Friday, 27 April 2012


I don't mind shamelessly reposting this, I must use some of these in my appraisals:

"Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig." 
"His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity" 
"I would not allow this employee to breed" 
"This employee is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a definite won't be" 
"Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap" 
"When she opens her mouth, it seems that it is only to change feet" 
"He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle" 
"This young lady has delusions of adequacy" 
"He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them" 
"This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot" 
"This employee should go far, and the sooner the better" 
"Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thing to hold it all together" 
"A gross ignoramus - 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus" 
"He certainly takes a long time to make his pointless" 
"He doesn't have ulcers, but he's a carrier" 
"I would like to go hunting with him sometime" 
"He's been working with glue too much" 
"He would argue with a signpost" 
"He has knack for making strangers immediately" 
"He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room" 
"When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell" 
"If you see 2 people talking and one looks bored, he's the other one" 
"A photographic memory but with the cap over the lens" 
"A prime candidate for natural deselection" 
"Donated his brain to science before he was done using it" 
"Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming" 
"Has 2 brains, one is lost, the other is out looking for it" 
"If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week" 
"If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you'd get change" 
"If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean" 
"It's hard to believe that he beat out 1,000 other sperm" 
"One neuron short of a synapse" 
"Some drink from the fountain of knowledge, he only gargled" 
"Takes him 12 hours to watch 60 Minutes" 
"The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead"

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Big Hugs

I get a lot of CVs, unfortunately most are unsuitable and are a direct result of the government's Care In The Community programme.

This week I received an e mail, asking about work in our department:

Good morning my name is XXX am writing from Venezuela <<company>> supervisor III in <<dept>> with extensive experience in the control area of solids will be open the possibility to work with you? at the moment? a big hug greetings.

And that was it. So I replied and asked for his CV- after all, how could I resist ? A day or two later I got a reply and a CV (In Spanish).

Sir, Annex sent him good morning cv, which can transladarlo to the English I hope your help and willing to work with you as nesecite for activities to do, I have a valid passport but no visa greetings

I put alot of effort into finding good photos
I'm a bit too busy to translate CVs, so I replied that we employ people from many countries and that for safety reasons everyone has to speak good english. A few days later I got a reply, to round off my week with another hug:

Good morning thanks for your information that I defend myself with the English in drilling operations on oil rigs I work with English speaking staff anyway thank you very much and count on me for anything I wanted you to need me was the opportunity and the rest is for me a big hug from Venezuela Greetings

I don't think we'll be employing him, as I believe every conversation will be like talking to Yoda, but at least he's given us a wee smile in the office this week and we now all give each other Big Hug Greetings in our e mails, which is alot better than just 'Regards'. 

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Fashion Police

I like working in an industry where people happily refer to themselves as "Oil field trash" and in countries where it doesn't matter what you wear to the office,  as just bothering to turn up already marks you as "high potential". Since I left Libya, in somewhat of a hurry, I've never bothered replacing things like trousers, my suit (never worn) or ties. I don't think I actually have a tie now. And I've got more pairs of Speedos (3) than work trousers (1 pair, never worn). So for the last year, I've been happily wearing jeans, a shirt and shoes that are more Futon than Chesterfield. Casually smart I like to think.

Soon to appear on a notice board in my office
But no more, the corporate fashion cops have decreed that we can no longer wear jeans (except on a Wednesday - our Friday), shirts must be "button down" and shoes, hard soled. We represent our company when we're in front of the company and are expected to dress at a level +1 to that of the customer. I wanted to point out that most drilling engineers are extremely badly dressed, except those whose mothers still do it for them. Jeans, trainers and a polo shirt bearing the logo of either a long forgotten drilling campaign or a golf club they once got taken to by a drill bit manufacturer, back in the good old days before Sarbanes-Oxley.

So it looks like I'm going to have to buy some trousers while I'm on vacation. That's not due to a trouser drought situation in Saudi, more to do with the fact if there's one thing I hate more than shopping for clothes, it's shopping for clothes in Saudi. At least in Thailand it will be cheaper and the person measuring my inside leg will be a lovely thai lady or a lady boy,  either is better than a sullen Saudi youth more interested in texting his mates than satisfying his customer.

