Monday, July 18, 2005

Offshore blogging again

I had to zip offshore yesterday at the last minute,
changing my tranquil sunday at home to a mad dash
to the dock, then a four hour crew boat ride to the rig.
Not too bad of a ride, I only reached the nasty salivating
feeling before we arrived at the rig, it sucks when the
high point of the evening is not puking.

I stayed out on the back deck most of the time since I
won't get sick if I can see the horizon and not smell that
boat smell of lysol/oldpuke/diesel fuel that inhabits the
inside of the boat. It was a pretty clear night, and the only
lights were the lights of rigs and production platform as
we cruised past, so I had a clear view of the big dipper and
the north star and I willed those two pointer stars to move
faster around and speed up time.

Apparently there is a meteor shower for this part of the
month, because I saw one fall, but it didn't look real, more
like a reflection off of metal into my eyes. The next meteorite
was more emphatic, maybe even a fireball, because it powered
brightly down from nearly zenith down to the horizon. the
show was pretty much over then though, a big cloud covered
the western sky and I ducked into the darkened miasma inside
the cabin.

Since I was the only passenger I could lay down across a row of
seats, which was lucky because just then my dramamine kicked
in, around two hours late. mmm...legal drugs....
then what felt like a moment later we arrived.
A deckhand said "we're here, getup" and shined a light in my
face. I staggered back out onto the deck and looked up at the
rig, which looks like a high island bathed in yellow sodium lights

[sort of like this, but higher and in the dark, picture borrowed
from:
http://king-o-coals.com/d_i__misc_photos.htm]



























A crane lowered a personnel basket, and I hopped on.


.




















I had to hug on those ropes like a newby, since I hadn't
ridden a personnel basket in about two years. (normally
I travel by helicoptor) Since I was by myself, there was
no one else to counterbalance my weight, and I felt like
any second the whole thing would flip over and I'd fall 80'
to the gulf.

Finally they lowered me to the deck, I stepped off the basket
and I was good as new. Home again. bleh.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Ummmm, that's good satire

Transterrestrial Musings is normally the place that
Instapundit links to for space policy, he's also got some
pretty biting satire posted.


September 8, 1940

"Under Chamberlain," said one Labour backbencher, "we had peace for our time."

"Now," he went on, "under this new brutal and dictatorial Tory rule, Churchill, along with his poodle Franklin "Delanodamngood" Roosevelt, has brought this wretched war home to Whitehall itself, and ordinary Londoners."

The bombing began around four o'clock yesterday afternoon, with squadrons of German bombers blackening the skies over London, dropping many thousands of pounds of bombs on the city for two hours. A couple hours later, a second wave of bombings commenced, with the bombers' navigators guided by the fires from the first attack, with no cessation until early this morning. The fires still burn, and the total casualties have yet to be properly assessed.


Biting in the sense I immediately think "that bites how true
that is". That Hitler et al announced exactly what their plans
were, jews were to be eliminated, and all they wanted was space
to live, in other countries, without all those pesky slavs in the way.

Now, Bin Laden has been interviewed, or makes pronouncments
or Fatwas:

The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies – civilians and military – is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God: "and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together, "and fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God."

He's saying what his goal is, it doesn't need to be decoded. In
the same way that Hitler said what his plan was, but people
said it's just a metaphor, he doesn't really mean he's going to rid
Europe of the Jews. Or worse they thought it's ok if hitler takes
the Rhineland, or Chekhoslavakia, or Austria, as long as he
never attacks us.

Apologists among us

I just added Norm Geras' Normblog to the blogroll,
he had an essay yesterday that was astoundingly
good, that logically destroys anyone who says flying
planes into buildings or bombing subways or iraqi
children is the fault or moral responsibility of the US.

...
It needs to be seen and said clear: there are, amongst us, apologists for what the killers do, and they make more difficult the long fight that is needed to defeat them. (To forestall any possible misunderstanding on this point: I do not say these people are not entitled to the views they express or to their expression of them. They are. Just as I am entitled to criticize their views for the wretched apologia they amount to.) ...

The fact is that if causes and explanation are indeed a serious enterprise and not just a convenient partisan game, then it needs to be recognized that causality is one thing and moral responsibility another, and though the two are related, they aren't the same thing. Observe...

