Thursday, November 30, 2006

Prison art and and freezing balls

So A new crew came on shift today. the Head driller's name is Tony. He's been to Prison 4 times: in Rhode Island, Colorado, Utah, and Maine. For no less than 11 years.

How do I know all this? because he keeps a prison notebook. he showed it to me. He's actually a great artist, or at least he can draw really well. He has a whole notebook of the prison guards at the various places he's stayed (see above). The last page of his notebook had a picture of calendar months all laid out in this grid pattern, with at least 11 years worth of months. I was really impressed. it was almost cliche, you know? this guy, who's been in and out of prison for years, works manual labor as a driller, is also a really gifted artist. Had there been some other stimulus in his life, he may have been a very financially and socially successful person.

right after he showed me, he stood over and strattled the space heater in the doghouse and said really loud "hey, I'm warming my ballsac!"

As an aside, he also told my coworker Dave that the biggest dick he ever saw was on a 5'2" mexican in the rhode island showers. "and it wasn't all the warm water either!"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

God help me....

How to take a shit in a port-o-potty at 6 am with an ambient air temperature of -4:

  1. Start the nearest truck and drive it within 15 feet of port-o-potty.
  2. Stop calling it a “port-o-potty” and start calling it “the blue room”
  3. Wait 45 minutes or until the truck’s interior heated temperature reaches at least 94 degrees.
  4. Place roll of paper towels on passenger side of truck
  5. Put in a large jacket, a winter hat, gloves, winter boots.
  6. turn on ipod in your ears with the most caustic music you have turned up really loud.
  7. enter blue room
  8. Drop pants, lift lid, sit down. (NEVER NEVER look into the toilet.)
  9. concentrate on music as hard as you can so you don’t notice the back of your legs and ass going numb
  10. void
  11. grab a ball of TP, heat it underneath your jacket
  12. wipe, pull up pants, drop lid.
  13. open door to the blue room
  14. squirt copious amounts of hand cleaner into hands, ignoring its deathly cold touch.
  15. enter truck as fast as possible, wipe hands with cleaner, wipe hands off with paper towels
  16. scream at the top of your lungs as your ass slowly gets feeling back.
  17. weep quietly for 20 minutes.
  18. go back to work.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mexican Illegals + cold weather = another post on this website

Coffee is the best. I even like Folgers…that’s what we have out here. Its fucking 5:30 am. Despite the fact that it was 12 hours, it feels like I was just here 20 minutes ago.

When I first started this in October, the head geologist said “its like that movie groundhog day…every day you wake up it’s the same shit. The sooner you get into that rut, the faster the time goes”.

So I was talking with Jasper today, both he and Gorge came to America as illegal immigrants from Mexico. I asked him how he got over the border, and he told me that he hopped onto a train. He thought it would have stopped in about a day, but it went on for 4 days before stopping. He crawled up near the engine and hid under some railing to stay warm. It stopped in California. When he got out, he didn’t know anyone or where to go.

Gorge used to hop back and forth across the border all the time before he finally made it to stay. He’d come over, they’d catch him, and the next week he’d be running back across the border.

That’s gotta be a tough way to make it in the world.

A cold front came over today, dropped about 2 inches of snow and the temperature fell to about 15 degrees. Combined with that nice Wyoming wind, the wind chill is in the -10’s right now.

Despite the weather, I walked all over the place outside mapping the geology. now my lips are all chapped and my face is all windburn. Still, I’d take a day of mapping in the cold over sitting in cubicle-land listening to my coworkers talk on the phone about how they have too many bills to pay.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Rabbits, Beef, and...

I slept terribly last night. Not sure why. Seems that out at the house here, I wake up at about 2 am and can’t get back to sleep or I’m completely exhausted from the previous night and sleep like a rock. Go figure.

Anyhow, the drilling crew on one of the rigs is switching tomorrow. Cory’s team is leaving, and Gorge’s (pronounced whore-gay) team is coming on. I worked previously with Gorge, and his deck hands, and they are good people.

