Thursday, June 25, 2009

A bumper crop

When I returned from the boat for my vacation yesterday, I was anxious to see how my tomatoes were doing and Excited to find them at the peak of their harvest-ability. I had told my neighbor Ann, who shares a yard with me, that she could have all she wants and to pick them as they become ripe. When I returned, she showed up with a big bag of them saying she had had all she wanted, but didn't know what to do with the rest. So I gave about a dozen to my other neighbor, Joey who has a wife and 2 kids and here's what's left of the ones that were close enough to ripe for picking. Who knew just 6 plants would produce so many!

Hmm. The picture has no frame of reference. Well, the biggest ones in that picture are 3.5 inches. I was surprised how much bigger they are than the store bought roma tomatoes =).
I grew romas for a reason: time to make some spaghetti sauce entirely from scratch! Too bad all my herb plants have long since died from neglect and the brutal Lousiana Summer heat.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer vacation #1

Hmm. Three posts in one day might be a little excessive, but one long post just wouldn't do for such unrelated topics.

T minus two days until the first of the two vacations I have planned for this summer! The second one will be for the Ashurst and Benac family reunions in Washington DC, of course, but this one will mostly consist of a road trip with some friends to Michigan for the Rothbury Music Festival. Why drive 20+ hours just to go to a concert, you ask? Well, let me assure you, dear reader, this is no ordinary concert. The very long list of performers is headlined by none other than the great Bob Dylan himself! Also, the festival is four days long and will include many activities other than just musical performances. Also, I love road trips.

But before embarking for Michigan on the 29th, I plan to:
1. get dental and eye exams
2. get a Louisiana driver's licence
3. get halfway through the two online college courses I am behind on
4. spend a couple days in Texas with my family
5. buy some clothes (ugh, I HATE shopping)

It's definitely not gonna be one of those relaxing, do-nothing vacations, and I am doubtful that I will accomplish as much as I'd like to, but it will be a nice change of pace to live fast for a couple weeks after all this time just floating around the Gulf.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Frigate birds and catfish

So, we've had some down time during the last couple weeks, but only for a day or half day at a time, so I've been doing some fishing. In the brackish waters of the Louisiana Coast, there is a whole different set of fish than I have ever been around before. I am told that what I want to catch are the red drum, or "Redfish," the black drum, or flounder. But after many attempts over two weeks, all I have had luck with is a particularly crappy variety of catfish locally known as "hardheads." Even old school Cajuns avoid eating this type of catfish, and old school Cajuns have ways of preparing almost every animal found in the state for human consumption. But I caught plenty of these hardheads. Here's a pic of the biggest one:

Impressed? No? Me neither.

Anyway yesterday we were tied up to an abandoned, ruined platform all night. In the morning when we went to unhitch from it, I noticed a flock of frigate birds roosting on top of it. Frigate birds migrate long distances over open ocean and can spend months on the wing without landing thanks to their unrivaled wingspan to weight ratio. I have been seeing them alone or in pairs lately, so I knew they were coming through here this time of year, but didn't expect to see any perched, let alone a couple dozen. So as we came close to the platform in order to cast off the mooring line, I gave a shout and they all took off at once. Here's a picture of that moment. I love the graceful shapes of their wings and tails.

My Dad

Thanks, Dad for:

Your ability to bear a virtually unlimited number of children on your back just like a horsey.

Making an effort to instill a deep, spiritual appreciation of all god's creatures great and small. Even the rare Omigosh bug.

Keeping a vast library of classic (and cult classic) literature. I still sneak books from your shelf when I visit. I'll bring "The Grapes of Wrath" back next time.

Teaching me how to hunt and fish, and then teaching me enough about computers that I don't have to except for fun.

Introducing me to Johnny Cash and Ray Stevens as well as Rimsky-Korsakoff and Mozart.

Reminding me to be good, and if I can't be good, to be careful.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Nocturnal Jet

Yes, dear readers, I have decided to reveal my alter ego as swashbuckling vampire super hero Nocturnal Jet! I'm sure most of you already had your suspicions, but now it's official.


