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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.

Friday, May 30, 2008


curves arcing lines in skin, form perfect in the expression of a nature, both carnal and caring, silk and cool with depth and wonder, fluid grace of muscle memory from pain and practice, seem born to you and yet earned unequivocally, thunder and lightning reminding of my impressions electric and blinding but soothing and captivating, water flowing and feeling of rivulets on flesh, goosebumps rising to greet sensation and arousal of so many things deeper than surface, reminded constantly by images and occasions simple and new but familiar in recognition, of truths and dreams, unconscious coming to life and realizations sometimes late or even frightening or unsettling in the power of their roots, like trunks of maple and oak, firm and unswaying though attempting to look past, paths separate at once and similar if not parallel, merging or perhaps only linked through anastomosis, life currents carrying quickly but ultimately steerable ways wended, priorities questioned to be introspectively analyzed, logic has little place in the ultimate end when subconscious wants persist beyond these arguments, returning to blue and black and pale alabaster peach epithelium, a smooth scar of recognition not painful but permanent, enriched by the experience but torn twixt divergence and finally bewitched.


...it started with the word, walking through the streets of Taipei as lightning sparkled in the heavens, then a rhyme rolling around as the thunder came and it was jotted with keys in the subway in less than a minute. sometimes flow of consciousness works that way...


...but I just can't not share this vid. I know most of you read this blog for the writing that occasionally shares some interesting insight into the world as I see it, be that the eastern or western worlds, academic or sporting worlds, occasionally creative worlds or just my own world... right now I'm not feeling very motivated to write anything insightful or even do work (yeah it's saturday and I'm in the office at NTU Tai-Da) so I'll post yet another youtube video that caught my eye. Japanese phenoms DJ Sara (9 years old) and DJ Ryusei (6 years old) scratching and cutting to some electro beats. pretty amazing; they have already played gigs like the Warner Music Group's 2008 Grammy Show.. they have to be the coolest kids in their class (uh, what, that's 1st and 4th grade???)


...with due respect to Shigeki Kuroda


Microtone Kitchen

Random culture of the day: experimental scratch-artists -->

Microtone kitchen is a group of young turntablists from "Quebakistan", Canada (their term, not mine). They've attempted a melding of melodic composition and DJ scratching techniques and met with some varied success, but it's interesting to see the result even if they don't always achieve the most smoothly flowing rhythm. They're still fairly new and the reality of getting four or five turntablists spinning in synchronous concert is harder than one might think. That being said, I think they're on to something and will only get better as they learn to limit the Technical and favor the Fluid. A word of warning... if you're not a fan of highly modified percussive syncopation in music, don't even bother with the clip below.

From their myspace:
"The use of turntables, piano and guitar, together in one musical breath, is based on an effort to bridge the gap between musical devices of different traditions. Whereas guitar and piano have extensive histories in practice, the saga behind the turntable's use as an instrument (both rhythmically and melodically) is relatively new. Technically, the fusion of these instruments combines various pitch articulations in both diatonic and microtonic scales. Examining microtones with a ground in the classical system reveals new ways in which the psyche reacts to music."

note: their recorded sessions sound a bit more well-polished than the live clip above... I still like it.


Monday, May 26, 2008

quick pics

small lizards feast on winged insects after a heavy rain, Taipei

flowers in the mountains, Alishan range

mural at 'Tiger Mountain' elementary school, Tainan


Friday, May 23, 2008

mmm-mmm, savory!

I've spent the last week traversing the longitudinal entirety of Taiwan. A new bed every night, hours in a car each day, probably close to ten thousand meters of cumulative elevation change. A swim in the Pacific ocean, hikes in both the Hsueshan and Alishan mountain ranges and a plethora of terrestrial, aquatic and benthic organisms ingested. Besides the mild exhaustion resulting from a week of traveling over eight thousand miles (ok I admit some of that was in a plane) I feel enthused about extending my stay here an additional two weeks. At least now I get to sleep in the same bed each night.

While here I've managed to make some very important new connections with researchers and also reconnect with some who I already know... I have also managed, by the greater grace of who knows what, to acquire a newly expanded dataset provided by the researchers at a certain eastern hemisphere oil company. This of course is data that only a handful of western scientists (read: three of us) have access to and is not published anywhere (at least not in English-language journals) so I have decided to extend my stay here another two weeks in order to work closely with the people who have been instrumental in this acquisition. The goal, as it stands, is to reach some new understanding of this information and be able to act on it immediately while I can still meet with the creators of it face to face and ask questions, so that when I get back to Colorado I am able to synthesize everything into a paper which incorporates my existing/previous works and the new info. Exciting, a bit daunting, but overall very positive. ...perhaps "fuckin' awesome" is a better descriptor. I'll be submitting a manuscript to 'Tectonics' hopefully by the end of the summer.

On a side note, I'd like to share something that made me laugh out loud recently. While driving over the Alishan range our group stopped for lunch at 2500 meters, near the terminus of the train-line that joins WuShan Mountain to ChiaYi city. The weather up there was a welcome escape from the sweltering foreland of Taiwan; so often swamped by high humidity and crushed by the weight of this planets tropical latitude atmosphere. In stark contrast to the lowlands, the mountain parks offer breathable air and cooler climes worthy of light sweaters and rain parkas (in Taipei, wearing GoreTex gives one the sense of being zipped into a body-bag with an electric steam-iron). We chose a small restaurant that looked inviting and most importantly offered some refuge from the ceaseless drizzle and served hot Oolong tea. A quick scan of the menu (which had english transliterations) showed that there were the standard assortment of traditional chinese dishes, but also some more interesting offerings of aboriginal taiwanese origin... the second item in this list really caught my eye:

I ended up going for the stir fried wild boar, which was quite tasty. I decided to leave the fried guts (from an unspecified animal) for another time.


