: 29
B is for Booze of choice: buttery nipple (though I'm not much of a drinker)
C is for career:
grad student soon to be math teacher (hopefully!)
D is for your dog’s name:
Bijou was the last family dog, but she passed away in 2004
E is for essential items you use everyday: laptop, bed, water, I'm sure there's more
F is for favorite song at the moment: Oy, don't make me choose! "Colors" by Amos Lee if I *have* to choose
G is for favorite games: ummmm not sure
H is for hometown:
Bonita, CA
I is for instruments you play: piano, a little guitar, and voice
J is for jam or jelly you like: Strawberry!
K is for Kids: None. As I keep telling the 'rents, I gotta find a man first!
L is for last kiss: don't ask :
M is for most admired trait: compassion
N is for the name of your crush: er, no one at the moment, which is a bit unusual for me:P
O is for overnight hospital stays: none, lucky me:)
P is for phobias: snakes, needles, big bugs, heights if I'm not safely enclosed
Q is for quotes you like: way too many to name! Hmm...I'm sensing a double blog post today:)
R is for biggest regret: not dating more
S is for sweets of your choice: See's candies, vanilla malts, the list goes on...
T is for the time you wake up: as late as possible to still make it where I need to be on time

U is for underwear: what about it? lol
V is for vegetable you love: broccoli
W is for worst habit: not picking up stuff off the floor
X is for x-rays you’ve had: wrist, ankle, foot, I think that's it (it's been a while)
Y is for yummy food you make: desserts! cream cheese pie, macaroons, chocolate fudge pie, ice cream pie

Z is for zodiac sign: Libra

Some Favorite Quotes...

"Never give up on a dream just because of the length of time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway"

-- Life's Little Instruction Book, Vol. III

"Remember, it's not your job to get people to like you; it's your job to like people."

-- Life's Little Instruction Book, Vol. III

"I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence."

-- Frederick Douglass

"Remember that love doesn't always make things easier- just worth it."

-- Life's Little Instruction Book, Vol. III

"When you fear something, learn as much about it as you can. Knowledge conquers fear."

-- Life's Little Instruction Book, Vol. III


"Believe in miracles, but don't depend on them."

-- Life's Little Instruction Book, Vol. III

"Never forget the power and potential that comes from doing the little things well."

-- Life's Little Instruction Book, Vol. III

"I have found that in life everything, no matter how bad, comes to an end."

-- Bryce Courtenay, The Power Of One

"A dream is a vision of the future, in light of the past, tainted by imagination."

-- Judge Dana LaMon

"Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts."

-- Charles Dickens

"An innocent heart is a brittle thing and one false vow can break it."

-- Lord Lytton


"He that loses his honesty has nothing else to lose."

-- Anonymous

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."

-- Anonymous

"I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell."

-- Harry S. Truman

"I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy."

-- J.D. Salinger

"Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."

-- Albert Camus

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us."

-- Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fun With Egyptian Hieroglyphics!

I joined a new Yahoo group recently and got to talking about Hieroglyphics. Since I have yet to ramble on about my love of hieroglyphics here, I figured it would be a good topic for the day:D I have been fascinated with hieroglyphs since elementary school. I didn't really learn much about them, though, until college where I was lucky enough to take Intro to Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics. I say lucky because my last quarter in school was the first time the class was offered. I loved that class! I got a bit frustrated with the drawing part (my drawings have not improved since kindergarten). I only wish I had been able to hang around and minor in Egyptology! I think this goes back to the days when I wanted to be an archaeologist/paleontologist. But let me continue with hieroglyphs before I send myself off on a tangent.

