Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Good Morning America

Hey hey hey everybody,

I'm won't be staying on here for long this evening, but I did want to write something so that you don't think that I've forgotten about home. 

I don't care about politics too much anymore, but I couldn't help but watch the aftermath of the State of the Union (SOTU) during lunch today and I remembered the entertainment value that politics can provide a bored person.  As usual, I was pounding a bowl of rice and soothing my soul with some juice, and meanwhile my coveralls were just lying on the floor.  I was casually lounging on the couch in the most obnoxiously lazy manner possible while gazing intently at Anderson Cooper and his fellow dregs from the CNN broadcast (this is no slight towards CNN, it's actually intended to be offensive to "political analysts").  I don't remember a word of what they said but I do remember the some of the general feelings that came over me during the whole shebang:
  1. I feel badly for Congresswoman Giffords and when POTUS Obama was speaking of her, I actually felt that he was being genuine - I can't remember the last time that I've thought that.  Could you imagine if you woke up every morning and poured a bowl of wheaties and said "I'm gonna turn on the news and listen to what these honest politicians are saying today"????  No, you haven't, that's the reality that we live in.  Anyways, it's sad that people would feel so passionate - whether positively or negatively - about something that they would shoot another innocent person.  Of course, we don't mind paying to have the most powerful mercenary force in the world to protect us.  Just don't let the blood get on your hands.  Enough of the soap box.
  2. If you don't watch the news for several months and then you all-of-a-sudden turn it on during one of the hottest news nights of the year, you will notice how STUPID the political pundits actually are.  It was so striking to me that I wondered what qualifications you would actually need to get on live national television and get paid to make a fool of yourself, your employer, and the entire pundit profession.  You see, I make a fool of myself everyday, so I must be able to do what they do, but I only get paid slightly above the average ham-n-egger salary. The logic leads me to conclude that if I have the same basic skillset as those idiots but I don't get paid the same, then I am doing something wrong, therefore I'm the idiot for doing what I'm doing for less money than they get and although I'm attempting to chastise them in public, I'm actually making a fool of myself all over again.
  3. Listen to Michele Bachman's Tea Party Response to the SOTU: HILARIOUS!!!!  I feel like I'm in preschool all over again.  It sounds like her career after politics could start with public readings of  Little Red Riding Hood or Hansel and Grettle.  I can't even listen to the damned thing the whole way through.  When a nation begins to elect representatives of that ilk, its people should start to wonder if they really deserve a democracy any longer.  Michele Bachman's Speech
  4. I'm getting very tired of hearing the word "jobs."  Do you know what I mean? 
  5. People over here LOVE Obama.  There is a roadside stand named after him.  Sometimes you will meet people and tell them that you are from the US and they will say "Oh, you must love Obama."  I just smile kindly and try to move to another topic of conversation. 
  6. I think politics are for some people what football is to the common man - entertainment.  For sure, the function of the government is vital, but if you were to watch a pre/post-SOTU in depth breakdown analysis and then watch reruns of ESPN Sunday pre/halftime/post game show, you will see that the difference between the two is indistinguishable. 
It's really late and I need to sleep for work.  Sorry for the crappy writing. 

Best wishes,


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Morning Leftovers

I just did a quick scroll up and down the blog and I came to the striking realization that there is absolutely no multimedia or fun facts-o-the-day on the new site: how could I have been so cruel?  Well I'll tell you what, today, I'm going to give it to you, a multi-media smorgasboard (kind of).

