Musings of an oil slick

Crude_oilHUMOR is where you find it.  I found some gems in a dirty, smelly ‘ol oil field.  For those of you who may be anti-oil in favor of green energy, just for a few minutes suspend your prejudges and appreciate the humor…

A lot of what this post talks about is “inside baseball”.  Therefore I will attempt to explain what I know about these various scenarios. And I will admit that I haven’t set foot on an oilfield in decades.

I created my oilfield from scratch, and detailed it as closely as possible. I had to make many of the mechanisms from what the 3D program called Bryce refers to as “primitives”.  These are cubes, spheres, cones, pyramids, cylinders, flat squares and circles.  With these elements, one can create almost anything in 3D.

Unfortunately, Bryce is slowly phasing itself out, leastwise as far as Mac Computers are concerned. The three newest Mac OS 10 (7, 8, & 9) operating systems will not support Bryce.  For me, losing a major part of my art-producing tools was a deal-breaker, until I resurrected my old 2009 mini-mac. Eiffel 7-a The old guy uses OS 10.411, which does support Bryce quite well.  So If you have a newer Mac and you want to delve into Bryce, you’ll need to install OS 10.6 or go on eBay and find a mac that uses an OS older than 10.7.

Vehicles of all stripes are available on the web as freebies.  You just gotta know where to find them.  Planes, trains and automobiles can all be had for the asking.  Some of these vehicles are quite detailed, some are too simplified to use as anything more than  the distant cars in a parking lot.

The biggest restriction is size.  The way I make my dioramas takes space.  I like things scaled to a pre-sized set of locked blocks. The other way to create a diorama is to size things so they look different distances from the camera.  It’s the lazy way to do things. But if you do so, forget going anyplace else in the scene for different POVs. And that is the secret to my madness.

Bryce will allow a “camera” to move to any point of view any place in the scene. For example, a helicopter’s POV… from inside a car, a truck cab …  On the upper walkway on a drilling rig… I can go anywhere in my diorama and things will still be scaled. I keep these files of course, so if a thought strikes me that I need an oilfield, I’ve got one fully prepared. I have a seaside town, a working horse ranch, a mountain stream, a couple of military bases and a mountain cabin in winter.

My old Mini Mac confuser gives up around 400MB file size. A closely detailed PBone in her teetheterbuilt can take 20MB by itself, mainly because there is a separate object for every lug-nut.  So if you want to show a traffic jam, you’re gonna use a lot of megs.Thats where the elemental freebie cars come in handy. Some car “model” I have are a single element, with as much “weight” as one of those lug-nuts.

You would figure a fairly detailed Burke Class Destroyer would take a ton more of  weight-space than the truck.  Not so.  For example, no matter how big it is on screen, a tiny sphere uses the same amount of RAM as one sized big enough to encompass the entire oil field.  Ergo, a detailed ship my have less parts than a detailed truck, because the truck model has a detailed undercarriage, whereas the destroyer has only deck detail and a three-segment hull.  It’s a crazy world inside Bryce. But I like it there.  Everything always seems to go my way.

RBP-Toons-Energy-132Let’s get back to the oil fields.  There are plenty of opportunities for  my kind of humor.  For example the term “Whipstock” is used when a drill rig isn’t after oil directly beneath it. (For many possible reasons, like lack of ownership of the property over the oil pool, or rocky terrain, etc.)  The driller goes after oil that may be displaced sideways several thousand yards.  This is accomplished with engineers and slide rules, geologists and rock hammers, nerds and computers, someone named Merlin and a fair amount of magic.

Next, let your imagination run wild. Pipeline V5

In my world, all you gotta do is figure out how to create a trench filled with water, go on the web and find a VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) to pick up the product five hundred miles inland.

Ignore the mountain range in the background.  Ignore the lack of a turning basin for the ship  Appreciate the young female petroleum engineer.  She saved the company thirty-nine bucks.

Texas Mosquito V1Texas. We know two things about Texas.  One, they have lots of oil.  Two, they brag that everything in Texas is bigger , including their critters and bugs.  We’ve all heard the term, “Texas-sized Mosquito”.

One of the things you may notice about my cartoons… I like to put women in situations where you wouldn’t normally find them.  Driving big rigs, and forklifts.  Working as roughnecks. Even working as oilfield supervisors.

Logging v2A common entity found in oil fields are the mud loggers, or “loggers”  These loggers have nothing to do with lumber.  They are the places where magic occurs.  They drop things on strings down the hole. Loggers, (people who keep logs on what’s going on in the well),  employ “sniffers,” devices that smell and analyze the mud returning from the well. (A special mud is used as a lubricant inside the hole) They also send a probe down into the well to find out where the various levels of sand and rocks are.  And finally, when its time, they can send down a string of shaped charges to  blast holes in the concrete that has been pumped into the area where the goodies are, to prevent the well from collapsing inward.

Mud Loggers v1I learned a lot by going with my father to his various wildcat wells. He and several investors would stake a guy who was known as “Dry Hole Holmes”. Why these scions of medicine and industry … all of who had too much money and zero experience in wild-catting … didn’t get a clue from his moniker, rational people will never know.

I really appreciate experiences in my youth that makes it easy to have my own working oil field. (Something that never happened in real life) in my own little world, you can find it a few kilometers east of my navy resupply base.



Welcome to my virtual world, bizzare section

In the virtual world, any thing is possible.  The laws of physics are suspended.  So are the the laws of beliveability.  In my virtual world, not to be confused with yours, things may pop into my head, from suggestion i may get subliminally from routine sources. Like the news.  Something someone in your family might have said.  Having a double entendre suddenly dawn on you. I cite the following toon, Wild Horse Round-up. Image

Who, actually is this aimed at?  The BLM in Nevada?  They have a round-up every year.  It’s quite controversial with conservationists and organizations like PETA.  The Horsey Set? Cowboys? Cowgirls?  Chevrolet?  Or could this toon really be a “really rotten” play on words?  What do you think?

Weather has been in the headline news for many months.  Twisters, huge rainfall weather patterns, etc. Attractive women in V studios, with huge flat-screens behind them, doing a show and tell with various weather maps and imagery.  Being weather people, we’ll often find them standing ankle or knee deep in flood waters. Freezing their butts off. A pair of behind-the-scene people are probably with them, but since they’re not onscreen, they’re probably under a shelter of some kind..  Doesn’t anyone realize there are critters under that water?  Fish from flooded rivers and streams, snakes like water moccasins and copperheads even rattlers are out swimming, exploring the surface, maybe looking for something dry to crawl out on.  Like umbrella-toting weather-girls. Snap turtles might be looking hungrily at the human tiny feet wearing worthless boots that look good in the fashion world, but nothing more than a meat-wrapper to a 50 pound self-propelled amputater [word?].  Alligators, cruising just under the surface, looking for tasty weather girls..  But I digress.

ImageI made a screen capture  of the storm system on the East Coast.  Then I took another look at a cartoon scene I created in my own little world, for a construction toon (Which will show up eventually in this blog).  And it dawned on me that the screen save would make a great sky itself.  From there the definitive punch line was obvious…

What about storm chasers?  Those seemingly stupid people who run towards storms, hoping for a tornado to photograph? A nasty, destructive tornado?  Awhile ago, a dramatic shot of a black twister could bring the image-maker big bucks, and now that the top SLR (single lens reflex )digital cameras also make videos with huge resolution, storm photographers can make super videos.  I content they’re completely nuts to even go out in that weather, especially in a tiny moving steel box that Mother Nature seems not to recognize as a safe, but movable, haven. Nowadays there are so many quality camera rigs out there, not to mention the very acceptable videos from smart phones, so the market is saturated.  Some TV outlets won’t even consider buying footage from the public, unless it is spectacular, andImage then what they pay won’t begin to cover your expenses.  Storm chasing is not a great way to make a living.  Howsomeever,  the whole practice evoked this cartoon.

In my virtual world I can do anything, build anything… With the use of Bryce 3D (available on The programs come with “Primatives, which are simple cubes, circles, rounds, flat shapes and lights. With these you can construct just about anything, from a simple boat dock to a skyscraper.

Or, I can buy or download freebies of digital models of various things like autos, planes and water-craft.  I can pose digital models of people in any stage of undress or dress.  If I want my model to be wearing something different, I can go to the web and purchase clothing and accessories for a whole lot less than what the real world charges.  When I am done, I transfer the posed beings into Bryce, where I put them into a scene I have made.  From that point I can move my point of view (POV) any place one can imagine.  I have done some testing and  research into making one of my books into a graphic novel.  Daz Studio and Bryce 3D  and Photoshop would be central to  the effort.  Imagine.

I can set up a couple in conversation in a restaurant, say, and render still images from the usual three-camera positions first used by Desi Arnez in the “I Love Lucy” TV series. I can put a camera into one or the other’s eye, and see a true POV.  Or a straight down-looking over head camera.  From a bowl of soup. The biggest time consumer in that scenario is posing and positioning my virtual people.  Evidently, coming up with bizzare ideas doesn’t seem to be one of my problems

Unfortunately, Bryce 3D is a program that is slowly obsoleting itself. There have been no new versions or updates for several years.  It does not work on the later Mac OS Programs. Nothing past OS 10.6.8(?)  It probably won’t be long before the new Windows OS will no longer handle it.  That (And Adobe’s GoLive) are the two reasons that I have kept and maintain my old mini mac, which uses MAC OS 10.411.  I have a large, but relatively inexpensive,  HP monitor that supports two inputs from two different computers.  All I have to do is hit a video input switch, unplug and replug into the “new” computer, the USB connector with both my mouse and keyboard attached, (both wireless) and I’m right back in biz.

Whoops, my groceries are being delivered.

Seeya Later,