Friday, April 30, 2010

People I Drink With

This wasn't supposed to be the theme of this post. But reviewing the last few months' photos, I cannot deny reality.

Stanimal turned 31 in February. All of the new graduate students (and me) helped her celebrate.
It was a progressive drinks party and my house was the second stop. Things got off to a really quick start once I handed out French 75s, which are Champagne spiked with brandy. It was like riding a booze sled down Mt. Everest.
We needed it though. Stress in graduate school is like the tide.

Continuing the escapist theme, our warm-ish winter had left us all slightly loopy from the lack of snow in the valley. One sunny Sunday I grabbed a couple of our Irish undergraduates and headed for Helena. It's not exactly a destination in Montana--basically a lot like any other sleepy government town--but I'd never been. There's actually a lot of cool stuff there, but I don't know why it hasn't taken off. Maybe the people are just boring?

We stopped at the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historical something-or-other. It felt good to get sun after having been cooped up all winter.
The Deer Lodge Valley is just pretty.

Helena has a couple of breweries but, moreover, has the state historical museum. It's full of Charlie Russel paintings, which are very cool. It's worth a visit but was basically dead on a Sunday afternoon.
I like the big skull out front.

A few weeks later I had my 31st birthday. However, my actual birthday was spent sitting in front of a machine shooting lasers in to zircons at Washington State University. It was tedious and tiring but getting it done was a great way to cap two-plus years of anxious anticipation. Eight days of shooting zircons left me completely wiped out.

We celebrated awhile later. It was a speakeasy party.
None of my photos really do it justice. You'll have to take my word that it was the best birthday party I've ever had. And yes, the Creepy 'Stache is 100% real. It was birthed by my prior facial occupant, Ugly Homeless Beard.

Somehow I managed to pick up a scholarship at the end of my very last semester. I'm blowing it all on obtaining more radiometric dates from volcanic ashes in my field area. But to do that, I need samples. So I found a snow-free day and ran down there to grab some.
Thunderheads built over the Anaconda Range and dropped bolts in to the mountains. I watched from afar between flurrystorms and blasts of sun. Summer doesn't really get going around here until July.

I graduate in August. There are many things I'd like to do between now and then, but first and foremost is to finish the thesis.