The trunk monkeys are back together for a final three weeks of training. Let’s just say, $!t’s getting real. I have two big jobs, a final exam, and a final presentation left.

“Look what I brought back for you. All the way from Seattle…” *middle finger* -SoccerDad.

“Okankwo, how was your break? Did you eat Thanksgiving dinner?”


“What did you eat?”

“I don’t know. There were a lot of things.”-O

I used to pretend to be too busy to do things. Now, I legitimately forget because I’m busy. Weird.

I am first engineer for our job tomorrow. As I have mentioned before, this stresses me out. Not since playing competitive soccer have I felt this intense about performing well at anything. This is the cover sheet for the job I am doing tomorrow:

Pretend client?

When we do jobs, we always have a pretend company. Previous themes include Spaceballs, Avatar, OU football, Big Texan Oil, and Chevrolet. This job is my favorite so far.

Road trip adjourned

Sadly, my break from work has come to an end. My trip out west was very fun. My some of my co workers met some of my college friends. This was a pleasant mix. I ate a lot of road trip food. Guissepe inspired me to try this concoction. “Go to the gas station and get a bag of flamin’ hot cheetos. Open the bag while you’re still in the gas station and pour nacho cheese in it.” This was a fantastic meal, and I recommend it to anyone.

“Oh!! Look at all the pretty colors!” – Edwin enjoyed the rainbow bandage Kesha gave to him.

“How does it break wind?” -Albert

“You can still [drive] without a [license], but you can not play x box without an x box.”  -Former Neighbor

Visiting with dear friends. Making faces at the camera.

It feels great to visit friends and hear all the great things they are doing. I hope to be able to visit often.

 On the drive, I saw the Texas panhandle. Yikes… There is a truck stop there called “Jesus Christ is Lord Travel Stop”. We also drove past a cow…. farm? I am not sure of the correct term for this venue. There was a sign that said “Quality Beef.” It smelled horrible, and I saw hundreds of cows sharing tight quarters. “I wonder what the specifications are on those cows?”- This is how I tried to express “How much acreage does a cow in the panhandle need to graze.”

Texas panhandle

The small shadow is the tram car in which we rode up the mountain :



Edwin and Albert made their way down to the valley and experienced the desert for the first time. Edwin was so fascinated with the landscape in Phoenix, he rummaged through someone’s yard trash, stole a giant palm tree branch, stored it in the bed of my pickup truck, and drove it back to Oklahoma. Edwin now has a palm tree branch that is roughly 9 ft tall. While in the desert, Albert and Edwin tried cactus fries. Inspired by this southwest cuisine, Edwin decided to cut off part of a cactus to take it home and cook. Edwin also tried to hug a cactus. Kesha stopped him, as she is always the voice of reason.

Happy Thanksgiving and to all a good night

The last two posts were taken on my hike on Sandia Mountain outside Albuquerque, NM. Before hiking, we went into downtown to do some souvenir shopping. I got my new moccasins for the year.

I am now back in my college town visiting friends. I am staying in my old apartment complex with my old roommates and friends, Rabbit and Ke$ha. Upon arriving, I was informed of a moth infestation taking place in the apartment. The moths have occupied the kitchen, forcing Rabbit and Kesha to move some things around to mitigate the infestation and facilitate an extermination. This is the new storage situation:

“WARNING: This pot contains knives. CAUTION!”

 “Do you see the white stuff stuck to the ceiling?… Well, apparently, vinegar can kill moth cocoons. There are eggs stuck up there in the popcorn ceiling, so I soaked some napkins in vinegar and stuck them to the ceiling to kill them off.”-Kesha is so crafty.

This morning, I visited a close friend, Guissepe. Guissepe and I ate cereal and he made a pie for his family’s Thanksgiving feast. We named the pie a “Chunky cream cheese and blackberry pie”. It is exactly as it sounds.

I am full of turkey and pie. I miss this place. I have plans to visit my favorite pizza place and also my favorite burrito spot. This is me and the turkey leg I ate. 

"Growing girl needs more turkey"

“Never wake a sleeping Giraffe.” -Kesha

I ate Thanksgiving dinner at Rabbit’s parents house. Rabbit has a younger brother named Q-tip. I quite enjoy their sibling squabbles. We all give each other a hard time and sometimes I feel like Q-tip is my little brother too.

“I don’t know if I dreamed this or not… Laila, did you tell Q-tip to shut up?”-Rabbit


“Hahaha. Awesome.”-Rabbit

“Oh, well the oil rigger is here now, let’s go!” -Rabbit’s dad. By let’s go, he was referring to starting the party.

“I would just like to point out that at the kid’s table, we have an engineer this year.”-Rabbit

“Rabbit, did you tell Laila what I told you to tell her?” -Q tip

“Uhh, what was it you wanted me to tell her?” -Rabbit

“That she should buy me things now.”-Q tip

“Things like what?… I can buy you a key chain.” -Me

“He meant things like a car.”-Rabbit


Jake is the coolest instructor here. He decided to give us a generous Thanksgiving break.

“You all better enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. For the next 5 years, you will be spending every holiday on a rig.” -Jake

“What about spring break?” -Me

The open holers are stuck at the training center. Edwin and Albert have planned (or not planned) a trip to the Grand Canyon. I am headed west to Arizona as well. We decided to drive part of the way together in a convoy. We are in Albuquerque now. I must report, so far this road trip has been genius. A couple of years ago, I received a book for my birthday. It has 500 random places to eat around the country. We have stopped at a few of these places. In the beginning of our journey, we stopped at a diner for onion burgers. After indulging in some burgers, we somehow convinced ourselves to buy a whole pie.

 “So…do you want me to just bring this to your table? Are you going to eat it all now?” – Our server.

We have been carrying around this pie and every time we stop, we eat a piece together. I have been keeping a photo chronicle of these events:

At the diner. Albert devouring some cherry cheesecake pie

We stopped in Amarillo, after driving around the downtown for a while Edwin decides we have to eat this pie in an empty parking lot….

"Let's eat pie with our hands"

Albert and I convinced Edwin to not eat the pie with his hands in a parking lot whilst sitting in a truck bed. Instead, we found a coffee shop. I was pretty surprised by this place. I loved it. We walked in to find two people doing yoga. There were dozens of board games and puzzles, old furniture, couches, artwork, and people working on their laptops. Albert, “I don’t like this place. There are places like this near where I went to college. It’s where all hippies go.”

Note the creepy demon artwork and people doing yoga in the background.

I have taken many other photos, but they will be in another post. Today, I will be exploring Albuquerque, eating pie, driving to Flagstaff, eating pie, and driving to the valley.

Laila gets a speeding ticket

This one is a doosey. It contains a lot of stuff. Bare with us.

A few weeks ago, I took this picture off the TV screen.

Friday, we went to the Midnight Rodeo. We took Okankwo, as he had never been. Before we get there:

“They do country dancing there. Do you know how to line dance?” -Albert

“Yeah, I teach you.”-Okankwo’s sarcasm never fails.

We get there. All of the times I have gone to the rodeo, there is a large group of Whataberger employees. We usually form a mob on the dance floor when they decide to play hip hop. This time, we were a small group: Tommy, Beatrice, Albert, Edwin and myself. A group of various aged older women decided to dance in our circle. We took turns dancing in the middle. They kept encouraging Okankwo to get in the middle and dance. Tommy leans over to me, “I think they think he’s regular black…which is totally different.” We had a great time. Beatrice taught Okankwo to two step:


The DJ plays “Teach me how to Doug E”. The older women come back to dance with us. One woman and I are singing and dancing next to each other. However, she thinks the only words of the song are “teach me how to dance.”

Sunday, I do my first explosive pretend job. I am shaking when I have to arm the gun. Even though this is a training detonator and nothing is actually going to explode, and I am not actually going to get fired if something bad happens, I definitely felt the heat of being around this stuff. It was no help that SoccerDad was standing by to make fun of me. The trunk monkeys (My class of 7 people.) have a new “game”. This game could use its own post, and I may give it one later. For now, all you need to know is that we try to flip each other off whenever possible. (Example: “Hey, Jake wanted me to tell you…” *finger*.) I did a sub par job connecting two wires in a special connector thing. I had to cut them and get another special connector thing. While I am doing this, SoccerDad says, “Hey, I have an extra one.” I look up just in time to encounter his finger. Well played.

Some of you may remember BurmeseMan from my very first pretend job. He is known for memorable miscommunications like “suck it” and “catfish” when he was actually saying circuit and cartridge. BurmeseMan was my instructor during my job. I must say, I enjoyed him much more than I did in previous encounters. BurmeseMan carries nail clippers on his key chain. He uses them for cutting a particular wire. BurmeseMan also has super strength fingers. This particular type of wire has a plastic insulator over the regular insulator. The plastic must be stripped, and then two wires severed from each other. It is pretty tricky, but BurmeseMan does it with ease. “You all too young. Weak fingers.”

Saturday, I went to and from Dallas. I spent the day with my sister. My sister blogs. Check her out!

