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UTSA hydrogeology program ranks in top quartile among 400 U.S. programs
By Christi Fish
Public Affairs Specialist
The UTSA College of Sciences geology program is ranked one of the top 100 hydrogeology programs from a cumulative list of 400 geology programs in the United States, according to the National Ground Water Association. The UTSA Department of Geological Sciences offers the program in hydrogeology, which focuses on the movement and distribution of groundwater in the soil and rocks of the crust.
“UTSA has placed a great emphasis on the growth of our hydrogeology program over the last decade,” said Weldon Hammond, UTSA Amy Shelton and V.H. McNutt Distinguished Professor in Geology and director of the UTSA Center for Water Research. “Moving forward, we will continue to grow and improve the program, especially given South Texas’ almost total dependence on groundwater.”
The UTSA Department of Geological Sciences offers two bachelor’s programs and a master’s program to prepare students for careers in geology, hydrogeology and related fields. Courses include groundwater hydrology, hydrogeology, geochemistry, geophysics, economic geology, remote sensing principles, computer programming for scientific applications, geographic information systems (GIS), global position systems (GPS) and related topics.
UTSA is home to the Center for Water Research, established in 1987 as the Center for Groundwater Research and Technology with a grant from the National Science Foundation.
The interdisciplinary center serves as a resource for academia, education, government, industry and the public on global water challenges and related environmental issues. It also connects geology students with water researchers from the UTSA College of Sciences and College of Engineering, offering them the opportunity to conduct real-world water research in the laboratory and in the field.
Confessions of a meteorologist...
Looking back, I probably should have been a geology major.
However, meteorology lead me here an I am grateful for that. I still enjoy meteorology immensely, but I was never fully committed to the idea of being a meteorologist.
Tornadoes don’t spike my pulse like most, lightning doesn’t really catch my fancy, and hurricanes involve water and I don’t like water.
I enjoy glaciers (frozen water, so I’m okay with it), geochemistry, soils, agriculture. I’m more suited for climatology, geography, geology, hydrology (yes, water, I know).
I’ve had one class thus far today and I already feel like this is where I belong.
Unlike dynamic meteorology and synoptic and mesoscale, I don’t have to wrap my head around fast moving ever changing weather phenomena.
Hydrogeology is much slower. Still challenging, but it’s more interesting to me.
We’re taking a field trip this semester in Geomorphology. I’ll be working on site with tangible data. When’s the last time atmospheric sciences took a field trip? Where are they going to go? The upper tropopause? Let’s all hop the Magic School Bus and take a trip to the jet stream. That would be awesome, yet not possible.
I understand that yes, there are real field trips for meteorology majors, as I was one and we went to the Pittsburgh NWS office to launch a weather balloon, but that’s about it. Unless you take a trip to the supercomputers or see a facility that handles data electronically, you can’t really take an actual “field” trip.
Now I can actually touch my data. I can feel soils and water and rocks. I can “feel” air, too, but it’s not as fun.
An I’m not hating on meteorology. I loved it. I sucked at it, but I loved it. But this, I’m passionate about.
I believe there is indeed a difference. I’m a scientist, just not an atmospheric scientist.
KURT YAEGER - ONE MAN'S SOULFUL LOOK AT SURVIVING LIFE - BY MARLA SANTOS
You may know Kurt Yaeger as “Greg the Peg,” on FX’s hit show Sons of Anarchy, or from one of his recent movies including Dolphin Tale, War Flowers and Camel Spiders. If you’re an extreme sports fan, you’ll know him as one of the greatest BMX riders. Even before becoming a teenager he became involved with BMX and gained the nickname “Crowbar”. He acquired sponsors for his BMX riding and competed on the circuit. Injuries started taking their toll and he decided to pursue a Masters Degree in Hydrogeology. On May 30, 2006, Kurt’s whole life changed when a car forced him and his motorcycle off an exit ramp, into a guardrail. He flipped over the bike and fell almost 40-feet down to the cement below. He was airlifted to San Francisco General Hospital with such severe injuries he wasn’t expected to survive. His right ACL and MCL knee ligaments were torn, his pelvis and bladder were torn in half, seven vertebrae were broken along with ribs, his lungs had collapsed, and his leg was destroyed and needed amputation below his knee. He survived and spent four months prone in a hospital bed with excruciating pain, and several more months trying to recover… and then he was told they had to re-amputate a little higher. This is Kurt’s story about being in the “darkest place” of his life – a period of mourning that began with asking friends to help him end it, to having the courage and will to not only survive, but to get back on his beloved bike, and return to his passion for BMX. The first problem he confronted was that he could no longer feel his foot on the pedal – so with special shoes from Etnies, he put magnets in both his shoe and the bike pedal, to ensure his footing. He has gone on to ride at the X Games, and has become the #1 Adaptive BMXer in the world, becoming the first amputee to ever pull-off a backflip. After his recovery, he put a photo of himself on the website AmputeesInHollywood.com and was called a few weeks later to play a part in the 2007 film Charlie Wilson’s War, starring Tom Hanks. Kurt’s talents abound as an actor, producer, philanthropist, and is an inspiration to everyone who hears his story.
