Thursday, June 29, 2006

bone thugs

Uh, apparently Bone Thus-N-Harmony will be performing in Farmington tomorrow night. (Scroll down to the middle of the page.) Yes, this Farmington as in Farmington, NM of the Four Corners region of the country. Wow, I guess this is what happens to groups ten plus years after their peak.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


We had a company-mandated fun event today down by the river, or more correctly put, down by a river as there is more than one river. Once again, I demonstrated my ability to do well at a random, semi-physical, pseudo-sporting event: horseshoes. It might have had something to do with the zero beers consumed.

Friday, June 23, 2006

complex orders at the drive-thru

Ok, if you have a fast food order that's so complex (relatively speaking) that you need to have it read back to make sure they got it right, then you need to not be in the drive-thru.

"Uh, can I have the number one, no pickles, diet cola, no salt on the fries and a second number one, no pickles, cola, large size."

Yes, that isn't all that complicated. But, this is through an always suspect speaker system and to someone who is trying to take payment from the person before that and that person works for McDonald's in the first place. And really now, who goes to the Golden Arches and asks for no salt on their fries? I hope they put extra salt just for making such a stupid request. I know you can request it your way and all that jazz at fast food eateries in some attempt to make the food feel less mass produced, but I've always questioned the wisdom in having food special made. There's a reason I take the pickles out myself. I don't want them to mess with my food. And it hold up the drive-thru line because they need to special make a new batch of fries and (in theory) not put salt on them.

Come to think of it, my fries had more salt than normal. I hope they came from the same batch.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

definitely sickly

And, thanks to the food poisoning, this is the first day of work that I've missed due to illness. I'll pretend that the one good thing from all this is that I was able to watch World Cup games today. That, and having dropped about eight pounds, mostly water weight since I went about 15 hours without eating or drinking anything. While they may not sound like a good idea, trust me when I say it was.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Hmm, this is looking a lot like food poisoning.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Week 25: technology

"Schlumberger Technology Corp" is the listed name of my employer on my W-2. Technology? Some days it doesn't seem like there's much technology involved in what we do. Instead it seems decidedly low tech at times, but that's because all the research and design that has gone into the equipment and products isn't easily seen at the district level. That's especially true in the San Juan Basin which is a high volume, but relatively low tier area. The research is happening elsewhere, often not especially close to field districts, but instead close to population and education centers.

On any given day, there are a couple dozen drilling rigs and several times more workover rigs operating is the San Juan Basin. It's no Midland or Rock Springs, but several of the major operators are here and all the major service players like Schlumberger are in the basin along with a few independents. For us, it can seem like a grind it out feeling where jobs begin to feel the same after a while. That only stands to reason since most of the wells are going after the same target zones and are thus drilled and cased and completed the same way. Thus, once a program has been established that works, there is often little reason to deviate from it, especially for cementing operations. The goal of most cementing jobs is to do a good enough job such that the well can be completed. It is not to perform a perfect job. Thus, good enough drives down sophistication and ultimately pricing which is what has to drive any business in the end. That is very different than fracturing operations where the difference between passably and perfectly executed jobs can translate into significant production differences for a well. Thus, fracturing is more easily driven by technological advancements whether it is in equipment design or fluid systems or reservoir modeling.

Getting back to technology, it is a principal area where Schlumberger attempts to differentiate itself from its competitors. Technological advancements will be the only way to discover, reach, and produce new oil and gas finds. Research is expensive, but technological superiority opens new markets where pricing power can be very high, especially if you're the only game in town. In many areas Schlumberger has worked itself into positions of technological superiority, but it can only stay there with a continued focus on R&D. Innovation and reverse engineering from competitors will drive the commoditization of most technological advancement in any field.

The oil and gas industry is no different in that respect. Patents offer some protection from competitors that wish to copy ideas, but that protection is more limited than it may seem. As a result, lots of patents are applied for in the attempt to cover as much ground as possible. Very rarely is a product or process so innovative that a patent on it cannot be easily circumvented by some clever modifications from competitors. That or patent games get played. Say, not so hypothetically that Schlumberger holds certain patents for products that give it exclusive use of some ideas. (How delightfully vague.) However, a competitor has patents that build off of that patent for the base technology that prevents us from using certain developments based off of the original patent. The result, we can do what is in the original patent, but cannot use the developments. They cannot use either the original or the developments because of our holding on the original patent, but once that original patent expires, they can use everything and we cannot until their patent on the developments expires. Is it properly ridiculous and does it expose flaws in the patent process, but yet very serious? Yes. What can be done? Further R&D and hope that something else is around when our patent expires that will enable us to continue to be a technology leader. It's either that are transform into a lowest common denominator company eking out razor thin margins with low tech solutions in browning fields. And that just doesn't seem as exciting.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Back, with a vengeance. Fueled by the oppressive summer heat and so much more.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Time, why you punish me?
Like a wave bashing into the shore

One day, you wake up and it's just like the previous day. Obviously, no two days are ever the same, but it's so easy for them to feel like they are. That's the problem. It's not that days can feel the same. It's that it's so easy for them to feel the same, just blur together. You wake up and you're not sure what day it is because it has ceased to be important because you know all that matters is getting through this day and this day only. And that the process will repeat tomorrow, and the day after, and the next day. Then you wonder, when did this happen?

I'm out of touch. I know it and you (yes, you if you're reading this) know it. When did I last talk to someone, write to someone else, or even check my e-mail? It's a terrible abyss. How many unread e-mails, phone calls never made, days spent alone has it been? Now it's been so long that it's as if I'm shunning the very connectivity that I'm so fond of because I don't want to acknowledge how long it's been and how far I've drifted from all the people I care about. I just want to assume that everyone is doing fine, nobody has changed and that I can reenter the world as if I was never gone from it. But I can't.

I can't reclaim those days I've let go by. They will only continue to slide by until I grab a hold of one and make something of it. I can see myself watching those days go by. I feel like I'm watching myself, watching my own life instead of living it. Like I'm living vicariously through myself, except I didn't choose someone I wanted to be. However, since I feel like I'm only an observer I can't change anything even though I'm right here, it's still me. But it's not. There's a bizarre disconnect between me and myself, almost like, not a loss of self, but something along those lines.

I'll get in touch with myself in due time. Then I'll get in touch with everyone else. If you write, it'll only end up in the abyss. If you call, who knows who will answer.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

anti-stuff again

I was in Sam's Club last week thinking about purchasing the Volume I and Volume II DVDs of The Family Guy. They seemed to be strategically priced at $17.76 each in an effort to play off of the Memorial Day holiday. The price was right, even better than the $20 that Costco had when they first came out, but I just couldn't pull the trigger. For starters, I feel cheated by the season finale which was an edited version of their Stewie movie thing which wasn't all that funny in the first place. Plus, the more I thought about it, the more pointless it seemed. There is the sense of completeness of having them to go with the Volume III DVDs I have. However, I can watch all the Volume I and II episodes from the potentially not legitimately purchased versions that I have on my computer. And the more thought I gave the matter, I realized that more stuff, which is what it would become, is not what I need.

Friday, June 02, 2006

summer time

It's API golf tournament time again. Go back to June 5 of last year to see what it's about. What this really means is that it's the first weekend in June which basically means summer is here. And what that really means is all the best fruits are in season. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, well, basically all the berries. And watermelon.

I'll probably average eating one whole watermelon every week until they are no longer in season.