The nocturnal jet is a meteorological phenomenon which has prevented us from getting any work done from about 12am to 12pm every day since Sunday. Incidentally, these are the hours of my shift, so I have spent my waking hours with the boat tied up to one of the numerous oil platforms out here and all the surveying is being done while I sleep. With the usual boredom of my job thus intensified, and this being my last week before my non-reunion Summer vacation (more on that later,) I think I have been acting a little strange, and my co-workers are kind of tip-toeing around me almost in awe of my 2.5 months with no time off.

But never fear, dear family and friends. I know how to cope with cabin fever and depression: overeating and escaping into computer games for 12 hour binges! Oh yeah, and exercise too, I guess.

P.S. This is my first post with a link in it. If you use the link, lemme know if it works. =P

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

2 Months

I just looked at the dates on these pics, and they were taken 2 months ago. That means I have been working on this boat for 9 weeks with no time off to speak of. Blasted perfect weather. So I guess it's about time to actually post said pics:

These Seagulls were really excited about or boat that day. Either they thought we were a fishing boat full of tasty morsels, or we were kicking up goodies from our wake. They followed us for a couple hours.

This huge tanker was anchored in the way of our survey line, so we called the Coast Guard up and they made the massive ship weigh anchor and get out of our way. We felt very important.

A sunset over dormant shrimping boats. Nice.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What i'm doin'

Well, I haven't posted in a while. I have no good reason for that at all. I will not apologize nor promise to do better in the future. It's just the way I roll. Anyway here is what I have been up to in the last couple weeks: Perfecting my alfredo making skills, reading nonfiction (Confessions of an Economic Hitman and A People's History of the United States,) working, trying to get back into an exercise routine, gaining weight (not the good kind, refer to alfredo making comment,) winning over my co-workers with my irresistible charm and quick learning, being very careful about choosing good friends, weeding my tomato patch (almost every day,) and, of course, playing guitar and computer games. Some things I have been missing: My Mother's birthday, my Brother's birthday, and my Sister's senior project performance. Things I will not be missing: my family reunion in Virginia this Summer. That's right, it's official that I will be there, and with plenty of time to spare.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The importance of eating well

With my recent abundance of free time due to Spring weather in the Gulf, and scarcity of social engagements due to being shy and new in town, I have been devoting a lot of time and energy into stuffing my face. I have tried making Quiche (yummy,) Alfredo (wish me better luck next time,) and new ways to perfect my old favorite bacon and eggs with whole wheat toast, strong black coffee, and a banana (the secret is to put the cheese in the pan before you put in the eggs, so the cheese flavor gets strong enough to hang out with the egg yolk flavor.) Also, I finally have a productive and renewable herb garden.
After reading my sister Jessica's post about her garden, I decided to follow suit and try my hand at veggies. Being the adventurous soul that I am, I decided to run before I walk and try tomatoes. There are three big planters in my yard where weeds have long since choked out what was meant for them, so I weeded and tilled one of them by hand until it was uniform, dark brown, loose, rich, sweet smelling soil. Then I planted six Roma tomato seedlings about 18 inches apart. My neighbor Ann came out and helped. She's cool like that. So I'll keep y'all posted about the 'maters.
So speaking of my neighbor Ann, we're gonna BBQ tonight just for fun, so I made my original recipe souse last night. I was about to start when I looked up at my pots and pans hanging over head and decided that enough was enough. I was sick of using crappy cookware. I have a gas stove, so I really needed some nice, thick bottom pans for it. So 90 bucks at Target later, I had a good saute' pan and a good 3qt sousepan, and a couple other random utensils. It was worth it. The first time I put a slice of bacon on that saute' pan, I actually heard angels singing. I never thought that kind of temperature control was possible on my cheap stove. No: cooking is not my calling in life. Just like being a rock star isn't. Going pro would take all the fun out of it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I am so shallow

So I am trying the online dating thang, and it has shown me that in spite of all my progressive ideas, and lofty aspirations, I am basically just like every other jerk out there. If I was really the compassionate nice guy that I see myself as, I would be giving the girl with severe cerebal palsy a chance. It's so sad and brave the way she went out there and posted pictures of herself, mentioned that she was just like other girls if you know what she means, and dared guys to give her a chance. Sorry, but I'm just not that guy. Or the lady that was like "I'm almost 40, I have two kids, three teeth, and I'm 250 pounds. If you're still interested we can talk." That was it. She meant it as a joke, but I think it's kind of sad. So what did I do? I messaged the cutest girl I could find whose write up showed the most promise of being fun to go out with, of course. I'm only human.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


