A couple of weeks back an old landman buddy of mine reached out and said he was going to be in town sometime in the next couple of weeks. He wanted to get together for brunch…I thought that was odd, since we’re not necessarily the brunch types. Regardless, he had something he wanted to talk to me about so I agreed to meet him.
We met at 10:30 this morning and had a couple of beers catching up. After we got the usual bullshit out of the way and moved on to what he wanted to talk to me about, a few more beers and we were back to bullshitting again. That’s when he told me an entertaining story about a mishap in the boys room at a wedding a few months back…
“So do you know this guy, __________?” (redacted because I don’t remember the name)
“No, I’ve never heard of him.”
“Ok, well anyways, he and his wife had a wedding shower for a friend of ours at their house awhile back. And he’s a war collector…”
“A collector of old war memorabilia. Anyways, he has this huge collection on display at his giant mansion of a house. So we are walking through checking everything out, and I get to this Nazi knife. So I have to ask…’hey, what’s the story behind this knife?’
The guy replies, ‘oh that was a gift from a friend of mine so I put it on display because they would notice if it wasn’t out in the collection.’ Yeah ok, whatever. I’m not judging.”
My buddy continued, “so a few weeks later at the wedding, this guy is sitting at our table. First off, I was hammered. Like, shitfaced. So I started talking up the art collection that an artist friend of mine had created, and was thinking I could get a commission on something…I showed him a few pieces and he seemed really interested.
So then I headed off to the boys room, stopping to talk to a few people on the way. While I was taking a piss I was talking to a buddy of mine standing at the urinal next to me. I was kind of swaying a bit from being hammered, laughing to myself about selling a painting at a wedding.
“Hey man, remember that Nazi guy who had the party a few weeks ago? I think I’m going to sell him a painting…” then I heard a toilet flush from one of the stalls, and as I watched in the mirror above the urinals directly in front of me, sure enough…that guy walks out. Dead silence. He washes his hands and walks out.
My buddy at the urinal next to me died laughing (and probably pissed all over himself he was laughing so hard) as he said ‘HAHAHAHA…yeah good luck with that sale man!’ He slapped me on the shoulder and walked out of the boys room.
I looked over at my buddy and between laughs said, “holy shit, what did you do next?!”
He chuckled and replied, “I did the only thing you can in that situation…I went and sat down at another table and avoided the guy for the rest of the night. I mean…I called the guy a fucking Nazi. Can’t come back from that.”
Houston, we have a problem…for all of the fans, followers, cohorts, minions, soldiers, warm bodies, etc that have liked or visit our Facebook Page, we officially have no control over its content anymore. I am not sure how long my ability to push stories onto the page will last now that I have contacted Facebook about the issue. As usual, there is a story behind all of the drama here. Let’s break things down.
LandmanLife is a brand, a lifestyle, a story, a road trip to nowhere, and a pseudonym all wrapped up in a big drunk satirical bow. I’m not sure what brought you all here but obviously there is a reason. Facebook is a huge problem in our society, but it is also the biggest platform for advertising or spreading a message (whether it’s fake news or not).
I do not have a personal Facebook account. People used to think that was really strange, but in the past two years it’s getting fewer reactions when I say “No, I’m not on Facebook…” Honestly it seems to be older adults that have the hardest time believing that I am not on Facebook, because their experience with Facebook started after literally EVERYONE else had been allowed onto the platform for years.
The Beginning on TheFacebook
When I was a freshman in college I remember someone saying, “hey, did you hear we got a Facebook?!” I had no clue what the guy was talking about at the time, but that was back when it was TheFacebook, and schools were added one at a time. When I joined, it was a free for all and you could post or delete anything on someone else’s wall. Things got out of control, fast. A few years later it had evolved, I had grown up, and before my senior year I decided that Facebook wasn’t for me anymore.
Maybe it was the photos that friends kept posting and tagging me in. Not cool to post a pic of me passed out on the couch…or worse. Regardless, quitting Facebook was STRANGE to most people back then. I kept saying I was worried about the real world implications of having all that stupid shit on the internet, tagged to MY NAME. I joined Twitter, and was careful to keep things PG-13. After a few months I didn’t even think about Facebook anymore.
After a couple of years working, I continued to run into people that I had no other way of keeping up with besides Facebook. So I joined again. I turned off all my notifications to keep things low key. After a few weeks of keeping my privacy settings as strict as possible, they had a huge data breach. That concerned me but all of the old pictures and other bullshit from college was hopefully already gone, and I didn’t use Facebook Messenger for anything illicit. Regardless, my problems with Facebook were not just the privacy (or lack thereof).
My mother got SO upset when I did not respond to her friend request within 3 days. I continually had friends that said “hey man you missed my party.” To which I would respond that I had not gotten an invite, so therefor I did not know about it and couldn’t possibly have shown up. “I sent you an invite on Facebook!” WTF. That’s not an invite, and since I didn’t get notifications…whatever. That got me ready to quit again, but this time I had a business that I wanted to promote on Facebook. In order to do that I had to have a personal account associated with it.
LandmanLife joins Facebook
That’s where the trouble began. Setting up my business page got me thinking…maybe LandmanLife should be on Facebook too. Why not? This was still back in a time where people routinely changed their names on Facebook, so what was the problem with setting up a fake account? I didn’t see anything wrong with it, I didn’t want it associated with my personal account, and Facebook didn’t specifically prohibit it at the time. About 20 minutes later, I was up and running at www.facebook.com/landmanlife like a BOSS.
You all know that I took a few years off after I nuked the site on accident. Never occurred to me that the fake Facebook account I had set up would be an issue. I still had the login, and the email address was still valid. A couple of weeks ago when I had set the site back up, I tried to log into the Facebook account that was the creator and ONLY admin of the LandmanLife page. “This account has been disabled by Facebook. If you think this is an error, you can get more information here…” Typical.
Going down that rabbit hole gives me just one option. Provide a valid government ID accompanied with a credit card/utility bill proving to Facebook that I am a legit person. WHAT?!? Who the fuck do they think they are? We don’t even require that kind of proof to VOTE FOR PRESIDENT. Maybe this is what happened, because they deemed LandmanLife to be a “high potential reach” Page and sent a verification request that I never responded to. I’m tempted to create some fake documents, wouldn’t that just be perpetuating the legend of LandmanLife? Instead, I tried to contact Facebook about regaining control of the page. There is no way to actually contact them.
