Weak end.

On Saturday, I received a bill in the mail from my University stating that I owed them several hundred dollars more than I thought. I had planned my semester according to the bill I received shortly after it began, but apparently that bill had not included certain fees associated to classes that I signed up with late and now also included late payment penalties. That put a real pinch on my wallet as I was banking on my tax return to cover my tuition costs. It no longer covers my tuition costs, and my trip to New Mexico is in jeopardy.

Tonight, at work, while I went over in my head the best way to maneuver a conversation regarding my need for time off to go to New Mexico in a way that wouldn’t threaten my job, I was interrupted by the man I sought to talk to. Before I had even asked him, he informed me that our already short staffed had become more short. The new guy, who has worked here for a total of a week and half, quit. He came to ask me to pick up the hours and effectively put the kaybash on my particpation in the trip to New Mexico.

I need money, and for that I need to work, and to work, I need to be at work. Needless to say, I am rather bummed out. I was really looking forward to going to New Mexico and experiencing geology like I have never done before. I will be jealous when they return.

Maybe the weather will be nice enough and I can head down to Southern Illinois and bask in some of Illinois more interesting geology.

Photo by Charles Carrigan


A complete and total failure…

We had a pretty decent snowstorm here last night. It’s been a warm, tame winter so I really appreciated it. It will probably be gone in a day or two and be the last snow storm of the season, so I’m glad we had it.

Last week, I posted this:

Plans for this week: Taxes, finish last weeks labs, start this weeks labs, start studying for Stratigraphy and create some sort of schedule that allows this all to happen in the most stress-free, non-sleep robbing way.

LOL. I am stressed, I am sleep deprived, it is Friday night, and I am behind on my work. I mean, I got stuff done, but it wasn’t easy, and I still have Physics stuff to do that was due this week that just didn’t get done. I have completely failed in that respect.

I did finally get my Cycles exam back and my good feelings about it were accurate as I received an A. It made me feel a lot better about my Stratigraphy exam which I also felt pretty good about afterwards. So that stress is lifted off of my shoulders only to be replaced with the new stresses of upcoming exams once again.

Next Friday is my next Volcanology exam, and shortly after that will be the next Structure exam. I am going to dominate my Structure exam no matter what. I am embarrassed by my poor grade on the first exam and I will pull myself out of that embarrassing hole.

I’m going to go work on homework now. At 9pm on Friday night.

Breathe in…

Here is a satellite view of McCarty’s flow in New Mexico. Some people from my Volcanology class and I are trying to spend spring break there doing rock nerd shit and trying to demonstrate an understanding of things we think we know. Really looking forward to it– camping and rocks that aren’t carbonates or sandstones.

I am done with my exams for a few weeks, very happy about that. Stratigraphy exam wasn’t nearly as bad it could’ve been; I was running out of time because my answers were so detailed, which usually is a good thing (in my head at least). I know I missed points on a few questions, but nothing that would sink the ship. Didn’t get Cycles exams back today like I thought I would, which is probably for the best. Had I got it back, I probably would’ve spent time obsessing over it instead of studying for Stratigraphy

Anyway, I get to spend my free time working on Physics and labs, and not obsessing over studying. Studying will not disappear completely, but hopefully be a constant that reduces the need for stress inducing super-study sessions.

Also, I got an e-mail today informing me that I would not be offered a position in Svalbard. A little disappointing, but the note was very will written and very complementary and came with a lot of information and advice based on what I wrote in my essay. That’s what I guessed anyway, if it was a mass, generic e-mail then it was very well written because it fooled me. So, it’s disappointing overall, but I don’t feel terrible about it. I will be doing something else this summer.


I got my Physics and Structure exams back today. I got a B on my Physics exam (which sets a nice precedent for the class considering I didn’t even have time to do all 4 problems), the problem I thought I was way off on turned out to be almost 100% correct.

Structure was a disaster though. I got a C on it which, given the class average, is nothing to be happy about. Really ruined my day, to the point where I’ve decided I am throwing all ideas about comfort out the window now. The pace has been set for the semester and I want to jog ahead of it. No sleep? No problem.

I have my Stratigraphy exam tomorrow, I am not exactly sure how I feel about it yet. I’m going to do a lot of reading a reviewing before hand, but as with the Cycles exam the same professor gave a week or so ago, it’s hard to feel adequately prepared. He writes his tests to get an understanding of everything you know– not to quiz you on specifics. I felt like I did well on his Cycles exam, but I haven’t got it back yet, so I can’t be sure.

All I know is that, overall, I am doing pretty well this semester grade-wise, but doing poorly in Structure just makes the whole thing feel like a crap shoot.

… and because I hate making posts without some kind of image in them, here’s a big dumb picture I took the other day.


I just feel like pointing out how great this record is. Pulling Teeth has long been one of my favorite bands, but not a band that I feel like has put out great “albums”. They have a ton of songs that I love, but their albums have always lacked a cohesiveness that I appreciate. However, their final two albums, “Paranoid Delusions, Paradise Illusions” and “Funerary” are thematically consistent and musically awesome.

They’re a band that’s not afraid to attack irrational belief (and be irrational themselves at times, but that’s for another time), and vehemently  project the ideas that they believe in (veganism, straight edge, gay rights, etc.), and that’s what’s always drawn my interest. This is a time period in punk and hardcore where talking about shit that actually matters has taken a backseat to writing “deep” lyrics about being a teenager.

Anyway, Pulling Teeth played their last show very recently, and I was thinking about them today and tossed on Funerary. I can’t say enough positive things about it, but I like to draw attention (which is needless to anyone who’s listened to the record as it’s far and away the best song on it) to the song “At Peace”.  I was really attatched to this song when I first heard the record, as I’m sure everyone is for the last bit of lyrics…

Never will I see your face and never will I touch your skin
And never will I ever get to see you smile again
Never will I see your face and never will I touch your skin
And never will I ever get to feel your warmth again
Never will I see your face and never will I touch your skin
And never will I ever get to call and ask for help again
Never will I see your face and never will I touch your skin
And never will I ever get to tell you that I love you again

I don’t know, maybe that doesn’t land for anyone who hasn’t lost someone close to them.

The last time I saw them play was in Philadelphia at This Is Hardcore over the summer, and they opened with that track, and it was prefaced by Dom (singer) explaining that his father’s death had inspired the song. I don’t know why, but that made the set a million times better and that song so much more impactful. I’m really going to miss this band.

Here’s there set from that show… P.S: Stick around until 15:30 to watch things get insane to Stonethrowers (a song that perfectly embodies Pulling Teeth).

Pulling Teeth (Full Set) from hate5six on Vimeo.

Decent Saturday…

The addendum to my Friday post… here are the videos that I mentioned.

They’re not as nice quality as I’d like (and I’m not sure where the purple tint comes from), but they’re decent enough. I wish I had thought to turn the stage more slowly while I was doing these though, particularly for this above video. You can see how the grains flash, but there are a lot of feldspar grains in that view that you can’t really see the extinction come and go because I’m moving too fast. I apologize.

Here is the large microcline under the thin section.

It definitely illustrates the idea behind extinctions much more clearly than my prior text or pictures. It’s a pretty neat deal.

Decent Friday

My friend lately. I still struggle when looking at thin sections, but it’s something I’ve enjoyed: building a visual vocabulary of the work on the microscale.

Here’s some pictures of some lithic arenites we’ve been studying. I took HD video of me rotating the stage on the microscope so I could demonstrate the types of things that you look for when looking at these under thin section, but I got lazy and I didn’t upload them. Essentially, you rotate the stage (where the slide sits) and you look for patterns of extinction (grains change color when rotated, usually dark to light) within grains. As the grain rotates, the light interacts with the crystallographic structure of the minerals resulting in a unique pattern.

I planned ahead very poorly when taking pictures obviously because there is only one grain in this picture that is showing off it’s extinction. In the middle top, you can see a grain that has both white and dark spaces that mix. That is a microcline grain that is halfway between it’s light and dark phase.

This next picture if of a gigantic microcline grain that showcases it’s extinction much more clearly and obviously.

When you see that cross hatched type of texture appear when rotating a slide, you know you have microcline. It’s pretty neat really.

I might upload those videos tomorrow to show it off a little better.

I filed my taxes today, my return will go to paying for school (to avoid late fees on my tuition payments) almost immediately once it’s deposited. Being poor sucks.

The unjoys of being a person with responsibilities…

The second to last time I saw This Is Hell, was in the above photo. A tiny garage full of hunting/outdoors equipment with a plethora of deer antlers hanging from the ceiling. It was a ridiculous, testosterone overdosing, violent affair– and it was awesome. This Is Hell has long been one of my favorite hardcore bands and a band that, despite their longevity, output and touring, has never had that big of a following. They’re playing a show at that garage again in March, and I won’t be able to attend because of the school/work situation.

I can no longer count the number of times I’ve seen This Is Hell with my fingers, but I can easily count the number of shows that they’ve got a good reaction at on one hand. When they released their first full-length, ‘Sundowning’, they were something of a hype band, but ever since they didn’t release ‘Sundowning 2’, their popularity has curtailed. Chewed up and spit out by the cyclical and cynical nature of hardcore kids. Unlike most flash in the pan hardcore bands however, This Is Hell has continued to tour relentlessly and record new albums. They’re doing it out of love, living on the road, and playing anywhere that will host them– even if that means a garage full of hunting equipment in some weird neighborhood in Rockford, Illinois.

I try to see This Is Hell anytime I can. Whenever they pass through the area, I try my best to go because I know that there stands a good chance that nobody at that show will care about what they’re doing. So, I like to show up and buy a shirt that I might not necessarily want, or toss some money in the tip jar while singing along like a goon and climbing on top of boring people there for some other band.

When they played in that tiny garage with 20-30 people going apeshit, it was awesome. It’s the way aggressive music should be. I don’t understand the appeal of large open air concerts, or giant ballrooms with thousands of people in them. I like music I like because I feel a personal attachment to it. A room packed with kids who want to jump on each other and sing along to every word is always going to be something more than watching a band perform songs. In hardcore, nobody is better than anyone else, and that lack of a barrier is what embodies it more than anything to me.

That’s why missing this show is really disappointing to me. I know that this show is going to be everything that hardcore represents, and everything that I want it to be, and it This Is Hell will be center stage. Getting older sucks sometimes.

Listen to This Is Hell.


I’m going to be 100% honest. I spent an hour and a half looking at this slide and others like it today in lab, and I still only know 70% of what’s going on here. I am terrible at this aspect of geology. Fortunately, I feel smart when I am sitting at a microscope.

I am going to meet with one of my professors this week about possible senior thesis stuff. Need to see if I am cut out for that path. Currently looking at the potential of doing something with reflection seismology. Who knows though, I have a few professors I want to bug about this topic (thesis, not reflection seismology).


Well, today was a day of mixed feelings. I had my Structure and Physics exams today and I really thought I was better prepared for both of them. I probably did OK on my Structure exam, but my Physics exam was stupid (read: I was stupid). I tend to overthink physics a lot, and especially with kinematics I  work myself into these circular logic things. I might have squeaked by on that one, but there was a question on that exam that my answer just seemed way too off to be true (there were only 4 questions on it).

Given the opportunity to do today over, I would definitely seize upon that opportunity. I’m not happy with my exam performance.

I did get my Volcanology exam back though, and I am happy to report that I recieved an A on it. I didn’t think it was bad at all, but I’ve found myself to be enthralled with the subject. I hope  to get my Cycles exam back tomorrow, but as that class is rather populous, I expect an essay exam to take longer to grade than that.

Speaking of Volcanology however, I think I am settled upon my term paper (about damn time too, considering that it’s 15 pages and I need to get working on it). My paper, assuming nobody else has laid claim to the subject without my realizing it, will be on back-arc basin volcanism.

I figure that it’s a broad enough topic that filling 15 pages won’t be hard, and I think the tectonic settings and their implications for volcanism are really interesting.

Plans for this week: Taxes, finish last weeks labs, start this weeks labs, start studying for Stratigraphy and create some sort of schedule that allows this all to happen in the most stress-free, non-sleep robbing way.