Sunday, February 26, 2012

Short Story Part 1

Short Story (no point):
The summer set on Albert. Set too fast. He had so many things to do and it just got away from him. Or at least these were his thoughts, which usually disagreed with reality, but Albert was anything if not contrary to plain facts. He often thought his name had been a source of his lack veracity. Mostly it was his lack of imagination, 30 favorite TV shows, and addiction to twinkies that were the cause. After all, Albert was a name attached to the most brilliant man in the last 200 years, and Albert bore no relation to him in family or character. But Albert was good at accepting defeat, and steadily moving along. And he loved his twinkie runs thanks to his 1982 El Camino he dubbed "charlie". It was one of these such twinkie runs that Albert inadvertantly change his luck, found life exciting, and rewrote the underlying ideas that humans ranked among the least evolved, plant-commanding life forces in the local solar system. Oh, and that we are alone in the said solar system.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A six year old's birthday

This weekend, instead of a wonderful trip to Sedona, we ventured to the Volcanic mountains of Fort Davis, Texas. We had been promising our 6 year old a trip for her birthday so we took her to stay above a soda fountain, fudge shop in downtown Fort Davis.
We arrived Friday afternoon and based our weekend trip loosely on the recommendations of a friend I worked with, who grew in small town west Texas and is a local Rick Steves. He told me about a picnic area south of Fort Davis, a rock hounding ranch by Alpine, and Foundation Pizza in Marfa. To repay such good information I quickly forgot to get him his promised bag of local coffee.
Friday afternoon, we venture to find the picnic area and discovered it about 5 miles west on the 116 south of F.D. Along the way, our 8 year old noticed a herd of red-haired mountain goats, about 30, along a hill that was then renamed Mountain Goat Mountain. A Fort Davis guide told me the goats are called something like Adous and were intro ducted in the 50's for hunting but have been thriving in the rugged terrain of W. TX. The picnic area was a surprise as it was some of the best bouldering I've done in a while. The girls made it quite a ways up the hill and had a good time jumping between the large boulders. A large coyote was seen guarding her den. The area is a purplish rhyolite porphyry with what looked like labradorite phenocryst. Several aplite dikes were also observed. After several hours of mountain goat behavior we headed to Marfa.
It was night, and cold, probably in the 40's and the town is small. Foundation pizza is located in an old gas and automobile station and serves a thin-crust New York style pizza to a town developing into a art/hippie outpost. It would be 45 minutes, in a town of 5,000, for the pizza and so we walked the town, along railroad tracks, into edgy bookstores that have no excuse for selling kids books next to the crap photography on display, and then back to the pizza place.
After dinner, we went north 9 miles to see the official Marfa lights viewing location. In the cold and rain, apparently on about 1/10 th an inch, we lights, but it was fun.
Saturday we drove the 25 miles to Alpine, then about 15 miles or so south to Woodward Ranch to rock hunt for labradorite, and agate. The owner is a nice Grandmother with Buddy the sheep dog, and we took the kids along the rugged volcanic field in our minivan in search of the agate. It appears that the agate forms as a secondary reaction of water filling in the amygdules of basalt concentrated with heavy elements. Some samples of the basalt you can see pebbles of agate that look like colorful bubbles popping from the rock. It looked like there were several flows, one was a dark brown, amygdule basalt and another was a rhyolite phenocryst except that the phenocryst were mm-scale laths versus blocky feldspar like at the picnic area. Wonder if anyone has worked out the flows and igneous history of the area. After rock hunting, took a much needed nap and some dinner and then headed for a cold night at the McDonald Observatory for a star party. The girls loved the view of Jupiter, Venus too bright, and talk on the constellations still has them looking up. I liked the view of the nebula in Orion's sword.
Sunday morning, I lost my five year old, traded for a cute 6 year old. Nothing tells of the speed of how time passes as family movies. It is amazing how quickly children grow. So unfair. Their sweet innocence traded too quickly for the sullenness of a teen years. How quickly a "I love you Daddy" fades. Now I have a 6 year old. I have had two previously, and will have 3 more but they are only that way 365 times, then it also passes on. This one is really sweet too. So nothing says, I love you like a force march in the morning. We went 2.5 miles round trip, with small kids that is the equivalent of 3,000 miles in quick sand. But after 12 years of vigorous debated with my sweet wife, she now knows that there are mountains in West Texas, and they are called the Davis Mountains.
We drove home, admiring the charm of west Texas. Out of the mountains we hit the flat section of small, scattered dwellings that attempting farming in arid land. We drove through the small town of Verhalen, Texas. It has three buildings, a two-story brick house that sits next to the "Goat and Guinea Pig Cafe" followed several blocks later by a white, plastered house. We made a great story, how the two families don't like each other over a pump-jack named Charlie, and how it would suck to be the FDA agent sent out to find the lone cafe in Verhalen, Texas to investigate the out break of illness (made up) due to locally grown lettuce (which was because we couldn't tell what they were growing, and wife said lettuce, being a cold weather plant, wouldn't be the first choice of farmers out here). We passed, several miles later, a closed grocery store that I am sure you had to make reservations there to shop. All in all it holds a lot of charm, and with sepia toned sunglasses, the ability to take you back to the 1950's and a simpler world. Happy Birthday sweet heart!