A Ship Without a Rudder
I wasn’t hacked, and even if I was, their solution is to follow a step by step guide of how to secure your account. My intellectual property wasn’t stollen, and regardless, I don’t have a registered trademark (try to steal my shit and you’ll find out how many attorneys I have on retainer specifically because of this website…thanks, Mr. TitleNazi). So what is my recourse? I fucking tweeted Facebook. A response is not expected.
I have no way of directly controlling the posts on the Facebook Page anymore. When I set up the site again, I was really surprised that WordPress had saved the API keys to push posts to the Facebook Page. I was even MORE surprised that it worked. That’s how you can see this post on the Facebook Page. Since I have tried numerous times to make Facebook aware of this issue, I do not know if they will end up shutting down the page. Fuck Facebook anyways. If you’re a fan, please subscribe to the blog on our page or find another platform to follow us on.
There are so many mineral and royalty scams out there I cannot even begin to count them. A lot of legitimate mineral and royalty buying companies deliberately target seniors, people with disabilities, or people that have fallen on hard times. They try to use the “we are trying to help people” angle, but they always fail the smell test. That shit pisses me off. I understand the business, downplay the asset as much as possible to get a lower price. That works unless you have someone respectable on the other side. Unfortunately most of the sellers in that market do not have proper representation. Attorneys are great when you want to file a lawsuit, but they are not your best avenue to sell something. Unless they really understand the industry and market they are trying to participate in, attorneys are going to drive away potential offers with additional stipulations, restrictions, or excessive delays. The majority of the “shady” groups in the mineral/royalty market will avoid attorneys at all cost.
I will admit, I have sold mineral assets for clients that I strongly disagreed with (due to their immediacy for selling), but have proceeded with the sale due to their insistence, despite my objections. That admission is not intended to absolve me of all guilt that I have with the mineral/royalty purchasing industry, I am simply letting you know that I have been a part of it. Setting aside your personal convictions about something is hard to do…but getting a check for it makes things easier. That’s a slippery slope. Regardless of my involvement, there are more sophisticated predators out there. A few years ago I went to an “information session” with an old friend of mine that is an oil and gas attorney. He told me that he had signed up for the deal with a +1 and it was free margaritas and fajitas for anyone that attended. The event was at some Mexican food restaurant in the middle of fucking nowhere (seriously, I work in the middle of nowhere so for me to say that, this place was out in the boonies), but hell it’s free margaritas right?!? The second we walked into the “private” room, we knew it was not going to be the type of informational session we had imagined…
There were tables pushed together to create one long table on one side of the room, with a projector screen set up on a stand at the other side of the room, the projector set up in front of it along with a microphone and some speakers. Professional AV setup, instant street cred…except that my brother in law has that same equipment in his garage, so whatever. Every. Single. “Speaker” Was from Morgan Stanley. Speaker is in air quotes because they were selling their product(s). They either actively worked for Morgan Stanley, or had previously (recently) worked there. This organization has the worst website I have ever fucking seen. They call themselves “North American Royalty Owners” and would love to send LandmanLife a C&D letter for publishing the ongoings of their “private event.” Well, fuck them. Google the acronym if you want to see a website that anyone could have designed by literally writing the HTML code in their middle school computer class. Worst website I have ever seen for an “organization.” LandmanLife is more official than those jakelegs. We at least have koozies and stickers. All they have is a bullshit “certification” that is only acknowledged by (guess what) THEIR OWN ORGANIZATION.
Back in the day there was a guy that wrote here under the pseudonym TitleNazi and he was extremely critical of OEC (Orange Energy Consultants) who sent me a C&D email (LandmanLife has about 6 attorneys on retainer, they all laughed at the request to take that story down), and the AAPL (nobody cares, because…yeah). While I hope he will join us again, I have to take up that same stance against NARO. That information session would have led me into all kinds of worthless investments with extremely low (or negative) returns, but their keynote speaker was a MINERAL MANAGER. She “worked as a landman” and “knew how to speak their language to maximize your returns.” All she asked for in return was 8-10% of all revenue generated from your bonuses, royalties, or potential sales of mineral assets. In return for that she was going to need to be your financial advisor, in addition to managing your mineral assets. Your checks would all go to her, and she would then take care of investing/divesting your money. Don’t worry, her daddy has his financial planning license and sponsors her, so she’s not violating any SEC laws. Seems like a conflict of interest to me, but the morons at that information session thought I was the asshole for poking holes in her resume. Figures. I had a hard time not laughing, but in the end…Who’s the guy that says “you can’t fix stupid?”
The first production run of LandmanLife Koozies has been dubbed “Founders Edition Blue” and turned out pretty badass. For the past couple of weeks I have been debating what the price point should be for these bad boys, and came to the only logical conclusion…they are fucking priceless. If you see someone with one of these Koozies it will tell you a couple of things about them…obviously they are a badass, a good friend of LandmanLife, OR the winner of one of the giveaways we will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks.
Upcoming giveaway opportunities will be set up on Twitter and Facebook as well. We are working with the print shop to get orders placed for more colors (to actually sell on the site), in addition to some hats and shirts. Stay tuned for more details on those, or contact us if you’d like to help out with the design process.
If you REALLY want to score some of these Koozies before we run out, send us a story!
You should start with Part 1 and Part 2 if you are new to this story, which originally appeared on LandmanLife in July of 2013. The names of those people involved have been changed for their own privacy, but anyone that knows these characters can easily figure out who’s who.
After the original publishing of this story, I was forwarded an email thread between about 7 of my former crew members. They were trying to figure out who had written this story…and at the end of the thread, they accurately identified me. I thought it was pretty hilarious, because the only person that was actually “offended” was the woman involved in this story (there are plenty more stories about her for another time). Her response was, “It had to be him, he’s the only one that could actually write something like that.” I’ll take it as a compliment I guess…anyways, here’s the story.
