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


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:

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.