Where in the hell am I?

Stories from the road, and home, by a contract archaeologist.

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Location: Texas, United States

I work out of town a lot as a contract archaeologist. Sometimes it's interesting. It can be quite funny, although probably only to other archys. Home is Austin, with my wife and our cute kitty and all of our crazy friends.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


it's late and i'm still awake and kinda drunk and kinda cranky. that's about it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Same old same old.

It's been very slow lately. Just going through every day life. Don't want to be a weather blogger (although having the windows open has been very nice and eco-friendly).
A couple of weeks ago (well, almost a month, actually) Tina's car got rear-ended, and it ended up being totaled. We turned the rental in on Saturday, so we're a one car family. It's only a problem during my TxDOT rotation. So tomorrow, for the first time since 2004, I'll be taking the bus to work. Unlike when I lived on Woodrow and worked at the Texan, I'll have to walk a few blocks to get to the bus, and then to get to my work. I'm tempted to bike, but it's uphill both ways. Granted, I'm in better shape now than I was when I used to bike a lot, but 5 miles with big hills on a BMX is a bit daunting first thing in the morning. So is dealing with the traffic on South First or South Congress.
Definitely looking forward to Fun Fun Fun Fest. That'll make up for Halloween being on Wednesday, meaning that no one wants to have a party the weekend before because it's too far off. Next year, it's a Friday and a costume party will happen.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Originally uploaded by texasrobo
I had a much nicer encounter with Texas reptiles today. After finishing up our reconnaissance (and racing a huge storm system), we drove up to Ranger, Texas to check out a bridge replacement project. These frogs were everywhere, hopping around. At first, I thought it was just grasshoppers or water bugs, but then I finally saw them. They're really tiny, maybe an inch big and all legs.
I also saw a turtle that must have hurt his hind legs. It was practically vertical in the creek bed, and I thought maybe the rock he was against was just too steep to climb up. So I grabbed a stick and used it to scoot him up the rock, but then it just slid forward again and seemed stuck again. A few minutes later I had my shovel and picked the turtle up and looked at the back of his shell, and I couldn't see the feet or claws, and it never extended the hind legs. Eventually, I put it up on a more level surface and it scooted itself along using its front legs. I didn't really know what else to do.
This week has been pretty easy, even with walking almost 8 miles yesterday. We didn't find a damn thing, though, and the bridge we're checking out tomorrow before driving back to Austin seems like a low probability too.
I've had that damn "Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)" song stuck in my head for a couple of days now. The beat is catchy, but the rap is just horrible and the dance is pretty dumb. And yet, I find myself doing the Superman part randomly, for no reason.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Originally uploaded by texasrobo
So while doing a reconnaissance survey (meaning no shovel tests) today, I stopped for some shade under a big oak tree. I was standing there cooling off and wondering if I was hidden from the road well enough to pee. All of a sudden, I notice this little bugger out of the corner of my eye. Of course, I exclaimed "Oh Shit" and ran about 10 feet away, heart pounding. He didn't move a muscle. I don't know how I finally noticed him, as he's pretty well camoflauged. For a few seconds, I thought about killing it (there were some big rocks nearby). Every time someone tells me they saw a rattler in the field, I ask them if they killed it. But it didn't seem right, since it wasn't aggressive to me. So I took a picture (using the full zoom lens) and went on my way. I paid a lot more attention to my feet while under tree from that point on!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A deadline, at last

Friday my mom wanted to go to campus to look at some journals in the libraries, so I took advantage of the visit to check on my academic status. Amazingly, even though it's been at least 2 tears since I last darkened her office, the person who is the guru of Latin American Studies remembered my name. I found out that if I don't graduate by the Summer semester of '08, I'll lose a year's worth of credits (24, almost my entire coursework). I also need to take the Spanish oral exam on November 18th or 19th. I might just have to drive to the border the weekend before the test and do some language immersion.
While I'm a bit freaked out, having a deadline is the best thing that could have happened to me, because I work best under the wire. So tomorrow it gets real. I talked to my second reader (not my main advisor, who I need to email) and he told me what he's expecting, which is maybe even a little less than what I was planning. I think everybody just wants me to finish, on a good note.
The Spanish exam might be the toughie. I know I can pass, but I haven't spoken much lately and I have a weird problem speaking Spanish to someone who I know speaks English. I sure hope that they'll let me try again in the spring if I don't pass next month. I wish I could afford to fly back down to Mexico City for a few days.
When I finally finish, I'm going to have a humongous party.

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