Wednesday, September 27, 2006

One job ends, another begins

I'm just closing out the last issues in my current job before I fly
down to colombia to start a new assignment. It kind of sucks for
things to change, sometimes it would be nice if things could stay the
same, the same boss, same employees, over and over...or maybe it's
better that change happens, I can escape from one job where
everyone says great job but I can see all the things I screwed up
glaring at me every day, and start with a clean slate tomorrow.

Strangely enough, my current job is the one I wanted for years and
years, and now I'm at the point where I'd pay money to be able to stop
doing it. hot damn.

So which is it? Do I want things to stay the same or is this continuously
changing process that is life better? It's really hard to say. I'm like the
monkey that won't let go of a handful of termites to be able to pull it's hand
out of the tree trunk. If I hold on, I can hold dinner in my hand, but if I
let go I can get my hand free.

Oh well. I guess it's time to leave this office and go see what tomorrow holds,
new job, new office, new country, new house.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Who Dat say dey gonna beat dem saints, who dat, who dat!

The Saint's are getting ready to play, U2 and Greenday are just
starting walking onstage and I really hope the saints win tonight. After all
the years of suffering watching the saints, if ever there was a year
that New Orleans could use a superbowl championship, this is
it. (last year was expecting too much, but this year the story works,
rookie heisman trophy winner...new non-smirking quarterback [boy
I hated to watch Aaron Brooks throw interceptions, then smile.])

here comes bono, let's go Saints!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Steel Beach

It's pretty cool that Bigelow Aerospace will launch a space
station before the end of the decade
. Someone is actually
leading, instead of waiting for moribund nasa to announce
another program that in 15 years will put us back to where
we were 30 years ago.

















(above is an image from BA's website of the genesis I)

When I was young I wanted to be an pilot and then
become an astronaut. I never got closer than sitting in an
F-15's cockpit for maintenance purposes and lately it
has seemed like the only people likely to go out into space
will be the chinese. We didn't make space 1999 a reality,
but space 2099 might actually happen with companies like
BA leading the way.

After working offshore in steel vessels for the past 15 years,
I wouldn't want to live in space. I'd like to go for a weekend,
just to see the curve of the earth from space and maybe
have stars in my pockets like grains of sand.

Here's the next pass of genesis I over Katy,TX will be Friday
night, heaven's above is a cool site to figure out ground tracks for objects
in space.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Talk like a pope pirate

Since today is talk like pirate day, I thought I'd run the pope's
apology through a pirate translator.


The pirate speaks,"Ahoy! Brothers and Sisters, .... At this time, I wish also t' add that I be deeply sorry for t' reactions in some countries t' a few passages o' me address at t' University o' Regensburg, which were considered offensive t' t' sensibility o' Muslims. These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express me personal thought. "


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Movin' on up

Well I'm back in Houston again, mostly to close out my
current job and put the house on the market. My ever efficient
and lovely wife patricia has already done most of the work of
getting the house organized and ready to be sold, so really
all I did was sign the disclosure agreement and put some
superglue on the broken microwave oven handle.
(This is our second house with a broken handle, am I too
strong or what? ...what)

I'm sort of jet-lagged, hungover and tired, since I ran into
my old roommate from the last time I lived in colombia
in Quito yesterday, and we stayed out drinking until about
an hour before I had to leave for the airport. In my new job
I won't have to travel so much, but since we'll be living in
a foreign country, it'll be more like continuous travel. I may
not be jet-lagged as often either, but I'll probably be in a hung-over
state more often, since the point where I'm almost drunk is
the point where most latinos are just getting warmed up.
Beer is just a warmup for aguardiente, or pisco, or tequila.

what's the old saying "whiskey before beer, never fear"
drink 4 beers then 3 pisco sours...have a miserable flight
back to houston. Oh well, I'll have to do some liver
stretching exercises.

We went out and saw "Gringolandia", which is the zona rosa
in quito...or the tourist nightlife area. I thought...'that's kind
of offensive to name a part of the city making fun of gringos'
until you actually go there and see the places jam packed with
gringos with too much time and too much money.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Oh de wahs

Sharon has a witty post as usual today, she begins with
a mention of how her Father prounounced hors d' eauvres.
[which reminded me of a friend from high school, when we
were getting the menu prepared for the key club's
senior banquet, he looked at the menu options and said
"What's this whores de erves shit?"] And then her post continues
with art, creation, agony&ecstacy, &etc.

Sharon is fast becoming a professional artist before our eyes,
which is one of the coolest things I've seen on the blogosphere.
From blogging about her kids running around like
hellions, to now blogging about upcoming gallery shows,
soon she'll be blogging about shows in Paris and London,
with her kids running around the louvre like hellions.
(plus ca change, plus ca meme chose)

Anyway, if you arrived here from google because I wrote
titty-bar in a previous post, go visit sharon's store and buy
something there.

