Thursday, June 14, 2007

Long Kansas Drives....

well well well.

Remember how I mentioned that the project I was working on was pretty contentious because of some lawsuits?

well, no sooner did I get out to the site in Missouri, when the lawyers shut down the work again. I drove all the way to missouri, had one 3 hour long meeting, and drove all the way back to Denver.

funny how that works out.

I did manage to get this picture though:

its the ruins of an old Lead Mining site near where the project was. Though it's completely unrelated to our job site, it looked kinda interesting.

Apparently back quite a time ago, there were significant Galena deposits mixed in with the geology I briefly mentioned before.

If I end up getting to go back out to this site, I hope to find out more.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I made it to my destination

Today’s story about the growing general weirdness of Missouri is brought to you by White Castle Hamburgers…of which I am currently not eating.

The town I will be staying in, is like a lot of random small towns: the central super Walmart is contained in a valley, with its satellite applebee’s, chili’s, and famous footwear’s all gazing back at it from the surrounding low hills.

I’m lucky enough to be at a Super8 motel right smack dab in the middle of the action!

Today’s Case in Point:

I arrived early, and the room wasn’t ready yet, so I had a few hours to kill around town. I drove around for a short time, going into the tractor supply store, the walmart, and walked along the decimated and empty “historic downtown” as much as I could.

I also stopped outside “MEGASPORTS!”…and thought I could try to find something interesting in there. Since I’m sporty, and this was MEGASPORTS! I could get all megasporty or some shit.

SO Im’ walking into MEGASPORTS, and I look over and see a kid sitting in the backseat of a chevy cavalier. I only looked for a second, and it looked like he had a display box of sweat-wristbands. He had the box in his lap, and had scattered hundreds of little packages of sweat-bands around him by accident, and now he was trying to put them all back in.

I didn’t really think about it except “damn, that’s a lot of sweatbands”…and went into the store. After spending about 5 minutes in MEGASPORTS!, which was dominated mainly by shotguns, bows and arrows, and wildlife trophies, including a fox (who shoots foxes?), I left.

When I walked back to my car, the kid in the Chevy was still there. This time I took a better look and saw, to my amazement, that the box he had on his lap was actually an ultra-case of white castle hamburgers, sliders. He was eating them and then leaving the empty boxes scattered around him. There must’ve been like a hundred hamburgers in there.

Christ almighty, I didn’t know you could buy that many hamburgers at once…and where was this kids family? Someone needed to stop the kid in the parking lot of MEGASPORTS! From exploding…but that person wasn’t me.

Fuck it, my room was ready and I had beers to drink and emails to check.

I start work tomorrow, maybe I’ll get some hamburgers.

Highways and Bibles

After a really uneventful Drive through Kansas to get here, I entered Missouri last night at about 6 pm, and drove to the Camelot Inn in Higgensburg Missouri. Which, I’m not sure yet, may just be the asshole of the west-central portion of Missouri.

I drove all day, and when I was tired, I pulled off onto a random highway exit and went into the Camelot Inn. About 10 miles previous, I saw a spectacular billboard, light up so bright it almost eclipsed the adjacent “PASSIONS: ADULT SUPERSTORE” and “I’m Glad my Mom chose adoption and not abortion” signs.

The billboard for the Camelot Inn promised free wireless internet, a pool, and most importantly for me, a lounge. I thought, “great, after 600 miles of Kansas or whatever the fuck distance it is, I’ll get a room, grab a cold beer in the lounge and drift off to sleep”.

When I arrived, I was really dissapointed. It was this busted, bullshit little motor lodge, in which the front-desk lady was sitting squarely behind bulletproof glass. “The lounge is closed until further notice”, and “Intranets?!”

I managed to pick up a 32-oz can of High Life from the next door gas station and went to my room. Now, I was told by a few people at work that Missouri is kinda mixed. There’s a Midwestern feel there, but its also mixed with a lot of southern influence. Think of the kitchy behind-the-times feeling of portions of the upper Midwest, mixed with the blissful ignorance and shallow kindness of southern baptist community.