Monday, May 12, 2008

I've never heard of this before

Check it out:

Puppy is born green

who knew?

Mw 7.8 in China, 8500 deaths estimated...

this just happened while we were all asleep last night:

BBC report of Sichuan earthquake

USGS Moment Tensor and Scientific summary

If you want to know what a true "Active Thrust" is capable of, read the USGS summary. Scary stuff. This is why I want to go into geo-hazard assessment....

... on a lighter note:

Sheesh... I had this post all planned this morning, but after reading about the 7.8 it's kind of weird.

Anyway, today marks the eve of my next trip to Taiwan... a short two-week jaunt with my advisor throughout the island. I've been running around and feeling a bit scattered for the last few days, and today isn't really any different, except for the fact that it's the eleventh hour. The odd thing about me is that this is when I am the most calm, and the most productive... I have a lot to do, but I know that it will get done.

This morning I stopped by the neighborhood cafe to get some coffee, and decided to get a fruit smoothie instead. I suppose I should have asked, but the menu says simply "raspberry mango smoothie", not "raspberry mango fruit smoothie"... Upon lifting the very bright pink slush to my lips, I was overcome by a wave of high fructose corn syrup and citric acid. I asked the barista if there was sugar in the smoothie and she sort of looked surpised, answering "it's from a mix". I left the drink on the counter and said I wasn't worried about a refund when they asked (they were really busy). I suppose it's only in Boulder (I'm sure in NYC I would have been told to get bent for complaining) but when I politely suggested that perhaps they should let people know that there isn't actually any fruit in the beverage, or at least that there's lots of sugar, they apologized and gave me a card for a free drink. It seems likely that it's a result of doing business in the people's republic of Boulder... that if something's not made of organic fruit, it's justifiable grounds for complaint, apology and refund. As ridiculous as that sounds, I'm not complaining about those standards.


Saturday, May 10, 2008


I know it sounds like something Velma Dinkley would say, but actually it's the name of my new favorite You-Tuber, Ronald Jenkees. I ran across his stuff completely by accident, but I was captivated by his quirky style and impressive musical talent. Ronald is a self taught Keyboardist and Beat Producer who, at 4 years old, started lessons on piano but soon quit because his teacher wasn't into letting him Jam. He took it upon himself to learn the keys and it shows in his unique finger style ... it almost looks like a four year old playing sometimes, combined with the skill and soul of someone who's played their whole life. The most striking thing about watching his videos is the apparent bliss that playing brings him, and for anyone who has really played any instrument before it is instantly recognizable. Check out the video below, and then go see ronaldjenkees.com.


Friday, May 09, 2008

french press

why does the coffee that I make out of my french press always taste a little off? Still trying to get things done, realizing that it's friday and I only have 4 days (max) to do it in. I know that these will be done before then, but I also can see myself pushing too hard and getting sick, so I'll be trying my best to remain relaxed... it's too bad that my motivation doesn't spike until dealing with deadlines. It's also too bad that I'm such an whore for inane anal-retentive details. I obsess about crap like whether an active axial surface is oriented at 78, or 77 degrees from the fault surface at depth. Anyway, it's about the time when I finally realize that I just don't have the time to be worried about fine details, and I need to get the whole thing roughed out.

Friday feels like Monday today, but seeing as how Monday is the eve of my departure to Taiwan I'm going to try to treat that like a Friday... makes sense, no?


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Life Ambitions

heheh, I just saw the most recent PhD comic strip... I'd like to share ;)

I just had a brief exchange with my advisor about work this week, and getting ready to fly out from Denver to Taipei this coming Tuesday... Apparently he didn't understand that when the ticket says we arrive in Taipei on the 14th it means we leave Denver on the 13th, so his plans to lead a trip into the needles district of Utah this weekend just got more complicated. I knew we were leaving on the 13th, but it doesn't make the work that I have to do before then any easier.

At the moment I'm taking a minute to look around the net for new news (check out the eruption in Chile) and enjoy my "Rizzbapple" fruit smoothie. Today is also the first day that I'm letting my finger air-out after almost cutting the tip off on sunday; my obsession with keeping my cooking knives razor-sharp has its downside. Maybe I should get my hands on some "pixie-dust".


Friday, May 02, 2008


I found a few fun pictures on my morning internet news & random image surf and thought I'd share them here. The Bakfiet is the cargo-bike with all the dogs in it. They're from the Netherlands and most of the images on the net of these shows parents carting loads of kids around in them, they are awesome, I'd love one. The second image is funny because of the little kid sitting in the saddle-bag... it's probably on a par with me riding in a plastic milk-crate bungeed onto the back of my dad's road-bike when I was a kid. The last one is funny just because the woman is commuting while wearing some pretty high-heels. That last image is from a blog site called 'Copenhagen Cycle Chic', which is dedicated to images of nicely dressed people commuting in European cities...