  1. I like words and I like language, but I also like Chuck Norris jokes and mountains of useless information.  Useless information becomes particularly handy when you are stuck in the middle of B.S. conversations with random strangers or when you are trying to convince someone that you are smarter than you really are.  Here is a blog that I've found that combines the best of both worlds, obscure words and useless minutia:  The Hot Word  dig it.
  2. When I grow up I want to be like Jay Lenno without the big chin.  I want to be a collector of classic cars.  My collection will consist of one car:  The Timeless but Eternally Classy El Camino  (Even the chicks dig it, you see?).  Sometimes, when I sit back on a nice relaxing evening and think about such beautiful.... curves, I find myself running in circles and doing cartwheels in celebration of the wonderful minds that were brilliant enough to combine utility, comfort, sportiness, power, sleek lines, and an overall badass attitude into one compact vehicle.  If I were a car salesman, when selling the car I would throw in a free mullet or Jerry Curl with the addition of the 22 inch spinner rims.  It's just a regular party-mobile, one second you're chillin in the back in a couple of cheap lawn chairs with your bros, and the next minute, you've got your underage designated driver taking you to the next social gathering down the road; all in the confines of a luxurious low-riding beast of the American Spirit.
  3. If I was in a beauty pageant and some dipshit judge asked me what I would do if I had a million dollars, I would preface my answer by saying that I would buy world peace.  I would finish my statement by saying that after purchasing world peace, I would hold the world ransom for world peace and sell it for billions of dollars.  I think that with this answer, I would win the beauty pageant because it shows a good business mind and a willingness to make good sacrifices in life for the future.  That's what properly educated folks are supposed to do, right?
  4. I want a cigarette boat.  If I don't smoke them anymore, then I would at least like to continue spending lots of money on something that sounds badass.  I mean, when you think of all the cooool dudes that have smoked cigarettes through the years, you think of Joe Camel, The Marlboro Man, Clint Eastwood in The Outlaw Josey Wales, James Dean, Brad Pitt in Fight Club, President Obama (haha, just kidding, he isn't cool), Ringo Starr, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's... the list goes on forever!!!  Imagine a cigarette boat with Dual V8 Engines and a blasting music system.  I would hire a full time DJ and his only job would be to mash up "And I run, I run so far away, can I get away" by the Flock of Seagulls over and over and over and over.  So now, I want this to be me:
  5. I'll be honest, when I get older and I'm finished making money from practicing World Peace Extortion, I want to buy a sailboat and all kinds of spoiled, old-money, trust-fund aristocrat clothes and take to the seas as a spoiled sailor and say things like, "Darling, bring me a fresh martini, we're about to enter the port of Charleston and I just absolutely can't be seen without a dignified drink in my hand." (The photo is definitely photoshopped.)
  6. If you ever get to the point where you are just bored as hell and you need a way to waste your time, then check out THE CHIVE.  Great website to just get lost in the wonders of male immaturity.  I guess you could call it the internet on crack.  If you are a guy, you won't mind the site, if you are a woman, you will hate it (seriously don't go to it, it will offend you, I promise), if you are immature you will revel in it.
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I guess that's it for today.  I told you I would just talk about stupid stuff again.  Enjoy your Saturday, you only get it once a week!

- A to the J

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Maniac is Caged for the Day


I've decided that I'll take it easy today after yesterday's uncontrollable explosion.  Sometimes the fire just gets in me and I can't do anything about it - so it goes. 

Everywhere I go, regardless of my duration of stay, I find myself creating and practicing funny rituals in order to keep my mind both sane and focused.  I normally refer to it as meditation, but any generic term could be applied.  It began a few years ago when I realized that I was packing on the chub and a weight loss plan seemed like a fantastic way to regain some semblance of physical health; this led me to run a couple of days a week to get back into the form of the old glory days.  The familiar struggle for consistency went on and off for a long time until I started getting co-op jobs that forced me to remain seated and staring at a computer for eight hours a day.  At work, I'd spend hours without talking or communicating and pounding coffee and building up unbelievable stores of energy that I couldn't control and when I would get off of work, my head would be pulsating and insanely raving at ultra high-frequencies and I mistakenly assumed that my only outlet for this energy was to live the normal college lifestyle.  Being the typical idiot that I was (and still am), I never understood where all of these strange feelings came from until I began using my running and swimming as my daily course of respite from all things technological.  After a while, my goal in exercising morphed to become the pursuit of maximum stamina, as more time spent exercising meant more time escaping from technology and more time escaping from all people and the world, which in turn meant more time to just BE and to THINK and to ENJOY EXISTENCE.  It was at this point that I started to understand how the youthful struggle for productivity and the societal pressure for success caused myself - and I assume countless other  peers - to neglect themselves and to overlook the unbelievable joy of EXISTENCE.  I went nearly mad when everywhere I turned I was being told to do this and to dwell on that and to complete such and such a task by such and such a date.  I had had waaay too much and at this point I quit for good.  After a while I noticed that what was initially my punishment for becoming a chub tub had become my mental detox and my ninety minutes a day of pure freedom and joy and I was connecting with something that was strange at the time (I later learned that this was myself).  I would run in long loops with the specific thought in my mind that once I was running, there wasn't any reason to worry about the fate of my future.  And so that's an abbreviated version of how I discovered the power of personal meditation.  When I arrived here in BPN, I saw that it didn't take very long for my understanding of what is beautiful and valuable in life to become skewed by the potential for a successful and productive career.  For weeks I struggled to understand those things that had been so clear to me only months before and this struggle illuminated how delicate and tenuous internal peace can be.  I had gone from a state of mind existing outside of the established framework to one desperately clawing for the last musical chair when the music stops.  After time had passed, I continued my ritual of running and I look forward to that peace every day.  I also picked up writing. 

