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my week in pictures

Credit: NASA/JHU APL/CIW

I've been supporting MESSENGER's third flyby of Mercury last week. I've got a description of how it went in a friends-locked entry. The contact-heavy work schedule has scrambled my circadian rhythm from day to day, so that one of the reasons I'm looking forward to my upcoming vacation is because I'll have the opportunity to resume a consistent sleep schedule. Since I've been subjected to a simulated sort of jet lag practically every day for the past few weeks, I don't expected to be fazed at all by the real thing.

Credit: DP

Last week I gave a HacDC Lightning Talk on Kōdō, the Japanese Way of Incense, in which I'm by no means an expert. But I know a little, enough to give a five-minute overview and demo. When I go to Kyoto later this month I'm going to attend a Kōdō demo by a genuine expert, and next month I'll be making kneaded incense (nerikō) at a Tankokai DC workshop. So in the near future I'll know a lot more. Let me know if you're interested in an informal demo of the wood-chip incense that's heated by charcoal in an ash-filled censer; I'm happy to share it. The Lightning Talks event was a great success, with a stimulating variety of topics and speakers.

Credit: Mackenzie

On Saturday I led the DC LinuxChix contingent of a group outing (along with AWC Maryland and GWU Women in Computer Science) to the National Cryptologic Museum. We tagged along with a docent-led tour and learned quite a bit, though we only scratched the surface of the museum's fascinating collection.

Credit: Mackenzie

On Saturday evening I joined seelevarcuzzo and Mackenzie at the Japan-America Society's Otsukimi, a traditional moon-viewing event held in this case at the National Arboretum. It was great fun, with a bento dinner, sake, haiku composition, some slightly-unseasonal-feeling bon odori dancing, and even a little practice of our Japanese. I brought a borrowed telescope and set it up to have a good look at the moon; we were lucky to have a clear sky with only a few thin clouds occasionally floating artistically in front of the moon. I wish the event had lasted longer, as we missed our chance to wander around the Bonsai & Penjing Museum and it felt like we were just getting started as it was announced that it was time to pack up and leave.

Credit: Indy

On Sunday I went climbing at White Rocks, a spur from the temporarily-closed Sugarloaf Mountain. The weather was fantastic. I attempted Sugar & Spice (a 5.2 on the Yosemite Decimal System) and Lucifer (a 5.10/5.11), summiting neither but enjoying the climbs nonetheless. I'd be tempted to buy my own climbing shoes and harness but I'm a little discouraged that the local climbing gym has discontinued their auto belay system that would have allowed me to practice on my own.

And now to prepare for Tankokai DC's Autumn Chakai this weekend and my upcoming Japan trip that starts next week. Ack! I don't quite feel prepared for either.