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.

Monday, April 30, 2007

200th post!

ha. this post is my 200th on this blog. a lot of those have been mundane and forgettable, but hopefully a few of those have stood out for some of you readers. so, some quick stats: since starting this blog a bit more than a year ago, it has seen well over four thousand visits (4295 at this moment). on average the site sees traffic from around 80 unique users a month, or 30 unique users a week. traffic to this site originates from 5 continents, mostly north america and asia. friends and family in new york, florida (hi mom), california and taiwan top the list of most frequent visitors... thanks for all your attention and positive feedback. and for the few of you who have asked: no, i still haven't submitted any of my essays to the new york times travel section, or any other periodical... maybe soon.

anyway.. thank you all for your readership, and please feel free to let me know if there's anything you'd like to see me write about. here's to the next 200!


science-y stuff

phew... still plugging on this foreland reconstruction. for those of you not on the up and up with my daily research progess, my current project entails reconstructing the kinematic history of the taiwanese foreland (literally the land in front of the mountains) for the last ~2 million years in the region directly west (or tectonically 'in front') of my study area, Puli. the idea is that in order to know where things are going, one has to know where they've been. it all involves a lot of pseudo-3D geometry and eye-crossing. by pseudo-3D, i mean that i'm using 2D constructions, based in different (orthogonal) coordinate systems and trying to kind of mesh them together. think of two pieces of paper, each with something drawn on them, each one penetrating the plane of the other at a right angle. the combined drawings on each sheet defining the structure of an object within its respective plane, giving a 'pseudo-3D' rendering of what that object looks like in real life. this isn't supposed to sound like plato's allegory of the cave... it's less abstract than that.



Friday, April 27, 2007


what a show-off.... actually, i've been practicing my wheelies around town for the last couple of months. i'm working on 'manuals' (coasting wheelies: no pedaling to keep you up, just balance) not so much because they're useful on the trail, but because they're just fun.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

steeper than...

i think i mentioned something about 'clearing technical lines' while in moab. it occurs to me that not everyone is a mountain biker and so not everyone will really appreciate what i mean by that. the term 'technical', when talking about bike trails, generally refers to the level of difficulty and by default the likelyhood of a rider navigating the trail without falling and/or getting hurt. on the east-coast, technical trails often have sections that are off-camber, choked with gnarled tree roots, loose rocks, or some combination of those. out here in the rockies and out on the colorado plateau, 'technical' can mean something different. i've gone from riding a hardtail (rigid) frame back east, to a full suspension bike with 6" of travel on both wheels... just so i can actually ride trails here without getting off my bike every 50 feet.

one particular obstacle on the trail 'behind the rocks' in moab is call 'nose dive hill'. it is steep. it is rocky. more accurately, it is bedrock and i suppose you could describe it as a cliff of sorts. our group of riders came upon nose dive at the same time that several "jeepers" (4WD off-roaders) did... both groups, one fueled by cafe lattes and power bars, the other by beef jerky, beer and gasoline, stopped at the top to scout the descent. each group tried sizing the other up and summarily decided the other had a snowball's chance in hell of actually making it down in one piece.

looking up the outcrop at nosedive. notice
where the guy in the foreground is standing...

dropping in from the top

...remember that last drop-off the guy was standing on?
in the picture it's directly above my head and it's what
i just had to ride off of to exit the line.



my technicolor leg

not surprisingly, i came back from moab with some bumps and scrapes... nothing big (not like one of the other guys who came away with 7 stitches in his face). classic for me though, i did crash my bike fairly hard on a section of trail that was smooth and open on the first day. i was feeling sort of off that day, and barreling into a corner with lots of heat didn't pan out for me as well as i would have liked; i went over the bars but somehow managed to scissor my left thigh between my frame and handlebars. the bike proceeded to follow me up and over, finally landing on top of me (i said it was classic). anyway, my thigh now exhibits a wonderful technicolor bruise that takes up significant real estate... check it out:


Wednesday, April 25, 2007


just snapped this out my window...


moab, take two...

i returned to moab, utah, this past weekend. ostensibly to ride my bike (which I did quite a lot of) but more accurately to escape the confines of my office for a weekend before locking myself in for the remaining two weeks of the semester. the weather was fair, the riding was good (i managed to clear some very technical lines), and on the morning we left the views were beautiful. see below....