Yaeger shared his stories with an infectious laugh, finding humor in most everything in life, as I sat, astounded, searching for the possible source of where Kurt’s unique ability comes from – the skill to always look on the bright side of life; where he gets his generous nature to support charities; and what he’s doing to help other amputees get on with their lives. The best one-liner that sums up Kurt:
I love it when people tell
me I can’t do something.
It’s like, ‘You wanna bet?!’
SLV: How did your childhood fascination with bikes start?
YAEGER: My dad and family would ride in a place called Paradise Pines, where we had a cabin. We would go up on a regular basis and ride motorcycles on the trails. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go up there as much as I wanted to as a kid, because I just loved motorcycles. I had a bicycle at the house where I grew up, and we had a big field behind our house, and I was able to build jumps and recreate Motocross. I got a group of friends together that rode bicycles and it just took off. I just loved riding bikes! I don’t know if ultimately it was just the pure freedom of going further away from home on this thing, or what it was specifically, but it made me feel older.
SLV: Did you play any group sports or was it only biking for you?
YAEGER: I played basketball and football in school. I played all the sports, because everyone else was playing them, but I never could get past the organizational aspect of it, the routine, the group thought of it. I’d hear: “Okay, we’re just going to run laps today,” while I wanted to study the opposing team’s plays, so I didn’t want to do it anymore. There’s no “I” in team and no team in “I” either. Were they trying to make me into a zombie or was this supposed to be fun? It just never had the fun part for me.
SLV: How did you get the nickname “Crowbar”?
YAEGER: (laughter) I grew up rough and got in a lot of fights as a kid. I grew up in a place that encouraged that lifestyle. Three guys with pipes jumped me, and two of them went to the hospital; I went to the hospital.
SLV: So this has nothing to do with your bike riding?
YAEGER: No, no. It’s just more of my disposition around bike riders. Essentially, a crowbar is a tool that you utilize when you’re in trouble. My friends would get themselves into trouble, and I’d be there to get them out.
SLV: I assume you hurt yourself riding and doing the tricks as you learned them?
YAEGER: Oh yeah, I hurt myself on a regular basis. We have a saying in BMX that’s pretty simple, if you remember those old shirts that said: Give Blood-Support Red Cross. Our saying was: Give Blood-Support BMX. You get hurt no matter what. When I’m shooting a film or TV show, I have to stop riding BMX because I can’t afford to get hurt. I never rode a week in my life where I didn’t get hurt.
SLV: Did you break bones?
YAEGER: Oh yeah! I’ve broken wrists, arms, clavicles, scapulas, feet, hands, toes, teeth, jaw, my nose, sternum and ribs, all before the motorcycle accident.
SLV: Obviously, you knew how to endure pain.
YAEGER: I knew how to endure pain, and I knew it was generally time limited. It taught me specifically the difference between uncomfortable pain and injury pain. If you break your ankle and you try to stretch it: that’s injury pain, so stop doing it. If you break your ankle and five weeks later you have to stretch it out: that’s recovery pain. It taught me the difference, so I knew how far to push myself before I had to stop. Most people will stop long before the recovery pain even starts. I’ve had friends who’ve broken their ankle and five weeks later they’re riding their bicycle.
SLV: What is it that made you go back to biking time after time, after hurting yourself?
YAEGER: It could be the camaraderie of my friends. My dad took me to the racetrack as a kid to ride bicycles in races, and maybe it’s the same reason why someone my age goes to a baseball game and just loves it because their dad took them there. Maybe it’s a father’s love. It’s something that’s in my blood and if I get to do something on two wheels, I’m in a Zen-like place. Even if I’m hurt, I feel like that was an accomplishment, that was enjoyable, I feel good.