I’m not sure if I agree with those descriptions yet, but whatever...

Anyhow, I was sitting in my room, and I noticed a few things that really bothered me right away:

1. someone had left burn marks from a cigarette on the toilet seat…not the lid for the toilet, not the tank lid either, but on the actual seat, the part where you put your butt… So think about it, someone was smoking, needed to set a cigarette down, and chose quite possibly the most disgusting horizontal surface possible. The burn mark was about ½ inch long…suggesting it had been there for a few minutes. What the fuck? If your done with your cig. Butt, why not throw it into the toilet? Or flick it outside? Why set it down such that it lays on the toilet seat and burns a little trench into the cheap plastic? And, did this person pick it back up and finish it off? Fuuuck I don't want to meet that person.

2. There was a bible out on the nightstand. It was left open to a passage…it had obviously been sitting open to this page for quite some time as the book was flat-open, and the spine was cracked. I figured it was the standard “john 3:16” page where you go up to the open bible, glance down at how jesus died for your sins, and you were supposed to think “how thoughtful and clever to leave the bible open to this page”…

When I got up close, I noticed it was not the John 3:16 page, but strangely, Songs of Solomon, Chapter 7:

How beautiful your feet in sandals, O prince’s Daughter, The curves of your thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a skilful workman.
Your navel is a rounded goblet; it lacks no blended beverage. Your waist is a heap of wheat set about with lilies.
Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle.
Your Neck is like an ivory tower, your eyes like the pools in heshbon by the gate of bath rabbim.
Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel, and the hair of your head is like purple; a kind is held captive by your tresses.
How fair and how plesant you are, O love, with your delights!
This stature of yours is like a palm tree, and your breasts like its clusters.
I said, “I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of its branches” Let now your breasts be like clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples…..

Amazing. Why that chapter? I Have never read that before yesterday, and I sat in my room sipping my beer thinking “why this page?” Did two religious people come here to have sex and enticed each other with the bible…accidentally leaving the pages open? Did some lonesome trucker stop and read this passage like an overweight secretary reads a romance novel? Did the cleaning staff leave the bible open like this…of so, why this passage?

No matter how many explanations for leaving the bible open to this page, I can't seem to find a scenario that isn't disturbing.

Despite the completely awkwardness of my hotel room, combined with the tangy smell of feet in humid-southern-summer evening, I managed to sleep fairly well and drove off from the Camelot at 7 am.

Is this your fucking bible?

Hopefully I'll have some fun stuff to post about too...

Man. Well…I’m back on the road for a while for work. I’m working on a pretty spicy project out here in Missouri. One in which the client who we are working against is getting sued, possibly in criminal court, for some environmental damage that has already been caused.

It’s a sad tale for sure, one that could have been a lot worse had circumstances been different. Unfortunately I can’t tell you all much about in because it is under investigation and I’m not going to broasdcast the details to the legion of Cataclasite readers.

Suffice it to say that my role will be the same as almost all my roles in my job: I’ll be drilling wells, putting in geophysical lines, and doing some geologic mapping…

The job site is interesting, its situated on some Pre-cambrian rhyolitic bedrock that sat as at topographic high for much of the Phanerozoic. In short, the job site is on an island in the middle of a Cambrian ocean….so there are very old rocks there, they are VERY highly weathered, and nearby are lots of beach-deposit on-lap rocks.

I don’t know much about the site yet, since I haven’t been there, but I’m actually looking forward to it because of the geology present. I hope to have some pictures soon.

Monday, June 04, 2007

check out this picture

Check out this pic of me (on the right) with a coworker riding out at centennial cone, I smoked that fool on the uphills...

(of course he destroyed me on the downhills)

Ugh....I feel sick

Here's how much of a lazy bastard I am:

Rather than construct a real lunch to take to work today, I took a sandwich bag, filled it with oreo cookies, grabbed another bag, filled it with crackers and left.

