Sunday, November 25, 2007

what do i do in victoria

As regular readers now know, I accepted a transfer at work to come to Victoria, TX. What I haven't explained is what I do here that I did or didn't do in Farmington. In short, I'm the functional manager of the district. My manager is not here with me. He is about two-and-a-half hours away. Victoria is a smaller district than Farmington and does not suffer from the personnel problems that Farmington is somewhat notorious for. For what it's worth, my actual title is Engineer-In-Charge. Or McLovin. Or a few others that I'm sure people will work out of their systems in due time. I prefer Herr Maestro but you can't have everything.

As the manager, I am no longer in the field on jobs. If I am in the field, which I will be with as much frequency as I can manage, it will principally be for audits and meetings with clients. It is relevant (to me) that field operations here are somewhat different than they were in Farmington because the operating environment is more sophisticated. Most of the wells here (still largely natural gas) are deeper and hotter and involve much higher pressures. This is sort of the opposite end of the spectrum from most of the work in Farmington. Thus, I will also be learning some new things on the operational side, but the fundamentals are the same.

What is very different is the personnel and administrative side of my new position. I'm probably about four in-house training classes behind where I strictly should be. I'll get that training when time permits, so it has been and will continue to be a lot of question asking and generally looking more clueless than I would prefer. My unusually short and frankly non-existent handover from the previous manager didn't help much either but the support I've gotten both in and out of Victoria has been solid. Basically, I'm swamped, but in a good way.

Friday, November 23, 2007

what made the news

Well, look at what made it's way into American news, but without a single mention of what happened last week.

Monday, November 19, 2007


I haven't time to watch all of these videos but they could be marginally interesting (except 10 which is marginally humorous). They're from the TED Conference which is held every year in Monterey. Most, quite possibly all, the talks from the conferences are available on YouTube. Once you consider that nature of the conference and it's location, it makes sense that the speakers are generally center-left/progressive/whatever-you-want-to-call-it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

news we don't get?

How come stories like this don't seem to make the front page of Yahoo! or

Friday, November 16, 2007

I am McLovin

Some of me new colleagues have taken to calling me McLovin. Yes, that's right, McLovin. For those of you who don't get the reference or think it's a Grey's Anatomy reference, then you clearly didn't see or even hear about Superbad. In all fairness, I didn't actually see the movie, but you need to watch the trailer to understand. In fact, just go down to the fourth clip and it'll explain everything. If you don't get it, then you're trying too hard because there's not that much to get.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

so this is victoria

It's been a really busy week and then some. While I may have heroically unpacked my entire U-Haul by myself last Friday, I still haven't unpacked many of the boxes. Nor have I arranged my meager furniture in the living room. Today and tomorrow look like promising days to finally finish unpacking. I might even move my futon frame into the apartment at some point.

For what it's worth, I plan to keep the cell phone number that I had in New Mexico. If I change my mind, I will certainly think about telling people about it. However, I did get a new phone and had all my numbes transferred over by some helpful people at the Verizon store. For those of you who never saw my old phone, it was well past its prime.

The people at work are pretty nice and it seems like a good team overall. I'm putting in a lot of time right now until I can get up to speed, but I hope to see my own schedule settle down a little bit in the next few weeks. However, I suspect it will bumpy until the end of December since the guy who is effectively responsible for the field operations is taking paterntiy leave in December along with two weeks of much deserved vacation.

Friday, November 09, 2007

rental car review: Chrysler PT Cruiser

While I was on my house/apartment-hunting trip in Victoria two weeks ago, I flew into San Antonio and rented a Chryslet PT Cruiser. While I get to expense the cost of the rental, I see no need for a full or mid-size sedan for just one person so I always opt for a small or compact. The rental company was going to give me a VW Bug, but I deemed that a bit too small for my luggage as well as having too weak of an image for the people at work. Frankly, the PT Cruiser was a little borderline as well, but I think my sheer manliness enabled me to pull it off.

The PT Cruiser was fair (like all rental cars) but suffered many of the same problems that the Sebring I rent in San Diego back in July had. The interior of the PT Cruiser was filled with hard plastics and other surfaces that weren't all that enjoyable to touch or look at. The transmission, like the Sebring, was a four-speed automatic and it was noticeably lurchy and simply not up to snuff compared to my Fusion's six-speed automatic. Admittedly, since it was a smaller vehicle, the engine was a little on the weak side, but perfectly adequate. It handled fairly well and I pushed the car more than normal to see just how much it could take. You know, in case of an emergency. The car simply felt a little small (which it was) and the seats weren't well made.

I wish I had written this sooner, whie everything was fresh in my mind. Now, I can't recall many specifics. Overall, it was adequate, but not a car I would every buy. It's not that it was too small or under-powered. If my driving needs changed, I would fine with a small, fuel-efficient vehicle. However, it would need to have a well-designed interior that conveyed some sense of luxury or reflect that the designers spent time on the details that go a long way to making a vehicle comfortable to be in.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

welcome to victoria

I made my meeting yesterday, spent all day in the office, and then finally went home. And then heroically unpacked my U-Haul by myself. I was able to unload the entire thing in a little over two hours. That includes getting almost everything upstairs except for a few small things that may reside in the garage space anyway and the futon frame. The futon frame will probably be disassembled before going up the stairs. It's both cumbersome because it folds flat into a bed (though very light) and possibly too large. I did get everything else up the stairs including my dresser, bookshelf, kitchen table, cabinet-ish things that I've had since I was a kid, and even my bed. And all without dragging any of them on the ground.

I returned my U-Haul today as well, which brings to a close my roughly 1,050 miles of driving. Based on my final mileage, fuel receipts, and returning the U-Haul with very close to the same amount of fuel that it started with, I averaged about 8.5 miles per gallon. Now that I don't need to worry about jinxing myself and doing something foolish in the U-Haul, I can safely say that the car trailers can be driven a lot faster than the recommended speed of 45 miles per hour. I'm also thrilled to be back in my Fusion. Sure, the U-Haul was a Ford as well, but that E-450 flavor just isn't the same.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

on the road to victoria

I made my somewhat ambitious goal of getting to San Antonio today. As planned, I made it to Moriarty yesterday. Today, I shipped out early and made it to Sonora before 1600 where I stopped for a couple hours to meet a work friend and eat dinner. Then, on with my last leg to my stop tonight in San Antonio. All told, I drove about 700 miles today. Combined with the over 200 miles from yesterday, I only have about 125 more to go tomorrow. I just might make my 1030 meeting tomorrow.

The U-Haul (made from a Ford E-450) with the car trailer is proving to be a very interesting drive. I have some very limited trailer-driving experience from back in the day. This is rather different since both the truck and trailer are much bigger than the old 300E and trailer made from a chopped pick-up that we had back in Los Altos. For starters, the U-Haul is much wider than a normal car, even wider than the F-350s I've grown accustomed too. In fact, the trailer is even wider if I don't count the side mirrors on the truck. Then there's the 'tow haul' mode which really means some lower gearing on acceleration and much stronger engine braking while coasting or braking. Finally, there's the fuel economy. It's somewhere just over 8 miles per gallon. That may have something to do with the load and the speeds I'm going, but that's just awful. I'm surprised it's not a diesel, but I suspect that if it were, there would be a good chance that someone might accidently put gasoline in it and wreak havoc on the engine.