It seems like any time I feel like blogging anymore, I feel like posting about two unrelated subjects, so here's the second post in one sitting:
My Basil plant is blooming! It's gonna have kids! The way things grow down here in the swamp, I'm gonna be rolling in home-made pesto all year! I bought a box with four full grown plants at a nursery for like six bucks. That's how much a bottle of dried basil costs at the supermarket. Apparently two were female and two were male. One of them died because I can't water them when I'm working offshore, so I have to hope it rains enough. The other one with flowers (I don't know if it's the males, or the females that produce fruit) is doing quite well, and today I noticed three flowers that look like tiny white orchids.

I'm not claiming to have a green thumb yet, though. the plants I have tried to raise from seeds are all dead, or in pretty bad shape from bugs eating at them. Oh well, looks like I at least have some free basil seeds coming.

My favorite contemporary authors

Disclaimer: The following is just random rambling about books. It contains no news about my life. Feel free to skip it. I don't know why I feel like blogging about it.

I was in the shower today and started thinking about books. Wally Lamb, the author of the book I am currently reading, is sometimes compared to Dostoyevsky because of his ambitious themes. It's 800+ pages of character/concepts whose desperation, disillusion, and tribulations mirror modern America's interpretations of universal truth. I'm not finished, but I am pretty sure the hero will eventually find redemption instead of just flirting with it like Dostoyevsky's protagonists. Otherwise, there wouldn't be an Oprah's book club sticker on the cover.
This got me thinking about Cormack McCarthy. He is the author of No Country For Old Men, which was recently adapted for the screen by the Cohen brothers (they wrote and directed O Brother Where Art Thou.) McCarthy writes with an unorthodox style not unlike Hemingway's. No Country For Old Men also deals with how twisted modern America has become, but, also like Hemingway, offers no glimmer of hope; no light at the end of the tunnel. The story is as stark and cruel as the style it's written in.
These portraits of my generation reminded me of Fight Club and it's author Chuck Palahniuk (yes, that's how it's spelled, don't ask me to say it.) Chuck also deals with my generation, even going so far as to comment on it directly in Fight Club. By the way, the title of this blog comes from Fight Club. It's one character's answer when she's asked why she attends cancer support groups every night when she doesn't have cancer. This is typical of Palahniuk's characters. Another one finds emotional and financial support from strangers by going to restaraunts and purposely choking on his food so people can "save his life." If there is a father to Chuck Palahniuk's style, it would have to be Kurt Vonnegut because of his lack of boundary between reality and fantasy. Anything can and does happen in his books.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Surreal images

There have been many times since I started working offshore that I had to double check what I was actually seeing. Most of the time, the world of heavy industry is functional and aesthetically barren, but sometimes there are some truly bizarre and beautiful things to see:

These anchor chains were just piled up in this shipyard as far as the eye could see. They're just too big. For some reason I was reminded of Salvador Dali.

This was yesterday. My first day surveying for NOAA. I was driving the boat over an imaginary line on the bottom. There was no frame of reference, so I had to drive just by instruments. I couldn't even see the horizon. I felt like I was on some other planet where there was no difference between liquid and gas. The sea, air, and land are all mixed together here.

I am well on my way to becoming a boat captain if I ever decide that a sailor's life is truly the life for me.

Picture Post!

Here are some pictures I have taken during my first few weeks of working in the Gulf. I just use my phone for pictures these days. They aren't great, but they are almost as good as the ones my cheap digital camera takes, and I always have my phone handy for a photo op.

This is just a great sunset.

This is the landscape around the "coast" of Louisiana. Super flat.

This is a particularly large, deep water oil rig. Top of the line. This is as close as our boat was allowed to get to it.

The next two pictures are of a "jack-up boat." These are portable drilling platforms that propel themselves to wherever they need to drill, and then extend the big legs to the bottom, and climb up them until they are 20 or 30 feet above the surface. We were docked right next to this one, so I had to get it in two shots.

