Thursday, April 18, 2019

Earth for President, 2020 and beyond.

Earth for President, 2020 and beyond.

I don’t buy this right-leaning, left-leaning world-view we have created. Gravity, due to the mass of this planet, constantly pulls us toward the Earth. Our ideologies—ALL of them—are wrong[1], or at least not completely correct, and have been messing things up for a couple hundred years, but the Earth Systems have been running the place for billions. My confidence is with her record:
Earth for President, 2020 and beyond.
**this non-ad was paid for by the billions of phanerozoic age blue-collar plankton and plants working hard millions of years ago who absorbed the suns energy [fossil fuel burning brings me, in the US, 67%[2] of my electricity].
[1] In the book “21 Lessons for the 21st century”, Yuval Noah Harari make the very good point that a historical look at any ideology ever held eventually dissolves under the inability to evolve out of its flaws after learning of them. Was an amazing book and I highly recommend the work. Here is a review:…/21-lessons-for-the-21st-centu…

[2] EIA, Annual Energy Review 2011

Photo Credit: By NASA/Apollo 17 crew; taken by either Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans - (image link); see also, Public Domain, 
Science. Spirit. Practice.

Monday, April 8, 2019

9 Amazing years of Geology Field Camp with University of Oregon

9 Amazing years of Geology Field Camp 
with University of Oregon

2009 - "High Class" In the process of becoming geologist. A bond we share. I love them all, and miss them. 
 Though someday I would like to write much more about these people, our shared experience, and my observations from these amazing times. But for now, I just want to see all these great characters in one place.

2009 - Our oldest son, Oshen, was born the March before camp started in June. Laurie came to visit us at Green Mountain, Oregon before we drove to Dillon, MT to complete the next 4 weeks of camp. At the camps request, she brought the UO flag behind us... and I think is still with the camp supplies. :) 

2010 - I was asked to serve as an undergraduate TA. Flattering and fun. Not show in this picture, because she only registered for the Paleontology section of the camp, is Win McLaughlin, who became a great field camp friend as we have instructed together several times after this year. 

2010 - a first field teaching photo, by Marli Miller. 

2011 - Barely counts, as I was not involved in instruction but just visited camp. 

2012 Fall - one of the 2011 students, Kris Hornsby, became my field assistant for my M.Sc. mapping project in Death Valley.
Photo by Marli Miller. 

2012 - I actually felt like a geologist and a colleague of my adviser, Marli. I felt respected. I felt useful. 

2012 - our final night on Green Mountain was the instructors birthday, Reed Burgette. We celebrated with fire juggling under the waxing moon. At this time, our second child, Neva, was about 6 months old. I left after the first two weeks and then met the crew in Montana for the last two weeks. Great talks with Reed, Win McLaughlin, and Scott McGuffin. 

2013 - Another amazing crew of people, but I am sad I cannot find a group picture (I'm sure there is one around...).
Photo by Mike Jeletic. Again this year I worked as a Graduate Teaching Fellow (TA) for the first two weeks, then returned to Eugene for my M.Sc. thesis presentation. I joined the crew again in Montana for the last two weeks. While in Montana, I signed my first contract with a University to teach geology (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire). 

2013 -  this is pretty close to a full group shot, thanks to Mike Jeletic. Im fairly certain I didn't attend this field trip day, so not in the photo. Great conversation and bonding at Green Mountain with paleo-friend Win McLaughlin. 

2013 - OK, I messed around sometimes. :) The second project during the first section was a survey project along the Crack-in-the-Ground fault using plane table and alidade. Win and I would walk up and down (north-south) the crack study area (tons of jokes there, we know) to visit and assist groups. In this particular section where the crack was poorly exposed, I had stacked some nice pieces of columnar basalt as a gate post, a doorway, a portal. I dont know. It was cool feeling. After the project, we needed to dismantle and put rocks back to natural states. So I kicked them over.
Photo by Mike Jeletic. 

2014 - My first year of being hired as an Instructor, along with my buddy Mike Darin (in the 2009 photo, he is on the far left back row in the orange). I was visiting from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and he was taking vacation from Conoco-Philips. We had a great time helping these bright folks learn the geologic field methods (desert sorcery), while also having a great time at night! Mike celebrated his 30th birthday and I think we closed down the Dillon, MT bars all but 2 nights out of the two weeks. Jamming to Katy Perry music. Epic.
Photo by Mike Darin. 

