Christmas In Space And San Francisco - And How I Almost Got Married
    By Bente Lilja Bye | December 28th 2009 09:20 AM | 19 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Bente Lilja

    Earth science expert and astrophysicist writes about Earth observation, geodesy, climate change, geohazards, water cycle and other science related...

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    Christmas Tree
    Photo: Bente Lilja Bye
    Christmas at Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco.

    The American Geophysical Union is said to be the world's largest gathering of geoscientists. Remember that planet Earth is exactly that – a planet. So include a number of astronomers and astrophysicists in this herd of nerds, some 16000 of them actually. This gathering is misleadingly called The American Geophysical Union Fall meeting, when in fact it is more like a Christmas meeting as it takes place the week before Christmas every year in San Francisco, one of my favorite cities in the whole wide world.

    AGU 2009

    Topics like natural hazards including earthquakes are of course included in the vast scientific program this busy week in San Francisco. And San Francisco with it's location right on top of the San Andreas fault couldn't be more appropriate for this event. Let's just forget that if the next 'big one' should strike during this very week before Christmas, a substantial amount of the world's expertise on earthquakes would be in jeopardy. Oh, well. What are the odds for THAT! Right!?

    Read more about San Andreas Fault Zone Observatory.

    Surely, an earthquake in San Francisco would be a disaster. So was my attempt on getting married in San Francisco. We met on the internet, as I assume is the modern way of finding your spouse these days and I definitely wanted to be modern. I'll spare you the romantic details, but I almost  succeeded in finally getting hitched via cyberspace. I even convinced 'the victim' that he should take my name, that is how modern we were. Unfortunately, someone (I'll name names in just a bit) wouldn't have any of this modernism and effectively prevented a happy union across all sorts of boarders. (Europe-US, barbarian-civilized, human-toy, space – cyberspace, etc, etc). 

    Photo: Hank Campbell

    Short happiness: Mrs. and Mr. Bloggy Lilja Bye at Union Square, San Francisco.

    After chasing us around San Francisco for sometime this someone finally succeeded in separating us as he snatched my cybercatch right out of my hands. The expedite annulment was immediately enforced, according to some special, special local San Francisco law. Or, that is what Hank told us. That is correct. Hank from is soooo conservative, he didn't want any of this cyber romance getting real in San Francisco. No way, Jose! Besides, Hank told me, Bloggy had no time for a private life as he's schedule was filled to the rim with star celebrity meetings the next couple of decades. “Viking lady, go home!” Hank demanded.

    Hank and BloggyPhoto: Bente Lilja Bye

    Look, how radiantly happy he, Hank, is after preventing another person's happiness! What has the world  come to? No wonder there are wars!

    Being an astrophysicist color my perspectives on most aspects of my life. Evidently, after the failed marriage I started to look for light. Since, like every big city, San Francisco suffer from light pollution so that we cannot see the stars properly, I turned to the more Earthly light, namely Christmas lighting. Huge Christmas trees saturated with shiny bulbs and other festive ornaments can be found practically everywhere in San Francisco. I decided to focus on Christmas trees instead of hurting my eyes searching for faint stars above my head. I was hurt enough as it was after this marriage disaster.

    As so many times before I only had to turn to the stars to get all fixed again. Looking at the  Christmas trees led me straight out into the universe and by the end of the day the Bloggy incident was but a faint memory. Just look what I found in the San Francisco Christmas trees!

    Christmas,tree,San Franciscochristmas,tree,san francisco

    My journey out into outer space started by enjoying these wonderful Christmas trees; on the left the Macy's tall tree on Unions Square and on the left the Nieman Marcus indoor tree. I took a really close look at them:

    Christmas at Union Square - Close

    This reminded me of star galore in Omega Centauri:

    Omega Centauri
    Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

    Next I am magnifying the Nieman Marcus tree:

    Nieman Marcus Christmas tree

    Which instantly brought me right out to M13

    M13 Star Cluster

    Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

    Finally, even in plain daylight, I managed to get carried away from Fisherman's Wharf to a supernova.

    Fisherman's Wharf Christmas Tree

    The ribbons on this tree was abundant as you can see and I remembered the magnificent ribbon of a supernova remnant.

    SUpernova remnant

    Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

    In the end I remember that we have a Christmas Tree in the heavens also.


       Cosmic Christmas Tree - at last. Credit: ESO

    Space gives me so much comfort.

    By now I had decided to forget this idea of being modern. Well, sort of. I met another cyber gone real friend, Klassy, and we went all classic at Castro. Alfred Hitchcock covers all my needs for excitement from now on. 