Cory did tell me something funny this morning though.

Gorge likes to cook, something that he himself told me a few weeks ago. I can appreciate that, because I kinda like cooking too.

When I last worked with Gorge, I came in one of the first mornings I met him I (about 5:30 am), and he was cooking a 6 lb beef roast in an old metal 5 gallon bucket. He had cut the bottom of the bucket off, and placed an old propane space heater inside of the bucket. He then laid a piece of sheet metal over the bucket and cooked the roast over the heat.

So I said “that looks good”. To which Gorge said something like “eh, amigo, cooked in 5 hours!”.

Later that week they had made this potato/tomato/roast stir fry using the same space heater stove, and they gave me some. It was pretty good actually.

So…Today I was talking to Cory, and mentioned that I had some of the roast with gorge’s team a few weeks ago. He started laughing and said “you know where those Mexicans fuckin’ keep that roast right?”

Apparently Jasper (Has-pah), Gorge’s deck hand, stores all the food in the bottom of his clothing locker in the doghouse. No refrigeration, and next to his boots. So apparently he had this roast sitting in his locker, next to his dirty boots and grease-covered coveralls, sitting on a piece of sheet metal for 1 week and they gnawed away at it all week long. They’d pull it out at lunchtime, hack a chunk off, throw it over the space heater stove and serve it up with a tomato.

…On a side note, Justin has stopped trying to shoot rabbits with his pellet gun, and moved on to shooting mice. This morning there was a nasty stack of mice (probably about 10 mice) sitting on the kelly deck outside the doghouse. Good job Justin!

It must’ve been tough for him to resist shooting rabbits. There are a TON a rabbits here. Early in the morning when you drive to the site, there’s groups of rabbits all over the place. Every so often, when you drive down to one of the rigs there will be 3-5 dead rabbits that have been run over by the drill crew during shift change. I’ve almost hit them a number of times out here.

Each night the rabbits are cleaned up by the coyote’s and/or the bald eagle that’s out here in this valley.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

11/27/06 - Just Another Day in Wyoming

Today was partly cloudy, colder about 40 degrees, not much wind.

06:00 – Actual conversation to with Cory this morning:

Me: “Are you gonna trip out* and switch this morning”

Cory: “Shit, fucking button bit down will fucking tear right through that cock-sucking sand, fucking not getting anything drilled now, fuckin’ button bit”

Me: “slower than shit…”

Cory: “fuck yeah, I asked Pedro (the night crew driller) Why he fucking didn’t fucking trip that fuckin’ hole, shit drilling 30 minutes per fucking foot”

Me: “fuck”

Cory: “yeah, we’re fucking trippin’”

*Tripping out: when they need to change the drill bits on the end of the drill stem, they have to pull out the entire drill stem. On this rig, it’s at about 1,650 feet deep, so it takes about 6-7 hours to do it. Typically, drillers hate tripping out because its hard work (each piece of drill pipe weighs about 5,000 lbs). They also get heat from the tool pusher for wasting time pulling the drill stem out and not making the hole deeper.

12:00 – There’s a new driller on one of the rigs, a real n00b. There’s a hierarchy in drilling: n00bs always have a yellow hardhat, and only after something like 1 year do they get to wear a white hardhat. So this guy has a brand new yellow hardhat, his name is Mike and Cory is kinda pissed because they are trippin’ out today. Trippin’ out with a n00b is “fuckin’ bullshit, man.”

The reason for the new crew member? Cody, who is 20 years old, just got his 4th DUI and can’t drive a car anymore.

11/26/06 - Wyoming...what?!

Today is sunny/clear, wind picked up around noon approx 30 mph.

We’ve got two rigs out here, I’m working with 2 crews, one crew headed by a driller named Cory, the other by Justin.

These drill rigs are run by 3 people: a driller and 2 deck hands. For the project there is a guy who is called the “tool pusher” or the rig superintendent. He’s like the driller’s boss…more about this guy later (trust me, this guy is great).