So as soon as I get home on a running night, I go to my room and put on my running clothes as fast as I can and I grab a head band to keep the stinging salty sweat outa my eyes, I strap on my shoes and don't tie them so tight and I go go go go go.  I feel wild when I run and I normally just rip off my shirt and run half naked through my SLB housing complex.  I pass the guard shack at the entrance gate every lap for twelve laps and every time I see them out there smoking their clove cigarettes; I look at these older Indonesian guys and I can't help but wonder what is going through their heads, with some goofy white dude running circle after circle.  If I run at the right time in the evening, the speakers from the mosque directly across the street will be blasting the singing prayers - I'm not sure what they're called.  So it goes and so it goes until my legs give out, and this is relatively soon since I'm still trying to build them back up.  When I stop, I'm dripping with sweat and every pore on my body is a rushing waterfall, my eyes are burning from the salty sweat, so I grab my water and walk to the pool and just jump right in and float undisturbed and gatorlike for as long as I please.  Just sitting and floating and thinking and letting whatever it is just wash away all my anxiety.

All of these practices and all of these personal changes have left me profoundly impacted not only by the immediate consequences of such a drastic personal overhaul and spriritual discovery but by the third-person perspective that I have taken throughout the process.  When I examine the amount of personal comprehension that I had both before and after this period, I am struck by the energy expenditure required of me to understand such a minute part of the universe as myself.  I understood that if it took me, my own self, several years of my life to comprehend that part of my world which I was most intimately familiar, that domain which I know better than any other human being existing both before and into the future, then how in the hell will I every be able to make the claim to know any other human being beneath more than a skin-prick of their facade.  Further, if I am unable to understand those things with which I am able to engage in dialogue (other humans) to the same degree that I understand myself, then logic necessarily leads me to wonder how I could ever be able to claim that I am able to comprehend any existing entity or process deeper than face value (this list of examples is infinite).  These thoughts left me reeling and questioning and thinking that it was no longer worth my energy to spend time and energy attempting to theorize, plan, scheme, and calculate ever again - I simply came to the place in my life where I saw that the only thing that was really, honestly, rubber-stamped-and-sealed worth my time was stepping back and watching and appreciating existence in all of its wonderful manifest forms (this could be taken much deeper, but I won't for the sake of brevity).  I dunno, maybe this isn't the best forum in which such thoughts should be discussed, but I figure that every forum available is worthy and every opportunity to discuss the wonders of life is an opportunity that should be ferociously seized.  I don't know everything and I don't know much about anything, I don't speak for others when I say the things that I say, but I do speak with passion about the things that I know because I think that the things that I see and do and think are real and believing in that  is the only way that I or you or anybody can actually begin to make any sense of this life.  Passion for life, lust for life, call it what you will, but to me, it's like strapping yourself to a rocket and going to the moon.

