Geology Research

Yesterday I got to work on a research project with a graduate student from the University of Southern Oregon named Reid. He was creating a detailed topographic map of some beheaded stream beds that lay along the San Andreas Fault in the area and needed some people to assist him. This was part of some research he was doing for his Phd. We helped him setup a tripod on which a high tech survey system called a Total Station was placed. This recorded distance, azimuth and inclination at a variety of points. The points were written to a memory card and would be plugged into a computer to create a topographic map that is accurate to within a few centimeters. Basically he needed one student to take notes and another to run around to various points with a survey rod that had a reflector on it. The Total Station would shoot a laser to this reflector and record the data. Two other fellow students were there on the project: Amber Rheubottom, who had to leave part way through the day and Maureen Barley. Yes, that one. 😉

I started off holding the survey rod and within two minutes of starting to record data I got nailed by a wasp. I go to put my hand in my pocket, and somehow the bastard had crawled into it! The next thing I know, I feel an electric shock and screamed. Sure enough, there was the stinger, right on my ring finger. It stopped hurting after a bit and we continued onward. However, today it is still visibly swollen and itches like crazy! I really notice the swelling when I curl my fingers to try and play guitar. Ouch!

Regardless of that, the rest of the day was pretty fun. I think we made nearly 350 measurements yesterday over this small area. Each measurement involved moving the rod about a meter in one direction, focusing the laser on the target and shooting. It took anywhere from 45 seconds to two minutes to shoot a target. We ended up being out there the whole day! Met up at about 8am and I think we finally left to have dinner at around 6:30pm. I learned a lot of stuff from Reid and it was really awesome to be able to actually participate in some real research. Apparently, they may be coming back in November to actually dig a trench across the fault to try and determine dates of various earthquakes. If they need help, they will let us know. That would be fantastic to help out on that.

Afterwards, Maureen and I decided to show Reid the joys of In N’ Out hamburgers since this was his first time visiting Southern California. Of course in my infinite wisdom, I gave him the wrong directions and nearly got him lost in the ghetto of San Bernardino. Luckily, he had Maureen’s cell phone number and we were able to find him. Best of all, he paid for our dinner since we worked so hard all day! Rad!

It was definitely a neat experience and being outdoors, even if it was grunt work, reinforced why I like geology so much. Learning about that stuff was fascinating. Also, it was great to talk to Maureen again. Despite things not working out between us, she’s still one of the most amazing and brilliant people I’ve ever met, so it is makes me pretty ecstatic to be on friendly terms with her again.

“School’s out for the summer!”

Is it bad that I’m already starting to count down school being out? I think it’s only because I’m tempting death and taking *18* units this quarter! After two days of classes, I am already beat. At least I have tomorrow off… however, I have some stuff to do for our geologic mapping class.

What is my geologic mapping class? It’s on Fridays, from 9am until 5pm. That is no typo. It is somewhat fun, but at the same time, insanely stressful. There is a lot to learn and being out in the sun all day doesn’t help. Granted, we’ve only had one class too! Ugh!

Anyway, this is quite a short post. I’m happy to be on this new domain. Check it out! I hope to implement some cool stuff soon… like COMMENTS for each of these posts. That would be rad! Of course, I doubt the 3 people that read this would comment, but I digress! See you next time.

[Updated: 11:16PM] – Testing the new comments system! Have at it. If this works, we should have comments for EACH post! Nice!

I forgot what water feels like.

Dave Schumaker hiking in the mountains Well, the title is somewhat misleading, it should probably read, “I forgot what taking a shower feels like!” I’ve returned though, and now I’m all clean and shiny again. I absolutely LOVE the Sierra Nevada mountains. The scenery is just so gorgeous. It’s hard to believe beauty such as this is only about a 4 hour drive from the “controlled chaos” that is Southern California. After spending 5 days up there, it is such a depressing sight to drop back down through the Cajon Pass and see… nothing. The air is so thick you can chew it. 😛

We did quite a bit while we were up there. One of the highlights was hiking to Bishop Pass, which is one of the many entrances into King’s Canyon National Park. The elevation is at 11,972 feet so it definitely takes your breath away. Took some awesome pictures while up there as well as geeked out at all the glacier related geology. Definitely awesome.

Did some fishing while we were up there too and I caught my first fish ever! That was rad! I proceeded to catch two more as well. I ended up letting them go however. They were too small to be worth anything, but regardless, that made my day!

We pretty much took the day off yesterday and drove around. We went up to check out the June Lake area, then recreated a geology trip (I’ve been on 4 of them to the Owens Valley alone!) where we checked out Obsidian Dome, Devil’s Postpile (my first time seeing that. Check out the top, where you can see glacial polish and striations), the “Earthquake Fault” in Mammoth and the Mammoth Hot Springs. One interesting thing to note: Since we made that day technically a “geology” day, we found this sign at Devil’s Postpile to be quite humorous. Especially since we came to Devil’s Postpile to learn about geology… not geography. 😉 All in all, we logged nearly 200 miles of driving around yesterday.

