Thursday, February 28, 2008

What are my friends all up to?

I've been out on field jobs for too long now and I feel colossally out of touch with everyone I've ever known....well not quite everyone, but mainly friends and stuff.


Anyway, I'm getting ready to head back home again and I'd like to get back in contact with everyone.

If you want to hang out with me or maybe catch up on life, gimme a holler!

Holla, Holla, Holla!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Its been 10 years!

so...I know its ridiculous, but as of today I have either been dating and/or married to my wife for 10 years: Mrs. Karen.

10 years. can you believe it?

Here's how it went down 10 years ago today:

I was working with my wife at this oil and gas company. She was the secretary-type working at this glass-topped desk right next to the elevators at Aspect Management - a small oil and gas company in the paramount building in Denver. I was this loser who just graduated from college who used to get off the elevators every day and see her and think "damn dude, that chick is HAWT!" I'd talk to a few of the people that worked with her. I stood around the copy machine and the fax machine alot.
As previously blogged, I was a penniless twit who was living in a homeless shelter.

About 3653 days ago I said "hey, want to go to the art museum this weekend? its free or something...?"

She agreed.

I met her at about 2 pm or so on 16th street in denver. I walked down there, she took the bus from her suburban apartment. I'm pretty sure I met her outside the walgreen's.

the whole scene almost went exactly like Dave Chapelle's First date from half baked...I didn't have shit for money, so we went to the free-day at the art museum. There was some nude photography exhibit, and I purposefully stood next to the pictures of naked people saying things like ", what do you think of president clinton?" She gave her opinions freely, talked nicely, and was pretty formal.

About 2 hours later I didn't know what to do, so we decided to take a cab back to her place (as I currently did not have a place), and ordered a pizza and watched the Sound of Music. A cab? pizza? musicals?

Seriously. How's that for infatuation? I was so into this girl that on the first date I think I actually said something like "Julie Andrew's Musicals from the 1960's? I LOVE THOSE!"

We proceeded to watch the sound of music and eat pizza until both of us fell asleep, I woke up on her floor the next morning with the worst back-ache I've ever had. She asked me if I wanted a ride home, and I said "OK", and I had her drop me off near the Perkins restuarant on East colfax avenue. It was one of the best "dates" I ever had.... even though I was left standing on a street corner on one of the most urban corners in Denver.

I didn't even get to kiss her until a week later or so when we were downtown in Denver hanging out again. I have to convince her that I had this pressing issue at my work and I had to, HAD TO, go there, and she had to come to so that I could get her alone and kiss her.

ridiculous. here it is though: I still love her as much as I did the day I saw her. ....wait...nah, fuck that shit, I love her more today than I ever have. and I'm in Sacramento, at an airport, getting ready to get on a plane home.

All can think of is getting on that couch, sitting next to her with the dog, the cat nearby, s'awesome.

She's my best friend. thats it. thats all you really need to know.

Hikin' Around New Almaden!

Its been quite awhile since I posted anything closely related to geology on this blog. Honestly, in the last few months I haven't really been thinking about it. Snow is covering alot of the good geology in denver, and out here in Sacramento there's not much to look at.

A few times during my stay out here I was staring at the cutbanks of the American river just HOPING that there might be something exposed thats interesting. The best you can get from that though is thinking about the pre-levee flood cycles recorded in the not-quite-lithified beds. oh well.

So I went to New Almaden County Park this last weekend. New Almaden was a town located near a few small Mercury mines that were established in the early-to-mid 1800's and produced a shit-load of Mercury right up until nearly the 1970's. They Mainly mined out a mineral Called Cinnabar, which tastes great and when powdered can be heated up, releasing a wonderful sinus-clearing vapor. (ha...actually its a mercury sulfide mineral that if handled incorrectly might either 1. cause you permanent brain damage, or 2. kill you).

The miners used to crush down the cinnebar, heat it to about 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point sulphur and mercury gas were given off. The Mercury gas was funneled off into condensers and then bottled to make bomb fuses and rectal thermometers. The Sulfur gas was released to the atmosphere to cause acid rain for the people residing just east of the smelter.

This is the remains of the Mercury Condensor at the New Almaden Mine area. the big horizontal pipe was used to funnel off the mercury into the condensers. Its also an awesome location to spray-paint the name of your up-coming San Jose straightedge hardcore band for all to see.

The mine area is also a stone-throw next to Loma Prieta, the mountain whose name was used to name the 1989 San Francisco earthquake that delayed consumption of beer and dry roasted peanuts during the World Series. The Epicenter of that earthquake is located fairly close to the park, but I didn't go see it.

Like so many mines in colorado, the hey-day for this mine area appears to have been in the later part of the 19th century. New Almaden also happens to be the setting of the first portions of the book "Angle of Repose" by Wallace Stegner. Which, interestingly enough is not mentioned at the actual New Almaden country park...not a singlereference to Stegener's book, despite his romantic and vivid description of Lyman Ward's Grandmother's experience of it.

Anyhow. The park was awesome, it was about 65 degrees and sunny when I was there, and the trails are ridiculously well maintained. The mine ruins are constrained to a few busted old non-descript buildings, an Eagle-Scout-project-created Historic Trail map, and a few rapidly fading descriptive plaques. I rolled around there for the better part of a day, at one point I forgot to pay attention to the trail maps and ended up walking 4 miles out of the way down the wooded hill trail.

"What the hell? where's the trail? I can't believe I got lost in a county park trail...considering how much boasting and arrogance I express when pressed on my ability to use a topographic map and brunton compass!"

I kinda wish I had more time there, and that I had prepared for the geology more...there was some great exposures and the cenozoic history of the mountains is complex..something that requires a little more involvement to understand and appreciate than staring at the mineralized joints and rocks at the county park and going "damn, I wish I knew more about this."

Anyway...I have to get ready to go work now.....

Some of the old, twisted trunks of Cypress trees and the trail. the crappy pictures are a result of using my camera phone and not a sweet real camera. sorry.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

No, Actually it DOESN"T work,!

I'd like to tackle a bit of bullshit that I'm tird of hearing about on jobs.

The Divining rod. I know what your thinking..."Joe, no one takes that shit seriously anyway" and you'll think I'm creating a controversy that doesn't really exist...

But, I shit you not, there are currently at least 3 people in my office that "believe" this shit works.


As a professional geologist, we do a lot of invasive work in the earth: trenching, drilling, excavator work etc... and Utility locates are actually pretty critical to alot of jobs. I've been on rigs that have hit utilities, and it tends to make everyone nervous - (is that just an old concrete storm sewer, or a high pressure gas line?)


I've talked with a few people who swear, that no matter what, they ALWAYS can find utilities using divining rods.

But I've taken a dramatic stance on them: if anyone pulls divining rods out on a job I'm on, they are immediately off the project. I do that for 2 main reasons:

1. if a client comes by and sees us standing around with divining rods trying to find where we will be digging, what will they think?

2. We are supposed to be fucking professionals whose job it is to use SCIENCE to find what's in the earth.

Most recently, I've been working in Sacramento on a field job doing geophysics: using a method that is commonly used to find buried utilities in abandoned industrial areas, or on military bases, or whatever. I'm out here working with a Geophysicist, he's 37 years old, has an MS degree in geophysics, and does UXO removal for a living.

He Believes that the use of Divining rods works. He is also a dumbshit.

SO I ask him:

1. If they work, why have you never included them in any job you've done?

2. if they work, why not use them rather than pay for real geophysical equipment? A bent coathanger is alot cheaper than the $40,000 resisitivity system we are currently using.

3. why haven't you patented this new technology? if there really aren't any studies out there, but you know it works, why not write that article demonstrating their use? you'd be famous! you'd also be Rich for developing a technology that industry could certainly benefit from.

4. and i tell him, "if you pull those divining rods out on this job, I'll have you off this project tomorrow..."

naturally he got all pissed and provided the following arguments to me:

1. Despite the fact that there is not a SINGLE reference in a peer reviewed journal to the successful deployment of divining rods, he "knows" they work.

(I actually contacted my Brother-in-law Scott, a graduate student in physics, to search some journal databases and he found no positive papers that reference the sucessful use of divining rods, for ANY purpose. I couldn't find anything on google scholar either...and a general google search only revealed a "straight dope" article talking about how it doesn't work.

2. He personally knew This guy who lived in Hawaii who could locate buried utilities or metal 80% of the time. This is quite possibly the most juvenille and stupid argument for anything I've ever heard.

3. like the hypothesis of Plate tectonics as proposed by wegner lacked sufficient data to support it when it was proposed. Divining Rods also work, they just lack supporting data. Actually its nothing like that, because even plate tectonics was used to explain existing observational data (fossils, stratigraphy, and continental geometry)...thats how science works.

4. I just haven't tried to to it myself and therefore I don't know that it can work. Oh believe me, I can make that thing work 100% of the time over areas where I know there are utilities, and I"m not going to spend my time trying to find unmarked utilities.

Normally, I'd let this shit slide and just shrug it off, but this is a guy whose ONLY job in life is to Find buried items using geophysical methods.

I finally had to end the argument. I bet him, and I'm extending that bet to ANyone:

if you can show me that this method works: peer reviewed journal, or even a technical article from a private industry that can demonstrate a positive correlation between divining rods the location of buried utilities, water, or ore bodies, I'll pay you $100. No grey literature will be accepted, and full datasets must be available for scrutiny.

I don't even want to hear shit like "I know this guy really good at it" or "dude...seriously, shit works."

there you have it, its on the internet now, I can't retract it. Don't worry, I have the $100, and I have if you can show me the science, I'll show you the money.

until then, Piss off with your folklore and quackery. yeah, I said "quackery". ass.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Steamboat Memories...

Here's a youtube video I uploaded commemorating our recent Steamboat trip:

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Live- Blogging the Superbowl

I'll be live-blogging the play-by-play action from the awesome superbowl today from 3 pm to whenever its over, can't wait for those sweet commercials....

...wait a minute....nah, fuck that shit, I'll be watching old Warren Miller Video's on ESPN classic and getting drunk on coors light and gentleman jack bourbon.

Old School OP snowboarding, ha, 1,000 times better than the superbowl this year.


Glen Fucking Plake!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Live for nothin', or Die for somethin'

I few years ago, I actually read the David Morrell novel "First Blood" after seeing the movie play on TBS or some other shit basic cable station. I thought the novel was terrible. Though I did like the whole Idea of Rambo dying at the end....oh shit, did I just ruin the book for you? ha.

Tonight I saw RAMBO, the new movie. I won't ruin the whole movie for you, but suffice it to say, the plot is even more ludicrous than you think. Its a pure blood-fest; so gory and violent at times its almost laughable. its also really loud.

its cliche, ridiculously violent, intellectually vacuous, and ultimately pointless....but but but, there's this awesome scene where rambo kills EVERYTHING with a huge machine gun! YAHOO!

Here's the last thing I'll mention: If I'm 85 years old, or however old stylvester stallone is, and I still have forearms that look like bridge cables, I will definately make insanely violent movies that showcase my own bad-assed-ness.

New Year, New Ideas

I plan to destroy my lack of blog posts with updates of devastating awesomeness coming this weekend and beyond.

Of Note:

I'm back in Sacramento
I'm bored
Sufficient interesting shit has happened that warrants internet sharing
I've got to get going or I'll be late for work
I still like geology
I've consumed sushi in the last 24 hours

Here's a sweet picture of my friend Tony Shreddin' Chute #3in christmas bowl At steamboat, colorado (taken by me last weekend):