at first glance a wall

but a  visage lovelier

for weathered sculpture


beyond the surface

freshness – shadows and depth

beguile and confuse

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cross words on 2

In 1967 I worked part-time as a Special Effects helper on a  TV game show at the Beeb – the  BBC, or British Broadcasting Corporation – where I saw crosswords and heard cross words. Continue reading

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oozing hillsides

Today’s San Francisco Chronicle newspaper had a story on hillside failures in the San Francisco Bay town of Hercules: “Oozing Hillside Imperils Home“.  “Oozing hillside” is a poetic way to describe “landslide”. Even more poetic is the explanation given by the reporter (attributed to the “associate city engineer”) for the cause of the ooze: Continue reading

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Jam, honey, bread, syncline

Browsing through the March pages in my 1986 diary, I found a tasty entry. I had just finished a horrible job at Bandar-e-Taheri,  on the Persian Gulf, in Iran. I was there to supervise drilling exploration for a proposed oil terminal. The job was horrible for several reasons, none of them due to being in Iran, or working with Iranians. Rather, it was a lot to do with working with some unlikeable ex-pats. And the food was dreadful. And I was sick (as was almost everybody in the construction camp, including the doctor) due to some mix-up between sewage water and drinking water… Continue reading

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blue me, wandering beside blue canal –

I  laugh at a hawsered laundry of


bicycles everywhere;  stacked, leaning, piled, jumbled in scrums

yet these two, almost kissing

a chaste synapse separating blue and


red lights, not chaste, yet separated from me

by the synapse of canal and too little money

so: blue me

Amsterdam images, compressed into poesy, from vagabond visits in 1985 and 1986

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“4-6-2!”.”4-4-4!” “Little sod! Bugger off!”. These  expressions  still chuff in my ears 50 or so years after I first heard them, as a  trainspotter.  Continue reading

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Painted Doors/Painted Ladies

Wallace, in the Silver Valley, in the Coeur d’Alene district of the Idaho Panhandle used to be a very special place for me. Come to think of it, anywhere that blends heart and panhandle and silver should be special and certainly, Wallace has a special place in mon cœur. Continue reading

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in winter’s wet lee
beauty piques as maiden’s glee:
– surprise! birthday cake



On a stormy, wet winter Saturday – two days before Spring starts – we went to an Ikebana Show in San Francisco. I got lost in the complex displays. But I found joy in the elegant and simple arrangements. And:  I was delighted – indeed, piqued – by charmingly picaresque elements peeking here and there. So, I took a few snapshots

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Engineering Geologists .NE. Geological Engineers

This post title includes the Fortran Boolean  logical operation .NE. , computer programming parlance that I used to be more familiar with than I am now.  It means ” Engineering Geologists Not Equal to Geological Engineers.

The title and this piece are prompted by an interesting  recent thread at the discussion page of the Engineering Geologists LinkedIn Group “Raise the Profiles of EGs” (You will have to be both interested enough to read the thread, and  also a LinkedIn subscriber to learn the background to this post). Read on if your interest is .EQ. enough:

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Motley View: Engineering Geology as a Vital Phase in the GeoSpectrum

I have written and lectured often on the GeoSpectrum of professionals, spanning Engineering through Geology. Recently, I wrote an invited Editor’s Commentary (Engineering Geology- A Vital Phase of GeoEngineering) for the March/April 2009 Engineering Geology edition of the Geo-Strata magazine of the Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The 11,000-plus  members of the Geo-Institute are primarily Geotechnical Engineers, and so the piece was directed at them, but almost any geoprofessional within the GeoSpectrum will understand what I wrote; which is why the post title has broader scope that the Commentary title.

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