22 November 2006

Two weeks

I've got less than two weeks before I leave New Zealand. It's a little hard to believe that my first foray into this foreign place is nearly over. Soon, I'll be heading back to Colorado.

On the other hand, I have so many things that need to get done here before I leave. I still haven't found out if I will be able to stay on for a PhD. I can only hope that I am able to find that out before I leave the country.

I have a lot of work to try and complete in the next couple of weeks, and that isn't going to make things any easier.

05 November 2006

Sometimes we lose things


If you ask anyone who knows me, they will confirm that I'm not very good at keeping track of things. So when I saw this sign during one of my walks around town, I was really moved. Something about losing something so unique touched me. Although many of the things that I've lost have been simple items were a replacement could easily be purchased, it would not be the same simply because I wouldn't have the same history with the item. I hope they find their bear.

02 November 2006

Why no posts?

Well, I'd like to say that I've been to busy and dedicated to post anything for the last few days. But the truth of the matter is that I just haven't really had anything that sparked my interest and desire enough to post to the internet. Life has been going on mostly as it does for a grad student. I'm still working on my conversion to a PhD program. Things are still looking hopeful, but the fact that the Geology department recently merged with Geography has made things slightly more interesting. But, life goes on.

I'm a pretty avid listener to "All Songs Considered", and although I normally try to take note of the artists that are reported, I don't actually make an attempt to find out about them. In a recent episode, two artists really caught my attention. One Ring Zero play some wonderful, slightly quirky music. Something like TMBG, but not as far out there. Their song "Natty Man Blues" is absolutely wonderful. Christine Fellows's song Souvenirs gave me shivers. It's a long time since a piece of music has given me that feeling. I love it so much. These are two artist that I will begin purchasing music from.

Also, a friend recently reminded me of the great music that Polaris did for The Adventures of Pete and Pete. So, I made a quick search on Amazon, and found out that the CD was available. This is also going into my pile of things to buy with Christmas money.

29 October 2006

A good run

I meant to post this yesterday, but I didn't manage to get around to it for one reason or another. I had a really nice run in the Auckland Domain yesterday. I decided to experiment and take a longer route than I usually do. This turned out to be a very good idea. The weather was beautiful, and although the run really kicked my butt, I definitely enjoyed it. Part of the run is through a part of the Domain that is almost native bush. I may have to go back just to take pictures some time.

18 October 2006

Podcast 2

I've got Podcast 2 up finally. This is all about my adventures helping a friend with an amateur film. Check out their site here.

17 October 2006

Geomechanical testing

After waiting patiently for several months, I've finally been allowed back into the geomechanics laboratory. This means that I'll be able to advance an important angle of my thesis again. I'd nearly forgotten how difficult some of these tests are to run. I'm glad that I have a lot of people to ask for help. They keep me from messing up all my test results. If I messed up the tests I would not have a good thesis in the end.

14 October 2006

The truest essay ever

I'm a regular NPR listener when I'm at home, and since I've been in NZ and schedules and time differences being the way they are, I've taken to listening to my favorite programs via podcast. Some I listen to all the time, like Science Friday and All Songs Considered. Others I haven't managed to listen to with regularity. I just listened to the best This I Believe essay ever. It's entitled "There is no such thing as too much Barbecue". If you have a chance, I recommend having a listen.

12 October 2006

Wikipedia

I feel like such a geek now. I've started editing Wikipedia pages. This is really something that I never planned to do, mostly because I didn't think that there would be anything that I would ever know more about than someone else. So my two pages that I played with are as follows:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matata%2C_New_Zealand
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1987_Edgecumbe_earthquake

I really am proud of myself. But also horribly embarrassed that I'm blogging about editing Wikipedia.

10 October 2006

Final Section



Well, after another few minutes of talking with my supervisor and tweaking, I've come to a more finalized version of my generalized stratigraphic section. This is a huge part of my thesis and demonstrates some of the more difficult work that I have done. For example, I have about 12 drafted sections that I used to create this one. I also have about 120 pages of field notes and observations with sketches and sections. This single graphic represents a huge amount of field data. I can only hope that it will someday be useful. Remember, you can click on the image to view a larger version of it.

09 October 2006

Moment of Clarity

Have you ever had one of those moments were something just suddenly makes sense to you? I had one of those tonight.

Now, I'm a Barenaked Ladies fan, but only recently have I started really listening to their lyrics really close to try and see what the messages are in their songs. So, I'm listening to The Old Apartment, and its finally making sense to me intellectually. This was fairly average for me. I looked up the lyrics at one point and read them while the song was playing so that I could be sure that things could make sense. All this is the way things normally work.