Still in Quito

Here's a picture of Quito from
a webcam in our office. The
resolution unfortunately isn't
there to show the clouds flowing
like room temperature whip
cream over the top of the
mountain on the right, and
through a valley.

Another feature that didn't come
out is an airplane is landing in the
center-left background. The runway
is pointed almost straight away from the
camera, maybe obliquely to the right.
Right at that mountain. So planes
taking off have to do a maneuver
that takes them up at about a 45 degree angle, or when they land from the south
it looks like a carrier trap. Pretty cool and distracting if you're trying to work
at a desk with this window.

Below is a view from google earth. The red ellipse is where the runway is
a red circle marks the webcams
location. Since the runway almost
lines up with the long axis
of the city, almost anywhere
in the city has a plane flying
over every several minutes.
I'm learning the flight schedule,
since there is a pack of flights that arrive here from 10:20 pm to 11:10 pm.
I don't even bother going to bed until the continental flight arrives.

It's a nice place to visit, but I'm glad we're moving to Bogota instead of here.

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th, 2006

      Men of Harlech stop your dreaming
      Can't you see their spear points gleaming
      See their warrior's pennants streaming
      To this battle field

      Men of Harlech stand ye steady
      It cannot be ever said ye
      For the battle were not ready
      Stand and never yield

      Form the hills rebounding
      Let this war cry sounding
      Summon all at Cambria's call
      The mighty force surrounding

      Men of Harlech onto glory
      This shall ever be your story
      Keep these fighting words before ye
      Cambria (Welshmen never) will not yield

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Playing at the world's smallest casino

It turns out that my hotel has a casino, it has around 50
slot machines and 8 craps tables. The minimum bet is one
dollar (ecuador uses dollars, not sucres based on dollars, but
our physical dollars. What the hell?), so this isn't James Bond
casino elegance.

I did have a nice time though. Free drinks, free appetizers and I
played blackjack for money for the first time. I didn't know there
were so many rules, I normally stick to video poker or craps but
due to a lack of craps tables it was either blackjack or a one armed
bandit. I had some drinks, went up and down in chips and left with the
same number of chips I walked in with. The cashier took my $50 in
chips and handed me 5 20's.

I started to walk out, thinking had I won $50 and not noticed? I started
to turn around and walk back, angels and demons tugging my legs so
hard that I walked woodenly back into the casino with a strange straight
leg step that made the guard stare at me. With the cross winds of guilt/
honesty/theft/greed blowing backward and around, I made it back to
the cage and asked them to check the video...I think they gave me too
much money.

The cashier looked at me like I spoke greek instead of spanish and called
the security guys to check the tape. Whether or not there is even tape in
the machines, the tape found that I was right. and stupid. I walked woodenly
out, with my angels and demons just hitching a ride to see what other stupidity
I can dig up.

I ate sushi at the hotel bar (I like this hotel, the Dann Carlton), if this place had
a titty bar and a craps table in the casino it would be my version of heaven.
I walked back into the casino intent on winning back my $50 that I had never really
had.

I sat down and learned why blackjack could be really fun, with a streak that I kept
running by letting the winnings ride, until I got to $32 and I was sitting with a 15, the
dealer had a 10 card, I said "give me a 6!" and a six appeared to the astonishment of the
table. so I walked out with $55, about 5 drinks and half a plate of appatizers.
A nice little casino.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

traveling shoes

I put on my ugly but easy to take off shoes that I normally wear
when traveling and jetted off down here to ecuador this evening
My plane arrived at 11:10 pm, just as the buzz from my free in first class
drinks wore off. It's hard to have first impressions in a darkened city,
the surrounding neighborhood is built right up to the airport, but it looks
quiet and everyone seems nice.

I've never been here before, but it seems similar to Bogota, really high
altitude and kind of cool for august (2800 m, 59 deg F). My first trip
to Bogota was a white knuckled adventure, the only thing I knew about
the country was what i had seen in a Harrison ford movie. A driver picked
me up at the airport and dropped me off in a fairly dirty company apartment,
I didn't know if I could drink the water, there was no food and I had no
pesos. I pictured armed bandits outside the windows, armed with RPG's
waiting to attack my convoy. I boiled some water and stuck in the freezer
to cool down and went to sleep on someone's bed.

I woke up that next morning to a beautiful day in one of the nicest neighborhoods
I've ever lived in. The other engineers used our apartment as a party pad, so
it was kind of funky, but nice. This trip I know more what to expect, so the
massive throng of people waiting outside the airport was no big deal. A driver
picked me up and dropped me at my fairly 3 star hotel, and now I'm blogging
on a wireless network, wondering what will happen next.

If I don't totally fuck up the next couple of weeks I'll be changing the blog
name from coonassintexas to coonassincolombia. This is more alliterative, but
I'll probably have to change it to something that offends no one.

Fuck 'em, C in C it is!