And top:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


One of the very few things I accomplished during the 24 hours of free time at home that I got yesterday was accepting delivery of and setting up my new baritone guitar. I had to remove the strings in order to reattach a pickup that had been jarred loose during shipping. Strings shouldn't be reused, so I had to go buy more. While I was at the music store, I got a distortion pedal, too. A distortion pedal is what gives rock and heavy metal music that crunchy, buzzy sound. The barrel chested tone of my new axe (I named her Wanda after actress/comedian Wanda Sykes) combined with the savage, caffeinated overdrive provided by the pedal, have rendered me capable of a whole new level of sonic brutality.
I played all day, and today my wrist is killing me. Because of the large strings and added tension, baritones are probably the least ergonomic guitar you can play. I've heard horror stories of surgeries followed by years of being unable to play all because of bad form and ergonomics. Guess I better start focusing on using a lighter touch instead of my usual heavy metal deathgrip.

It's been so long

Oops! Haven't posted in weeks! Brace yourselves, good readers, for a long catchup post. Here's the deal. I was summoned to go work offshore on the Miss Ginger (do ship names go in italics, or quotes? Please respond if you happen to have a master's degree in English) again, and that went well, but it was a short job, so I was back the next week. We are currently out of work for the AUV's. I don't want to complain, but why did they hire me if they didn't have any contracts lined up?
Anyway, just a day and a half after returning from the Ginger, I got a call saying they need me on one of the shallow water surveying vessels to take some samples of the ocean floor on the route that I had just finished surveying the week before. So I shipped out on the Moana Wave for what was supposed to be a three or four day job, and turned out to be more than I bargained for... Coring involves lowering either a 24 foot steel syringe-looking machine or a big weighted box to the ocean floor and hoping the device captures a sample of the top few feet of mud in a relatively pristine condition. In this case, the purpose is to see what kind of pipeline to lay there based on how much weight the mud can hold up.
After eighteen hours of travel time, we were on site. Add a couple hours to test conditions, and we were ready to go. We were about halfway to the seafloor on our first cast when we realized that there wasn't enough cable on the winch to reach the bottom. Not even close. This mistake cost us three days of transit time (there, back, and there again,) one afternoon to replace the cable, and it cost the foreman his job. Scary. Anyone could have made that mistake. After that was all sorted out, we started working with no more hangups, but now we were short handed, and three of the eight man team were totally new at this type of work. What that boiled down to was eighteen hour shifts. I worked longer hours during those three days than I ever have in my life, and I've worked at about 20 different jobs since I was sixteen.
So I got back from that job the day before yesterday, and now there's no work for that boat either. Today I got a call saying I am going to work for another department surveying for NOAA. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the people who publish and update nautical charts in the US. The seafloor is more dynamic than the dry land because water is better at carrying stuff than air. After a hurricane, ports are unnavigable until they have been re-surveyed. So I will be staying in a cabin by the beach, and every day I will go out and survey in a little 15 foot boat, and every night I will get to come back to the comfy cabin with high speed internet, and real beds. This beats living on a boat, and we still have a cook that comes and makes us dinner every night. Also, this will be the first time in six years that I will be working with women. My boss says I'll be doing this until further notice, and probably all summer.
Ok, so long post, but now I'm caught up. I have noticed that most fellow bloggers don't write about work, but it's all I got for the last couple weeks, and it's a new job, so I gotta get it down, so you, my esteemed reader, will know what I mean when I write that I was at work in future posts. Coming soon: pictures from the Gulf. I'm out of time.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I couldn't resist...

I went and bought another guitar today. But before I go any further, I must ask you, my esteemed reader, to bask in it's glory.

Yes, I bid for it on Ebay on the off chance I could get it for 450 (they usually go for about 500 to 800) and I got it!
It's a baritone guitar, which means it's somewhere in between a standard and a bass guitar. They were used in the early days of country music for their twangy, deep tone, and today they are used by many heavy metal bands to add weight to their sound.
I have wanted a baritone for a long time because A:I often find myself wishing that I could play just a couple notes lower than my standard guitar goes, and B:It would be nice to be able to play bass lines if I am accompanying another guitarist.

