Monday, December 14, 2009

Guerrilla Handbell Strikeforce

I love Improv Everywhere and they've almost made me cry from laughing. But this one just made me cry from the Spirit.


Merry Christmas,

Dan

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm Thankful



Thankful for the Spirit,

Dan

Friday, November 06, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Random Photos from the Camera While at Work

Birthday Cake Stratigraphy - The cake is capped with a bed of strawberry frosting. Above the capping bed are small outcrops of white frosting rich in modern gummy bear remains. Beneath the capping bed are alternating beds of red velvet cake and strawberry ice cream. Within the beds of strawberry ice cream are abundant gummy bear fossils.
Good looking truck - I named it The Fumigator.Fossil Turtle Skull - I finished preparing it today. It's probably Apalone. It's from the Bridger Formation of Wyoming. Fossil Turtle skulls are rare all over the world.

You're my angel,

Dan

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Evolution and Religion

I just read this on the Paleontological Society web page and thought it was beautiful.

"This difference between science and religion does not mean that the two fields are incompatible. Many scientists who study evolution are religious, and many religious denominations have issued statements supporting evolution. Science and religion address different questions and employ different ways of knowing."

If you want to read the complete statement go here.

Cockeyed and musclebound,

Dan

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Petroglyphs

This week, I got to work on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation with Tom, one of my coworkers. Tom mentioned that one of the Tribal Technicians (we're not supposed to do any work on tribal lands without one) said that there were some petroglyphs in the area. Now I've found "petroglyphs" on tribal lands before, but this is the real deal. We started surveying the proposed access road and I walked straight to the petroglyph it was awesome.Iron like a lion in Zion,

Dan

P.S. There were fossils a plenty on this survey too.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Sign Editing

A little over a year ago, I got the job I have now. On my first day, I went and surveyed a few well pads on Archee Bench. To get to Archee Bench, you have to go through Bitter Creek. The road through Bitter Creek is terrible and the big semis out in the gas field have a hard time navigating it. It's so bad that someone put up this sign.One of the big oil and gas companies is paying to have this road widened and upgraded. So I finally got another chance to go to Bitter Creek because we're surveying the area for fossil resources. Well, someone decided to "edit" the sign.Close but no cigar,

Dan

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Dead Man Marker

I didn't know the government mandated that you have to mark where you dump bodies in the desert.Desert dancing,

Dan

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pineapples in the Desert?

A few weeks back, I surveyed a long pipeline and found this cactus.Since it was the biggest cactus I'd seen since I started this job, I snapped a photo and forgot about it. A few weeks later, I had to return because the pipeline was being re-routed because an endangered species of cactus was found within the corridor of disturbance. I went out with 7 other people from various companies so we could all put our heads together and find a place for this pipeline to live. Here are six of the eight of us.These are our trucks. Mine looks so dinky next to all the others.The biologist who's crew found the endangered cacti showed us what they looked like. For scale, these are about as big as a golf ball. Some of the ones they were finding were as small as marbles.Here is a little cluster of them.The name of the species is Sclerocactus wetlandicus. Why they named it wetlandicus, I have no idea, because there is nothing wet about that landicus. Anywho, I asked the biologist how big they got. He made a shape with his hands and said, "About that big." The shape was about as big as a pineapple, so I told him I'd seen a big cactus like that near the end of the pipeline. He was interested so when we got near, I showed him where it was. He got very excited and said it could be over 100 years old. He'd only ever seen one other that large. I was feeling pretty proud of myself for finding something so amazing, when on our way out of the area, he found this.Giant Sclerocactus wetlandicus #3. I guess the Lord is just trying to keep me humble. This one is a little larger than the one I found. What I still don't understand is how these trained biologists walked right past the very thing they were looking for, twice. I guess we all miss the things that are right in front of our faces sometimes.