Friday, October 8, 2010


Hello Long lost readers who have yet to find this fascinating blog,
I have realized that this is an excellent forum for writing the outline to bigger projects. So, as my political rants (all 3) have not landed me in the White House for their shear genius I have decided to adventure into the world of history and science. I am going to start writing here about the geology of Texas. Through which I hope to piece together the many publications that are scattered through student thesis, BEG publications, oil journals, and various guide books, sprinkled with my own travels in the oil patch and along highways in this great State. How to do this, not yet sure. but I think I will start by:
1. Organize all my material and see what I need
2. Put together key maps, both geological and paleogeographic, and cross-sections through the different terrains. Source will be maps, publications ect...
3. Put together strat. columns for different areas in Texas and correlate them time wise- most of this is done just need to redraft so it makes sense to me.
4. Write a brief outline for each of the major events in Texas history- not including the election of Ann Richards.
5. Finally- start really reading and writing about each of the areas and times involved, along with references.
But first I owe the geo-world a signal publication. Wish me luck-

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A nice warm blanket and a cold cup of bitterness

So the HOA said that I had to fix the mailbox or face more nasty letters and demeaning columns in the neighborhood newsletter. I grabbed an 80-pound bag of quick dry cement, flipped over - at least a little ways- the mailbox and dumped all the cement in the supporting column. Now it is an indestructible receptor of bills! Which will eventually go away as I fully expect to have to turn everything over to Feds in the near future.
Recently, I was thinking that no federal agents descended on my house to fix my broken mailbox. Then I was glad, because the repairs would have been a pink, fluffy mailbox with a rainbow column to represent all the diverse polar bears that have felt like outcast because evolution forced them to live in a frozen waste land rather than in our beautiful national parks like the smart grizzlies! And so in the quiet of the evening I turn on speeches by Patton and R. Regan to remember that once there were leaders that had common sense enough to hunt polar bears rather than be hunted.
So this lighted my mind to were we are today with leadership, and how we got there. After the greatest generation finished kicking the crap out of European socialist and commies they came home in 1945. Twenty years later their kids, forgetting what their fathers did for them, exercised their protected rights to protest against the power that secured those rights for them. And just to make it legitimate, they used vast quantities of drugs and read Marx, and got PhD's from ivy leagues in difficult subjects like how do you feel about being suppressed in the most open, and free society ever in the history of man?
Conclusion: "Ohhh man, it sucks, bites...and and and ...fur sur, the man is keeping me down, like I want to work..." "Harvard calls this conclusion a miraculous piece of humanistic insight to the imperialistic behavior of American military might!"
Twenty years later, 1985, the great Regan is in power but what of the offspring of commie loving hippies? They morphed into newscasters and liberals, they never had the paternal love that human nature craves in its infancy, so now they think that everyone wants a security blanket; after all, it helped them cope with drugged out commie professor parents. So they began to paint a dramatic picture of the lone man sleeping under newspapers in a concrete jungle where a well-dressed family eats food stolen by a heartless system built up by cold men in board meetings. So they start to promote the softness of security blanket social change. Don't say used car, say pre-owned. Don't say that free market provides the best medical in the world, say 30 million are now uninsured, a heart beat away from financial ruin. Look at those greedy insurance companies enjoying dinner, look at that lone man with no security blanket. Like sheep, we follow, lead by emotional mobs of unloved adults. We signed away our mortgages in the name of bank bailouts, we sign away our health in the name of social justice, we sign away our memory of countless fallen heroes of long wars in the name of hope and change.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Systems of energy fluxes

