Weekly Dispatch 01/2017

Snowshoeing Mt. Hood Wilderness

The first two weeks of 2017 are in the books. It was a slow quiet wintry last week of break. And then we were back to school. And then SNOWPOCALYPSE! 13″ of snow dropped the first week of school leaving PDX buried, quiet, and not moving. I was excited to get back into the groove of school, and thankful for the rest I allowed myself over break. And then I was ecstatic, because the one day of the year I most look forward to arrived, snow bike day!

No resolutions this year, just letting the driving words of kindle and galvanize guide me on the path of “does it feel good/right/new/activated?” -> then do it. I’m making this the year of trying all kinds of new, listening to new music, eating new foods, exploring new places, getting organized socially/politically etc. It’s fun and keeps things fresh and interesting, especially in the doldrums of winter.

From here on out i’m going to try to do a weekly dispatch. We’ll see how that goes as things get busier in the school term!

What’s been going down so far…

22.44 miles walking
~ 1.0 mile snow biking
4.26 miles snowshoeing

Sherlock Season 4
The Magicians S1
The Leftovers S1 Epis 1-4
Lemony Snicket S1
Rewatch: The Expanse S1

(links to books)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hidden Figures

Listening to:
The xx: XX
The xx: Coexist

The xx: I See You
Rhiannon Giddens: Factory Girl
Carolina Chocolate Drops: Luminescent Orchestrii

Carolina Chocolate Drops: Genuine Negro Jig
Carolina Chocolate Drops: Leaving Eden

Lydia Ainsworth: Right From Real

The Unbroken Line of the Moon by Johanne Hildebrandt
Cadillac Desert, The American West and its Disappearing Water by Marc Reisner

Quotes of the Week/s:
I try to end almost every day by finding an inspiring quote, here are the ones I’ve selected over the past two weeks.

How thankful I am today, to know that all my past struggles were necessary for me to be where I am now.
– Unknown

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
–  Eleanor Roosevelt

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
– Carl Jung

We, who are thought less than, shall burn brighter than our oppressors.
– Barry Walters on Grace Jones

Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.
– Salvador Dali

There are some men whom a staggering emotional shock, so far from making them mental invalids for life, seems on the other hand to awaken to sudden life, to arouse into an almost incredible activity of soul.
– William McFee

Grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear!
– Zora Neale Hurston

Art hurts. Art urges voyages – and it’s easier to stay home.
– Gwendolyn Brooks

You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.
– Toni Morrison

I am an optimist, unrepentant and militant. After all, in order not to be a fool an optimist must known how sad a place the world can be. It is only the pessimist who finds this out anew everyday.
– Peter Ustinov

Principled dissent is not only the right of Americans, the founding fathers set up a system of government where dissent is your duty when confronted with actions that you deem undermine the core principles of our constitution.
– Dan Rather

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
– Martin Luther King Jr.


End of 2016 Dispatch

Latourell Falls, Columbia River Gorge

It’s holiday break, and I have had nearly 30 days “off”, so it’s time to sit down and write a wee dispatch. Maybe this will even ignite a more regular writing schedule. The inspiring outpouring of excellent post-election writing motivates me.

I survived the first quarter of grad school. Things went well enough, and I feel like i’m making decent progress. I also feel like some part of the groove isn’t quite right, and a little regrouping/rejiggering needs to happen. If you’ve ever been skiing it feels like that moment when you let the tow rope slide through your gloves right before you commit to clenching your fists and grabbing hold. Let’s just say I’m thankful we have a nice long break, several days of 11+ hours of sleep have done wonders to my mood and attitude.

It’s been a disruptive and stressful past few months as school started, and we simultaneously began a mortgage refinance, and subsequent major overhaul/update of the house. We are in a bit of reprieve right now before the HVAC system gets updated. However, during this reprieve I also have to box up, store, discard, donate everything in the upstairs and move it out or down so we can have the flooring replaced. It’s been a long time coming, so, excited and stressed in equal measure. Still have a lot more to move and declutter.

Overall I’d say this has been a pretty successful and happy year, got to see new places, do new things, and meet new people. What more can you ask for? Sure there were bleak moments, but as Dina Martina reminded us just the other day there are always peaks and vallies to life, sometimes you’re high, sometimes you’re low.