So I was still in the dark about what had gone on the night before, but knew that it was something pretty fucking serious. The owner of our company drove over 5 hours to come chew us out, and my buddies were still inside talking with him. Everyone else didn’t want to be sitting around while some of our coworkers were probably about to get fired, so we all shuffled outside. After a few cigarettes our crew chief suggested we all go have an early lunch (it was still early enough for breakfast in my book) which seemed like a better idea than hanging around the office with an angry owner on a rampage. About 7 or so of us walked the block and a half up the street to the only good Mexican food place in town and sat down at a table. Things were a little awkward for me since I was the only young guy not involved with whatever the “incident” was and I could sense that the older guys at the table with me were still wondering how I had stayed out of trouble. Usually I would have been right there in the middle of it.
Our crew chief started talking about what had gone on but as usual kept his attitude “intentionally vague.” Then he looked right at me and said, “so, were you there at the pool last night when the incident occurred?” I replied honestly that I had gotten too drunk to make it to the pool and had passed out in my room. His response did not bode well for my buddies still at the office, “well, passing out at that moment may have been one of the best things you could do for your job on this crew. Be glad that you didn’t make it to the pool.” At this point I really started wondering what the fuck could have gone down at the pool and why my buddies were in such deep shit about it, but didn’t want to press for more details. We all ordered our food from the fat Mexican waitress. Some of my coworkers seemed to really enjoy hitting on her despite (or maybe because of) her lack of understanding of the English language, she had an amazing capacity to fuck up even the simplest orders. I drank my iced tea, ate my tacos, and tried to ignore the hangover and stress that were making me sweat more than usual this Friday morning.
Back at the Office….
Things didn’t look good when we came around the corner of the block headed towards the office and I could see that my buddies trucks were all gone. The owners truck was still there, of course. Time to get back to pretending to work, so I headed back inside to my desk and tried to keep my head down. After a few minutes of tinkering with label templates I texted two of my friends to ask what the fuck had gone down. They both replied “head back to the hotel and we’ll tell you.” I couldn’t exactly ditch out right in front of the owner so I made a point of printing some labels on the printer in the other side of the office to scope things out. Our crew chief and owner were wrapping up their conversation and shortly after I got back to my desk they both left. As you can imagine, five minutes after that every person in the office was packing their bag to head home for the weekend. I was the second to last person to leave and hauled ass over to the hotel hoping to catch my buddies before they left. Seeing Motorboat and Chatterbox’s trucks in the parking lot with the doors open it was obvious that they were loading up everything from their hotel rooms. At the time I remember thinking that blows, everyone left on the crew will be either old, lame, and/or creepy. I parked, ran up the stairs, and walked into Motorboat’s room while he was packing up a suitcase. He looked at me and said, “sit down, let’s talk about last night,” as he stuck his head into the hall to yell at Chatterbox to come over from his room next door.
Here’s What Happened…Allegedly
So as you know, we all got pretty fucked up playing poker before heading to the beer joint. At 2am when they closed we headed back to the hotel with the intention of partying at the pool for a while. I went to my room to put on my swimsuit and passed out, despite my buddies coming upstairs to bang on my door. Motorboat, Chatterbox, Partyboy, and Racy packed a cooler with some beers and went down to the pool. Since it was the middle of summertime it was more like a hot tub than a pool and due to the ever-present wind, the bottom of the pool was usually covered with sand. Turn on some tunes, crack open some beers, and who gives a fuck it’s going to be a good time. Two other guys from another crew joined my friends and apparently the drinking stepped up to another level. Since the cooler was right next to the pool there was no reason to get out, everyone was just tossing their empties towards one end of the pool to float around. One can only imagine that after drinking that much, no one would want to put their head under the water as nobody was getting out to take a piss. All kinds of trouble could come from trying to haul their drunk asses out of the pool, walk across the wet cement, and into the bathroom with the slipperiest tile you can imagine, just to take a piss. We’ll just say it was a kiddy pool, naturally warmed.
After about an hour and a half of drinking mixed with a little bullshitting, some kids came outside the hotel and sat at one of the picnic tables on the patio by the pool. According to my buddies, these two teenagers started very loudly talking shit about how drunk everyone in the pool was. One can only imagine my buddies response, “fuck off you little shits!” Or something like that. Things started escalating from there as the teens tried to put on a tough guy act and pull the “why don’t you get out and make me!” routine. This is the point I think I would have gotten pretty pissed, so I’m glad that I hadn’t been there. Motorboat and Chatterbox got out of the pool and started walking towards the punks on the picnic table, who promptly ran off around the corner into the parking lot, talking shit the whole time. My buddies all got a good laugh and got back in the pool for one more beer. The kids apparently hadn’t gotten enough so they came back a few minutes later. That’s when shit got real. This time it was Racy that got out of the pool to scare the kids off, and those teens made it abundantly clear that they weren’t scared of a woman. In fact they were so fearless that they got up in her face and told her “fuck off, you skank whore!” Yeah. Racy almost slapped one of them, but decided it would be better to tell them it was past their bedtime and they should get the fuck back inside before they got their asses kicked. To everyone’s surprise, they actually did go inside flipping the bird as they went.
Two or three minutes later, as Racy was pulling beer cans out of the pool to throw in the trash (everyone had decided the party was about over at this point), a rather large and pissed off Mexican woman came barging out of the hotel. She marched right up to Racy, got in her face, poked her in the chest and demanded to know “WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TELLING MY KIDS WHAT TO DO?!” I love parents that always stand up for their kids, especially when you think that at 3:30am your kids could somehow be innocently minding their own business outside the hotel. Racy tried to keep her cool for the first minute or two according to everyone that was watching from the pool, too dumbfounded to say anything. Then she lost it. “Your kids called me a skank whore, and what kind of parent are you letting them run around this late at night? They’re some disrespectful punks!” Momma Bear did not like her cubs being spoken about in that manner, so she retaliated with an ever classy line, “well by the looks of you being out here in that skimpy bathing suit with all these men, you ARE a skank whore!” For the second time in a half hour, Racy wanted to slap someone. She didn’t, likely stemming from the fact that this woman outweighed her by a good 100lbs. More screaming back and forth about who was the bitch whore ensued before the woman headed back inside the hotel. Everyone thought the altercation was over. It wasn’t.
