Thursday, December 22, 2011

only purple?

My recent post about coveralls prompted me to do some poking around the internet. Maybe I did need to break down and buy bib-style coveralls, although it's been warm enough that I've been weaing summer-weight pants for the last two months.

The only bib-style coveralls in my size were purple. I'm not exactly a purple coverall person. And when I mentioned getting purple coveralls to the contractors I'm working with, they about busted a gut laughing.

So, maybe just more regular carhartts... hmm. For some reason, Carhartts has decided to cut waay down on the work gear for ladies, and now sells mostly jeans and corduroys, and skirts. Skirts!

Carhartts and the odd hiking pants are the only things I can wear in the field that are somewhat durable and not ass-hugging. I could never buy Carhartts in a store, so I relied on the internet to supply me. And now the Carhartts website sells exactly one style of work pant, in a grand total of 2 colors, and only in the more "womanly" fit (too womanly for me - my belly is too big relative to my ass, so they're super baggy in the thighs and uncomfortably tight in the waist), and... Oh. They don't carry anything in my size anyway.

Anybody have a suggestion for another brand of durable work pants for a short, slightly built geologist with a pooh belly?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

significant geology?

So, this month's accretionary wedge is the most memorable/significant geologic event you've ever experienced.

I haven't personally experienced a truly significant geologic event. I consider that a good thing - escaping flowing lava or having your house fall down around your ears may make for a good story, but I'd rather not live through them.

I suppose the most significant geologic events I've experienced were earthquakes - nothing spectacular, but for the east coast, they were pretty big deals. The most recent? This one in August.

I was in a city that was utterly unprepared for earthquakes, so what happened? Everybody ran outside, under the facades of the buildings (worst idea ever) and generally panicked and acted dumb. Me, I was standing in a reinforced doorway with 2 other geologists while everyone else in the office wondered what the hell we were doing.

That's about enough excitement for me...

Monday, December 19, 2011


I never considered myself to be an ambitious person. I just wanted to have a job that I enjoyed, that paid enough to live on, and that was intellectually challenging.

When I started in environmental consulting, I was concerned mostly with learning as much as I could. What career path did I want to take? Technical expert? Management? I preferred the former, but I ended up doing far more of the latter.

I'm doing much better, financially, as a management type than a technical guru. And I've been tagged as someone who's "moving up in the world", with more responsibilities (and much bigger bonuses) than most of the people 15 years older than me. Not that I'm rolling in money, but my career path so far has convinced me that in the choice between more money/more stress (management) and less money/less stress (technical adviser), I'd much rather have what I wanted all along - a technical and not management focus.

Now, the only thing to do is extricate myself from all these projects I manage that are giving me heartburn...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

abbreviation break

I mentioned a while ago that one of my pet peeves is abbreviation usage: you should abbreviate whatever it is once, and then never again. Oh, and give your readers a break and include an abbreviation list at the beginning if the document is any longer than, oh, 5 pages.

I've been having some long, stressful days in the field recently. I also had long, complicated report to review during those times while I was waiting on someone else (happened more than it should have because of mechanical issues, but that's a whole 'nother story).

It was a lovely break to edit the report. I got to rip through and fix all the stupid abbreviation issues, catch a bunch of missed/duplicated words, and rearrange some sentences. It was, in the level of serious intellectual activity, equivalent to an especially easy sudoku puzzle.

I enjoy writing, whether it's for work, for this blog, or whether I'm adding to the novel simmering away on the back burner. I think I may enjoy editing more, even though it's not nearly as rewarding in the long term. Maybe I'm in the wrong line of work...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


For the longest time, I wore rain pants as my second, windbreaker layer when it was cold out. But honestly, below a certain point, a thin windbreaker layer just doesn't cut it.

Eventually, I broke down and got a pair of lined coveralls. They were just as warm and durable as I'd hoped. However...

I had ordered a pair of jeans-style coveralls (pants, no bib) because I hated the whole "attempt to peel off an overcoat and who knows what in order to get the bib down to pee in a freezing porta-potty". This was a mistake. What actually happens is that without the bib straps to hold up the coveralls, the pants are a tremendous drag and need to be hitched up constantly if they're not so tight as to be painful. So I've traded 10 minutes of discomfort for an entire day of discomfort.

I'll figure out this field clothing thing eventually.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

smells like science!

I have a perfume allergy that has gotten worse since adolescence. I'm not entirely sure what ingredient(s) set it off, but most colognes/perfumes leave me sneezing or actually make me ill.

I have been browsing the internets today, and I came across a site for oddball perfumes. They sell a "science" set with a strong geology component (favorite: "requiem for the Juan de Fuca plate"). If you order by the 12th, you'll get it for Christmas delivery.

I cannot wear perfume. Perhaps a loyal reader will try and report if, say, "nuee ardente" smells the way it should? Inquiring minds would like to know...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

the numbers, please

I was listening to a NPR program on my way home from work tonight that discussed a local environmental contamination issue.

The discussion centered on whether or not the industry practice is hurting the environment/the local residents. The residents say their drinking water is polluted and that the regulators are not paying enough attention, the industry rep says it's fine... an old story.

What aggravated me was the complete omission of scientific facts. I don't expect much out of a 10-minute radio story, but how much effort would it be to state that there are or are not regulatory standards for the chemicals, and if the concentrations are or are not above the standards?

We can argue about the standards. Maybe they're too low (conservative), or maybe the industry needs some time to meet them. Maybe we should be regulating more chemicals. But in a discussion about environmental contamination, can't we at least start with some basic facts before reporting about how angry the various parties are?

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I was poking around various corners of the internet last night, looking for various examples of raingear. I'm done now. In fact, since I currently am wearing the long-lasting, super expensive, gore-tex based stuff, I probably won't be in the market for new raingear for quite a while.

So it was more than a little creepy to find Grainger's rain suits following me around the internet all evening. This is why I never use my work computer for anything other than work and the occasional non-controversial news reading.