Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Inspiring Things

 .. a.k.a. some random stuff that I took note of.

This slide was at a talk in Athens. Good to remember.
From a guy from Berkeley (East Bay) in a bar in Fairhope, Alabama (Eastern Shore): I like to think it means that being normal is meh, and you should strive to be un-normal. It could also mean that the baseline of feeling normal is kinda cruddy, but let's go with my first interpretation; it's more inspiring.
Someone in Mobile did not care for Wells Fargo, putting up this simple sign as well as a banner that reads something along the lines of, "Roses are red, violets are blue, Wells Fargo sucks, you are so screwed."
Located near the USS Kidd, permanently based in Baton Rouge: "Mourn not for him. He sails with one more divine."

Ladies' Night has always been a thing. From the Old State Capitol's display on Huey P. Long: an old election party meeting that says "All Democrats and Especially the Ladies Are Cordially Invited to Attend."
Lastly, this one isn't so much inspiring as disturbing, so can we all agree not to do this anymore? (Low-fat, lactose-free creamer powder, bleh.)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Cajun Problems

In the words of Led Zeppelin: When the levee breaks (or rather, when the ropes that tie down your houseboat break)... mama, you got to move.
There are a lot of houseboats in the Atchafalaya River Basin, and some of the uninhabitable ones are salvage jobs just waiting to happen. All you need is your own personal barge to carry some Caterpillar-type big rigs through the bayou, and these houses could be all yours! (The house in the crappy picture below is, in fact, on its side.)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

NOLA and Mardi Gras

I went to the Chewbacchus Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans (my first visit to the Big Easy), and I only took 3 pictures. Better luck next time.

For reference, I have learned since moving to the Gulf Coast that Mardi Gras isn't just a day; it's a month-long lifestyle, with parades and king cake out the wazoo. Also, parades aren't parades without beads and other throws (and the locals expect them). And so without further ado, the pictures.
 (My first beads, thrown from a balcony on Bourbon Street)
 (The Creole Queen riverboat on the Mississippi)
 (St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square)
(Krewe of Southdowns night parade in BR)

I went to a total of 8 different parades in 4 cities (New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Mobile, and Fairhope), and now I have soooo many beads decorating my apartment. I tried not to be a scavenger, as per unofficial NOLA rules, but I did snag the following beads on the ground outside the community park that I walk by on my way to work. Get a load of the mouth on that guy.

Camellia Land

It turns out that the state flower of Alabama is the camellia, and they grow prolifically on the Gulf Coast.

Back in December, Evan and I checked out the camellia garden at the Mobile Botanical Garden; we were a smidge early to get all the blooms, but there were a satisfying number of lovely blossoms to reward us for our effort.

Fast forward 2 months to Baton Rouge's Botanical Garden, and their camellias are going strong, too!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Gulf Coast Thanksgiving

A trip up to Tennessee for Thanksgiving wasn't in the cards this year, but Evan and I enjoyed a proper Thanksgiving dinner in Mobile. Our nearly-vegan dinner included green beans sauteed with orange zest, cranberry-orange dressing, squash-chestnut-pine nut-sage roast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie, veggie gravy, giblet gravy, and turkey, plus some fine dark beers.
The trip wouldn't have been complete without a sunset visit to the Fairhope pier and the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island. That's right; Thanksgiving by the sea.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Red Stick

I headed over to Baton Rouge in November, and I've been steadily checking out its offerings since then. While perhaps not the most exciting of cities, BR has some gems, both hidden and very visible. The manmade Lakes just to the northeast of the LSU campus are a nice feature that have running and bike paths along them, plus lots of ducks, geese, and cypress trees.

The weekly downtown Farmer's Market is a surprisingly good one; not sure why I was surprised, as it should be, since Louisiana is a great place to grow plants with its ridiculously long growing season.
There are levees everywhere, which I guess is necessary for a state with the combination of something like 600 feet of relief across the entire state and the Mighty Mississippi. Located by the levee is the Old State Capitol, which is a really gorgeous building both on the outside and the inside. It's probably my favorite sight downtown.

The LSU Botanical Garden has a nice set of walking trails, where you can see such beauties as trilliums, box turtles, water snakes, and even cottonmouths (not pictured).

I spend a lot of time in trucks and boats on and en route to the Atchafalaya River basin (Cajun country), where I work with a freshwater ecology research group to collect data on the state of water quality. More on that to come. Thus far, Baton Rouge is okay. We'll see what kind of weather craziness the summer brings and see how I feel after that.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Fun with Chemistry in the Kitchen

I got a review in chemistry upon moving into my apartment in Baton Rouge, where my sink was spouting out hot water that smelled like rotten eggs. Running the hot water for several minutes cleared up the problem, though it returns anytime I've been gone for multiple days. While undesirable, the smell isn't the biggest issue: it's that my sterling silver ring turned black after being exposed to the water!
I was not pleased with this turn of events, so I turned to the internet to find a fix for my ring. The solution was the following: boil some water, place a piece of aluminum foil in a small bowl, pour a few teaspoons of table salt and baking soda onto the foil, add the boiling water, toss in the ring, and voila! Instant clean. Insert something clever here about ion exchanges... it's a little insight into what goes on in your water heater.