About Me

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I'm a consulting geologist for a small company in the Denver area. I study problems related to active tectonics, using geomorphology, structural geology and remote sensing.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

fixie

so i submitted some photos of the fixed-gear bike i built, along with a description, to the fixed gear gallery. you can see the post here.

~t

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

kamikaze

yet another fool freshmen attempted a kamikaze cycle-run at me on my morning commute to school today. this one was even more ridiculous that the previous suicide-run made by the girl on her bike (read below), in that they were on the opposite side of a very wide path... 20 feet or so. as we were about to pass each other, he suddenly swerved accross the entire width of the road and cut right in front of me... running right off the road and into the grass. it was a narrow miss, with his bike nearly brushing my front wheel. i couldn't quite tell what the hell was going on... if he was out of control or just crazy, but i held my toungue (for the most part) and continued on my way, since there was no contact of bike or body.

~t

Monday, September 25, 2006

old pics







these are oldies, but goodies... thought i'd post them after recently rediscovering them....

~t

double cortado

wikipedia defines the cortado as:

A cortado is nothing more than an espresso "cut" (from the Spanish and Portuguese cortar) with a small amount of warm milk to reduce the acidity. It is popular in both Spain and Portugal, as well as throughout Latin America, where it is drunk in the afternoon. In Cuba, it is known as a cortadito.

so... imagine my reaction when a new barista at the local (and formerly my favorite) cafe on the hill handed me a large cup overflowing with foamed milk. I feel like mugatu complaining about foam ("i feel like i'm taking crazy pills!!") but what a pain when all the good people you know at a coffee shop suddenly disappear... and are replaced by people who think that dunkin' donuts coffee is actually palatable.

speaking of unpalatable... the attitude above pretty much fits nicely into that category. anyway... it's monday afternoon and my caffeine hit was supposed to be fueling my reading of another scientific paper (energy expenditure during cataclysmic flooding) but is instead fuelng this rant against ignorant baristas.

plans this week are pretty minimal, but the weekend will be spent mountain-biking at buffalo creek near evergreen, co. in fact, the first day will be spent working on trail maintenance; the second will be all riding. the whole shebang is catered and is supposed to be a lot of fun. the trails at buff-creek are super-fast and flowing singletrack on hardpack, so on sunday i will be concentrating on just having fun, rather than pushing the envelope. all, of course, in the interest of avoiding another high-speed expulsion from the designated trails. the nice thing about buff-creek though is that there aren't really any cliffs, so the worst that could happen during a crash might be an encounter with a cactus.

~t

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

math-ese

hey all,

i just got finished with an assignment for a class based on the physics and chemisty of the solid earth. think about things like radioactive nuclide decay rates and the density structure of the deep earth as a function the entropic state of crystaline atomic organization and you'll get an idea of what this class is like. needless to say, understanding (or at least explaining) these kinds of ideas requires a fair amount of math: multi-variable calculus, quantum mechanics, etc. i, for one, suck at math.

i was complaining about this fact to someone and she (a chemist by training, and daughter of a math teacher) answered back with the inevitable 'but math is the universal language' bit. ok, ok, fair enough... yes, math is to a certain degree universal... inasmuch as there are certain undeniable truths in nature (the physics of thermodynamics in four dimensions, for instance) which have discrete and absolute mathematical descriptions. this fact however has no bearing on my frustrations with my own inability to solve differential equations to save my life. I offer another excerpt from an email which illustrates my feelings:

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yeah yeah yeah... I've heard the whole "universal language" thing before. if traveling the world has taught me anything, it's that no language is universal, and that no language makes sense unless you speak it. i'm sort of like a foreign exchange student who still sucks at speaking a certain language because i haven't found a way to really learn it yet and i can get away with broken speech most of the time. the frustrating thing is that i almost always understand the process or idea behind the problem, and can usually jump to the goal without the benefit of an analytical path, at least qualitatively. of course i understand that calculus offers elegant solutions and descriptions of most natural phenomena, if not the only solutions in some cases. i just tend to feel that math in general should not be used as the sole method of explaining a system, since math (or at least an analytical equation) doesn't always provide the most illuminating explanation to a majority of people. i'm sure i've mentioned in the past that i bounced around between things like philosophy, literature and architecture before settling on geology. i finally went into geology because I felt like it was something that i could understand implicitly and wouldn't always require mathematical abstractions to explain (but still offered a chance to think critically about science and complex systems)... in my case, math is merely a tool to offer some quantification to what I view as a largely qualitative and intuitive field... one that is inherently interesting to humankind and has affected and shaped our societies since literally the beginning of time. for me, geology is the study of where we live... what processes shape our world and what that means to people all over the planet.

perhaps hate is too strong a word for the way i feel about advanced math... it's just frustrating to me, much the way it is frustrating to not be able to talk to people in their own language where ever i happen to be.
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~t

Monday, September 11, 2006

high speed sage

i know i've been slacking on keeping this blog updated, but i've been busy having fun and spending time outside instead. below is an excerpt from an email to a friend about my activities over this last weekend.

------ ~t

... I was actually in Salida, CO over the weekend on another mountain biking trip. I (along with a good-size group of folks) rode the "Monarch Crest Trail" which follows part of the continental divide. the ride starts at about 11,300 feet and works its way up to around 12,000. unfortunately the mountains had just received their first dusting of snow so that particular morning it was cloudy (no view) and cold (30 degrees?). as we rode along the ridge crest, more snow and small hail came in and very suddenly there were a few lightning strikes and thunder off our left side. so... we're all totally exposed above treeline, in the snow, and in serious danger of getting struck by lightning... needless to say we all decended the next mile or so as fast as possible to get down into the trees again. It was exciting to say the least, but as soon as we got down to about 10,000 feet again it was sunny and warm, and the light was shining through the aspens as the trail wound down a long valley along a nice stream. By the end of the ride I was pretty tired, but happy to have gone on the ride. That was saturday... yesterday there was another, shorter, ride that was a lot of fun. I almost made it through the entire weekend without incident, but literally less than a mile from the end of the ride I had a very high-speed encounter with a lot of dirt, rocks and sage-brush. I was cruising (~ 20-25 mph) down a smoothly twisting section of trail on the final descent and somehow got my wheel out of sorts with the edge of the trail around a sweeping corner. for a second or so it was touch and go; maybe I could pull out or maybe I would go down, but once I crashed it was very hard and fast... I basically just saw a blur. what actually happened (as far as I can tell) was I went kind of over the bars, kind of off the side and straight into a section of loose dirt and small to mid-size rocks (thank god it was all loose stuff) that had a lot of sage-brush growing around. I rolled a few times but mostly went into everything face and arms first. I couldn't really see anything (eyes closed!) but there was an overwhelming aroma of sage as I tore through something like 15-20 linear feet of brush. I got up and besides a few minor scratches on my cheeks and jaw, a slightly bloody knee and a gently abraded hip I was totally fine. I was so stunned that I couldn't tell immediately if I was OK or if I was bleeding from the ears and missing teeth (I wasn't). The best part was walking 30 feet back up the trail to where I first got into trouble and following the furrow in the dirt and trail of broken sage branches to where I came to a stop.
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of course the best part of this whole thing was being able to walk away relatively unscathed. i spent the next twenty minutes or so riding out the wave of endorphin and adrenaline induced euphoria and blabbing ceaselessly about the experience as i picked sagebrush twigs out of my shorts and hair. it was also lucky that it was kind of chilly on the trail so i was wearing a couple layers of clothes including some loose nylon shorts and a long sleeve jersey. believe or not i'm actually improving as a rider... i'm just pushing my riding more; riding faster and harder trails and almost considering the purchase of a full-face helmet at some point in the future.

~t