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Friday, December 16, 2011

Where the term Aggie comes from

Someone on the ESPN message board posed the question of "What is an Aggie?" I've always had a basic understanding that it came from the schools agricultural roots and was kind of just a remnant of this, but out of curiosity, and due to having the day off, I put a little research into this question and found quite a lot of information on what led to students and alumni of Utah State University being known as Aggies and if possible became even a little more proud of the title.

USU was originally founded as the Agricultural College of Utah back in 1888 and they were known as "Aggies." Lots of schools in the late 1800's and early 1900's were known as the Aggies. Oregon State, Nevada, Colorado State and Wyoming to name a few. Most of them changed their names to what they currently are now. The iconic "Old Main" building on campus still wears the original designation of "Agricultural College of Utah" above its doors.

In the 1940's the teams from Utah Agricultural College (slight name update) were called the Farmers and their mascot was a dude in overalls, but many locals still kept referring to us as Aggies and to the school as "The Agricultural College." In 1957 when UAC changed its name to Utah State University they officially adopted Aggies as their mascot, but kept the farmer around for a while.

During 1969, due to concern by administration of not being known for anything special by people outside of Utah, a movement was made to change the mascot to the Highlanders due to the ideological tie of the school's setting being on top of a hill in a mountain valley and the Scotsman song which was a popular tradition among students. During a football game at halftime it was officially announced that the name would be changed to the Highlanders and the student body and alumni alike booed for the remainder of the second half. That idea was quickly bailed on and we remained Aggies. The Scotsman song remains popular with Aggies.

In 1975 the bull first appeared at Utah State. It was actually a live white bull which they painted blue. It was kept around for a while, but despite rubber boots it still occasionally caused damage to the brand new Dee Glen Smith Spectrum's floor. This and the high level of upkeep for a bull which gets painted blue multiple times a month led to it being replaced with a guy in a bull cartoon suit in 1987, but there is a huge statue of the bull on campus which has a student tradition of being ridden naked to earn the title of Ultimate Aggie (yes, I am one.)

Apparently we really like being Aggies. I wouldn't accept being called anything else, even if there isn't much sagebrush left in the valley.

Go Aggies!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Looking Back on Yesterday

Today I hung out with my old best friend from high school, Joe. We've stayed in contact all these years while I've been on the other side of the state and he's been doing the whole married thing. We went and got lunch, he brought his wife along - suppose he figured I wouldn't mind. I suppose it's fine. Unlike some of my friends wives she's a cool person and I get along with her. It's just never quite as fun hanging out with your friend plus their wife as it is to hang out with just your friend, but I digress.

It was nice, he kept reminding me of things in my life that I'd either forgotten or heavily repressed the memories of for good reason. It's interesting looking back on it. When we got back to his house I hooked him up on Spotify and he was talking about old music we loved, so when I got home I made him a playlist of all the angry pissed off music we used to listen to during those very forgettable years of 15-19. I even got out some old CDs for ideas of what I wanted to listen to and it really brought back the memories. Some good, most bad.

In no specific order here are some memories of high school that I was reminded of by songs I listened to tonight:

Eva by Orgy always reminded me of my Grandma. My Grandma was a wonderful woman - kind of like a second parent. I had a single parent and we always lived with my grandparents. She died just before my 17th birthday and life was rough, losing a close friend like Grandma is never something an emotionally unstable 17 year old wants to deal with. I mostly hid inside and listened to Orgy's CD Vapor Transmission and Tool's Lateralus CD over and over for weeks. I still love the CD's.

Cloud 9 by Distorted Penguins reminded me of this stupid girl Vonda. At 16 I liked her, I wanted her. She liked me. We went out a few times. Then I decided to let her meet Joe. She decided she liked him better and I was "destroyed" or about as destroyed as a 16 year old can be over a girl. They made out and he told me about it and I remember feeling like the world just ended, haha. Silly Brandon.

In This Diary by The Ataris reminded me of this girl Brindy. Her and I "dated" when we were 15 or 16. By "dated" I mean we'd sit next to each other and hold hands on occasion. Once we even "kissed" and by "kissed" I mean our lips touched briefly. Afterward Joe had a thing for her for about 6 years. It never amounted to anything though, haha. She was very anti-dating of friends.

World so Cold by Mudvayne reminded me of my friend Eric. We're still friends, but in high school we had a brief period of non-friendship. I don't blame him, I was an overdramtic punk. I wouldn't have wanted to hang out with me, but we were still tight in junior high and he bailed to hang out with some shady kids who were into things I didn't approve of at the time... you know, like beer and R rated movies. Haha. He also led me to believe that he was dating the aforementioned Amber which was pretty low, but apparently he wasn't.

The Odyssey by Orgy reminded me of track meets. Eric and I would listen to that song to get psyched up. We thought it made us run faster. Honestly it was just a cool song to listen to and you don't really need to psyched up to run, but man, we sure thought you did.

Silhouettes by Smile Empty Soul reminded me of this time that Joe and I decided that the lines "I don't want to live like my mother/father" were how we felt about our lives. Even though to be quite honest we both have parent(s) who are good people, but hey - in high school you just want to find something, anything, to hate. At least I did.

Here's to the Night by Eve 6 reminds me of when I didn't graduate high school. I quit, I gave up. I'd had enough and decided I didn't need an education. For a brief time my mom tried getting me to do an alternate high school, but that wasn't for me either. I didn't fit in with the druggies and the people who were looking for that technical type of education. Not that I'm above that, my brain just doesn't work that way. I can't fix a car or weld something, it just doesn't doesn't please me to do so and I honestly just have this mental block that makes me give up about half way through anything mechanical like that because I get frustrated.

A couple years later I went in for the GED test. What a joke that was. They allot 5 hours for it. I took two hours and took my packet up to the lady. She asked if I was taking lunch and I told her, "No, I'm done." and she asked if I wanted to maybe review my answers and I told her that I already had. When compared to projected scores of graduating high school seniors I scored in the 79th and 84th percentile in writing. Not too shabby. Math, science and social science scored me in the 90th, 98th and 99th percentile though. Yeah, I kinda owned that test. The pathetic part of this is that I actually took the GED test. Haha. Yikes.

Up all Night by Unwritten Law reminds me of the first time I had sex. It was cute. It was both of our first time. Looking back on it, it was probably terrible for both of us because of that, but again, it was cute. May 16th 2003 I believe. Not sure why I remember that.

No Hard Feelings by Bloodhound Gang reminds me of when we broke up two years later. Her and I still talk now and then. She's a good person though certainly not the type I would date at this point in my life, haha. Despite us being e-friends now, I certainly hated her for a while after we broke up. She sorta boned some dude that she met from myspace, haha. I don't fully blame her, we were obviously bored of each other and neither of us wanted to end it. It was for the best, but I was destroyed over yet another girl. The song Attack by 30 Seconds to Mars reminds me of getting over her.

Closer by Nine Inch Nails reminds me of my first kiss, which by the way was terrible. I liked this girl, Brindy, and was at her house for some party. It wasn't with her. This other girl Rachel was there. I'd never met her before, she was my friend's friend. While watching a movie, Joyride with Paul Walker, somehow we ended up snuggling. Afterward she attacked me. I was 16 and just wanted some, so I made out with her - in front of like 6 people. Yikes. In my defense she 100% initiated it, all right? Anyway, for the next year I kept wishing it would have been Brindy, haha, but oh well. Rachel was at least knowledgeable about what she was doing I guess. She would always tell me some Kelly Clarkson song was "our song." I didn't bother listening to that song. I didn't like it then, I wouldn't like it now.

Blue and Yellow reminds me of my car (which by the way was white.) All of these songs we would always listen to in my Supra, but for some reason Blue and Yellow was something we'd listen to more than any other. I had a 1985 Toyota Celica Supra that my grandma bought me. It was nothing fancy, keep in mind that it was older than me, but I loved it. At the time I thought it was a racecar and the coolest thing ever. I had big subwoofers in it and a hidden switch that turned on fog lights. I still have those same subwoofers in my WRX actually. They work just fine 8 years later. We'd drive around town pissing people off and getting in fights with rednecks. We got drunk way more than any minors should and we fooled around with girls that I wouldn't even give a high five to anymore. Blech. Dirty. Yuck.

It might sound fun, but I'd never been more unhappy in my life. There was always something missing. I'm not sure what it was, but it's not missing in quite as large of an abundance anymore. I was never happy. I found distractions to keep me from being sad, but for a good 3 years I just never had a feeling of "Oh wow, I sure am happy to be here." It's fun to reflect like that. That was the worst half-decade of my life and remembering it in detail makes me so much happier to be me now.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would attend the best university in the world and be a scientist 7 years later. Shut up, a geologist is still a scientist. Never in those same wild dreams did I imagine that I'd be nearly 26 and still single. I certainly never thought I'd still be in the Salt Lake area. Being someone who doesn't drink now, even around people who do drink? Yeah right. I guess I probably never even thought about what I'd be doing 7 years later when I was 18. A lot of days I really didn't project me still existing when I was 25. Well here I am, I made it. I think I installed a few major upgrades too.

