Sunday, July 29, 2007

Life on Mars

We're four months behind here in colombia for TV on HBO,
since we dont' have the real hbo, just hbo latino, hbo crap
and hbo crap east. They just started the Sopranos 3 weeks
ago, and they also started a new show called Life on Mars.

The main character is a police detective in Northern england
who gets hit by a car and ends up in a coma. He seems to wake
up back in 1973, he seems to be just halucinating, it's hard to tell
if it's all a dream or he's somehow time traveling.

It's cool to see the clothes, cars and science of 1973 laid out by
a person from the future. I'm glad to see that as the sopranos
ends, HBO keeps creating shows that are original and well done.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Economics, Bubba and the downfall of Chavez

There's an interesting article in the NYtimes today detailing
how Venezuela's PDVSA can't stop declining production because
they can't get enough drilling rigs after chavez declared that
all Energy Service Companies have to donate 10% of the contract's
value to social projects within Venezuela.

It's interesting because even after Chavez nationalized foreign
oil companies assets, or raised the royalty that he required the
IOC's (international oil companies) to pay, he can still get some
idiot gringo oil companies to pay to play in venezuela along with
the chinese, russians and Iranians.

He can even get most energy service companies to work in venezuela.
What he can't get are the true Bubba's, the roughnecks that run
the rigs, to bring more rigs so that more drilling can be done and
production increased. I would bet that it's not just the 10% poor tax
that is keeping the rigs away, but the fear that chavez will nationalize
the rigs once they are in Venezuela that keeps them away.

So now we're in a race against time, if the chinese can build more drilling
rigs and bring them to venezuela before Chavez gets run out of caracas
on a rail, then chavez will be there for the next 50 years and his clones
will keep going long after that. If he can't beg, borrow or steal enough rigs,
then production will keep going down and chavez will have to retire to
panama or Iran.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Protests in Bogota - Quiero la paz

There were protests in Bogota last thursday
against los FARC, triggered by los FARC
murdering 11 politicians who were hostages
for the past 5 years. I took this picture with
the cameraphone, I was trying to show the
people streaming out of the offices down
to Septima, and the toilet paper and confetti
that was streaming out of the higher floors
of the buildings.

Everyone was in white shirts and waving
white rags or flags to show los FARC that
the people want peace and no more hostage
taking. [ I wish they had chosen Colombian
flags instead, waving little white flags made
it look like the whole country was surrendering.]

It was a good effort, but I don't think protests
like this will impress los FARC. People that
can kill hostages in cold blood that they've kept for 5 years have no humanity
left to be impressed with.

It's interesting that the press in Colombia didn't even dispute the story
when it came out, los FARC is claiming that the hostages were killed
in a cross fire with Army troops. Since it's pretty obvious that 11 people
kept in seperate cells don't get killed at the same time due to crossfire
the official story is easy to believe. I'm sure in the US the press would have
immediately believed los FARC instead.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

happy 4th of July

Lileks has a visit to a fireworks stand up on which reminded
me of my unsuccessful stint working on a fireworks stand. One christmas
break in school I was only living off of my air national guard monthy
paycheck and GI bill ($250 total) Since school was closed my student job was closed
too, and it turns out that if you don't work they deliver no checks.

I needed some beer and food money, so I called a number on a flyer
for "do you want to make money" and it turned out to be a fireworks
stand down in Prairieville, which is about 30 minutes south of LSU and
is only otherwise famous for the titty bar 'Suthern Cumforts'.
I went down and interviewed (I don't remember if I wore a tie) and
I got the job, with $100 guarenteed plus a possible bonus if I sold well
working the two weekends before new year's eve.

Since the main determinant of success seemed to be whether you were
crusty, tattoed and smoked half a carton of marlboro reds in the box per day, I was
not successful. The crusty old carnies had no problem lying to kids,
mothers with kids, parents with grandparents holding american flags,
they would say anything to anyone to push the fireworks off the shelves.

My sales pitch ended with me telling the truth of what I thought of each
item, eg, that tank just fizzes and pops, it really doesn't do much.
apparently 20 year old catholic boys don't do well at that sort of thing...
(I'd probably sell the shit out that stuff now). The second weekend ended
and I had worked 4 - 12 hour days for total earnings of a crisp new $100 bill...
even with my shitty sales techniques I had sold at least $2k worth of
crap, I felt like I had been robbed.

What made up for my being violated was the owner let us shoot off about $5k worth of stuff before we closed down, which was certainly the best fireworks show I've ever participated
in. The cannons boomed, rockets swished and M-80's banged as we fought
our own little war, with the only witnesses being the traffic on Airline Highway
and the titty dancers from Suthern Kumforts.