We went to the Deep Ellum outdoor market. I picked up a CD from Daniel Chrysler. It happened like this: Laila gets a free dubstep CD from some t shirt vendor. Laila then walks over to where the live music is. The guy playing calls her out, “How many free CD’s have you gotten today?” Laila feels caught off guard, “Just this one.” Daniel, “Would you like to pay for one?” Me, “I would, but I don’t have any cash.” Daniel, “Who comes to an outdoor market without cash?!” Daniel lets me take a CD despite my lack of planning. Check em out!!/danielchrysler.

 Not since the great ID offense double ticket doosey thanksgiving catastrophe of 2008 have I received a speeding ticket. (Not counting photo radar bull crap. Have fun serving me, Tempe. This car is registered 1200 miles away, suckaa.) However, I was pulled over. “I reduced your speed to 80 to keep this off your record.” “Great, thank you.” Big girls pay their speeding tickets. Also, for the first time, I was not upset at getting a ticket. Mainly because every ticket I have gotten in the past has been detrimental to my budget. This time, I just looked at the officer and thought “Thanks for doing your job.”

On the way home, I got pulled over again. Got a second speeding ticket. When it rains, it pours.

Impotence and other clever tangents

Last night, we all went out to eat together at a local BBQ spot. They have unlimited ribs on Wednesday. I had brisket and chicken. We invited the head of all Whataberger wireline training. It was a great time. I love that big wigs in the Whataberger chain of command are cool enough to drive down to a small town and eat ribs with some new hires. We keep it real. He commented on how well we are doing and the funny stories he hears from our instructors. He commented on our “Kum and Go” hats that the whole class wears. After dinner, Beatrice and our other good 0pen holer friend (let’s give her a name now, Gertrude) went to WalMart and got some crafts. I’m sure I have mentioned Gertrude before, but it’s time she gets a proper name. Beatrice and I made hand turkeys decorated with feathers and glitter. Gertrude made aprons for her and Big Shot Becker. They are cooking dinner for the open holers on Thanksgiving. The aprons will say “Gobble Gobble, Full throttle”. In the parking lot, we saw this truck:

Many quotes…..hope you enjoy as much as I did.

“Acoustic Impotence…” Chinese instructor trying to say acoustic impedance

“You said it would come in discrete packaging!!??”- Big Shot Becker playing on her use of the word impotence

“I do not understand. What is impotence?” – Juan, Brazilian Open Holer

“In Brazil. Big people do all the hand jobs.” -Trying to find an expression for hands on work.

“This place was so awesome!!! They had all these different hot sauces. We tried them all. We were just squirting big loads on our fingers…” -Albert was trying to tell us a story. He sometimes gets so excited, he doesn’t hear what he is saying. He never got past this sentence. We’ve all been laughing about it for days.

“Jake, has anyone ever dropped a duce in a well?” -Albert

“Uh.. Not that I know of. But one time, someone dropped a spanner into the well. They spend so long trying to fish this thing out. Like, this well was tens of thousands of feet deep. Finally, we came out with a big magnetic tool and fished it out. When the driller got a hold of the spanner, he was angry and forcefully handed the operator the spanner. He yelled at him and was like ‘You’re so stupid. This is the last straw!! You’re fired!!!’ So the operator was like ‘Alright, f&$% you.’ and walked back over to the well head and dropped the spanner back in.” -Jake

“Do people ever blame a misrun on Jesus?” -Me. A misrun is when your gun does not fire once it’s down hole and in the right spot. A misrun is very, very bad.

“No, but people have all sorts of rituals. I’ve heard of people pouring chicken blood on the gun before running it in hole.”-Jake


“Where do they do this?!!?”-Me

“Haha!! Probably Houma!!!”-SoccerDad

“Where should we eat tonight?”-Ricky (OHoler)

“Haters gonna hate.”- Big Shot Becker

“There’s this thing called ‘corking.’ Apparently you stick a bottle of Jack Daniels in your ass. People die from it.” – Tommy

“AAAAAHHHHH. What?!” -All

“I’m serious. There are pictures of it all over the internet.”-Tommy

“I’ll never be able to use the term ‘put a quark in it’ again.” -Jake

“What ever happened to just drinking??”- Random guy from another class.

“”A guy I went to high school with broke into a subway one night. The police arrested him as he was halfway done making a sandwich.” -Jake

“Beatrice’s fired. She doesn’t like Jimmy Johns or Bruce Willis. Get out!”- SoccerDad

“Laila knows how to make a mother f&$%ing meatball!” -SoccerDad

“Oh, I know! Why don’t we just do whatever we feel like?” -We all say this to each other all the time.

