Rules for Fieldwork, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Benefits of Mud Baths.

Everybody’s got to have to have rules to live by, right? Here are a few things that seem to have recurring usefulness for this sort of thing.

1. Never pass up the opportunity to eat, sleep, or use a toilet.

2. Batteries: fear them, and their potential ability to blow you and/or your car up should you forget to tape the terminals.

3. Just because it’s not your mess doesn’t mean you don’t have to clean it up.

Seismic stations should not be full of slime water.

4. Never take anti-malaria meds on an empty stomach, particularly before 6 hour car rides. And if you do, hope there are barf bags available.

5. Why pack multiple pairs of pants that will just get dirty when you can wear the same pair for 2 weeks straight?

Embrace the mud.
Embrace the mud. Do not allow it to embrace you, though. The embrace will last uncomfortably long, like that of a weepy maiden aunt.

6. If you don’t wear a wide brimmed hat and sunscreen of the appropriate SPF, Indiana Jones appears and beats you with his whip.


7. Field notebooks – it’s only science if you write it down! No joke here, the slow march of dirt and destruction across formerly pristine notebooks is one of my favorite things.

8. No matter what you read in outdated textbooks, don’t actually lick or eat your field samples.

Not even if John McPhee tells you to. (Annals of the Former World)
Not even if John McPhee tells you to. (Annals of the Former World)

9. Never go anywhere without your knife.

9a. Or duct tape.

9b. Or your own personal roll of toilet paper.


10. In case of dinosaur attack, remember to remain motionless at all costs.

Courtesy of: the Evil Twin

11. And in case the Ark of the Covenant actually does turn out to be in Ethiopia, unleash on the nearest neoNazis or bigots of your choice!


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