In several weeks we shall be into two important events, the Fourth of July and hurricane season. These two periods of time share some characteristics; for one they both occur yearly in the summer. For another, they both represent in a fashion brief, punctuated periods of energy flux outside the normal everyday weather.
To explain let me first describe a night last year that hurricane Ike paid our town a visit. The weather was wonderful. It was calm. We watch eagerly the local weatherman predict with charts and maps the multitude of course for which the storm could take. We watch as it ran over Cuba and then turned with its eye on Houston. My wife, a mountain girl from the west, said “Its not going to hit us?” and then, “Where did you move me?” Around 4 pm the air grew heavy and the clouds looked strange; and though most of us couldn’t tell you where the wind usually comes from, we could all tell it was not from the usual source. It had a new source, a high-energy system generating its own power. Night drew on, the winds increased, the rain filled the air, and all mixed in a cacophony. Many hundreds died that night, power was lost in some areas for weeks, gasoline lines formed, basic needs lines formed, all from that night. The night past. Morning shown like every other day, but life below changed.
Time is relative. Systems of abnormal energy tend to states of equilibrium. The storm subsided in one day, we enjoyed many days of sun and good weather.
In three weeks we shall hang our flags, we shall watch the fireworks, but shall we think of revolution? Shall we think of sacrifice? I am a son of the American Revolution. This revolution was brief in relative time. It was high energy. A band of men, normal men, revolted against the notion that one man is greater than another, that we are endowed with divine rights. We can choose for ourselves. A novel notion, that spurred a great war, but brought in years of peace. Our founders brought us to a state of equilibrium by eliminating fluxes of energy in the system caused by the corruption of a government dictating the lives of its people.
I think that despite our problems, we shall in three weeks time have more honor to raise our flag than any other nation. Our nation has been a beacon of light to others hoping to change their home regimes. Though there be many voices which would excuse our nation, which would be embarrassed at our culture, I shall not. My Grandfather fought the socialist regime in Germany in 1945 and spent 8 months in a prisoner of war camp. My Uncle was a marine in Vietnam and fought in the Tet offensive. And while these men in my family suffered from their experiences in war, their bravery and sacrifice give me humility that I am related to such greatness, and that my relatives fought on the right side.
So though there be storms ahead, they pass quickly in the night. Though wars and tyranny seemingly last long, they too are out-of-equalibrium systems and shall past in the night. America is here, so long as we remember the revolution- Viva La Revolucion de America!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Joys of Peter, Paul, and Mary and the value of self loathing

The mailbox that has vexed my quiet neighborhood for so long is now in its pre-assembled state, something it shares with the new mailbox, in the front of my driveway. There is merely a small, square piece of concrete sitting, or hiding, amongst the aggressive indigenous grass that has swallowed at least four toddlers. You can't blame the grass for its aggressive nature, this is a southern variety and understands the natural world's view of competition. A concept abstract to politicians, university professors, and people largely from the flanking coast of the continental U.S.
My battle with this green aggression has now taken on new dimensions. As I was helping out the domestic labor I came across a cassette tape (I'll spare you the joke here on the advancement of technology- except for the last comment) I made for a friend. Magnetized on its brown strips of tape were classics of varying decades, Guns-N-Roses, Queen, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. The sixties folk trio who my parents took me to see in my impressionable teen years, while they were in their twilight years happily soaking up the 2nd hand smoke from concerts, and the nuclear radiation fallout from protesting french nuclear tests in the south Pacific. As I listed to "Why are you crying my son? Are you frightened like everyone?....brain fades...Puff the magic dragon, lived by the sea, and frolic in a happy mist, in a land called, that brings me back at least two decades before I was born, and made me want to protest ....happiness. Okay, its really hard to find something when life is pretty good, and like all arrogant Americans, I think I'm doing pretty well. I may not be the best looking individual, but I still get winks when I look in the mirror. I have wonderful children, who are cute enough that they get freebies when I take them out in public. With such a great life, I ask "why did Peter, Paul, and Mary (whose real names are Joseph S, Carl M, and Bernadene Dorn) and they 60s crowd, included the modern equivalent i.e., liberals and Europeans, hate the human population? And want to curtail modern growth?"
Well, I think I have the answer. Its self-loathing. If I did nothing but think about drugs, rock n' roll, and the third item in that list, or I was hanging around in San Fran these days, I think that I would hate myself, and if I hated myself then why would I want to reproduce a smaller version of my self-loathing ego. Think about what man kind is blamed for, we cause mass extinction (ignore the Permian or the K-T boundary), create wars, create pollution, consume anything and everything, and worst yet- man has reached out with his inventions and altered the very cycles of the earth's climate all so we can drive our cars three blocks to Wal-mart to scarf down a hot dog made with plastic imported from China. Why would you want to create more of you, when you are the cause of all these things? If you were wading in a drug induced state in a pit of mud, listening to mindless noise (lets call this Woodstock) and you looked up and saw that your fellow county men, who worked selflessly long hours, had through man's arrogance and a slide ruler put a man on the moon, why would you want the human race to go on? You wouldn't, and so you'd vote for Obama, so it won't.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The First Of All The Rantings

Welcome to a wonderful choice of your explicitly valuable time. Your understanding, and looks, will be enhanced to a state of pure conceit that you may start your own talk show simply by reading this blog, and others that may follow.
Perhaps you live in a wonderful subdivision with every neighbor having a perfectly manicured lawn, wife, and hair cut. We could even kidnap you, blindfolded, and drop you into middle of no where suburbia and you would find your street- it's the one by a Subway, just down from the Wal-Mart, and next to that elementary school. In this perfectly manicured street of yours there is that neighbor, who undoubtedly should be more work motivated because his yard is not edged, his mailbox is not brick mason work, and he has two mini-vans with oil leaks and rusted dents. As a matter of fact, you look down the street and see amongst the straight brick built mailboxes, his mailbox, tilted at a 45 degree angle and holding on by the strength of 6 layers of color-matched duct tape. If you live next to this guy then all I can say is, "Hi neighbor, can I borrow your lawn equipment?"