Apparent Mini-Vacation

So, I definitely didn’t think I’d be off work for this long. I was trying to wait for the next job to start up before I made my next post but, I’m getting anxious so, here I am. Anxious for a lot of things really but, the next job to start up is pretty much the top thing on my mind at the moment. And only because Winter is coming and I don’t want to be out in the middle of nowhere in a sexy little sports car while it’s cold and snowy. I need to get a truck ASAP and, although I’m getting paid VERY well out here, I need the next job to kick in (and end) before I can afford the down payment. That’s stressing me out a bit but, that’s it; everything else has been flippin’ fantastic. The other projects I’m working on: the website for the Zeitgeist Ambassador (a TZM sail boat), a new newsletter for Ninja Division (the company that publishes Relic Knights…), a Vassal module for Relic Knights (a new game I’ve been obsessing over lately), and I think that’s about it.

So then, what’ve I been up to?

The day after I got off the previous job (Clearfork-Pullen) I hit the bank to grab a new checking and savings account down here and immediately ordered the game that I had been wanting for months; Relic Knights. When it came in I dove in straight away; filing, gluing, reading. I went to Reaper Miniatures headquarters here in TX for some modeling advice and was very ill impressed. Specifically, I went there for an open paint/painting clinic with their own artists and what I got was something less than stellar; a few cranky employees and a clique of people who had no interest in helping out a newbliet like myself. Needless to say, I haven’t been back and probably won’t bother in the future. I figured things out for myself though, and have been going to a local game shop called SciFi Factory pretty much every day just to keep myself out of the house. The minis are now painted up completely and since, I’ve managed to get in about eight games; not bad for a game that no one plays around here but me and that I’ve only had a couple weeks! I absolutely love it and I’ll be doing a review in another post.

I finished the Through The Breach Fated Almanac and wasn’t too thrilled about it. I’ll write up a full review on it in another post.

I went to WaCon, a small convention in Waco, TX and had a good time. I pretty much just taught people how to play Krosmaster Arena through the entire convention; I’m used to it. I did bring Relic Knights but, sadly, the miniatures area was fairly lackluster. Only a small handful of Warhammer 40K players and the guy running it, hated the game so, I don’t image many people in the miniature room had much fun. I managed to get in a game of Duel of Ages II but other than that, the main productivity of the convention was in socializing. I’m not good at meeting people, down right terrible at it actually but, I grew closer to the guys down here that my brother hangs out with and that, as an outcome, is better than anything else I could have asked for over the weekend.

A few of you have been wanting to take a look at some of the photos I’ve taken while out on the job site so, I manage to put a little photo album together on Photobucket to share. I think it’d be fun to keep a photo journal of all the locations I work so, without further adieu, Clearfork-Pullen.

That’s it for now, peeps.


Chapter _ Part 2

Read part one here

I’ve been quite thoroughly into activism in a number of forms over the past 6 years or so now; marching on behalf of cleaning up the environment, better support for our public educators, ending the reign of terror the US seems to bring across the world. I’ve given lectures, been interviewed, have interviewed; I’ve canvassed neighbourhoods, collected donations (with Greenpeace), I spoke at Occupy Chicago, I’ve lead ‘teach-ins’, and sat with hundreds as the rich elite threw dollar bills from atop their glass framed building tops.

One of the topics often brought up has to do with Oil; peek oil, fracking, political pay-offs, ground water pollution, theft of nations, the raping of the land, the list goes on. The topic is huge and has sparked protest across the globe and I’ve had the honour of being a part of several of these events over the past few years. One of the things you notice, however, when surrounding yourself with protest circles the education on the subject tends to fall short at times. As an example, you could ask a rather large handful of a protest group what fracking is and you’ll get varying answers that typically tend to stay around the same talking points but, when you take the conversation further it quickly gets lost. I’ve been on the receiving end of this and it’s utterly embarrassing!

I’ve had these conversations with my brother in the past and, for him, it always comes down to the fact that he has a family that he needs to take care of (at this point is should be noted that my brother, Andrew, has worked in the oil industry for several years now, including a stint at Halliburton). Who can argue with that? We all have loved ones that need support and if your world view goes even slightly beyond the tip of your own nose, like mine does, you notice that ‘loved ones’ goes much farther than your own ‘flesh and blood’.

