Our Christmas tree, and I didn’t even have to help put it together

December for me usually just means it’s freezing cold and I’m in Midland for the holidays. Now that I’m living here for who knows how long until the Navy lets me figure out my future, I have just kind of faded into this month — there aren’t any finals or big parties to announce it at school, and now this is my life. I try not to hate on Midland too much (oh wait, no I don’t), but last Thursday I think everything finally got to me. I was having one of those days where you just think “how much more of this can I take”, and it was compounded by the frustrations of the preceding days. As well, not knowing what is going on in my life is really hard when I can barely afford my student loans, my job was supposed to be temporary, and I have to be here just in a holding pattern until I find out.

I’m a gangster, or an oil field worker sick of dust.

So, on this Thursday I managed to get H2S gassed pretty good and lost my breakfast from the stuff (it makes me really sick to my stomach, for some reason; my dad shrugged this off like I was just weak, but whatever). And then the next unit I went to had yellow jackets inside the panel, meaning as soon as I opened it they got completely pissed. I tried to go back to it to close it, but they were too angry, leading me to have to wrap up in every piece of winter clothes I could find to try to protect myself to go in for a quick run and get my ladder back and get the unit sealed up. I managed to do it, though I did get stung and was covered in them when I was scrambling to get into my truck. Just not a fan of these things. So they next unit I go to — same deal, full of yellow jackets. And this is the day that I ran out of wasp spray while I was spraying them. Not a very good situation to be in, trust me. Basically, the whole day turned out to be a complete bust and I was driving home just thinking about how I didn’t want to go home, but I didn’t want to be at work, but I had to do both things in one day.

The most exciting thing of the week: I got lost in the field and found the remains of Hobbs AFB, complete with old plane parts and grown up runways.

Somehow the day ended and things were better the next day. The wind had died down so I didn’t need a bandanna to keep from choking on the dust, and it was strangely something like 85 degrees. Some December this is turning out to be. I know because I said this we’ll have record cold temperatures now. I even spent some time at my brother’s and played some video games, which was nice for a change. Yes, this is about as close to going out as I get lately.

I’m excited for people I like coming into town for a few days. Change things up and refresh my sanity. I’m also hopeful that this coming week I will find out what the Navy will do with me so I can know for sure where I’m going, when I’m going, and what I’m doing. I need something to look forward to, and these are the two things that keep me going. I also need some structure that isn’t this structure. That is my hope on the horizon.

Sweet, Sweet Justice

Here's what New Mexico wants you to think New Mexico looks like.

New Mexico sucks. Honestly, I don’t see why they made a New Mexico when the Old Mexico was bad enough as it is. Nearly everyone will tell you that it sucks, especially Texans. (Everything just seems smaller there — I don’t get it!) I’ve recently remarked on my twitter that when you live a bad life and do bad things and die, you don’t go to hell, you just go to Jal, New Mexico. (The town’s slogan is “LIVING IN JAL, NM”. I think this was all they could attribute to Jal — people do indeed live there. Though “DYING IN JAL, NM” might be equally appropriate.)

I think that the constant 65 MPH winds are a good start to why it sucks, but you need to combine that with the desolate wasteland and the dust to get a better picture. The worst problem is that New Mexico apparently has the world’s slowest speed limits and the most highway patrol cars in the world. Some highways in the oilfield are, get this, 45 MPH though most are a somewhat more palatable 55 MPH (which is still slower than the damn wind).

Here's what New Mexico actually looks like.

So, I really don’t mind speeding and going ten over or whatever. People who know me know that I drive offensively rather than defensively because defense doesn’t win football games so obviously it doesn’t win life either. But, right now because I have the Navy review boards going on, I absolutely can’t get a ticket or this could set everything months behind. It’s such a huge hassle to deal with a ticket in the military (seriously, why are there so many forms?) that I would do whatever it takes to avoid getting one. This means actually following speed limits that are so impractical and awful that no one besides myself will even consider obeying.

Usually, this entails that the drivers will  just pass you since there’s hardly ever any turns anyway and the possibility of a hill is also pretty remote (though there are a few here and there). I don’t mind this: if I was in a hurry I would go the Texas style minimum of 70 MPH and just say I forgot I was in New Mexico because it’s just a little worse looking than West Texas. So, that’s fine with me. However, what I do mind is when people are pissed off about me going the speed limit. If you have to pass, don’t tailgate me and then stare at me like I’m an idiot when you pass. That’s frustrating but I deal with it.

