I was hearing voices and not for the first time. There was an epauletted man in ironed khaki across the desk from me. His lips were moving earnestly in French. There was a tea leaf on one of his teeth, a single leaf that distracted me. I knew that this man was not to be crossed. The black fleck on surprisingly perfect dentition got me thinking. I might be better off looking for the future in tea leaves rather than hearing how cooperative this man’s army would be.[Read more…] about Snake Oil
I had an idea, a simple concept and like photography itself, it took years to be realised. My concept was that one photograph could be interrogated to reveal many stories, each distinct from the main image. Like a book has chapters, and chapters have paragraphs and sentences, the fractal potential of the image could be explored. It wasn’t dissimilar to creating and analysing geological cross sections with geophysical data, something I was involved with for most of my career. I like a challenge but creating Quarried, the April chapbook, turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated.[Read more…] about ‘Quarried’ Invention
The auctioneer was known for his malapropisms. He was the kind of man who might aspire to own a tantrum bicycle. Or announce that Rome wasn’t burned in a day. At the auction of the restaurant my parents were selling, the auctioneer tried to add value by including the view in the sale. He said there were magnificent sea views for ‘as far as the eye could see’. Eyes rolled, then checked the view before acknowledging he was correct. He had viewed the price and repriced the view.
I had an epiphany of sorts in the first year of my career. In fact, I had quite a few revelations as I learned what wasn’t taught in three levels of education. In my first office job, I was being taught practical things by Dalziel, a phonetically correct abbreviation for a very tolerant teacher. I asked how to calculate the length of a geophysical profile and his answer was to ‘count the posts not the gaps’. A few days later, I asked him to explain what ‘mistie’ meant. I pronounced it misty. He laughed and said ‘put a metaphorical hyphen in it’. I was learning about seismic recording techniques from a man who did the Daily Telegraph crossword in twenty or thirty minutes every day while enjoying a pint (or two) of plain and a toasted cheese sandwich (or two) in a Dublin pub. In the realms of onshore geophysics, the listening devices are arrays of geophones, centred on ‘stations’. A billable length, like a fence, is the distance between two stations or posts. Sometimes, for reasons due the geometry of echoes from sloping subsurfaces, two readings might mistie due group azimuth or line bearing.[Read more…] about Posts and Gaps
What do a bow thruster, an interruption in server access and the Suez Canal have in common? Not much at first glance but stay with me as I try to join some dots.
This morning’s news included a report of a ship that had run aground in the Suez Canal. Four hundred metres long, the ship that is, my first reaction was to think software glitch or human error. My second thought was of an immediate reduction in global trade, by perhaps 10%. My third thought was of a price hike that two weeks of extra travel might mean for that 10%.
‘It was drizzling most of the way, cold enough for gloves for the first hour and thereafter, wet, particularly so once I fell in the sea. After climbing across the granite/schist contact that separates White Rock and Killiney strands, I was walking in the shoals of wave washed glacial till that cover Killiney Beach. I chose the walk to have lots of different surfaces to help train my legs; steep steps, grass, heavy pebble beach and some climbing over huge boulders. Anyway, I needed to catch my breath and decided to take a picture at the water’s edge. The undertow sucked the pebbles from under my feet. I had the iPhone in photo mode. Over and in I went, the phone too. I grabbed the phone as a small wave broke over us and it still worked. My rain gear kept most of the water out though my pockets and shoes did fill up. It felt strange after spending an hour watching TV coverage of today’s tsunami in Japan.’