So here I am, just jacked out on coffee and oreo cookies. shaking a bit from the sugar, nervous and extremely aggressive from the coffee.

how nutritious!


yes, Karen did pack me a nice bowl of fruit, which I ate when I got here. but since eating the oreo's, I can't remember back to like 9 am.

Speaking of Long Unfunny Desolate Roads...

We ended up catching about 35 seconds of Larry the Cable Guy on comedy central last night…and let me tell you this, I’d LOVE to read a book about Larry the Cable Guy living in a post-global annihilated world forced to live on by himself…walking around looking for food, scavenging, and quietly saying to himself “alright” and “git-r-done” like a crazy bag-lady talking to her shoes as if they were her pets. Can someone find this guy on the street and give him the Nancy Kerrigan treatment please?!?!

…We clicked to comedy central, Larry commented about butt-cracks or some busted fucking 5th grade joke, and then they cut to an audience reaction shot of a prissy 40-something successful-looking woman in a business suit heartily clapping and laughing. She turned to her friend next to her and mouthed the word “ooh, Perfect”. As if Larry’s comparison of a butt-crack to the grand canyon was crafted and delivered with the sincerity and honesty of a wine-maker with a glass of his best Cabernet. “ohh Perfect”. Riiight. Fuck you larry.

It was so lame I actually choked a bit on my cheese and rosemary cracker anti-pasta and had to take a sip from my glass of imported Czech microbrew at the same time I was changing the channel. Perfect.

The Road

I finished up “The Road” by Cormick Macarthy. I haven’t read anything else by him, but I really liked The Road, despite its endorsement by Oprah’s book club.


To be sure, the novel is pretty brutal…its set in the future, in a mad-max like world where everything; cities, forests, land has been reduced to a ash-drifted wasteland where the survivors of some global devastation (asteroid, nuclear war – you’re never actually told the cause of the annihilation) are forced to live in.

An unnamed man and a little boy are forced down a road, scavenging for their lives, all the time avoiding death squads and being un-trusting of anyone else on the road. They see the brutal realities of humanity starving to death, the inhumane treatment of people, the sheer desolation and destruction of the world, and they are forced to deal with their own existence. In a post-world-ending annihilation, what is the point of life?

Of course the reason I think this book earned Oprah’s endorsement is because of the relationship of the man and boy…They live entirely for each other…that is the point of their lives. The boy is dependent on the man, and the man is entirely dependent on the boy. In a future so bleak, what else is there? If you cannot depend on the people you are traveling with, if their well-being is not a reason for living, then what is the reason for living?

Towards the end of the book you worry about the boy “what if the man dies? That kid is fucked!” and “if the boy dies, the man might as well drown himself rather than spend the rest of his waking life lamenting the death of all that he loved and walking around looking for shitty canned meats”. Both are depressing prospects that left me wondering as much about what happens after the last scene in the book as what really does happen at the end.

I’ve never read anything else by Cormick McCarthy, and I really liked the bleak, blunt, and dramatic writing style..everything is short, quick and to the point. Its written like how I imagined the world he created to be…no need for long flowery descriptions of scenery or of the characters, because the earth is just dead, and the characters are faceless minions.

I read one Amazon reviewer where someone hated the book because if you turn to every page you can’t escape this list of adjectives: Dark, ashen, dead, grey, dying, and damp….but I think that’s precisely the point, how else can you describe the landscape? How more bleak and foreboding can you make it besides using these stark and repetitive descriptions? The world IS Dark, ashen, dead, grey, dying, and damp. There’s nothing else to describe, no trees, no green fields, no sunny days, no white fences, red barns and rolling country sides just dead ground. No bustling cities, no buildings, no white boats bobbing up and down on the docks, just ashen waste.

Finally, some of the discussions I’ve seen online talk about what the cause of the global destruction..if you consider for a minute that there was a HUGE meteor that hit the earth, caused global firestorms and climate change that decimated the entire world, and created the world of The Road, then how interesting is it to try and think about the meteor that killed the dinosaurs?

