Monday, June 30, 2008

Fire and Rain

The overcast and misty weather on Saturday made for an excellent opportunity to burn one of the brush piles and have a few beers.

I took the picture a bit early as the flames are only about 10 feet at this point. When the fire was in full force the flames were licking a good 18 feet. But that only lasts for a few minutes.

Now that the pile is gone I'll have to rake out the remaining coals, pick out any metal shit mixed in add a little soil and grass seed and that area will be back in business.

On Sunday I had my annual Bike to Bowdoinham ride. The weather forecast was for heavy down pours, thunder and lightning and hail. I headed down to the meet point and actually had two guys show up. Mr.5.0 and Mr. Discovery.

G.J. "Hi. Thanks for coming. The weather was for heavy rain, lightning and hail"

Mr. 5.0 " Well, I don't have a problem with riding in the rain."

Mr. Discovery is silent.

G.J. " O.K. well I think Ill shorten the loop considering the rain." *thinking maybe we can beat the rain, but knowing that won't happen**

And off we set. I think it was about 20 or so minutes before Mr. 5.0 says " Here it comes." Just then the wind starts whipping up, the trees are shimmering and then.... *Blam* downpour. At this point there was no stopping. For a few reasons:
  • One, once you are wet, you're wet.
  • Two, stopping would make you cold.
  • Three, it's not THAT bad.
Sure you can't really see, your shoes are filled with water and the cold, cold rain is sucking the heat out of your body but you only live once, I know Ill be fine.
The lightning was sketchy.
And we rode on. I and I'm glad. I had a great 25 mile ride with a couple of local riders. And one more good riding story for my blog and for my old age.
-Until next time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wheel build

After waiting three months for the rim to arrive my new gold anodized Velocity deep-V rim finally showed up at Percys. So, yesterday I went up to the shop and got a lesson in wheel building from Wheel-Building Jedi Master Percy.

I now have laced up my first rim to a Surly fixed gear hub with 32 DT Swiss spokes. The wheel looks sharp as hell and will be going on to my Raleigh (1,2). It took about two hours to finish and afterwards it was pretty obvious that I will eventually need to get a new bike for such a sweet rim. One thing at a time.

Thanks Percy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

U.S.$$$ New Design

The latest piece of SteveDean art is ready for your immediate review. It is the artists interpretation of the current state of the US dollar. I bring to the world:


Steve is currently offering hand drawn Portraits of people, pets and any other image you would like captured. Contact him through the web site via this blog.

**All rights to SteveDeanArt and images are exclusive to Steve Dean and may not be reused without permission from the artist.**

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rock Climbing and Business Meetings

In college I took up rock climbing pretty seriously for several years. A friend introduced me with top-roping and from there we ramped up to lead climbing routes. The highlight being a 5.9 route on Cathedral Ledge called Recompense.

Now many years later I am a geologist and frequently attend meetings, be they staff meetings or client meetings, and I have realized that there were many things I learned rock climbing that carry over into these meetings today.

First: Pee
While preparing for a climb we would always relieve ourselves before putting on our harness and start climbing. Once your 200 feet above the ground there is no real chance to stop, unbuckle and go. Plus if there was anyone under you, you may leak on them.

In business land going into a meeting with a full bladder will only keep you distracted, uncomfortable and not focused on the tasks at hand. Leaving the meeting in the middle is usually not an option and if you do you are metaphorically pissing all over the rest of the attendees.

Second: Set a Route
Knowing where the climbing route was, where it goes and what to expect was always key in a safe and enjoyable climb.

The same goes for a meeting. Preparation and knowledge the topics, tasks and intent of the outcome always make for a more productive meeting.

Third: Anchors
Ascending a vertical face of rock is a dangerous thing. Placing fall protection every 10-20 feet is an absolute necessity. Not only that but, setting a solid anchor, one that won’t pull out if you did fall, is even more important. 10 feet above your last piece of protection is a 20 foot or more fall.

During a client meeting the presentation there should be solid points along the way as you speak or go though your tasks. It can prevent unraveling of your point, or if you do have to fall back you only go back as far as your last anchor.

Fourth: Team Work
Every good lead climber has a partner on belay; watching your moves, anticipating your direction, slips, falls, hand signals and body language. One who is alert and ready to lock off the rope, steady your life line and save you, if necessary.

A project manager is nothing without his/her team. Imagine a client meeting about a particular project where extensive site/field work is conducted. The team member needs to listen, watch and stay alert throughout these meetings. Ready to step in and assist the PM with a detail specific question since the team members who are actually on location are always more familiar with the little details.

Five: Success is Sweet
Toping out on a days climbing can be rewarding and exhilarating. Looking down over that rock face, knowing you just accomplished something most people would be afraid to even think about. It gives you a great sense of accomplishment to know that you were able to conquer the difficult.

Leaving a meeting knowing that you were able to confidently speak about a project and the details or assign project work, schedule new tasks. Walking away saying to your self “That was a good meeting. Productive.” and even more importantly getting the client to believe further in your skills and abilities and leave the meeting with the thoughts of comfort and control. There is no better way to prove your self at work than at these times.

Thanks to the following for images a lifted from google image search:
Coding Humor

Monday, June 16, 2008

Art Monday

Here is a very recent drawing by Steve Dean.
Tentative title is 'Blue Line'.
For the non-locals the Blue Line is one of the train lines in Boston-Metro. This line starts in Revere Mass.
For those of you interested Steve is now also offering drawings of your pets and family members as stand alone drawings or as portraits. Anything you want really. Very good rates and Geographic distance is not an issue either as FedEx any good photo can make it happen.

FMI Contact me or Steve via

Monday, June 09, 2008


White bikes are cropping up in Portland starting today. A local effort to introduce bicycle transportation to the area. The local rag has an article about it here.

The bikes are all older models, donated and repaired and painted by local shops. Each bike is locked up with a helmet attached. I presume the helmet sizes are mostly one-size fits all.

All bike lock codes are the same and the code and more info is available at WHITE

Historically, programs like these have a short life span. I remain hopeful that the program will grow in popularity and bikes available.

**update** June 23**

Portland Green Streets may be using my photo at their web site. The site
"is a grassroots effort to encourage the use of alternate transportation - and is comprised of people who commute through, live, work, study, or send children to school in Greater Portland."
It has a bunch of great resources. If you live in the Portland, Maine area take a look and see what you can do to green up your life.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Day 5

Last day of diggin'

Shortly after this the 20 year old CASE excavator blew a valve so the guys had to go get the other one. It slowed things down a little bit, but we managed to finish the excavation and even put a good dent in the backfilling before the end of the day Friday.

The only thing to do after this was drive the 3 hours home.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Digging. Day 4.

And the hole grows.

This picture was take from about the same angle as the picture from Day 1. Part deux except now I am looking down on the excavation instead of up at it. There was a nice yellowish silty layer that can be seen on the right side of the excavation wall. The impacted soil is that grayish stuff on the left.

Lots and lots of fill was used when this property was built up in the early 1920's. Loads of shalely fill (right side about silt), large concrete blocks and all made for some very unpredictable hydrogeology and really helped the petroluem move all around and get the soil and water good and dirty.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Day three -and we dig

Third day. Clearing ouerburden. Making hole bigger.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Day 1 part deux

Workin' day 1 part 2. Soil removal.

**now that Im back home I can write something about this. The job was to remove the upper 12 feet of 'clean' soil cover to get to the petroleum impacte soil. Which it self was about 12 feet thick.

The excavation depth was about 15 feet deep at this location measured from the ground surface at the monitoring well in the foreground.