Monday, April 23, 2007


occasional deep rumblings that resonate with the earth are felt as waves all through my body. thrum of heavy, cold drops hitting the ground and trees and roof above me. expectant breeze comes through the screen triggering memories of past storms, past nights, past loves. the sensation of mist, like that from a waterfalls spray, is everywhere. colorado has blurred my old familiarity with rain and humidity. the feeling of swimming in a creek, beneath a waterfall, in the rain, surrounded by lush foliage and steep valley walls has all but been forgotten.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007


wednesday brings another geomorph seminar and heaps of crap to do before the weekend. well, to be fair, i've had heaps of crap to do for weeks. reading through the last few blog entries here, i'm summarily unimpressed. my tone has been blunted and tired for a while, my accounts uninspiring... my single attempt at exposition left unfinished. the events at virginia tech making such writings seem unimportant. i didn't mean to actually write about this, but there's no reason to avoid it; it's certainly on everyone's mind. talking with friends and colleagues, reading news reports and blogs, it seems this shooting has literally been felt around the world. people wonder to themselves, 'would I have the courage to stand up, to fight, to survive?' i myself ran through the idea in my head... in each scenario the events play out like a movie but in the end the shooter lies incapacitated and i am standing. yeah right. before more students (and professors, i'm sure) waste their time on running through close-quarters combat scenarios in their heads, i suggest taking a step back.

i remember thinking on the day of the attack, 'why did it go so far? how did students and professors NOT manage to subdue Seung-Hui sooner?' more and more reports of bravery and thoughtful action continue to come out about that morning. professors barracading doors, students using belts and power-cords to fashion tourniquets stemming arterial flows. then there are the witnesses recounting Cho's expressionless, methodical and efficient manner by which so many lives ended. did he suffer from some form of psychopathy (as opposed to a more 'normal' type of depression)? were his writings any indication of real actions? was he careful and consistent with taking his medications? was Seung-Hui Cho in some sort of fugue-state, was he capable of controlling his actions? some reports make it sound like the shooter showed cold and brutal conviction, exacting death on all in his lines of sight. others describe him as tormented and confused, hesitating at first before committing wholly to oblivion.

some questions will never be answered, but i think it's clear that some important questions have been raised.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

sunday's deep house

di.fm is re-airing an old dj set today... it's ok, they've hosted better. i'm hanging out in my office today, continuing with these restorations, since i blew it off yesterday to ride my mountain bike. double cortado losing heat on my desk. my plant is getting kind of dusty too, i should clean it off sometime.


Monday, April 09, 2007



i just got into the office, bright and early, at 10:30. now, i've never been known to keep a strict schedule unless absolutely required... i prefer instead to mosey in when i like (which can be 7:30am, or 11:30am depending) and as long as i feel productive then i don't sweat the details of how many hours a day i spend sitting at a desk. the funny thing about this morning is that i happened to walk in at the same moment that my advisor walked in the opposite end of the building... it seems he holds to many of the same practices and values (including work schedules) that i do.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007


i recently drove three thousand miles through the southwest united states. at times the personal habits, and foul odors, of four other men in the same truck made it nearly impossible to reflect in any way upon the sights surrounding us... but there were also plenty of opportunities to stare. to soak in the hues and textures of the desert. to watch the play of light across broad plains and tall ranges. to marvel at the impressive forces required to literally tear the stony crust of this planet apart. to feel so fortunate to bear witness as a guest of this earth...

~to be cont...

Monday, April 02, 2007

back from the desert

finally back from my latest trip. ten days driving through the southwest. colorado plateau, mojave desert, death valley, grand canyon... lots to see in less than two weeks. i have some great images in my head and things i want to write about, but i need a little time to sort through and pick a topic.. check back for some type of expository or creative writing on that stuff. i'm also planning my next trip to taiwan... this may. at the moment i'm thinking three weeks in country, at least half that time crawling through deeply incised drainages in a sweaty jungle looking for some good outcrop exposures... it's always a bit of an easter-egg hunt over there. I'd also (obviously) like to spend some more quality time in Taipei... one of my friends recently opened her own cafe so i'll at least have to check that out. spicy-pot and dumplings are two other things, ah yes, and 'er-ro' (goose meat), that i need to get my fix of while there ...though i think i'll leave that evening of absinthe and cigarettes and deafening music to a younger, more foolish version of myself.