Me, David and Sam are chatting. I make a remark to David, David gets cross because of the remark and he punches me in the mouth. Sam says 'You had it coming'. In this story it is uncontroversially true - I can tell you this, being the story's one and only author - that my remark to David and Sam is the cause of David's anger. Is Sam, then, right to tell me in effect that I either share the blame for David's punching me in the mouth or am entirely to blame for it myself? Well, the content of my remark was 'I love the music of Bob Dylan'. David for his part doesn't like the music of Bob Dylan. I think most people will recognize without the need of further urging on my part that, contrary to what Sam says, I didn't have it coming, David is entirely to blame for punching me in the mouth and I, accordingly, am not to blame in any way at all. If, on the other hand, my remark was not about Bob Dylan's music, but was a deeply offensive comment about David's mother, then without troubling to weight the respective shares of blame here, I'd say it would have been reasonable for Sam to tell me that I must bear some of it. ..

[go read the rest]

I'm not saying this simplistic metaphor explains all the political
disagreements in the past 5 years, but it does start to unravel
the tangled skein that exists whenever politics, policy or the war
in iraq or on terror are discussed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Beware of Undertoad

Lileks has a great Bleat
today discussing his dog's
life, and how unconciously
happy his family is right
now, but he has a dark
undertone in his column,
of how a terrorist attack
such as Beslan could undo
everything and make us
wish for the boring past.

[Here is a picture of our
dog taking a break after
working for several hours
taking calls and answering
email.]



Heather Nicole wrote a review and interpretation of John Irving's
'World According to Garp' the other day that reminded me of
one the things I remember most strongly from that book.

Something that has the same feeling as Lilek's column today
was Garp's undertoad, how when life seems most mundane
and normal, there is a looming presence below that can
snatch away life and happiness in an instant. So, enjoy your
mundane life today, kiss your wife, and enjoy watching your
dog run with unbound happiness towards the next bush in
your route around the block, as if it is a new adventure not
the same bush they pee on five times a week.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Boudreaux joke

Mostly Cajun occasionally posts Boudreaux &
Thibodeaux jokes, which are a strictly south louisiana
type of humor, and they're really only funny if you tell
the jokes with a cajun accent. Think Justin Wilson's
accent, not Emeril Lagasse.

It's amazing how many B&T jokes there are, I've sat around
offshore and swapped jokes for hours while waiting on
the rig to start drilling.

Here's one of my favorites:

Boudreaux is sittin' on his front porch one morning when
Thibodeaux stops by in his boat and yells "hey Boudreaux,
I got me som' dat duck tape and I'm goin' duck huntin',
d'ya wanna go?"

Boudreaux yells back "mais no, you ain't gonna catch no
ducks wit no duck tape, you crazy." So Thibodeaux left,
and stopped by later in the day with a boat full of ducks.

The next day Thibodeaux stops by and yells, "Hey Boudreaux,
I got me some Nutra-sweet, and I'm goin' nutria huntin', do
ya wanna go?" and Boudreaux yelled back, "you crazy, you
ain't gonna catch no nutria wit no nutra-sweet, I ain't goin."
Thibodeaux stopped by later in the day with a boat full of
nutrias he'd trapped.

The next day Thibodeaux stops by Boudreaux's house and yells,
"Hey Boudreaux, I got me some o' dat pussy willow, and I..."
Boudreaux stopped him and yelled "I'll be right there, let me git
my hat".

England - Fuck Yeah!!!

Over at It comes in Pints the author started a list of all
the great things about England to try and show our support
after the bombings last week, borrowing the lyrics of the
Team America theme song:

Bangers! FUCK YEAH!

Mash! FUCK YEAH!

Goofy hats! FUCK YEAH!

The Queen! FUCK YEAH!

Boddingtons! FUCK YEAH!

The MI-5! FUCK YEAH!

Monty Python! FUCK YEAH!

Blood pudding! ER...fuck yeah!

Mad Cows! FUCK YEAH!

Scotland! FUCK YEAH!

The Royal Navy! FUCK YEAH!

The Beatles! FUCK YEAH!

By the time I got to the list, most of the english things
I wanted to celebrate were already there. Here's what
I added:

john Smiths beer - Fuck Yeah!!
the saying "fuck off" - Fuck yeah!!
overpriced minicabs after 2 am - Fuck yeah!!
Baked beans and eggs for breakfast - Fuck yeah!!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bombings in London, Buddhists, catholics don't take responsibility

CNN just reported that some islamic website is saying
the justification for the attacks are Allied troops presence
in Iraq and Afganistan. Isn't that a bit circular?

At least Bin Laden had a 'good' reason for 9/11, since our
crusader brothers had occupied Spain in the 14th century,
and our friends the infidel dog jews had occupied Isreal.
This argument might be crazy as a raving lunatic barking
at the moon, but at least it's not circular.

These new guys 'Secret group ofAl queda jihad in Europe',
(sounds like the rock group 'Presidents of the USA') have obviously
been studying the argument techniques on the democratic
underground website.

Since they also said that this attack was planned
for a long time, it obviously took them a long time to learn the
debating techniques of the DU. Idiots. Pork eating sons of
whores bastards.


[my prayers, for what they are worth, go out to the people of
London. When I stayed there in April my hotel was there in
Russel Square. I love London and the underground, I'll be
back there soon.]

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Dennis Aims at New Orleans


at200504_model
Originally uploaded by Joe Gremlin.
It's already the busiest hurricane season on record, the earliest for 4 named storms. The storm that's in the gulf now won't be much, it's a typical early season gulf storm, but Dennis is going to be bad unless interference from hispaniola and cuba cut it down to size. This model shows it heading straight for New Orleans, but my Grandma always said that 'hurricanes don't hit New Orleans before September' , which might sound specious until you realize that one of the above models is based on historical paths.

It's more likely that it will continue west once it enters the gulf and hit Texas. Good for New Orleans, bad for me because now I'm in Texas.

Get ready for the real storm though, as pundits begin to squawk "Global
Warming" like the seaguls in Finding Nemo ("mine, mine"). This can be readily disproven at junkscience.com, where they have good links to graphs put out by the hurricane center that show the 30 year cycle that hurricane activity follows. 1930's to 60's was busy, 60's to 90's was slower, now it is picking up again, and it is not necessarily due to global
warming. ("Mine, mine")

I'd guess that the reason it is the busiest on record is that the last time it was this busy there were no satellites to image these non-land affecting storms. The first storm imaged by satellite was hurricane Anna in 1961. The last high in activity was ending just as satellite photography became
possible.

Monday, July 04, 2005

New Orleans slip sliding away

I traveled quite a bit last week. I went from Houston
to dallas to midland to houston, then to New orleans. It's
kind of neat to see the changes in climate and topography,
as houston blurs slightly into dallas, then the world shifts
to brown in midland, where everything is dry. Then back
over to new orleans where all is green.

Landing in new orleans is like landing in the tropics, like
east venezuela, except the cars are newer. If you fly in over
the swamps of St Charles Parish, on the north facing side of
the aircraft all you can see is the lake and the interstate bridge.
You might think "we're gonna crash in the swamp, arrrgghh",
then suddenly you're down on the bumpy subsided runway.

It's better if you come in over the river and land on the north
-south runway. Lots of rusty tin roofs, and the dilapidated
housing of south kenner makes it look very tropical. So once
you step out of the air conditioned airport, the heat and
humidity hit like a wall, and the musky swampy air surrounds
you and forces it's way down into your lungs, and you think
"gee, there was no musky air invading my lungs in Midland",
and you know you're in a different place.

I grew up here, so the shabby sinking buildings and the heavy
swamp smell seem downright homey. But as I ride past my old
high school on the interestate, the sign advertising my 20 year
class reunion jars me out of my swampy reflections and makes
me think how short life is, tempus fucking fugits. One day you're
young, next day you're old. Instead of the old pagan gods, we now
have Emeril...you're life is half over...bam!

Luckily, a couple of bud lights and a trout almandine at Ditcharos,
along with watching my coworker trying to order the most top-shelf
margarita possible from the very hot but dense waitress cheered
me out of my age induced funk.