My word for the year was METAMORPHOSIS, and I felt like that really drove a lot of personal change for me over the course of the year. Some of this may have not been outwardly obvious, but it was a major shift for me. I’m still getting to know this “shifted” me, but the it is exciting and empowering.  I have chosen two words to drive 2017. The first is KINDLE, for my interior stuff. The second is GALVANIZE, for my exterior stuff. I think these new words kicked in for me sometime in November. These “driving word” things arn’t set in stone to expire or come into play at any specific time. We shall see what the new year brings.

So raise a glass to 2016 – see ya!

And here’s hoping for another joyful, prosperous, and fun new year in 2017!


Weekly Dispatch 04/2016

Malheur Wildlife Refuge from Malheur Field Station
Malheur Wildlife Refuge from Malheur Field Station

Greetings from Eastern Oregon. I haven’t had time (actually energy) to write a weekly dispatch in the past couple weeks. I’ve been in and out of town so much this summer that i’m not sure where I am until I step out the door. It feels very discombobulating, but exciting, and fun too. Already learned so much this summer, and now I’m out here officially starting my grad research. We are doing a bit of reconnaissance of hot springs, and hopefully some sampling as well. Last week I was trying to cram as much hydrology into my brain in about three days as I was humanly capable of… and write a sampling procedures and docs in about 24 hours. It was stressful, but I did it. We shall see how the procedures pan out in the coming week.

Between the end of field camp and the start of of this trip I managed to get in a quick backpacking trip up to Jefferson Park next to Mt. Jefferson. Absolutely beautiful location. I’ll write more, and post more pics when I return.

In the meantime if you want to keep a closer tab on what I’ve been doing lately i’ve been posting to Instagram pretty regularly (link above).

I’m finishing up reading up Grace Jones’ memoir – and she mentioned this song, which was banned in the US.

Weekly Dispatch 03/2016

Back from the first week of field camp out near Burns, OR. I didn’t shoot much video while out there, have to do more the next time. Fun trip – mapping was much more enjoyable this go round, not feeling rushed or overwhelmed with difficult hiking conditions. I’ll be out in Harney Co. twice more in the coming weeks, one week for another field camp session, and the other to start looking seriously at some hot springs. I was able to collect data on a few springs within the quad we are mapping in, but none have been hot springs so far. Learning a ton, and having fun, couldn’t ask for more.

Had a bit of “lack of quiet” shock when I got back. The first day was overwhelming, but I feel back on track now. I’ve been working on vids, chilling with Mary,  catching up on artwork, and trying to finish out Season 6 of Game of Thrones. I’m halfway through – The Door episode was so very well done. Wow. Oh, and… Brienne and Tormund forever!


This week we’ve been processing some of the rock samples we brought back. We used the Braun Chipmunk to crush the rocks, then sieved the chunks to 991-425 micrometers, then we had to pick out individual feldspar crystals under the scope, and mount them on sticky tape to embed in epoxy. Next week we will cut billets for thin sections, polish the epoxy and view under SEM. We are trying to determine if our samples are Rattlesnake Ash Flow Tuff or Dinner Creek Ash Flow Tuff. Since there are only four of us in field camp it’s very hands on, which is nice. Feel like i’m really getting the hang of this – at least until next week 🙂

Crushing rock samples with the Braun Chipmunk.
Crushing rock samples with the Braun Chipmunk.
Sieving the rocks samples.
Sieving the rocks samples.
Dinner Creek tuff under the scope, picking out the individual plag. crystals with tweezers.
Dinner Creek tuff under the scope, picking out the individual plag. crystals with tweezers.
Harrowing! Tweezing 1/2 mm sized crystals into tiny cup.
Harrowing! Tweezing 1/2 mm sized crystals into tiny cup.
All crystals in place
All crystals in place
Placing individual crystals in the curing cup. One sample per quadrant, with an ideal Rattlesnake plag. in center
Placing individual crystals in the curing cup. One sample per quadrant, with an ideal Rattlesnake plag. in center
Epoxy used to set crystals
Epoxy used to set crystals
Epoxy mix formula
Epoxy mix formula
Stirring the epoxy mix
Stirring the epoxy mix
Crystals set to cure in epoxy
Crystals set to cure in epoxy

That’s about it for now. Looking forward to visiting with my sister and Dan later in the week, and going to the B-52s show next weekend! Yes!