Here Comes Papa Bear
As the last of the beer cans surfaced from the pool, Papa Bear mozied on out the door of the hotel towards the pool. He was still wearing his coveralls and boots, caked with mud as he obviously worked for one of the frack companies in the area. This guy was easily 6’4 and over 300lbs, so we’re talking about a big papa GRIZZLY bear. Chatterbox interjected into Motorboat’s telling of the story to add “seriously this guy could’ve ripped my arms off with his bare hands, I couldn’t even see his neck.” Everyone still in the pool stood still, blankly staring at him for a minute until he spoke, probably hoping he was like a T-Rex and couldn’t see them if they didn’t move. “Why the hell did my wife just wake me up and tell me that you people were talking shit to her out here?” Chatterbox tried to take the lead explaining the situation, but after about two minutes of the back and forth that started the whole situation, Papa Bear had heard enough. “Ya’ll just mind your own business and don’t let this happen again, because I won’t be nice if I have to come talk to you again, alright?” Sounded like a good deal, everyone thought they had gotten off the hook. Papa Bear went back inside. Everyone else finished fishing the beers from the pool and headed to their rooms to pass out, once the rush of adrenaline had worn off. None of them knew what had happened after they went to bed (they assumed something bad had gone down since we all had been called into work that morning) until they got called out by the owner and ordered to stay at the office while the rest of us left. Our company owner filled them in on how he became aware of the situation.
Apparently after her husband (Papa Bear) had come back to the room, Momma Bear decided that he hadn’t been tough enough on my buddies in the pool so she decided to handle it herself. She marched her fat ass down to the lobby of the hotel and woke up the manager who always slept on a cot in the back room of the front office. After she raised hell for a few minutes, the manager (who barely spoke English, I think he was from Pakistan and I couldn’t ever figure out how to pronounce his name) concluded that the only way to get this Mother Fracker out of his face was to say he would tell the owner of our company what had gone on at the pool. He intended to deal with this at a normal hour, not 4am, if he intended to do anything about it at all. That still wasn’t good enough, Momma Bear demanded that he call the owner of our company right then while she stood there watching. This Pakistani man gave in to her, looked up the phone number, and reluctantly dialed. He woke the owner of our company up, apologized profusely in his broken English, and tried to explain what the angry woman was yelling at him about. Needless to say, he was pissed. Whether he heard and relayed any of the truth about the situation, none of us can be sure, but I’m guessing Momma Bear wasn’t too worried about facts while she let her blood boil over. After he got off the phone with the hotel manager, the owner called our crew chief and told him to get everyone to the office in the morning. He got in his truck and started driving South to give us a piece of his mind.
In the “meeting” that my buddies had after we had all gotten dismissed from the office, two of them were notified that they would be relocated to another crew in a different town, starting Monday. That’s why they were packing everything from their hotel rooms when I got back from the office. The other two crew members got sternly reprimanded and told that their one strike was gone, but they weren’t getting fired. Attendance at the office was extraordinarily high the next few weeks because everyone was still on edge. The owner of our company made a random appearance once a week, and would sometimes show up to the office for an hour or so before leaving before most of our crew had even gotten out of bed. I was always glad to be present when he showed up and spent a lot more time looking busy at my desk. So once I heard everything that had gone down, I can’t help but agree with my crew chief that it was damn lucky I passed out that night. Not that it helped when the project closed down two months later, because all of us were out of work anyways.
This post originally appeared on LandmanLife.com in July of 2013. It has been very slightly edited to correct some grammatical errors and add a few minor details that were left out of the original story. Obviously the names of those people involved have been changed for their own sake…but I’m pretty sure anyone that knows these guys won’t have a hard time figuring out who’s who.
As I got out of bed and tried to shake off the hungover/still drunk feeling from the night before I called a couple of my coworkers trying to figure out what had happened, but no one answered. Since I was already worried about [primary broker’s name] being in town and the disturbing call I had just received, I naturally assumed that the people I couldn’t get to answer their phones were already at the office, ready for the impending firing squad. Being the last person there when [primary broker] was in town just doesn’t sound like it would be good for my job security so I rushed through a quick shower, hoping it would clean off the smell of sweat. I hurriedly dried off, got dressed, and hauled ass to the office. Lucky for me the cops in town only cared about big rigs running the stoplight (yes, THE stoplight). As I blasted through that red light I waved at the police cruiser parked on the other side of the intersection.
Passing the gas station we always stopped at for beer after work each afternoon meant I was almost there, told you the hotel was close, right? A left turn, two stopsigns (that I rolled through) and a right turn later, I was in front of the office. It wasn’t a good sign that none of my coworkers who had gone out the night before were at the office, maybe I didn’t need to rush so much to get there after all? Nobody wants to be last, but it is also not a good idea to be the first person through the door…that guy always gets shot. Two of the older guys were outside smoking cigarettes and I tried to chat them up about why [primary broker] was coming in, they both kept it short just saying “I don’t know what you kids did last night, but he’s pissed as hell.” Not something you want to hear in the morning on a Friday, especially if you blacked out the night before. That statement also made it pretty clear that whatever the problem was, my buddies and possibly myself had been involved. Fuck.
Heading inside to our tiny office I first turned left into the “old farts” room to see who else was there. Our crew chief and two other older landmen were at their desks, and they all gave me a weird look as I walked in. At the time I don’t think the term “throwing shade” was a thing, but that’s exactly what they were doing. Trying to act normal is so much harder when you don’t know WHY you should feel guilty, but I did my best to pull it off. Obviously I didn’t want to straight up ask our crew chief what was going on if I was somehow implicated in the situation so I just kept to the normal bullshit. He was the definition of excellence, at least if you asked him. To most people he was a weird old liberal hippy man that wore slippers with socks, had a remarkably persistent dip spit stain running down his chin and through his scraggly white beard, wore women’s glasses, and had a pierced ear. To us, he was just an annoyingly aloof crew chief. He actually told me once that his instructions were, “intentionally vague.” I guess that means he was covering his ass by not actually telling me to do anything? Still not sure.
After a few minutes of that I left their side of the office and went to the “young guns” side where my desk was, sat down in my piece of shit rolling chair, and wondered how I was going to make myself look busy. I tidied up my desk, organized some papers and folders, and put a couple of miscellaneous documents into my file folder. Between the two sides of our office was a small hallway that had most of our office supplies, a seldom used microwave, and a small fridge that (usually) had beer in it. As I glanced at the fridge I had the fleeting thought that it might be a good idea to make sure there weren’t any beers in there when the owner was coming in. Then I imagined him walking in while I was pulling a handful of beers out of the fridge…and I decided that it wasn’t my problem because it wasn’t my beer, as far as I could remember.
