Saturday, November 29, 2008

So What Do You Do Mr. PJ?

I dread this question. There is simply no easy way to answer. Thanks to television we have some idea of what cops, criminals, lawyers and doctors do. I suppose that these sorts of careers make for good drama. The lack of prime time television shows about Wireline Logging Engineers is a pretty fair indication of the dramatic potential of my chosen profession. So what the heck is a Wireline Logging Engineer anyway?

A Wireline Logging Engineer (lets call him a logger for short) has nothing to do with forests or trees of any sort. Logging is simply one of the services performed during the life of an oil well and the engineer is the guy responsible for performing the service (this would be me). Before I can tell you what I do, I need to explain a little bit on what logging is all about. Logging is simply the acquisition of geological or petrophysical properties of a well as a function of depth. Now at this point in normal social conversation the listeners eyes will begin to glaze over - try to stay focused....please The end product of logging is, of course, called a Log. Logs are used by oil companies as a permanent record of the original well properties at the time it was drilled. As such its a pretty important document. For example oil companies can use logs as evidence to prove existence of assets when negotiating bank loans. Oil companies can pay a lot of money to acquire logs depending on the type of information that they are after.

The business of getting these logs is my job. And A stressful business it can be. Remember Star Trek - The original series with the sexy yeomen in gogo boots ? Well, To put my job in terms of Star Trek I would need Scotty's fixit sense, Spock's grasp of physics, Uhura's communication skills and the balls of Captain K himself to boldly go where no fool has gone before. Come to think of it, had I been old enough, I could have auditioned for Star Trek and saved Roddenbery a heap of money.

Any work that I do is subject to continuous and intense scrutiny from a lot of different folks of varying intelligence but limited sense of humour. Usually when I go to log a well an oil company witness (read - junior exploration geologist) is assigned to follow me around and make a permanent record of my every action on the rig. The reports that these people create are then used to create reasons why I should not be paid. As a result I have had to become an expert at cya(cover-your-ass) and the delicate art of shifting responsibility.

I am a logger - worship me.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Modern English?

Languages are funny beasts. People are always coining a new phrase or finding a different way to say the same thing. Written and spoken styles change faster than last summers fashions. The advent of emails and text messaging has further changed how we think and write in English. It was amusing therefore to read the following bit of nonsense that I shamelessly pilfered from the web.

Five year phase-in plan for "EuroEnglish"

The European Commission have just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU, rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty'sgovernment conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five year phase in plan that would be known as "EuroEnglish".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump for joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of the "k". This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have 1 less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with the "f". This will make words like"fotograf" 20% shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have alwaysben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes ofthe silent "e"s in the language is disgraseful, and they should go away.

By the 4th year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th"with "z" and "w" with "v". During ze fifz year, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

After zis fifz year, ve vil hav a realy sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi to understand each ozer


- Author Unknown

Monday, November 17, 2008

Travel Warnings For Indonesia

Pretty much everybody has issued travel warnings about Indonesia. Australia has the strongest. But what surprises me is the naivete of some people who have been living in Jakarta for less than a year and feel obliged to comment on the travel warnings as if their few months in Jakarta had given them some kind of mystical insight into the security situation of the entire country. Its irresponsible to fob off travel warnings as a racist rants; Indonesia just isn't that secure. It may feel secure in Jakarta but Jakarta is only a single patch on the whole mosaic that is Indonesia. Things may look a whole lot different in Kalimantan, Sumatra, and Bali.

There have been improvements. It is getting better security wise. However there are still unresolved issues in Aceh, Ambon, Timor, Kalimantan, Sulewesi, Papua, and Timor. The police have done a good job in tracking down terrorists but Noordin M. Top (one of the main characters and recruiters) has yet to be found. Who knows where he is. There is still a porous border between Indonesia and the Phillipines which is home to training camps for insurgents, as well as a supply house for weapons and materials. The large turnout for the Bali Bombers funerals indicate a level of grassroots support for their actions. Even Jakarta is not immune from unrest. Just a few months ago Jakarta's resident thugs were out in force to break up a pro-tolerance rally. Several people were injured and police waited until well after the event before making arrests. There is still lots of room for improvement.

