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The Cost of Consumption [29 May 2007|08:49pm]
[ mood | Brain defragmentation ]

I normally cruise lands that were harvested ~2 years ago, but I doubt you'd guess it if you were just driving by, and perhaps not even if you were walking through.  Stumps are a giveaway.  If there were no stumps, I guarantee you wouldn't know.  In the areas I've been through most, soil is interspersed with and sometimes overcome by large, volcanic stones.  Stony, stony, stony.  This is an area of dry air and high UV radiation, with mostly larger trees and a fairly open spacing.

In contrast, I spent a day last week hiking through an area about to be logged, a very different stand type.  Cooler, darker, more moist.  We had to cross streams by jumping from rock to rock.  After a while of hiking into the place, we saw some very big trees, and the average tree diameter was off the charts.  Like Andy says, you almost expect a dinosaur to come charging out, it looks so prehistoric.  Now, I know this company has the best forest practices out there.  And I know the average American uses the equivalent of one 100-foot tree every year.  But wow.  You should have seen this place.  The birds were calling and sailing through the canopies like it was paradise.  As much as I love this company's practices, my heart was calling "No, not this place!  Not that tree!"  I tell you this because it illustrated to me as well as I ever wish to have it illustrated--because it ain't pretty--the cost of consumption.  There it is, my friends.  I wish you could have seen it.

Disclaimer.  This place has been logged before, in the '60's, with just a light going-over.  I am very curious to see it post-harvest, and I'll probably get a chance to.  This I believe is in the area they call Heart; I'll post about it again if and when I see it later this summer.  Disclaimer.  The only trees being taken out are being taken out for a good reason, and generally I have no argument with the reasons, except *gee* that tree's big and pretty.  

From a sound forestry perspective, this will be good for the health of the stand and ecosystem, and I know that.  But from the puny short-lifespan perspective of a sentimental human, it hurt to see, and I know that if you had seen this you would stop using paper towels.

End forestry rant.

In other news, some cats are out of some bags!  They know I'm a vegetarian, and guess what?  Andy was, too, for much of his life (Bay Area bred).  Also they found out today that I tree-sat at the Oaks.  Nervous laughter.  Well, it was OK.  The way I see it, I'm walkin' the line.

Also I'm driving a truck now, one I initially thought was a Very Large Truck, in terms of me driving it, but it turns out it's an F150.  I'm 3-point parking and everything.  (a butterfly hit the windshield on the freeway today and it was almost too much for me)

I have several thousand things to say, but I'll have to start having uneventful days so I can catch up.

I love you.  Goodnight.

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On the Beginning of my Summer [24 May 2007|07:13pm]
[ mood | contemplative ]

Today is day 4. Day 1 was Monday, when I saw a bald eagle, both flying and sitting in a nest. Day 2 was Tuesday, when I saw a different bald eagle, both flying and sitting in a (different) nest. This one flew directly over us, which is supposed to be a good omen.  Day 3, Wednesday, I saw a black bear (cinnamon-colored; black bear describes a species which comes in different colors).  Well, I saw its butt as it ran away.

Today--day 4, like I said--I saw a toad. Well, I saw more than a toad. Although I didn't see any "charismatic megafauna" today, I did have a pretty cool experience. It happened while I was about to measure the diameter of a very large (over 4' in diameter, which is by far not the largest conifer I've seen so far, although still very large) ponderosa pine. I walked around it to the uphill side, which was draped in the tree's shadow. Sticking out from under a section of the yellowish bark was a mass of grayish-colored plant debris--old pine needles, twigs, etc. I was puzzled. It reminded me of what remnants from a high-water line would look like, except they were under the bark.  

Curious, I began inspecting this mystery with my fingers.  No sooner had I gotten closer than I realized what I was looking at.  At that very moment, I was looking at a little forest bird, sitting in its unusual, hidden nest.  It blinked.  I blinked.  I could have caught this bird with my bare hands quite easily, and my face was about a foot away from its.  I looked at it for a moment, then called my teammates to see.  The bird stayed, frozen except for blinking, lest it give away the location of its nest through movement.

We backed off.  It flew away.  I measured the tree.  It flew back.

That was very cool.

So, yes, in case you didn't know, I'm in the beginning of my summer job working for an awesome sustainable timber company in Chester, Ca, near Mt. Lassen.  Welcome to my expository journal entry.

This job isn't all amazing wildlife encounters, although they are frequent.  There are bad parts.  I suppose I can list waking up at 5:00 every morning, although I'm getting used to it and I'm even against the suggestion by my boss that we bump back our start time by a half hour.  One natural problem with these early hours of the day is that it's fucking cold.  Really.  This morning wasn't bad at all, but some other mornings this week have rendered my fingers immobile and left me with fingertips that sting until the next morning.  There's hunger and fatigue, but there's always hunger and fatigue no matter what you do, isn't there?

