Thursday, February 27, 2014

27 Feb 2014

I'm in Saskatoon right now in a motel that, when compared to the Tree Line or whatever the craphole from Hudson Bay I was staying in was called, is the height of luxury. In all honestly it's decent at best, but it's so nice to not have clown paintings, radiator heaters, white cinder block walls, a squeaky bed or dingy yellow bathrooms. Unfortunately my body is still on night shift so I'm not making much use of this comfortable bed except for to lay here and relax and write this. I tried sleeping earlier. I think I slept from about 9:30-11, but then I tossed and turned for about two hours and well, here I am at 3am.

We got to the hotel at around 7 tonight. We drove an Expedition from the field site out here. One guy had a flight leaving tonight but the other guy and I leave in the morning so we met for dinner. I can't express how nice having a dinner at some place other than the diner I'd been eating at for the past 3 weeks was. I started with a chicken curry soup, had a main course of a vegetable stir fry with naan bread and finished with strawberry cheesecake. Life is good.

The project is over. I can relax with the fact that other than being on an airplane to Denver tomorrow at 7:25 I have nothing to worry about. I can't wait to be home. Canada has been a good adventure, but it's always good to go home, eh? I'm going to try to get 10 days off. The unfortunate thing about these projects is that being salaried I don't get any additional income for them, just some extra paid time off. Extra time off is nice, but I'd rather have the bigger paycheck. Jes can't just take time off to go somewhere, so I'll probably just spend some time playing the xbox.

I made some good contacts up here. It was nice to get exposure to extreme cold conditions for field work as I'm sure it won't be the last time I end up working in Canada during the winter. I hopefully was able to sell my modeling abilities to the field manager for the project to get some additional modeling work going forward. If I end up running into any of the people I worked with again I'll already know them and as unfortunate as it is, even in an industry about the knowledge and science, contacts are invaluable and without them your abilities aren't worth much.

I guess overall this blog wasn't much to keep, I don't imagine I'll look back on it in the future with excitement, but this is the journal of my first real international work experience. Canada is a nice place, I hope to visit it again sometime, but hopefully some place a little more urban than Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

25 Feb 2014

My last sleep in Hudson Bay, and wouldn't you know it I can't sleep. The anticipation of going home is too great and I forgot to bring sleeping pills.

Finished a hole last night, almost finished my book about the geologists exploring Noah's flood (let's just say it's not looking good for the creationists) and well, I'm ready to go! One more shift! Then we head out on the morning of the 26th for a night in Saskatoon and a flight home on the 27th!

So excited! Must quell the excitement so I can get a few hours of sleep.. Okay, I try again.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

23 Feb 2014

Last night I finished a hole by about 10pm, which was great considering my shift starts at 7pm. I then drove back into town to drop off core and then essentially relaxed the rest of the night. I had to be on site or at least near the drill rig, so I parked at the only access road to where they were so I could see who was coming and going and be able to deduce what they were doing by who was there.

From about 11pm until 4am I read, napped, listened to music. It was wonderful. I want to say I feel bad about this, but I've worked 252 hours so far this month and as you can see from the title it's only the 23rd. Next time I do one of these projects I'm buying a PSP.

Three shifts left and I've kind of just automated all things that I do.

black, okay set casing
sandy interbedded mudstone, okay stop.

Because the holes are now so short that process takes about 5 hours. Then I go to my truck and do the core drop off followed by stake out a good place for some reading and napping thing. It's then about 12 hours before the whole thing starts over again and since there are two shifts it occasionally happens that I get all 12 rest hours on mine. I also like when my work happens early in the shift like it did last night.

I'm kind of over trying to talk with my coworkers as I don't really care. I've stopped eating in the dining room, ever because I don't really care. I fill out my paperwork and hand it to the manager and ask zero questions because I just don't care. I can do my job 100% on autopilot and spend the rest of my time sleeping and reading. It's kind of like a vacation now, a vacation that has gone on way too long and one where I'm really questioning the destination in the first place.

Also, I'm not going to eat french toast again for the whole rest of 2014.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

22 Feb 2014

Two nights ago I saw another northern lights show. It was far more amazing that the first one. It had swirling streaks of green light across the sky for about an hour and then they faded into white blotches that would move around and turn on and off. It was incredible. It was also miserably cold. It got back down to -35 C that night.

Two of the geologists have left and been replaced by a couple other guys. The night guy who left was cool and his replacement is a lot ... less cool. In fact his replacement is kind of strange, but I'm trying to like him because I have no reason not to other than that he just generally makes me feel uncomfortable. He does have some racist tendencies, but I think that just comes with the generation. He is probably about 60, though this is not to say all 60 year olds are racist, because the majority are not, it just seems slightly more common among that generation than mine because times were different 40 years ago.

Speaking of racist, my drillers, holy crap. Two of them got on a tangent of middle eastern people and the other driller was like "Hey you might offend someone" and one says "Who we're all Canadian, except him and he's American, they hate middle easterners more than us." I had to correct him for being rather incorrect. I have no problem with people of Middle Eastern descent. He thought because of the World Trade Center bombings that I would, but that was a handful of radicals. Not everyone has that desire and certainly not the ones who choose to come live here. They were slightly surprised by this.

One of them showed me a photo of a huge dead wolf his friend had killed that day and I asked "Why are you showing me a murdered of a wild animal?" and he was shocked that I reacted this way. We then got on the topic of shooting wolves and how they believe that wild wolves are overpopulating the uh.. wilderness.. or something and that it needs to be taken upon the humans to hunt them. I pointed out that the world seemed to control the populations of countless creatures just fine for hundreds of millions of years without humans and that the only reason it appears that wolves are coming into human lands more is because humans lands are expanding further and further into natural wolf habitats. It's really interesting just the difference in philosophy that a natural scientist has than a small town blue collar type person. I could be arrogant and say I am right and they are ignorant, because from my perspective that is clearly the case, but they just see the world differently. It is unfortunate, because a simple understanding of the Earth and how it works should make it quite apparent that it isn't for us to ravage and form to how we want. The Earth has limits and capacities of what it can provide and it serves us and all of our peers we share this beautiful rock with best to respect its limits and capacities. If a wolf is able to survive let it survive. If they are truly becoming overpopulated their food source will restrict what they can eat and the weaker wolves will die of natural causes. Killing the biggest one really hurts natural evolution. Though these morons will almost surely have more kids than me... so maybe Darwinism is struggling a bit, eh?

Canada has me saying eh, I typed that not on purpose. But back to more of the good stuff of Canada. Every morning Venus greets me right above the pre-dawn sky in the southeast. I shot a photo of it here from Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan, which is the town I'm staying in to work on this project. It really is quite beautiful here, even if I'm so beyond ready to go home.

At our drill site tonight there was an abandoned structure with the moon behind it. I'm not much for art or creating a beautifully framed memory, but this just struck me as something I'd want to remember.

Only 4 more sleeps and 4 more shifts until I head for Saskatoon where I'll stay one night before coming home to Salt Lake City and my beautiful wife. I can't wait.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

19 Feb 2014

Having trouble being nice to the project manager, he's not my favorite person in the world. In fact he's fairly frustrating to work with. I understand, I imagine he's under a lot of stress and pressure himself, but he does his best to make sure to pass this on to at least me. I imagine to everyone else too, but I'm likely being a little more sensitive about it just because I'm having trouble relaxing, ever, at all. And having no cell phone, no outside contact other than Skype dates with my wife (which was interrupted this morning, thanks buddy, I'm sure having me explain that the 17th comes before the 18th really necessitated knocking on my door an hour after my shift was over) and no way to get away from the God awful smell of this motel...

I'm just not very happy.

It isn't all bad though

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

18 Feb 2014

Week one of any three week geology trip is usually kind of fun. It's this new exciting adventure with new scenery, new rocks and a new area of the world to get to know.

By week two you've become comfortable with the job, you understand the geology well, you've made a few friends with the locals and your drillers and it's all still new enough to be fun.

Week three is garbage. The locals annoy you, the drillers all smell like smoke, the geology is now boring, you're sick of all the food in the town and you become sleep deprived because you only get 12 hours of personal time per day in which to fit your eating, showering, skypeing and sleeping. Week 3 sucks.

Starting today I'm on my third week in Hudson f*cking Bay, the crappiest crap heap of all the crap Canadian prairie crap towns. Okay it's not actually that bad, but it's week three so it feels like it is. I would like to be just about anywhere in the world over here. Honestly Milford, Utah would be wonderful. At least in Milford I would have a motel to stay in that didn't smell like a combination of diarrhea and cigarettes. At least in Milford I would have my own damn truck to go get groceries at a grocery store. At least in Milford I would be reasonably warm... I can go on, but the point is Milford sucks. Hudson Bay makes me miss the place.

Last night was a night. The sun went down then it came back up. I'm sick of all the food here so I don't even eat much anymore, I now throw away half of my lunch and dinner because eating more makes me want to gag. The only thing I'm not sick of is their french toast, but I can only have that for breakfast (which is more like dinner to be because of the whole night shift thing).

My flight now leaves on the 27th rather than the 26th. I'll be staying the night of the 26th in civilization at least (Saskatoon). I imagine they'll have decent food there and probably people that don't talk in a Canadian hick accent.

It's not that bad, I'm just in a grumpy mood today.. but it IS a little bit bad. I am definitely on week 3.

Monday, February 17, 2014

17 Feb 2014

I missed a couple nights, but in reality it wasn't really much to write about. I thought this blog would be an exciting account of my adventures in Canada, but it's turned out to be quite a boring adventure. Nothing like the excitement that Sevier Lake was. Luckily also nothing like the hard work that Ashley Creek was.

Let me recap what happened at the job on the 15th:
I read a book. Oh, and this happened to the driller:
I guess he didn't sleep well the previous day?

Let me recap what happened at the job on the 16th:
I read a book and then I looked at rocks and wrote on some core tubes.

I did get kicked out of my room on the 15th though. Apparently the client didn't reserve rooms in time to get enough for us so when a bunch of snow mobilers came in on the weekend there weren't enough rooms, because the rest of the motel is full of lumberjacks, because all Canadian stereotypes are true, because run-on sentence, I know, and a bunch of us had to share rooms. I got put in the a room with 3 other geologists (2 day/2 night) which was better than the situation of a lot of people. The guys are all have good hygiene and none of them smoke, but still it kind of sucked having to fall asleep to the wonderful sounds of a coworker snoring in the other bed. I sleep with earplugs, because the walls of this motel are made from paper mache, and even through those I could hear the snoring. Once I got to sleep I was able to stay asleep though.

Today when I got back (at about 8:00, which I was not too terribly thrilled about) I was able to check back into my old room and its wonderful yellow bathroom walls, trash bags in the window to keep the light out, a handwritten "do not disturb" sign (handwritten by me) 45 watt incandescent bulbs. I won't miss this place. My supervisor at home said "The way to judge a good back woods motel is that it keeps the snow off of you when you sleep. Some of them don't." Well, this one is successful at that, but fails in just about every other aspect. Including the creepy ass clown painting.