Trying to type with two tiny girls on my lap,

Dan

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Town Meeting

Tonight I had the opportunity to attend a town meeting in Vernal with the Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes, Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Mike Pool, and Acting Director of the Forest Service Dan Wenk. Hayes was the only one who said anything. Which seems odd to me because he's had his current job for less than a week. The other two guys are career guys in their bureaus.
Anyway it was incredibly educational. The reason Hayes gave for coming was because of concern over the withdrawal of 77 leases. Concern in the last sentence is defined as "a the tri-county lawsuit against Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar for illegally revoking the leases". As a result of Salazar's action, many jobs have been lost in what was previously a growing economy in the Uintah Basin and Eastern Utah.
The meeting was a "listening session" which means that after a few opening remarks, (which the audience found insulting) citizens were invited to come up and speak to the Deputy Director via a microphone and express their views. The views were overwhelmingly against Salazar's actions and the Obama administration's policies and practices concerning the area. I heard such comments as "We don't want stimulus, we want jobs.", "Obama ran on change, I'm lucky if I have any change in my pocket.", and "These people know the land, work the land, and love the land.". However, there were dissenters from the majority. Three of which came to the microphone. They had a hard time getting their views across because of the boos and angry responses to their comments. Booing is in bad taste as is interrupting and shouting, but it goes to show that emotions were high.
One of the most popular speakers was Lincoln Brown, the local conservative talk radio host. But his comments weren't the most informative. It was the local guys who actually serve on committees and in local offices who had actual facts that got my attention.
The 77 leases weren't withdrawn because they were "rushed" or "near National Parks and Monuments". It took years for these leases to get to the point of sale. Resource Management Polices were made and approved after years of work following the 80,000 or so regulations set up by the government regarding mineral exploration. None of the leases is closer than 15 miles from any National Park or Monument and all of them are immediately adjacent to existing mineral leases actively operating and producing natural gas.
Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and meets Obama's standards for clean fuel. It is also used to heat 61% of homes in the United States. Blocking the production of natural gas hurts everyone. Some of those 80,000 regulations concern what happens to the land once the wells are dry or abandoned. The lease owners have to return the land to as close a state as possible to what it looked like before construction. Environmental impact studies must be done before any construction (that's why I even have a job!) and so forth.
Many of the comments refuted environmentalist's concern that oil and gas exploration is raping the land and destroying natural resources. The comment "The people know the land, work the land, and love the land." was given by Lincoln Brown who, in my opinion, knows the people of the Uintah Basin. The same people who work in the oil and gas fields are the ones who play in it, they're the ones who live in it, they're the ones who take care of it.
Attention was also given to the hypocritical actions of the Obama administration. President Obama speaks about development of renewable fuels, but ignores the non-renewable fuels with which our public lands are loaded. Fuels which, if developed, can bring our nation into energy independence. He bails out failing industries, then attacks others which provide just as many jobs as failing ones. He says he want to stimulate economic growth, but he appoints Salazar who kowtows to environmentalists as soon as he gets into office by blocking what drives Uintah Basin economy. Then Salazar appoints an environmentalist as his 2nd.
I'm glad I went. I learned more about why my wages and hours were cut and why many of the people I work with no longer have jobs. I felt the thrill of participating in politics and letting my voice be heard. I hope to be able to participate in more stuff like this.

Praying for change,

Dan

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Horny Toads

You may remember last September, I posted this photo of a small horny toad.


Then just a couple weeks ago, I posted this one of a horny toad I thought was so big.


Well, this week, I found something else. I think this is the king horny toad.


There he is on Dave's hat. He was the most docile and lethargic horny toad I'd ever seen. He only blinked when we picked him up.

I need to go pack the diaper bag,

Dan

Friday, May 15, 2009

Finally



Don't wake the Oomoo,

Dan

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Desert Spring

Spring is my favorite time of year in the desert of the Uinta Basin. Why? Because for about two weeks, it's actually green. Also, there are abundant beautiful flowers to be found. I've posted pictures of desert flowers before here, but not these kinds.That last one is actually a wild onion.

In addition to green foliage, animal life is pretty abundant. I've only ever seen 4 snakes since I started this job (I guess you can call me lucky). But three of them have been in the past two weeks. Here are two of them; a big one and a little one.Besides snakes, other squamate reptiles like the desert too. I know I've put a horny toad on here before, but this guy was big! He didn't even move when we got close. Also, this lizard had no tail and was super aggresive. As one of my co-workers and I were digging up a fossil, he wouldn't leave the area, we even saw him rush, tackle, and run off another one of his species (one with a tail).Lastly, this spidery guy and one of his friends were living under a rock filled with crocodile vertebrae that we collected. He was about an inch in diameter if you include his legs.
Just goes to show you, the desert isn't completely barren, and that I know how to find live animals in addition to fossilized ones.

Your diamond brightly burns,

Dan

Monday, April 27, 2009

Jigsaw Puzzle

As I was working today, I found this.I looked around and saw more bone chunks.
Then I thought, "These look like they fit together".
They did.
They're brontothere limb bones. The upper one is a radius and the bottom one is an ulna.
I think.

Dan

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thunder Beast (Brontothere)

This is what I've been mostly doing at work lately, but now the project is finished. We found a brontothere skeleton that's probably about 25% complete. I did all the prep on it and here are a few before and after pictures.

This block contained the pelvis, left ankle, and foot. The ankle was sitting right in the big hole in the middle of the pelvis. You can see parts of the right and left ilia in the upper right and the synsacrum (fused sacral vertebra) between them. In the center, triangular part the ankle bones are poking out.Articulated ankle (distal tibia, astragalus, and calcaneum) removed from the block.
Complete pelvis, well nearly complete, some of the thin bone from the ilia is missing.
This block was found next to the previous one. It was farther back in the outcrop, so the matrix (rock surrounding the bone) was really hard. It contined 1 dorsal vertebra, the rest of the left leg, and 10 ribs. The smaller blocks behind it were associated (fell off of the larger block). They contained a couple more ribs, other pieces of the ribs from the larger block, and another partial vertebra. Ribs are poking out at the top. The knee joint (tibia and femur) are visible at the bottom.
Nearly complete dorsal vertebra, only the left prezygopophesis and transverse process (sticky-outy parts) were missing.
Seven of the ribs from that block. You can tell that this guy was pretty jumbled up.

Articulated left leg. The proximal tibia and fibula are on the left, the femur is on the right. Incidentally, the proximal femur was actually in another smaller block with another vertebra smashed under it.
Of the entire skeleton, this is the only cranial element we found. It's an incisor (front tooth). I'm not sure if it's upper or lower, I'll have to look into that while I try to identify some of the more beat up bones. I'm fairly certain that there is more of this thunder beast out there, hopefully the skull or jaws are still there and didn't weather away 50 years ago.I've tentatively identified this brontothere as Eotitanotherium osborni based on the astragalus, hopefully my boss lets us go back to see if there is more and maybe we can nail it down better with a skull!

Take luck,

Dan

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sad but True

I saw this sign in Roosevelt, UT.


I guess the sun sets on everything, good and bad.


Rockin' down the higway,

Dan

Thursday, April 09, 2009

So Long, Farewell

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu, 1994 Buick Skylark. You were the first car I actually owned, and the most comfortable car I've owned since. I don't know if you'll ever read this, but I wrote you this song to the tune of Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks. If you don't know the tune, the video will help you.

Goodbye to you, my trusted car.
I've driven you around so very far.
Together we saw Disney Land.
Went to college, high school, and
Junior high when times seemed grand.

Goodbye my friend, it's hard to sell,
but that's what happens. So, I'll say farewell.
Buicks don't pass 100K.
Three months you sat in the driveway,
Sold you, now you've gone away.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
Once you were my Grandma's,
But I sold you to Santa Claus.



The Buick took us on our "Honeymoon".
Grace "driving" the BuickThe Buick with 2 flat tiresGoodbye Buick, I hope Santa Claus's niece treats you well. Love,

Dan

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Wake Up

I don't know if this happens to anyone else (Faith says it's weird) but every morning for the last while, I've woken up with a song already playing in my head. I decided that it would make an interesting blog post (for me) to write down the songs for each day. Here they are:

Tue, Mar. 24, 2009 - Friends in Low Places - Garth Brooks
Thu, Mar. 26, 2009 - Upside Down - Pound
Fri, Mar. 27, 2009 - Let's Get Married - Al Green
Sat, Mar. 28, 2009 - Changes - Phil Ochs
Sun, Mar. 29, 2009 - Carrying the Banner - Newsies
Mon, Mar. 30, 2009 - Oompa Loompa Song from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Tue, Mar. 31, 2009 - Purple - Fat Amy
Wed, Apr. 1, 2009 - Saints and Sailors - Dahsboard Confessional
Thu, Apr. 2, 2009 - I'll Follow You into the Dark - Death Cab for Cutie
Fri, Apr. 3, 2009 - Oklahoma - Texas Line - Rascal Flatts
Sat, Apr. 4, 2009 - Take it Easy (Love Nothing) - Bright Eyes

What I find interesting is that these are songs that I don't listen to a lot, I don't even particularly enjoy some of them. I don't even have the Oompa Loompa Doopa Dee Doo song on my iPod. (Maybe I should get it.) Also, I haven't listened to the March songs recently, but the April ones, I have. I wonder if my decision to record them made any influence. Anyway,

Bucephalously,

Dan

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Beautiful Babes

I haven't posted anything in a while and had nothing I could think of except these beautiful babes. Beanie
Chun-Face

Rise up,

Dan