Is the Road similar to the Chicxulub impact 65 million years ago? Did dinosaurs face the same unending overcast skies, cold damp rains and dying plants? If you take out the characters in the road, and then put dinosaurs in there, have like 3 beers and turn the lights out while listening to GodSpeed! You Black Emperor albums, you can really imagine what it might have been like back at the end of the Cretaceous.

What if it really happens to humans - the earth is hit by an asteroid? Are we truly as susceptible to destruction as the Dinosaurs? Are our populations and technological successes, similar to the size and proliferation of dinosaurs (and indeed, much of the life during the Mesozoic), as fragile as they turned out to be? What if humanities destiny is merely to occupy a sequence of fractured strata that will be later unearthed and pondered like so many geologists now?

I went on an SEPM field trip (the 1997 trip) in the Midwest back in college and the trip was focused on an Ordovician sequence of rocks in which there are several groups of fossils present in the lower levels, and then absent in the upper, temporally later sequence. The data and interpretation presented was that there was an extinction event between these fossil sequences…I sometimes think about that sequence…it was one of the first and only times that geology was so plain, so dramatic, and so readily apparent to me. It was the first time I actually looked at rocks and what was in them and started to try and imagine and think about them as a story. Since it was so old, there wasn’t a whole lot of information about the cause of the extinction (or maybe I just don’t remember). What the hell happened to kill so many little critters?

A digression there I guess…kind of a rambling shitty post, but hey, I’m trying to get back into the swing of this shit.

Flight and Ender's Game..some reviews!

So not much has been going on in my life other than I've been reading a ton of books on the light rail, which makes me feel the need to make a little review:


Flight – Sherman Alexie. Pretty disappointing book. The book is about a kid who affectionally calls himself zits, who in the act of perpetrating a ridiculously violent act is whisked away to inhabit the lives of other people for a brief time, including an Indian at the battle of the little bighorn, and eventually his father.

The book is short, only moderately interesting, and touches on the same themes that his previous books do - tragedy of America’s Indian policies, the social and economic disparity between modern Indians and the rest of the world, and the loss of identity that native Americans face along with the disparties, etc… In previous books I’ve read by Sherman, these themes have all been tackled with a sense of prozac humor, and some pretty gripping drama, but this book is just flabby, busted, shit.

The book actually ends with this touchy-feely hallmark ending that makes you close the back cover, look up and say “what the fuck?!”

I don’t know, Flight is a shit book by an otherwise good author. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
– This book was recommended to me by a friend, its actually really good.

In the introduction to this book, Orson Scott card mentions that he started this book as a short story based around one portion of the novel version: the battle room. That’s the thing that stuck in my head so much about it. ¾ of the book is about the battle room – a place where children learn a counter-strike-like game that is a proxy for real military training. Set in the Future when humanity is faced with destruction by an insect-like alien race, the gifted children of the world are taken to a military space station and trained to become military officers. Its great, kind of a war-games meets D.A.R.Y.L type thing...

The last ¼ of the book is a rushed add-on to the story that essentially relates ender’s military training to the real world. He finds out that much of the simulations during his training were actually real live battles. He saves the world from the aliens by directing a massive interstellar campaign that he believes is just training.

And then of course, there’s a random, completely unnecessary side plot concerning his brother and sister taking over the world by posting on internet messageboards – a task that I have already tried to accomplish myself with no avail. This was a really far-fetched idea that was 1. completely unnecessary to advance the story, and 2. wasn’t fleshed out enough to make you interested in its outcome…Ender gets done saving the world from aliens, goes home and then “oh yeah, remember your loving sister and your snotty asshole brother? Yeah…they took over the world in a non-violent coup-de-tat using nothing but fake usernames and messageboard bulletins”

There is a sequel to this book, which I think I'll pick up since I found Ender's Game to be compelling enough. hooray for SCI-FI!