I, on the other hand, don’t have family to take care of (outside of brothers, parents, a sister) so, the monetary focus for me has been towards that world view directly. I’ve spent every bit of what I’ve earned over the past few years on living frugally with a focus on marketing for the activist campaigns I’ve been a part of. Banners, posters, fliers, digital media, lecture spaces, tabling events, every bit of my funds have been funnelled into my standing up for this cause or that and, let me tell you, it’s been a struggle. Pushing your activism beyond relying on others for the literature you’re handing out takes a decent chunk of change and, this next chapter here will easily help with that.

I bring all this up because this transition stems from both my quest for knowledge and my fight for everything that’s good in this world. I’m getting first hand experience with the oil industry from the ground up and improving my mechanical skills (of which I had very little) in spades. I’m also, for a change, making a more expendable income that will help my future endeavours in activism. I won’t have to be so reserved when it comes to the design materials I use in my posters and banners and I’ll be able to schedule events without being concerned with whether or not I’ll have the funds needed.

Every bit of this chapter has been completely positive and, I’m not so sure I could say I’ve ever been happier. The future is bright and I’m nearing light speed.

The Music Game

The music game is a little something Derrick and I came up with one evening after a dinner party. I’m not one to share a stereo so, I had a mix playing from GrooveShark I put together that included a lot of similar sounding tunes; the stuff I like. We were chilling in the living room when he asked ‘What does this song mean to you?’ It was the song Avalost by Seabound, a beautiful song about the harrows of finding and losing love with hints of doubt as to whether there even is such a thing; it’s a travelling song, the main character being on a journey and finally coming to rest on the icy shores of Newfoundland. We followed this with a discussion about different song types; some are about travelling, some about breaking up with someone, some are about being angry, some about fighting, war, suffering…

When Avalost was over, Derrick said he had a song he wanted to play as well; one of his favourite songs about travelling. It was a song by Weird Al Yankovic, I can’t recall the name of it now but, you can imagine how ridiculous it was; not in a bad way, mind you but, in a Weird Al way. During the song there was some part that reminded me of another song, one of my personal favourites (I can’t recall which now), and decided to play it afterwards. During it, it had reminded Derrick of another song and so the game was formed.

Loosely, we decided the rules were simple enough…

  1. Play a song.
  2. Listeners think of a song that they enjoy that relates in some way to the current one playing.
  3. Someone volunteers to play their song and the other listeners, as the song is playing, have to try and figure out what the two songs have in common.
  4. Repeat steps.

It’s such a fun way to explore music with your friends that we pretty much decided to do it every night we chilled with music playing, especially if others were over to explore their musical tastes as well! You end up on a very interesting roller-coaster of topics that all meld into one another and, it’s just a really fantastic time.

I wish I had thought about it then but, I think it’d be great to write down the songs during a session and create play-lists of them to listen to in the future. In fact, if anyone is reading this, try it out yourself with your friends and/or loved ones! Feel free to comment and let me know what you think.

Chapter _ Part 1

This particular ‘new chapter’ really all started when one of my very best friends moved away.

Derrick, whom I’m going to be speaking of in a past tense, was such a cool god damn guy. We hung out pretty much every other day and explored each other’s interests quite extensively; we were both very open to learning new things and realize that this is how people grow. We played board games, fought with fake knives, played boccie, rode bikes, had long ass movie marathons, played the music game (idea for another post), we did everything; it was like being in middle school and having sleep overs with your friends.

He moved to Oregon nearly two years ago now without a very sound method of communication so, although he’s still around, it’s just not the same. We’ve tossed a few emails back and forth but, that’s about the extent of it. He’s missed terribly by a number of our mutual friends but, he seems to have made a home for himself out there so, as long as he’s doing well, that’s awesome by me! This, however, left me with really just my one friend, Q.

