Thursday, April 28, 2016

Alert *** Geek Ponderance *** Alert

So, I'm reading Leonard by William Shatner which is a biography of sorts of Leonard Nimoy, but more of a story of their 50 year friendship.  I've just gotten to the time in the past when they had finished Star Trek II.

And I began thinking of Star Trek III in terms of the military.  A crew of 6 steal a ship for personal reasons.  One of them sabotages the flagship of a new kind of ship.  And then they end up destroying the ship they stole.

Think about that.  They destroy the ship.

Okay, so there's no money in the Star Trek world, but think of the exotic materials and time it required to build that ship.

And then by the end of Star Trek IV, the Enterprise A is ready to go.  And it lasts for two more movies before being mothballed, because the Enterprise B is introduced in Generations.

Enterprises don't have the best record.

Original: heavily damaged often

Mark II: Dealt with V'Ger, beat up pretty badly by Kahn, self-destructed by Kirk

A: [REDACTED], and fought Klingons and Saboteurs.  Presumably mothballed

B: Bridge ripped apart by nirvana fragment

C: Sacrificed itself to save Klingon settlement against Romulan attack

D: heavily damaged often, destroyed several times in time loop, battle bridge destroyed and saucer section crashed after fighting a Klingon Bird of Prey

E: severely damaged after fighting Romulans, but retrofitted

Replicators must be awesome.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Zen and the Art...

So in between phone calls, emails, and such, I've been performing inner tube repair.

Of course, the first thing to do is take the tube out and check the tire for sharp fragments that are still stuck in it.  I didn't feel anything, but as I was turning it and feeling, I heard a sound of something sliding inside the tire.

Here's what I found:

Two pieces of glass, or as we geologists call it "beerbottleite".

So I looked over the tube, eventually I have found six punctures.  Four of the punctures were in pairs where the glass went through both sides of the tube.  The two others were pin holes.

So now, I'm all patched up, and hoping that I've found all of them.


So let's talk about things aligning.

This morning I got up and it was raining.  Not really a big deal, I was prepared.  I had the fender on my bike ready, and just had to gather and don rain gear.

However, about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way to BART, I almost lost control of mu bike as I started to shimmy.  My back tire had gone flat.

Still, things aren't terrible, The rain is minimal, and I make it to BART just in time to get on the train.  Also, the walk could have been so much worse if I'd worn the rain jacket I'd planned to instead of the waxed canvas jacket that Jennifer talked me into.

Then we went one stop, and held at the station for ten minutes because the train ahead of us had door troubles, and we had to single track around it.

The walk from BART to work wasn't too bad.  It only rained on me twice.

So, I'm now sitting at the office waiting for the bike to dry so I can do some work on it.  Also, I'm soaked in sweat from walking in rain gear.

But hey, it could always be worse.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Ooooh, Big Numbers

So since my last post, I've past 75,000 pageviews.  Kind of a cool feeling.

Of course, I kind of like XKCD's take on milestones.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

In Praise of Brandon Sanderson

So, I'm going to assume that you have read at least one book by Brandon Sanderson.  And if you haven't, then you should.

I started as did most people with the Mistborn trilogy.  It's the concept how "magic" works on that world that was so fascinating.  I've read three of the four post-Mistborn series.  I think I need to read the Elantris books for the pre-history of the that world.

Then I read Warbreaker, and the foundation for magic shifted from metals to color.

Then came the Stormlight Archives,and I'm still not quite sure how magic works there.

Last to be introduced to me was the Reckoners series, which I'm reading the third book of right now.  Imagine a world of supers who become evil when they use their powers.1

And there are hints that these worlds are connected somehow.  Certainly, Warbreaker and the Stormlight world, but possibly others.

What makes Sanderson so fun is that the feel of the books are all different.  Even when he wrote the last three books of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, he kept to Jordan's voice slowly shifting to his own.

So yes, give him a read.  You'll enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Weekend Update

I forgot to mention two things in yesterday's post.

Just trying on unwashed selvage will leave you with blue fingers.

Second, on Saturday, Jennifer and I had breakfast at OVO Tavern.  Now, the first thing I have to sway is that you shouldn't be turned off by the webpage, because the place is so much better than the page.  Second, the food was great.  We got there and were the only customers the entire time.  We think they're more of an evening spot, but the food was great.  It wasn't just comfort food, and the service was top notch.  Being outnumbered by the staff is awkward sometimes, but they totally made us feel welcome.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Busy Weekend

This weekend seemed non-stop from the end of work on Friday.