We also decided to do some off-roading trails that we’ve seen on some previous trips. We took a trail and ended up following it nearly right back to our camp (22 mile trail). It basically ended on a glacial moraine that was 500 ft above where we were supposed to be. By this time it was pretty dark and the trail looked treacherous, so we ended up stopping the truck on a few occasions and walking parts of the trail in the dark to determine whether or not it would result in us plummeting to the valley floor. We safely made it though! However, that excursion took nearly 2 and a half hours. Good fun all around though!

It’s nice to be back home though… of course it may only be for a day. A friend’s cousin is going up to San Francisco for the weekend and she invited me along. So I think I may go and visit my sister while I am up there. Yes! This summer has just been awesome.

[Updated: 10:46PM] – Uploaded a short video clip from the trip. Yes, we’re idiots. View “Playing With Fire” (477kb). Also, for those of you who care, new Offspring album due out in December. Thanks to their manager, I have a DVD that features a music video of a new song entitled “Da Hui” 🙂 Uploading it sounds tempting, but that’s how I was nailed the first time!

Into the mountains!

Alright, I’m writing this at about 12AM, I should be in bed. In roughly 9 hours, my cousin and I are heading off into the High Sierras to do some hiking/camping before he starts work and before I go back to school. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for awhile, so I’m looking forward to it! One last big shibang before school starts. I will definitely need that.

We are tentatively scheduled to return around Wednesday (that is how much food we have if we don’t resupply). However, we may stop by the ranger station in Lone Pine and see if there are any available walk-in permits for Mt. Whitney. If there are, then we are going to try to climb it! I’ve been wanting to do that *forever*! Hopefully we’ll be able to pick up some canceled permits. We’ll see. I’ll have my camera, so expect pictures of the whole trip!

In other news… it is OFFICIAL! I got accepted to San Francisco State University for Spring 2004! I didn’t have too many doubts, but it is still exciting to hear the confirmation. I’m quite ecstatic! Still waiting to decide what to do. I’m waiting to get some questions answered by one of the professors up there.

Providing we don’t get eaten by bears or some force of nature smites us, I’ll return later this week!

Discombobulated. . .

The new quarter at Cal State San Bernardino starts in just under 3 weeks. Technically, depending on what I decide to do, it could be my last quarter there. I applied to San Francisco State University for their Spring semester which begins in January. Most likely, they will accept me, since the accepted a previous application from me.

After spending some time up north a few weeks ago, it reminded me how much I love that area. I was dead set on going up there. So I filled out that app for SFSU and sent it off. Now as I sit and wait to find out whether or not I am accepted (and also wait for school to begin), I’m not sure what I want to do. There are pros and cons to each side of the issue.

I’ve met some awesome friends in the geology department during my first quarter there. That group of people just makes this major that much more fun and they will definitely be missed. As will all my other friends from this area too. I’ve also met some awesome people up north too! That is part of what is drawing me to that area. Everyone I’ve come in contact with up there is just amazing: whether it’s their creativity, knowledge, ingenuity, humor or even political views. They are just friendly. (Well, except for the people who try to mug you of course, but besides them…) There are already people up there offering me a place to temporarily stay and even a potential roommate as well! Though a potential drawback to this is that I would have to make sure I get a job that way I’d be able to eat at night as well as pay the bills. So I couldn’t just focus on school. But it would be fun to finally get out of the house and be on my own. I’d be all grown up! 😀

The weather is another aspect. While it is somewhat on the colder side up there, the bay area is BEAUTIFUL. I think I could easily put up with the weather. Southern California is so damn hot sometimes. You can only take so many clothes off, but you can always put on more 😉 Also of note is So Cal’s smog problem. It is disgusting and that is a major thing I would love to get away from.

The academic side of things is what is really giving me second thoughts. SFSU is on a semester system, as opposed to CSUSB’s quarter system. So not as many classes are required to get a geology degree there. This is somewhat of a mixed blessing. The lazy side of me thinks “heaven!” but my geeky side is somewhat depressed. I really do love to learn, and I’m afraid I’ll be nerfing that opportunity if I go to SFSU, where not as many classes are offered.

I may email my old geology professor at RCC and ask him what his opinion is on SFSU. If the geology program isn’t any good, then there is no point in going really. I’d love to be able to attend UC Berkeley, but for undergraduate work, they only offer a BA in Geology, while I want my BS. However, they are the number 3 ranked graduate school for geology in the country (behind CalTech and MIT). So there is always that option if I decide to stick around the Inland Empire for now.

