Semper Fidelis - Semper Discentes

Archive for July, 2013|Monthly archive page

The Great Adventure Begins!!

In Expeditions, Uncategorized on July 27, 2013 at 9:35 am

The house looks even messier than usual.  I’ve got all my books packed away and lugged downstairs.  Pulled out all the drawers in the rolltop desk and burned about half of the junk I found inside.  Got 95% of the camping/hiking/kayaking/fishing/water quality monitoring equipment boxed up from my “Man Closet”.  Cleaned  out all the tools and junk from the pumphouse/toolshed.  Sold all the big and bulky stuff I won’t be able to use in a Wyoming rental house  (beehives, tiller, chainsaw, cinderblocks, etc.).  Threw away lots of mismatched socks, ancient underwear, and quite a few pair of shorts that seem to have shrunken somewhat over the past six years.

It’s Saturday morning, and I’ll probably put in a little bit of time lugging furniture downstairs, taking beds apart, and such.

On Monday morning, bright and early, I drive down to the U-Haul dealer, and drive away in the biggest truck he’s got, with one of those “tow dollies” attached behind, bearing my banana-yellow Jeep Wrangler.  SUPPOSEDLY, a couple of burly guys are gonna show up at 9 AM, contracted to lift and tote for four hours.

The Wind River Range, just west of Lander.

The Wind River Range, just west of Lander, Wyoming.

Guess we’ll probably have to sleep on the floor Monday night.  Then, as soon as I get up and fortify myself with coffee, we’re On The Road, with 1200+ miles ahead of us, and Douglas (Booger) County, Missouri, in our rearview mirror.  I’m not looking forward to a pair of back-to-back 600-mile days, with a couple of days unloading and arranging to follow (once we find a place to rent!!!).

The Popo Agie

The Popo Agie

The Great Adventure begins!  Can’t wait to get settled in and learn what cool, new bugs I can find at 6,000-12,000 feet above sea level in the area around Lander, Wyoming, the Popo Agie River, Fremont County, and the Wind River Range.  I’ll keep you posted.

If you happen to be in the market for a new, four-bedroom, three bath house on twenty acres, deep in an Ozark “holler”, I’ll make you a good deal.

At home in the Ozarks.

At home in the Ozarks.

A Moke in a MOOC

In Uncategorized on July 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm

I read a lot of detective/crime/murder novels.  In some of the older ones, the detectives, sitting around the squad room, will make some comment along the lines of:  “Well, we picked up some moke for the crime, but had to let him go.”  I had heretofore never actually looked up the word “moke”, but interpreted it as “poor sap” or “hapless individual” or some such.  The actual derivation of the word, I’ve found, is “archaic British, Australian or United States slang for ‘donkey'”.

That being said, and using ANY of the preceding three definitions, I probably qualify as a “moke”.

Being a curious sort, and penurious as well, I began searching the Internet a few weeks ago, hoping to stumble across some FREE online college courses that could help to fill in some of the gigantic gaps in my cranial capacity.  This is a fairly new concept, and some of the major universities in the country (and probably the world) are now offering a selection of these Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).  At the “Coursera” website (https://coursera.org), I found a Brown University online class called “Archaeology’s Dirty Little Secrets”.  Although this was a subject (one of many, many subjects) about which I was TOTALLY ignorant, the topic was intriguing, and something that I onlyunderstood on the most BASIC level.

I, therefore, signed up for the class, along with over THIRTY-SIX THOUSAND other intellectual sponges.  That’s the beauty of a MOOC.  Each week, the students are to watch a series of video lectures, read some  “enrichment” information (usually to be found online, and free), choose one of three “archaeological exercises”, and answer a series of quiz questions.  With so many participants, I suppose it goes without saying that the quiz questions pretty much HAVE to be true/false or multiple choice.  I can’t conceive of Brown University teaching assistants grading that many essay questions each week.  The archaeological exercises are graded in an innovative manner, as each participant must grade FIVE of his/her classmates’ submissions, whereby he receives five evaluations from other randomly-chosen participants.  It probably goes without saying that no actual college credit is awarded for successful completion of the class, but the acquisition of knowledge requires no Certificate of Completion.

I’ve just finished the final week’s assignments.  The instructor in the video lectures, Dr. Sue Alcock, is a personable sort, and the lectures are interesting, informative, and pretty basic.  Her observations challenge some basic ideas and assumptions that I suppose I’ve long held, clarify some important points, and inspire me to think about some new things.  Each week, her main colleagues, Professors Bestock, Houston, Leppard and Berenfied, update us on their own pet projects, including major archaeological sites on the island of Montserrat, at Petra (Jordan), Abydos (Egypt), and El Zotz, Guatamala.  Dr. Bestock, for the record, is “absolutely” fascinating, and her enthusiasm is infectious.  Graduate and undergraduate students also contribute interesting tidbits on archaeological basics–pot sherds, human remains, collecting and curating techniques, and the like.

I think the concept will catch on.  At present, check out the Coursera website, or merely Google “MOOC”.  You might find something you like.  Better than trolling the ‘net for pornography, anyway.

Maybe I should run out and buy a Brown sweatshirt.

Looks Like We’re Getting Close!!

In Expeditions, Uncategorized on July 12, 2013 at 11:54 am

After over a year of planning and preparation, it looks like we’re getting VERY close to our relocation to Lander, Wyoming, and the “Popo Agie River area”.

Amanda’s job will require her to be there by August 1, and we’ve been madly packing, selling unneeded (or un-MOVEABLE) stuff, and waiting for her “moving check” to arrive.  As soon as it does, we’ll be heading north.

Guess I need to go out and dig up all my carrion beetle traps, pack them securely away, and HIDE them amongst the packing boxes, as I’m sure she’ll decide that they are dispensable and should be left behind.  For her sake, I WILL dispose of all the carrion I’ve been collecting for bait.

‘Twill be hard to leave our (unsold) house-and-twenty-acres here in the Missouri Ozarks; however, I’ve located a friend to “house-sit” for us while we wait, pray and hope for a buyer.  In the meantime, we expect to be living in rented digs in Wyoming, learning about all sorts of neat and new stuff, and trying to look cowboyish and stay warm.

I’ll admit that the prospect of leaving has given me quite a roller-coaster ride; however, faith and a steadfast reliance upon legal pharmaceuticals has got me looking forward to our Great Adventure.

Once we get settled in, hope to be providing you with a closer look at the “Bugs of Popo Agie”.  As we’d say in Louisiana, “Y’all come see us!”