About Me

My photo
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, January 25, 2007

"real" ramen

ramen: the staple of the grad-student, hailed by many of us with a respect and wonder worthy of a deity.

of course, there are many kinds of ramen, including: your garden variety ten-for-a-buck el cheapo brand, the good stuff you can only buy in asia, and for the adventurous or procrastinating person - "real" ramen. by 'real' in this case, i mean homemade. no, i'm not including the noodles in the list of homemade items, but here's a break-down of what i'm eating at the moment... it's fast, cheap (tho' not ten-cents-cheap), and kicks the pants off any of the normal store-bought crap out there.

take one package of 'good' ramen (the kind that's large and circular and comes in the mylar wrapping with little or no english writing on it, about a buck-fifty a pop), open, take out the noodles and toss whatever m.s.g. laden flavoring packets are inside in the trash; that's right virginia, we're starting from scratch. put the noodles in a big bowl, one that holds about a liter and a half of liquid. if you've ever eaten at a real asian noodle joint (thai noodles come to mind) you know that the bowl you get is freakin' huge... and yes, you slurp down the whole thing. now, add to the dry noodles: a few tablespoons of tamari sauce, about a tablespoon (or two) of rice vinegar, a solid one-second-count pour of extra-virgin olive oil, a dash of sesame oil, and a few squirts (about one teaspoon, or more if you're really macho) of crushed chili or garlic/chili sauce (I like the vietnamese stuff in the clear bottles with green tops). chop a couple green onions and throw them in. add some greens; spinach is ok, but something like bok-choy or even some good romaine lettuce work best. meat. meat is key. go nuts, use shrimp, pork, beef, whatever. i like pork, and this is how i prepare it: take a frozen porkchop and shave off (use an extremely sharp and sturdy knife - i have a knife i bought in taiwan that is specifically for pork and chicken, but any heavy cleaver-type blade will work) about 4 ounces into 2-3 milimeter thick slices. note that if the pork isn't frozen you will never be able to slice it thin enough to cook properly. throw it into a smoking hot wok with some peanut oil and a squeeze of lime juice. brown it just barely (less than 30 seconds if the wok is hot enough) and throw that on top of the still dry ramen. you can boil water (about a liter) in the same wok and then add it to the bowl of noodles and other good stuff. cover. wait. eat with gusto and loud slurping noises. i guarantee that it will be soooo much better than any normal ramen you've had before.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

worlds foremost architectural geologist

this week is all about reading papers. 2 for tomorrow morning's geomorph seminar, 4 for thursday morning's tectonics and climate seminar, and another 2 or so on my personal list.

i'm having a hard time letting go of winter-break, even though my school-related workload is basically perfect. it's easy for me to see how the lifestyle of a slacker ski-bum would be pretty enjoyable... at least for a little while. i've always been a little jealous of some of my friends who lead that life... but i don't think i could really do it. ...or i could, but i'd feel like i was missing something.

i was recently discussing (well, via e-mails) something related with a friend about the fact that we (and anyone else who was born between late-january '79 and mid-february '80) are rams according to the chinese zodiac. the key point of the idea is that rams are supposedly artful, stylish and emotional people who should avoid science because our personalities are ill-suited to researching such things. at times i agree with this. there are occasions when i curse the day i chose geology over architecture, but they are few and far between. the real reason i like this field (and it's pretty much the same reason my friend has given) is that i find science is more difficult than art or design. it's a challenge to apply my mind to problems that can be infuriatingly complex or just confusing and come up with some answer (or at least hypothesis) to explain a solution, especially if it's a solution that my spatio-visually oriented mind can come up with that short-cuts all the in-between steps of calculation (which isn't always a good thing; i usually have to go back and explain out how i figured something out, which is often harder than just reaching the answer). i've spoken of this in the past, but it's just been reiterated to me (via an observation that i've never heard anyone but myself say out loud) that structural geology is essentially the study of the architecture of mountains. architecture can be defined as the complex or carefully designed structure of something. i hereby dub myself the worlds first (and foremost by default) "architectural geologist".


Monday, January 08, 2007


so, first off... if you don't know: i'm still taking classes. that's what happens when you wait 'till you're 25 to start grad-school. i am really looking forward to the day when i never have to sign up for another required course again. that being said, i got my grades back today and have to say for how much i hated the class i've been griping about for the last few months i'm happy with a solid b. i was somewhat worried about my potential grade after the midterm (which i muffed) but managed at least to pull it together in the end.

you should realize that in grad-school, a b grade is more like an undergrad c, but my gpa is still quite good, so who gives a crap. next semester is the first time i'll be taking just the classes i'm really interested in: tectonics and climate change, geomorphology seminar and field tectonics seminar. they all have to do with active tectonics, structural deformation and geomorphology. if they hold my attention, i'll be looking at a return to the glory days of school when i actually got straight a's. it's strange how my grades tend to be directly proportional to how interested i am in the subject... supposedly it should be tied to the difficulty of the course, but in the past i have aced difficult/interesting courses while nearly failing boring easy courses. advanced kinematics vs. intro computer programming for one example.

several of my friends have recently reiterated how they tend to think in if:then clauses and "for" loops because they spend so much time dealing with code. blech! give me a geologic map, some colored pencils and drafting tools anyday over lines and lines of eye-crossing code. one reason i enjoy working with my advisor is his description of what he does for a living; "i make pretty pictures".


Friday, January 05, 2007


first off... more snow! we've got a healthy 8" of fresh powder on the ground this morning, and more on the way. this winter has been insane so far, and i hope it continues this way. i am hatching plans to hit the slopes tomorrow maybe... if it's safe to drive up the canyon. in other news, well... there is no other news. it's still winter break and i am just sitting in my office thinking about cross-sections and cool ways to do a quasi-3d rendering of restored thrustsheets ('blah blah blah').

i also cut my hair the other morning and decided to rock a faux-hawk for a while... my hair actually does this naturally anyway, but it's especially easy if i cut my hair right. check it out-