Now the hard part: I have to wait until I get back to play it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Worth the drive

I was planning to head over to New Orleans for Mardi Gras last weekend, but I got the call on Friday that I would have to go back out to sea early Monday morning. Also, my buddy who I was going to go with bailed on me. This was probably all for the best. I don't really get it anyway. I'll go next year.
Then I got a call from Mom saying my sister Ruth was coming up from College Station, so I said I'd be there. It's a seven hour drive from my house in Lafayette to my parent's in Dallas. I got there at midnight, and Mom, Dad, Ruth and I stayed up chatting as late as we could. Saturday, I hung out with Dad and Grandma for a while, then headed to Joe's with Mom and Grandma. We all had a nice time there and Mom and I took Sterling home with us. Sunday, Sterling skipped church with me and we watched Home Alone. He was very skeptical at first, but by the end, he was in stitches. Then he kicked my butt in Candyland. Twice. Then we went to the park with Mom. Then Mom, Dad, Grandma, Joe, Jessica, Winter, Sterling, and Ginger and I had an early dinner and I had to start driving.
Back in Lafayette by nine that evening, driving down to Fourchon (on the coast) by five A.M., and out in the Gulf by Monday night. I hope I can stay out here more than a week this time.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tertiary education

This week, I got cable internet installed in my home. Since it no longer takes half of my day to catch up on email, blogging, banking etc., I am free to surf the web in the classic sense of the word. My favorite thing about is not that they play any music you want, but that they have information about said music. I was reading about Peter Tosh, who was Bob Marley's guitarist and later a solo act, and came across references to some controversial political statements that got him banned in his native Jamaica. This lead me to some black nationalist websites. This led me to read about some astonishingly blatant abuses of the justice system that took place in the 1960's. This lead me to read about some equally astonishing abuses of the justice system that are taking place right now. This lead me to this very some very disturbing questions:

1. Why is the civil rights movement taught to us in schools as history? It's current events. Mumia Abu Jamal is still on death row for an obvious frame-up.

2. Why did they teach me about MLK, but not X? He was equally important, just not as nice.

3. Why do I know that England fought a hundred year war with France, but absolutely nothing about China, who is far more important in the world?

4. Why did I have to read penny paperback garbage like Bronte instead of Faulkner? I never studied Faulkner in school. Only at the ripe age of 27 am I finally able to grip the true brilliance of his work because I had to figure it all out by myself just like Salman Rushdie (thanks, Mom,) and Lao Tzu (thanks, Angela,) and Fyodor Dostoyevsky (thanks, Dad.)

There have got to be more of them: vast gaps in my American education which gave me some gross misconceptions about the world around me. Good thing I'm still young, because I've still got a lot to learn.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


So there's a Thunderstorm going on outside. I am sitting at my computer with my speakers plugged into my laptop, but no music playing (even audiophiles need a little quiet once in a while). The silence is broken by a brief crackle of static over the speakers. This is followed a second later by the sound of distant thunder! My only assumption is this: the speakers picked up the electromagnetic pulse emitted by the lightning bolt at light speed, and the thunder followed at the relatively slow speed of sound. How cool is that? Whoa, it just happened again!

This reminds me of another story that my family members will appreciate: When I was signing up for the Navy, I was at the recruiter's office filling out a mound of paperwork. When they asked me my religious background for burial purposes, I said Mormon. This elicited a round of cliche' Mormon jokes from the salty dog recruiters. Just then lightning struck close enough that we saw and heard it at the same time. There was a brief period of silence in the room as the backup generator kicked in and light was restored. Needless to say, the recruiter was without irreverent comments for the remainder of the afternoon.

It also reminds me of the blessing of a certain newborn nephew of mine, whose invocation invoked lightning from the heavens, and killed power to the microphone, necessitating the shouting of the rest of the prayer.

But this whole idea of lightning being the power of God is probably just a holdover from the pagan faiths of the Greeks and Romans, so I'm just going to enjoy the fact that modern technology allows us to hear the EMP fields of arcing electricity through household speaker systems.

