Friday, January 29, 2010

And So It Comes to This...

When I sit at my keyboard, and am at a loss for something to write about.

Today was mundane, and uneventful. All around.

I did get to workout with Jennifer and we had dinner together afterwards, so that was nice. But that's not anything out of the ordinary. Special, but not different.

Perhaps tomorrow will bring new excitement. I do have a friend who is turning 40...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chocolaty Goodness

Recently I have been lucky to find some good chocolate around.

Trader Joe's has begun carrying dark chocolate covered cacao nibs. They're very good, and they're cheaper than the ones that Cost Plus carries.

The best surprise was coming to work Monday (after the job cancelling muddy site), and finding a piece of 91% cacao Venezuelan Theo dark chocolate.

I had some Trade Joe's lemonade with them. I like TJ's lemonade because it's so sour, but the chocolate was bitter enough to make the lemonade seem sweet.

It's like when you eat a bunch of Warheads candies in a row and then drink water. Even plain water seems sweet.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oakland - Day Two

Wow was it surprisingly wet today.

I couldn't believe the water running down the gutter during the rain. Not that there is much of a gutter where we were working anyway, but still.

Anyway, we got our work done, and the park looks like were were playing football in it, the grass is so chewed up into mud.

I'm really hoping it doesn't rain when we're excavating.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Oakland - Day One

Today we were to drill in Oakland to profile the soil before the excavation. It took our driller almost an hour to get the concrete out from around the pole he had to remove to get his rig on site.

Then he backed in... and got stuck in the mud. Specifically the back tires sank about an inch past the rims. He couldn't even move forward; he spun his tires. we got a track mounted rig scheduled for tomorrow, and then he worked at getting himself out. He finally managed to get some traction, and got free.

We'll be back tomorrow, and hopefully the rain won't be excessively heavy.


On a more geologic note, scientists in Poland have found what are thought to be the tracks of an early amphibian-like creature. What fascinates me the most is the diagram of the way the creature walked.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

IKEA Drift

Once more I have spent the weekend assembling furniture. However, this time, We have completed the office.


And it's wonderful.

I've got drawers, and cabinets and a light table in my work table. Once we get it all organized, I'll be allowed to put up pictures. Jennifer insisted on a complete before and after.

In thanks for the work I did, Jennifer took me to T-Rex Barbecue in Berkeley. And on top of all of the wonderful food they have there, they also have Death and Taxes.

Tomorrow will be the twelfth anniversary of Jennifer's and my first date. We're still deciding exactly how we're going to celebrate it.

Friday, January 22, 2010


And here I thought I had posted something yesterday. Something brief yet pithy.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Strange Typos

I twitter. this has been established, and it's something I do mostly because I like to put out there what I'm listening to.

So I was recently typing that I was listening to "Welcome to the Pleasuredome" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

I happened to misspell Pleasuredome (and repeated the mistype above as well) to say "Pleasauredome".

This made me think of how close that is to Pleisiosaur. And then got to thinking about what a Pleisiosaur-Dome would be. Surely something more than a special lagoon annex at Jurassic Park...

New Year - New Habits

So with the beginning of the new year, I have made a decision to cut back on my consumption of soda. I am attempting to only have Pepsi or Coke on Friday and Saturday. It has helped that I drank the last of the Pepsi at home before we went to Las Vegas, and I have not seen any Throwback products available.

This has meant that I've gone through the caffeine withdrawal, but I feel freer now. I no longer have to be sure to have some caffeine before Jennifer and I do something for the weekend.

The downside is the cravings. Last night Jennifer and I were at the Dollar Tree, and they have a cooler by the register. Jennifer asked how I was doing (meaning in general), and I told her that I would be perfectly willing to beat her over the head repeatedly for one of the Pepsis in the cooler.

But I'm feeling so much better.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Well Wishes

I read today on iO9 (through a link to that one of my favorite authors, Kage Baker is fighting against cancer that has metastasized.

I've been reading her work since I first read Mother Aegypt, a collection of short stories, I have been reading her works as soon as I could get my hands on them.

One of the most touching pieces I have ever read comes from her book The House of the Stag:

Will you never open you eyes to me again? Once you walked with me in the long grass, where the lilies poked though and opened their bright throats, and the white mist was on the hillsides and concealed us when we lay down; and your eyes looked into mine.

Will you never speak to me again? Once you lay with me in the summer groves, and the blossoms drifted over us and the branches bowed with down to my lips, and the long red sunlight of summer dappled the forest floor; and you sang all night long.

Will you never lift you head again? Once you rose, you moved without tiring, and on the dancing green under stars you were light-footed, and through the red and yellow leaves that drifted you were the swiftest in the chase, and brought me down, best of all the young men; and you rose above me high and strong.

Will you never hear my call again? Once I sang like a bird, no heartbroken note, once I sang and you heard me over the meadows, over valleys, over mountains, and groves; once you came to me voice, dropping down swift from here you soared. You heard if I turned in my sleep, you woke if I murmured in my dreams.

