Sunday, August 26, 2012

The End

Three years and 80 posts later I've decided to end this blog.

I started it my Junior year of college, talked about the life of being a college student in Logan and the adventures that went with it. I graduated and kept it going for a year talking about the major milestones of my life as a recent graduate and how being an Aggie made all of these things possible.

This last month Norwest, the company I work for, offered me my first full-time salaried position complete with health, dental, vision, 401k, and a myriad of other little benefits such as my first business cards! :) The incoming freshmen this year were born when I was in 3rd grade. My budget habits have changed so much as a result of the career college has allowed me to pursue. Last night I bought $7 orange juice. In college I couldn't afford $3 orange juice. When I meet new people now and we talk about college, it's always in the past tense. I bought a USU shirt last week. It has buttons and a collar. As much as I'm definitely still an Aggie, it's time for the college-years blog to end.

This weekend I was able to drive through Logan twice on a trip with my YSA ward to Bear Lake. The first time through I saw all the freshmen wearing their new gameday shirts they got at SOAR. It's funny. They have no idea that they've already made the best decision of their lives. At Bear Lake there was a whole army of Aggies from my Salt Lake YSA ward. I guess the proximity to Logan makes us all bring our USU gear because I felt like a third of us were wearing it. On the way back I drove through downtown Logan and had a silly grin on my face missing all the fun times I had in the town and really wishing I could have stopped to eat at the Bluebird.

I really don't think people realize it when they enroll there, but more than signing up for a world class education. You're signing up for an exclusive club. The rest of your life any time you see someone wearing a Utah State shirt or hat, you just made a new friend. On the way back I was talking about this with the girl I was sitting next to. She is a U of U alumni. She told me that whenever she saw large groups of Aggies together that she was jealous of how it really does appear to be a club.

I think it's something that every other school in the state and most schools in the entire nation are missing. Most people go to school for an education and at most of them that's just what you get. At Utah State it was only about a third of what I received. I got a life experience and I got lifetime membership to this exclusive alumni group that know about the incredible life experience I had, because we all shared it. And because you really can't have the experience anywhere or any time else besides Logan Utah, when you're in your late-teens/early-twenties.

The life experience really changed my life. I was a pretty unhappy person without much direction in life. I just knew I needed to get that degree so I could get a job and make money or something. Why? Because that's what people do. So I did that.

At the school I met my best friends and I always felt like I belonged. Even when I would quit dating someone or lose a friend or group of friends or when a friend of mine would get married and forget I existed, it really didn't matter because there was always thousands of other people looking to make a new friend. I met and developed more close relationships with complete strangers than I will at any other point in my life.

Sure there were crappy days and moments, but that's life. There always are. Overall it was amazing. I was always engaged in learning, experiencing new things and meeting new people. When I graduated I felt like a completely different person. Some things I could never do before then was work a 12+ hour shift, have conversations with complete strangers or put effort into something that I didn't experience an immediate reward from. I do all of those fairly easily now.

If for some reason you're a potential Aggie or know someone who is, don't think twice about it. You may think the U of U or BYU is where it's at because they're the bigger schools and they have more alumni base in Salt Lake and Provo, but you're so wrong. I'm biased, sure, but I know enough Utes and Cougars to say that from my most objective point of view. You just don't experience the same things at those schools as you do in Logan. Sure, maybe in Utah you get to see an incredible football team and in Provo you get to say a prayer before you start class, but the experience of leaving the city, living on your own with complete strangers, all of which are doing the same thing you're doing, sledding down Old Main hill, becoming a True Aggie, doing the Scotsman, wearing shorts because it warmed up to 30 degrees and you can see the sky today, eating Aggie-Blue Mint ice cream, seeing the A light up blue, finding free meals 4 nights a week, and well, and doing the winning team, losing team chant for the first time. You just don't get that anywhere else.

I got hired by my current employer because of being an Aggie.
I met nearly all of my best friends because of being an Aggie.
I infinitely improved my social skills while being an Aggie.
I gained a well rounded education while being an Aggie.
I discovered a love of college athletics from being an Aggie.