SLV: So it’s just a real high without doing drugs?
YAEGER: You know how some people are adrenaline junkies? I could go to the skate park and not even do a trick, just ride around like we call “flowing.” You just flow around the park, just jumping this and landing and moving around like a snowboarder going down a hill, just left-right, left-right. You do whatever you want, and even tricks. You do that for two hours, never trying anything hard, just playing and then talking to your friends. That is the same type of satisfaction as pulling an extremely hard trick. You leave with the same kind of joy. It has nothing to do with “Rock and Roll—adrenaline—yeah!” It doesn’t even equate in my mind. I don’t want to jump out of a plane. It doesn’t excite me. It’s like, “Oh, I’m going to go fall!” (laughter)
SLV: Some of your friends must be adrenaline rush types, no?
YAEGER: The adrenaline type… not very many of them, actually, none of my friends. The adrenaline junkie is a different type of person. We don’t talk about biking, we just go do it. The adrenaline junkie talks about it and shows pictures. My perfect weekend would be having five of my friends from around the country meet up and go ride bikes. No cameras, no interviews, nothing, just hanging out, pulling some good tricks and drinking some beers after. It’s almost like riding dirt bikes, but not at a Motocross track, but out on the trails. You ride, eat some lunch, go for another ride and then drink beer at the campfire. It’s just that sense of pure satisfaction. You don’t have to do anything crazy, something crazy might happen, but you didn’t have to have that crazy experience in order to gain the feeling you wanted. It’s a Zen-like place. To be honest, when I’m not hurting myself, I’m not pushing the limits. In acting, I like hurting myself, because it’s emotional pain to go through some of the stuff and be rejected. It’s good to know you messed up, because you’re learning things from it.
SLV: Do you remember falling off your motorcycle during your accident?
YAEGER: No. I’ve waxed that pretty good.
SLV: What pain do you remember?
YAEGER: Imagine if you took a week of your life, and three times a day you could open your eyes for a second or two. Apparently, I was writing notes to people and the first thing I wrote down was “leg?” So somehow I knew what was going on, but I have no recollection of it. I barely remember the conversation about them cutting my leg off. I remember them saying they were still trying to save the leg by putting a rod in and doing all kinds of things, but I was only going to have 5% usage of the leg. I asked what would happen if they cut it off and I had a prosthetic leg, and they said 10-15%. And without blinking, I said: “Cut it off.” They said: “Sir, we want to give you time to think about it.” I said: “You just gave me the odds,” and I didn’t say anything else. If you gave me $100,000 and black was 5% and red was 15%, there’s not even a question about what I’m going to do. There was a lot of nerve damage, a lot of bone damage, a lot of blood vessel damage, and the whole thing wasn’t broken, it was shattered. The whole limb was completely destroyed. Unfortunately I’d broken that ankle twice and there were pins in that too, so if I was going to lose a leg, the left one was the right one to lose. (laughing) I have screws in my right foot, too, from some other injuries.
SLV: Explain to me why the doctors had to re-operate on your leg.
YAEGER: The San Francisco General Hospital is where I had my surgery and my four-month stay. The doctors there, to give them credit, saved my life. They put my pelvis back together pretty well, fixed my bladder, which shouldn’t have been able to be fixed. The doctors were surprised that my body healed itself, so they did a good enough job to let my body do the rest. After another 5, 6, 7 months I got my first prosthetic leg, but it hurt so bad when I was walking around. My prosthetists said: “Normal pain is normal, but we know who you are, we know your background, and if this hurts you this much, something’s not right.” He took a look at my leg and it was bloody and raw at the bottom end of the stump. He told me that it’s not right and to go to a doctor, so I went to a special Orthopedic Surgeon. He wanted me to get an x-ray and I waited to see the results, and then he said: “Hey Kurt, I want you to get an MRI, so we can get a better look.” Well, I’ve been in enough hospitals to know that’s a bad sign, so I was thinking: “Great… what the hell does that mean?” I get the MRI and the doctor says to me: “Kurt, I don’t know how to tell you this, but they cut your leg off wrong, and we’re going to have to redo it.” Apparently what they had done was cut the bone flush at a 90-degree cut. They didn’t round the bone, or try to cauterize the end of the bone, which limits or stops bone spurs. The whole time my body had been growing bone, trying basically to re-grow my leg. I had 1 to 1½ inch spikes inside my body that I was walking around on. That’s why it was a bloody, pussy, just disgusting mess, and knowing me—I just kept trying to walk on it.