I met Jennifer at BART halfway to San Francisco, and locked our bikes up.  Then we rode in and met a friend, got a ride over to Japantown and had dinner.  Then we went to "Batman v. Superman".

What did I think?

The intro pissed me off.  Do we really have to see the Waynes die in every fucking Batman movie?  After I got over that, it took me a bit to get back into the movie.  Once i did, I enoyed the show.  The second half is much more entertaining.  I told a friend I'd give ti a 3.75 out of 5 (7.5 out of 10 might sound better), and I'm viewing it as a bridge.  Yes, Marvel didn't really have a bridge movie, but I'm hopeful.  Affleck did a fine job as Bruce Wayne, I still like Henry Cavill, and Gal Gadot is good as both Diana Prince and Wonder Woman.  I look forward to the Wonder Woman.

Saturday, Jennifer and I rode around for a bit, but then decided to enjoy ridiculous fun, and play catch.  Then with sore shoulders, we went home and watched television with cats in our laps.

Sunday, we decided on a longer ride, and made a big loop.  We went up Alcatraz to Noah's Bagels on College, then down College and Broadway to a Starbucks in downtown Oakland.  Then we ate sitting on a planter on Grand.  After we ate, we walked up Broadway and found a few fun restaurants for future perusal, and a shop called Two Jacks Denim.

TJD is a great denim shop with pants, shirts and jackets.  I've recently become a fan of unwashed selvage denim pants.  I got a pair on Kickstarter, and they have become my favorite pants.  I've had them for almost two years, and they've never been washed.  The wear pattern on them is really looking amazing.  I got two new pairs of pants Sunday: one that is blue on a tinted thread and the second is blue on black.  they're going to look amazing too.

Sunday night, we came back to Drake's Dealership for dinner.  They've got some great beers.  Jennifer had a Farmhouse Ale (a great saison), and I had the amber (a great ESB).  Both were amazing with her poutine and my ribs.  For dessert we had a bourbon-barrel aged Drakonic stout and rye-barrel aged Robustito porter.  After one taste, both left you feeling you were in a distillery with the smell of the whiskey around you.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Movie Time

So, yeah, it's been kind of difficult getting back into blogging momentum after my mom's death.  I'm hoping I can build some up again.

I have seen some movies over the past few months...

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - It's just fun.  There's no other way to describe it.  I like the new characters and it was great to see the old characters again.  I've seen it twice in theaters (tying for Jedi, but falling short of Empire [3 times] and Hope [4 times]), and the blu-ray has already been ordered.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - Seen through Fathom Events, and so enjoyable on a big screen.

Blazing Saddles - Also great on a big screen.  Something of note, when the town is exploding at the end?  Those bodies flying into the air are horses.  That's a detail you miss on a small screen; I always though they were people.

Queen: A Night in Bohemia/A Night at the Odeon - Jennifer surprised me with tickets this week to a combination documentary (30 minutes) followed by a live recorded concert of Queen.  The documentary was a cool little bit of interviews through the years on "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Queen's move from one label to another.  What struck me a fascinating was Freddie Mercury saying how BR was actually three songs he had in his head that he strung together into one.  What makes this more interesting to me is that in an interview I heard, My Chemical Romance described the creation of "Black Parade" in a similar way, but with 4 or five pieces.  The recorded concert was actually Queen's Christmas Eve concert on BBC-1 in 1975.  Yes, 1975.  Aside from the fun of the concert, watching Brian May play was kind of funny.  He plays, and moves a bit then stands still and plays more, then repeat.  Freddie's showmanship hadn't worn off onto him yet.  He looks like such a nerd (astronomy major, remember) who just happens to play excellent guitar.

Deadpool - Now, I'll preface this with the fact that I knew nothing of Deadpool aside from internet memes and "Wolverine: Origins".  However, that being said, this was a movie that was just fun.  Crude and violent, but lots of fun.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Well, Blow Me Down

Wednesday after the long weekend, I was back on my bike, and riding to work.

Monday it was so nice, Jennifer and I rode up to the end of the New Bay Bridge trail.  They're behind schedule because we were supposed to have a completed trail to Yerba Buena and Treasure Island by October of 2015, but no the projection is Summer of 2016.  Most of the trail and path is visible, but it's nowhere near completion.

Wednesday there was a storm on it's way into the Bay Area, and it was blowing from the southeast.  And it was blowing at 18 miles per hour and gusting to over 30 mph.  I rode in a relatively low gear the whole way to BART.  And when I got to the platform, the train was just pulling away.  And I was worn out.