Goverments will always err on the side of caution when composing travel warnings for their citizens. Its sort of a cover-your-ass thing looking to the worst case scenario. As long as nobody is forbidding travel to Indonesia I don't see a big problem in a travel advisory. I'm not saying that people should not come here. I'm here after all. People should however be fully aware of the risks involved in travelling to a foreign country before they go. It is their right as citizens and the obligation of their governments. To claim that Indonesia is perfectly safe just because you had a good evening in the clubs is just... well... irresponsible.

Travel Advisories for Indonesia can be found here, here, and here

this is just weird

Apparently sex with cyberwhores is just as damaging to marriage as real sex with real whores. I had no idea until now that these virtual reality sites even existed. Doesn't say much for my cyber-worldliness does it. What motivates people to create these kind of sites? Can you imagine the conversation between the marketing and engineering departments?

E: We have the new range of avatars

M: Great! Where are the genitals?

E: Genitals?

M: Yup we can sell em! We cater to narcissism. You want bigger boobs and balls? No problem, we provide the upgrade.

E: Ok we can make those...anything else?

M: Need some BDSM gear too. Where's that?

E: BDSM gear?

M: Well people like to experiment you know. What safer place than in a virtual environment.

E: OK BDSM gear. Got it. Check. Anything else?

M: Yes there is significant demand to make the avatars fully interactive with other aspects of the program.

E: In English please.

M: The avatars need to be able to have sex with anything, pets, inanimate objects, you know...

E: Okayyyy....

As an Engineer it just seems like a huge waste of bandwidth to create sites catering to virtual sex. It has a sort of juvenile appeal (in much the same way as a farting contest) but really, is this what software designers went to school for?

PS. Be on the lookout for cyber condoms, cyber stds, cyber hiv blah blah blah. You heard it here first.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kidz Deez daze (we are doomed)

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers

- attributed to Socrates, 4th Century BC

Have you that noticed kids these days are surely seem different than our generation? Certainly they are more plugged in and appear to be fully proficient with a blackberry. They also seem to have mastererd the art of multitasking albeit in ways that I don’t always like. For example as much as I appreciate the ability to send text messages while simultaneously having a conversation I would rather have someones full attention while I talking to them. Its just polite. But whats really lacking these days is a sense of responsibility and independence of action caused by a lack of real world experience.

On my last visit home I had drinks with my brother. Somehow the conversation turned to kids or specifically the appalling lack of maturity observed in some kids along with a plain lack of common sense. We are both rather concerned that these kids will have zero marketable skills at an age where they should be entering the workforce. Who will hire them? What will they do? We have a whole generation coming up now that are armed with blackberries and facebook but are unable to tie their own shoes or speak for more then 10 seconds without using the word "like" or "uhh". How would you uhh like them uhh like to do uhh like a business plan or be uhh like the first thing like uhh that a client uhh like sees when he like steps into to your uhh like office? With a two word vocabulary all they will be capable of to offer society will be "uhh like would like fries with that?"

Not only are the language skills abysmal but the attitude sucks. It is the nature of a small child to scream if a toy is removed from their hands. Its a part of growing up that this behavior is unlearned - in most societies children quickly learn that resources are finite and you can't get what you want simply by yelling for it.

Or can you?

I'm shocked to say that the squalling of a 6 year old in my day appears to be commonplace in a 16 year old today. Really some of the kids I've met, if I was their father I would have wished I'd worn a condom.

So what went wrong? My theory is that of the free range kid. As opposed to the factory farm kid the free range kid has had an element of self reliance forced upon him at an early age. It doesn't have to be too onerous - just a small responsibility at an early age. We used to call them chores. With that responsibility some self confidence and esteem will eventually emerge. With some luck you might end up with a child who will possess some basic life skills which will serve them well when they finally leave the nest.