But you have been unfaithful, you have listened to the earth’s voice, you have despaired, gone down into sleep and left me to my grief. How will I go after you and leave your children unprotected? Who will care for us now?

Get well soon, Kage. I know it will be a fight, but we all wish you recovery, health, and wellness.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cooking - Pictures

Below are pictures of my Sunday cooking.

First off, the beer bread. This was made using a mix from Trader Joe's and a Gordon Biersch Marzen.

To go with the beer bread, I made scrambled eggs, and microwaved some applewood smoked bacon. The potato patties are leftovers from Arby's for Jennifer.

Then I made cookies.

The half of the batch that I took to work today were a big hit.
And finally, dinner. The salad is hearts of romaine with crumbled bacon and grated asiago cheese. The meal is beer bread, basmati rice, and seasoned grill-seared ahi tuna.


And I was just reminded that the entire day of cooking was done under the influence of sangrias.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cook Away

I was busy being domestic today.

I started the day making beer bread using a mix from Trader Joe's. When it was almost finished, I made scrambled eggs and bacon and that was breakfast. With sangrias.

Through the middle of the day I made chocolate chip cookies.

And then for dinner I made seared ahi tuna, with basmati rice with a side salad.

A very nice day overall.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Magic Numbers

I have a favorite after workout food for those nights when Jennifer has an evening appointment and will not be home: Chipotle. Specifically the barbacoa burrito (shredded beef). The interesting thing is that the price with our local tax comes to $6.66.

Last night, i walked to our nearby Subway, and got a foot-long roasted chicken beast sandwich with Swiss cheese, and got the meal deal with a bag of Cheetos and a regular drink. i had to laugh when the total came out to $7.77.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Santa Clara - Day Five

And the early days are done for a while.

Today we finished our work with a relatively easy overdrill/destruction and re-install. Essentially we replaced a 2-inch diameter well with a 4-inch diameter well.

The "fun" was the safety stand down/meeting this morning. We all got together with my company's health and safety man, six representatives from the drilling company, and the five of us that had been our working on the site.

We discussed the need for proper safety measures using the expedient "what is the worst that can happen?" and "How can I prevent that?" the crew complained that we had not told them that we were writing up the unsafe practices we had noticed, and while we (I) apologized and promised to be better about communicating our activities, we still focused on their lack of safety during the job.

But we got the job done, and I ended up with 63 hours of work this week including office time for reports that I had to review and sign that were today today.

I'm a little tired.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Santa Clara - Day Four

Well, it's become even more interesting in Santa Clara.

Yesterday we had an incident where the driller hit one of his helpers on his hard hat with a shovel. the helper was on his knees cleaning off the auger, and the driller was shoveling soil. the driller brought the shovel across and the shovel struck the hard hat. I reported that as a "Near Loss"; an event that nearly resulted in a loss (this time an injury). I found out today that it actually counts as a non-injury loss (or something like that).

Then today the driller stepped down from his platform and caught his heel on the cuttings tub (a square bin with raised sides that contain the cuttings coming up the auger from the borehole). He fell to the ground missing hitting anything else in his path.

These are just two of 17 incidents that have occurred in the past 4 days. Primarily I think it's a case of the crew rushing and not paying complete attention to what is going on around them.

Tomorrow, our Health and Safety representative, a representative from the driller's company, and the ExxonMobil project manager are coming out to discuss safety on the job site.

It should be interesting.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Santa Clara - Day Three

And the days keep coming.

Another nine hours on site and another well in place. I feel for my poor coworker, YM, who drives my sleeping self to and from the site every day. I try, I really do, but it's just so early... At least I remained awake the entire drive back today.

I did have an interesting thought on the way to the site today (yes, before I fell asleep). Driving for one hour every day for five days can be seen as the same as driving for five hours one day to another site. And YM and I did that a couple years ago. We drove the same rattle-trap van from Pleasant Hill to Eureka for what I feel must be a record breaking minimum footage drilled.

We, okay our subcontractor Cascade Drilling vacuum cleared three locations to five feet. One of those locations ended up being blocked by an underground utility, and in one of the other two we had water come in, which was what we were sampling for. So using a direct-push drill rig, we drove... 4 feet. And hit water.

So in summary, we ended up driving about 300 miles one way paid for our permit, checked the site, slept in a hotel, drilled 4 feet the next day, and finally, drove home another 300 miles. It was a bit of a waste. We spent more time on the road than we did working on site.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Santa Clara - Day Two

So today went exactly like yesterday did except it was 10 minutes earlier. Meaning we left the office at five minutes after 5:00 instead of 5:15, and then all milestone events happened at about 10 minutes previous to yesterday's times.

Very odd.

To top it off today I had a flashback to elementary school. I was in the restroom washing my hands after the job, and used a wet paper towel to wipe off my face. The smell of the paper towel took me back to class after recess in elementary school when we wold wet paper towels to help us cool off after running around for half an hour.

It was a bit surreal.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Santa Clara - Day One

Oh it's going to be a long week.

First off, this week will be shifted to Eastern Daylight Time as I have to be on site in Santa Clara by 6:00. Therefore, I'm getting up at 4:00.

