Monday, April 28, 2008

How much do your shoes weigh?

I know, I'm slacking.  Been down with a rather nasty cold/sinus infection.  I'm pretty much over it today, finally.  Yesterday, last night and this morning were marred by the longest running headache I've ever had, but I feel pretty damn good tonight, just a little snotty.   PW tossed a package of venison steaks in some Italian dressing, mushrooms and onions this morning.  Tonight I fried those puppies up, shrooms and onions sauted in butter, with nice, big salads.  Damn fine feast.  The oldest boy popped in after work and polished off the last two steaks.  I'm toying with the idea of baking chocolate chip cookies while I knock out some more of the never-ending pile o laundry.

I've not posted much this break and really haven't done much, either.  I've had a somewhat hectic life the last year and I'm just plain tired.  So, this time at home has been very low-key.  I've not even taken up much wine, other than a six-bottle marathon two weeks ago.  PW is finally sans business this break, my oldest son choosing to attend my alma mater in the fall and purchasing a new cell phone and laptop for work and that about sums up this break. 

My little corner of the world finally has a cell provider that offers an international roaming plan and I picked up a plan and new phone last week.  I picked out an LG CU515 and I already prefer it to my old Razor V3 and thankfully, it was pretty damn cheap.  For the laptop, I chose the smaller, 14.1" version of the HP Pavilion I bought a couple years ago.  Amazing how the price of computers just keeps dropping.  I've got 3 times the RAM, 3 times the hard drive, not to mention dual 2.2 Ghz processors, from a single 1.8.  All that for about a hundred bones less than the last machine:)

The last box is still a wonderful laptop and absolutely the best mobile home theatre a pirate could want, but at 10 pounds, it was too heavy and the DVD player just crapped out.  Rather than spend the 250 bucks to replace the drive and still not be able to take underwear to work, I bit the bullet and got a new one.  At 5.2 pounds I can actually take a few pair of underwear and maybe a couple of pairs of socks.  It hasn't been an issue for the last two years, but starting next week I'm going back to helicopter crew-x's and am limited to no more than 25 pounds total luggage weight and they enforce that rule very harshly in some places.  Tough to fit 5-6 weeks of your life into a 25 pound bag.  For instance, my tennis shoes weigh 1.2 pounds and a bottle of shampoo, 1 pound.  Since I have headphones, toothbrush, optical mouse, mp3 player, camera and alarm clock that all run off batteries, I need to use rechargeable batteries and let me tell you-a battery charger weighs the same as a pair of jeans.  So, I crotch the charger and batteries when I weigh in my luggage...

Actually, last trip I left my charger onboard-I knew with slightly more than 50% certainty that I would return to the same ship.  I left a couple of t-shirts and some socks, too.  Not too much since you really never know in this business.  I have a box of shit on, let me see, about 9 different ships.  Someday, I hope to return to one of them and reunite with my old t-shirts and whatnot.  Someday.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Sorry dudes.  I've had a sinus infection since the weekend and have been severely unmotivated to read or write. I've not even consumed booze since, um, since dinner with Mr. Bud last week!  So, no news, being one with my inner self through serious napping.  I did buy a new laptop, yesterday, though.  Vista blows serious donkey dicks, but I'm relatively happy with my mini Pavilion.  It is really just a 14.1" version of my old laptop, albeit with 3 times the RAM and HD, and twice the processing speed (though it takes all that just to run Vista, dammit).  I'm going back to regular helicopter crew-x's and needed to cut down the weight of my baggage.  At 5.25 pounds, it will allow me to take extra underwear and maybe some toothpaste.  Not easy to pack your whole life up in 25 pounds...


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Book Fair

Yo. I screwed around last night and forgot to do a wordzzle:( I'm off to a book fair today, so I'll try to work one up this evening before mr bud and I go get drunk.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Heeding the meme

Now, I really do love these 714, or 195 scam guys, but I must heed the meme.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Tour around the Copper Country

So yeah, I've been slacking on the blog. It's just so good to be home and hang with the family, but presently all are away so I'll write a post instead of wiring the bathroom (yes, I know you just gave me the meter, Mr. Bud, but I feel the need to procrastinate). Anyhow, I've whipped out my camera a few times while driving around the area. The photo above was taken just outside the next town. The folks here ripped a door off of their junk car and made it into a dog house. Yooper practicality.This is a photo of Mr. Bud from across the canal (if you look real hard you can see him in his rocking chair, drinking coffee, even though he said he was going to work when I left). I took this after leaving his place, driving home during the beginning of our last blizzard. I swear I was NOT taking pictures while driving in a blizzard. I was stopped in that parking lot across from the B&B!!

Finally, I noticed that the snow banks are still pretty impressive in front of my house-a little over 5 ft high in mid-April. Woo hoo! You really gotta love winter to live in the Copper Country. By the way, you can ignore all the dates on my pictures. I'm one of those people who just can't be bothered to set the date on my camera every time I change the batteries and keep forgetting to turn off the damn date thingy.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Part of my commute to work

I've been going over my certifications tonight to determine what training courses I'll have to take this year. While looking up one of the courses-Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) course, I came across a couple of videos.

This is a glimpse of a HUET course...practicing an inverted ditching.

And this is the reason I have to take HUET courses every couple of years...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Week 8 Wordzzle

This Week's Ten Word Challenge is: galaxy, delta, redecorate, dearth, offshoot, Uther Pendragon, cordial, gingerbread, foretold, bonnet

And for the Mini Challenge: palliate, functionality, jungle, brass, asphyxiate

Once again, I've mashed them all into one paragraph and this time, tried to include them in the order posted on Raven's blog. Not as easy as I thought...

Mere mention of his name is enough to generate a wave of excitement rocketing through the galaxy with enough delta-V to redecorate the heavens with his presence. The dearth of happiness an offshoot of his reputation, for unlike his father, Uther Pendragon, Arthur was known to be anything but cordial. A gingerbread man, running from victory to foretold victory, defeat unable to catch him, but always close on his heels-a bee in his bonnet. One might be tempted to palliate his actions, as necessary in times of war, pass off his viciousness as an asset, Some distorted functionality that allows him the role as lord of the jungle, an extension of the brass balls that put him at the head of this vast army. With a chokehold on the known world, he begins to asphyxiate the population.

Monday, April 7, 2008


I was walking around downtown with LP and PW today.  Saw yet another headline that mentioned recession and was contemplating the symptoms and signs that the country's in a recession.  Then I walked into the local pawnshop and looked at all the recently hocked tools.  When the people who build this country are pawning their tools of the trade to pay the rent, it's a bad, bad sign. 

I'm not gone

I'm just glad to be home and living a little.  Hanging out with the family, relaxing and whatnot.  Mr Bud and I finally put a small dent in my first batch of wine, last night. He drove up the hill for a nice venison roast dinner.   I don't know if it's common for (sort of) home-brewed wine, but so far all three bottles I've managed to polish off (2 last night) were each different from the others.  The last one was the best.  I hope they keep getting better...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Week 7 Wordzzle

Almost forgot to post this week's wordzzle! Head over to Raven's, follow the linky thing and read em all!

This Week's Ten Word Challenge is: fruitcake, necromancer, gibberish, marshland, Lone Ranger, hog-wild, effluvia, plaintiff, phonograph, fern

And for the Mini Challenge: frozen, history, myrmidon, Shylock, incapacitated

I've mashed them all together and here ya go. I'm heading out to play-you guys be cool.

The plaintiff had stolen the fruitcake on his way out, that much was plain. A lone ranger; the neighbors called the big, black bullmastiff, Necromancer. I referred to him as Shylock, or Shy, for short. Why? Because he seemed determined to bankrupt me, little pieces at a time-he and I, we have a very long history. A spray of his DNA was evident on the fern next to the couch in my cabin, built on the edge of the marshland that drained the village's effluvia and hid it's darkest deeds. His barks and howls, merely gibberish, repeating like the scratched vinyl left skipping on the ancient phonograph as he disappeared into the night-shrouded swamp, like an angry poltergeist, still protesting his innocence, as he had when caught near the pond, frozen in my headlights, the cake still seated firmly in his slavering jaws. He had, by the looks of the damage to the cabin, gone hog-wild, even raiding the fridge. Someday, I’m going to have to shoot that dog. I rounded the corner and stopped, incapacitated at the doorway to my den. My Computer! The tower, lying on its side, is covered in a mound of recently watered potting soil, shattered planter and dismembered ficus. The monitor, sporting the Blue Screen Of Death, was cracked. Only hours ago it held the UNSAVED wordzzle I had worked on for too long to loose it to a plant-murdering, house-wrecking mutt. “What the hell”, I thought. “I was never going to figure out a way to tie in the damn Myrmidons into that story, anyway.” I cracked a still-cold beer, spilled out of the fridge by my arch-enemy, and walked out to the edge of the swamp.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Long Way Home

Four days and I'm not yet home. At least, I think its been four days. Having crossed too many time zones to bother counting, as well as the International Dateline, I have to rely on counting segments of travel as days, in order to have something for my internal clock to refer to. Before disembarking from my ship, I worked a full shift-12 hours that seemed to stretch for days as I waited for news of the approaching ferry and the telltale whine of the hydraulics as both our small boats were lowered from their davits. We use the jet-powered, fast rescue craft to transfer between ships, while the other stands post astern to assist in an emergency. Crossing the angry Southern Ocean with eyes burning from a long shift, I turned and gave the remaining crew the finger, defiant in my departure and fired up to face the upcoming gauntlet of travel.

Once the crew was loaded on the Ferry, we made the hour and a half transit back to shore. From there, we boarded a bus and made our way to Invercargill, where we hung out for the afternoon at its small airport, drinking beer and eating mutton pies, waiting to catch a 2 hour flight up to Christchurch-the largest city on New Zealand's South Island. We ended day one of the mass exodus across the world at a small hotel across from the airport, spending about four hours mixing beer, wine, gin and tonics and a huge steak dinner. Fully sated, most of us crawled off to bed after a very long 24 hour day one.

The next morning, I sat a good, long breakfast, saying my farewells to the odd crew member as they arrived for a meal, or stumbled past, on their way over to the airport to catch an all to early flight. Myself and another crewmember leisurely made our way over around noon and began the hassle of trying to obtain tickets home for incorrectly booked flights. It constantly amazes me that somebody who purchases airline tickets for a living cannot actually manage to purchase one without completely fucking it up. The worst part is that when in transit, I cannot call them. I have to call my ship, who then has to call London, then the agent deals with the airline and neither call me back. I have to guess when, or if the tickets have been corrected and get back in line for another stab at getting home. The other alternatives are to puff up, red-faced and angry, or cry like a baby. A grown man crying carries a lot of weight at the ticket counter, surprisingly.

Ticketed to LA, I finally boarded, of all things a 777 200A, I think it was. Normally, I fly a 747, but this smaller and I think, brand-new, jet was the way to go, with a 2-4-2 layout, wide, comfortable seats and I swear, at least an extra foot of leg-room (pun intended). Overseas carriers flat out destroy their US peers in comfort, service and everything else that counts when your rear end has to spend 12 hours in the same place. Still, it was a long, agonizing 12 hours despite the delightful Kiwi service. I suppose I should count day 2 as ending with flying over the International Dateline in darkness, nearly prompted to physical violence by the guy alternating between snoring and farting while drooling on my shoulder, dreaming about somebody named "Sugar", whom he frequently called out for in his sleep, loudly. "Sugar...Oh, Sugar!"... Oddly enough, the next day began with more of the same as he continued his trans-pacific tryst with Sugar until somewhere over Hawaii, I gave him a great, big fuck-off elbow in the kidneys.

LA. Of all the possibilities, places and things to do, I did the only thing I could do. I checked into my hotel and hit the bar, downstairs, after calling PW to tell her I'm in-country. My associate and I-a southern gentleman from Alabama, met in the pub, devoured great big fucking American cheeseburgers and a massive plate of fries, washed down with pints of Murphy's stout. After that, we walked around the block to help things settle, then it was time for a short nap before catching the red-eye out of LA. My eyes were burning from lack of sleep and spending the last 44 days in air-conditioned environments and I ended day 3 talking to PW, sprawled out on crisp sheets in the Sheraton. Waking up with the phone still in my hand, I suspect I fell asleep talking to her, but I can't be sure until I talk to her this morning.

I managed a four-hour power-nap then hit the ticket counter to once again do battle, hoping to score the two domestic flights I needed to get home. This time I ran into a new problem (or bullshit story, depending on whether or not you choose to believe the Gods behind the ticket counter). Seems I was booked, seated and paid for but not "ticketed". Now I thought that was the job of the "ticket agent" standing before me, but evidently not. Somehow, you can have a flight reserved, paid for, seats confirmed, check-in online and still not be "ticketed", as in some mystical right of passage that allows you to then stand before a ticket agent and have them, uh "ticket" you in some other manner than you previously were. Well, the woman behind the counter made me swipe my passport at the kiosk no less than NINE times, before relenting that it really did say, "Your e-ticket requires assistance from the ticketing agent" and then telling me I wasn't "ticketed" and that she couldn't help me. Cue the tears. I'm too close to home not to break down and cry for a ride. It's already been 3 days for fuck's sake. So, I get a nice, comfy first-class seat on the red-eye out of LA and head cross-country. Immediately, it seems everyone around me has dropped off to sleep, snoring, even the very stunning woman dressed as if she's catching a limo to the opera instead of the read-eye. She's felling redwoods with the best of the other lumberjacks. Thank Christ for noise-cancellation headphones and the wiz-kids at Bose Corp.

So, here I am in Minneapolis airport, sitting in the same seat I occupied on the way to New Zealand, 44 days ago. I've put away a double latte, chocolate muffin and a sausage, egg and cheese stromboli. It's 8am and I've still got 3 more long hours until my final flight leaves for the Copper Country. I feel like dogshit and probably look and smell worse. I've got a good book, but I'm too tired to read. I suppose a long walk is order. I need to work off the muffin and stromboli and my ass hurts, anyway. Six more hours and I'll be home, hopefully, and then I can put day four and my job, behind me for another five weeks.

I had hoped the next time I pulled out my laptop and looked this post, it would be from the safe and cozy confines of my living room, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I’m only about a half-mile away-terminal B: gate 6; foiled by a bird strike. A fucking bird! So, I’ve got an extra couple hours to spend waiti…………

HOLY FUCK! Son of a disease-ridden, pock-marked, camp whore, my ex fucking wife just showed up. Ram a stick up my ass, coat me in dogshit and call me a fudgesickle, I can’t fucking believe it. Well, I damn-well need to cut this short and grab a fucking drink, or six. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

UPDATE: The double vodka was a good idea, I made it home without further incident despite my ex-wife sitting right behind me on the flight home. PW, LP and my oldest boy met me at the airport, my luggage made it (yeah!) and I got the hell out of there. I'm home, drinking wine in my pj's:)