What kind of skills you might wonder? Well, if I were to make a list, it might look like this.

An Acid Test For A Free Range Teenager (by Pj)

  1. Ability to get to school or anywhere else without asking your mom for a ride.
  2. Ability to operate a lawn mower or vacuum cleaner unattended.
  3. Ability to feed yourself without destroying the kitchen.
  4. Ability to complete school tasks on time.
  5. Ability to separate homework time from facebook time (corollary to 4)
  6. Ability to have an activity that does not involve spending money or parental supervision - hanging out in a mall arcade is not an activity.
  7. Ability to manage a part time job during school so as to have an independent source of income.
  8. The knowledge that gasoline, oil, and water each belong in different parts of the car and to know what goes where.
  9. Ability to start a fire without using diesel or barbecue fluid
  10. Ability to jump start a car.
  11. Ability to wear a pair of pants that fit. Believe it or not its not appealing to see male boxers pulled up because the pants are halfway down your ass.
  12. The ability to wear a baseball cap in its natural, unlocked position. No one takes you seriously if you hat is at 20 degree offset to your nose.
  13. The absence of excessive amounts of metallic objects riveted onto their faces. I'm all for people expressing themselves but really, whenever I see a kid with a giant metal hoops in their septum I have to struggle with the temptation to give that hoop a tug. Its distracting.
  14. Ability to organise their schoolwork for the next day so that the entire household is not involved in a frantic search for their biology textbook 2 minutes before the bus leaves.

Give your kid a point for each affirmative answer.

  • 11-14 Congratulations! You can die now without any lingering concerns about the well being of your progeny.
  • 6-10 Make sure you have a will and a competent lawyer to execute. Your kids will struggle. Military school should be considered as an option.
  • 3-6 Pray that your kids marry a heiress. I'm not sure how good the benefit package is at Burger King.
  • 0-3 The spawn of your loins will only notice your stinking corpse when supper has not magically appeared on the table and repeated calls to your cell phone have gone unanswered. Pray that the country you live in has a good welfare and/or prison system.

I'm sure that over time this list and the ranking system will change. Suggestions will be greatly appreciated.


Disclaimer - I do not have any kids of my own so anyone who has kids gets my respect...and sympathy. It can't be an easy job. Further I have no professional qualifications of any sort related to child development - I'm merely remarking on what I see around me.

Aside -Interesting to see how much things haven't changed since Socrates' day. It leads me to believe that comparisons between generations are eternal. Notwithstanding that I can't resist making the comparison.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Its done. Early this morning the 3 Bali Bombers were executed by firing squad. The slow, ineluctable legal process leading towards their eventual capture, trial, sentencing, and death has reached an ending. Now that they are gone I can only hope that all the free press their friends and supporters are receiving will wither and die along with them.

The memories of this bombing have somewhat faded from my mind. I can remember driving past both clubs on my bike, deciding it was too crowded to stop, and continued on to the hard rock cafe. When the bombs went off I had initially thought it was a gas bottle explosion. Only when people started streaming towards the beach did I realise that it was something much more serious and sinister. I made my way back back to my cafe which was a few hundred metres from the bombsite. It was empty- the staff and guests had panicked and fled when they heard the explosion. My next stop was my kost. This had filled up over the last hour or so with a mix of foreigners and locals. I think we were all in shock, some people were crying and some, like me, were just numb. Most people were trying to call anyone they knew, looking for loved ones, and to reassure others that they too, were ok. Some tried to return to the site, only to be turned away by police. Many would have done more if they'd known what to do and how to do it.

The next few days saw it raining glass from the shop windows. Benesari street was covered with the stuff. In my cafe it was busy for a couple of days with people trying to arrange their trips home. Nobody was talking. The cleanup on Jalan Legian took years to complete - now there is a small memorial where Paddys used to be. Many of the witnesses have moved on - Kuta is like that - few stay for a long time.

