Sunday, November 16, 2008

352. A Day of Mental Geologizing at a Kinkos

Today was the first time in a long time I had an opportunity to "jog" up Two Trees. Or perhaps an attempt to jog Two Trees, which is located in the Box Springs Mountains, bordering "enveloping" my parent's (and my) home in Riverside, California. I knew that when I would climb up to the top to reach the road, that my fundamental perception of the view of the Inland Valley of southern California, would funamentally change ever since the passing of my grandfather, Ray. But instead, I was preoccupied with taking a time series of low-resolution photographs of a fire that broke out in the wildlands, more so in the middle world between the Inland Empire, Orange County, and Los Angeles. Not only that, I encountered Dr. Martin Kennedy and Eva Ritter, who were both storming up the trail much faster than I was (man, I am out of shape!). It was actually very good to see them. I had been slacking in my runs ever since Eva and I stopped jogging together. I know that my fundamental perception of them changed. The sense of Embracing Failure, I suppose, or it is of question whether my last years since 2005 had ever been a failure after all? Through the passing of my grandfather, I am coming to embrace people, embrace all the past, and whatever Divisiveness and Sense of Failure that had encompassed in my mind is starting to disintegrate and erode into a sense of acceptance and acquisition, and aggregation, conglomeration. Free hugs for everyone. Except, we were all sweaty from jogging and that is inappropriate.

I told Martin, through my grandfather's passing, I have come to realize clearly who I am, what I value, and why I have come to know what I know, and why I have such a deep-rooted attachment to change in landscapes--and what I didn't tell Martin--why I need to know my geology, very well (which my grandfather would be pissed off if I weren't geologically or topographically oriented to my surroundings, but to imagine to attempt to learn geology without any acceptance of Continental Drift? That would have SUCKED pre 1960s. Decentralized field, eh?). Which through my associations of geology at UC Riverside, the neurons have failed to attach and connect the dots, but through the medium of Jen Bradham and Dan (two die-hard bad-xss, way-cool vertebrate paleontologists at UCSB), not only I am starting to connect the dots of all this geologic knowledge, but it is coming in a Torrential Flood of Knowledge, of blanketing the landscapes with a deep-rooted understand of time: a flooding of mapping language on landscapes, a tapestry of terrain and time wanting to burst out as if a vacant niche space had been realized and needed to be occupied in my mind. Through my attendance of labs on Wednesdays with Jen, I have been able to divorce pure geological knowledge from UC Riverside's intimate social context of geology. And I just wanted the pure thought. Spatial divorce has allowed mental divorce. Plus, my science fiction thought experiments have evolved enough such that I don't feel cornered anymore as if "geology were the last thing I was ever going to learn." Engineering is a giant, massive frontier to accomplish, and god knows when that's going to happen. Plus I don't know jack shxt about developmental biology or microbiology or mycology. Let's just say I have "rudimentary resolution of such fields" and through Armand's parasitology course, I have come to learn that the smaller you are (biologically speaking), the more rules you can invent and break and re-invent. Some form of ecological and evolutionary orgy in the Land of the Very Small, where things seem more "structured" and hold "incumbent biological rule systems" that are more rigid, for the very large. More predictable, so to speak. Almost like how human bureaucracy works. Hmmm.

I also told Martin that UCSB Bureaucracy had been treating me well so if I don't fit neatly into one department, I will have the ability to create a committee for an interdisciplinary Ph.D., which may end up my having a BA in Creative Studies and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies. Wow, what bullshxt credentials I am SOOO proud of! I think Darwin would have gotten the same credentials too, if he still lived today. Difference between Institutionalized Science versus Independent Science (leave of absence, self-funded). Scientific practice embedded and contingent upon Institutional Frameworks, which eliminates the notion of independent science. So, I try to find the scientists on campus who are largely Recluses to the system, though embedded within the Absurdity of them. Tough road to follow.

I had come to accept that I need to be close to my father--but not too close, and not too far. I need to be legitimized institutionally through acquired merit and not inherited contacts. Being at UC Riverside was a little bit too ... CLOSE. So, now I understand why my brain was not connecting the dots.

Anyhow, I tagged along with Martin and Eva all the way up to the road on top of the ridge of Two Trees. They stormed up and I peetered behind. I need some more athletic buddies than the ones I have at UC Santa Barbara. I tasted blood in my throat and I wondered whether Ray tasted blood in his throat and struggled to breathe, just as I had done for a brief intensive of five minutes, attempting to keep up with two very fit runners.


They said good bye and I was sure I raised my right hand, mentally reversing it to point downwards, as Jen Bradham had taught all the undergraduates in how to take readings of strike and dip. All measurements are relative to north (zero degrees). Perceptually, the top of the paper represents north. When you measure strike and dip, you always orient the main marking of the Brunton (horizontally aligned with the bed at hand) toward the north, and then the right-hand rule (pointig your right hand downward and your thumb outward) dictates where you take your readings. How many degrees away from the North. First you place an angle, and then you state the direction. Northwest? Southeast? North Northeast? Etcetera. And then you take the dip. The dip is the degree of incline or degree of slope that the bed is making relative to the horizontal. You can use a clinometer to measure the dip. Just align the clinometer to the slope and mark the lin where the string-and-ball align with. The first part of dip measurement is an angle, and the second part of the dip measurement is what direction is the slope facing.

For example, strike is 110' southeast, the likelihood the dip will be south west, because that is where the slope is facing. I am equating these words to a mental map, as we speak. The most important issue here is (1) all measurements are relative to the North and (2) use the right hand rule (right hand pointing downward and thumb sticking out over a horizontally leveled brunton), a once mindful attempt to measur strike and dip will become fundamentally mindless. One day! Can't wait.

I feld bad for being the last person to stick around in Structural Geology. Jen mentioned I was the only one in the class who was taking these labs seriously rather than finding easy answers and hitting the road to some other adventurous undergraduate thing to do. Jen certainly shows infectious enthusiasm for the subject matter, and I hope she is infecting a few of her students! I told her I am doing these because I didn't learn geology well enough and that I understand the full potential of these techniques--they are the baseline of knowledge for geological mapping and measuring sections out in the field. But the other students don't know that, and I am fortunate to have some sense of premonition from my mistakes of the past. I am starting to understand Dr. Bruce Tiffney's advice: if I want to learn geology, all I have to do is take Geology 2 and Geology 3, and that's it. I--as a CCS student--took it as an insult to take a "lower division course" but that is how geology is fundamentally structured: a few baseline courses for the conceptual overview, and all the other courses are about boggling down into the details. Well, now I know. Kick myself in the butt for that. How was I supposed to know?

Some form of geological attachment to Kinkos. I am sure a small fraction of materials that make up this Kinkos are derived from geological resourcs--minerals, oil (and biological resources, wood chips). That's geologists' territory (turf, whatever) (primary professions, extraction, as opposed to secondary professions, distribution, or tertiary professions, extraction of information, and quaternary (god forbid my language) professions, information distribution).

So, hopefully, I get some useful information crammed into my head today!


Anonymous said...

ЎUf, me gustу! Tan clara y positiva.


Anonymous said...

Pierre FAIL?!