Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Filling the bowl

I grew up in New Orleans so I thought I was pretty expert on avoiding living in places that will flood relentlessly once a single levee breaks, or a heavy rain falls.  Unfortunately I didn't think the current house through completely, we bought a house on the edge of a bowl.

The flood control plan for Houston was designed to protect downtown from Buffalo Bayou dumping all of it's water near it's delta near downtown.  They utilized two low areas near Katy, TX and channeled BB and several other streams into those low areas, then built a levee on the south edge with flood control structures that allow releasing water into BB.  That way all the water flows into these reservoirs (Barker and Addicks) during floods, and not straight into downtown.  The suburb of Katy grew, and they built neighborhoods around the edges of this reservoir (also George Bush Park), and at some point your idiot bought a house at the northern edge of this park.

Unfortunately, it's been raining relentlessly, without mercy for the past 4 days and that reservoir has filled until the water is only several feet below the top of the southern levee.  Even though the rain stopped long enough for the street flooding to go down and allow your intrepid author to escape up to Dallas, the rain, will not, freaking stop.  The poor people downstream of Buffalo Bayou are already flooding, and the only reason it's not full Katrina is local people and the Cajun Navy are out rescuing people in boats.  Meanwhile, I'm watching on facebook as street by street the neighborhood is submerging as the bowl fills.  Much more cold-blooded then the downstream folks, how much water we end up with depends on how full the dam holds, and how accurate the contour line on the topographical map really is.  At work, drilling horizontal wells +/- 2' is pretty accurate.  Here that accuracy will decide our fate.  (not so bad really, we're safe, put my in-laws on a plane this morning and the nightmare scenario of dragging my family on top of a toy inflatable boat to a rescue area didn't happen.)

Pray for Houston.  It's going to get much worse because so many people that have never flooded are going to flood, and the government isn't doing as much as it could.  (they should be convoying in every 2 1/2 ton truck in the southern USA to Texas,  I only saw one humvee during the entire exodus from Houston.

Monday, January 09, 2017

You're welcome, first draft

I've watched Moana a couple of times, and someone in the house learned to make Alexa
play songs from Moana (and Trolls).  Maui sounds so much like Obama when I hear him I see

Who has 2 thumbs and told the IRS to lie
When you were only yay high – This Guy

Who gave Iran $10 billion in cash and gold
Allowing the ayatollah to be bold, you’re looking at him yo!

I let our embassy burn, they killed our ambassador and I let
Libya turn.  I drew a red line in Syria, then let ‘em cross it so
More terrorists are near ya as they cross the sea.

What can I say except your welcome, for racial hatred and cities
that burn.  What can I say except your welcome, when I shit
on allies who for freedom yearn.

What can I say except you’re welcome, for ISIS that grows
Every day and are gonna make you pay.  What can I say except you’re
welcome, I think I’m great even though my feet are made of clay

I destroyed the healthcare and made it harder to get the care you need.
I freed al-Qaida from Guantanamo and smiled when they legalized weed.
I let Russia lead, gave up Crimea and planted the seed.
Of our destruction, our destruction.

Now it’s January 20th and I’m gonna take that boat, now it’s the end of my term,
And my only life skill is to gloat

You're Welcome

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Global Warming, the beach and risk

Barry Ritholz had a blurb on his blog asking people to lay down
a marker by buying coastal property if they thing AGW isn't
a real problem.
Several years ago we bought a condo on the beach in Florida.
I worry about hurricanes, and I've followed weather and hurricanes
since I could read and my father gave me a book on the history of
hurricanes by the corp of Engineers.  (around 1975)  One of things postulated
in that book and by Nash Roberts (famous New Orleans Hurricane guy)
is that hurricanes peak in 30 year cycles.  That cycle is probably related
to the PDO cycle, but meteorologists in the 70's didn't know about the
PDO cycle, Nash would say throughout my childhood that we were in the
low part of the cycle.  Things picked up in the 90's with Andrew, then
were roaring until 2008 and have pretty much stopped for the past 8 years.

We made a bet that the risk to owning a beach condo for the next 10 years
or so is pretty low due to low hurricane activity.   I also have a side bet with
someone who expects it to flood due to rising sea levels.   I know a little about
geology and know that barrier islands with active beaches should grow
if there is a source of sand and rising sea levels.  The real risk is that the beach
will grow so long that it will be too far to walk back to replenish beers.

The reality is that man has leveed the rivers so that most sediment is transported
too far offshore to be caught in the alongshore current, so beaches are eroding but
are being built up just as fast by the county dredging sand from offshore.

We'll probably look at selling in 3 or 4 years or maybe moving to a higher floor
or increasing our insurance, the hurricane activity should start ramping up then.
Sea level will continue to increase as it has for the past 200 years, rebounding from
the little ice age.  The answer to that problem will be less control of natural rivers,
accepting flooding in some areas (Mississippi Delta) to build land from sediment.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Slip sliding away

"Make myself response-able, only I can control how I respond."-Stephen Covey
"Measure twice, cut once"-Dad
"Be prepared to modify your plan" - Chinese Fortune cookie 4/22/04
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts". Winston Churchill
Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit-"The day will come when even this
ordeal will be a sweet thing to remember." -Virgil
"Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice. - Carl Spackler
"E pur si muove" - Gallileo
"Enjoy every sandwich." - Warren Zevon
"It is impossible to predict the future, the best we can do is to invent it" Dennis Gabor

Just some notes from my corporate profile at work.  Whenever I came
across a good quote that was apt for situation I'd paste it in there.
I think I was supposed to include more statements on how I'd shift
my paradigms to create two quarters for the company.  Anyway,
as of today, as they say in New Orleans I ain't dere no more, so I paste them
here until blogger deletes all of the blogs that don't make money.
(lightbulb - add some ads)

In theory if the oilfield comes back by the end of the year they will
rehire me.  I have my doubts.  Unless Saudi Arabia and Iran nuke
each other, we're in for several more years of downturn.  I don't think
economists take into account how much of the economy depends on
the energy industry.  Each well takes hundreds of tons of steel for
casing and tubing.  Mud, fluids and machined equipment for completions.
Wellheads.  Cabling.   Plus all of the equipment needed to drill the wells
and the associated service companies.