SLV: I had no idea you were that far along with your recovery before they had to re-operate.
YAEGER: The rest of it was tragic, the accident was horrible, lots of bad things happened in my life in that regard. The pain was horrible in the first six months to the point where I didn’t go: “Oh, I’m going to kill myself.” I legitimately went: “Okay, I need to end this and I need to do it now, ‘cause I’m out and this is stupid.”
SLV: Where was the most pain? In your back, your leg..?
YAEGER: To answer your question, where wasn’t it?
SLV: Oh, dear God.
YAEGER: With all the pain, all the trouble and all the crud of life that was coming down upon my head, it was being told after you’re starting to walk, after spending four months in the hospital. I spent every single day, every hour, every minute for four months lying in the same bed. I didn’t move because I was so broken. Then I was sent home and didn’t get out of bed very much and had to use a wheelchair for two months, then a walker and then a cane, and that’s when I was told that they’re going to have to do this again. So barring all the pain and the horribleness of the first six months, that was the saddest moment. That’s when I thought there was nothing left.
SLV: Are you a religious or spiritual person? What got you through this?
YAEGER: I’ve got an amazing family and friends. My father is my hero. He’s the best person I know and he practices what he preaches. He’s no joke. He’s never cursed in his life, he never smoked, he never drank, and he just leads by example. He’s the Jesus Christian. He’s the guy who says: “You need $200 to get out of the situation that you got yourself into. Here you go.”
SLV: Let me ask you about him, because obviously you’re like him. Is this just born in you, or is it a religion, or the way you were brought up?
YAEGER: If I’m half the man he is, I’m doing pretty good. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to be that good. My belief system is a little unique, in that I am a Christian and I do believe in God and the Bible, but I also don’t believe in religion. I don’t believe in sitting in a room and having a preacher tell me what I should or shouldn’t believe. I think preachers are just as, if not more fallible, than the average human. For me, to put my faith in another man is a little myopic.
SLV: Faith is something you can rely on – sounds like your dad has it, too.
YAEGER: Yeah, he does. He taught me the simple logic, the simple belief and the simple idea of the Bible. You don’t have to get complicated into major issues. You don’t have to go where a lot of people get caught up in it. Something that I was completely dumbfounded by, was when my brother and I got older, we were having an intellectual debate about flipping somebody off. I’m a curser, so I curse: “fuck, shit, damn, ass.” It’s just what I do. I don’t mind those words, so I was arguing the point that it doesn’t matter, it’s your intention. If I have a bad intention and say a good word, that word is now corrupted. If I say a bad word, but my intention is good, the word is not corrupted. My brother is kind of on the same page, so we come to a consensus that it’s okay. I talked to my dad about it and the logic, and he said: “Kurt, if God was standing there, would you flip off your brother?” I said: “Well, if he thought it was funny.” (laughter) My dad smiled and said: “Okay Kurt, for real.” I answered: “Okay dad, if God were really standing there, I probably wouldn’t.” Then he said: “Well, he is.” It was just that simple. God is there, just act as if. That’s it.
SLV: If you live your life like that, you said it: “You’re living the Jesus life.”
YAEGER: Because I struggle with that, obviously, I’m not yet to the standard my father has set before me. But he says he struggles too.
SLV: When you finally got healthy, what drove you back to riding bikes again?
YAEGER: Part of it was the technological problem. How do I keep my foot on the pedal and make this work? If I can make it work at the thing that I not only love, but if I can accomplish more than anyone else ever has with one leg, on the bike, then I’m proving to myself that I can do anything that anyone else can do. I think there’s some self-satisfaction of… actually that’s exactly what it is. It’s the same reason black guys use the “n” word. They’re grabbing onto the negative and making it their own in order to conquer it. For me, I’m grabbing onto what everyone assumes I can’t do, or maybe I assume I can’t do. So I’m going to grab on to the most negative that I think I wouldn’t be able to do and I’m going to conquer it and prove to myself that I’m okay.
SLV: So you don’t look at it as a handicap, you look at it as though you’re normal. Is that right?