P.S. If you have any doubts that I am my father's son after reading this, you must not know my father.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Voyage home

Well, the seas are getting too rough for surveying, so we're heading back to the dock, and I'm heading home from there. I've learned a little about my job, but a trained monkey could do what I do until something goes wrong, and nothing really went wrong on this run.
What I have been able to accomplish is to stay completely caught up with reading blogs, news, facebook, and wikipediaing absolutely everything that crosses my mind. All that and I still have time to do my job, sleep 10 hours a day, and still feel bored sometimes. Next time, I'm bringing my laptop, some books, a guitar, and a fishing pole.
I've got some pictures, but no way to get them off my phone right now, so later.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The other half of the World

Ahh, mighty Atlantis. I feel like I'm cheating on my old lady the Pacific. I'm currently bobbing around in a little corner known as the Gulf of Mexico. It sure is nice to have access to the web at sea. Almost feels like I'm not really at sea, just sleeping at work for a few days. I am on the good ship "Miss Ginger." She is a 160 foot work boat loaded with survey equipment. The seas are about five feet and coming from the side. That's about all the equipment can take on a relatively small boat like this. I've never been seasick before, but we'll see what a week of the does to me. I am working in the lab where my job is to monitor the status signals coming up from the untethered, unmanned submarine that is about 3000 feet below us right now as it gathers data about the seafloor. I am actually doing that and writing this post simultaneously because the screens are right next to each other.
I think I am in love with this job. They tell me this is the smallest and least accommodating boat the company has, but it seems like a 5 star hotel to me! There are only four bunks in my cabin, and each one only has one person who sleeps in it! The cook is from Louisiana, so the food is excellent, and no one has mentioned anything about water conservation yet, so I guess I can take real showers, too! My shift is 12 hours per day, but that's not so bad because I can get up and leave for a minute and the other guy in here can watch my instruments and vice versa. The other crewmembers seem like an ok bunch. There are actually four different companies who have people on board: C and C, who are the survey guys (myself included), the boat crew who work for the same company that leases the boat to us, the galley crew who work for an offshore catering company, and the client representatives who work for our clients (duh). I continue to be amazed at the difference in average IQ between civilian and military environments.
Everyone knows that there are lots of offshore oil rigs in the Gulf, but it's just unreal how many there are out here. In the shallow areas where they have been drilling for decades, I could see about 100 of them off one side of the boat! They are beautiful to see shimmering in the distance at night. The Gulf coast is a strange place; almost surreal. There is no distinct coast. You just go south and there's less and less land and more and more water. Miles and miles of flat marshland laced with bayous and waterways and dotted with piers, helipads, shipyards, and other rig support facilities.
I'll be back sometime this weekend. Easy run.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Trees, why your TV is evil, and civilian life

So one of my favorite things about Lafayette is that there are all these massive old pre-colonial oak trees around town. A guy who was showing me a rental property showed me one that was about 12 feet in diameter and was said to be over 600 years old. I'll put up a picture some time, but I can't now cuz I'm posting with my phone.
Lately I've been trying to think of things that television has in common with the devil in order to cultivate enough sour grapes to prevent buying one. Here's what I have so far:
1. They both use subliminal messages to control you.
2. They both appeal to the lowest common denominator.
3. They are both in league with the government.
4. They are both very difficult to ignore.
5. They are both always in style.
6. They both can only come into your home if you invite them.
7. They both played a major part in the advent of Rock n Roll (that's not so bad.)
8. They both try to stop you from thinking for yourself...
That's all I got. Any additions?
P.S. I love having a civilian job! It's just a much less oppressive atmosphere. It's like I have rights or something.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Saving the World (100 cubic feet at a time)

Well, I started the day off by inventing cold fusion

Then I prevented an environmental Holocaust

And I am currently battling an army of giant mutant bloodsucking insects which seem to have invaded the southern United States

Ahh... It's like taking the time to write about your life actually makes it worth writing about. It all seems so much more epic when it's recorded for posterity. Okay, I didn't invent cold fusion, but I did spend my first real day at work (school's out) with two electrical engineers literally playing with the above contraption. I am not exactly sure what it is, but I know these things about it:

1. It adjusts the voltage of DC power.

2. It withstands seawater pressure at 8000 feet deep.

3. If I am ever asked to hand deliver it across national borders (not unlikely) I will probably be arrested for trying to blow up an airport.

We really did spend 8 hours just messing around with the electromagnetic fields that it emits. how's that for someone who didn't finish high school?
When I got home, I finally got down to the business of finding the local recycling center. They put me on the 6 week waiting list to get a pickup bin and informed me that until then, if I wanted to recycle, I would have to do it the old fashioned way. I have had a massive pile of cardboard, packing paper, plastic furniture wrap, and styrofoam behind my front door ever since the day I moved in. So, I opened the front door (more on that later) and began making trips out to my truck to load the stuff up for a trip to the center. About six trips later, the truck bed was heaped with reusable trash. About 100 cubic feet of it. The recycling center was in a somewhat seedy neighborhood. Let's just say this white boy got a few WTF stares as he drove by with a pickup full of garbage. After a hasty dropoff and retreat, I was back home to safety... or so I thought.