I'd bet that a big portion of the economic improvement since 2008 was
driven by the energy industry, and without it the economy will be on
a more Obama-like flat to decreasing trajectory.  The amount of oil needed
and the amount provided will parallel each other until the decline of
production finally brings us back to shortage.  Fortunately for the long
term viability of unconventional oil, the decline curve doesn't seem to be
as steep as it was claimed.  It appears that will take 4 or 5 years to get
back to 2008 production levels, which is bad for my employment prospects,
but good for the economic viability of shale wells.

Oh well.  I've seen enough to believe Virgil's words.  What seems like
tough times and hard things to get through, when you are 20 years older
seem sweet like new wine.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Horse Soldiers

I was just watching the Horse Soldiers with John Wayne.
it's a so-so John Wayne movie, I like it because I've heard about
it since I was young.   My father was a recruiter in Natchatoches, La
when that movie was made there in in the late 50's.  Because he was
the highest ranked (only) federal official, he had to be there to supervise
the filming on federal land.

He got to meet John Wayne at the location, and my dad pointed out
that the fencing all had barbed wire, but barbed wire wasn't invented
until after the civil war.  John Wayne said that 'people like you are
what make movies so expensive.'   But they added split rails to all
the fencing.  Some of it in the movie looks more like they just wired
some branches to the existing barbed wire to cover it up.

My dad did get to meet John Wayne again in town.  He needed to buy
a present for a son or nephew and my dad took him to the store where
they sold model toys and helped him find what he needed.
He was a down to earth kind of guy, no entourage or assistants needed.

My parents lived there in Natchotoches to have a few of my siblings there,
then moved up to Newfoundland Canada to have a few more.  It's really
beautiful there.  If I was going to live in Louisiana I'd live in Lafayette
just to get a good lunch every day, or in New Orleans if I could get an
apartment in the quarter, but Natchotoches would be a good backup
retirement spot.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Sum of all fears

I've said before on this blog that Tom Clancy was a little too
close to the truth in his novels.  I'm watching the Sum of all
Fears on TV, where they massacred the book and made the
bad guys some neo-nazi group instead of the islamofacist
group in the book.  I'm sure they changed that to be politically
correct, but it was a major mistake because if they had left it
as originally was told it would be a much more timely movie.

The attacks in Paris just happened in Paris 3 days ago, I'm guessing we'll
be seeing more of the same in Europe.  ISIS would be fools to
attack in the USA, we currently have a dope/inept/apologist in
charge, and if something major is tried before the election it would
sway events away from the inevitable Hillary towards one of the

Much more likely they are working on a deeper game or bigger
attack similar to the Sum of all Fears.  God protect us from smart

It really matters not a whit what the Republicans or Tea Party
think we should do to Isis.  At some point either the problem will
be fixed by the Europeans, or some terrible event will happen and
rest of the country will rise up and demand war to the knife.

Watching the videos of the president in Turkey today, he sounded
like the most inept high school debater in southern louisiana.  Even
CNN's Armenpour was talking about how inept he sounded.

I never expected to see Clancy's fictional presidents portrayed in
real life.  He had several presidents beyond reality in novels, and
each one was more venal than the last until Ryan took over.  The
current president is similar to a Tom Clancy character, likely
to get his comeuppance in the 3rd act.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Seasickness and other problems

I have a limited ability to travel by boat.  I set the record for shortest
time to being seasick on a crewboat when I walked onto one at the dock,
entered the crew area and smelled that crewboat smell of diesel/lysol/cleaned
vomit and turned around to puke on the dock.

My dad had an iron stomach (still getting used to writing that in the past
tense :( ).   When we were on lake Pontchartrain in his 14' aluminum boat
trying to catch shrimp in 4' waves I was already asking to go home and
he was focused on doubling our catch from one to two shrimp.  He told
us the story of when he was on the LST going from Morocco back to
New York they were in the tail end of a storm and the waves were the
same height as the wheelhouse.  The sailors were short handed and my
dad was one of he few people that could stand a watch so he stayed up
in the wheelhouse during the storm.  Even the captain had to turn and puke
in a bucket, but my dad stayed standing tall.

The LST made it's way to New York and they arrived at some ungodly
hour and were dumped off the ship.  The USO should have taken care of
them to get them some place to stay on liberty until they could draw pay,
but they were no help, a guy from the salvation army drove them from
brooklyn to manhatten and got them a place to stay.  My dad never supported
the USO after that.

He ended up being roped into working with shore patrol, paired with
a NYC police officer and had his nose broken in a bar fight.  He described
his nose as a Roman nose (it roams all over his face).  I look enough like
him that the priest stopped me on the way out of the church to say that it's good
that I got his looks and his other fine qualities, but I would never have the
guts to wade into a bar fight.