I'd like to take a moment to describe my co-workers:

Craig is my partner.  We'll be working together as a team of two for the next eleven weeks.  We live together in a cute house on the company lot.  Craig goes to Cal; we went to camp together.  He's a military veteran of our now-forgotten war in Afghanistan and looks very, very strong.  He's quiet except when there are guys around talking about things like hunting or pulling pranks, but we share politics.  So far I'm under the impression we're not nearing sick of each other, but I'm not sure what he thinks of me.  

Today we spent half the day working alone together for the first time, and I had a lot of fun.  

Andy is our boss.  Andy is a smallish-framed guy but very strong.  He cracks jokes all day and likes to take long random breaks to tell us stories detailing why he can't stand the Forest Service bird guy, etc.  He chews dip and apparently this makes you spit all day long; in the truck he spits into his coffee cup.  He's a Cal grad and is very "Go-Bears!".  Jeff Tedford (this is the coach of our football team) just bought a $2 million+ house up here on the lake and now he's having Andy cut down some trees that are blocking his view of Lassen.  This excites Andy tremendously.  

But honestly Andy is the best boss I've ever had, by quite a bit.  He gives encouragement and scolding as appropriate, and is very open and fun to be around.  He used to hang around Barrington.  I like Andy, but he and I don't have the same kind of bond that he and Craig do.

Sometimes I feel a little bitter about what I perceive to be a "boys' club" with some people up here, but more and more I'm getting used to it.  After all, these people have less in common with me than with each other.  So far, only Craig knows I'm a vegetarian.

Don't get me wrong:  I'm having a lot of fun up here.  I'm particularly enjoying the independence, which I would say is the highest degree I've experienced so far.  My waking hours are in exact sync with the sunlight (read: I go to bed at 9:00) which feels pretty cool.  I'm surrounded by massive trees, snags, beetles, butterflies, birdsongs, deer, creeks, pretty clouds, all these things.  And I get to watch them and think about my life and the people I know.  Life is a funny and unpredictable thing, isn't it?  That's the conclusion I've come to.

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Not so very different [04 May 2007|03:46pm]
It seems that in Iran, a special police mission is underway to enforce women's modesty regulations. They're even asking women to sit down so they can see how high the hems of their pants rise, which reminds me of high school when they made us raise our arms to see if our shirt hems would bare any midriff. Hmm. At my school, the explanation was that boys needed to be able to pay attention in class.

In Iran, it's “Those who have indecent appearances are sent by the enemy.” --Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


P.S. Men's modesty enforcement in Iran is coming soon.
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Changing issues in public forest stewardship [09 Apr 2007|03:49pm]
[ mood | good ]

"When I hear the debate about national forest management, I sometimes think I'm in the Twilight Zone. Some of the arguments I hear about logging, road building, and grazing are the same ones I heard 20 and 30 years ago. But times have changed. After serving as Chief for 2 years, I have come to view the old arguments as diversions from the major issues I see on the national forests and grasslands today. Today, I think we face four great issues: fire and fuels; invasive species; habitat fragmentation; and unmanaged recreation..." Dale Bosworth, Forest Service Chief

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Where's my Minister of Personal Culture?! [08 Apr 2007|03:36pm]
[ mood | shock from parting ]

I participated in an activity characteristic of my own generation.

It was great, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. This generation must be a lonely one. Maybe it gets better with practice.

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The subject of much discussion lately, if you're me [03 Apr 2007|11:52pm]
[ mood | loved ]

"The concept of self-improvement has undergone dramatic change since 1911, when Ambroce Bierce mockingly defined self-esteem as "an erroneous appraisement." Good and bad character are now known as "personality differences". Rights have replaced responsibilities. The research on egocentrism and ethnocentrism that informed discussion of human growth and development in the mid-20th century is ignored; indeed, the terms themselves are considered politically incorrect. A revolution has taken place in the vocabulary of self. Words that imply responsibility or accountability—self-criticism, self-denial, self-discipline, self-control, self-effacement, self-mastery, self-reproach, and self-sacrifice — are no longer in fashion. The language most in favor is that which exalts the self — self-expression, self-assertion, self-indulgence, self-realization, self-approval, self-acceptance, self-love, and the ubiquitous self-esteem"

--From Ruggiero, quoted in wikipedia

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Woo-hoo. . . I think [02 Apr 2007|05:57pm]
[ mood | bouncy ]

The Supreme Court ruled today that the EPA must step up and regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.  Tons of pending litigation is likely to follow this precedent, including power plants and other industrial applications.  This ruling is in direct opposition to President Bush's assertions that the EPA doesn't have the right to do so.  Furthermore, the ruling says that the only way the EPA can get out of regulating greenhouse gas emissions is to prove that they don't contribute to global climate change. . . or provide "a good explanation why it cannot or will not find out whether they do." 

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So much time! [24 Mar 2007|11:24pm]
Wikipedia also has a list of chairs.  Come on: knowledge is power, right?