Most importantly, for the first time in my life, while I was an Aggie I always felt like I belonged. Even now I sometimes miss college because of that, but I think the Homecoming motto this year says it best:

"Once an Aggie, always an Aggie."

The End!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Business Reply Mail

Today I came to see my mother in Layton. She had a bunch of mail waiting for me. I was very excited for it, only to find that it was mostly unsolicited junk mail. However I decided to make the best of it and open it anyway.

First I had my acceptance letter from Stevens-Henneger College which is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the local suburban office complex. I can barely express my excitement of having been accepted to a school I never applied to.

Next I had not one, but two advertisements from the Aviation Service Academy in Woods Cross. They must really understand my potential as a commercial airline pilot if they sent me two!

Wow, and they even have jobs waiting for me at $18 an hour? How could I possible say no?! I'd only be spending $40,000 for the programs and then taking a ginormous pay cut after graduation. What a deal!

Unfortunately I can only choose one, and since Stevens-Hennegar College sent me a business reply envelope which allows me to send the mail to them should I be sending it from the United States (which I am!) I chose them.

It sure would be a shame if I put the wrong paper in the envelope!

Here's my first step towards a bright new future.

My Greek ancestors would be so proud!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dinosaur Cursors for Windows 7!

Remember the dinosaur icons for Windows 95/98/XP/Vista? Well, you can have 'em on 7!

1. Download this file and move them to -> C:\Windows\Cursors

Zipped Dinosaur Icons
It is safe, I use it.

2. Go to Start -> type "Mouse."
3. Click the "mouse" icon under control panel and then go to Pointers tab in the window that pops up
4. Change each pointer as needed
(do this by clicking browse and selecting which cursor you want for which item - you should use the yellow dinosaur for "working in background" and the blue one for "busy")
5. Save the scheme (Save As button)
6. Hit Apply or Okay
7. Done. The chubby blue and yellow dinosaurs are back!

Click Here! To follow me on Twitter!
I probably post way too much about dinosaurs.. and geology..

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Utah Accent

So I've been doing a bit of thinking about this one layly (yes, that was on purpose). I've been in Utah nearly my whole life so I have a hard time determining a Utahan accent, but it definitely exists because I know I can go in and out of my native vernacular at will, therefore there are certain rules I am changing when I am not around the locals.

1. Oh my heck, that's too frickin stupid.
Yeah, we all do that one. I like to claim I'm not offended by profanity, but in reality I'd much rather use replacement words. Although anyone in the 49 other states would disagree with this, I feel like it sounds more proper and classy to use silly replacements. Effin' A.

2. Sallake Ciey
We hate the T. (Really, as you just read that you made a soft stop over the T sound and it sounded more like "heigh" in your head that "hate") If it isn't at the start of a word we're not going to use it. Taco? Tortilla? Tostada? (Apparently I have Chipol-eh on the mind right now.) Yeah, we'll hit those T's. Kihen? Brekfuss? Wadur? No way I'm ever going to pronounce those T's without thinking about it. I love Sallake, it's by the moununs and just south of where I grew up in Bouniful.

3. Famlee home evening
Does the word have a pesky redundant vowel in it? Well then, no need to say it if there's another one at the end. It's not like I need to see my reflection twice when I look in a mirr or do my labratory experiment over and over if I keep getting the same results. Oh look, my friend Stephnee just instant messaged me.

4. Pitcher
Hurry up and take one, I can't hold this pose forever. I used to not do this, but over the last few years I defintely have abandoned saying picture with those middle letters. Cameras take pitchers. This is why I use the word photo.

5. It's getting late, where's my pellow?
I do enjoy a nice glass of melk before I got bed. If someone asks me about this I instantly abandon the I=E thing and go for the a glass of milk and fluff my pillow, but if I'm not thinking about it, I'm as bad as anyone else.

6. The adversary.
I don't even think Mormons in Col-rado or Nev-a use this term. Luckily we have heavenly father to help us avoid this adversary (God and Satan for those of us not from Zion.)