I’ll have to spend some more time thinking about this issue. I can see both sides of it so clearly and it is extremely hard to come to a definite conclusion at this point in time. Mainly, we’ll have to see how this quarter at Cal State goes. Perhaps that will ultimately decide the question of “Should I stay or should I go?” Until next time…

Everything about nothing!

I guess I lead a dull life compared to a lot of people who write these things. Many people I know update their blogs almost every day! I guess I could do that too, but at the same time, I don’t know how many would be interested in reading mundane details about my life: “I woke up today and then turned on the computer! No, no breakfast, just straight for the computer!” But then again, here I am reading everyone’s blogs daily, digesting the mundane details of their lives. DOH! Ah well, part of the interesting aspect is that they are written by friend’s I don’t get to see or talk to very often: Meg, Christina, Tracy and then there’s the random ones like Noodles’ (of Offspring fame) Road Journal and of course, we can’t forget the always sarcastic but always funny: Best Page in The Universe.

Onto bigger and better things! For those of you who have had braces already, it seems like there is a secret that I’m not aware of. My orthodontist told me it would take one year. How long did it actually take and DID they initially tell you it would only take one year? I’ve talked to multiple people (many who don’t know each other) and so far, ALL of them have said, “Yeah, they told me one year, but it is actually three years.” Ack! I got these things on last October, if I have to deal with another two years. . . (At least I’ll have a rocking smile though!). The reason I bring this up though is mainly because I got them tightened again recently and they put another “chain” across the front of my teeth, which pulls the teeth together. It makes it extraordinarily difficult to bite into things. When I go to places like In N’ Out, I have to request a fork and knife with my hamburger, and the people give me funny looks.

Lastly, us California folk know the joy of In N’ Out. It is definitely a religion out here and people from other states just don’t understand it frankly. Seriously, people from other places hear us talk about In N’ Out and blush, not knowing what we mean. Yeah, it’s just us Californians being unmodest. But while on my way to Las Vegas a few weeks ago with some friends, I contemplated ordering a “4×4”. I have no trouble conquering 3×3’s and have eaten quite a few of them, much to my poor heart’s discontent. So after (mistakenly) thinking aloud about it, my friends badgered me into it. I ordered it and polished it off within 10 minutes. Insane, disgusting, awesome. One full pound of meat mind you! For those that don’t know me, I’m a rather lanky 165 pound guy and that one hamburger contained about a half percent of my body weight. Disgusting!

Confused on this “3×3” and “4×4” talk? Well if you check out In N’ Out’s webpage, you’ll notice that burger on the very first page with two patties, commonly called a double-double (and technically a 2×2). That is the largest thing they have on their menu… *but* for us who are in the know, In N’ Out has a secret menu! One of the things you can do is custom order a hamburger, you basically tell them the dimensions and they make it. So 3×3 has 3 beef patties and 3 slices of cheese, 4×4 has… you get the picture. My friend’s grandpa has apparently eaten a 6×6, though I don’t think I plan to challenge him. It is rumored someone ordered a 20×20 (for a frat party or something though) and In N’ Out had no complaints making it. Nice! All this talk is getting me hungry.

Should I join the Masses of Bloggers?

I’m not sure how frequent this little weblog will be. I know quite a few people who want me to get some sort of weblog, whether it is at LiveJournal,Blogspot or one of the other websites. I’m not too keen on the idea though, not sure how much I’d write or what I would write about.

In any case, I figured that if the urge ever strikes me to write about my life for all the internet to see, I might as well just make it a part of my own website. 🙂 So, if you want to know about the events in my life, here is the place to check! The only drawback of course, is that readers can’t comment on each entry, like they can at those official blogging sites, but in the meantime, that is fine.

I guess I will take this first official post to proclaim my love for all things Mozilla. If you aren’t using Mozilla, or one of its offspring to surf the web, allow me to ask, “WHY ON EARTH NOT??” Perhaps you aren’t aware of the numerous security holes that Internet Explorer has? Mozilla and its derivatives also have some other pluses going for them. The browsers have popup blocking built into them. That alone should make it worth it. There is support for tabbed web browsing as well, which is a feature I have truly come to love: nothing like having a dozen web pages open at once, but all within the same browser! On I.E., you’d have a dozen different windows open to do that, plus all the popup ads that undoubtedly litter most web sites.

Another feature, (though this takes some computer nerd skills) is that you can set Mozilla up to actually filter out certain images from a web page. I have mine setup to eat all those banner ads that are a specific size, not to mention any picture coming from a directory named /ads on a web server. Makes my browsing experience much better! This feature is somewhat more difficult to setup though, as you have to edit some configuration files.

In any case, I highly recommend that you download a derivative of Mozilla called Firebird. You can find it here.

And with that, I leave you with Mozilla’s own marketing campaign 🙂

Mozilla Firebird