BTW, my plans of New Orleans have probably been dashed by severe poison oak, which I think aspired to become leprosy before I started throwing steroids at it.
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Because it's Spring Break and I have time [24 Mar 2007|11:08pm]
[ mood | happy ]

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index, written by an experienced entomologist:

(from Wikipedia)
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OK, my arm is twisted [21 Mar 2007|09:56pm]
[ mood | Oh Shit! (midterm-induced) ]

Now that Ping and Josie have posted every section but my favorite, I have to say that "A Day at UNICEF Headquarters, as I Imagined It in Third Grade" is the funniest of them all:

(UNICEF sits on a throne. He is wearing a cape and holding a sceptre. A servant enters, on his knees.)

UNICEF: Halloween is fast approaching! Have the third graders been given their little orange boxes?

SERVANT: Yes, your majesty!

UNICEF: Perfect. Did you tell them what the money was for?

SERVANT: No, sir, of course not! We just gave them the boxes and told them to collect for UNICEF. We said it was for “a good cause,” but we didn’t get any more specific than that.

UNICEF: Ha ha ha! Those fools! Soon I will have all the money in the world. For I am UNICEF, evil king of Halloween!

SERVANT: Sir . . . don’t you think you’ve stolen enough from the children? Maybe you should let them keep the money this year.

UNICEF: Never! The children shall toil forever to serve my greed!

(He tears open a little orange box full of coins and rubs them all over his fat stomach.)

UNICEF: Yes! Oh, yes!

SERVANT: Wait! Your majesty! Look at this! Our records indicate that there’s a kid out there—Simon—who’s planning to keep his UNICEF money this year.

UNICEF: What?! But what about my evil plans? I was going to give that money to the Russians so they could build a bomb!

SERVANT: (aside) I guess there’s still one hero left in this world.


(He runs out of the castle, sobbing.)

SERVANT: Thank God Simon is keeping his UNICEF money.

SECOND SERVANT: Yes, it’s good that he’s keeping the money.

THIRD SERVANT: I agree. Simon is doing a good thing by keeping the money from the UNICEF box.

SERVANT: Then we’re all in agreement. Simon should keep the money.

--By Simon Rich, from the March 22 New Yorker
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A little reminder [09 Mar 2007|01:29pm]
[ mood | grateful ]

'"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others"'

--Martha Graham, to a student struggling with self-doubt

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Machine guns and cocaine [19 Dec 2006|04:54pm]
[ mood | tired ]

Today while using a campus bathroom, I found myself winding toilet paper around my hands to make a personal roll for home.  Home, which, of course, has raw sewage all over the kitchen floor.

This is one of those "Loth can feel like a third-world country" times.

 . . . . . . [pause]  . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I'm the ruler of a thrid-world country!!

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Hooray! [06 Dec 2006|06:53pm]
[ mood | happy ]

My bone tumor is benign; I'm not getting kicked out of school. I think I'll sleep in an oak tree tonight.

Does anyone have an mp3 player? I bet I'll be bored. . .

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Ooooh [02 Nov 2006|10:30pm]
[ mood | floaty ]


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ahem. [22 Sep 2006|10:47am]
[ mood | busy ]

Good morning, Naomi, and welcome to student membership in the Society of American Foresters. We are very pleased to have you as a student member!  Demographic information is important to us as we strive to have a diverse membership.  It’s my pleasure to tell you that you’re the very first ewok we’ve had in membership. Congratulations.  ;~)

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A half-hour of online shower curtain shopping [06 Sep 2006|06:36pm]
[ mood | giddy ]

The result:

"The metamorphosis" --my favorite shower curtain of all time.  And let me assure you, there are some ugly ones out there.

Posts with shreds of substance are coming, I swear.

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[26 Aug 2006|02:48pm]
Being House Manager is, I've decided. . . ok.

Yesterday was very long, and felt as if I was being chased all the day by slow-moving zombies: I didn't really have to run, only walk quickly, but I could not sit down.
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[17 Aug 2006|09:03pm]
[ mood | sneaky ]

Today in camp, people figured out what jobs we would all have if Forestry Camp were a town. . .

I'm the town stylist/ barber.

I work weekends in Kwan's art shop.

I distribute condoms.

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Today [07 Aug 2006|09:28pm]
[ mood | sleepy ]

I spent today inside.  Of a room.  This ditressed me so much that I wonder how I'll transition back into the normal classroom routine.  Yes, we sat in the study hall all day and listened to lectures.  Outside, it was another glorious day in the Sierra forest, with stumps and streams and things. 

I got a chance to interact with a small part of this beautiful world today in the shower.  Specifically, a frog.  It hung out and got some steam, and when I was done, I caught it in one hand.  Holding my towel up with the other, I carried my little friend all the way to my room.  It briefly escaped but was no match for my mug-and-DVD-case stream transport pod.  Mwa ha ha.

Less than two weeks now and I'll be home.

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Forestry Camp [04 Aug 2006|01:25pm]
[ mood | sick ]

Wanna guess?

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