Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sh*t my wife says II

It's always good to think about alternative solutions to your problems.  For instance -
"I have a headache.  I don't know if I should take an aspirin or have a beer."  
I'll let you guess which one she picked.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Running of the Bulls in New Orleans: Dancing, Limbo, and General Madness

I've never been to the actual running of the bulls in Spain, but I'd imagine it would involve a whole lot of "Oh f*ck!" and "Somebody get that hombre to a hospital." type of moments.  There's something to be said for trading a dozen 2,000 pound animals with pointy horns for this:   

The 2011 Festival de San Fermin en Nueva Orleans had something like 400 roller derby girls released into an estimated crowd of 10,000 people.  Though probably not as dangerous as a pissed off bull, these ladies really knew how to beat some ass (literally) with their plastic baseball bats.  This year was bigger and better organized than in the past and it needs to keep going and growing.  Until we can all get to Pamplona, I'm sure there are a lot of people happy with their wiffle bat welts.     

Dancing, limbo, ...and general madness
I'm getting one of these for my back yard...
I call this picture "Impending Faceplant"
Admit it - you're aroused. 
Because bulls hate LSU...
I used to say I wanted to die in a skydiving accident as a very old man.  This takes a close second. 
"Why are all these people interrupting drum practice?"
A slightly different crop of this picture, and you'd think he was riding a real bull. 
"Someday, Timmy, you can be drunk and running from costumed girls on roller skates at 8 in the morning, too.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dandelion Wine, Dark Pictures

I had just finished reading Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine before we closed out our night with a long walk through dark, hilly parts of the city that I scarcely knew existed.  The mood was extremely fitting with Bradbury's descriptions of night passages through blackened ravines.  Good book.  Good night.  Good friends.  Good memories.  

For you photo nerds - This was the first time I'd ever cranked the ISO up to 25600, f1.4, unsteadily handheld for 1/8th of a second, manual focus.  I.e. it was dark as hell.  

Monday, July 11, 2011

So I am an uncle

I wrote a couple of these posts many moons ago, when the reality of this seemed so far off.  In mid April, my sister released a 10lb 3oz monster into the world.  On July 1st, I finally got to meet him for the first time.  This is Noah.  He's a baby that likes to do baby stuff.  Eat, sleep, poop, spit up, attempt to roll over.  His developing brain still doesn't understand its place in the world, but that's okay, neither does mine.  Eventually, he'll graduate from spitting up on the carpet to tying his shoes.  He'll play golf, cause adolescent trouble, go to college, and have a crush on a girl.  He'll see things we'll never see.  Some day he'll be an old man -- eating, sleeping, pooping, spitting up, attempting to roll over.

Welcome to the world, Noah.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Are you ready for the bulls?

One of my favorite New Orleans events is merely hours away.  While some day I'd like to run with the actual bulls in Pamplona, this will have to do for now.  Early morning beverages, Elvis impersonators everywhere, roller derby girls ready to spank everybody in sight - how could this ever not be fun?

A few pictures from last year's Festival de San Fermin, Nueva Orleans.  Look out for pics from 2011 soon.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tomorrow is my last day

View from my first office
Tomorrow is my last day.  It seems so weird to hear that I'll say it again.  Tomorrow is my last day.  Sometimes we go into things with one idea, one frame of mind, and we have no idea what will end up happening.  What I've come to believe after a ton of reading and conversations is that it's not always a bad thing to change course, to cause a little chaos in an otherwise comfortable existence.  Through change and challenge, we encounter opportunities to learn and grow as people.  But we mustn't forget to reflect on and show appreciation for the things we've picked up along the way.  Tomorrow is my last day, but I'm thankful for a lot of what I've experienced because of my company over the last four years.

I'm thankful for all of the interesting people I've met.  When I started my first role, I was the youngest person in the entire region, and one of my first experiences was watching an old coon-ass throw rocks at an alligator.  When I started my second role, I was the only northerner in my building.  Mixing a yankee social liberal in with southern conservatives can lead to some interesting conversations.  All in all, I got a chance to meet and work with everybody from truck drivers to company presidents, to see the good and the bad, the smart and the slow, the pleasant and the perpetually pissed off.  The lesson here:  be as genuine as you can and give everybody a chance.  Some of the best people come from where you'd least expect.

I'm thankful for the experiences I've had.  I've taken helicopter rides to offshore platforms.  I've walked inside and on top of tanks that hold 100,000 barrels of oil.  I've seen modern control rooms, platinum catalyst, and sulfur spewing onto the ground.  I've given presentations to hundreds of people and I've gotten praise for writing that's gone around the world.  Every job comes with its ups and downs.  When I leave, the ups will stand much more vividly in my memory.

I'm thankful that I was brought to New Orleans.  I'd never been here before I accepted the job.  A year and a half after Katrina, I moved away from the city I'd known all my life into a great unknown that I'd only seen on the news.  That's how most people still know it.  But beneath the tragic stories, corrupt politicians, and eternal partying, it's a place that has had a sizable role in our history, it's been a gathering point for artists, writers, and musicians, and it's been the locus of some of the highest highs and lowest lows that can be experienced.  Tomorrow probably wouldn't be my last day anywhere if it weren't for the backdrops and people of this city.

I'm thankful for the support.  The financial support that comes from working for an oil company is self explanatory.  The support that is given to allow a hollow kid right out of college to change into something of a responsible contributor is more difficult to understand.  I've been fortunate to work with some great peers and a great boss that have pushed me further than I could have gotten on my own.  Even on my way out, there's more encouragement and faith in me than I would have expected.

Tomorrow is my last day.  So long, old life.  Thanks for everything.