The day went well, even though it was a bit cool. two coats helped that as did a large hot chocolate. I'll give that to working in the environmental industry over geotechnical. Environmental is clean-up most often (but not always) in civilization while Geotechnical is usually on the fringe of civilization as it spreads.

I like civilization. It gives me running water, hot drinks, and facilities.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Surprise for Jennifer

Yesterday I had a game at John's and was finally able to pick up a surprise Christmas gift for Jennifer.

Jennifer loves to color whether it's with markers or pencils or crayons. And I saw this set of crayons from Japan a few months ago, and after showing them to her had to have them for her.

So I went to the site for the crayons and it was in Japanese. Not too much of a problem, I have a Japanese coworker. I pulled up the site at work, and she translated it. It looked like with shipping one set of the crayons was going to cost around $35. I love my wife, but not that much.

So I pondered it for a while, and brought it up to John. John brought it up to his friend Tim who is married to a Japanese woman. They contacted Tim's in-laws, and John told me (I thought) that they could get me two sets for about $50. I said go for it, and the process began.

Now the shipment arrived in December, but I couldn't get out to meet with John before going to Las Vegas. So last night I picked them up from John at our game.

Then after the game I bought them home, and told Jennifer they were a late surprise Christmas gift.

The word I would use to describe her response would be, "SQUEEEE!"

Oh, and as an extra bonus, there were three sets, not just two.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Isle of White

This morning I saw this site.

Practically the entire island is covered in snow.

That's just awesome.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Flurious Fury

January is going to be a very busy month, and the first quarter is going to continue to be very busy as well.

We got our permit for the excavation in Oakland, and it should start the week after next. The problem is that our project geologist and I will be in the field all next week. So all preparations have to be completed this week. And she's actually been in the field yesterday and today, so I'm having to do tasks that I haven't had to do for close to three years.

Luckily she came in in the afternoon, and I was able to get the information from her that i needed on where things were stored.

Then on top of this, I was making phone calls to all of the other parties involved informing the that the excavation was a go. Of course everyone was so excited that we are finally able to move on this project that they were quite happy conversations.

Not much in other news.

The cough lingers, and give me a headache with its intensity sometimes. It's just one of those annoying ones I guess.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

iPod People

Yesterday I went on a bit of an adventure.

I had been having issues with my iPod. It would hang after syncing or when I would disconnect from my stereo. Also, it would skip on certain tracks. well, I guess not skip, but pause in the middle of a song for a second and then resume.

So i took it back to Costco, and got a refund. Unfortunately they were not carrying the 160 GB Classics at that time, so I had to go on the hunt for an iPod somewhere else. I called Fry's and it rang and rang until it disconnected. Then I called Best Buy, and let it ring. I got tired of waiting for an answer, so I drove off for Best Buy. It disconnected after ringing for seven minutes. I called again, and it kept ringing. Finally, I arrived and hung up.

It turned out that they did have the 160 GB Classic, so I bought it with my refund, plus a bit more because it was a higher price.

Today, I got an e-mail from the Best Buy Reward Zone. It was three coupons for 10% different items. One of those items was small electronics including MP3 players and iPods.

I printed the coupon out, and after my workout, I stopped by Best Buy. I went up to the returns desk, and placing the receipt and the coupon on the counter said, "Yesterday, I bought an iPod, and today in my e-mail I got this coupon..."

Without even needing to say anything else, the woman at the register, took the receipt, refunded the purchase, and then re did the purchase with the coupon. So it worked out that I got a new iPod for about 10 dollars cheaper than my refund from Costco.

I'm happy. And I'd recommend either Costco or Best Buy for electronics purchases. I've had great luck and good service at both stores for many purchases.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Work Inertia

The holidays seem to act as a brake on work. Once January starts up it's like everything at the office needs a lot of push to get the machine rolling again.

But we're moving along. we did finally get our permit today for the excavation in Oakland.

So there is hope.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Refreshing and Finished

Today was not as bad as i had thought it might be.

The safety training was a video I had seen before, and it is a good one to see with regards to the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE), and following safety procedures.

The first aid/CPR training was also pretty good, and less interactive than last time.

I get tired of overly interactive trainings. They're fine sometimes, but over and over makes a person dread them.

Now it's back to office work for this week, and next week I'm putting in those wells in Santa Clara. Fortunately we'll be working early morning to afternoon instead of the night shift.

Weekend Over

Tomorrow... crap, today, I get to experience the joy of training. All day.

We've got our monthly safety meeting, which will be followed by our client specific safety training, and then a First Aid/CPR refresher.

I just drink plenty of water so I don't end up coughing through the entire thing.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Las Vegas Pictures

All right, pictures are up.

Go here for pictures of us around Las Vegas.

And then here for us with food in Las Vegas.

Happy New Year

...and I'm late for the first post of 2010.

But, I was down most of the day trying to get over this lingering cough.

I've read a bit, watched a movie (Gross Pointe Blank), and the latest Mythbusters.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

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