7. Or eltse
Okay, so you know all those T's we get rid of? This is where they turn up. Brother Neltson from one of the wards eltsewhere in the stake was telling me about this just the other day (back in 2008.)

8. Eh... a pretty great state
This was a failed ad campaign Utah ran for a short period. Utah: a pretty, great state! Sounds like somewhere I'd want to visit! Sadly they forgot the comma. As you can imagine it was abandoned very quickly when this was pointed out.

9. Hey Brother
This obveesly stems from the pioneers and their seddling of our preddy gray state. Everyone was viewed as brothers and sisters and in their wards and still are. Heavenly Father would want it this way. Nachurrly (naturally) whenever you're around people you see in church settings eltsewhere, they still view you as Brother Alger.

10. and = n
To use my previous example, when was the last time you heard someone at church start their talk with "Brother and sisters..." NEVER! They say "Brothers n sisters" They have to say it that way or eltse it's going to rain cats n dogs. N I'm not making this up.

Have a gray friggin nigh brothers n sisters. Pray to your he'v'nly father that the adversary doesn' trouble you before you fall asleep on that pellow of yours and dream you're somewhere eltse.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Earth Day 2012

This blog is broken, I don't particularly care to fix it, sorry! A small collection of photos I've taken of the amazing rock that we live on.

Sevier Lake, Utah

Hidden Arch, Utah

Crescent City, California

Mt. Timpanogos, Utah

Grand Tetons, Wyoming

Lassen National Forest, California

Goblin Valley, Utah

Jenny Lake, Wyoming

Crater Lake, Oregon

Klamath River, Oregon

Great Basin & Notch Peak, Utah

Unnamed Glacial-cut Valley, Idaho

Mt. Shasta, California

Delicate Arch, Utah

Mt. McLaughlin, Oregon

Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

San Andreas Fault, California

Balanced Rock, Utah

Wellsville Mountains, Utah

Mojave Desert, Nevada

Redwood Forest, California

Yeah, we live here. How amazing is that?
Happy Earth Day everyone.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I did it!

Sevier Lake field project? Complete.

27 of the last 31 days of my life were spent out at Sevier Lake, but that's not where it began. I'm going to tell you all about my first real geologic field experience, beginning in August, and you're more than welcome to read :)

It started on August 1st. I went out to Sevier Lake with my project manager, Larry, and met the field supervisor, Alex. Through all of August I was at Sevier Lake. In fact I spent 18 days of the month there, worked roughly 200 hours, and in an indirect way set up my new boy/girl-type relationship for failure. I spent all of this time training with the field supervisor on both the direct push and mini-sonic rigs that the client had out there. We rode 40 year old snowcats around the dry lake bed at around 4 mph. They were constantly breaking down. One day we had to walk two miles back to shore through mud.

Late september and all of October the job went on hiatus while I worked in the office and the client got permitting taken care of for the federal land leases.

November began with more Sevier Lake field work. I went out there and met up with Alex and a civil engineer from Denver, Orion. At this point the client had invested some money in ATVs to use on the lake bed for faster transportation. There were three drill rigs. I was put in charge of the Direct Push 1 rig. It was a track mounted Geoprobe and we drilled 45 holes. I logged and photographed each one. This lasted for two and a half shifts, or about 25 days. Approximately 300 hours were spent working at Sevier Lake during this time. We finished all the drilling on the dry parts of the lake bed and had to take a break while the client figured out how drilling on the parts of the lake bed covered in water would play out.

It was late December when the client got things squared away. There would once again be three drill rigs. A direct push, mounted on an airboat. A mini-sonic mounted on a tracked cargo buggy and a truck mounted full size sonic. The mini-sonic would be mine. Alex had left for another project at this time, so Norwest brought in a new guy to be the field supervisor. I forget his name, and he isn't important because he quit 10 days later. This left just Orion and I. During the remainder of the time the deep-sonic rig was active I was out there while the mini-sonic rig was having mechanical issues the whole time.

