Wednesday, November 21, 2007

She's Gone!

The 1D mark 2 is gone. I done sold it.

sniff I will miss her, no doubt. She'll ship off on Friday as soon as the post office opens. It was good while it lasted...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Killing for Pleasure

I just got back from a hunting trip in the Texas Hill Country. I'm on a hunting lease and go several times a year during deer hunting season. We hunt deer, mostly. Sometimes there are other animals killed.

This is a bobcat taken by one of the other members of the hunting lease. I have to stop and ask, "why?".

I was taught as a boy that if you kill an animal, you do so for a purpose. The animal is to be used as best you can, i.e. eat the damn thing. It is a basic "game management" rule that is very effective. This poor cat was wasted for naught.

Now, you can justify this killing by reasoning that bobcats are dangerous for the local livestock. They may also take small, immature deer that would one day be fit for hunting. I say, so what?

We must remind ourselves that there is a natural cycle of things. There is a food chain and a normal balance to life in the wild. Humans are not the only predators. Killing one bobcat is a small act but will affect the "balance". What if the bobcat's primary food is mice? Since the cat is gone, what will eat the mice? More snakes? Think about it...

In the past years, I've taken to mostly photographing the animals instead of killing them. It seems much more impressive to hang a nice photo on your wall instead of a stuffed head:

The few deer I do shoot end up being eaten. Our deer kills are managed carefully. The management rules stem from the advice from biologists who have studied the area as well as laws imposed by the state.

We don't really need to hunt at all. But those of us who do have a responsibility to hunt carefully and for a purpose.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Workin' in the Swamps

In the past two weeks, I've made 3 trips to the fab yard in Louisiana. It's been exhausting. To date (for this year), I've spent 80 days away from home in 14 separate trips to Louisiana (4 of those were offshore).

I'm tired of traveling, living out of a bag, traffic on I-10, black feet from dirty hotel carpet, and particularly sick-n-freakin' tired of high-calorie artery-clogging deep-fried-and-served-with-butter food. Holy crap. I gave up on ordering salads because they just don't understand the concept. No! Please leave the fried shrimp, pound of shredded cheese, and double shot of ranch dressing out of my rabbit food.

But despite the long days, growing waistline, and leaving my family by themselves far away, I do get to catch awesome sights. Above is a newly built jumper (a piece of pipe that will connect two pipelines subsea) being tested and loaded out on a transport barge. It is 16-inch diameter pipe, 80 feet long, 50 tons, and will be installed in 5000 feet of water.