See you next week!

Weekly Dispatch 02/2016

Just a quickie update of some of the things we’ve been up to this week – it’s been a busy one! I’m about to head out for Field Camp in Eastern OR, so look for pics from there on Instagram throughout the week as service permits. Won’t be getting an update here until mid next week. Sorry I don’t have time to post more pics here, but will try to get more up next week.

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Fourth of July!

So much sadness… RIP Bill Cunningham

Is it Jill Stein’s year to get noticed

We went to the Black Sheep Gathering, Eugene OR where Mary bought some fibers, and we petted some sheep.

Jay Keeree’s animated geometric GIFs

The Rossby Whistle

After our enthusiastic response to the start to the season, OITNB we are done with you! We are not going to finish Season 4, and we will not be watching any further seasons. Enough is enough. Frankly i’m pretty done with T.V. To paraphrase Mary “Recreating injustices in such a violent “shock and awe” manner is not making a purposeful political statement”.

I have started One Book July 2016. Third year of participating.

I have been Vloggin Summer.

Ate at Lovely’s Fifty Fifty and had an amazing pizza experience.

Took a quick road trip to Olympia WA via Hoquium on the 3rd-4th. Ate some clam strips, bought some beads, slept in.

Weekly Dispatch #1- Summer 2016


Welcome to the first weekly dispatch of Summer 2016. I’m going to try to regularly post throughout the summer (and maybe beyond). Here’s what has been going on so far…

June 12, 2016 Commencement
June 12, 2016 Commencement. B.S. Geology Cum Laude! Woot!

After 3 busy and somewhat difficult years I graduated with my second B.S. in Geology (Cum Laude to boot). Proving that you’re never too old to kick butt! My officially official admission to PSU finally came through and I’ll be starting a M.S. in Geology in the Fall researching hot springs in Harney County, OR. Can’t escape water it seems. I’m excited to be working out in the high desert of eastern OR in some adventurously remote areas that are absolutely beautiful. I’m heading out there for 2 weeks in July to do some mapping of a quadrangle for a field camp class – and hopefully pick up a dozen spring samples not in my database already along the way.

We are Orlando
We are Orlando

The morning of graduation I woke to the news of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. My heart was torn in half…half excitement, half grief…shock and disbelief. Not again. Not my family. This country has a lot of hard work to do ahead, I just hope we can stand together strong to get it done.

I didn’t realize how completely burnt out I was until a couple days after the commencement ceremonies. I had amassed a full days worth of sleep deprivation in the last two weeks of school. At first I couldn’t even stop, I had to literally tell myself, ok, time to slow down. No, really. Slow way the eff down. It took a solid week of essentially doing nothing to unwind. To cement the retreat back to normalcy we headed to the Olympic National Park for some serious nature therapy.

Camping at Oly NP
Camping at Oly NP

We landed at a mostly empty North Fork Campground near Quinault, WA. It’s one of two primitive campgrounds on the western side of Olympic N.P. We stayed there one fall a couple years ago and really enjoyed the remoteness. Just us, a couple other quiet campers, and birdsong, waking us in the morning and singing us to sleep each night. We slept (a lot), ate s’mores (did you know a girl scout leader invented s’mores?), hiked a bit, lit 3 in a row 1-match campfires, and just chilled out for 4 days. We didn’t see any bear or elk this time though, but heard lots of owls and woodpeckers!

Hiking in the temperate rain forest
Hiking in the temperate rain forest

Came back almost fully refreshed and definitely back on a more normal sleep schedule. No lie it’s been really nice wandering around in my pajamas for the past couple weeks with almost no stress, and essentially nothing due or to do.

Aside from field camp and hopefully finishing up some volcanic lightning research that I started in the spring, the summer is all about project managing a whole bunch of house repairs, and doing as much outdoors adventuring as I can squeeze in. I’ve already started the house project planning which includes replacing the foundation for the house, getting new flooring installed upstairs and in the downstairs bathroom and kitchen, getting gutters repaired, and a bunch of other things including negotiating a refinance on the house. In the end it will all be worth it – and we don’t have to lift the house or move out for the foundation repair which is a huge relief. My next big adventure is tackling the jungle that has grown around the house this spring. Ugh.

