Vacation Time!

Hardly any updates as of late! Leaving later today to spend the week in San Francisco/Berkeley area. I’m really contemplating going to school up there. Hopefully I can get an appointment with an advisor at SFSU sometime this week to help straighten things out and work out a possible schedule.

In anycase, have a happy new year!

Musical Mayhem!

Cool! A song I’ve been basically putting together for the last 3 months is finally finished. Part of me wanted to just get it finished and out of the way and the other part was looking for something to do while avoiding my physics homework. Anyway, you can download the final product here, entitled “Tsunami Rock”. It is really a working/honorary title, since it was recorded using the guitar I bought from Tsunami Bomb’s guitarist. Total song length is 4:52 and it’s a 4.6mb mp3 file. If you check out the music page, you can find previous iterations and earlier versions of this song as I went along. It was originally (working title) entitled “Simple Punk”.

School is almost done! One more week of classes to go plus finals. I have quite a few projects that are nearly due for many of my classes. The biggest one, which is thankfully almost finished, is entitled, “Sediment Loads of the Lower Colorado River.” Basically, I’ve concluded that at present levels, sediment will completely fill Lake Mead by 5743 A.D. Of course that isn’t factoring in isostatic subsidence, Lake Powell filling up, debris flows from the Grand Canyon, or even if Hoover Dam will last that long, so take that date with a large grain of salt.

Anyway, I hope Thanksgiving was great for everyone. Personally for me, it is all about the pumpkin pie! πŸ˜‰

Thanks Mr. Schwarzenegger!

I used to love to post my political propaganda all over my website, but I’ve kind of toned down in recent times since it’s somewhat useless. Just lately though, there is something that makes me extremely irate:

Because obviously education is the least of our concerns: Our new governor of California is cutting $223 million dollars from the state’s universities. Now how rad is that? The Cal State system already increased tuition this year by 30% compared to last year, while the UC system increased their tuition by 25%. Now with this huge cut, how much more is tuition going to have to be increased next year?

I guess it is somewhat arguable that we would have eventually had to do the same under Gray Davis. But the thing I didn’t like about Arnold’s solution for balancing our budget was his mentality of “We’re going to cut taxes, but keep spending the same!” How on earth do you balance a budget that way? Glad to see he’s had a change of heart. I mean not only is he cutting out a source of revenue by repealing Davis’s car tax, he’s also cutting spending on one of the most fundamental and important parts of people’s lives: their education. Hmm, could it be because that intelligent people vote democrat? I mean Karl Rove, Bush’s advisor, even reportedly said, “As people do better, they start voting like Republicans – unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing.”

Granted, it’s inevitable that there are going to have to be budget cuts, but why is education always the first thing that is looked at? Ugh. Whatever though. Maybe I’ll have less homework to do now. Heh. :-/

In other news, new Offspring album entitled “Splinter” will be released next week. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I’ve been able to hear it. Sadly, I don’t think I will be parting with $13 on a new album from them. It’s especially sad since this is one of my favorite bands of all time too! Why can’t people make good music again?

More related music news! I’m a “model” for Tsunami Bomb! Hah! Basically I know the chick who does the merch stuff on their website. She asked if I had any Tsunami Bomb shirts and to take a picture in one. You can see the results of my dorkage on their website. Click Store -> Click on the first shirt you see that has a fire extinguisher on it.

Regardless of the overall depressing tone of this entry, things have been going good! School is winding down and lots of projects are piling up and nearly due! About 2 more weeks then we’re done! After that, I’m taking part in a geology project where we will be using some expensive GPS equipment to track movement of the Pacific and North American plates in relation to each other. It’s not too glamorous work since we basically sit and babysit a large GPS receiver all day. However, it’s fascinating what we will possibly be able to find out though!

Well, until next time! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s been a long time…

You may have noticed that it’s been quite awhile since the last journal entry. Life has been extremely busy!

In any case, I believe I have been blessed with strange super powers. I’m not talking about the ones that many people I know have, including my close friends. The ones where it seems that by the mere virtue of them sitting in a vehicle, they can turn any traffic light they approach from green to red. No, mine are much more unique.

When going for a walk around the neighborhood, campus or basically any place during the evening, it seems that as I approach certain streetlamps, they will turn off or turn on. I’m sure many would write this off as a random occurence, but it happens often enough that I notice it! Not sure exactly what it means however. And it’s somewhat inconsistent. They’ll be nights where I somehow affect every light on the street and other times where I can go days without noticing anything. I’m sure it’s all completely random. But if I do have some strange super power, it’d be nice to know how I use it. I don’t see how affecting random lamp posts will help me save the world. I also notice I have the same affect on SPRINKLERS! Gah! I can just imagine my name: “The Wet Lightbulb Boy!”

Wet Light Bulb Boy In Action!
Wet Light Bulb Boy in Action!