Then, I watched the video on YouTube. Suddenly, and without any thought of my own, the song made sense emotionally. This took me by suprise, and I found myself getting a little teared up by it. I guess I'm really just a sentimental fool.

05 October 2006

The strangest movie ever

Dancer in the Dark may be the strangest movie ever. I don't think I have ever seen a stranger movie. On the other hand, it is also a brilliant work of art. I may have to watch it again. There are such strange and subtle nuances to it. The tragic irony of"nothing bad ever happens in musicals". I'm not sure what the end message of the work is meant to be. I'm still thinking about that. But overall, its really strange, but also very though provoking.

04 October 2006

Two days worth of work

I spent the last two days compiling a lot of my previous work into simple geotechincal descriptions, and then simplifying these descriptions even more into a diagram. Here's the results. It may not be very readable at this resolution but trust me. This figure is great. Please keep in mind that this is my intellectual property.


03 October 2006

Funding and mid-year slump

So, for the past couple of days I've just been feeling really bummed about my research. I'm not even sure why. There are no logical reasons for this feeling. My writing is going pretty well. I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from my primary supervisor. In fact, his biggest single piece of advice was that the writing is good and that I need more figures to help tell the story. I'm also getting things back from a professional friend who is also reviewing my manuscript. Things are really looking good for my research. In fact, the only negative thing that I've seen is that I didn't get a scholarship. Well, I guess there is also the fact that I didn't win anything at the poster competition. To some extent, I feel that I'm working hard, and that a lot of people are telling me that I'm doing good to my face, but when it comes to real outcomes, no one likes my work. Or at least they aren't willing to put their money in to show support.

Part of me also feels very strange about not taking any papers. I don't feel like I'm learning enough. For this reason, I wish I had stayed in the US. But, browsing through the web pages of some of the more prestigious schools in the states, I'm lead to the conclusion that very few universities actually care about engineering geology. This leaves me with the options of Missouri-Rolla (eww, Missouri) or Mines. I went to Mines as an undergrad, and I got along with a lot of the faculty pretty well. In fact, I got along with all of the faculty except the engineering geologists. This makes studying there not a great course of action. Even if I manage to pull a PhD here, I'd still need to find someplace to do Post-doc work. I've promised my fiance that we won't stay in New Zealand that long. I just feel so trapped. I want to be part of academia but I feel that my topic is not something that people actually study in an academic fashion.

I just don't really know what to do. I feel lost. But at the same time, my research is really exciting me in a way that it hasn't for a few months. For a long time, I felt like I was waiting on other people to get things done so that I could do my work. Somebody needs to explain these feelings to me, because I really don't understand them.

02 October 2006

Rain rain, go away!

It's still raining. I can't handle this. My arid climate upbringing has not giving me the tools that I need to deal with days and days of rain.

On a slightly happier front, I have a presentation tomorrow for the Institute of Earth Science and Engineering (aka my funding). I'm a little nervous about the presentation, but not enough to get me to actually practice it. Maybe a good cup of tea or coffee will make me feel more motivated.

01 October 2006

Scary Scary Lightning

I though thunderstorms were impressive in Colorado. They're a lot scarier in New Zealand. I just had a bolt of lightning strike less than a mile away from me. I nearly jumped out of my dorm in one motion.

30 September 2006

Kilt day

So, I'm totally wearing my kilt today. Awesome-sauce!

27 September 2006

I love internet quizes

Cause how else would I know how geeky I am.

Your Geek Profile:

Gamer Geekiness: Highest
Music Geekiness: Highest
Academic Geekiness: High
Geekiness in Love: High
Internet Geekiness: High
Fashion Geekiness: Moderate
General Geekiness: Low
Movie Geekiness: Low
SciFi Geekiness: Low

Crazy Weekend

I know its Wednesday, but I think I need to make my post about the weekend now. There was so much that its taken me all this time to process all of it. First off, Saturday night was International Night. Groups from most of the countries staying at the hostel gave some type of presentation or performance relating to their country. Unfortunately, the light wasn't good enough to get any pictures of the performers. I did get this interestingly moody shot though.


On Sunday night I met with one of the other people from the forums. We had some beer and pizza. Good times were had. Then we failed horribly at taking pictures of our selves. Here is an example.

22 September 2006

Net Neutrality Debate

Although nothing definite has happened yet in the Senate, it appears that those of us who like our internet are likely to lose. This article provides a wonderful example of how our representatives are being manipulated by lobbyists. You know, if we had an organization dedicated to providing the House and the Senate with scientific and technical information so they can form their own decisions on these topics, issues like this might not even come up. Oh wait, they shut that organization down.

Long story short, I feel that our politicians are going to ruin the internet without a full comprehension of what they are doing. I recommend that everyone please write to your Representative and Sentators. Let them know how you feel. I really don't want to have a stupid tiered pricing scheme where only the largest and most popular internet sites will be accessible at good speed. The internet has worked fine as is so far. By voting against these bills, congress can maintain this status quo.

19 September 2006

A new obsession

So, its come to my mind that a cool thing to own would be a replica of Haruko's bracelet from FLCL. The problem is that I cannot find any place that sells them, and I'm really not much of a crafty person. So, I'm left with the choice of haphazardly trying to assemble something myself, or commissioning are artsy person to do something for me. If anyone who reads this is interested in helping me, please drop me a note. I'm poor, but I ought to be able to pay at least for materials and shipping.

RSS feeds

I've finally figured out RSS feeds. Happy day! Now I can keep better track of everyone else's blogs. This is a very good thing.

18 September 2006

Escape Pod

Escape pod is a great podcast recommended to me by a few of my other friends online. I've been a little behind in the listening though. Today, I listend to EP065. First of all, the story they have is great. But at the end of the cast, there is a reference to Penny Arcade. I'm still laughing.

And for those of you viewing this on Facebook, I recommend you check out the actual blog. Facebook does not seem to like bringing my embedded URL's when it imports, and I'm way to lazy to go through and fix everything. My blog site is forscience(dot)blogspot(dot)com. I'll also put up a link on my profile page.

17 September 2006

Just found

Saw this on dA. Looks pretty cool.

Serenity and Chaos

Deviant Art

I've made myself a page at Deviant Art so that I can share my horrible drawing with people who might care. Check it out.

13 September 2006

Makeshift Miracle

I post on forums from time to time, and I recently encountered one our members noting that his comic was now available for free (before it had been pay only). I'd never taken a look at the graphic novella, but I'd seen the guys art style before, so I decided that it was worth a look. I was damn impressed. I recommend everyone to take a look at Makeshift Miracle. Good art, and a great story.

11 September 2006

New D&D campaign

I've been shanghai'ed into running a D&D game again. Take a look at the world that I'm trying to create.

One week

So, I'm getting lazy about the blog. I need to not let this happen. The blog is too cool for me to allow it to die the slow agonizing death of laziness.

Big fun stuff on Sunday. First, we had a special service at church today, welcoming a new congregation into the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand (LCANZ). The church is a Chinese congregation led by an Missouri Synod pastor (LCMS) named David Chiang. A lot of the memeber of Mountainside Lutheran went to the service at Botany. The service was held in English with Mandarin translation, though I gathered that their normal services are held in Mandarin with Cantonese translation.

After that, I went to see Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest. I really enjoyed the movie. I can recognize that it had lots of shortcomings as far as art, but it was still a very fun movie to watch. I'm not going to post any spoilers, since I had enough trouble avoiding them, but to anyone that has yet to see this movie "Go see it, do it! Do it now!"

05 September 2006

The Fray - Fuzzy Pictures




Well, I didn't remember to bring my good camera, so everyone gets to enjoy said phone pictures of The Fray. Still it was a really good set that they played. My friend that I brought with me really enjoyed them as well. Hopefully, they'll make a good name for themselves internationally. The show last night was their first international show too. I'm glad that I could be a part of that.

I guess this bears a little more explaining. The Fray is a band from Ft. Collins, Colorado. I'm also from Colorado (not Ft. Collins though) so I really felt suprised to see them here at all. Once I found out that they were comming, I made the decision to see the show. I'm not really a big concert person, but this was a really fun show.

The opening act was not so good. Electric Confection is a drummer, bassist, and keyboardist badly in need of a good lead guitar and singer. They have a guitarist and singer, but they need a different one. Their set started off pretty good, with some fun disco and bluesy songs. But they just went downhill through the whole thing. The guitarist really didn't take himself seriously. Posted by Picasa

04 September 2006

Concert tonight

I'm heading out to see The Fray tonight. Should be a good show from a Colorado group. I'll post more details about the concert when I get back, or tomorrow. Whenever I feel better.

29 August 2006

Podcast 1 is up!

Alright everyone! Podcast 1 is up and ready to go. RSS feed here.

Playlist-
"Waltz for Zizi" - The Seatbelts - Cowboy Bebop OST Boxset
"Brother Gildas" / "Calliope House" - Boys of the Lough - Lonesome Blues and Dancing Shoes
"Funny Bunny" - The Pillows - FLCL OST 3
"Cimmaroncito" - Davy Bones - No Reason

All artist reserve rights to their respective properties.

If you have any questions, comments, or feedback about the podcast, please contact me. I'm not experienced with this sort of thing, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

27 August 2006

Podcast 1

I just finished converting my Audacity project into an MP3, and I've sent it off to my webhost (friend). I'll let everyone know as soon as the podcast has actually been released. And now, laundry! Wooh!

Back to Auckland

I've survived my trip down to Christchurch. Man, that's a really great town. I'm starting to wish that I had applied there instead. Oh well. We can't always do the right thing on the first time. Now I need to get back to work on my thesis. Hopefully, I can get at least a little bit done tonight.

Conference Day 1

I’ve been a few hours in Christchurch now, and despite the cold, I really love it here. I think this is one my top list of cities to live in someday. Now I’ll just have to convince Crystal that she also wants to live here. I don’t think that it should be too hard if I can get her here in summer time.

The city is full of really old looking buildings. Many are what I think is termed Neo-gothic and others are Neo-classical. This means that a lot of the buildings look much older than they really are. It makes for a very beautiful town though. As I walked along the River Avon, I saw trees in bloom. It may still be winter here, but spring is on its way. I’ve taken a lot of pictures of the interesting buildings and trees and other things. If I get things right, they’ll just be loaded up with the blog entries proper.

After wandering aimlessly around town for nearly an hour, I managed to find a nice Italian restaurant, by the name of CafĂ© Valentino. I don’t know why I picked this place, aside from some gut reaction. The Italian food seemed really appealing at the time. I loved the restaurant. The food was delicious, and the old brick building with walls decorated in theatre posters, and 1950’s crooner music made my day. I’ll be going back there again if I get the chance. I snatched a menu so that I can remember where they are and get everything figured out.

Just before sitting down to write this, I went to the convention center and picked up my registration packet. Seeing my own name in the program of any conference, let alone a professional one, gave me a bit of a thrill. I’m not sure if I am more nervous or more excited. I can’t wait to see some of the other speakers and programs. I think I will learn some things on this trip, and I hope that I can make a few professional connections as well. Maybe a company will decide that they want to fund my research because they have an interest in it.

And now, I’m going to go walk around with everyone else for a bit and see what’s what. I’ll be back later with more of our shenanigans.

21 August 2006

Last.fm

Looks like my tweaking has been successful. You can now see my last 5 played songs on the right sidebar. I've also added a link to them on the sidebar, since they have been so kind to provide this functionality with now charge.

Last.fm

A couple of friends just linked me to Last.fm, so I'm going to try and add a feed from my profile there to the blog. We'll see if that ends up working out. Also, I still haven't done any further work on the podcast. I want to do some more things tonight, but WoW is looking awefully shiny again. Also, I have a plane to catch tomorrow. I still can't believe that I'm going to Christchurch. It should be a really cool trip, but I don't think I'm going to have any time to do the tourist thing.

20 August 2006

Is this love?

Lately, I've been thinking that I would give up seeing most of the friends that I've made in New Zealand, just to have my fiance around. Does this make me a terrible person?

19 August 2006

Firefly

I have managed, due to a busy schedule and many other things on my mind, to not catch an episode of Firefly until tonight. What I have to say after watching three episodes, is that the show is great and I recommend viewing of it to everyone. Also, I think Joss Whedon may have watched Cowboy Bebop a few too many times.

17 August 2006

Raptor Hide Harness

The recipe is mine! Mine, mine, mine! I had to wait an hour next to the vendor to get it, but its so worth it.

I'm going to sleep now.

Poster

I've finally got some feedback from my second supervisor for my poster. I think I'll have the whole thing finished by the end of the day. Good news for me certainly. I just have to remember to grab my iPod cord so that I can get a good map from him of my field area.

DVD R

So, I think I'm finally going to give up on moving files with email and go purchase a DVD R to take my files to and from Uni. I don't really want to spend the money, but I think that in this case it will help me to get my work done more quickly. I just need to make sure that the Univeristy computers have DVD writers.

16 August 2006

Three more pictures



Here are three more pictures. I'm finally understanding how to use Picasa, so I should be able to publish a few more pictures per day than I expected. Posted by Picasa

First picture

So, I'm playing around with Picasa now to publish my pictures here. Seems to work fairly well. I'll be adding a pictures a day or so. This is a picture of us at Te Puia thermal park. Some really neat geysers and also Maori arts and crafts. Posted by Picasa

Writing

I'm getting a little bit tired of the whole writing thing. It seems that everything that I sit down to get to it, something comes up in the writing that I need to leave. Either I have to check a resource, or go to the library, or ask one of my advisors for clarification. All in all, its not a very fun process. I hope that I can get everything written that I need before September.