Today riding to BART there was a bit of wind, but it seemed like a cute, little child trying to be like it's big, strong father.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mom's Obituary

Janet Triplett Appel

Resident of San Leandro, CA

June 3, 1943 – February 1, 2016

Janet Triplett Appel passed away on Monday, February 1, 2016 after a courageous battle with cancer.  She was a valiant fighter of this ravenous disease.

Janet was born in Corbin, Kentucky and graduated from Corbin High School.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY.   She began her teaching career at Crestwood Elementary School in Crestwood, KY.  She also taught at Liberty Elementary School in Goshen, KY., and in the Mt Diablo School District in Concord, California.

Janet is survived by her husband Leonard Martin “Marty” Appel and their son Kristopher Erik Appel of Emeryville, CA.  She is also survived by her brother Dr. Henry Hall Triplett Jr. of Louisville, KY., and step-father Jack Hollin of Prospect, KY. She is predeceased by her father Dr. H. H. Triplett of Corbin, KY, her mother Anna French Triplett Hollin of Prospect, KY, and her sister Maryann Douglas L’Hote of Lexington, KY.

A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, February 13, 2016, 2 pm at the First Christian Church, 3039 Willow Pass Road, Concord, CA 94519.  Another celebration will be held May 8, 2016, 2 pm in Louisville, KY.  Details on request.

Gifts of remembrance are requested to be made to the Capital Campaign for First Christian Church at the address above or at

Monday, February 08, 2016

Getting Closure

So I'm in Lodi... again.

I'm here destroying the last of our sampling points.

It's my first day back to work after my mom died.  I decided to come back because I felt that closure of the site would bring me some personal closure.  Lots of things have happened during times I've been working here.

The first time I was here for a subsurface investigation, my grandmother died.

When we were in the midst of the deepest and nastiest part of the remediation, my mom was going through surgery.

But with the closure of the site, I have the chance to close out my feelings.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Memorial Service for Mom

So there will be two memorial services for my mom.

The first will be in California at First Christian Church in Concord (3039 Willow Pass Road) on Saturday, February 13 at 2:00 PM.

The second will be held in Kentucky on May 8.  Details will follow.

Monday, February 01, 2016

In Memoriam - UPDATED

So, we're not yet sure what we're going to be doing yet or when, but there will be some sort of memorial service here in California and Dad also wants to have one back home in Kentucky.

We did want to let everyone know that Mom asked that any donations be made to First Christian Church in Concord, for their Capital Campaign in her memory.  If you'd like to honor her by donating please put "In memory of Janet Appel" somewhere in the donation.

We've checked the site and it appears that there's no way to donate electronically, so if you are so moved, then proceed the old fashioned way with a check.


Their address is 3039 Willow Pass Rd., Concord, CA  94519, and their phone number is 925-685-7503.  Their website is . 

Final News

My mom passed away this morning around ten o'clock.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

An Update on My Mom

So, things are deteriorating quickly.

Wednesday, mom fell while dad was helping her to the bathroom.  She hurt her leg and her side.  So, dad started her on morphine.  She's in pain still, and has little to no appetite.  Dad's not sure if she'll last through the week.

I've been in Napa most of January, and have two more weeks of fieldwork, but I'm close enough that I can still come back if I'm needed.

If you want the latest update from her written by my dad, you can read her blog:

Also, for a great pre-remembrance, my cousin Lisa wrote a great blogpost about my mom.


Monday, January 18, 2016

A Busy Weekend

Last week was along week in the cold and rain while working in the field.

Our schedule is all kinds of shuffled, but I think we're doing well.  I'm just starting week two and not looking forward to the predicted rain for tomorrow and Friday.

But let's talk this past weekend.

Friday, I got home and got cleaned up and Jennifer and I ran errands taking advantage of having a vehicle.  Not too much, because, we still like walking and such, but kitty litter is bulky and heavy no matter what brand you buy.

Saturday was the monthly GURPS game, and we had lot of fun.  Yes, we could see the railroad tracks, but didn't mean we didn't enjoy ourselves.

Sunday, Jennifer and I went to see "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" on the big screen at the Century Theatre in San Francisco.  That is one of my favorite movies, and i was so cool to see it as it was meant to be views.  This was all through Fathom Events, and in two weeks we get to see "Blazing Saddles" that same way.  We've already decided that right before the film starts we're gong to get the audience's buy in that we're not going to be quiet, but everyone can speak lines along with the movie.

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