January came around and Orion was replaced by an interesting older geologist named Jon. Jon's truck broke and him and I commuted to and from the site together for most of the shift before Enterprise finally replaced it with a working one. The mini-sonic rig broke off and on throughout the whole month and continued doing so into February. This translated into a lot of down time for me. During this time I worked another 200 hours at Sevier Lake. The direct push program wrapped up and this left me as the only Norwest employee at Sevier Lake and it unofficially became "my project" according to my project manager.

During late February the program was changed to drill clusters of wells to test for transmissivity, or how well the water moves through the sediments. I would go for a day or two, log a well, and go back to my office duties. This lasted into mid March and I was fine with this. I worked at Sevier Lake for roughly 75 hours during this phase.

During mid-March it was decided that not enough sonic wells were being put in at far enough intervals to accurately define the base of the resource. This meant 9 more sonic wells were added and this is when I spent 27 of 31 days at Sevier Lake, almost to the point where Delta became home. During this time I spent roughly 350 hours out there. I became good friends with the two Boart-Longyear drillers, Dairus and Ty. We sort of began to resent the marine "specialists" whose sole purpose on the job was to supply us with well construction supplies, which they never did in an efficient manner and left us with countless downtime sitting around chatting while they took their sweet time.

In all, not counting office support hours, I spent 925 hours on or around Sevier Lake. That's roughly 23 normal work weeks spent there. After my first day I was afraid I wouldn't be able to even finish one. I feel quite proud of myself for this. I've really shown myself that I can do some pretty hard stuff when I try... and... when you offer me enough money to do so...

Don't believe it was hard?

Temperatures during the time I was at Sevier Lake ranged from -6 degrees to 103 degrees. The average January high was 24. The average August high was 92. With no mountains around to stop them, winds consistently blow at 20 mph, easily gusting upwards of 50. During the summer the monsoon caused frequent thunderstorms over the Sevier Lake. This is a 30x10 mile flat lake bed where the tallest thing as far as I could see was the drill rig. After that was our mechanic and after that was me.

When we were drilling on the water the airboat I had to ride on was one of the most terrifying things I've been on in my life. It was a boat, with an airplane propeller attached to a 350cc V8 engine that consistently ran at 4000 RPM's and speeds over 40 mph across water that was sometimes no more than 2 inches deep and usually well below freezing; the high salt content allowed for the 20 degree water to stay liquid. The boat had broken welds and it was normal to jump in the boat and hear *splash* The barge that I spent most of 2012 on had no shelter, no bathroom and no way to the shores, which were usually 5+ miles away, other than the airboats. During extremely bad weather, when the airboats wouldn't run we had to ride in on a tracked machine called a Marsh Master which had a top speed of about 5 mph.

Delta, the forsaken town I was staying in, was anywhere from a 50-70 mile drive from our various staging points. This caused for a long commute on top of a 10-12 hour work day. I was paid for the commute, but still, when you work 14 hours in one day and have to go home and do paperwork, life is not happy. Delta had nine restaurants when I first began working there. Three were Mexican and two were pizza. Three of them closed during the eight month span. I had no kitchen, just a microwave and a refrigerator. Lunch was a sandwich, cookies/crackers, chips and an orange, every day. Milford, the town I stayed in from Late August-January, had three restaurants. One made me sick each time I ate there.

Know what though? I did it. I made a shit-ton of money doing it and even more importantly gained invaluable experience. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Now comes the fun part. Taking 8 months of data and making a report out of it. I bet you envy my life so much right now :)

Also of note:

Vehicles I drove during the project:
Ford F150, Dodge Durango, two Chevy Silverados, multiple Dodge Rams, Toyota Rav4, Jeep Liberty, Ford Escape, an 8x8 Argo, a snowcat and multiple 6wd Rangers.
Towns visited that I'd never been to before:
Delta, Milford, Minersville, Hinckley, Eureka, Leemington, Lyndyll, Fillmore.
Weird food I ate:
Alligator, lamb, jambalaya
Total number of holes logged by me:
Approximate number of photos taken by me: