Sunday, September 30, 2012

Winter Gate Guarding

I am loathe to pass on rumors or gossip. However, you folks contemplating coming south for a gate guard position should make sure you have a position secured. This applies anytime, but especially this year. The election year has the exploration companies in a wait and see mode. Natural gas is being burned off due to lack of storage space and LOW prices. Deer and other hunts are also about to start. (A lot of land owners make more money off of guided hunts than from oil royalties).A trend has also emerged where gate guards are omitted from the contracts between the land owners and the exploration companies.The thought being that money can be saved up to and until a land owner demands guards. I guess all the legalese has to be worked out about that. Additionally we have witnessed several fracking companies using their own personnel for gate guards. Our field superintendent has said that any lag time between events on a lease will result in the guards being released. For example, they won't be leaving us on the gate in between drilling and fracking or fracking to completion. Right now, things are in a very SLOW mode and we have guards parked and waiting. Make sure you have a place to wait, if it becomes necessary, along with the funds to do so. We have experienced "log jams" down here before. This is just a word to the wise!

No more @#$%#$ Alarms!!

We were released from our gate yesterday. It was expected and we have been on gates since June, so a break was in order. We have found a very quiet RV park to "veg" in for a few days. My hound got me up, as is his custom, at 0630 this morning. I took him and Ellie for a quick walk and then crawled back in bed. We worked extremely hard yesterday packing everything up, plus we had the added chore of cleaning the rental trailer. Also everything of ours that was in the rental trailer had to be moved back into our coach. We were tired, to say the least, and I ended up sleeping till almost 0900. I never do that! It occurred to me that the alarms aren't going off and we're not having to get up and check people in. Yaaay; what a simple pleasure to enjoy!

A point to ponder: An FBI agent named Robert (Bob) Levinson remains a hostage somewhere in the Middle East. As I have repeatedly said NO ONE is our ally over their and I hope more and more patriots will take up that mantra. I also said somewhere because it appears he is not in lovely Iran, where he (and countless others) have been kidnapped. Entreaties to Ahmadinejad, the thug that runs the country, have had little effect. Information gleaned out of the talks repeatedly leads us to our old pals in (guess where kids!) Pakistan. Can you repeat the mantra? Anyway keep him in your thoughts and prayers. This man has been held since 2007 and he should not be forgotten.

The song in my head today is "Shades of Gray" by Robert Earl Keen. I almost hate to admit it, but "The Rain, the Park and Other Things" by the Cowsills also was rattling around in there earlier this week. What can I say...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ups and Downs

We have taken a site from spud to production for the first time since we started gate guarding. We usually follow a rig, so we never got to “enjoy” fracking , completion work or flow back. It’s downright comfortable out here now; especially on these 60 degree mornings. Two weeks or so ago; not so much. We had facility construction; pipeline work, fracking and a rig move all going on at the same time in the 100 degree plus heat. The dust also was beyond horrendous, with both visibility and breathing severely hampered. For the first time are resolve to conduct our daily duties was sorely tested. We made endless entreaties to various officials for the road to be watered down, with mixed results. I did better on my own, wandering out to the end of the lease road and waving down a vacuum truck. I’d bribe him with a cold drink. Anyway, we have been warned that our days on this little piece of lease land seem to be numbered. We just enjoy the limited traffic and keep our mouths shut. If and when someone comes and relieves us that’ll be fine as we are ready for a day or two off.
Some reflections:
I didn’t mind replacement officials in the NFL until they started losing control of the game. I could handle a missed call now and then (even the regular officials do that); but when it affects the flow and outcome of the game?
Libya now says it has a suspect in mind in regards to the attack on our Consulate. Problem is they are afraid to confront this individual for fear that it might provoke a conflict that they would probably lose. Seems the radicals are better armed and equipped than the ad hoc government in that part of the world. I shudder to think what might happen if we ever try to eradicate these folks.
Move along everybody. The non story that was this election is over. The news outlets would have you believe that the election is a done deal. Obama has out earned and out spent Romney so the position has been bought and paid for. Now the propaganda machines have kicked in and are spewing out polls showing that Romney is behind in every category you can imagine. Most polls are keeping the percentiles close to make it interesting.
IMHO folks that sit outside stores hoping to obtain the latest gadget must have a screw loose. Especially when you consider that same item will soon be readily available at a cheaper price. All you techies out there please refrain from sending me hate mail.

I wrote this a week ago (long before the debacle with Green Bay and Seattle). Since then the real refs have come back, and we were released from our gate. Also; are you ready for this?, the motorhome was completed!! I am so grateful for all the support we got from so many folks while we went through this ordeal.    As a final "twist to the screw" the mechanic squeezed us for over a thousand dollars before he would let us have the coach. Needless to say, I have little good to say about this mechanic.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rants & Raves

I have had connectivity problems with the internet and a power supply problem with my laptop that has made blogging near impossible. I can get e-mail on my phone; but replying using that tiny keyboard is nigh impossible for me. Hopefully some of you have noticed my lack of output. Sorry.
The never ending saga with the motorhome continues. Deadlines have repeatedly been missed and it still sits in the shop. I offered to hire a mechanic to help the guy get it done and he took offense. Apparently he is going to make up a bill for the hours worked and part(s) expense and leave it to me to complete. I have a mechanic coming in Monday, so we will see what happens.
What can I say about the Middle East? Days after the slaughter of our Ambassador in Libya, I still find it hard to watch reports about it. Some of my readers know of my experience as an Embassy Guard while serving in the Marines. The Marines have the unique and privileged task of protecting our diplomats throughout the world. Only the very best get through the rigorous training and screening required to perform this duty. The land that the consulates and embassies occupy is considered American soil and the host country is expected to treat it as such. I have worked with diplomats and am intimately familiar on how the Foreign Service conducts its business. Unfortunately; (and I am not sure why), there was no Marine Security Guard detachment at this consulate. Only a couple of former special operators (that means Seals, Delta Force, Green Berets, etc.) where there serving as RSO’s (regional security officers). Standard protocol during an imminent breach of one of our outposts is to destroy sensitive and/or classified material by burning it. Our Ambassador had made sure that everyone was as secure as possible in the annex, while he and the RSO’s performed this task. Details are still coming in; but, apparently one of the RSO’s made it out and bravely returned when he realized the Ambassador was still inside. All of them lost their lives and the remaining personnel spent over four long hours waiting for rescue in the annex. Libya would have us believe that this was just an unruly mob. They explain away the automatic weapons, explosives and rocket launchers as items commonly found in any household in Libya. Let’s also not forget the organization and logistics involved in such an operation. Can somebody say Al Qaeda out there? Shortly afterwards the American Embassy was breached in Yemen. They didn’t get inside, but did prodigious amounts of damage to the outside and to vehicles in the motor pool. More chaos and rioting occurred all over the Middle East. All this supposedly spawned by a movie ridiculing the prophet Mohammad. I have a hard time understanding a religion that advocates and supports the killing of infidels (that’s non Muslims like me) and the destruction of property. It’s even harder to understand folks following these maniacs. What especially galls me is the amount of foreign aid we shower on these folks. And this is how we are treated! Anyone know where we can get some bucks to ease our debt and financial crisis...? I may be simplistic, but if they don’t want us there-why do we stay? At the very least, Libya’s diplomats should be booted out of the US and our foreign spending should be scrutinized; especially in the Middle East. That would be a minor nod to the legacy of some very brave diplomats and patriots.

Blowing in the Wind

Peter, Paul and Mary had a hit in the turbulent sixties called “Blowing in the Wind”. If you’ve never heard of it; (I’m showing my age here), that’s too bad. Peter, Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger, The Smothers Brothers, et all led the way in protesting the Vietnam conflict. Now we are involved in another seemingly endless conflict in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and a host of Emirates, Pakistan…you name it. Oh sorry! Did I offend someone by mentioning our “so called” allies in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan? In any other scenario, the hold that Saudi Arabia and others have on us with their oil reserves would be called extortion. By the way, you haven’t seen them backing our play in the Middle East, have you? And if you think some high ranking folks in Pakistan didn’t know Osama Bin Ladin was hidden away there, you are truly misled. But; I digress, since I really wanted to write about a peculiar type of ally. A brother in arms with whom our troops have trained, ate, slept and sometimes even fought with. And now these same brethren are killing their mentors. Unless you have experienced some sort of crucible or extreme trying circumstance with someone, it is truly difficult to express the depth of this betrayal. Veterans know exactly what I am writing about. Unfortunately it took a tremendous amount of loss (any loss of this kind is a tragedy IMHO) before the powers to be finally cancelled any further training and interaction with the Afghanis by our troops. Now, if they would just figure out we are really not wanted there and put an end to this travesty. I guess the empty chair that Clint talked to is not so “far out” after all. The answer my friend is apparently blowing in the wind.