Changing subjects, I’ve noticed a lot of people trying to get in touch with me during the week can’t figure out my schedule for this quarter, so I went ahead and posted it! Not sure if it will be that useful, unless you want to stalk me, but feel free to try. You can find it here.

Registered for next quarter this past week as well. Current classes that I’m enrolled in:
Geology of California
Structural Geology
Perspectives on Gender (general education class I need to get out of the way)

18 more units! My time should be much more open though which should be nice. I want to take Physics II to get that out of the way but there is a scheduling conflict with Structural Geology. Talking with some of my professors to see if we can work something out, which may involve taking the classes at the exact same time… so I’ll be making up a lot of work. We’ll see where the pieces fall into place on that.

Not too much exciting news lately. There was the Old Fire in Waterman Canyon that happened 2 weeks ago. I took some pictures from on top of Strawberry Peak when my dad had to take some equipment up there to get the emergency radio system back on track. You can check out the fire approaching Crestline in these pictures. I know of one fellow geology major who lost their house in that fire and a girl in another one of my classes also lost her house. Extremely sad. We even lost a few temporary classrooms at school and it was closed for 2 days

It’s quite late and I have to wake up for classes in a few hours, so it’s time to go to bed. Hopefully you’ll here from me again sooner rather than later!

Another entry! Run for the hills!

Alright, you might have noticed that there have been no updates in quite awhile. School has just absolutely been killing any free time I have. Of course my sister says, “maybe if you didn’t write these long blogs that no one reads, you’d have more free time!” Quite right Michelle! Whatever though, it’s a mixed blessing. It is a great feeling to actually have stuff to do, but at the same time, there is hardly any free time to do stuff I enjoy or for leisure. It’s somewhat easy to fall behind too with all the stuff going on right now.I need to seriously reconsider this 18 units a quarter thing… because next quarter I’m considering doing 19 units. πŸ˜€

What’s been going on as of late though? A lot of geology stuff, however that isn’t the only thing. About a week ago, Maureen hooked me up with a research project that she is helping out with that deals with a lot of radio astronomy. I haven’t been able to spend as much time on that as I’d like to, especially since there is quite a bit to learn. To give an overly simple explanation as to what we’re looking at: Looking inside a dust cloud and seeing just what the heck is going on. I suppose it sounds somewhat bland, but the concept is fascinating, especially considering that we’re some of the first people to *ever* see these objects. But then again, I’m a huge geek. πŸ™‚

This past weekend, we had a 3 day excursion in our geologic mapping class to Rainbow Basin out near Barstow, CA. We were mapping rock formations for all 3 days. Rainbow Basin is a beautiful area and I’m sure I would enjoy it much more on my own volition. Apparently, something like 80 temperature records were broken across the country this weekend, including Barstow (which is in the middle of the Mojave Desert anyway). One of our fellow students took a temperature reading and it was 102 degrees in the shade! A lot of water and a wide brimmed hat helped to alleviate any discomfort though.

Regardless, it was still brutal: Friday, Saturday and Sunday our schedule was to be out there working from 8am – 5pm. You could take breaks whenever you wanted, but we had a lot to get done. We had to take lots of attitudes of all the beds, identify different rock types throughout the whole basin, map where different rock types contact and also note features such as faults and the axis of folding that is going on in the area. Despite the heat (which was primarily the only thing that worked against us on the trip), it was cool to apply our knowledge and see how it works out in the real world. However, despite having 3 full days to work this weekend, quite a few of us are going back out tomorrow in order to finish up some mapping. I have a few pictures I took of the Rainbow Basin area and some of the things we were doing while out there. As soon as I get more time, I will post them, most likely on the geology part of the website.

The weekend before that, a few of us went out to Trona (which is another place that is basically in the middle of nowhere) to do some mineral collecting. We collected large pieces of a mineral called hanksite. It forms from evaporite deposits and creates these beautiful crystal structures. Then we camped around the Trona Pinnacles, which were just awesome as well. All in all, I have had A LOT of geology lately! I’m sure most of you probably have had your fill of it by now anyway. πŸ˜‰

I’m writing this up from the library at school at the moment and then emailing this to myself so I can post it when I get home. Pretty lame, I know! I should probably be studying for a midterm that I have in 5 hours, but we all need breaks right?

Lastly, some music news: I am now the proud owner of Mike Griffin’s (guitarist of Tsunami Bomb) Epiphone Les Paul Custom that he has used for the last 2 years. He even recorded parts of “The Ultimate Escape” (their most recent album) with it! RAD! You can check out the guitar here. The red one is mine and the black one is his. It was definitely an awesome deal in my opinion. I even got to go backstage to pick it up too. That was fun! So yes, that makes 8 guitars. However, 3 of them are currently up for sale! I just need to find some people interested in buying them: Squire Stratocaster, Gretsch Electromatic Sparklejet and an Epiphone Les Paul Gothic.

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, who had to leave part way through the day and Maureen.

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. πŸ˜›

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. πŸ˜‰ 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” πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ˜€

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 πŸ˜‰ 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…