Saturday, September 27, 2008

Possums & Angular Unconformities

A relatively overcast day for a field trip - but the cool breeze and the humidity were a welcome change in my opinion. This field trip went to Morro Bay and Montana de Oro and explored plate tectonics, fog, the rock cycle, possums, structures and erosion. It was a blast - as usual!

Here's a brilliant angular unconformity, rather like Hutton's famous Scottish outcrop (only this one is conveniently in California). The shot also shows an erosional sea cave (and fog - of which there was plenty).

Some mascots were acquired on this trip. Darn, why can I not resist puppets? The mama/baby (velcroed together) possum duo found their way onto my hand before lunch, and hung out all day learning geology and teaching strike and dip. In this particular photo mama possum is pondering the potential enemy of sea anemones. I'm certain that you readers will help me name them.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

How to train for a triathlon in under 2 weeks

1. Sign up for the shortest route possible in the prettiest possible area with the smallest pool of competitors.
2. Convince yourself that holding back a paddling puppy in your neighbour's pool while drinking a beer is close enough to "training".
3. Ignore that part of the race (the run) that you hate most and pretend that it won't be included (and selectively do not train for it outside of playing basketball)
4. Sprain your achilles playing basketball.
5. Pack tape in your "transition zone kit" for your achilles - "just in case" - look at it during your transitions.
6. Ride your bike to work every day to make yourself feel better about this idiot move (almost 6 mi round trip - that's practically exercise, right?) and because you bike to work every day anyway
7. Remind yourself that you hiked Mt Whitney with no preparation and survived, forget about how much it hurt and how big of an idiot move that was.
8. RSVP for two parties the night before, forgetting that you will in fact not be in town at that time, explain to the hosts that you cannot go because you are doing a triathlon, make a weird face at them when they ask "how is your training going?"
9. Get new tires on your road bike, admire how pretty they are, continue riding your commuter bike to work because that's the one with the paniers full of work on it, admire the tires on the road bike hanging on the wall again.
10. Win first in your age group.

Hmmm - I guess doing triathlons is kinda like riding a bike, once you get the hang of it you don't forget how. Oh, and it's also riding a bike...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Building an empire

Some of you may know that the last year was pretty hellish for me work-wise. This was largely because my classes were so full, they were double-size. Luckily for me, my begging for the school to hire a 2nd geologist (thus doubling my "department") resulted in my actually getting a partner in crime starting this fall.

With renewed enthusiasm and energy, I got to work to promote geology, no longer fearing stadium-sized classes bogging me down if I were to actively recruit - as I would have someone to pawn them off on. Below is my Geology board in the outdoor hallway behind my lab. It includes awesome photos from some of my awesome field trips, a map with the trips' locations, a list of currently available courses and when they are offered, and a series of descriptions of job opportunities in the more common fields of geology.

Then, once the new guy was hired, I asked if he'd help me put together a geology cabinet based upon the geologic map that I had put together for Kern County. He immediately thought of putting a stairway across the cabinet, with samples from various units on the map arranged according to the law of superposition... the ideas kept flowing, and below is our effort. Sooner, hopefully rather than later, a bulletin board should appear on the wall above it where we can post announcements, Geology Club activities (yes, that's new), and have an interactive biweekly contest based on the display...

What's YOUR definition of "biodegradable"?

And the fine print reads "*except as defined by the states of California & New York" - how do these states define "biodegradable" I wonder?

Merriam-Webster defines "biodegradable" as:
: capable of being broken down especially into innocuous products by the action of living things (as microorganisms)

As it turns out, this company does not require their product to follow the Merriam-Webster definition or the California/New York definition of biodegradable to be labeled as such.

I guess I can be happy that the state I live in expects items labeled "biodegradable" to mean that they will eventually become compost. My neighbour who bought these will be returning them, as they are made of... surprise: plastic. Look out biobags, here she comes!