Vacation

Sorry to leave you all hanging for so long. I have very good reason this time. Mostly it revolves around being away from the internet for a period of time. The cause of this absence is the important part though. I just had a two week visit from my girlfriend, who goes by the internet moniker of ZeldaQueen. Well, I shouldn't say girlfriend anymore. She is now my fiance`. So, really good things happening there. On the other hand, she has now left to return to the US, so I'm feeling sad again. But, such is life.

I'm back to work on both my thesis and my podcast. I have most of the material that I think I want for Episode 2 recorded. In case you are interested the website for the film is here. All I plan to do with it is edit down the raw audio that I collected at the shoot and add some introductory sentences and a few comments. I haven't recorded anything more for Episode 1 however. I have a current target length of that podcast of around 10 minutes. Hopefully things will work out the way that I want them to.

I'll be in Christchurch next week for the Natural Hazards Management conference, so anyone who is interested in that sort of thing can come and see my poster presentation of my thesis research. The thesis seems to be going well. As I'm sitting down to write, the biggest difficulty that I have is finding all the notes that I need to complete all the sentences. My current manuscript is up to halfway through Chapter 4. I think I'm about halfway done with the first draft. The manuscript currently has a lot of missing references and figures, but I really want to get all of the text in before I start playing with the pictures, mostly because MSWord does not tend to treat them kindly.

I want to remind everyone to check out The Gameslave. I haven't done anything on their recently, but my friends have all been active in my slackerness.

When I get back home tonight, I'll find some of the better pictures from the vacation and post them here.

29 July 2006

Filming

So, I went last night to help my friend Daphne with her student film project. She's doing a sort of fan film based on the game Deus Ex. I ended up working as a Grip and the Boom operator. Interesting thing to work on an amateur film set like that. I recorded about 45 minutes of audio during the course of a 4 hour shoot. I'm planning to assemble some of my recording into my second podcast. This requires me to finish podcast one first, but it gives me a really good start towards the second one.

Today, I'm playing D&D with my friends. This is going to also turn into a podcast. Scary what happens when you give people access to audio equipment at a free or cheap way to broadcast it.

27 July 2006

Podcast and movie

So, I've started recording my first podcast. Basically, I'm just going to talk about how I got to New Zealand, and what I'm doing here. I'll try to talk about a lot of the strange things that happen to me. So to some extent, it will be very similar to my blog, but I'm hoping that the audio format will make it a little more evocative. I'm also in the process of finding music that is both good, and free for use in podcasts. Suprisingly, a lot of artists are willing to let you use their stuff as long as you give them credit for it.

Tomorrow, I'll be helping a friend with her student film project. I'm going to yell at the actors and make sure that they do their jobs correctly. Also, I'll be taking my little tape recorded with me, so as long as I can get the audio to transfer to my computer with a minimal amount of loss, I'll be sharing my experience with the internet.

I'll give you more information about the podcast as soon as I've finished recording.

Podcast

Sounds like I'll be getting a podcast together soon with some of my friends. More details will follow, as soon as we have worked them out. In the meantime, you can check out our website.

26 July 2006

A curious find


So, today when I was walking home from the University, I came upon an interesting find. It was so, interesting in fact, that I had to take picture. The picture is of some type of camp heater with an aluminum hard hat sitting on top. I really don't know why its there, but it is.

I can think of a number of possible explanations, the most obvious being that someone is planning to take up residency in this strange little corner of the city. But the theory that I much prefer is that there is an artist preparing a still life. Think about it. A couple of random pieces of junk in a strange location. That just screams "art".

The rest of my day was spent breaking rocks and using Illustrator in a way that it was never designed to be used.

25 July 2006

First post

Well, I keep jumping around between various blogging sites. I still haven't found one that I really, really like. Hopefully this one will turn out to be a bit better. I'm going to keep my research blog over at "A Geek for All Seasons" . Everything about my personal life will probably get moved here. I can't be bothered to try and update both this and a livejournal, so I think everything will get simplified.

I do have some fun news. Only a week until my girlfriend, Crystal, gets here. She's also recently reactivated here subscription to World of Warcraft, which means that we have more fun things to do together even when we are far apart.

My work hasn't gone that well, today. I can't seem to keep myself very focused. Tomorrow is another day, and I should be able to get more done. I'm leaving the office early today in an attempt to do some writing and editing of my work at home.