Today was day one of the new regime, I tried a sneaky pair of black jeans to go with my shirt and shoes.
An e mail to all staff arrived mid morning, with a 'gentle reminder' that no jeans meant no jeans. Bugger.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Dog Food

To while away the hours on the turbo trainer, I started watching movies and tv with subtitles. This is mainly due to the fact that the turbo makes a lot of noise and also because I'm as deaf as a post.

I discovered a plethora of titles available in the i-Tunes "world cinema" section, this is like wandering around a foreign supermarket, picking up strange cans and hoping you aren't going to get dog food for dinner. I'm quickly becoming a connoisseur of the genre and not just the mucky stuff either or the martial arts pap. Having finished "Braquo" tonight, next up is a whole season of Danish crime caper "Those Who Kill", although at about 90 mins each that means an extra 15-20km of cycling.

Anyway, here's a top five of what I've been cycling too recently.

Ugly French Cops - but the bird has a nice bum
1. Braquo - ugly french cops kill bad guys, 8 x 45min episodes, perfect for 30km. Is it the bad guys or the good guys who wear black? It's everyone. They're all bad and lots of people get hurt. Plus a twist at the very end that nearly made me fall off the bike today. And there's a season 2. Awesome.

2. Troll Hunter - Norwegian students hunt 200ft Trolls in a Blair Witch style. A great comedy, played perfectly straight. Wait for Hollywood to remake it and ruin it with some nonsense about Big Foot being threatened by multinational companies destroying the environment. 

3. The Killing - 20 Episodes, perfect for 30-35km each. Kept me going through Winter and moved along slower than me. Gripping enough for me to get back on the bike and do another 30km, just to see what happened next.

4. Tell No One - French drama: Man's wife is killed, he's the main suspect. 8 yrs later she's back. Or is she ? (yes) And who knew Kristin Scott Thomas could speak french ? Hollywood will ruin this too, probably with Liam Neeson and Kristin Scott Thomas reprising her role.

5. The Silence - German drama: child murdered, killer never found. 13 years later. The killer's back. Or are they?  (yes). A good german movie that has nothing to do with the war, achtung!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Formula One, burning rubber

Sitra in January 2012
I know Bernie Ecclestone says Bahrain is safe and his stupid circus should come to town, but I was there last Friday night.

This time, I wasn't in Sitra where I had cycled in January. That area is where a lot of the poorer Shia majority live and the demonstrations kick off on a daily basis.

I was in a taxi in Manama going from a slightly dodgy bar to a very dodgy bar. Manama is the "nice" part of town, where a lot of embassies are, along with hotels that house "entertainment complexes". So I was surprised to see the familiar plumes of black smoke rising up from a nearby street. The protestors were risking more than singed eyebrows by starting fires in this part of town. There are enough police/army/security around to deter most people or do serious injury to the rest.

January 2012: Simultaneous fires in different parts of tow
Mr Ecclestone is probably correct in saying that it is safe to have his race in Bahrain this year. Along with the teams, he'll be whisked from the airport, straight to the other side of the island. He probably won't even have to sit and wait for ages at the huge roadworks that skirt the edge of Manama. He'll quickly be safely ensconced in his own little world, but if he comes out of the hospitality lounge and looks towards the East, he should be able to see where the real action is happening and smell the burning rubber.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Alan Sugar

Having heard a rumour about one of my new hires, I invited him to my office for a motivational chat yesterday. The gist of which was:

Me: I heard you asked to leave the rig so you could take some papers to another company ?

Mhd: It's a mistake boss, I just have to give them certificates

Me: Why ?

Mhd: I have exam with them before I join you, they call me and ask me to take my papers.

Me: So you're going to work for them ?

Mhd: I wait for them to tell me boss, but no problem, I work for you.

Me: So you work for me, but if they call you, you will leave and work for them ?

Mhd: Yes boss, no problem

Me: You're fired*. 

*any employment lawyers rubbing their hands, please note it was within his 3 month probationary period, so it's all perfectly legal. He also got to choose : door or window.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em

Saudi mothers must be the most unhealthy and sickly group of people on the planet.

I can't believe how many of my staff can't goto work or need to come back from the rig early because their mother is ill.

I've never had a day off work due to my mum being ill and that's got nothing to do with wanting to get her back for all the times she sent me to school while I was struggling to keep out the clutches of the Reaper.

The doting sons who work for me now get one chance for a sick relative. Just one. So I advise them to tell their family to take really good care of their health, otherwise someone's out of a job.