In the grand scheme of things this sad episode counts for little. But for those who were there I hope that in some way they can put the events of 2002 behind them and put the Bali 3 from their hearts.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

some people never give up...

I don't know how these guys think up scams but I got this in my inbox today.

Based on your profile, l am happy to request for your assistance because I beleive that you are not going to betrayed the trust which I am going to lay on you Dear Beloved i pray all is well with you and Other members of your family. My name is Stella 20 years old and the only daughter of my late parents Mr.and Mrs Oliever, My father was a highly reputable busnness magnet-(a cocoa merchant) who operated in the capital of Ivory coast during his days. It is sad to say that he passed away mysteriously in France during one of his business trips abroad on 12th.November 2005.Though his sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been masterminded by an uncle of his who travelled with him at that time, but God knows the truth! My mother died when I was just 6 years old, and since then my father took me so special. Before the death of my Father on November 12th 2005 he called the secretary who accompanied him to the hospital and told her that he has the sum of(USD$17.5 000 000) Seventeen Milion five hundred thousand dollars left in a metalic trunk trunk box, wich he deposited in a Security Company here in abidjan, that he registered it as family valuable items for security reasons, he told the secretarythat I should contact the Company for them to know me as his next of kin wich I have did as he instructed, He also told the secretary that I should not let any of his relations to know about this because he was kiled by them and if they know about it, that they will do nothing but to kill me in other to take hold of every thing, He told her that Ishould seek for a foriegn partner abroad who will help me retreived the trunk box and also travel with him or her in other to continue my Live and Education and also to start a Bussines relationship with the person whom can take cear of me in the fucture, My dear, this is why I have come in contact with you in order to help me retreive that trunk box from the Security Companys custody and send it direct to your country and also to make an arrangement for me on how I will come over to your country in other to continue my Live and Education and also to go into bussines relationship with you hence I am still a child and I dont know any thing about bussines, I am just 20 years old and a university undergraduate and really don't know what to do. this is because I have suffered a lot of set backs as a result of incessant political crisis here in Ivory coast. The death of my father actually brought sorrowto my life, My dear, I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in this regards and your suggestions and ideas will be highly regarded. Now permit me to ask these few questions: 1. Can I completely trust you? 2.Can you accept me as your own blood Sister (Or Doughter)? 3.What percentage of the total amount in question will be good for you? Consider this and get back to me as soon as possible with your full assurance that you will not disapoint me in this issue so that i can give you the contact of the Security Company where my late Father deposited that trunk box for you to contactthem on how the trunk box will be retreived from their custody and deliver to your country, Thank you soo much for your understanding and may almighty God bless you and your Family to the Glory of God Almighty, My sincere regards, Miss Stalla.

How nice - a cocoa merchant. Usually its a relative of an ex nigerian oil minister. We are not messing aroung with numbered accounts either - straight on to a box full of cash. I actually a bit insulted that I was selected based on my profile. Excuse me but where in my profile does it say stupid and greedy? Anyways to answer your questions

1)You can trust me to forward this email to the relevant authorities.

2) I would not accept you as a sister or doughter (sic-the mis-spelling is a nice touch!) if you were the last woman in africa.

3) Ahh the heart of the con...this is where you appeal to my greedy nature isn't it? Sorry my dear but you will have to get this box out on your own - no customs clearing agent on earth will allow you to move money in a box. But wait. You will have discovered this as well and will suggest that an account be opened so that funds can be transferred into it....

Its always amazing that people still fall for this shit.

Enjoy your time in african prison whoever you are.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

5 Airports

5 Airports
4 security checks
2 baggage checks
5 crap airline meals
innumerable queues
2 hotels
2 departure/arrival cards
1 taxi

And I'll be home

Leave a light on.