    Happy New Year Ya'll! :-)


    Fossil Huntress
    A very Happy New Year to you Bente! We'll have to thank Hank for saving you from Mr. Cyber only to deliver you to SB 2.0... creating a tale with a modern and much more pleasing twist. xo
    A very Happy New Year to you too, Heidi!
    I'm glad you said SB 2.0 and not Science 2.0, because you know that is a trademark belonging to a certain Mr. Marriage Pooper. That's Hank-  yes, girl. That is Hank Campbell. hahaha

    I had a great time in San Francisco. You should go visit Hank and Bloggy yourself if you haven't already. My guess is that Bloggy will be tremendously famous and quite a celebrity himself very soon. So go secure his autograph before Bloggy get's too blazed to talk to commoners. :-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    Well, based on my second marriage I would say that you were lucky that your cyber romance didn't culminate in marriage. That's how I met my second ex-wife, namely on the Internet. Needless to say it's not an experience I'd care to repeat. LOL ;-)

    I love the astroimages! They're real eye candy for me! The one of the cone nebula is particular beautiful. I know what you mean about space giving you comfort. I believe it was Einstein who said,

    “Out yonder there was this huge world,
    which exists independently of us human beings
    and which stands before us like a great,
    eternal riddle, at least partially accessible
    to our inspection and thinking. The contemplation
    of this world beckoned like a liberation.”

    Well, that pretty much sums it up for me.

    The photos of you and Hank came out really nicely. Now I know that Hank can smile! LOL ;-) It look like you had a lot of fun in San Francisco.

    The San Andrea fault has been of particular interest to me over the years. Since you posted so many beautiful photos, I will end by posting a core sample of the San Andreas fault with the main culprits, the green metamorphic ultramafic serpentinite and talc carbonate.

    Happy New Year!

    That is one awesome stone you got there, from San Andreas! Wow! Looks like something you could find at MOMA. :-)

    Hank has a winning smile as we say in Norway, and he is a great guy (no, I am not sponsored by SB to say this. :-))

    I dare say I hopped on my chair when I read this piece of local SF news. After reading the story I realized that the bear at hand was BLUE and not white like Bloggy! But with all this stories about Music and Marijuana here on SB and Bloggy meeting all sorts of people, you never know. :-)

    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    You know some people get hair dyes? Imagine what they might do to someone of Bloggy's size.I'm not pointing any fingers here; I'm just saying...

    As an aside, I would like to point out that Hank would never pay people to come on his website and endorse him and talk about what a caring and generous employer he is. Just throwing that out there. :)
    "So, I says to him, 'what do you mean my wife is sleeping with a protoplasm!?'"
    Why did you have to deprive me of my naiveness? I hadn't thought about that... :-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    Gerhard Adam
    That's how I met my second ex-wife, namely on the Internet. Needless to say it's not an experience I'd care to repeat.
    Well I certainly hope you dumped your ISP!
    Mundus vult decipi
    Well, I must admit that I am disappointed. Clearly, you two were made for each other. Perhaps things will work out better next year.

    I haven't been this close to getting married since my teens, so yes, I am disappointed too. hahahaha

    I hope Hank will see that I am serious marriage material and that I will not be an embarrassment to Bloggy when he entertains all his celebrity friends. I'll try to prove myself in 2010, then. :-)

    PS. Guys, remember this is fiction and definitely not science. ;-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    You know, I was wondering what had happened to Bloggy; I haven't seen him around the office in a while, and now I hear he's off getting almost-married. Man, does that little bear get around! :P
    "So, I says to him, 'what do you mean my wife is sleeping with a protoplasm!?'"
    I am just happy I was having a good hair day.   The little bear can take care of himself.
    LOL Hank! Good hair days are good enough for me too. hahaha
    LOL Bente! That's funny about the bear stuffed with Marijuana. hahaha
    And, Hank does indeed have a winning smile. I imagine he's left quite a trail of broken hearts with that smile. hahaha ;-)

    Eric, did you just chicken out here? I thought I saw a couple of images of you here the other day? Well, I was gonna tell you that; a winning smile you might have, but you gonna show some teeth to convince the audience where I come from. hahaha

    If Hank had been a heart breaker, I don't think his wife Kim would have fallen for him, she is too smart for that. So, I cannot but conclude that Hank do not misuse his powers. Right, Kim? :-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    Personally, I'm starting to develop a crush on Bloggy, the bear. LOL ;-) Maybe in 2010 you should focus your nuptial advances on Bloggy, Bente. ;-)
    Like I said, I almost succeeded with my nuptial advances on Bloggy in 2009. Perseverance in 2010, then! :-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    I don't know how this bear does it (maybe females like moody, silent types?) but the line of women wanting to run off with him is so long it can probably be seen from space.
    ROFL Bente and Hank! ;-)
    Space gives me so much comfort.
    Yeah! Claustrophobia is such a bore!

    Excellent pictures, Bente, the one of Hank is of such a high quality that you can detect the myectomy of the currugator supercilius.

    Sorry, Hank - I'm in comic mode at the moment.
    (What do you mean: "It doesn't show."?)