Friday, March 20, 2020

Storm Clouds

The wind outside is whistling, a storm front just passed though this morning.  It feels like we are waiting for a hurricane because my wife went to the store and bought cereal and other junk that we dont normally eat.  The stores are running low on food, with a hurricane this wouldn't be a problem, the storm would pass and if we dont get flooded or blown down things return to normal pretty.quickly.  it will be at least 3 weeks before this ends, and we will be eating ramen noodles after a week or so.   I am kind of worried about looters coming out of houston, looking to steal my noodles.  With limited food and limited money things could turn bad pretty quickly.  If I am unprepared for a month long siege, the people with no money will be totally blindsided.  How they react will shape the outcome of this problem...will it be a long work at home vacation eating a lot of carbs, or will it turn into a mad max scenario.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

bed of Procustes

One of the books I am reading is NNT's Bed of Procustes, which is a book of aphorisms.  Some of them are just decent advice. Others are like a punch in the gut.  It is pretty easy why he says to read just 4 at a time.

"Procrastination is the soul rebelling against entrapment."

"Decline starts with the replacement of dreams with memories and ends with the replacement of memories with other memories."

"In your prayers substitute “Protect us from evil” with “Protect us from those who improve things for a salary.”

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Primary election time

For the first time since Ross Perot ran for president I got involved in a political campaign.  I went out door knocking for Wesley Hunt for congress, and he won the primary.  Luckily he won with 60% of the vote so he won't have to do a runoff campaign, and I won't have to knock on more doors for a few weeks. 

His opponents were a feckless bunch.  To pick who I was going to support I went with straight ageism.  No one who's been in Houston politics before Harvey, or before Culbertson lost reelection.  Candidates saying "I've been in Houston politics since the '90's, and I know how the system works" would have been appealing to me in the past, now it tells me they were part of a big failure.  Before they completely rebuilt 30 miles of I-10 over 10 years, someone suggested digging a cut and cover tunnel underneath for an emergency water route to the bay.  Someone said no.  I would veto anyone in politics in the 90's just to avoid an ijit that made a decision like that.  Not much extra cost, no extra time and inconvenience...flooding prevention solved and extra traffic lanes for free.

One candidate kept harping on how she was involved in local politics and previous congressional primaries.  Before 2018, Culbertson won every primary with a 90% margin, then lost the general election.  Anyone claiming great experience from that debacle should hide in shame, not crow about it.

Then I eliminated the noble, but crummy politicians.   I often have supported the noble people who if you just look past the lack of public speaking ability, good looks and charm, they would be excellent leaders.  (eg, Ross Perot, but if we had elected him, most of the problems we currently face would have been avoided.  China virus, al Qaeda, etc).  We need more than good ideas, we need the smart good looking people on our side for once.

Then I tried to engage the candidates on twitter, looked at their backgrounds, and I went to the debate.  Wesley Hunt mopped the floor with the other candidates so thoroughly that it looked like the other candidates were woken up from a deep sleep and thrown on stage to debate.

I'm not sure how door knocking will work in a general election.  I knocked on around 600 doors, spoke to around 50-60 humans that are registered republicans.  3 or 4 times the address had changed and a democrat opened the door, and responded with a door slam or a mean comment.  I don't see any way to convince people on the other side.  They are playing a different movie in their heads, with different views of reality.

Anyway, onward, upward, to victory!

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.