Since I was the most recent hire onto the crew I got shafted on my desk location and had my back facing the door at the very front of the room. Looking busy was a pretty important part of my every day routine. I pulled up our runsheet form and figured I’d go ahead and type up some of the labels I would need next week. Then, all together, my coworker buddies strolled into the office looking guilty, tired, and hungover, but trying their best (as I did) to appear normal on this far from normal Friday at the office. You could cut the awkward tension with a slow motion Austin Powers judo chop. As they all tried to do the really forced small talk dance with our crew chief I resisted the temptation to turn around and ask what the fuck had happened last night.
I waited for them to finish saying that awkward charade with the guys on the other side of the office, but once they came into our side and sat down I started (quietly) asking what had gone on the night before. The look on their faces got me even more concerned than the fact that they wouldn’t say anything about it. “Nothing, shuts. Don’t talk about it,” was the only response I could get. That was pretty irritating, but I understood they didn’t want to be spreading the word about whatever they had done…all I really wanted to know was what I might have been involved with…or if I was involved at all, really. They made it clear that it was a united front to stay silent…so I waited. After a couple of minutes of silence while the tension seemed to slowly build, the owner walked in. Let me correct myself, the owner STORMED in.
The Hurricane Makes Landfall
Let me set the stage by sharing some information about the owner of our company; he was about 5’4, weighed probably 110lbs, had an absurdly large mustache, always wore a (usually cowboy) hat to cover his nearly bald head, wore glasses, and always had on a button down shirt tucked in with jeans and nice boots. Not generally an intimidating persona, but he had a Napoleonic complex to rival the best of the small men out there and loved nothing more than to rip someone’s head off just to prove he had some small amount of power over them and an equally small penis. This morning he was obviously not in the mood for any bullshit, he slammed the door and very loudly stated he wanted everyone to be in (our side) of the office in 2 minutes. Well, at least I was finally about to find out what happened last night. It took about 30 seconds for everyone to assemble in our side of the office…since it was all of 20 feet away. I think that was the only time I had ever seen everyone on our crew at the office at the same time.
We were all sitting there anxiously waiting to see what the owner had to say. He walked in, dramatically paced around for a minute, then pointed his finger and wagged it around at everyone in the room. “You people do realize that MY name is the FIRST name of this COMPANY name, right? I’M FIRST FUCKING NAME!” I figured that was a rhetorical question so the little smartass voice inside me decided to stay quiet for once. “I understand my partner started this project here, but hasn’t done shit since then. Well that’s over, because I’m now taking control since you dumbasses are fucking up and MY name is on it. When I fucking tell ya’ll to do something, you don’t question me, you fucking do it! Understand!?” Crystal fucking clear, Mr. First Name. Please proceed. He did…
“Now that we have that over with, we can address the incident that happened last night. Let me assure each and every one of you that this will NOT happen again! I hope you all understand what I mean. If you guys think you can go around doing whatever the fuck you want, drinking beer and screwing off, and it won’t cost you this job, think again. If this ever happens again I’m not going to bother asking any questions, I’ll just tell anyone involved to get their walking papers and get the fuck out. I hope you understand how serious I am right now, if you want to test me go ahead, you won’t like the outcome. Now, I need to speak privately with Motorboat, Chatterbox, Partyboy, and Racy, unless anyone else was involved??? Everyone else is free to go back to work.” He stood there glowering at everyone until people started awkwardly shuffling out of the office.
As I got up and started walking outside, I glanced over my shoulder at Motorboat, Chatterbox, Partyboy, and Racy. They looked grim faced as they stayed huddled in the corner of the room. Well, I guess I dodged that bullet, but my landman buddies obviously didn’t. I still had no idea what had gone down the night before, but was glad to be off the hook at least. [Primary broker] huffed as he paced around the room waiting for everyone else to go outside. It didn’t look like it was going to be pretty…
End of Part 2
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Crazy shit people file in the County Clerk’s office
We’ve all been there…sitting at the computer or standing at a desk looking through an old deed book in the County Clerk’s office, and you come across a probate (typically where you find the crazy shit) that has something…odd in it. Maybe it’s a little racist (or sometimes A LOT racist), perhaps it’s something amusing but not that offensive, or maybe it’s offensive in every sense of the word…regardless, crazy people have been filing shit like this in County Clerk’s offices all over the country for as long as we have had Deed Records. Most of us have seen some of the really old deeds that convey slaves with the property. It was a different time with a different culture back then, but the crazies are still out there today…filing whatever madness they can get away with.
In Gonzales, Texas I came across a Last Will & Testament from a young gentleman in the 20s that had been declared invalid, so his will actually had no legal standing on his estate, but he was insistent that he was NOT CRAZY. Then he tried to leave the entirety of his estate to some of his imaginary friends and his cat. Next time I pass through there I’ll need to look it up and get a copy to share with you. Over the better part of the past decade since I first started LandmanLife, community contributions have been encouraged. So far no one has given me any money, but I’ve gotten some funny stories (lost most of them), and a couple entertaining PDFs with some of the crazy shit people have found in Deed Records. Today I’d like to share a couple of those contributions with you…
First up is a page from Edward Daskam’s probate which looks like it was filed in Washington County, Michigan. I apologize for the low quality image, whoever sent this to me just took a photo of the computer screen…I did my best to make it easier to read.
“Seventh: So there will be no misunderstanding among those concerned, although I have nothing. much to give, devise or bequeath, in the event I should be the owner of any property to me unknown or should any property accrue to me by virtue of any unforeseen event, litigation or otherwise, I wish the fact to go on record that my son Thomas E. Daskam has already received his full share of any property I might have had or now have and more, he got it while the getting was good. Under no circumstances shall he receive another cent. The same thing is true of my daughter Mary L. Hartung and other than the dollar above mentioned, she shall under no circumstances receive another cent.”
“Ninth: To my enemies I give the sum of one dollar to buy a rope to hang themselves. To my friends I give my best regards.”
The Last Will & Testament of Edward Daskam
Sounds like the kind of crusty old bastard you’d get to sign a lease by bringing a six pack of Schlitz malt liquor and a carton of Marlboro Reds, so long as the lease specifically stated that Thomas and Mary would never get another cent if old Edward were to perish from old age or general bitterness. Also, was the one dollar intended to be an undivided interest amongst all of his enemies, or would that be one dollar to each of them individually as their sole and separate property? Only wondering because it sounds like the guy might have had quite a few people that could claim under that Article…
Next up we have one of my all time favorites from the Last Will & Testament of Charles Butorajac (no fucking clue how to pronounce that) from the Township of…Ligonier? In Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. I’m not sure if 27 inches is regular size or what for an alligator skull but I find it to be oddly specific and it makes me wonder how many other alligator skulls this dude had, maybe I should track down the heirs of Robert Pitler to see if they still have the alligator skull so I can get a photo. I have to say, I appreciate the open endedness of this guys’ gifts in items A through E, and love the fact that he wants all of his items gathered and displayed in one room for each person to make a single selection, the only way he could have made it more fun is if they had to be blindfolded and drunk while making those selections…
“To Robert Shamey of 106 Timberline Drive…for being an arrogant, ignorant, lying, cheating, two faced hypocrite with a warped sense of values, for that you get 1 cent (one penny) to go hell, FUCK YOU Bob Shamey.”
The Last Will & Testament of Charles Butorajac
You have to commend the dedication to his grudge, even after his death he’s still flipping the bird to Bob Shamey. Kind of makes me wonder, did Marvin Heemeyer ever file anything before going all Killdozer on that town in Colorado? Also, do you think that these people are actually crazy, or just really know how to hold a grudge? Props to the attorneys and county clerk people involved with the drafting and recording of these crazy last wishes because I wouldn’t want to tell Charles Butorajac that he should be nice to Bob Shamey…plus I’m pretty sure everyone in town knew the guy was an asshole.
Next up we have quite a few documents filed by a legit crazy person named Frank V. Fisher out of Wetzel County, West Virginia. So I just have to say…anyone that’s not from West Virginia thinks that everyone from West Virginia is either a coal miner/hillbilly/redneck/or one of the crazy people from Deliverance (which was NOT in West Virginia, mind you)…sorry Metalhead, it’s just one of those facts of life. I have passed through West Virginia on a couple of occasions, and while it is beautiful landscape, the places that I happened to stop for gas or food left me with a distinct impression. Walking into a gas station and realizing that out of the 20 or so people inside, you are THE ONLY person not wearing a camo jumpsuit, and everyone is staring at you…that’s an experience not likely to be forgotten. I hope some crazy cult doesn’t come after me for posting this shit because it is next level crazy, and I’m not going to attempt to transcribe any of this because you just have to read it for yourselves. Also…if Orange Energy Consultants couldn’t find me to deliver that cease and desist letter (thanks TitleNazi, I always knew that fucker was a liability), I’m fairly confident that West Virginia cultists aren’t going to have any more luck…
If you’re reading this and have some crazy shit that you’ve come across in a deed room somewhere, please share it with us for the next post. Send a message to me, or post something on the forums. I no longer have access to the LandmanLife page on Facebook (long story), so postings there will not actually get to me. A note to Metalhead, tell your buddy that I want to hear more about the dude who slaughtered the goat in his living room on the dirt floor…sounds like a good story. Have his people reach out to my people and we’ll make something happen. Thanks for reading, and remember…
When you’re on a road trip to nowhere, there’s always time for one more beer…
We’ve all seen the landman that walks into the courthouse and starts unpacking a back page full of gear, taking up far more room than necessary to get all his gadgets set up. This is by no means a comprehensive guide of what to keep in your bag, just an overview of the essentials that I have found make my job easier. Over the years I have gone through a couple of different work bags, alternating between the “carry all the gear you could ever need” and “carry only what you need” mentality. Regardless of which mentality I walk out the door with, I always have a couple of standard items in my bag.
We have all been through the trip to Walmart/Target/Office Max where you have one specific item that you need, but end up finding tons of things that you MIGHT need at some point. Those things will probably end up in your gear bag, suitcase, on your desk, and eventually in a drawer or box somewhere waiting to be thrown out. Every once in awhile you come across something that works great for a specific task or purpose, and it becomes part of your regular gear bag. Everything I have listed below falls into that category for me. Some people can get their work done with just a legal pad and a pen, others carry a backpack full of everything you need to survive the Zombiepocalypse. Our workflows and the tools we use are all different even if we are doing the same job.
The links to any gear below are from the Amazon Affiliates program and LandmanLife will receive a small commission from any sales resulting from those links. We don’t collect any of your personal information, but those commissions will help offset the cost of operating the site. None of these items were given to me for promotional purposes, they were all purchased over the course of my career as a landman. If you are interested in any of these products, please use the links provided.
Bag & Laptop
Current bag: Hartmann soft briefcase that I got from a Hartmann store many years ago. I cannot locate this bag for sale anywhere online or I would provide a link, because it has held up remarkably well to every day use and travel around the world as well. Having a smaller sized bag helps me to keep my gear limited to the actual essentials, but there are enough pockets in this bag to stuff far more gear than I would need on a day to day basis.
Laptop: currently a 2016 13in MacBook Pro (16gb RAM and 500gb SSD), I have been a “Mac guy” since college and I absolutely prefer using MacOS over Windows. There are occasions that I have to use Windows however (NetDeedPlotter, ArcGIS, Microsoft Access, Forms-On-A-Disk) so I always have a Bootcamp partition installed on my Mac. That allows me to boot into Windows when necessary, although Windows always gets pissy when I do that (f’n updates, STOP THE MADNESS), and I also have Parallels Desktop for when it’s only a quick trip to Windows hell. Anything else that I need to use for work can be done just fine on a Mac. I recently had to get the keyboard replaced on this machine due to a broken spacebar, which is covered under the Apple Keyboard Replacement Program. If you are in the market for a new MacBook I would recommend waiting until they release a redesigned model that does not have a keyboard with the butterfly mechanisms. If you are needing to purchase a new computer now, I would recommend looking at Apple refurbished ones first, and if that does not meet your needs you should check out Amazon’s listings. Apple MacBook Pro (13″ Retina, Touch Bar, 2.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) – Space Gray (Latest Model)
Charging cables: (always have a backup too), any brand works and they will all wear out or break eventually, but Anker is my brand of choice for any cables I need. They have good product guarantees and are always among the cheapest brand you can find.
Battery packs: Most times I carry the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD ($130) and know that no matter what I need to charge, it has me covered. The thing can give me a couple of extra hours on my MacBook Pro or can give me literally days of charges for my phone. This battery is also TSA compliant (yes that’s a thing now) and can fast charge most newer Apple or Android products when using the proper cables. We gave this battery to my father in law for Christmas last year because he also uses a 13in MacBook Pro for photo editing and frequently travels, he swears by this battery for being able to get photos touched up while he’s on airplanes or sitting in airports.
****On occasion I will also have a smaller capacity battery pack if I might need to be more mobile, for that reason I love the Jackery Bolt 6000mAh battery ($30) because it has built in cables for both Apple and (older) Android devices. Anyone with an Android phone that uses USB C will need to look elsewhere, because the cable on this is Micro USB. It works great and is small enough that I can stick it in a jacket pocket (or the wife’s purse if she’s not paying attention).
Phones: iPhone XS on Verizon and Pixel 3A on GoogleFi. The iPhone is my personal and main line, unlimited data (costs a f’n fortune) and the Pixel is my strictly business line. It’s common for me to be in areas where Verizon does not have service, and since GoogleFi automatically switches between Sprint/T-Mobile/US Cellular, I have a good chance of getting SOME service if there is any to be found at all. Add the cell phone booster in my truck and I can stay connected most of the time. I usually have my iPhone in an Apple Smart Battery Case when I am on the road, so that I know I won’t have to plug it in to charge no matter how many photos or phone calls I happen to take/make. (Some of the photos of my iPhone have an inadvertent shoutout to @dog_feelings which is absolutely worth a follow on Twitter)
Headphones: These days I’m rocking Apple Airpods ($145), because they are great and that’s what everyone else is using anyways…being able to use one AirPod while on the phone has become part of my regular workflow. The charging case keeps these charged for a couple of days with intermittent use, and since it uses the same lightning charging cable as my other iOS devices I always have a cable on hand to top off the battery.
USB flash drives: of various capacities and file formats, if your computer has USB C I would recommend this 128gb flash drive on Amazon that has USB C and USB A for $23, it will make things much easier when you have to move a file to someone else’s computer that does not have USB C.
Portable SSD(s): Currently I have two portable SSDs, and I try not to have both of them in my bag at the same time so that there is (some) redundancy in my backups. I attempt to be diligent with my backup procedure but it honestly is hit or miss. Copying all of my photo library, my downloads and documents folders, and backing up my work files takes about 30 minutes and I have a recurring alarm set on my calendar to do it once a week…but we all know how that goes, right? Both of the drives I carry are USB C (faster transfer speeds), the first is a 500gb Samsung T5 drive for $90 and also a 1tb G-Technology SSD drive for $195 which is large enough for me to keep multiple backups for additional redundancy. Data hoarding is something I will admit too…I hate deleting files unless I am certain that I have a backup somewhere, because a week after you delete it, for some reason you’re going to need it.
Since my MacBook Pro only has USB C connections I have carried a lot of dongles, adapters, and other cables to ensure I can plug in whatever peripherals I need for work. Then I bought a USB C hub ($45) that has all the connections I need (3 usb a ports, ethernet, hdmi, sd card reader, and a usb c power delivery port) and cut down on all the small connectors/dongles/cables in my gear back.
Smart Tracker: Because, as you can see, I have a lot of tech in my bag, I like to make sure it doesn’t walk off without me when I happen to be off making copies or in the other room pulling a book. Since my phone stays with me most of the time, using a Tile smart tracker helps me to make sure my bag doesn’t disappear as I’m preoccupied.
Travel Journal: I always have one of these in my truck, in my gear bag, on my desk, and sometimes in my back pocket. Keeping one on hand makes sure that I don’t miss details when I get a call from a landowner or colleague and they need to keep things brief. My wife gets irritated that I have so many of these laying around, but keeping track of details is part of the job.
Notepad: Essential landman gear no matter how old school you are (yellow, legal is preferable but I have accumulated a large backlog of regular letter sized pads that I routinely try to go through). These can be recycled for new projects (rip out the pages that went to the old project, save them if you want…I usually don’t). Amazon has 12 packs of yellow legal pads for $10 if you need to restock.
Pens: You can’t write anything without a pen, and having a nice pen can make your days a hell of a lot easier to get through. The cheap erasable pens write like crap, so do yourself a favor and have at least one nice pen in your gear bag. Your writing hand will thank you. My personal favorite (which you can find at most grocery stores, dollar stores, etc is the Pilot Dr. Grip Gel pen. It holds well in my (big) hands and writes consistently, plus it has a solid click if you’re a habitual fidgeter.
Checkbook: because most County Clerks offices still don’t accept plastic and I don’t always have cash on hand.
Legal sized file carrier: This is absolutely essential gear for any landman. It keeps documents safe, organized, and can hold your notary book and stamp so you always have them handy. I cannot remember where I found this originally, it’s seen a lot of miles and is still somewhat functional. I think I found it in a Staples back in 2010. The chew marks give it character and remind me of when my dog was just a puppy, but the pull tight fasteners have lost all of their elasticity and barely function at this point. It still serves its purpose though.
Alcohol swabs: Great for keeping your keyboard, screens, and other gear clean, especially after eating some really greasy BBQ for lunch…
If you would like to see more Landman gear guides, let us know. Also we would love to hear what is in your gear bag, join the forums and tell us about it.
This post originally appeared on LandmanLife.com in July of 2013. It has been very slightly edited to correct some grammatical errors and add a few minor details that were left out of the original story.
I had the pleasure of living in a Best Western in South Texas for the better part of a year. Our company paid for the rooms 7 days a week so that they saved some money on the hotel tax after 30 days when it becomes an extended stay residency. That made things easier on us since we didn’t have to move all of our stuff out every weekend. It was especially convenient for me since my home was only an hour and a half drive away. The hotel was about a mile from the courthouse and a few blocks further from our office so we could literally leave our hotel room and be at either location in 5 minutes. In my room I kept a long collapsible table that functioned as a backup desk and was usually covered with documents, pizza boxes, bills, etc. I also had an Xbox that I left in my room (Madden games were a common way to settle petty disputes amongst crewmembers) and usually left my shotgun and gun bag in the closet.
Throw in enough clean clothes to last me a week or two, a fridge full of beer, and all my shower stuff and I could travel pretty light whenever I was heading to or from home. At the crew’s peak I think there were about 7 of us staying at the hotel, the rest of it was booked up by Chesapeake rig hands, frackers, and a couple of other landmen. The hotel always reeked like a skunk had run through the hallways because people smoked so much weed in their rooms and there were always people drinking beers out by the pool. Not a bad place to stay during the week if you ask me.
Every Thursday night we had a poker game in the conference room at the hotel. Some weeks there would be five players and the next week we could have 20, it all depended on how many landmen headed home Thursday after work. Quite a few times I stayed in town for the night just to go to the poker game, if I didn’t have plans it was worth hanging around for. People would usually bring their own coolers full of beer or just ice for the liquor drinkers. Everyone would have quite a few drinks during the game and it could go pretty late at times. It was a $20 buy in with the second but final buy in at the halfway point (sometimes people would show up late from work, etc) and the pot could get up to a few hundred bucks with the winner taking 2/3 and the runner up getting 1/3. $300 is worth staying in town for, especially if you get to be wasted while earning it.
Traditionally the winner would buy everyone a round at the beer joint after the poker game if it wasn’t already too late, but that wasn’t written in stone. On occasion the winner would be too intoxicated to go to the beer joint, which was my case (not surprisingly) the only time I ever won. This particular night was not one of those occasions. We started the party around 2 that afternoon when everyone left the office and headed a half hour out of town to a skeet range on a landowner’s property. Since we had leased him and fast tracked the drilling of the first couple wells on his ranch (in order to get an agreement to build a massive frac pond there) he always invited us out to drink, shoot, and grill out. Sounds good to me!
Normally we went out to the skeet range on Wednesdays but it had been rained out the night before, so we wanted to get things started early out there and then get back for the poker game. Anyone that wasn’t a designated driver would throw back a good number of beers because it was always hot as fuck out there, and it was easier to find cold beer than a cold water. Since I had LASIK surgery I have not been able to shoot skeet (it’s a mental block more than physical I think) and usually didn’t waste any time trying, I would rather hang around and drink beers with all the crusty locals that showed up. So that’s exactly what I did. I don’t know why but everyone in this area drank Bud Light (I prefer Miller Lite personally) so when in Rome…I cranked a couple Bud Lights there while I ate some BBQ, and then cranked a couple more while we rode back to the hotel.
Since I had been sweating the whole time we were out at the skeet range, I went up to my room and took a quick shower (while I drank a shower beer of course). By the time I got downstairs to the conference room for the poker game my eyes were pretty glazed over. I know it was obvious because people kept saying “holy shit man are you still here? Your eyes are glazed over…maybe you should give me all of your chips.” If it’s possible to be too drunk to play cards, I was. So maybe their advice wasn’t totally unfounded, but regardless I did not take them up on that offer. Fast forward a few hours (I can’t be more specific because I kept drinking beers as I watched my stack of chips dwindle down to nothing) and I was shitfaced. I lost, and decided that sometimes poker is better as a spectator sport.
One of the girls on our crew emerged victorious and won $200 or so from the pot. Most of the people that had lost earlier in the game had already gone to the beer joint, so we decided to meet them there. I probably shouldn’t have been out in public but peer pressure is a bitch, and when I slurringly said I would go as long as I didn’t have to drive (like anyone would have let me…), I was dragged outside and shoved into the backseat of a car. At some point right before, or maybe on the way there, I blacked out. I have a faint memory of talking with some people from Alabama at the beer joint, and might have had “just one more beer” a few times, as a good landman always should. I think I was drinking Budweiser because I remember somebody talking about my “porkchop in a can.” The place closed down a little before 2 so we all headed back to the hotel. I have a fuzzy recollection of about 5 too many people being crammed into the backseat…someone may have been sitting on my lap.
My memory fails me by this point, so I’m going to have to relay the events as I heard them the next day. I woke up at 7:45am with my phone ringing. It was one of my coworkers (who had not been with us the night before), which was unusual for a Friday morning…or a Friday at all…or any morning, for that matter. When I answered he said “[primary broker’s name] is on his way to the office right now, he wants everyone there by the time he arrives. Get there ASAP!.” This naturally triggered a “holy shit what the fuck is he coming in for?” response. My coworker said he didn’t know the reason but our boss was pissed and he ended the call. As I sat up in bed I realized I was extremely hungover, my head was pounding and I felt like my vision was even somewhat blurred. Then I realized that my jeans were bunched up around my ankles (I still had on my boxers), and my boots were half off but still stuck in the legs of my jeans, hanging off the end of the bed. What a way to pass out, let me tell you. My swimsuit was laying next to me on the bed, dry. I thought that was strange, but my buddies filled me in later that afternoon. (End of Part 1)
This is a [REPOST] of a story that originally appeared on LandmanLife.com on December 30th, 2014. I have not done any editing to the original content…
This seems like a great time to review the landman business in 2014 since the year is coming to an end. People talk about the “ups and downs” of the oil business, but a lot of you are too young to really know what the bottom is like. If you still have a job right now, make sure to do everything in your power to keep it, because the bottom isn’t here yet. We started 2014 with oil prices hovering around $105 a barrel. As Brad Pitt’s character says in the movie Inglorious Bastards, “business is a booming.” I had spent the year working for a small company of about 9 people, 7 of them being landmen. The biggest benefit of working for such a small company was job security. Our broker had worked a deal with a small producer to have our company in essence function as their land department. We’ll call that small producer “Enerplay.” Anyways, Enerplay kept at least 5 of our landmen busy at all times, and we usually had 2 landmen working on small projects for other clients. I spent half of the year working on prospects for Enerplay and the other half working on a small project for another client, let’s call them O.N.E. which stands for Obviously Not Experienced.