Saturday, October 29, 2005


Surely I'm not the only one who thinks Tedy Bruschi bears an uncanny resemblance to the Hulk.

Monday, October 24, 2005

various abominations

Thank you Wesley Snipes for the best movie line ever:
Wesley Snipes' character: Charlie, ever play roulette?
Generic European bad guy: On occasion.
Wesley Snipes: Well, let me give you a word of advice. Always bet on black!

In other abominations worth reporting, one of my colleagues/classmates drank her beer through a straw today at dinner. While this is perhaps forgivable under ordinary circumstances, it was Bud Light as well.

One final thing to report is that we (my colleagues/classmates and I) have been told to no longer use the upstairs lounge previously discussed. This actually comes as no surprise since the lounge is for their top tier clients only. Our presence there was basically some unmonitored mooching. Nonetheless, the 'breakfast' arrangement that the training center appears to have negotiated with the hotel is sorely lacking. Grievances have been aired and the ball is now in their court. I won't go into details, because it'll end up sounding like pathetic whining. However, I assure you that this is personally important and perhaps even socially relevant, but probably not that latter one.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Last night, some of my classmates and I went to the 2005 Tulsa Oktoberfest. In short, it was an American carnival meets beer. I found it to be a unique cultural experience, which makes me wonder what my colleagues, one each from Vietnam, Mexico, and India as well as a fellow American, made of it all. It had all the trappings of a carnival with the rides, games, music, and greasy, over-priced food. Combined with the beer (which was also over-priced) and music people seemed to be having a good time, which is why people go to events like this. After trying two different German beers (don't ask what type because I don't know) I am forced to conclude that I still don't like beer. It's just too bitter and never goes down quite right. At this point, suggestions of drafts to try is pretty much going to fall on deaf ears. My lack of interest in beer (and nearly all alcohol for that matter) is hardly a bad thing in my eyes. I have better things to spend my time and money on. Like novelty hats. I took some photos while there, but they're not really worth posting. It's hard to capture an event like that in mere photos, especially when I didn't take many because I was busy enjoying myself.

Now, I did take several photos before we got there. We had heard that there would be shuttles from a parking lot not terribly far from our hotel over to the park where the Oktoberfest was. Our walk there took us by the edge of the Oral Roberts University campus as well as some office buildings. That walk was ripe with photo opportunities, especially the office buildings that reflected the setting sun quite nicely. Photos will be forthcoming in 6-8 weeks.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


I might as well write something since I’ve been here for a few days now. Until today, Tulsa was unseasonably warm, but now it looks like winter is starting here. They’re keeping us pretty busy but it’s fairly interesting. It’s a lot like being in college, except class lasts all day instead of an hour or two at a time. I don’t do well at sitting still for much more than 30 minutes at a time unless I get to do some of the talking. I could be, but since I almost never have questions to ask, there is limited opportunity for it.

This Marriott is way better than the Holiday Inn Select or the apartments we could be in. In the end, it’s just a room, but we also have access to a lounge that I think only other Schlumberger people have access to. There’s also an upstairs lounge that serves breakfast as well as dinner appetizers in the evenings when we get back. It’s rather pleasant and low-key and there’s just enough food to make it qualify as a dinner which saves me the trouble of having to go out and find a place to eat every night. It’s designed to cater to business customers which is what I am, however odd that seems to me. However, it is not open Friday and Saturday nights as well as Saturday and Sunday mornings, which means I’ll be fending for myself over the weekend. However, I am cunning and resourceful and mildly devious so I expect to land on my feet.

I’ll take some photos eventually, but quite honestly, this is Tulsa and the training center is in Kellyville. Nothing wrong, but nothing right either. It’s not a photogenic place, especially with it being so flat and all.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Maybe there's a better way to do this diagram.

In another first to report, I drove a manual transmission car yesterday. One of the other field engineers and I went over to some industry-related company for lunch yesterday because they were giving out food to get people to come see their wares. (This would be the same FE who took me shooting.) I can't remember how it came up, but I remarked on the way there that I had never actually driven a stick before so he offered to let me drive his Wrangler back. It was a little odd, especially since we were on actual roads with actual cars, though we took a back road with less traffic. Shifting from one gear to the next while gaining speed was pretty easy. It was starting from a stop that proved a bit trickier for me. Even downshifting to make turns was easier. I really wasn't used to the idea of using the clutch like a brake pedal. That also came up when it came time to park in our lot where we must face outwards so I had to back in to a spot. And I am definitely not used to letting off of a pedal slowly while climbing onto another one. My instinct was to just let completely off before pressing down on the next one. Hey, give me break, I drive with one foot like any other reasonable automatic transmission driver. Well, I successfully made it the mile back to the yard without crashing or totally ruining his Jeep.

I leave tomorrow for Tulsa for another work-related training course. While I won't be on AIM, I'll be reachable via all the other communication channels I never use anyway.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

promoting health at work

I now look like a genius now for deciding to forgo washing my car until after my return from Oklahoma/Greece. My decision to clean the dust out of the interior is also looking pretty good too. The weather finally turned over the weekend and now it finally seems like summer is over.

Work is hilarious and in a very unintentional way. They were passing out this to everyone at the beginning of the week. Here's part of the rear cover for a sense of symmetry and added hilarity. (Some parts of the front are blacked out for obvious reasons. Well, they're obvious to me.) Anyway, as you may have guessed based on the front and rear covers of the booklet, the content seems like it's geared for high school students. I suppose that's only appropriate because the reaction it received at work was what I would have expected from high school students. If anyone wants a copy, I can get extras and mail them to you. I seriously think the cost of postage that I would incur would be a small price to pay for the enjoyment I am sure anyone would receive from reading this booklet. Plus, I suppose it's educational too. I'm not knocking the importance of the topics discussed in the booklet, but wow, was this really the best way?