I do plan on starting up Wondrous Field Guide videos again for the summer as soon as I get my energy levels back to full steam ahead, and get some other stuff organized. I’m posting regularly on Instagram (link above) if you want to follow along there for more “daily” type picture posting. Now onto some other fun things that I now have the time for…

TV & Movies
Game of Thrones: I finally caught up to the latest season, but I’m only on the 2nd episode. I’ve already heard some spoilers, but I’m trying to avoid any more. Parts of season 5 were rough – and unnecessary, but I’m enjoying the show overall – although as many others I wish he would just finish the next damn book!

Outlander: We are also caught up on Outlander. Kind of obsessed with the show. I plan on reading some of the books this summer. I hear they are even steamier. Love me some kick butt Frasers.

The Lobster: If you want to go somewhere bleak, unforgiving, and ultimately terrible that will leave you wondering if you should have walked out, go see this movie. It was awful. I consider myself a movie buff, but this was beyond dreadfully depressing. I didn’t care at all for any of the characters, and the story became mush about halfway through. Really deceptive marketing on this one. One word: avoid!

Orange is the New Black: We are only two episodes in – rationing it. But already so good. The first episode was outstanding. The writing and acting are tight. Eager to see where this season goes… someone mentioned it being trauma-porn, hopefully not too much so… really sick of all the bleakness on T.V. these days, which is why we don’t watch very much any more. Anyway.

Beyonce Lemonade: we watched Lemonade several weeks ago, but I hadn’t gotten around to listening to the album sans visuals. Well I have now – about a dozen times. And Beyonce is back – bye-bye Mrs. Carter. Thankfully that era is over, and she has found her voice again. Sandcastles is my favorite song off the album, but there are several others I’m seriously digging. May be my favorite Bey album to date. Here’s an excellent cover of Sandcastles:

Art Supply Posse Podcast – for you art nerds out there. The podcast we’ve all been waiting for – Art Supply Posse. It is exactly what it sounds like… head over for a listen if you need some art supply enticement (er porn).

Books (can find links to books under What I’ve Been Reading)
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer: Fantastic collection of short autobiographical vignettes by a native american botanist. If you need to slow down a little and take a deeper longing look at the world around you, her stories are a good motivator. It was a peaceful book, full of love and tender affection for the world around us, in us, and with us.

Mindfulness by Ellen Langer: “Most of us are mindless virtually all the time” I’ve been interested in Ellen Langer’s work for probably the past year or so. Her deceptively simple experiments illuminate for me two major shortcomings in being mindless – one: we are who we tell ourselves to be (for good or bad, mostly bad), and two: we are on autopilot a majority of the time with preconceived notions (often egregiously wrong) of the world around us, missing the nuance and beauty in front of us most of the time. A quick read, not so much a road map for how to be more mindful as much as a “hey wake up, here’s what you might be missing!”.

Science News
It’s only going to get worse from here, unless we start waking up, and making change in our own lives, and our communities.

CO2 hits 400 ppm for the first time in 4 million years. 

About a week before this article came out, I was wondering how many critters have gone extinct due to human induced climate change. Probably countless that we don’t have a good scientific lock on. But now climate change has taken its first mammal victim with rising sea levels causing the extinction of an island-dwelling rodent. Sounds small no? Small things leave big ripples.

Until next time,
PDX 0:39 6-25-2016

Following the Yeti

On the 26 of January I started a second round of The Artist’s Way. I’m doing it along with a couple other folks on Youtube. After each days set of morning pages I draw a really quick 4-panel comic – quick as in under 2 minutes. Mary and I have been following along with Lynda Barry’s tumblr where she shares her current class assignments. We have been using a group Tumblr to share some of our work, but I thought it would be fun to post these here too. So here are the first 12 comics. Doing quick panels like this is fun, loose and without judgement. Some of the stuff that comes up is current day stuff, some is daydreamy type stuff, and some comes from things I’m working on. There’s been a lot of chaotic and nervous energy around and that’s definitely reflected in a number of the panels. We are having fun working along with some of Professor Yeti’s assignments.  I’ve done quite a bit of drawing so far this year, and it feels good. It’s a nice counterpoint to the intensity of these last 2 quarters of school. Stay tuned more is afoot.

And i’ve started running again…

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