I took a few pictures of the site this morning as the sun was coming up. But, like my fucking underwear, I forgot to Bring the cord to download the pictures.

05:30 - In the mornings we give each drill crew a health and safety meeting; we just remind them to wear safety glasses, don’t slip or fall, watch out for your co-workers, etc… Its also a good chance to introduce ourselves to the drillers. Introductions are important, I guess.

At this morning’s briefing, Cory’s crew told me about this other tool-pusher out here. Most of the crew is staying in a small shitty hotel in Medicine Bow, but this tool pusher (named Tony) was driving back to Denver after each shift. That’s a 3 hour drive one way…a crazy commute considering we’re working 12 hours a day.

I said “why is he doing that?!” Cory told me that Tony is shacking up with a crack-whore (his words), and that at night, this woman was selling Tony’s things at pawn shops around town to buy drugs with, so he was driving back to make sure she wasn’t selling his TV, microwave, etc…

I asked Cory “why doesn’t he kick her out?” He replied “dunno”.

11:00 -At about 11 am today, I went down to get samples and talk to Justin. When I got to the doghouse, Justin was putting together a pellet gun. I said “what are you going to do with that?”

He replied “Boring here…gonna shoot some rabbits…”

Later, at about 4 pm, the other geologist here, Dave, came back and said “I guess they shot a few rabbits down there, but the deck hand said the rabbits have some disease, so they aren’t gonna eat them”.

Funny thing is, they aren’t the first crew to suggest that they were gonna kill and eat the rabbits out here. Drillers must really like rabbits.

Also, nothing says work-safety like shooting a pellet gun out of the window of the doghouse.

11/25/06 - First full drilling day

I arrived for my second 14 day duration here on 11/24/06. and I’m a total moron. TOTAL moron. I forgot to pack underwear. I have 2 pairs of long underwear, but no skivvies…nothing. You may be wondering, “how the hell do you forget your underwear?” In my defense, the dog was running around the house, and I was trying to do 3 other things while trying to pack. Still…its not the first time I’ve forgotten something like this. I was on a field job in North Dakota and forgot to pack any pants.

So, Imagine my awkward conversation today. “umm, Dave…I forgot to pack underwear, could you go and buy me some?” Bare in mind, that I just met Dave about 6 hours ago.

He was making a run to Laramie, and was happy enough to buy me some. Though I did have to endure the conversation that started “yeah Joe, I buy my kids underwear all the time, do you want the woven, or knit? I suppose you wear small, right?”

Hopefully the rest of my time out here won’t be so bad.

Blogging my drilling project

So I’ve decided to blog about my experience here in Wyoming. Partly because it gets boring at times, and partly because I find so much of what goes into this project interesting.

I should preface this by saying, that everyone that I’ve met on this project, from the drillers to the other geologists are really great people. I find the stories of the drillers and the gossip to be hilarious, maybe a little tragic, but I do have a lot of respect for everyone out here. Drillers are probably the hardest people I’ve ever met. Standing outside in 40 mph winds with a windchill well below zero and throwing around 5,000 lb pipes for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week is pretty intense, and these people work a lot harder than I do. That said, they also make a lot more than I do.

So I’ve started blogging about this experience. Here’s a little background on this project: We’re drilling a series of 4 to 6 wells to accommodate new growth near Laramie, Wyoming. Its out in the middle of nowhere. About 1 hour away from Laramie, near the small towns of Medicine Bow, and Hana, Wyoming.

They need a lot of water, so the wells are really deep (between 2,000 to 3,000 feet deep). They are by far the deepest wells I’ve ever been associated with, and its really interesting to see how it all works. There’s HUGE equipment, lots of machine noise, etc… real burly man type shit.

My job is to log the cuttings to the wells, and in the daytime, map the surface geology and provide sub-surface interpretations to the project manager so that he can determine where to place the next wells.

I work 14 days straight, 12 hours a day, pretty standard for this type of job.

(OH YEAH, if your worried about all the links and shit on the side of this page, I'll update that when I get back to the real world.)