While Hieroglyphics is a language, there is a lot more mystery involved than in a lot of modern languages. A key thing being that the Ancient Egyptians didn't write their vowels. Therefore pronunciation of the words is open to interpretation. Also, the Egyptians were phonetic spellers. One of my biggest pet peeves with those "Your name in hieroglyphics!" machines is that they just try to translate letter for letter. That gets a little hard when some of common letters and sounds don't exist! I understand that logistics makes things difficult and for those out there names, you have no other option, but it still bugs me:P

Anyway, as an example, take my name. In English, I spell it M-I-C-H-E-L-L-E. Here's how it might look if I entered those letters into one of those machines:
The problem? Phonetically, this wouldn't be close to the way my name sounds. I would be something resembling Mik-heely. Here's the way I would write it (though even that is open to interpretation):

You notice that the first two letters in each representation are the same. The owl represents the M and the leaf is the closest thing to the "I" sound in my name (we translate it to be the letter I). Now the CH in my version is completely different because phonetically it sounds like sh as in show. The pool represents the sh sound, while the basket and twisted rope represent the letters C (more like a phonetic K or a hard C) and H respectively (there's also a glyph that represents the sound ch as in chair-- some programs may recognize this, some may not). Finally, the double leaf that the machine inserts is the closest character to the letter e, but is a long e sound so it's usually used to represent y and not e. The E's in my name are *not* long E's. Therefore, I leave that out. And finally, while there are two L's in my name, phonetically only one is needed which is why I have only one lion.

So there ends the brief Hieroglyphics lesson. Sorry it sort of turned into a rant:P There's a lot more to hieroglyphics, so if you'd like to learn more about Hieroglyphs or find the symbols for your name, I got the above pictures from this site. I did edit and paste the letters together using photoshop though. I'm happy to attempt to make your name if you want to see it as long as it isn't for commercial use (as the owner of the site mentioned above stipulates) or you have the site owner's permission.

***Editing to add the comment below***

Okay, I wanted to add another site (click here) that has a more complete listing of the Hieroglyphic "alphabet."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Costa Rica Pictures...

Ok, so I'm finally getting around to posting the Costa Rica pictures. I'm having some issues with blogger uploading the photos, so I'm creating multiple posts with various pictures. You may notice from the dates that I've been trying for the last few days to get the pics uploaded...grrr! I am attempting to make the posting order fairly non-confusing, so bear with me.

When I went to Costa Rica, I didn't have my digital camera yet and I didn't want to wreck my nice film SLR, so I asked for (and got) a water resistant point-and-shoot camera the Christmas before my trip. I didn't have much time to get adjusted to the new camera, so my pics aren't all that wonderful, but here they are anyway! I'm including some commentary as I go...I kept a journal while in Costa Rica (amazing as I hate to write and was really sick most of the trip) and started writing up my adventures, but got distracted and never quite finished. Maybe one of these days, I'll finish and post it here. It's a good thing I have a pretty decent memory as the trip was now 3 years ago lol! Anyway, on to the pics...

Monday, March 27, 2006

More Costa Rica Pictures

We rode horses across a river....And up a mountain to avoid some pothole filled roads!

Once we got to the top of the mountain, we got the chance to hike through the cloud forest. I chose the suspension bridges as shown below to the zip line...

Collared Aracari's at one of our many stops along the way...

The view from the really nice resort hotel that we visited towards the end of the trip...

We went river rafting down the Pacuare river our first full day in Costa Rica. Here's one of the pictures that the photographer hired by the rafting company took of our boat during the day-long trek...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

And Still More Costa Rica Pictures

Here are some pics of crocodiles taken from a road overpass. The trip was a educational vacation (we had optional lectures after dinner some nights) and I learned quite a bit about crocs including their crazy mating habits (they blow bubbles as part of the whole ritual!) The crocs have their mouths open to cool off...

Some of the animals were pretty people friendly. Here's a coati (relative of a raccoon) that got a little too friendly!

This little guy is hard to see, but I wanted to include him anyway. He's a Jesus Christ Lizard, named because he can run so fast it appears he can walk on water! I was the only one in our group lucky enough to see one.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Ok, I really should be in bed. I have to be up and bright and perky for a student/faculty panel that starts in 8 hours for incoming grad students. But am I tired? Of course not! So here I am...

I've wanted to post about this for a few days, but never had the energy to write it up. Anyway, with the whole new digital age of photos, it's amazing what can be done to edit photos. For the most part, I just do basic things with photo editing software (cropping, rotating, some lightening or darkening if my exposure is off in one shot and I like the compsure of it). My parents are constantly finding art and they found a photographer whose work they thought I'd like (and I do). They got to talking and the photographer mentioned that he doesn't alter his photos.