Q has been my best friend for years now and we met in such odd circumstances. I don’t recall the story exactly but, I came up to IL to visit some friends one year (maybe 2004?) and when my buddy Joe couldn’t give me a ride back to the airport (I was living in GA at the time), he set me up with this guy Q. I met him at the mall and we chit chatted on the way to the airport and that was about the extent of it until years later. In 2006, I think, I moved back to IL from GA and immediately was looking for friends, of course. Joe, my friend since 4th grade, had moved up to Chicago but, he got me back in touch with Q and, we’ve been best friends since. We’ve shared a lot together and, we’ve lost a lot together as well. Let me tell you, if there is any single person anyone in the world could trust on, if you’re talking about one of the nicest people ever, who would sacrifice himself for you…it’s Q.

That being said, we are different people in a lot of ways. We never hung out the way Derrick and I had and, Q is the type of friend that no matter how much time has gone by, how much distance has been put between, he’s always going to be there. So, I always felt like he didn’t count when it came to me making the big decision that would lead me to where I am now. He has an awesome, just awesome, circle of friends up there that I’m just not too much a part of (and it’s not something I’m upset about in the least bit either!), plus a new girlfriend who is pretty great as well.

So, after a few phone conversations with my brother, a number of terrible realizations on my part, I decided to up and try out a new career path. One that would lead me to the middle of no-where Texas, on a pad of gravel, living with one of the coolest damn coworkers someone could ask for; Oilfield Flowback.

I’m going to challenge myself to make at least one post here per day; I certainly have the time to. Also, this blog will, more than likely, be going through several changes over the first few weeks as I get used to WordPress and get things organized the way I like.

Welcome aboard!

Starting A Blog

Well, another or, should I say, a new one?

For as much as I love to write, I’ve never been able to keep a blog at all. I’ve even tried partnering with others to create one and well, they’ve never quite made much progress, at least not on my end. However, with this ‘new chapter’ in my life starting up (well, I guess it really started about 3 months ago), why not give it another go?

It took me a bit of time to figure out what platform I wanted to use but, I settled on WordPress for a number of reasons. Most notably that it’s been around for a long time and has been a champion of free speech over the years. They fought against SOPA and PIPA, fought to protect activist blogs and their identities, there’s a massive global open source community behind WordPress, and the list goes on. I did enjoy a short stint on Tumblr (only a couple months) before Yahoo! purchased the company, ugh.

I don’t do much social networking stuffs online at all; I do have a Twitter account that I’m on quite often but, I typically just use it as a news aggregator. I had been on GaiaOnline for ages now but primarily only used it for playing games – similar to NeoPets. I hate FaceBook and simply refuse to use it (though I do have a fake account there simply to view shit people want me to), also, remember MySpace? Man, those days were great! I was thinking about VampireFreaks but, ugh, I’m just not a social butterfly at all. I’d rather just write shit and let you people read it, if you want. Plus, I would like a place to share things with family and friends; not to make new friends, mind you, but to share with you. That pairs in with me wanting to make sure that what I’m posting remains mine…this will take me on quite a rant.

Alright, so, what are we talking about on this blog? Well, lets begin with this whole new chapter thing…

Cleaning The Witch’s Hat

So, today I get to clean the ‘witch’s hat’. This is basically a fuel filter for these massive compressors out here in the field; pretty much a huge engine that runs on the natural gas that’s coming out of the ground. The gas comes out of the ground with oil and water and is sold to be refined but, not before being purchased back and ran through the compressors to be pumped back into the ground to push up more water and oil. It’s a pretty efficient system, albeit dirty and corrosive to the environment.

Kodiak Compressor

I didn’t manage to get any photos of us actually doing the job but, here is what a witch’s hat looks like outside of the pipe…

Witch’s Hat

Obviously the picture is of a brand spanking new one but, they can get pretty damn gross. Of course it’s nothing more than mineral build up but, still, pretty bad.

It was fun to learn, a quick job and, I think I could figure out how to do it again in the future!

Steps to cleaning a Witch’s Hat

  1. Turn off the chemicals – not sure what the chemicals are (I believe it’s some sort of anti-foaming agent)
  2. Turn off the Compressor and blow it down (blows out any excess gas in the system)
  3. Remove the chemical line (it’s attached to the pipe we need to move)
  4. Shut the valve flowing gas into the compressor
  5. Loosen the pipe to swivel the Witch’s Hat
  6. Unbolt the Witch’s Hat, remove and clean it
  7. Follow all steps in reverse order!