I wonder when 32 holds for me.

If I had to project at this point I imagine I'll still be a geologist. I may even still be working at Norwest, but if I am I wouldn't be surprised to see me at the Denver office. Otherwise I think I'd have moved to Northern California or possibly Oregon by now. I'll be married. Nice woman, probably tall and thin. Doubt we'll have kids yet, well I don't know - maybe a baby. I'll still drive Rex (my WRX), but I'll be heavily considering something new at this point, something more lush but still semi-sporty. Maybe a Legacy? I imagine I'll own a house. Nothing huge, but it'll be newer and in a nice neighborhood. I'll still make it to Logan often enough for Aggie games. I'll own a really expensive telescope. Like a $2000 telescope, just for fun and a hobby. Oh! A dog. I'll definitely own a dog. Probably a Corgi or something similar in size and personality. Maybe a few more personal upgrades too. I'd be cool with that. I'll have likely forgotten about this blog and in no way read this at 32, so I'll have no clue what my 25 year old self expected of my 32 year old self.

I often romanticize about the past. This is one instance where that is not the case. It's an interesting trip down memory lane, but I can't even put into words just how much I don't miss that time of my life.

Seriously, fuck high school.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Jaded in the Field

I'm laying in a random bed eating day old pizza which I heated up in my rooms only cooking appliance, a microwave, while listening to some indie rock music and reflecting about happier times. I do this knowing that I'll have to wake up in 8 hours from now and brave the cold weather to go look at some core pulled out of the Earth. I'm in Milford, Utah and I have been for the last 12 out of 13 days. Is this what being a geologist is?

Today was a relatively easy day. My partner and I worked for 8 hours, far shorter than our typical 12 hour shift. We worked together expediting the process of things and only drilled two holes. Most days I've been the lone geologist on my crew of 4-5 people and we've done anywhere from 4-7 holes. Afterward we drove into the city (Beaver - population 4000) to get some Mexican food and check our cell phone messages.

That was pleasant I guess. It's something to look forward to, but to be honest these past couple days have been quite miserable. I can do field work, it's not a huge deal. Having a room, whatever I want to eat, gas, rental truck and any supplies I need for the job all paid for by the project is great. Then on top of that getting paid more than I ever dreamed of making at this point in my life is amazing. There are so many perks to this job, especially the field work aspect, that I couldn't leave even if I wanted. I just get so lonely.

My only connection with the outside world is whoever I can talk to on facebook. I find myself messaging random people who I've not talked to in years just in the hopes of starting a conversation. It doesn't normally happen. Occasionally old roommates will have a conversation with me or various girls that I used to date will chat for a while with me, but that's about it. I can't talk to any of my family because my motel has an absurd long distance charge that I would feel bad charging my company for and my cell phone doesn't get service here.

Around town I've tried talking to various people and making friends, but most people here seem content with not getting to know outsiders. I don't blame them. It's a small town, maybe 1000 people. Everyone knows everyone and when someone comes in with a new $40,000 pickup truck wearing clothes purchased at the mall and traipsing around their modest town eating out every day. It's probably a little annoying. Then I try asking questions like what living in Milford is like and they look at me weird. I understand I guess. If someone asked me what living in Salt Lake was like I would be happy to answer, but I'm proud of Salt Lake. I can't imagine many people are proud of Milford. It probably sounds condescending though I don't mean it that way. I really want to know what the lives of people here are like.

On any given day I have about 2-3 hours to myself where I'm not working, doing post-work paperwork, showering or sleeping. I have those 3ish hours to get dinner, read, watch TV, play on facebook and anything else I might want to do. I guess that's what being an adult is like. I can't imagine things are much different for most of my married friends, but I'm single. I should have plenty of time to myself still, right? Oh well.

It's just hard. It's hard being with drillers for 10-12 hours hearing about nothing but raunchy sex stories, of which 95% are more than likely completely made up, and cursing over dropped pipes, slippery work conditions or crushed liners and then making an hour long commute back to a motel room over mostly unpaved roads. It's strange to think that I went to college for four years to live this life. Would I have gone for it if I knew this is what I was getting myself into?

Don't get me wrong, there are good parts to my job as well. I love sitting in the office with geologists and engineers and building models and even building databases (though databases can get monotonous at times I still do enjoy it.) I love the pay and the ability I have to help people out when they need money or to just be able to say "I got this one," when I go out to eat with someone and not have to worry about how that's going to fit into my budget. Certain things about life right now are amazing. Field work is just so hard. I don't know how long I can sanely do field work at this frequency for an extended period of time. I hope once the Sevier Lake project is completed that I get to spend a few months doing desktop geology.

I guess overall this is a wonderful experience for me and is really helping me become a more well-rounded person. I'm learning so much. I'm doing a great thing for the surrounding community should a mine develop here bringing employment and commerce. It's just that being cut off from friends, family and anything that I care about for 12 of the last 13 days isn't something I dreamed of doing shortly after college, but I guess this is the life right here; a lonely motel room and a laptop and day old pizza. Staying up late, past 10pm, for the sake of writing a blog that I can someday reflect back on and hopefully remember these times as being a pretty good experience.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

7,000,000,000

That's how many people there are now on our planet.

Interesting. I thought out of boredom, and since having worked for the census bureau for 3 months I am obviously an expert on population (not really), I would put together a collection of interesting stats based on that number.

When I was born, on January 30th, 1986 there were 4,912,946,909 people alive, according to a cool little calculator on the BBC website I used. You can use it here The world population has since increased by 30%, or roughly 1.2% per year.

3,563,000,000 people on the planet are female.
485,000,000 of those fall within an age range in which I would consider dating. (20-29)

1,400,000,000 people on the planet currently have a viral STD.
That leaves 388,000,000 for me to date if I disqualify those with STD's.

700,000,000 left handed people are alive today.
This means only 38.8 million of the dateable people for me would have to eat dinner sitting to my left.

94.5 million "geniuses" (People with an IQ over 145) are currently living today.
This leaves 27,000 females who would be around my age, STD free and intelligent enough for me to date (I'm obviously kidding about this one. I prefer intelligence around my own, which is clearly below IQ=145)

There are 57,308,738 square miles of land on the planet.
That is roughly 21,200 square meters of land per person. That is a box which is 145 meters on each side or about 1.5 football fields.

This area obviously varies by the resolution in which you look at the planet. Here along the Wasatch Front, I obviously do not have that much area to myself, but using the resolution of the whole state of Utah I have about 4x that.

7,000,000,000 seconds ago George Washington was about 6 months into his role as president of the newly formed United States of America.
There are roughly 7,000,000,000 separate bits of information in the Xbox 360 video-game Dragon Age 2.
There are 7,000,000,000 bytes of data in 70 yards of physical books on a shelf if you converted them to e-books.
7 billion years ago, the nebula which would later condense and ignite and be called the sun by 7 billion people hadn't even begun to form.
The number of base pairs in the human genome is less than half of that number, at just over 3 billion.

According to BP's estimate of 1,333 billion barrels of oil remaining on planet Earth. This is roughly 8,000 gallons of crude oil per person.

When considering the refining process used to extract gasoline usable by your car from crude oil and using the average quality of oil found on the planet we end up with approximately 19.5 gallons of gas per 42 gallon (1 barrel) of crude oil. This lowers the number to 3,700 gallons of gasoline per person remaining.

Using my car as an example (a 2010 Subaru WRX), I can drive to Los Angeles and back to Salt Lake City 67 times with that much gasoline. (Fortunately for Americans, no one uses as much gas as we do...)

Using the current population growth rate of 0.012 (or 1.2%) per year and a continuously compounding growth curve the world population would hit

8 billion : 2023
9 billion : 2033
10 billion : 2041

and would be at 13.5 billion when I die, assuming I live 80 years.

Most people who study this stuff expect a decline in population growth.

60% of the 7 billion people on the planet live in Asia.

When comparing population percentage to land area per continent it looks like this.

Asia: 60.4% pop, 30% land area, Ratio = 2.0
Africa: 14.5% pop, 20.3% land area, Ratio = 0.71
Europe: 10.9% pop, 6.7% land area, Ratio = 1.6
South America: 8.5% pop, 12.6% land area, Ratio = 0.67
North America : 5.0% pop, 16.3% land area, Ratio = 0.31
Oceania: 0.50% pop, 5.2% land area, Ratio = 0.096

The ratio is essentially useless, except for comparing population density to the entire world, which would have a ratio of 1.0.

In an estimate done by Carl Haub of the Population reference Bureau, 106 billion people have lived on Earth throughout history.

Having evolved roughly 200,000 years ago and given a world life expectancy of 69.4 years, this says the average person who will die today has seen 0.035% of human history, but had they met every person on the planet, they would have met 6.6% of all humans to have ever lived.

I should have been a statistician.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Disjointed thoughts

Two days ago at work I got to go deliver some samples to a Chemistry lab in South Salt Lake. The guy who met me was excited to talk to me and take my samples. We chatted for a while and he asked if I wanted to take a tour. It was lunch time so I figured why not? I'll consider it part of my lunch break. He showed me the lab and introduced me to some of his employees, who were all cute women, I felt important. It was really nice. He kept introducing me as a "new client who is a geologist." It was really cool being that respected at such a young age. Now obviously the man probably doesn't personally respect me as much as he was acting. Mostly he just wants business and the company I work for has money to provide business, so he wanted to treat me right. I liked it though, unfortunately my opinion on who processes our samples is not really a strong one. That aside, I drove back to the office with a big smile on my face the whole way. For the first time that I can remember I was treated like I was incredibly important. I was given the VIP tour of a chemistry lab and talked to like a professional. It was really nice.

Tonight I was in Provo to go to a party with a friend. It was nice to see her, but the party sucked. We left and saw Paranormal Activity 3. It was a scary movie. Terrible story, great suspense and just a good element of fun to it. We are 25 and 26 years old (me being 25) and we both were asked for our ID's. Strange, but whatever, it happens now and then still. We laughed and showed our ID's. On the way in the person taking the tickets also asked for our ID's. At this point it was just kind of silly. She asked him if he was serious and he said yeah, sorry. He laughed when he saw our ages and said we both looked very young. I supppose we looked offended because he quickly changed his statement to "No, you both just look young, you look your ages." Yes, clearly I look 25, which is why you asked to see proof that I was older than 16. Oh well, such is Provo.

I went to In and Out after I left her apartment. It was 1am, it was still open. I went inside and realized that every female in the entire town of ..Orem? looked exactly the same. Not the "same" that you get in Logan or Layton where everyone is white and modest, but eerily the same. They all had the same medium to long and straight hair style, they all used the same amount of hair bleach, they all did their makeup the same, they all had the same style of graphic t-shirt on. It was kind of disturbing. There had to have been about 20 females around my age in there and beyond some of them being fat and some of them being skinny I would have had a hard time telling any two of them apart.

I like my Subaru. It isn't that special, there really isn't anything about it that is better than all other cars. It's fairly plain looking with a hood scoop and spoiler. It's very fast from 0-60 but pretty typical at speeds over 60. The handling is better than most and the AWD is wonderful in the rain. The interior is plain but functional. It's just the perfect car for me. It's just enough of everything I want, but not too much. It's not a red hot Mustang that screams "give me attention." It's not an overly classy BMW that screams "I want people to know I'm important" and it's not a huge truck screaming, "I think I'm a tough guy." but it's almost as fast as a Mustang, almost as nice as a BMW and honestly.. it probably does better in poor road conditions than a truck, or any AWD vehicle for that matter. Subaru sets the bar for that.

Trisha left on her mission. That's weird to me given our history together. She never struck me as the type who would serve a mission, but religious beliefs can make people do strange things. I wrote her a letter last weekend. I just got around to mailing it on Wednesday though. It wasn't very long. I didn't really have much to say. It will be sad not having her around for 18 months. Not that we really saw each other, but she was someone I knew I could always call and talk to for hours about nothing. I'll miss that. I'll always wonder what could have been if I were more impulsive and would have been able to go through with taking our relationship further. It's both fortunate and unfortunate that I critically think about everything before acting on it.

I have a hard time getting rid of old things that I have sentimental attachments to. A few nights ago I fired up my old Windows 98 computer. Unfortunately rather than firing up I heard a large electrical pop and then nothing. I blew a fuse I imagine, so something with the power pack is probably bad. The computer is old, very old. For the most part any file I needed off it made its way to my XP computer (which still works just fine.) I have a couple games old games on it that would be fun to play, but only for a few minutes. It seems that there would be no reason to keep a busted computer than wouldn't even be used if it weren't busted, but I just couldn't throw it away. I ended up stashing it in a closet. I don't know why, I'll never fix or use it again, but I just couldn't get rid of it. It was a good computer.

Last weekend I bailed on a sort-of-but-not-really date to go hang out with my cousin. Probably is a good thing. I really don't have much interest in the girl, I was mostly just going because I really needed to get out. His dad bailed on him earlier that day and my mom said I'd go hang out with him without first asking what my plans for the day were. I was a little irked at first, but I'm happy she did. He's a fun kid. He reminds me of me when I was 14. We played NCAA 12 against his two buddies and smoked them. It's sad that his dad would bail on him. I remember when I was younger his dad would hang out with me, even coached my basketball team once, not that he had any idea what he was doing, but it was nice. Growing up without a dad sucked sometimes.

The Cardinals won the World Series. I can't tell you how much I don't care. Baseball sucks.

I'm definitely not ready for Winter. I'm even less ready for it because of my job. I'll be out on Sevier Lake for much of the winter. That sounds quite miserable. Yeah, sure it's Southern Utah which is considered warm to most people, but it's really not any warmer there than it is in Salt Lake. Maybe 5 degrees or so. The elevation is still roughly 4500 feet. It is in the Great Basin just like Salt Lake and the weather patterns are roughly the same. To make matters worse the mountains in the area are small (by Great Basin standards) so there is nothing in the way to break the wind and it blows at about 20-30 mph every day. If it snows a lot, it's going to be a long Winter. I suppose it's worth both the money and the invaluable experience though. Most geology graduates would kill for this job right out of college. I need to remember that.

I sleep now.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Working at Chili's vs. Working as a Geologist

In this blog post I will compare and contrast being a waiter vs. being a geologist and the benefits of each to see which is a better job for me.

First let's compare the shifts:
Chili's - Any time, any place, any length.
Geologist - Typically M-F, 8-5. Sometimes long field hours.

Advantage: Geologist

Dress Code:
Chili's - A black shirt and jeans.
Geologist - Business casual sometimes and grungy clothes you are okay with destroying others.

Advantage: Chili's

Pay:
Chili's - $2.13 an hour + tips.
Geologist - A whole hell of a lot more than $2.13 an hour. No tips.

Advantage: Geologist

Commute:

Chili's - 5 minutes through Logan traffic.
>>>Biggest commute danger - hitting a cat.

Geologist - 45 minutes through I-15 traffic
>>>Biggest commute danger - getting run over by a semi trailer and dying.


Advantage: Chili's

Work related perk:
Chili's: Half off food for me and up to 3 friends.
Geologist: All expense paid trips to field sites to do work.

Advantage: Geologist

Items I received on my first day at work:
Chili's - Apron and a menu
Geologist - A laptop

Advantage: Geologist

Co-workers
Chili's - A mix of pissed off people who have been working in restaurants for far too long and really hot 18 year old females.
Geologist - Mostly really nerdy old guys and married women who gossip too much.

Advantage: Chili's

How often I have to ride in elevators:
Chili's - Never
Geologist - Typically 4 times a day.

Advantage: Chili's (i HATE elevators)

Potential for advancement:
Chili's - Becoming a shift manager and making $14/hr
Geologist - Learning powerful software, learning invaluable skills and being able to become valuable asset to a company or potentially start your own consulting firm.

Advantage: Geologist

Your ultimate function at work:
Chili's - To bring people who were too lazy to make food for themselves food and kiss their asses hoping for $5.
Geologist - Research and help put together data of the quantity and quality of ores that can be extracted from places in the Earth.

Advantage: Geologist

Geologist wins 6-4.

Monday, October 3, 2011

25 years makes you old.

The other night I was driving home and as I was driving along someone cut me off. I didn't slow down much more than I absolutely had to, to avoid hitting the other car. They then hit the brakes so I simply changed lanes. The person then honked at me and flipped me off.

At an earlier time of my life I'd have probably honked longer and flipped off with two hands, but that night I was simply indifferent about it. Whatever, bad night for them I guess, it happens. They downshifted and sped off.

At an earlier time of my life, with 270 all-wheel turbocharged horsepower at my command, I'd have downshifted and blown past them. That night I simply continued driving and thought nothing of it.

I then realized that in the last 3-5 or so years I grew up a lot. I didn't get pissed off at the angry road rage driver. I didn't try to race away from them and I didn't waste gas, tires and clutch just to show someone that my obviously fast car is in fact fast. That's cool. Though I can't really figure out why. College certainly didn't teach me that (all college taught me was that sometimes I have to do stuff I don't want to do so I can get ahead, and an extensive vocabulary of useless geologic terms) and it's not like I hang out with older people now. Most of my friends are in their early 20's still.

It's not like I have a family or serve any crucial purpose to anyone. I'm certainly not afraid of a little danger. If I got a speeding ticket at this point in my life I could handle it much better than I could as a 21 year old. I simply didn't feel the need to show this guy, who would likely forget about me 20 seconds later, how much of a bad ass I was. It would have served zero purpose.

It's hilarious to read things that I wrote in my late teens and early 20's. I was such a jerk. I had no sense of tact and everything I wrote was simply driven by rage and emotion. Yeah sure, now and then I still rage over something, but it's rare and usually done tactfully.

I have a very recent ex-girlfriend, who is now engaged, that I can guarantee has never told her very LDS fiance the truth about our relationship. Earlier in life I'd have made sure to let him know I was there first, now I just figure that's cool. They're happy. Good for them. Everyone deserves to be happy sometimes. Two nights ago I had another girl from my life invite me over for a late night visit. I texted her the next day and she didn't reply. This would have pissed me off four years ago, but now I just smile at the pseudo-romantic experience we were able to share with each other that night and understand that she just wanted a hook-up. That's fine. We all do now and then.

It's no wonder insurance for a 25 year old is so cheap. We really chill out a ton right as we approach this age.

Maybe it's because over the course of human history, 25 is actually beginning old age. Sure in the 21st century I'm in the beginning of my life still, but humans haven't always lived to be 80 years old. There is a stat I heard of life expectancy in Ancient Rome being 22. Yeah sure, as a mean life expectancy, but you have to take into account that a third of humans died before their first birthday. Even then humans had discovered how to live longer healthier lives up into their 50's. I'm talking about pre-history.

How long do we really think humans lived when we roamed the African savannah (without sunscreen!) competing with warthogs and hyenas for food and shelter and drinking water from ponds? I highly doubt too many lived past my age. This can kind of be seen in how some of our bodies really do begin to break down at this age. I'm lucky. I still feel as healthy as I did at 14, but I've spent the better part of my life as a student playing the occasional sport and having hobbies and jobs that consisted mostly of simple inside work and large amounts of sunscreen, sunclothes and portable water when I needed to be outside. I have friends who complain about waking up to back pain at my age or who have arthritis developing in their joints. We begin to get wrinkles in our 20's and some of us (like myself) begin growing a few strands of gray hair. Many people gain weight around this age as their metabolism slows. Many female bodies start beginning to show signs of gravity and many males begin to bald. How nice is it though that, barring some unexpected event, I'm not even a third of the way done with my life yet?

For most of human history, a 25 year old would have been one of the older humans in the world. I suppose that is almost still true today with our absurd birth rate, but that is tangent. Maybe evolution caused that the people who become calm and content at this age, while keeping a firey passion of everything through their youth, were able to live longer, thus produce more offspring with this trait, and this is why humans become emotionally mature in their mid-20's. Maybe God simply designed us this way for reasons we can't understand.

All I know is that I'm happy my auto insurance is cheaper now than it was 7 years ago.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Why Utah State has the best fans.

So I've been bored tonight after getting home from Vernal. I was trolling the Utah vs. BYU board on ESPN.com and it really shocked me just how stupid the Utah and BYU fans were compared to the Utah State fans that I typically read posts of. Then I got to thinking about it, and it made sense. Here's why.

BYU and Utah geographically share about 2 million fans and separate themselves based mostly on their religious beliefs. If you are Mormon and your religion defines who you are, you like BYU. If you are not Mormon or you are and you treat religion like any other aspect of your life, you like the U of U. Utah State has about 100,000 fans, geographically. About half of these 100,000 people don't actually give a damn that there is a world renowned university in their valley. Utah State fans are all basically converts, myself included.

How does a Utah State fan become a convert? Well, easy. They decide they want to go to school near home, but away from home. The only real choice is Utah State, unless you want to go to Snow Senior High or SUU, and really, if you're going to go as far as Cedar City, just go out of state. Logan becomes home to about 3,500 new freshmen every year. Then out of some tradition or something their older roommates force them to go to sporting events and they're converted into fans, regardless of prior interest level in sports.

Basically what is learned here is that nearly all Utah State fans have some level of college education, and with a roughly 50% graduation rate many have a pretty high level of education. U of U fans are basically SLCC drop-outs, thugs, and a few students/alum. BYU fans are Mormons who got married after their mission and couldn't ever afford college, Mormons who moved here from another state, and a few students/alum.

Advantage? Utah State.

Next you have the stereotype. It's so easy to stereotype a BYU fan. There is probably no school in the country easier to stereotype except for maybe Yale or Hahvahd (yes, you have to say it like that). If you happen to have never been to Utah and need a stereotype of a BYU fan go try searching "zoobie" on urban dictionary or just think of a really plain and boring religious person and you got it. Utah fans are a little more difficult, but basically the stereotype that BYU fans give them is that they are stupid uneducated rebels. They throw beer on the quarterbacks family, they smoke at Cougar Stadium, they openly use harsh language and they all have tattoos. Basically they're regular people, but around BYU fans they become ass holes because, "it's funny." Utah State fans, as said before, are sort of a mix of people from all over the Spanish Fark to Narth Ogden area. You have boring molly mormons there, you have ass hole frat bros there, you also have a lot of people who just kinda don't fit in (that was me). It's an interesting mix.

Advantage? Utah State.

Finally you have this chip on the shoulder as a USU fan. Utah and BYU merchandise is everywhere. I see USU gear down here about once a month. Because of this, and the completely lack of love from local news stations, every Utah State alumni who lives down here has to let EVERYONE know that they are a USU alumni. I kid you not, there are more license plates with A's on them than Y's and U's combined. People get all religious and have to point out to the other 2 million people down here, "Hey, there is another D1 school in the state too, you know?" It's kinda cool. Then you get things like other Aggie fans complimenting your hat. No one says "nice hat" to a BYU or Utah fan down here.

Final advantage? Utah State (sort of.. sometimes I wish we weren't overlooked along the Wasatch Front.)

It's a united little club that not as many belong to as the two larger clubs, and then we don't have a million .. let's call them fans-by-association .. like the other two. I think anyone can see why this makes being a USU fan better than being a BYU, Utah or Weber (do they have fans?) fan.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The douchiest blog entry ever.

Let me preface this by saying that I'm mostly kidding and trying just to make you smile. Don't hate me if you actually listen to dubstep... actually no, if you listen to dubstep go ahead and hate me, I don't care. Really though, don't hate me. Even if you drive a lowered civic, have a flat brim hat and love rap-core you might still be a pretty cool person. Just a lot of your peers are not :-)

So.. my blog.. earlier today I was driving around in my WRX, wearing a collared shirt and listening to Nickelback. I realized that I had hit the pinnacle of douchiness and posted about it on my facebook. To this I got about 15 likes, seriously. Then I realized that maybe my friends do think I'm a douche. In all likelihood I probably am sometimes. I do make generalizations about basically everything and occasionally say something rude just because it makes me smile. So to this point I'm going to write a 0-10 scale of 20-something douche-baggery based on what you drive, what you're wearing and what you're listening to, which you can use to judge just how much of a douche you are. This will be a nice product of me being a douche based on how douchy I appeared earlier today based on my car/attire/music. My reasoning is circular. Who cares, I'm being a jerk. We begin at the bottom.

1. Ford Fusion, plain colored t-shirt, The Beatles
Pretty much as chill as a person can be. Not drawing any attention to themselves. Likes their standard sized car and listening to something that literally everyone likes.

2. small pickup truck, Carhartts, radio is off/country
So you're probably headed to work, that's cool. I don't really like country, but most people who listen to the stuff are pretty cool. However, because I dislike your music, I hope your radio is off. Blue-collar is the way to be though.

3. Focus/Corolla, graphic t-shirt, Oasis/Kansas
Just because you're a 3, don't think this is bad. The small fun sedan is a pretty normal car to be driving. Your graphic shirt is probably awesome and people like that. Your older rock that you're listening to is liked by mostly everyone, just not quite as widely as The Beatles.

Now most people in their 20's I would say fall pretty steadily between a 1-3. You could really switch up any of those numbers and it wouldn't matter. If your douche level is between a 1-3, pretty much everyone likes you. Up above here though is where you might start rubbing certain people the wrong way, but don't worry - up until about #7 you're still mostly a likable person, sometimes people just prefer you in small doses.

4. old jalopy, converse, Arcade Fire
Hipsters are actually pretty big douches when they have to prove to everyone just how much of a hipster they are. However you also have to take into account the large number of people who just kind of naturally act this way because they don't care. They drive an old car and wear old shoes because they don't need new ones and listen to Arcade Fire because other music is too angry. These people are cool. It's just the ones that try so hard that ruin it for them. However they typically drive a Prius.

5. Your parents old Lexus, Hollister, Bowling for Soup
The old Lexus probably should go higher, as anyone in their 20's driving their parents old luxury sedan is probably a huge brat, however being a brat is different than being a douche. Brats are generally just spoiled and jerks because they are stupid. Douches are jerks because it makes them happy to be. Anyway, good job on advertising a store from the mall and listening to music that you liked when you were 14. Now please grow up a little.

6. WRX/BMW 3-series, tight collared shirt, Nickelback
This is me, I fall right about here. I had to spend a few extra thousand dollars on having a turbo in my sedan for really no reason other than "it's cool." Then I wear a collared shirt so people go "Oh look at him. He dresses successfully and drives a successful car." when all I'm really feeling is "I need to compensate for how much of a failure I feel like I am." Then honestly I kind of like Nickelback, but everyone tells me they are douchy, so I'm just going to roll with it.

7. Camaro/Mustang, wife beater shirt, Whitesnake
The muscle car vs. sport compact was a tough one for me, but what it came down to was the accessory. Sure, wearing a collared shirt is bad, especially if it has a name brand on it like the Hollister seagull, but it really fades in comparison to the wife beater shirt. I mean really, how often do you ever meet someone wearing a wife beater who you just think, "Man, what a thoughtful and considerate person." I know for me it is far less than a person wearing a collared shirt. I mean c'mon, those are the same people who eat ketchup on their steak and well.. beat their wives. Douches.

8. Escalade with 20" rims, $200 sunglasses-at night, Ludacris
This is kind of like #6, but taken to a whole new level. First of all driving a $50,000 SUV that can't go offroad because the tires are so thin they won't flex kind of defeats the purpose of having an SUV in the first place, douche. Next what compelled you to spend $200 on glasses that are no different than a pair of $20 glasses? It's not the style because the imitation ones look great. You did it simply for the name brand, douche. Hardcore rap really isn't that douchy, but it kind of goes with the stereotype here.

9. lifted truck, flat brim cap, ICP
A flat brim cap with a sticker proving how badass you are does nothing except prove that you probably have anger issues, douche. I'm sure most of your anger issues stem from the fact that your rap-core is all angry and about breaking stuff. Then to show how truly bad ass you are, you take your already too large truck and have it lifted even higher so your headlights shine right down into the back window of any normal height car. I hope you tip over.

10. ricey Civic/Eclipse, bandana, dubstep/drum n bass
Dubstep is by far the douchiest thing you can possibly listen to. The music is basically an onomatopoeia for the listener as when you hear it coming from someones car all you hear is pounding bass sound of "douche-douche-douche." In fact I think that the lifted truck/flat brim cap combo alone is probably douchier than the lowered civic/bandana combo, but because I can't imagine someone in a lifted truck ever listening to dubstep, it gets bumped down to 9, because dubstep is just that douchey. Then on top of this the ricey civic is pretty douchy itself. You put a noisy exhaust on it so everyone can hear you coming from both your exhaust and your pounding subs. Then you lower it for on-street use, despite the fact that you never auto-x it and now you have to go through every street at an angle and slow down to 2mph because if you don't your ugly body kit will fall off.

Now sure sometimes you might be driving your Focus and listening to Nickelback while wearing a Hollister shirt. In this case you must take an average. You would fall at roughly a 4.7/10 on the douche scale. Today I was a solid 6. However had I put in some dubstep it would have bumped me up to a 7.3/10.

Now, rate yourself. Be honest. Don't hate me too much, I'm only speaking the (highly-exaggerated) truth.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Quarter Life Crisis

So I think I'm having a quarter life crisis. The circumstances are all about right. I just finished what was arguably the funnest phase of my life, college, and I'm moving into that I'm an adult phase somewhat against my will. Sure I still live at home, but I have a career and an adult car now. I go work in downtown Salt lake for a very good pay rate and drive a sedan. Sure the car might have a turbo and be faster than a new Camaro, but it's still a sedan.

I don't really know what to do at this point. I feel like all my young friends that I want to be around are still in Logan, because they are, then all my old married friends that I don't particularly like spending a great amount of time with are near, but we have nothing in common, besides a love of board and video games, and they can never go out anyway.

I suppose logically Utah dictates the next step in life for me is to get married and have a family. Then I can move to the suburbs and live a boring life with boring neighbors in eternal misery. But like, who do I marry? You don't just go to the marriage store and pick out what you want. That's a complicated process of which I really just don't know where to start.

Today the girl I'm dating, Kelley, called and asked if she could come over and I was like, sure! Let's go enjoy the last day of summer. For some reason Labor Day (or Memorial Day, I always forget what today is) just feels like the last day of summer to me. The weather was gloomy, it looked like Seattle on a good day, and we got sandwiches and went for a drive. After not really finding anywhere worth stopping to eat we kinda just stopped in front of some cows, because cows are awesome.

She started out asking me if I ever wanted to get married. I wasn't sure if she meant to her, or just in general, so I kinda just said yes. I want to get married. As addressed before that is probably the next major step I need to take in life. Then about 10 minutes later she was saying I wasn't emotionally committed enough to the relationship for her to keep interest. I was tempted to argue it with her. I feel that anyone who has given reasonable effort into knowing me would realize that I'm actually quite emotional. Hell, I write about how I'm feeling in a public blog. Imagine when you can get out of me if you ask the right questions and act interested in what I feel. Rather than argue this with her, I kept mostly quiet for a while just probing her thoughts. Then after a while it occurred to me that honestly what two of my best friends had been telling me was right. I shouldn't have been dating her. I was just doing it for the sake of dating someone. I hate when other people know me better than I know myself.

That's horrible of me. Kelley is a nice girl, beautiful in a very plain way, non-judgmental and usually entertaining enough, but just not really what I'm looking for in a long-term attachment in terms of excitement and ambition. I imagine she felt similar about me. I had no reason to try and end things hastily as honestly, I was happy for the most part. Having just moved home from college I'm rather bored and it was nice having someone to go out with and spend free time with and snuggle with when I needed affection, but that's nothing to base a relationship off of. It was dumb of me to try. Eventually I admitted most of this to her and we agreed that we should be just friends, which honestly I'm not even sold on that. I have friends. I don't need yet another ex-girlfriend to hang out with. I've got plenty of those. But given the opportunity I'd go say hello to her.

Afterward my old roommate told me that I should have cried out, "Why God, WHY?!" when she told me I wasn't emotional enough, and that was a funny mental image. Haha. I probably should have, would have made for a great story, but honestly after thinking about it critically for 30 minutes or so I realized there really was no reason to continue. I was basically just spending money on someone that I already knew would someday be someone else's wife... again. Though rational thinking isn't nearly as funny as screaming emotionally because I'm not emotional enough, haha. Anyway, long story made short the "girl I'm dating" is no longer the girl I'm dating (which is a good thing) so that makes the having a family part even more complicated.

So what does one do when they are done with their undergraduate degree, found a fantastic entry level job, and has no idea what to do next? I suppose I should just wait, but what am I waiting for? There is no need for me to save money for a house as to be honest, I love Salt Lake, but I don't see Salt Lake as being my permanent home. I can live with my mom as long as I need (or can stand to, we get along much better when we don't live together). I kind of just feel like my life is at a halt for a while until some opportunity presents itself since as of right now I don't even know where to begin looking for an opportunity, other than maybe graduate school, but it's too soon for that. I just had my undergraduate degree posted on my transcript about 10 days ago.

Sigh life, as soon as you start fooling me into thinking you're all perfectly laid out and simple I realize that things are not as they seem. You're like Aggie football, as soon as it looks like there is no way you can lose, you somehow manage to lose. I feel like I just have no control over the circumstances I am in since I don't know what I should even do next. It's.. frustrating. Almost as frustrating as helplessly watching the Aggies blow a 10 point lead, on the road, to the national champions.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sharky the Tiburon

Sometime in August of 2004 I was browsing for a new car. At the time I owned a 1995 automatic Nissan 240SX that was small, rear-wheel drive and automatic. Great car if you don't live in a snowy climate and don't enjoy driving. Unfortunately Utah = snow and automatic = boring. I decided that I needed something more front wheel drive and manual transmission. I'd driven an RSX which I loved, but just didn't have 21,000 for. I also drove a GTI which was pretty cool, but such a hideous vehicle. I went to a sale that was happening across from the apartment my mom lived at and looked at a 2003 Eclipse. I liked it, but after driving it I was very unimpressed with how heavy it felt. The salesman showed me a 2001 Tiburon FX which I liked considerably, but it had 80,000 miles on it and I'd heard bad things about Hyundai's. Then as I was leaving I saw this black car that I didn't recognize. Someone had just traded it in, it hadn't even been detailed yet. I went and found the salesperson and asked him about it and he said I could take it for a drive if I wanted, so I did. It was incredible. It sounded so throaty but calm and accelerated so freely and took corners almost like my 240sx, but felt more stable. I wanted it, but I didn't know anything about these cars and figured it was out of my price range.

I then found out (for better and for worse) that these Hyundais have terrible resale values and this car which cost about $23,000 brand new was only $16,000 a year later. As an 18 year old with a crappy job this was way out of my price range, fortunately I was 18 and still full of stupid choices so I bought it.



Little did I know that it would become one of the best stupid choices I've ever made.

Within the first 6 months of owning this car I had to have nearly everything replaced. Fortunately it had an extended 100,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty that the previous owner had bought for it so most of it was free, but the clutch, flywheel and pressure plate was not free. This was a $1,400 repair that made me hate this car with a passion. I wanted someone to just steal it from me so I could make an insurance claim and go buy another 240sx. At least that car never broke.

After having Hyundai replace a window motor, a power steering pump, a fuel pump, a radiator, an AC compressor and replacing the clutch assembly with my own money the car finally started working. I began to slowly fall in love with the car and for the next 6 years I never had a single major repair on the vehicle.

I'd take it to Bountiful on countless trips to see friends through any kind of weather and it handled like a champ.



I remember dating a girl who went to school at the school I would later call my alma mater, Utah State, and driving up there to see her a few times. Once Joe and I went up to see her and her roommate and we both ended up fooling around with our partner in Sharky. Kind of an awkward memory to look back on, but a funny one nonetheless.

At some point around my 21st birthday I realized that driving home from Halo parties at the same time successful people were making their morning commutes to work kind of made me a loser. I decided to start college. I needed the Hyundai to commute to and from Weber State and I made my first morning commute in the vehicle. Later I used the car as a subject for a photography assignment I had to take in the most pointless class I ever took in college, Art 1010.



The summer after my Freshman year. Eric, Joe, Shelly and I made a roadtrip to Vegas and Zion in the Tiburon. Shelly, my girlfriend at the time, unfortunately got dibs on the front seat and seeing two 6' tall men in the back of a Tiburon for the 500 mile trip was rather hilarious. I did let Eric drive home and Shelly and I napped in the back seat. Apparently he drove 100 mph most of the way. Sometime around this time, the Hyundai and I hit a big milestone. The 100,000 mile marker.



When I was 22 I decided to transfer to a better university, Utah State, and I moved to Logan, Utah. It was only about 60 miles away, so I figured I could get everything up there in my Tiburon. It made for a great truck and was able to accommodate 3 moves of me to and from Logan for my Sophomore, Junior and Senior years of college.


(I took this photo after graduating and moving to Oregon, hence the USU Alumni plate, haha.)

During the summer after my Sophomore year I paid the car off in full and I made a roadtrip in it to Southern California in it. We had some good times. Pissed off some hombres in a turbo Eclipse and then raced away, broke 120 mph through Southern Utah, got hollered at by some chicas in Vegas and even drove through a tunnel underneath downtown Los Angeles.



During my Junior and Senior years of college I was rather poor and mostly unemployed. They Hyundai almost seemed to know this and responded by never needing any repair attention and I maintained it the best that I could. It made some friends with my roommates cars, but it was far and away the best looking of the bunch.



After college I moved to Oregon for the summer to attend field camp. The Tiburon was again able to hold everything I needed and make the 1800 mile round trip. While there we drove through Ashland, Oregon multiple times, made a trip to the ocean and drove along a beautiful scenic drive next to the coast and drove through a forest of 300+ foot tall trees.



Over the course of my senior year and field camp the Tiburon had started to kind of go to crap. Partially due to my inability to afford repairs when they were needed and also due to the fact that it was an almost 10 year old Hyundai with 140,000 miles on it. The car had a check airbag light on, a check engine light on, a short in the passenger door that would blow the radio, a short in the gauge cluster that made me unable to see how fast I was going at night, a busted motor mount, suspension that was rubbing and making a terrible sound, a broken E-brake cable, a leaky AC and had begun overheating in city driving due to another leaky radiator.

It was a hard choice for me. I got a new job and could have afforded these repairs, but since it was also an option for me to just get something new, after 7 years of great experiences and fun times I decided it was time for a new car.

I purchased a 2010 Subaru WRX with the limited package (compass, HID lights, sunroof, those nice luxuries). It's in almost every way a superior car. Faster, handles better, 4 doors, sunroof, better gas mileage, all wheel drive, newer, less miles... but it will never replace the Tiburon. It will never quite be the amazing machine that so reliably got me from place to place for a very important and life changing 7 years of my life.



Sharky was the coolest car ever and I'll always love the GK model Tiburon despite its obvious shortcomings. To whoever owns the car next, I only hope they are some awesome kid with a little money to spend on a dated sporty coupe to get it back to its good running condition and that the car will take just as good of care of them as it did me. Thanks for seven awesome years of being the best car I ever and probably will ever own.



I think this will probably be the photo I always remember it by. Above a 3,000 foot climb through the desert of Eastern Oregon without another car as far as I could see or hear and wind ripping past us at a speed of at least 50 mph.



Such an amazing machine. I'll miss it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My first experience as a real geologist.

I guess it has been a while since I last posted. Maybe I should quit slacking.

I just got back from my first trip to the field site on the Sevier Lake (near Delta, Utah.) It was a lot better than I expected to be honest. After last summer I had developed an understandable hatred of geological field work. Working for North American hiking around in the worst mountains ever, by myself, for 10 hours a day for $120/day (+ a per-diem) wasn't exactly my idea of a good situation, but it was work experience so I stuck with it... for about 2 weeks, haha.

When Norwest interviewed me for an office job and then offered me a field job working on a lake bed I was a little hesitant, but for over twice of what North American had paid me and in an economy that, while better than 2008, still kind of sucks for recent graduates, it's not like I had the option of saying no.

Besides I was at field camp when I got the offer and field camp was quite possibly one of the most awesome experiences of my life. How bad could professional field work be, right? Unfortunately my first day I have to admit I was less than excited for the experience, but I had acted super excited about the opportunity to everyone hoping the positive attitude would convince me that I really was excited.

I got to Salt Lake and parked the Tiburon in the parking garage, not to be seen for 8 days and got in the truck to head for the sprawling metropolis of Delta, population 3000. The drive there was good. I got along well with the geologic manager of the company, but this wasn't different from my experience last summer. The guy I worked for last summer was a fantastic person. We met up with the field supervisor that I'd be working for out there and he was a younger guy. This made me happy. It's always nice to have people with similar interests in life to work with. We went out to the field site and started analyzing core that the drillers brought us.

I was shown the papers we had to use to log the core information and told pertinent things I should look for. It was all pretty much stuff that I learned in school, just notated differently than I had done it before, and this was good. I felt comfortable with it. Even more important I felt like I was actually doing geology. This was a great improvement over my job last summer which just used my abilities of navigating a GPS and being able to hike for long distances.

For the next 8 days I spent time with the geologists, drillers and laborers working on the project and got to know them decently. The one geologist I work with is awesome. He reminds me of myself, had I grown up outside of the Mormon culture. I got a ride back to SLC on Monday and got in at about 1 or 2 pm. I loaded my stuff back into the Tiburon and felt good.

Later that night I hung out with the new girlfriend (yeah new girlfriend again.. shut up.. at least I try, okay?) and it was really nice seeing her and I had fun telling her about the fun experiences I had in Delta as well as playing Donkey Kong Country (she plays SNES, this is a good sign.) I got home at a lateish hour, probably 2am, and went to sleep. I ended up waking up at around 8am thinking to myself "Weird, I have this strange desire to go look at clay in tubes." That's kind of when I realized that I actually liked my job. I wasn't just telling myself I liked it or highlighting the high points of the week. There were certainly low points, such as the 14 hour day or when we had to walks two miles through mud because both snow cats broke down or when we had to work in 3 inches of standing water or the suicidal deer that attacked our truck head first at 5am or when lightning almost killed us.. but all of it was kinda fun. I only feared for my life once, which is about nine times less than I did on my assignment at the other job and I got to work with some pretty cool people, minus one rather unprofessional and unknowledgeable geologist from another company.

I also got my field camp credit transferred from SOU to USU. It showed up on my transcript today and I should be officially graduating in August, which means I'll receive my diploma sometime in 2016. That's exciting.

I like my job. I'm off until Monday and have some free time. I think I'll relax, spend some more time playing DKC and maybe go car shopping. I love the Tiburon, but it has been 7 years and to get it registered this month I'm going to need to spend about $1000 in repairs. That coupled with a new job that I'm excited to stay at means I can finally do something for myself that I've been wanting to do for a long while.

Another perk is that I can now use the phrase "Don't worry, I'm a geologist." in situations where it has no pertinent use such as zombie invasions or terrorist attacks. So next time you're stuck in a lightning storm and there is nothing around taller than you are - don't worry, your friend Brandon is a geologist.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Last post from Oregon.

Okay, I'm a little drunk while writing this one. By a little drunk I mean about a jumbo margarita and 4 beers drunk, but we'll get through this. Thank you spell check! Sorry this won't be the most artistic writing I've ever done, but I'm trying, all right.

I'm done with college, like for real done. I've finished my last class and have a job lined up. Cool right? Sad too.

Right now I'm sitting in an empty dorm room, Forest 103, on the Southern Oregon University campus. I don't have the keys to the room. It's not even mine anymore. My car is outside ready to head back to Utah. Fully packed, but without a sober driver to operate it. My room consists of a laptop, a laptop case, a hat and my cell phone charger plugged into my cell phone. I used a friend's keys to let myself back into Forest hall and put the keys under her door.

Actually that's a lie. I put the keys under the wrong door, but then I realized this and dug them out with my car keys (this was a process) and got them under the right door finally.

What a journey this has been and what a fantastic ending. College was one of, if not the best experience in my life. Field camp was quite possibly the best class of all of college. It was so appropriate to wait until the end to attend it.

I met so many interesting people here. People from Riverside to Seattle to Tennessee to "Northwest P-A." The world is so huge, it's astounding to me just how little I know about it. It's also slightly frightening just how little I want to know about it. Now I don't mean this in a geologic sense. I want to know as much as I can about our planet, but culturally, I like the place I call home.

I don't like that you're likely thinking I'm a sinner for drunk-blogging, I don't like that it's cold for 6 months out of the year, but I think the general trend of my last few blogs is that Utah is a great place.

Enough about that. I'm going to miss Ashland. It's a crappy town, there is nothing open passed 10pm besides the bars, which I didn't really go to as often as some of my peers. The people here are all a little off. Maybe I'm not going to miss Ashland, but I had the greatest group of 30 people that I got to spend the last 35 days with. Some of them were a pain in the ass to work with, but nearly every one of them was an awesome person who I can say I consider a friend.

Geologists are a unique breed. I don't know that anyone ever wants to be a geologist, but as an old roommate of mine said - you are just kind of born into it. It's true. I feel like I came her a geology student and I'm going back to Utah as a geologist. Maybe this is just because a professor of mine told me this, but really, it was an experience.

Some people seemed to be unhappy here. Those people are not geologists, they are earth science students. What Hilt, Four-bit, Cole and South-fork did for me was make me a geologist. It's like.. that stupid saying where having sex "makes you a man," well having geology field camp makes you a geologist.

Tomorrow I start my exodus back to Salt Lake. I'm excited though. It'll be a happy trip back. I get to see my friends who I've missed very much and hopefully be a better person. Not only did I learn a little about geology here, but I feel it was a life experience, something I can grow from.

I'll probably be back tomorrow, late evening (assuming I wake up at a reasonable hour from my empty dorm room without sheets). I can't wait. I can't wait to tell everyone details of my experience here. I suppose I could have just done that in my blog, but what's the fun in that? :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Contentment in transition

Right now it is 11:30 on a Friday night and I'm sitting here in the science building of a school I barely know. I've more or less finished the project that I have due at 8am tomorrow morning. I just need to add some photos and finishing touches to it. There are three other people in the room. People who I barely know, but consider friends. I'm listening to some Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and feel absolutely starved. I'm in a town in Oregon called Ashland where there is no all night diners or fast food places and I don't have a kitchen to cook anything in or anything back in my room to eat besides peanut butter sandwiches and Cheeze-Its. However I really can't think of too many times in my life when I've felt happier that I feel right now.

It's strange. I'm still 7 days away from finishing field camp. Alyssa emailed me today which made me feel a little sad and nostalgic, but I just feel like right now is kind of a point in my life where I'm finally grown up.

Earlier tonight I got on my email to check if my friend had sent me a google plus invitation and instead found a job offer from a company in my inbox. A job offer that will pay me nearly three times as much as I have ever made before at any job in my life. I emailed the man back to let him know that I am happy to accept it. I'm not exactly sure what the job will consist of. I do know that it has something to do with working on the Sevier Lake Potash deposits in Central Utah, but I'm not sure specifically what.

Another monumental thing happened tonight. As I was observing the three people who I'm in the classroom working along side I was noticing that none of them were actually working on their project. I thought I'd check my cell phone which was in my pocket and found quarters which I got back as change from purchasing a project folder today. Out of curiosity I checked to see what change I had an there in my hand lied the last quarter to my 50 state quarter collection. A tarnished and well used 2005 Denver mint California quarter. I know it sounds silly, but I have a thing for quarters. I think it stems from my Grandma who used to give me cool coins for my birthday. I still have them and they're one of the few tangible memories I have of her. My state quarter collection is something I started after her death. It was my goal to collect all 50 through normal circumstances, meaning no purchasing them on ebay or specifically requesting states as change from cashiers. To have finally completed it is just a huge life accomplishment for me.

Earlier tonight I informed my family of my job and one of my friends who happened to be on Facebook at the time, but I'm not really said anything else about it to anyone else except the people who were in the room and heard me proclaim, "Holy shit, I just got a legit job offer for XX dollars an hour from a geology company," as I read my email. My family and buddy were all very happy for me. I feel like I've come so far in the past few years, it's really exciting. Maybe I still have 7 days left here in field hell, but I'm a geologist. I never thought I'd be a geologist, I never wanted to be one, but I've ended up as one. I'm celebrating by spending my Friday night posting a blog and writing a landslide report. Sounds like what a responsible adult would do, right? However tomorrow I'm going to be at the Redwoods and Crescent City with other friends of mine. The following day I will be at Crater Lake on Mount Mazama and plan on being just sober enough to walk most of the time. Maybe I've still got some growing up to do. Hell, I'm only 25. Screw the gray hairs and Utahans that try to tell me I'm old. I've still got a lot of learning to do.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer field camp - halfway point.

Field camp is halfway over. It has been a fun experience that I will be both happy and sad to see end. It's certainly been a strange lifestyle for me.

My typical day consists of the following:

Waking up at 6:50 and forcing myself to choke down nasty cafeteria food. From here I go meet with the other geologists where we meet and get a short briefing on the day and then we hop in some crazy motorpool vans which are then taken on roads which are probably only meant for cattle. We arrive at our destination sometime around 9 and at this point we hop out and do some joyous mapping stuff which consists of walking around endless field and forests in search for rock contact changes. We use a GPS to mark these places and then continue looking for anything of significance. Around noon we stop and eat. I have brought a peanut butter (without jelly) sandwich for lunch every day so far. I'm getting quite sick of them. After this we continue the prior mapping stuff until around 4ish when we all start getting excited to go home and we get back in the motorpool vans and head back to eat some delicious cafeteria food. (Yes, after 8 hours of being in the field it's quite amazing despite tasting horrible.) After this I spend time either chatting with friends, going to get drinks or writing up reports from the information I gathered. It's fun, I guess, but it's not at the same time.

I really like that these 29 people I spend every day mapping with have become, for the most part, my friends. I realize the likelihood of me ever seeing them again after 18 more days is almost zero and that is somewhat sad because I really enjoy some of them, but it's cool being around such a unique and diverse group of people. I've really enjoyed going to the bars with them and spending days off exploring downtown Ashland and playing sports. It really reminds me of the first two years I spent in Logan. Except it just feels so much more like the real world that I see in movies and what I feel life should be like. We go out to bars and sing karaoke and we cuss at each other and we're all just friends. There's no drama of who dated or made out with who or who is a sinner for not going to church. It's just a really laid back bunch of people to be around. I can't even begin to express how different the social aspect of life here is than it is in Utah. I really like it, but sometimes I also miss my innocent Utah bubble. Despite wanting to get away from it, it is what I've known for 18 years and it's a part of me.

I finished my first project a few days ago which was in Hilt, California. This was a very intense structural mapping project in the hot sun and hilly terrain. The east coast people called them mountains, haha. The paper ended up being around 20 pages after figures and appendices. I felt so professional having written this thing, haha.

The thing I think I hate most about this place is living in college dorms. College dorms are horrible excuses for a living situation. I'd almost rather be in a tent in the woods. There is no such thing as peace and you can't be alone. There's always someone making noise. While for the social aspect of life this is good and I always have something to do, sometimes I kind of just want quiet. I also hate using what is basically a public restroom. It's kind of gross. Also the whole experience is kind of like boot camp for geologists. This may sound like an exaggeration, but it isn't. We work long hours, get back and have to interpret. This happens six days a week and on top of that we get no sleep, we eat terrible food and basically live in bunkers. I suppose I do have my own room and this is nice, but it's not like I can't hear every damn thing everyone in the rooms next to me say.

Today was a fun experience at least. We're in a new field area that is northeast of Ashland in a forest. It rained pretty hard most of the day (by Utah standards anyway) and made the entire forest drip with water. The forest was so thick that there were decomposing logs that would make up the entire forest floor in some places. After tracing a contact between Tertiary and Quaternary lava flows we needed to head back to the rendezvous point. My two partners and I were about a kilometer out in some of the thickest vegetation I've ever seen, probably about as thick as the stuff I worked in on the Oquirrh's last summer, and had about 45 minutes to get back. It was some pretty intense bush whacking to get back to the river that we would have to ford. Then we had a brilliant idea that we could use the suspended cable trolley in the area that is used to measure streamflow velocity. Unfortunately it started pouring rain at this point and there were three of us for the two seater trolley which needed a fourth person to taxi it across the stream for us. We ended up cramming in the trolley and heading back across through the rain. It was really fun. The van ride back was rather miserable as it was about 45 minutes and I was soaking wet.

Tomorrow I get to go back to the same location and continue working on my volcanic flow/stream flow hydrogeology project which will actually be used by the Medford Water Commission in their analysis of the watershed system which is used to supply all of Rogue Valley, minus Ashland, with their water. Sort of looking forward to it, however the freezing cold water is definitely not a perk. Anyway, I need to be up in about 7 hours, goodnight.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Driving to Oregon

I thought it would be fun to blog about my drive to Oregon, since I never put photos in my blogs and they're always about either politics or how dating in Utah is as cool as wearing socks with sandles I thought I would try something new.