“I’ve been waiting for this day since my interview for the job. Sitting Indian style around Jake, arming an explosive gun.” -SoccerDad

“Yes. I have to get back to Chad. My four wives are waiting.” -Okankwo

*Edwin and Albert are unsure how to respond. They take him totally seriously*

“Hahahahahahaha.”-Okankwo has learned how to exploit our ignorance for his enjoyment. It’s great. He also has started to tell us to shut up when we are being dumb or making fun of him excessively. We’re a big family.

“Looks really good, Laila. And I’m also taking about the food.” -Dutch co worker

A few pictures and one funny story

I cooked for a bunch of co workers last night. I made my favorite meatballs, creamed spinach, salad, stuffed mushrooms, and avocado salsa. I’m blogging more these days.

Signs that a co worker and I may or may not have stolen from an Elementary school:

View of the moon down the hill on wellsite 3 eve:View of the moon down the hill on wellsite 3 eve.

Barnaby, Albert and Edwin:


“You will not see a fire extinguisher in a gun shop. If there is a fire where there are explosives, you will not fight it. Everyone will run. Just run away, as far as you can, at least a third of a mile.” – Jake

“Yes. I had rufeed myself and so I was sleeping.” -Dutch co worker talks about rufees often. Classic.

“No, Edwin! This is an intervention!”- SoccerDad on Edwin’s “slot machine” quarter acquisition addiction.

“ON YOUR FACE!!!”- Brazilian open holer trying to gloat. He meant to say in your face…

Some of you may remember one of my earlier posts before I came out to training. The welcome letter covered some cultural issues such as driving on the right side of the road, wearing deodorant, and using US currency. Today, Jake was explaining to us that for a while, there were diagrams above toilets explaining how to use them. A lot of forign trainees that come to the US are not accustomed to using toilets. They instead would attempt to use it like a squatting toilet like those found in North African countries. This would “make a mess”.  Below is an example of such signs.

Welcome to America!!


This post has a more cheery ending, but for this first paragraph, it is my personal public journal. Maybe I am tired. I am probably just tired. I feel like I am becoming a part of this industry and am losing touch with regular society. Cabin fever, stir crazy, whatever. It feels like I’m in the military. A lot of my co workers agree. I work at work, and am expected to work when I’m not at work. I live in a compound, and I maintain my sister’s theory that Oklahoma is the pits. I am emotionally overwhelmed at the moment. I am in need of the seldom coveted “alone time”. My past roommates recognize this as the time when Laila sits in her room listening to really obscure 80’s and early 90’s country music, singing like an idiot. They are probably reading that and sighing in relief, “Thank God those days are behind me.” Mom recognizes this as the time I clearly don’t want to talk and sit in my room in my bed and read. My sister knows this as the time I flake out and act weird. I miss you all a lot.

I’m fine, just very weighed down with the monotony of my schedule. Welcome to corporate America, Laila! I can’t wait to get out of Oklahoma and start working on real rigs, in real wells. I also did some asking around. The 2 weeks on 1 week off schedule is completely legit.

Today we talked about explosives. I am sure a lot of this information is Whataberger top secret. I am about to use some words which may be flagged by big brother. Dear Uncle Sam, if you read this, leave me alone.

 As with most of the tools we use, explosives are pretty cool. They are also no joke. In oil fields, explosives are used to create holes in the ground outside of the well to allow fluids to flow into the well. “In the good ol days, you would assemble a really dangerous nitro-glycerin bomb. And drop it in the well.” -Jake.  Whataberger has the best guns in the industry, they can shoot the farthest outside of the well casing. I would love to provide more details into the science behind this, but it’s top secret, so ask me in person. At the training center, we use pretend explosives. They look exactly like real ones, only they are empty. We pretend they are real for practice. A few years ago, a trainee thought these pretend ones were very cool. He decided to take one home. He made it all the way to the airport. “TSA, as dumb as they are, know what this is. It looks just like a real one. The guy checking your luggage may not have graduated high school, but he knows what a detonator looks like. They saw this in his carry on on the scanner. Pressed the big red button, shut down and evacuated the terminal. They put the guy in a white box and detained him for questioning. ‘so…where’d you get that detonator?’ And the guy tells them it’s empty and he got it from Whataberger. So TSA calls Don over here and says ‘This guy says he got a pretend detonator from you.’ Don then says ‘He STOLE that from Whataberger. Do what you want with him. And tell him he’s fired’. And hangs up the phone.” -Jake

Very interesting fact of the day:

 “We buy these from Nobel. It’s actually the same Nobel as the Nobel Prize. They also make explosives. Actually, that’s why he founded the Nobel Prize. He felt bad because he made his fortune making explosives….which kill people.”- Jake. I did some extensive research on this. My findings are presented neatly in this web page: