Blogging Will Still Be Light Today . . . (THUMS Tour Day)

by Little Miss Attila on September 25, 2009

. . . in which, once again, Joy regrets deeply that she has no co-bloggers to take over.

1) Good Morning; Am I Dead Yet?
Today is the tour of the Long Beach oil facilities, and as usual we are meeting early. I’m having my petro-junket morning coffee and trying to resist the urge to hop back into bed for half an hour. (Yes; when I’m out of town I use room-service coffee as a backup alarm clock. Don’t judge me until you’ve sat on a tree branch using my claws, proclaiming “woo, woo” into the night sky, staring around at the world, and eventually swooping down on small furry creatures with a deadly silent sweep of the wings to destroy them in a single, satisfying instant—for, lo: I am a night owl’s night owl.)

<i>Thumbs island, Long Beach Harbor.</i>

Thumbs island, Long Beach Harbor.

2) Petro-Islands; Hooray!
Usually, I’m the one asking the idiotic questions on these trips, but I actually know just a little bit about the THUMS islands. Not much, but a tiny bit. Since several of the other participants are from outside Southern California, they don’t have even my limited background on The World’s Most Awesome Oil Facilities yet. This has let me to be a bit insufferable now and then—not on purpose, but because that’s how I get when I’m swept up with enthusiasm for a project. (No, really: insufferable. Last night I was reminding our liaison from the City of Long Beach about little details that I doubt anyone cared about.)

More later, but I do see the history of the THUMS islands as a triumph of co-operation between state, municipal, and corporate efforts—as well as a potential model for future developments.

Here’s a tidbit for you: sometimes, when those who live in the real condominiums around the Harbor (or who live on / operate the boats there) here are having a party, they call the facility managers and ask them to turn the waterfalls on early, or leave them running late (the normal waterfall hours are nightfall to 10:00 p.m.). And Occidental generally grants those requests.

Another fun fact that I hadn’t known: the structures that look like condominiums from the shore actually move around, depending on where the derricks need to drill. This freaks out new residents on shore who don’t realize what they are. The “buildings” move around on tracks within the islands; a normal rotation is three weeks.

And here’s your hat trick, my third fun little datum: when people house-hunt in Long Beach they sometimes ask why they aren’t being shown any of the “condominiums” on the islands. They want to live on the islands, and are disappointed to find out that no one actually lives on the islands. (Though that is one of the uses contemplated in 2030-2040, after the facilities shut down because oil will no longer be attainable from that location. One wonders what the City of Long Beach will do to make up the budget surplus.)

UPDATE: Actually, someone does live on the islands; there are trailers with one or two guys on them, depending on what is happening with production. But there’s always at least one guy who sleeps there, and they rotate; this person will be on duty for about a week at a time.

And they have their own patrol, so that when people have too much to drink and swim out to the pretty islands with the colored lights, they can be put back on a boat and sent back to shore with no harm done.

{ 2 trackbacks }

The Positives from Obama’s Speech | Little Miss Attila
January 28, 2010 at 10:59 am
City of the Not-So-Fallen-Angels: The Lovely Oil Wells of Los Angeles
May 9, 2011 at 3:32 pm

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe September 25, 2009 at 8:24 pm

I have to congratulate you in your foresight. It hadn’t occur to me that the left would stood so low as to try to discredit Giles and O’Keefe. Yes, I know that is naive, what was I not thinking. Using SEO techniques to drive traffic to your blog while at the same time frustrating those looking for risque pictures of Giles is simply brilliant. You have just become one of my fave bloggers.


Glenn Cassel AMH1(AW) USN Retired September 25, 2009 at 8:26 pm

On item 1, been there. Done that. More than once myself. But it was dealing with a Rock Train, a roadmaster and a dispatcher in Fort Worth.


Peter September 26, 2009 at 3:03 am

I wonder if I’d recognise Long Beach today. I was on the guard detail of the brig at the Naval Base there for a while, kind of semi-light duty while my leg was getting it’s full strength back from that Bad Day I had during the Southeast Asian War Games. Hmmph, 42 years ago. Or was it yesterday?


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