Girlfriend still alive but only just

Crikey. Just got home after hard day cutting through the undergrowth at the frontiers of knowledge, only to find girlfriend has been in undergrowth in Foothils Park, where she encountered a mountain lion. Five minutes of staring back and trying to look big, and eventually it drifted off .. Jeez. Difficult seminars suddenly seem tame…

24 Responses to Girlfriend still alive but only just

  1. Tony says:

    Strewth – very scary. At least in Australia you _are_ bigger than most of the dangerous things, though I don’t suppose you get mountain lions hiding under the toilet seat.

  2. Nick Cross says:

    I had a close encounter with a black bear in Aspen one October at around 11pm. I was walking back from a bar with a friend and we had almost reached our place, but were in a back street. It was so still, that I didn’t think it was real at first until I saw the steam rising from its nose. It eventually walked away after we remained fairly still and disappeared into the darkness before my friend could get his camera out.

    I hope your girlfriend was not too shocked. I was quite pleased to see the bear, certainly once it had walked away. If you don’t actually get attacked it is a wonderful experience.

  3. Martin E. says:

    Yikes. That’s a bit too real. No more laughing at the things Californians learn in school: got that earthquake drill sorted?

  4. That is crazy! Nice kitty.

  5. andyxl says:

    Nick : “I hope your girlfriend was not too shocked”. Funny, I thought you met Deb once. Made her year. Meeting the lion that is, not meeting you Nick. Oh, well, I mean, I am sure meeting you was jolly exciting. Well when I say exciting … gaaaghhh better stop now.

  6. MikeW says:

    for me the most shocking thing was the possibility that the girlfriend was not Deb! your secret is safe with me (this will be misinterpreted by most of your readers)

  7. Blogs forever says:

    Hi Andy

    Six months ago, andyxl was the eagerly consulted and sought topical blog of the day for the pro astronomer – full of incisive, and occasionally informed comment, the gripes and witty comments of ‘Angry of East Cheam’ (or Railway Cuttings, Swindon), and the thinking person’s information portal to what everyone was thinking and concerned about regarding the pressing issues of the day.

    In recent months, it has gone from the must read of the whole community, to the discussions of the vaguely interesting to the few. We’ve had lions, coffee machines, Zen lessons, Google, a Penny for your thoughts (actually well done Alan – a very good appearance …), halloween corpses, Half Moon Bay (wasn’t that an excellent Mott the Hoople track … probably before your time …), Guy Fawkes, Pumpkin Festivals … interesting as they may be – the list goes on.

    Now, it’s your blog, and you have every right to do and write in it as you want, and I don’t in any way want to criticise your right to write as you like. But you can surely see the declining number of comments that you are attracting, and differences in the wittiness of their contributions to the debate – you served a really important role, boldly going where no one has gone before, and providing a valuable service to the community by stimulating the debate and discussion of the pressing issues of the day (and not just promoting astrogrid forever …)

    I fully expect this contribution to your blog to be censored out by you before too many people get to read it – but it is neither insulting of libellous (your definitions) – nor an attack on your right to write exactly as you choose in your own blog – instead just a plea to you, as a good friend, to return to basics of what you almost uniquely did for the community for 6 or 7 months, providing an unique portal for discussions of the day, posed by your placing incisive questions on your blog.

    Looking forward to getting back to ‘normal service is resumed …’

    Cooo …

  8. Tony says:

    I suppose I really should feel sorry for people who make comments designed to stir up antagonism: what incredibly friendless and uninteresting lives they must lead.

  9. Tony says:

    BTW Andy – can you ask Deb to point us to online article/pics of Californian mountain lion like what she saw – how big are they?

  10. Michael Merrifield says:

    Wasn’t it more Fraser from Dad’s Army’s “We’re doomed” than Hancock’s Half Hour, Blogs?

    Not sure there is much to discuss at the moment, apart from the origin and destination of the £9M that STFC found down the back of the sofa, and who the least plausible nominees might be to fill the vacancies on Council.

  11. Kav says:

    Now, it’s your blog, and you have every right to do and write in it as you want,

    …and that is where the comment ends, except it didn’t as there was a ‘but’ on the horizon.

    I don’t in any way want to criticise your right to write as you like

    and then you do just that. I don’t understand the point of this comment at all.

    My suggestion to fix your disappointment in the current topics of this blog is to start your own. I’m sure that if you hit stories of interest to the community Andy (and others) will link to you. Paul Crowther may well put a link on his page.

  12. andyxl says:

    Dear Mr Blogs

    coo. Now I feel just like Bob Dylan at the Newport Festival, betraying my fans. (Anybody want to shout “Judas” ?) , Anyhoo :

    (1) No comments get filtered on this blog. Thats just why the box at the top asks you not to be libellous etc. (If occasionally a comment is delayed, its only because WordPress thought it was a spam and I had to pull it out again.)

    (2) As Mike M says, they ain’t much going down just now.

    (3) Calm down Tony, the geezer is only saying he wants the old songs.

    (4) So posts about the death of particle physics and US politics no good for you ?

    (5) OK OK I’m trying to do some science for a change ?

    (6) If we could just persuade Keef and Wadey to do something ridiculous, we could all have fun again.

    (7) Thats it.

  13. Kav says:

    (6) ‘clumsily worded’ minutes anyone?

    When I lived in Colorado we would get emails from the lab warning us that mountain lions were hanging about on the trail behind the Mesa Lab. I never managed to see one though, or bears come to that. Glad it was a harmless encounter for your girlfriend.

    Deer were the biggest encounters we had; the one watching TV through our window one night was particularly memorable.

  14. Martin E. says:

    Well I for one was finding endless back-and-forth about STFC woes less and less illuminating. I’m glad the season is over. No need for re-runs thank you.
    Bring on the ‘Oil Fear’, ‘Are there big discoveries still to be made’ etc discussions. It’s hard to have discussions like that in person. Too few people want to do so, & it takes thought to say something interesting. V. well suited to the blogosphere, I reckon.

  15. andyxl says:

    Tony : about as big as a German Shepherd. Kav : I can’t read that link ! Am not registered with Research Fortnight. Give us the dirt direct…

  16. Kav says:


    not sure how interesting it is, sounds like yet another gaffe. I would quote from the article but our access seems to be down at the mo.

    The gist is:
    STFC council minutes report that the neutron community wanted to concentrate on ISIS and ILL and not proceed with European Spallation Source (as interpreted from the PR and annual neutron users meeting). A recent neutron users meeting denied this was the case as they want the ESS to go ahead with UK support. Some sort of breakdown in communication, a split in the community, who knows?

    Richard suggested that the minutes had been clumsily worded, and in fairness to STFC they did also say the following in the minutes, after claiming that concentrating on developing ISIS and ILL at the expense of ESS:

    Council strongly supported this decision, providing that it was fully discussed by PALS, and that a Town Meeting was convened to formally secure the community’s agreement for this strategy.

    Thank goodness council had the foresight to consult further on the issue to make sure. Avoided a bigger snaffu there.

  17. Kav says:

    By the way anyone fancy a job?

    he Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Appointments Panel is seeking applications from suitably qualified academics to fill 2 vacancies for part-time membership which are expected to arise during 2009.

    Anyone fancy putting personal currency in the close vicinity of the natural opening through which food passes into the body of an animal and which in vertebrates is typically bounded externally by the lips and internally by the pharynx and encloses the tongue, gums, and teeth?

  18. Rob Ivison says:

    Just back from the GMRT in India where leopards have been seen prowling the inner square of antennas and a number of wonderfully understated notices direct you to “exercise care”. I didn’t catch a glimpse, but I questioned the sanity of my daily run around the inner square when I was last there.

    Then there are the rattlesnakes in New Mexico, of course. Had one on the doorstep of my cabin out at the VLA site, on my first trip in 1993 with my favourite old-timer, Ernie Seaquist. I’d claim to have stood my ground, but in truth I nearly required new pantaloons, as Ernie no doubt told every new PDRA from that point on.

    And then there are the fiddleback spiders at Hale Pohaku… purportedly.

    Don’t let this put you off a visit to any of these places – particularly GMRT where the food is to die for (perhaps all too literally). I had several of their astoundingly inventive breakfasts every morning and came back lardier than ever.

  19. michael Merrifield says:

    Kav — I’d be happy to, but if I applied then I suspect that the roars of laughter from Swindon would be truly deafening.

  20. jack says:

    Have you thought that the people appointed to Council might be from fields other than PP and Astro – perhaps a solid state chemist and a biologist – to help make it more healthily obvious to us all what the overall nature and mission of STFC really are.

  21. andyxl says:

    Jack : puzzled by this – did anybody say otherwise ? I would have thought it crucial that Council includes such people.

  22. Pam says:

    One of the Yosemite black bears once decided to join me for dinner. I mean I was sitting at one of the picnic tables, a friend of mine was standing over a stove making something that smelled nice, and I felt something slide up next to me. I turned my head and there he was. Bad breath. Large teeth. We stared at each other. I tried not to even breathe. If he had decided to bite my face off, there would not have been much I could do about it. I’m lucky my friend is a lot smarter than I am. He threw something and the bear turned to look at it and I edged away as smoothly as I could do.

    But I didn’t get any “she could have been killed” blog entries written about me. And when I got home to my housemate and told my story, it was “But you’re still alive so I need a ride to the store.” Oh, and my mom asked why I didn’t take the bear’s picture while he was so close.


    So glad your gf is ok.

  23. alanpenny says:

    Blogs forever:

    “a Penny for your thoughts”? oh, oh, I’m having a Rodney Dangerfield moment.

    “Well done, Alan”? Have we been introduced, forever? Do I go round referring to you as ‘Blogs’? I think not.

  24. Tom Kerr says:

    The mosquitoes around here are bloody big buggers, the largest I’ve seen anywhere. Does that count?

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