But today some tool (a Texan tool, sadly) was tailgating me in a 55 MPH when he was obviously trying to go 75 MPH. When he finally passed (in the middle of an open nowhere, so it wasn’t a big deal anyway), he not only stared at me but flipped me off. I considered speeding up and not letting him pass, or cutting him off right as a 50 foot bridge came up and he would hurl off the side of it in a fiery explosion ala an early ’90s action movie… but I contained myself and just let him do his thing like an adult. But I was still angry. That jerk.

I drove off with a smug satisfaction. Thanks for fixing this one God!

So I continued to drive and passed through Jal on Highway 18 and on my way out, who do I see on the side of the road? The truck that flipped me off and he was getting a ticket for speeding. I laughed some sadistic, insane laugh and started shouting “yes, yes!” because I was so happy at seeing this. Of course, when I drove by, I slowed down and honked so the driver saw me and my huge smile.

Enjoy the ticket, you dick.

This Town or This Weather

This field is a good summary of my life right now.

I’m not sure which it is, to be honest. I’ve been feeling sick, kind of foggy for the last few days (weeks?) and it’s just not going away. I think partly because I do the same thing day in and day out and that it’s actually a pretty tiring routine, but I think it’s also something to do with the weather, random illness, sorcery, and living in Midland. All of this combined has left me at a blank and sometimes I feel like this blog is the only connection I have to those random stories and ideas that are in my head. I contemplated doing movie reviews of all the movies I watch — I watch a lot of them, let that be known. But, in the end, I scrapped my review of Dead Snow (it’s a movie about Nazi zombies, so basically it’s the best movie created) and wondered what the hell is this blog for? Who is reading it? Originally this way to post my day-to-day crap, but right now I’m not really emo or really happy or anything. It’s just been uneventful.

If anything, this is a good stress relief and so I think I’ll try to post my random daily thoughts even though they are just kind of average events. Maybe when I look back on this in five years I’ll have some sort of emotion towards it one way or another.

Thanksgiving is coming up and my mom is worrying about the logistics of it. I’m just thankful we don’t have turkey like everyone else. We’re doing steaks, which is the Texas way of saying we’re awesome. Usually at this time I’m at Trinity hating myself over midterms, but right now I just get to go to New Mexico and do oil field stuff. It’s a lot less stressful, though I find there are advantages to being in a warm dorm room complaining to the guys about schoolwork when you’re outside in the blowing dust and the cold. Makes you get quick at getting things done though. Today I ate some leftover Chinese food that I warmed up on my dash. I think I’m starting to get into this oil field gig, which may be good or bad, depending on how you look at it.

12 year olds scream that I suck. And I do. But at least I'm not 12, you little shits.

I haven’t been doing much new besides work. I’ve played some more Call of Duty Black Ops, which is the most infuriating game that makes me want to go strangle the 12 year old players who apparently do nothing except play video games all day long. I’ve already broken a controller. I picked up the new Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and the new Need for Speed Hot Pursuit (Gamestop must really love the thousands of dollars I’ve pumped into them over the years). But, I’m writing this instead of playing them. Like I said, I have a video game collecting problem, not a video game playing problem. I’ll get around to them this weekend. But, at the same time, I really need to spend more time at the gym. I’ve been getting home late (or getting home early and taking naps) and that’s cut into my daily gym time. The results are pretty good still and everyone has been complimenting me on my progress, but I guess I want more. I only ran 5 miles and biked 10 miles, which is decisively less than I want to. I know that sounds like a lot, but I need to do more. There’s no goal really, I just want to push myself. I know that when I ship out I will be unprepared regardless of what I do, but having an edge physically will be helpful. Or it can’t hurt.

So, there you go. That’s me for right now.

6 August 2008

As of Tuesday at 5 AM I was assigned to be a cameraman for reality series pilot episode about ranchers in New Mexico.

As you can probably imagine, I’m trapped in New Mexico until either late tomorrow or Friday.

There’s little to no cell service (I have to be in a certain position in the room to use it) and the internet is more on par with a 28k; it drops out every 30 seconds to 2 minutes. (Also, I wish the toilets worked…)

Last night I went to bed at midnight getting home from a shoot, and then got up at 3AM just hours later to go back and start shooting more. I’m beyond tired.

11 August 2003

Welcome to New Mexico. And apparently welcome to 2022, according to my time stamp.

Amazingly, to look at the Porsche we had to go through New Mexico. Beautiful there; mountains — I’ve never seen any before in my life. Lots of big trees and ear popping going on. Managed to get to 10K feet on the mountain. The Porsche looks good and I think I should have it in the garage very, very shortly, but it’s not 100% certain. Hrm, well I’m pretty tired.