Sunday, December 20, 2009

Orchard Road Girl Reindeers

If you haven't seen Singapore around Christmas time its certainly worth a visit. Head down to Orchard road for the visual spectacle. This is the  holy grail of commercialism - soak it up!

I was here for a day or two to pick up a visa. Its very popular place for tourists and singaporeans alike. There were a lot of people taking pictures today. Hard to get a clean shot in.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Dilbert Moment

Our company has a lot of really clever people working for it. They hang out in a group called operations support whose job it is to take questions/problems from the field and come up with new ideas, workarounds, or solutions to these questions/problems. There is in fact a website dedicated to this process and you can follow the status of your problems as they work their way through the system. Generally it works pretty well and makes for some interesting reading.
So much by way of introduction. A while back I had been asked by  sales what limits there were on the weight of a tool string that could be effectively picked up on a piece of cable (sorry here is where stuff starts to get a bit technical). Most our documentation (and industry for that matter) deals with safe working loads and failure loads under static or near static condition. We can design a tensile weak point to pull out at 10000 lbs give or take a few pounds due to statistics and temperature. The same weak point can be pulled to say 7000 lb a million times reliably without ever experiencing a failure. In light of this it was suggested that for this application we could put a 7000 lb weight on this cable with no issues right?
Well not really.
The dynamics of moving that cable up and down in a wellbore haven't been taken into consideration. F=ma and all that. In other words by suddenly stopping a cable with a large weight on the end of it may exceed our 10000 LB weak point limit. And that means our million dollar tool falls off the cable and we would look like dorks for suggesting that we run a tool that size on cable in the first place.
Problem is we haven't done any research into this, so in terms of what accelerations (and hence stresses) that could reasonably expected, we have no data. And herein lies my Dilbert moment. I simply requested the support group (smart types PhDs physicist etc...) if there were any published guidelines for weak point selection given the uncertainties in stresses on the weak point due to accelerations.
Then I sat back and waited
and waited
and waited...
A few months later I got the response that, as of now, I am the caseworker for this little problem. Huh? Well excuse me. I did not submit a project study request. I submitted a technical action request. There is a difference. Really, if the company wanted me to set out policy I'm all for it. But we have people in place to do this sort of stuff. I don't have a 1000m test well and a spool of wireline in my backyard. And I can't ask the lady at the warung if she happens to have some accelerometers and a data recording system (fun to try tho...).
Today I received noticed that this request had been in the system too long and that I needed to finish it.
Hence the cartoon.
Isn't it fun to ask questions and draft your own responses?
Who knew problem resolution could be so easy?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Geriatric Menace

You see them everywhere, dressed in their worn Pecis and tattered Kebayas.



Wandering around menacingly with firewood strapped to their back...

Squatting by the roadside with kreteks stuck to their lips. Casing out their opportunities.

Motionless as snakes waiting to strike.

You know who I'm talking about. It's those nasty old people. Just the other day one was arrested for stealing a bunch of bananas. That’s right an ENTIRE BUNCH! A few weeks ago it was cocoa pods. Three of 'em! And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I'm telling you now the police and government here really need to do more to protect the wealthy in this country. It's truly a crime when such wanton pilferage is allowed to go unchecked. And how can the people expect the police to catch the big fish if the little ones are allowed to flout the law? An example needs to be made.

The miscreant in this banana theft is no stranger to thievery. Only a few years earlier he had stolen a chicken for some nefarious purpose. They should have thrown the book at him then. Instead the softies in the justice system let him back on the street and voila, a banana tree has been mercilessly separated from her fruit. Now apologists will try to engender sympathy for this crook by pointing out that he is old and half blind. That’s just what these types of thieves want you to think. Don't mind us old folks. We are just doddering around here here mind'n our own business - next thing you know your mango tree has one less mango.

I'm getting a dog. A big one

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Road Warrior

5:00 AM

Three cups of strong black coffee.
 A bowl of oatmeal mixed with bananas and brown sugar.

I am probably more awake now then I will be all day. I need to be. Strap on some shoes and head down to where the Tiger is parked. A few turns of the starter and she comes alive, purring softly in anticipation. I feel a cool hardness transform my persona. As lower my helm my over my head mild mannered PJ no longer exists. I have become the Road Warrior.

As the Road Warrior I join thousands of like minded individuals who partake in the daily death race up the bypass from Kerobokan to Jimbaran. Their welcoming cacophony greets me as I join their fraternity: the hoover of the Mios and Varios, the purr of the Tigers and Vixions, and the occasional deep rumble of the Harleys.

As road warriors we share the same mission - to get ahead of the other guy by any means possible.

Bali is probably one of the few places on earth where motorists accelerate while approaching a red light. It’s important to remember that driving here is competitive, and you can still progress while the light is red by squeezing ahead of the other guy. Suspend any sort of altruistic notions that you may ever have entertained in you life. No gap is too narrow. If you can get your nose into it you are in. Signal lights? Use ‘em as decoys to confuse potential overtakers. Lanes? Mere references - not to be taken seriously – make your own. Cars? Think of them as moving hazards or as poles in a slalom course. The ends here justify any and all means and the ends here means the front of the queue.

Of course this type of temperament is not without cost. Accidents are common on the battlefield. Many a road warrior bears the scars of the asphalt’s tarry embrace. And today, like every day at one or two will join that big bypass in the sky, victims of their own or their neighbor’s recklessness. Still apart from a few signboards advising warriors to wear helmets and slow down little has been done to change the attitude of most warriors from that of indifference to their fate.

Easing into Udayana I can slowly relax and release the death grip on the handlebars. My pulse gradually drops below 300 as the adrenalin dissipates in my blood. The road is narrower here which means less traffic and less places for other warriors to surprise you with sudden turns, stops, and starts. The air is cooler as well and I cautiously raise my visor to get a taste of it. At that moment a truck pulls out in from of me engulfing all of us in black exhaust so heavy that I have to shower it off.


There will always be one last truck.