I could go on for days, but that's probably enough for now.  Next time I'll write about baseball or racecars or the best 80's metal bands in reverse chronological order.  Until then, farewell farewell, I wish you sunny skies and a pot of gold at the end of what's shaping up to be one damn fine friday to be alive in January.  So much for caging the maniac.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

I've neglected the flock and I need a Brand New Vice

Well hello there all you dwellers of the post-primordial soup.  It truly is a wonder that all of our biological evolution has manifested its magificent self by allowing us humans to engage in social interaction through zeros and ones and advanced LCD technology.  DIGITAL HIGH FIVE!!!!  I would like to start off by offering a most sincere apology for not leaving any nuggs (nuggets) up here on the ole blog lately, and with that apology, I will also say that I wrote a draft of a post this past weekend, but I thought that it was crap, so I never posted. If you are curious to know what it is then I would suggest that you stop, since it was just more internal angst/emotional mashed potatoes that no one - including myself - really wants to hear.  As an aside, I know that I use a lot of commas and I absolutely intend to continue the practice.  ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Now that the obligatory preamble is finished, we can really get down to business.  I'm assuming that by checking on my site, then what you really want is more information about me, awesome me, great me, wonderful me, infallible me, visionary, revolutionary, incendiary, prophetic, wise, sagacious, cunning, raw, refined, incalculably fantastic, handsome....  ME!!!  Right?  Maybe I've erred.  Now that the self-esteem builder is over, or the post-preamble to the preamble, we can actually finally really get down to business.  By saying that though, I really must second guess myself, because in this space, there is no business and there is no agenda other than to ramble bamble for a few minutes and see what comes out; leave no doubt about it, that's just the way I write. 

So a couple of weeks ago, when I was still on the erl rig, I had a wonderful conversation with a distinguished fellow concerning quitting smoking, I actually mentioned him in a prior post when we talked about Vietnam.  Now I'll be honest, I've been known to puff my fair share if ciggy wiggies in my day, and I thoroughly enjoyed it most of the time; but on this fateful day the voice of reason beamed down into my stubborn soul and left me changed.  The point of this story is not to extensively discuss my reluctant cessation of puffin the tabacky, but to highlight the fact that my underconsumption of the devil water and the cancer sticks, compounded with the overall reduction in caffeine has left me without any vices!!!!!!!!  I had to quit the caffeine due to chronic high-blood pressure at the end of the work day.  So........ This leaves me here at this point and I've pondered and fiddled all day.... I need a new vice.  Somebody, please somebody help me.  I can't go through life without having any bad stuff to make me happy.  Maybe if I change my vice to only using monosyllabic curse words?  Or if I took up the sport of spite, then I could do positive things in life IN SPITE of naysayers?  I'm at a loss, because frankly, livin' straight just isn't any fun.  I could take up pottery, or painting, or maybe I could join a "New Horizons Vice-Free Support Group" so that me and a bunch of other depressed, lame-ass (monosyllabic curse word if you don't count the hyphenation), viceless people can bask in the glory of not knowing what to do with our hands on a constant basis.  A digression is in order at this point.

I had Christmas in the office yesterday.  What a joy.  Let it be noted that the foodstuffs mentioned hereafter are a timeless example of my immaturity and a formal example of what happens in the core of my brain.  I snack on triscuits like Joseph Stalin snacked on peasant farmers.  You see, my ole lady (mom) sent me a couple boxes with various and sundry staples of life: popcorn, triscuits, saltine crackers, grape juice, apple sauce, peanut butter, cereal, and letters.  Without said items, my self-esteem resembles the ticket supply at a Twilight premiere in white suburbia - zeeero.  So you can imagine that when I opened the box, my spirits were riding high, right?  Right.  Until I opened up the damned (monosyllabic) box and saw all the bugs and critters running around.  Fuck (there's another).  To make this brief, the box had been sent in early December in order to make it here by Christmas, but the genii (formal plural of genius, geniuses informally) who run the mail couldn't - wouldn't? - get it here until until Jan. 12.  The only reason that I finally got it was because of a generous act on the part of a co-worker who kindly picked it up from the post office on the way to work.  Otherwise, those boxes were lost.  Let's continue.  When I opened up the box, one of the apple sauce cups had been smashed and the remains had either a) been consumed by the critters b) been consumed by the critters and deposited as excrement decorations on the various surfaces within the box or c) been soaked up by the paper in the letters.  To further compound the malarchy (that word is funny), they jumped out of the box and I had to stomp their crunchy little shells under my boot, cuz that's how 'murica does it.  I continued the waltz by taking the heavily soiled boxes out to the smoking area (temptation is a b****) to throw away some of the goods, hilarity ensues.  When I did this some of the older dudes, obviously enthused by the intense marketing (this really is an amazing fact, when you compare the packaging on consumer goods from the Western/Major companies to that of some Eastern/less developed companies, you can begin to understand how the average man/woman/child of the west has succumbed to intense label bombardment), they were reaching into the rubbish bin to collect goods that I considered unfit for human consumption.  Of course in my great magnanimity, I duly informed these fine gentlemen of the risk that they would undertake.  All in all, after the the wildness of those moments, I sat down and busted open the cards and letters and willingly basked in a feeling that was nothing short of pure content and joy - letters from home really are wonderful.  Thanks family.