YAEGER: Yeah, but in some cases, it is a disability. It’s a pain in the butt going through security at the airport.
SLV: You are now the #1 Adaptive BMXer in the world. You’ve got all these sponsors and it’s an incredible list. You’ve become part of the Proton Locks that magnets your foot to the pedal. Do you consider yourself a driving force behind helping other amputees?
YAEGER: I think that there are other people that are more hands-on, in terms of helping individual amputees. I think that by proxy, by me not letting people tell me what I can and cannot do, and it may be my choice of profession in the entertainment world and the BMX sports world that makes it a little more highlighted. More people can see it, because it’s more visible because it gets press. There’s a story of a guy who lost an arm and a leg and he competed in the Tough Mudder, which is a race in the mud like a triathlon. That guy didn’t get any press, and it’s ten times more impressive to me than me doing a backflip over a jump. Yes, in terms of the press and the media and things like that, I’m an inspiration or aspiration or whatever you want to call it, but there are more impressive people out there than I am.
SLV: Okay, but you’re using your fame to get it out there?
YAEGER: Absolutely. If I can blaze a trail through the culture of America, then I’m gonna open the doorway for every single good person I meet along the way.
SLV: I’m sure you’ve thought about this at some point. What if one of these tricks leaves you paralyzed? You are such an active person, but you are also highly intelligent. Could you be comfortable and happy just relying on your brain if that were to happen?
YAEGER: If I was paralyzed, I’d have to, wouldn’t I? It’s not that it’s never crossed my mind, because not letting negative things come in your mind that are true, is ignorance. If I go: “I can’t get hurt on this trip,” that’s ignorant. So you have to let the negative things that come in that are true and take account for them and see what you want to do, and if you want to do it or not. Then if you still want to do it, you push those negative consequences out of your mind in order to focus on the task at hand. There is no messing up, because I’m not going to mess up because I decided to do this, so therefore I better not mess up. (laughter) Stephen Murray, one of the top BMXers in the world, an amazing rider, good guy, a lot of people love him, did a contest, did a trick, messed up and broke his neck and he’s paralyzed from the neck down.
SLV: So it’s a very realistic thing.
YAEGER: Very, very, very realistic. These are things very possible in our world. Chad Kagy broke his neck, but he broke it in a way that he just got it put back together. He still rides. Then he goes to the X Games a year ago and broke his femur. What’s he doing right now? Training! I’m not unique for a BMXer for getting back on the bike no matter what happens.
SLV: That’s the personality of the person who will become a BMXer?
YAEGER: Yeah, I think so. BMXers are extremely unique individuals. I don’t know if we’re dumb, or hardheaded. We should have been gladiators or Spartans. (laughter) I don’t know, but it’s not a personality type beyond that. You can be gay, straight, black, white, Latino, Asian, woman, you still have that attitude that I’m going to come back and do this thing, no matter how many times I get hurt, and no matter how many times I fail. Barring that one unique similarity, every BMXer is different. I don’t agree with my friends politically, don’t agree with them socially, there’s a lot of things we don’t agree about, but they’re my brothers.
SLV: You have a great group of friends, they helped you to get well.
YAEGER: Oh yeah, they were all there – in the hospital, raising money for me, helping me out, bringing me stuff, videos, food and feeding me. Without that love I would have killed myself. There’s no doubt.
SLV: That’s not an easy thing to do, strapped down in a hospital bed!
YAEGER: No, no, when I was home, sitting in my room, looking at a shotgun. I told my brothers: “Bring over the bullets. I want to do this. This is a decision I’ve made and I can’t make it happen without someone helping me,” and they wouldn’t help me! But I just couldn’t go through with it, not because of fear of death. Who cares if it’s today or tomorrow? When you learn that, it’s really irrelevant to when you die and you start learning how to live. To be graphic: “I couldn’t piss on the good will of the people who spent their days with me. I couldn’t tell them: “Thanks for making me breakfast, lunch and dinner and washing my body, but all your efforts are in vain, because I’m checking out.” I couldn’t do it! They forced me to not do it, and once I made that decision after a long process of decision-making that was: “Okay, if I’m not gonna check out, and I am responsible for all the goodness that was thrust upon me, then I better do the best that I can, and I need to ride bikes again. So, I’m going to be the best at it. I wanted to be in the entertainment business, so I’ll be the best at it, too. That means I’m going to be the best person to do the best by good people. Even if it financially hurts me, I’m going to stand up for good people.” You start to realize that you’re never going to compromise ever again.
SLV: And at that point you became super strong?
YAEGER: Just super hardheaded. (laughter)
SLV: Tell me about the charity work you’re involved in. Does that “giving back” come from your dad, also?
YAEGER: My dad has always given. My brothers and I discuss it if it’s to a fault. He’s always been there for whoever needs it. Part of the reason I’ve been doing so much charitable work is the fact that I guess I have it from my dad, but the other part is that I had that support network at the hospital. It was the only reason that I didn’t check out, and it was the only reason I got better. How many people in this world don’t have my family and friends? A lot! So, if God gave me the gift of family and love, how can I selfishly keep it for myself? It’s evil, I think, to do so!
SLV: I’m sure you get to meet incredible people too, like from the Wounded Warriors. I bet you get back some fantastic things.
YAEGER: Oh, I get back a lot in experiences, going to military bases, going on bike rides with veterans, learning about the crud they really go through and all that. It’s just amazing stories – hanging out with kids that have Cerebral Palsy, talking to them and going: “How you doin’, little buddy?” You treat him like a little kid and then he writes on his iPad, because he doesn’t speak well, a more intellectual bit than you ever could have come up with. You realize that kid’s smarter than you’ll ever be.
SLV: When you have a child someday, what, besides being the excellent role model like your dad was for you, do you want to make sure you imprint on him?
YAEGER: Play chess, don’t ride bikes! (laughter) I don’t want to go through what I put my dad through.
SLV: Tell me about your role as “Greg the Peg” on Sons of Anarchy.
YAEGER: Greg the Peg came into episode 1 of season 5 as one of the three nomads. The nomads get written into the Sons of Anarchy Redwoods chapter, because they need more muscle and they’ve lost a few people, and the nomads are looking for a home. These nomads, Greg, Gogo and Frankie Diamonds are definitely there for a reason. The nomads want to find a home club, because we all come from different areas of the country, so we’ve ended up at a Northern California establishment, The Redwood Club. People keep saying our characters are involved in some home invasions, but no one has proved it, because we’re all wearing masks.
SLV: Has this been a really fun experience?
YAEGER: It’s ridiculous that I wake up, put on jeans and a t-shirt, hop on my motorcycle, ride to the set, get off my motorcycle, go to wardrobe, take off my jeans and t-shirt, put on a jeans and t-shirt, walk out and get on a motorcycle. That’s work. The juicy unique thing about acting, the work, almost all the work, and the crappy parts of work is getting the job. The prize of all your work is acting, getting to play the role and the character. To get to work on this particular show is a completely ridiculous thing. It’s a dream come true in terms of characters and roles, and I think it could become the starting point, (even though I’ve been doing this for many years), the starting point of the next steps in my career.
SLV: Do they tell you what’s going to happen in the story – any clues?
YAEGER: They don’t tell you anything! They don’t tell Charlie Hunnam if he’s going to be alive. I mean, obviously, he will be. They keep it very, very, very close to the vest. They don’t allow us to have cell phones on set. They don’t want anyone to know anything. We only get the next script 10 days, 6 days from the next shooting schedule. Our names are printed all over the scripts, so that if we let the script out, they would know who did it. Like Ron Pearlman’s script says “Ron Pearlman” all over it in watermarks everywhere across the pages. So does mine with “Kurt Yaeger.” They’ll know where the leak came from. It’s a very, very tight ship. Honestly, it’s because, and this is not true, but if I said: “Charlie dies in episode 10.” It just ruins the show for everybody. You can’t say anything, you can’t talk about anything, you know it’s almost like Christmas and telling your son: “You know, in that one, it’s a bike.” (laughter)
SLV: You’re just enjoying the whole experience?
YAEGER: I couldn’t be any happier. This isn’t like fluffing them up, you know, but hanging out with Tommy Flanagan on the set, talking about war stories about how I grew up and he grew up. We might as well be at a bar, chatting. It’s that kind of camaraderie, you just hang out and talk. Chris Reed who plays “Filthy Phil”, I’ve gone to his house and gone to game night, where we get together and play poker.
SLV: That’s unbelievable. I don’t think this happens too often.
YAEGER: No, I don’t think it does.
SLV: If you could only have had a crystal ball and have seen this when you were staring at the shotgun in your darkest hour, you wouldn’t have even gone there.
YAEGER: Yeah, that’s the crazy thing about negative things. Are negative things negative? Well, maybe not. There’s a story that I like to tell. The Iraqi soccer team was going to their first Olympics and one of the main stars broke his leg and was just heartbroken. He had been training for 20 years. He couldn’t go and had to watch all his friends leave. He was replaced, and he went home and sat in his house and was just miserable. Well, the team did horribly, so bad in fact that when they got home, Saddam Hussein said, “Kill them all.” Literally! So was this guy breaking his leg, the thing that saved him? Was that a bad thing, now? It’s like God said: “I know what’s going to happen, so I have to allow something to happen.” So, with me losing my leg, it was the only way in the grand scheme of things I could learn some of these stinking things that I was ignoring. Maybe. I don’t personally believe from a theological perspective that God does anything bad. God didn’t do this to me. That’s a BS statement. Everything that’s bad comes from the evil forces.
SLV: But, he allowed you to live.
YAEGER: He allowed me to live, exactly. I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes things are random. Free will dictates.
SLV: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
YAEGER: I don’t know if it’s possible, so I don’t want to look into the future and jinx it, but if I could be anywhere, it would be that I would have weaseled myself into a big enough position of power to use that power in order to do more charity work and hopefully expose some of the bad things that are going on around the country. If I got into politics later on, and if I put myself into a position of power where I don’t need money, I’d eliminate for me the need to support my family. I personally don’t know how I could be corrupted. I’ve been a professional athlete, I’ve had every substance you could have, had every pleasure you could have. I’m not addicted to any of those things and I’ve gone through nearly the worst pain you could possibly have. I’ve been beat up and I’ve done the beating. What else can you throw at me? The only thing I could see, if they were going to kill my family, if I didn’t do something. That would be a tough one!
SLV: Well, you’d get my vote, because we could use people like you in there.
YAEGER: (laughter) There are a lot of bad things I’ve done in my life. No one can say anything otherwise, and that’s the honest answer. I’ve gotten into fights and beaten up people that didn’t really need to be fought against. I could have walked away. I could have, but because I’m good at fighting, I chose the easy way. Can you imagine 10 years from now and I’m on the stump giving a speech saying: “You’ve got to be kind to people,” and someone shouts out: “When Kurt was 18, he beat the shit out of these three guys.” I think that’s why I’m so honest; I want to break the story now! I can say I said it 10 years ago in that Strip Las Vegas interview. (lots of laughter)
SLV: Tell me something that readers would be surprised to learn about you.
YAEGER: I’m an undercover science fiction geek. I love Sedet of Star Gate. I know, without even watching an episode right now, the main character’s name is Teal’c, that his son is named Rya’c from the planet Chulak, and his wife died because they could find a suitable simbionte. (laughter) I’m a science fiction geek, not a freak, because I don’t know everything about all science fiction things, but when I’m watching the show and they do something that’s physically impossible compared to physics, I go: “Wait a minute, wait a minute. It’s not possible.”
SLV: If a stranger met you that didn’t know anything about you at all and asked: “Tell me something about yourself,” what would be the first thing you’d say?
YAEGER: I’m usually the one sizing up the other person. I keep it light and fresh and at the same time, I’m looking at their eyes. Their eyes tell me the content of their character. I might ask a few pointed questions and see what people are saying between the lines and you’ll know who they are. I have the unique ability to talk to them for ten minutes and know who they are – not always 100%, but good person, bad person, liar, non-liar, honest, fake, shark, guppy, just get to know them. I guess if I had to explain myself to an alien, not an illegal alien, a UFO alien, I guess: “I’m a biped with one ped, and say, are you open enough and crazy enough to be my friend? If not, have a good life.” SLV
Cover Page - Photo Credit - John Allen/Ryan Metro
(Kurt actually talks with everyone on Twitter. It’s Kurt…not a guy he pays.)
Issue 78 featuring: Capri Anderson, Jordan Daniele & Brianne
Looking for jobs is boring and there doesn’t seem to be anything in this side of Pennsylvania that I’m qualified for/has anything to do with my major (geology). Looking in Maryland now probably going to move on to Delaware and New Jersey after that. Most of my experience is in groundwater sampling and remediation, anyone have any other suggestions?