Friday, May 19, 2017

Monumental

"I think it wisest not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the example of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered." - Robert E Lee

Sunday, April 30, 2017

View of Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg

I decided to kind of do a 1 man reenactment of Pickett's Charge. I started near the Virginia monument, walked through the valley of death between Seminary Ridge and Cemetery Hill, then ended up near the Copse of Trees and the High Water Mark of the Confederacy. It's approximately the same route as Lo Armistead.  He was one of the few Confederates who made it to the Angle and through the first of 3 Federal Army lines. There he was fatally wounded. As he lay there bleeding out, he asked the Union officer who captured him how his best friend, General Winfield Scott Hancock was doing. The Union officer happed to be Gen. Hancock's​ Aide-de-camp and informed the dying Confederate officer (erroneously) Hancock had been struck dead. General Armistead expired.

Hancock was wounded and survived and would later become one of the first presidents of the NRA.

What struck me the most on my walk was how exposed I felt. There was no cover whatsoever and high ground everywhere. To attack ~8,000 dug in troops with ~15-20,000 (the later figure includes the artillery) across that ground was a suicide mission. I completely understand why Gen. Longstreet was nearly insubordinate in his attempts to get Robert E. Lee to change his mind.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Unknown

Gettysburg National Cemetery

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Venice

In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more,
And silent rows the songless gondolier;
Her palaces are crumbling to the shore,
And music meets not always now the ear:
Those days are gone--but Beauty still is here;
States fall, arts fade--but Nature doth not die,
Nor yet forget how Venice once was dear,
The pleasant place of all festivity, The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy!

-Lord Byron.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Peche

Lately have had a few CBD lunches at Peche. It's been reliably great food, quick service, and a reasonable price. It's in the old American Coffee building.

Their specialty is oysters from certain areas in Louisiana. The areas that are on the saltier side of the brackish scale actually taste briney. It's also one of the few places I know to buy the experimental off bottom oysters the LSU Ag Center is trying.

The shrimp roll is good as are the Brussels sprouts (it's a Link restaurant).

Throw me something Mister

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Bullwinkle


Michael Dorn in awesome early 90s clothing.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

"I can catch beads at Mardi Gras"

Krewe du Vieux rolls tonight! See you there!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Nectar of life

Hot cocoa on a chilly evening.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Deepwater Horizon movie review

So, last night I went to the most subsidized film in Louisiana history, Deepwater Horizon. Each Louisiana taxpayer spent $8 on the film.

***SPOILERS***

The film is good overall, but there were lots of little things that, as someone who has worked offshore, irked me. For example, Mr. Jimmy [OIM] asks, "What's the Bankston [OSV] doing here?" An OSV (Offshore Service Vessel) next to a MODU (Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit) is a more common sight than not; MODUs are hungry beasts that must constantly be replenished with food, fuel, and drilling supplies. It's in furtherance of showing the audience of BP's impatience with finishing the well, so most of the little annoyances are forgivable. Another scene has a crewman throwing a coin down the moon pool and the camera following it to the BOP on the seafloor and it's a nice shot that shows what's going on (in reality wanton littering offshore is verboten). There's also the seafloor belching gas as the reservoir acts up, which is total bullshit, but scares the shit out of the audience.

There were a couple of changes made from reality that served no purpose in the story that I question. For example, in fighting the kicks, the movie drill crew diverts to overboard. In reality, the crew went to the mud gas separator instead. There are some differences between the two (diverting overboard has slightly more capacity but risks sheening), but for a blowout of that magnitude on that still a night, they probably would have blown up either way (not even the overboard divert lines had enough capacity for this size blowout). If it made no difference, why change the movie if it doesn't further the story? A small change, but one I noticed. There was a bit too much foreshadowing and it was heavy handed (the oiled pelican on the bridge of the Bankston annoyed the piss out of me).

Overall, the crew was depicted as professionals who who got overwhelmed and pressured, but then did the best they could humanly manage in the aftermath. There's some horsing around that's common in reality. A VERY realistic line: "Have you gone Democrat? It's pronounced Slum-BURGER!" (making fun of the pronunciation of the oil services company Schlumberger, pronounced, Shlum-bear-jay). There's also a fictional scene where a crane operator runs up and applies the brakes on a swinging crane to save the evacuation, only to be blown out the cab after success to fall to his death. A noble portrayal, but reality was more ordinary. The crane operator was transferring supplies back and forth between the Bankston and the MODU when the explosion happened, was knocked down, and died.

Some of the most touching scenes are the wife calling the emergency contact number and finding out her husband's rig is on fire. I'm not going to lie: I thought of my wife at that moment. It was really touching. Also the USCG getting call after call about the rig on fire sent chills up your spine.

Donald Vidrine's character, played by John Malcovich, was scary. Personally, I don't quite think he nailed the "Cajun" accent, but he came very close. Vidrine's character was diabolical, yet in a fairly mundane way. His veiled threats are, unfortunately, very realistic.

The film contained a very, very realistic depiction of a vapor cloud explosion. The jetfires I think they even underplayed. There were some action sequences that were a bit too drawn out. The real disaster happened much faster than depicted. There is a lot of action and suspense in the film and they sustain it quite well as the movie unfolds. The Deepwater Horizon was a middle aged drilling rig that had been worked hard and had a lot of overdue maintenance it was pointed out, but they missed a biggie in the film: one of the DP thrusters was kaput.

This was definitely a "Hollywood-ized" version of events, but overall I liked it. The fictionalized parts were mostly for storytelling purposes and generally didn't detract from the big picture of what really happened.

One last thing: Popular Mechanics writer argues who should really be responsible for the Macondo Blowout.

Saturday, September 10, 2016