I'm leaving out quite a few other things, but I guess they aren't too important right now.  What is important is running laps around the housing complex and eating dinner, I need to maintain a healthy internal chemistry.  Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the nugg, don't hate me if I said stuff that would make you think less of me lest I think less of you, you know you don't want none of that.  Thanks for the comments on the blog, I've really had a blast posting replies, you guys are just making it way too easy for me to blast off.  Apologies if the writing becomes over/under-punctuated or generally confusing, I'm just trying to write fast and include a million thoughts running through my brain.  I'm out.  Please pray to God for a new vice for me.  Amen.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Feeble Attempt at Writing a Post

I'm going to try a little experiment here, if I'm able to write anything worth reading, I'll go ahead and publish the post; otherwise, I'll scrap it.  Since you are reading this, you know that I didn't scrap this post in the past.  Get it?? 

I'm building energy, the days are passing quickly and they could be termed as boring or awful or lame, but no (fist slams on table)!! I have refused, something is going to happen.  Not sure what it is but I can feel it and it's exhilarating.  Lately, I feel like a monk in a monkery (I know) placed high on top of a mountain.  Not much to do and few people to relate with (at least at this point), forced to move my once external world up into my head.  That's code for, I'm going to do something big when I get back home, no not vegas or some vapid trip (although that may happen), but something really big (and all the little small things too, those are the best).  Might be ten or twenty years down the road, doesn't matter, build bUild buILD BUILD.  I forget why I came over here in the first place - yea duh, I needed a job - but I had a bunch of other reasons too.  I didn't know what would happen, but I've been in this situation before and the explosion afterwards is nothing short of touching the hand of God - at least personally. 

Also, you can post on this blog now, Look Below.  Take Landon's example from the last post, lots of swearing a incendiary stuff: the best.

Guess that's it.  Figure I'll hop on the ole' treadmill and get my motor oil moving.  Thinking of you all, all the time, in the happiest, most pleasant manner possible.  Thoughts of you bring a wide grin to my face. 

High five,


Monday, January 3, 2011

I wish I had more to write about.

Good afternoon,

I don't have much to say today since the entirety of my environment in the past few days has remained both limited and constant.  If I had any important observations, I could say that I went back through the posts that I have made since I have gotten over here and I realized how the sharpness of my mind has slowly eroded.  Either that or I am succumbing to the pressure of keeping the posts as entertaining as possible - nobody wants to read a transcript of what happened in sunday school. 

I finished reading The Quiet American yesterday.  Great book by Graham Greene.  Fascinating story set in 1950s French occupied Vietnam.  Talked with the rig safety guy yesterday about Vietnam, all I know is he's from the UK and "I'm not English;" he says Vietnam is the best place in Asia.  He's not the first to say that.  I like to take people's word for it in a lot of situations, it makes life fun.  I write broken sentences sometimes. I start my sentences with I a lot.  That's enough. 

I've finished The Doors of Perception and Brave New World  by Aldous Huxley, Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell, and Amerika by Franz Kafka since I got here, and I'm starting On the Road by Jack Kerouac now.  Huxley is the best. 

We had BBQ again last night and I again ate three or four lamb chops.  We were assembling the BHA on the drill floor chanting Bar-be-que in the hopes that we would be finished in time to catch dinner.  I thought it was funny.  To be honest, I was the only one chanting BBQ, I confused everyone else in the area.  Made it to the BBQ on time. 

There was a rainbow over the water today, pretty cool I guess. 

Ok, I quit, not much good here today.  Take care everybody.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

I moved my blog, reprise.


I decided that I was bored and that I need to kill time, so I'll just write.  So I think that I've been here on the rig for about eight days and I suspect that I'll be here for about three or four more.  It's really not that bad to be honest with you, other than the occasional boredom.  In fact, I've actually been healthier out here than I am on land.  I exercise after my shift everyday, I read before I go to bed, and I get at least a solid six hours of sleep each night.  Honestly, I prefer being out here on the rig as opposed to being back at the base.

I guess it was yesterday or the day before (I had to ask someone what day it was during lunch, I found out that it was Saturday) that we finished our first downhole run.  Quite exciting, right?  Fuck yea it was exciting, it was finally time to go up to the drill floor and take apart our tools until the next run.  Maybe I should first give some background info.  You see, we here in SLB D&M (Schlumberger Drilling and Measurements, one of the many oilfield service divisions within the company) have these things called tools, and when I say tools, I'm not talking about air compressors and socket sets; our tools normally weigh around a metric ton (1000 kg), are approximately 4, 6, 8, and 9 inches in diameter and around 6-10 meters long. We have various other cylindrical objects that we place in the BHA (the Bottom Hole Assembly is the section of the drillstring from the bit to the beginning of the regular drillpipe sections containing our tools, in sum our tools are normally 200-300 meters long) in order to fulfill our contractual obligations to the client.  Our contractual obligations to the client normally consist of drilling a well while taking downhole measurements to analyze the rocks and fluids in the direct vicinity of the borehole.  Hope that helps.  Ok, we were finished with our first run into the hole (which lasted about 50 hours) and we were going to be using the same drillstring in a couple of days (which at this time is going to be in a couple of hours), so we just needed to break the BHA at a couple of joints and stand it up in the pipe rack for the time being.  Now my dear friends, this is where I was able to fulfill one of those inner desires to actually know what it's like to be a roughneck on an oil rig.  It's funny to me, all of your life you see these romantic depictions of AMERICA:  the cowboy on the cattle drive, the iron workers on the skyscraper skeletons in NYC, and the friggin roughneck slingin' pipe on the oil rig.  I knew that I had fulfilled something necessary in my life when I grabbed on to those chain tongs wrapped around 8 metric tons of metal, and busting my ass with 5 other guys who I couldn't even speak with, while slipping in the mud that was spilling out of the pipe to get that damned joint undone.  Good moment. 

Anyways, I'm not exactly on top of my game right now, the words just ain't flowin.  But...

I can't leave before I mention this.  You see, I can't drink the beer here in Indonesia, it leaves me feeling a little worse than I would feel under equivalent consumption levels back in the US.  I have only made the mistake of over-imbibing the Indonesian brands three times since I have been here and each time, I have paid dearly.  The pain is so severe that I decided to do a day-after fast on one occasion, and not to move on another occasion.  The beguiling situation of the painful Indonesian beer was finally deciphered for me this morning by a kind gentleman during my midnight breakfast today.   Drumroll please.  The reason it hurts so bad is that my body is being preserved as I drink... that's right folks, these jackasses put formaldehyde in their beer as a preservative. 

Take care, best wishes.


"When we are not sure, we are alive" - Graham Greene

I think I'm gonna move my site...

Hey everybody,

I just wanted to give you a heads up.  I think that I'm going to move my site to this page since I've had too many difficulties with my previous website.  If this doesn't work, then I can always go back.  Otherwise, as a quick update, I hope all of you are still alive after the New Year.  Sometimes getting crazy can take its toll on you. 

Quick Fact
(Notice how tricky I am with graphics design?  Get it quick = italics)

We're getting ready to start drilling our second well today, so I should be off of this beast in two or three days.  Then I'll be heading back to "civilization."

Will write more later, I've already wasted too much time creating another stupid website.