Archives For Life

My Facebook Network

Matthew Bietz —  February 17, 2009 — Leave a comment

In response to Jude and Eric, I decided to check out my facebook friend network using Nexus.


Nothing too surprising here, except what isn’t shown. I have “real” friends who don’t use facebook, but actually serve as connections between clusters. I also have friends who would connect clusters, but only show up in one because they made a conscious decision not to accept friend requests from any high school classmates. The only obvious individual that stands out is my bee-you-tee-full sistore, who connects the fam, high school, and undergrad.

Being Thankful

Matthew Bietz —  November 27, 2008 — Leave a comment

Nice post today by Jonathan Eisen about What Scientists Should Be Thankful For. A great list. “8. Study Subjects or Objects” seems especially important for those of us in the social sciences. I’d never be able to do what I do without the kindness and patience and time of a lot of very busy people. So to everyone who has ever shown up in my lab or sat down for an hour to talk to me, Thank You!

“We conclude that the purpose underlying differential treatment of opposite-sex and same-sex couples embodied in California’s current marriage statutes – the interest in retaining the traditional and well-established definition of marriage – cannot properly be viewed as a compelling state interest for purposes of the equal protection clause, or as necessary to serve such an interest…. Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional.” –California Supreme Court, May 15, 2008

First Rain

Matthew Bietz —  November 30, 2007 — Leave a comment

It’s raining in San Diego. We’ve already had more than 1/2″, including a few moments of near-downpour. To put that in context, our average rainfall is only about 10″. With so little rain, the roads are pretty oil-slick, which makes for a crappy commute. And there are worries of rock and mudslides, especially in the recently-burned areas.

But that’s not what I’m thinking about. This is the first big rain since we moved into the new house. It’s a bit like the first road trip with a new lover. You’ve gotten to know a lot about each other, but now you see all the annoying little quirks. I keep wandering around the house looking at the ceiling for leaks. None so far, but I discovered that the front door doesn’t have weather stripping, and with the wind today, we’ve got a puddle on the floor. The driveway also slopes a bit toward the garage, so there’s a puddle there too (although it’s not right up to the door, so probably not an issue).

But now I’ve got an excuse to go to Lowe’s this weekend. 🙂

Flaming Out

Matthew Bietz —  October 26, 2007 — Leave a comment

The fires aren’t out yet, but the San Diego Fire Chief announced today that there is no more fire threat for the city of San Diego, and Qualcomm has been emptied. The winds and temperatures are now in the firefighters’ favor. We’ve still got pollution issues – the air is still hazy, and the invisible particulate matter is high. We’ve been keeping the house closed up and we’ve got our small HEPA filter and the air conditioning fan on to help. Dan went in to the UCSD campus today – he said the smell was worse there, and there was some ash in his office around the windows (which don’t seal particularly tightly).

But all in all, we’ve been very lucky. No fires got even close to us, and the pollution hasn’t been as bad here as in most other areas of the county.

Morning update

Matthew Bietz —  October 24, 2007 — Leave a comment

Morning Smoke - 24 Oct 20077:45am: A little stronger smell of smoke this morning, but again no change in our status. There has been more “onshore flow” with the winds, which is probably the reason why we’re smelling it more. The smokey sky also made for a colorful sky. With the wind shifting, many of the new evacuations have actually been on the northeast side of the fire (that is, farther away from us).

Back in SD

Matthew Bietz —  October 23, 2007 — Leave a comment

10:15pm: I’m back in San Diego. Flying in was interesting – as we were coming in over San Diego everybody had their eyes glued to the windows. Could see the fire lines on both sides of the plane, and the eerie orange glow in the smoke we were flying through. Became even more obvious, though, that the flames are (thankfully) pretty far away from our house. The weather seems to have been slightly more cooperative today. Hope that continues.

But I’m still on Eastern time, so I’m heading to bed. G’night!

San Diego Fires

Matthew Bietz —  October 23, 2007 — Leave a comment

If you’re interested in tracking the progress of the San Diego fires, some of the most up-to-date info seems to be at the Union Tribune web site, although their servers have been pretty overloaded. The most recent news updates are at the Fire Blog. There’s a relatively recent (and frequently updated) Google Maps mashup that shows the boundaries of the fires and the evacuation areas.

I’m in Ann Arbor right now, but planning to fly back in to San Diego this evening. The airport is running as usual and is planning to remain open.

We live in the very center of San Diego, very near Qualcomm Stadium (one of the main evacuation centers). That puts us east of I-5, west of I-805, and just south of I-8. We’re essentially on the south rim of Mission Valley, and just north of Balboa park.

As for now, our area has not been evacuated, and the closest evacuated areas are many miles away. I just talked to Dan and apparently there is a slight smell of smoke in the air, but otherwise things are normal at our house.

One issue highlighted by the fire officials is that predicting the exact path is a problem because the Santa Ana winds tend to be inconsistent, and over the next couple of days are expected to turn around and head back inland.

So for now our house isn’t in the path of the fire, but it’s wait and see. I’ll post here again if there’s any major change in our status.

Moving In

Matthew Bietz —  July 17, 2007 — Leave a comment
moving in

We’re moving into the house this week. It’s basically taken over my life – it’s hard to do anything else when everything you own is in boxes. But we’re making progress. And it has been wonderfully easy compared to some of our other moving experiences. Oscar didn’t even complain too much (although he did barf in the cat carrier – he gets the carsickness).


Matthew Bietz —  July 8, 2007 — Leave a comment

Uncle BobI got back from North Dakota earlier this week after Grandma Mary’s funeral. And, in another blow to our family, Uncle Bob (Grandma Mary’s brother) died 6 days after she did. My parents and I were on the way to visit him in the hospital in Langdon, but when we arrived, we found out that he had passed about 15 minutes earlier. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay for his funeral.

Getting to North Dakota was no fun either. I was supposed to fly up on Friday, June 29, but I woke up to discover that my flight had been canceled. The earliest I could get re-booked was Saturday afternoon. I’d still be able to get to Grandma’s prayer service and funeral, but I missed my Aunt Elsie’s ordination Saturday morning. On Saturday, my flight from San Diego to Minneapolis was fine, but then they canceled my Minneapolis to Grand Forks leg at the last minute. Luckily my Uncle Ross and Aunt Lila and their family had just flown in to Minneapolis from a wedding, and were driving to Walhalla (400+ miles), so I was able to catch a ride with them. We arrived in Walhalla around 5:30 Sunday morning.

The funeral and related events were intense and wonderful and overwhelmingly sad. For me, the most meaningful and memorable part of the weekend occurred after the visitation and prayer service Sunday night. We were still at the church, and Melanie and Dad started playing folk songs on violin and guitar in the sanctuary where Grandma was laying. Soon Mom joined in on one piano, and Aunt Elsie on the other. And the rest of the family and some friends joined in playing and dancing and singing old songs. Making music together has always been such a huge part of our family, and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to say goodbye to Grandma.

My family has a flair for pomp and circumstance, and Grandma’s funeral was no exception. The family and clergy processed to and into the church accompanied by a bagpiper, although Grandma would have been mad that as a result we started the funeral 20 minutes late. After the funeral, the bagpiper also led us from the church to the cemetery for the burial service.

4626 MissionAfter all of that, I’d love to have some time to recuperate, but life keeps coming. On my calendar:

  • Close on our new house on the 11th. Move in on the 16th.
  • Fly to cousin Nathan’s wedding in Fargo at the end of the month.
  • Draft of the dissertation by August 1.

Wish me luck!