Apparently, during all the trips in and out of the house for the garbage, my home was completely infested with mosquitoes! I've seen the postcards and t-shirts declaring the Louisiana state bird to be the mosquito, and denounced them as tacky white trash humor, but these things are HUGE! When I started this post, I had slain about fifteen, some of which are depicted. Now a full score of the rancid beasts have fallen victim to my watchful eye and cat-like reflexes! Spring comes early in the South. Guess I better invest in some off and a fly swatter.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Industrial Education

Well the entire first week of my new job has consisted of training. Outsourced training. I haven't set foot in the office all week. What I have done is learn about how to survive a helicopter crash in the open ocean, a sudden cloud of poisonous Hydrogen Sulfide gas, or a chemical fire. I am trained on proper rigging of loads to be craned, and how to direct the crane operator with hand signals. I have a thorough knowledge of OSHA regulations regarding general and specifically oil and gas industry safety. I can identify and interpret a rainbow of color coded hazardous material identification labels. In short, this was one seriously boring week. This is all the same training the the guys who go and work on oil rigs get and if there's one thing I can take away from it it's that I don't want to work on no rig. Fortunately, that's not my job. All that training is just required by the big oil companies for anyone that they contract out and that's often my company. Anyway, I went through the whole program with another guy who was just hired to my company, and we hung out all week and this weekend, so it's nice to know someone here. We went and saw this 70's glam rock band called Zebra. They never really made it out of Louisiana, but they have quite a following here, and I must say I've been to worse shows. It makes me feel better about being almost 30 when I see a band of 50 year old men, rocking the house like they're still 20. I guess that at some point you stop being immature, and become youthful instead.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sellin' out II

If there were only two people in the world whose opinions I could have on the subject of selling out, It would be my cousin Bill and sister Angela. Thanks for the wisdom, y'all.

"I want to be stereotyped. I want to be classified."
-The Descendents

Movin' on down the line

So the holiday season has ended and so has my four month stint of vacation/intentional unemployment. I have accepted a job at C and C Technologies and if you haven't heard of them, then you must not be initiated into the thrilling and glamorous world of offshore surveying. After the One and Only US Navy, working for some obscure company in southern Louisiana sounded pretty boring. Then they told me that they would actually pay me what a man willing to live as a nomadic sailor is worth, so I asked them where to sign. It sounds like fun, challenging work, and I think I am going to like it here in Lafayette. Some of my more urban cousins were unable to contain their scoffs at the thought of living in such a backward corner of the Great American South (Catherine), but it is a charming little city of suburban dimensions but without an urb to sub to. Also, it's a college town, so it's crawling with nice young ladies (insert your favorite James Brown exclamation here.) Also, it looks like there's plenty of good fishing. Also, the local food is even better than you've heard about. Also, I rented a funky old house and have zero roommates. Also, the people here pride themselves on two things: good food and good music. Those happen to be my two favorite things in the world. So maybe I'll try staying in one place for more than two years this time.
Anyway, I have spent the last week just working on moving in and I have turned an ancient building not unlike a log cabin into an eclectic, hip, modern bachelor pad. Well, at least most of it. here is the living room:

And here's the kitchen and front hall/nook:

It's been a lot of work, and my bedroom still looks like Beirut circa 1985, but to quote Nicolas Cage: "Wearing this suit makes me feel like a better person." When I plop down on one of my jet black overstuffed sofas, or concoct a batch of absolutely sublime spaghetti souse in my fully equipped kitchen, I feel the satisfaction of a man who has hunted for his meat. I will never take civilian life (or middle class wages) for granted again. When I was 19, I learned that it really sucks to be poor. Now I am 27 and I have learned that it's nice to have a few extra bucks lying around.


Oh, crap! I knew there was something I was supposed to do for the last two months... Seriously, if you care what my holiday season was like, you were either there, or read the blog of someone who was there and who was more diligent in their documentation of mundane events. Even more seriously, Christmas and New Years were awesome this year. 'nuff said.