So I started in Layton and I packed my car up about as full as I could comfortably get it.



On the way there, I saw a whole bunch of Porsche's



I decided I would join them in my Hyundai.



It was mostly just because there was about 20 of them and they were hogging both left lanes, it was most obnoxious.

After a brief stop at Joe's for a BBQ which never happened due to technical assembly difficulties (believe me, having put a grill together last week I understand these difficulties all to well) I set off west on I-80. My first (and last) exciting thing to see was the Magna Smokestack, which is actually the tallest free standing structure west of the Mississippi River (really, it's true!)


Finally I arrived at the ocean.


No I'm kidding, that's actually just the Great Salt Lake.

It didn't really hit me just how long and boring of a drive this was going to be until I read this sign.


I saw some lake terraces and thought a trip to geology just wouldn't be complete without some Bonneville Terrace pictures.


Next I came across some Aragonite, however it was a freeway exit rather than the mineral.


After more driving I came to the Salt Flats. They're actually flooded in parts right now, something I'd never seen, but it was kind of cool to witness how they form. The salt from the GSL overflows into the flat basin and deposits when the water evaporates leaving behind layers of salt.


Towards the western edge I came across the "tree" of gambling. This is more representative of what the salt flats normally look like.


I chased the sunset and I almost won.


This is the only tunnel I think I've ever seen on an interstate, so I felt it necessary to document.


Along the way, as you can see in the prior photo, I hit the biggest swarm of bugs known to mankind. It was so thick that at first I thought it was raining and turned my windshield wipers on. This was not a smart idea. When I stopped in Winnemucca to get food I noticed my bumper and was absolutely amazed at the disgustingness of it.


Since Nevada is boring beyond words I actually didn't take any more photos until I got to Reno. Reno is less boring. It was about 3am and the town was alive still.


I ran from the sunrise and I almost won.


Then the fog came. The fog was thicker than any fog I had seen before in my life. Though being that in Utah fog almost never happens this probably isn't saying much.


It was pretty freaky to drive in. Give me snow any day over this crap.


I just felt this was really pretty.


I got to some junction of random state roads and needed gas, so I stopped at the only station I could find. It was incredibly expensive.


I was a little weirded out to see that they were out of two types of fuel. I'd never seen that before.

Unfortunately they were also out of regular unleaded.

However my car gets good gas mileage and I figured I had enough to get to the next town so it wasn't a huge deal. On the way there as if out of no where Mt. Shasta appeared on the horizon and was almost the most amazing thing I'd ever seen.


I stopped in the town of Mt. Shasta for fuel and a McDonalds bagel. It's a nice quaint town. The sleeping giant is amazing still. I'm fairly certain it's the biggest mountain I've ever seen in person at just over 14,100 feet. Oddly enough I didn't see Shasta Soda for sale in the gas station.


There was an interesting black volcanic looking things a little distance north of Shasta. I don't know what it is.


Yes, this is actually exactly what I think when I think of Northern California...

Except instead of "3" I think "every"

I was almost there, I could see airplane trails, likely coming from Medford. It was the first sign of actual civilization I had seen since Salt Lake City. (Reno doesn't count as I am pretty sure that they still observe an anarchy system of government)



There were some terraced rocks with a sign that said "rocks" and I thought it was kind of funny.


Oh yay! I can almost unpack and fall asleep.


I hung my flag and declared it nap time.


The end.



Anyway, so far it has been all right. Ashland is a very different town. The mountains are kind of little. They have water that tastes like ass (not that I taste that on a regular basis) running from fountains downtown and people that get high and walk on train tracks with drums. I got some yogurt and a beer (not together of course) and I have done plenty of geology. I've made a few friends and it's really nice being around all of the diversity from out of state. I'm the only Utahan and the only Mormon. I really like it and it makes me want to leave Utah even more.

Weird - since I've been here I identify myself to people as being Mormon when they ask. Someone even insulted Mormons and I flipped him off and he was like, "Oh you're Mormon? Sorry." I never identify myself as being Mormon. I often find myself hating on Mormons. Yet for some reason being around people who are not Mormon makes me feel like it's part of what makes me who I am. Which is just the opposite of being in Utah where I feel like being indifferent to the invasive religion is part of what makes me who I am. I guess it's all just relative. My ideology, compared to many Utahan's, is rather liberal and I hate being around Mormon functions. Around normal people I feel like my ideology is, well, pretty much LDS and kind of have this sick desire to go to church or something. This kind of makes me want leave Utah also.

I wonder what Mormons are like in Oregon. They are probably still mostly unable to see anything beyond what they're force fed in church, but still, I am curious. Maybe they'd be more accepting of me.

I doubt I'll really have time to find out.

Anyway, it's a little past 11 and I really should probably sleep since I've been feeling like a zombie intermittently throughout the day since I got here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Last Entry in Utah for a While.

This is my last post from Utah for a while. I'm leaving for Oregon sometime tomorrow late afternoon. I guess the plan is to leave at say 4-7ish (I'm not the most punctual person in the world) and head across the west desert and Nevada on I80. I don't plan on seeing much along the way as Northern Nevada is quite possibly the dullest place on the planet. I imagine I'll get into Ashland sometime around 9 am, depending on how many exciting stops I make along the way to see super cool stuff like ... well ... I guess Reno is the only place worth stopping for any extended period of time. Maybe if you're lucky I'll make a blog of all my stops along the way (so it'll be a picture of me in Reno.)

I hope it's fun. I'll be honest, I'm a little excited to go look at rocks, make maps and do stupid field camp stuff for 5 weeks. Now don't get me wrong, there are things I'd rather be doing, but it will be a cool adventure and a good way to escape hell Utah for a little while.

My interview went well. I'm pretty sure I made a good impression and kicked the interview's ass. I wasn't really asked any typical interview questions. Basically the people interviewing me just told me about the job and asked if I was still interested. I told them yes and why I was still interested and he said he had some people to talk to still, but he'd call me next week. On the way out the receptionist said she wasn't aware of any other interviews that were going on and that she hoped I got the job. The younger girl interviewing me made a couple of references at "when" I would work there rather than "if" I worked there. Now maybe I'm looking too deeply into things, but from what it sounds like I'd say there's a pretty good chance I'll be working in Salt Lake when I get back from Ashland. That makes me happy.

The job seems a lot like exactly what I want it to be. They made it sound dull because they did data analysis and wrote reports... Please, sign me up. I love data analysis! Scientific report writing.. eh.. I can do it well, but it isn't my favorite thing in the world. Besides, I think it would be really cool to be a miner. Now obviously I wouldn't be mining, but I'd be a mine geologist and that's basically what my heritage is. Well... miners anyway. My grandma and grandpa both had families that were into coal mining. I think it would be quite appropriate if my first professional job consisted of mining. Plus, I would be doing data stuff for mines and it would destroy any desire that I ever have to ever play Minecraft again.

I talked to Trisha three? nights ago. That was nice. She's still as odd as ever, but it was nice to talk to her. She admitted to keeping track of what I've been up to and made fun of me for dating Alyssa. I'm sure it had a bit to do with how I typically make fun of the guys she's dated since me (What? They're ugly) and probably something to do with the fact that Alyssa wasn't even close to my type. It kind of made me happy. Trisha knew me as well, if not better, than anyone I've met since high school. It was nice having someone who knew me so well tell me that... Even if she laughed at me for having been dumped by an 18 year old. I suppose I probably deserved it. *sigh*

I should probably not date for a while. I say this a lot, but really. What's the point? All I seem to date are curious Mormon "bad" girls. That's all that really seems to go for me. The good ones are too dull and the non-LDS girls of Utah don't like me because I don't party. It's a frustrating problem. This is why I was hoping to go to graduate school out of state so badly. However if I get this job at Norwest, it's sort of something I could turn into a career.

If I did get this job would I really want to stop a year later to leave and go get a Masters? Then again would I want to be 45 and look back at my mid 20's going, "Damn, why didn't I get that Masters?" On top of that, do I even want a Masters? I can't even begin to tell you how unattractive the idea of two years of geological research on top of 30 extra credits and a thesis is. I mean c'mon, undergraduate work, as much as I loved some aspects of it, was pretty terrible and painful. No pain, no gain though, right? My life looks better than it did 4 years ago, that's for sure. Maybe 3 years from now I can say the same thing.

Eh whatever, I'm looking too much into the future. This is why my hair is turning gray... that on top of fearing my ex was pregnant *eye-roll*... Seriously, tangent thought, but WHY do birth control pills have to have all the same side effects as the beginning stages of pregnancy? That is really stressful to naive people such as myself! Gray hair sucks. Oh well, better to be gray than bald I guess. Besides, I only have about 10 gray hairs at this point. That's acceptable for 25, right? I worry too much. I should take more of the "whatever happens happens" attitude like I do with my whole, "I'm leaving between 4 and 7" thing. That works for me on a day to day basis. Why not on the long term? I guess I really just don't understand myself.