So why am I bringing this up? I spent a *lot* of time over the summer playing with photoshop for a research project (I became our team's "graphics specialist"). So I picked up some new photo "enhancing" abilities though I still have a long way to go (I still haven't been able to successfully remove telephone poles so that it looks like they were never there). For the most part, I am happy with the photos I take with the very minor edits I mentioned above. Recently though, I took some sunset photos, and the actual colors in the sunset seemed to be a bit too harsh/bright for my liking (even though the photos looked quite like the actual sunset that night). I tend to like bright but more in the pinkish purplish colors, not the bright yellow. Anyway, I decided to play around with the hue and change it pretty drastically. The results were dramatic (it went from "eh" to "Oh, I like it" in my eyes) and got me to thinking. I'm posting the pictures below with comments on the changes I made.

So, my question is, when does editing your photo make it no longer a photo and more like an original creation? (Ok, can't get the wording of what I mean here exactly, but it's almost 3am so bear with me people-- if anyone is actually reading this:P) Or maybe going directly from my title, how much editing of a photo is "ethical" or do ethics even apply to photos? I'm talking non-human subjects here as I don't want to get into the whole "He pasted naked body parts on me that aren't mine" stuff. Ok, now I'm really rambling so here are the pics:

Sunset picture with minor editing

Same as above with hue edited

A little more change in hue

Most drastic change in hue

***Editing to add that I got the chance to view these on another computer and the changes aren't quite so drastic as they are on my computer. Oh well...***

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Pet Pictures

Cherie curled up in the chair on her blanket

Cherie in one of her favorite spots...On the cable box! Though now Sophie's taken over...

Cherie asleep on the bed...

Sophie peeking out from under the covers

Sophie curled up on my bed

Sophie wondering why the heck I'm on the other side of the window watching her (not the best picture)

I caught Ron yawning as he was lounging in the backyard

A Kitty that Visited me for a bit last year. I miss him...

Bijou on the old couch wearing her Christmas scarf

Bijou Asleep in her favorite spot-- her bed

I still have some pictures to post from a trip to Costa Rica, but today I wanted to change it up a bit and post some pictures of my kitties:) I'm also including a couple pictures of Bijou, our family dog, who we had to put to sleep in February 2004. We had her since I was in junior high and it's still not the same without her around when I go home...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hawaii Pictures (2000)

Hawaiian Sunset

View from the top of Diamond Head

Lighthouse from the top of Diamond Head (close up)

The Leeward side of the Island (where not many tourists venture)

Sunset from the Beach at Waikiki

Sunset from the Beach at Waikiki (a little closer up)

Hanauma Bay, Hawaii
As with the North Carolina pics, these are just a few from the many I took over a 2 week period and are from my pre-digital camera days. I took one day while I was there to drive around the island as far as I could go and in the process, I saw some beautiful sights...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

North Carolina Pictures (2000)

Road through the Smoky Mountains after a Spring Snow Storm

The Court House in Sylva, North Carolina

View of the Countryside from the Train
Storm Clouds Over the Mountains (as seen from my hotel room)

These are pictures I took in my leisure time during a 2000 business trip to Sylva, North Carolina. I was there for 2 weeks, so I had time to explore and drive through the Smoky Mountains and take a train ride. It snowed the night before my train trip and I was the only person crazy enough to ride in the open car, but it made for some nice shots! There are a couple pictures I've used in other blog entries that are from North Carolina as well. I decided not to repost them here as it would be a bit repetitive. I have a bunch more as I tend to take a ton of photos, but I decided to stop here for now. These are all pre-digital camera. I also went to Hawaii that year on business and have some pictures from that trip that I'll try to post some time this week as well...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Stormy Pictures

The cloudy sky at Sunset after Last Weekend's Storm

Clouds in the Sky after the Recent Storm

Monday, March 13, 2006

Switzerland Pictures

Dad at the top of Monte San Salvatore in Lugano, Switzerland

Views from Top of Monte San Salvatore in Lugano, Switzerland

Broken Chair Exhibit in front of the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
"Broken Chair: Living With Dignity After Landmines"

Broken Chair Exhibit with United Nations Building in the Background