Speaking of work, I will be going to Tulsa for a few weeks on Sunday for a work training course. From there, I'm going straight to vacation in Greece and London before a triumphant return to Farmington. I guess I shouldn't try to fly with the knife I have grown accustomed to carrying in my back pocket.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


That last post went just a wee bit negative in the latter half. Most of the negativity really wasn't strictly work-related, but more people-related. I imagine that in any work environment with as many people as this one there will always be, for lack of a simpler word, jerks. Combine that with the fake-machismo of the oilfield and the jerks seem to come at a higher incidence than what I might call the 'normal' world. Now work itself, as in what I do and the nature of it, are enjoyable. It's just that pesky human aspect that can be bothersome. But hey, learning to work with a variety of different personality types was part of the draw of this job.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


There are certain things about my job that I find enjoyable right now.

The work is hands on. You can feel the contribution that you made on that particular day. There's also the satisfaction of going out, doing a job and knowing that you got something done (or perhaps didn't get it done).

It is an operations environment, not a project environment. Of course there are projects always under development by the company and to a far lesser degree at the local district level. Nonetheless the local level is focused on day to day operations and dealing with a constantly changing situation. I have a good idea what will happen tomorrow, but I won't know until the morning and get another update and even then it's just a rough sketch. Planning two days in advance is almost an exercise in futility. Sometimes, the board and the schedule and the crews will shift several times in a single day and that's part of the fun.

Of course, I can easily envision myself moving on into a less grittily hands on environment. Likewise, I can see myself in a more project oriented environment and having a good time. However, right now, I like the operations, the constant shifting, and the fact that I can make decisions and see the results the same day.

Of course, there are things that I don't care much for. Perhaps it's not work as much as it is Farmington. There's something about this place that I just can't put my finger on. Actually, I know what I don't like about this place. It's the pick-up truck, four-wheeler, Keystone culture. It's not intellectual and sophisticated and cosmopolitan. If anything, it's anti all those things. Perhaps I get that vibe because I work in the oil patch. Plus, best I can tell, not every field engineer that's been through this district has endeared themselves to everyone else. Hence, there is a bit of disdain for field engineers in general.

In another sense, I am dismayed (but not surprised) by how narrow-minded people can be. Subtly and nuance are too complex for people to want to understand. People want the easiest explanation, no matter how ignorant it is. As a corollary to that idea, I am learning that a great deal of what people call racism is steeped in ignorance. Simply put, they don't realize how callous and stupid they sound.

I'm very cognizant of how what I say can affect whoever I am addressing. It doesn't mean I care how it affects them, but at least I know that it does. It certainly is a skill that people must cultivate and most people never do so. And it shows. And it's incredibly aggravating, but I've learned to bite my tongue.

But what I dislike about this place more than all of the above is that it's not the Bay Area. It's not where all the people I know are. It's not my home and it never will be. I'm not sure where home will one day be.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Exchange heard at work today, neither person was me:
- "I didn't like the South Park movie."
- "At least it was better than the Beavis and Butthead movie."
- "Oh, I liked that!"

And that is why I find work so amusing.

Since so many people just needed to know, yes, my mayonnaise is still good.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Apparently my mayonnaise expired a month ago. I suppose I'll find out tomorrow if it's still good when I eat the sandwich I just put it in to.

Yesterday, one of the other field engineers took me shooting. He had a shotgun and a 9mm pistol, both of which I used, and a rather high-powered hunting rifle which I opted out of trying. We went to some seemingly random place outside of town that he said he usually goes to and fired against a hillside. To go along with the guns, he also had a home-made clay pigeon thrower mounted on the trailer hitch of his Jeep. After he showed me the basics of the shotgun we set up some clay pigeons on the hillside so I could practice against stationary targets. First he went so I could observe and then I gave it a arty. I was two for four (which is how many shots it held) with the stationary targets. Then we move don the moving targets off the thrower. Again, I was two for four even counting my first shot where I know I tracked poorly and subsequently missed badly. A second round of moving targets had me at two for four again. It seems like that was the theme for me.

The 9mm was a while different story. It really is designed for rapid fire use from the get go. The shotgun was easier for me to load and had a safety and you had to clear the empty shell after each shot. The 9mm's 10-round cartridge was a little harder to load, but putting it in the gun and pulling the slide to put the first round into the chamber also cocked the gun as well. So you had to de-cock it if you didn't want the next movement on the trigger to fire the gun. Plus, it had no safety. Since it was a pistol and not a shotgun, it was also a whole lot harder to hit the stationary targets with even though we set them closer. Of the ten rounds, I hit a target with my first shot and subsequently missed the next nine. I could tell from the dust kicked up that I wasn't missing by much, but I was still missing. Then again, these clay pigeons we stuck in the ground were only four inches across. The pistol was a lot harder to hold steady since I couldn't butt it up against my shoulder like I could with the shotgun. It did have a lot less kick to it, but I just couldn't keep my hands steady. However, with practice I can definitely see how someone get become both very fast and very accurate with a pistol.

Both guns were surprisingly easy to use, though I'm not sure why I should've expected any different. Many years of design have gone into making guns as easy to use as possible. I can also see why a pistol, while smaller, would generally cost more than a basic shotgun. It simply has a lot more parts to it and is somewhat more sophisticated if I may use that word in a broad sense. I certainly had fun, much of it coming from the chance to learn about and operate a few firearms from someone personally. I'm definitely not in the market for a gun of my own, but I do feel a lot less uninformed about their operation.