2015 - A second year as full instructor, but only me and no Mike :(. Lots of other great folks though and I didnt visit the Dillon bars nearly as much! This year, I met the class at Green Mountain where we did a regional mapping project, and then we drove to Montana where I led them through mapping the Frying Pan Gulch area. We were together for a total of three weeks. This time, our third child, Manuel, was born in June and a couple weeks later I left for this. That was hard, much harder on my spouse. When I returned home, we moved to Ontario, Oregon to me to start a new teaching position with Treasure Valley Community College as an Earth Systems Science Instructor. 

2016 - This was a tough one. Im not in this photo, as I was only instructing the class for one-week of mapping at Frying Pan Gulch. But it was more than enough time to rub some people the wrong way. Over the years, I have developed an attitude of seriousness about the work being done and training the students as geologist. This year, my attitude clearly went too far. I gave them tough love, but without enough time to connect with them post-feedback... left bitter feelings. I think there was much more to the hard feelings, Im not entirely sure, but I received some really terrible and hurtful reviews from the students. A first, very first, in my teaching career. However, I learned some major lessons. To this crew, I am simultaneously sorry and thankful. 

2016 - A mine tour field trip to the Treasure Mine in the Ruby Mountains, a talc mine. Mike Cerino was kind enough to lead a tour this year, and the previous, to show us some applied geology. The night before, my two lovely sisters just happen to be driving through Dillon, MT (independently, but converged there) and I went out with them the previous night. I was not top notch this day, and reflect on that as one of the most unprofessional things I've every faced. But jeeeez, my sisters! How cool! 

2017 - A great year, one of my best, especially following my mistakes in instruction the prior year. I was told by one student they "heard I was a hard-ass" and some of the student were worried to work with me. After mere days of working together, that student told me otherwise and that I challenged them to "just improve". Out of all years teaching, it was this one that I felt the highest sense of accomplishment as a teacher and mentor. This year, Marli and I split the crew into two groups: one half mapped Block Mountain with her while the other conducted three smaller mapping projects elsewhere. This was the last project at Kelly Reservoir. 

2017 - The entire crew before leaving starting camp. 

2018 - the last year, hopefully not forever. Return of the Mike-Sammy team! Yes! This year again Mike Darin and I got to co-teach an entire two week section, and it was glorious! These folks were top notch and some of the most talented across the board. Maybe I've grown soft after the couple years as a hard-ass. Paleo-friend Win McLaughlin also joined us, for an extra epic trio of seasoned field camper instructors! I think Marli took this photo.

I've included several group photos of this crew below, both because I took a lot of group photos and because I am fond of this group a bit more than any other (not including my own year as a student, 2009). Im not entirely sure why, but for many qualitative reasons. This summer was a very interesting and hard time in our (Laurie and I) lives, as Treasure Valley Community College decided to eliminate my position at the end of the 17-18 year. Purely a budget decision, and I did absolutely nothing wrong. I did everything right, and did everything. Too much. Additionally, Laurie and I had just spent nearly two years in a very personal process of surrogacy and baby Menghzung was born in the previous April. We were both depressed. Maybe because I was more vulnerable, maybe because of the high emotion being with Mike and Win, maybe because I was more able to reflect on these collective experiences to just feel a sense of pride, bliss, and sadness at once. For all reasons, the 2018 season seemed to have more impact on me personally. It helped me usher in a new phase of my life. After the phase that was defined by field trips, field camp, and field work... maybe I can finally settle down a little bit. 

For the first time since 2009, I'm not teaching a section of field camp for University of Oregon. Nothings wrong, they just happen to not need the extra instructor this year. Probably a good thing for me, but it makes me very sad. I've had nearly 10 great years of Field Camp experience with Geology majors out of University of Oregon. Fellow ducklings. 

2018 - crew at Glacier National Park

2018 - crew in the Rat's Nest (metropolitan) area of Block Mountain. Was a particularly rough day mapping, as dealing with the Rat's Nest can be. 

2018 - crew at the Owyhee River camp, the last night Win, Ellen, Mike and I would spend with them. Turns out after grading their work, Mike and I drove out to their Maury Mountains camp to deliver their graded material. Sadly, we encountered almost nobody in camp... but Sam, one of the most important to see. 

While going through all of these pictures, two realizations cannot be un-told: 1) each year I have made life long bonds with some amazing bright young minds. I am so glad to have met them all and feel blessed to have watched them grow during this tough course; and 2) it seems that most years there is at least one young couple that fell in love and later got married. Super cute.