Saturday, May 31, 2008

Grocery Day!

Ahhh!   The sweet sound of vegetables being loaded onto the ship:)

Greetings and salutations

15 hour shift last night due to all this happening AFTER my shift was SUPPOSED to end; a crew photo shoot, oil pollution drills, training in the different stations related to fuel, engines, generators aboard the ship, then a marathon crew meeting to wrap up the trip and QHSE issues.  Holy fuck am I tired tonight...

Found the crew photos on the ship's network!  Guess I better post a couple.....hello from sunnyandmotherfuckinghotwesternaustralia!!!

The reason we took these photos was to send them to this school in England that we just donated a couple grand to.  One of the crew lives near this place that takes in young people from developing countries, feeds, clothes, houses them and sends them to a University.  They all live in this little house, about a dozen kids, I think.  So, this guy asked the crew to donate a couple of bucks and then we wired them the loot. Anyway, when they received our donations, they sent us a bunch of letters and photos, so we decided to send a photo, or two, back.  Good fun, but man was it hot, standing in boiler suits up on deck.

In other news there is no other news....

Friday, May 30, 2008

Search me

Just for the hell of it, I've included a couple photos of our infamous "practical workout" of a few days ago. You can see one poor sod dragging the truck tire and me saving the life of the CPR dummy. The medic kept telling me to position my hands so that my fingers were in line with her nipples and I kept telling him she had no nipples. ( I peeked before the workout)

After noting the other day that 1. There's such a thing as Google Book Search and 2. Unfortunately, my only book review can be found there, I wondered (as bloggers do) what searches bring folks to my humble, little site so I popped on my statcounter and took a look at the search terms.

It seems that "addled" is still a commonly used term, though it seems a bit archaic to me. I will forever think of sherrif July Johnson pathetically trying to explain away his wife's unforgivable actions, saying, "Maybe she's just....I don't know.........addled?"

Why does that line stick with me? Maybe I'm just.....I don't know.......addled?

Anyhow, some of the answers people have sought from me lately can now be found all in this single post. Think of it as some sort of public service.

2.70% montmorillinite-----Montmorillinite (a hydrated sodium calcium aluminium magnesium silicate hydroxide, I think) is a soft, phyllosilicate mineral and a member of the smectite family. (I love smectites, don't you?) Smectites!
2.70% hope hands tattoo---A skull and crossbones is much more stylish.
2.70% hanny's voorwerp----Hanny's Voowerp can be found at Galaxy Zoo and Voowerp is Dutch for "object".
2.70% how much do a pair of jeans weigh----All clothes weight too damn much if you have to fly on a helicopter, unless they are Keens shoes.
2.70% how much do a pair of shoes weigh---See above
2.70% how much do a pair of shoes weigh?---How many times????
1.35% hobbies to develop when you are idle and bored---Sailors and wankers know...
1.35% chords hi ho hi ho its off to work we go----I don't know the chords to the fucking Hi Ho song, but I sometimes sing it when it's off to work I go....
1.35% can dick enhancement hurt a mans dick----Yes, everything in the world is capable of doing hurt to your package, but it's the berries, not the twig, that you really have to protect. That is, unless you enjoy puking out a lung.
1.35% image cool et important---All cool and important images can be found here.
1.35% idle hands addled mind---A state of being and a website to be avoided....
1.35% we dont make mistakes bob ross quote---Bob Ross was to pot smoking in the 80's as wiping your ass is to taking a dump: The first is much more satisfying with the addition of the second.
1.35% tonsils that grow back---Are really your unborn evil twin taking over your body. Beware.
1.35% we don't make mistakes---We all make mistakes, but it's how we deal with them that defines us.
1.35% tommy tools----Tommy Tool is just that.
1.35% snl bob ross----Not cool to make jokes about Bob. He was the shit, man.
1.35% zz top on idle---Been idling for years, now.
1.35% how much do new balance shoes weigh---To damn much, I already told you!!!!
1.35% father's day pirate---Rough day for pirates around the world. I should know.
1.35% tying up sausage----I don't know how to tie sausage, but Mike Rowe does.
1.35% penthousee----Penthouse has one "e" and lots of double D's (YES! I finally came up with my second-ever joke)
1.35% can my tonsils grow back 20 years after surgery---Yes, tonsils CAN grow back and there IS a Santa Claus (I met him as a child. Really. Fuck you-he came to my house accompanied by a smoking hot elf!)
1.35% idle hands baking company--seems contradictory, but if it sells bread...
1.35% bosch brewery---The Bosch Brewery is gone, but I have one of their old, wooden kegs.
1.35% blog rogue wave---Yes, rouge waves exist.
1.35% does soot on the bottom inside a wine bottle mean it is bad?----Nothing in your wine is bad unless it ruins the taste, or gives you the shits.
1.35% stealth condoms and shirt----No, I never did get around to making stealth condoms, or shirts, but if enough people show up here looking for them...
1.35% when you have your tonsils taken out can they grow back---See Santa Claus.
1.35% sure you were looking for this:
1.35% idle hands and idle minds---Now that's me.
1.35% the three amigos whenever there is injustice---The three Amigos movie CANNOT be found on my blog-go away. Shooo.
1.35% three amigos whenever there is---I said SHOOOOOO!
1.35% testicle needles balls-----Testicles+needle=bawling, not balls.
1.35% slang terms for yams---I thought Yams was a slang term. As in "ya fucking yams!"
1.35% tiny dick like mine---Tiny Dick like mine?? "I just came out of the pool!"
1.35%, again.
1.35% drippy dicks---My tiny dick drips? I'm not liking this trend. At. All.
1.35% how much do shoes weigh---How many times???
1.35% stealth condoms they'll never see you coming---A very popular item with the adulterer crowd...
1.35% bob ross' episodes---Are better lightly toasted while seated next to a friendly bush.
1.35% carousel winery south range----carousel winery south range=yummy. Must go. Now.
1.35% what is boy george's car like---Who in their right mind would care what kind of car Boy George drives? Who?
1.35% mr. haris peterson---Mr. Haris Peterson cannot spell his own name and has a tiny, dripping dick.
1.35% age appropriateness of book where did i come from?--I think I established that there is no such thing.
1.35% how much shoes weigh---Can you believe how important this is?
1.35% bob ross, snl---Almost as important as Bob!
1.35% how much do tennis shoes weight---See!
1.35% tiny dick--The pool, I swear!
1.35% fuck guy chest---I cannot say what this person was after, nor am I sure I want to know.
1.35% how much do cell phones weigh---Not as much as they cost.
1.35% how much do t-shirts weigh? I swear I thought only pirates had to care about this.
1.35% pirate cove, naked pirate bar----"pirate cove, naked pirate bar" Shit! The cat's out of the bag and now everyone's going find the place!!
1.35% stealth condom---Keep coming and maybe I will...
1.35% my tonsils grew back-So did mine!
1.35% how much do shoes weigh? AHHH!
1.35% frozen peas on testicles----And finally, yes, frozen peas are like heaven when placed on your testicals in certain situations. I reccommend it, in fact.

Space Rocks

First up in my Google Reader this morning was a very cool post on the Galaxy Zoo Blog.  For Hanny's birthday, she received the wonderful news that the proposal to study her Voorwerp has been accepted by the Space Telescope Science Institute, which just happens to operate the Hubble   Isn't that the shit?   From just popping on GZ classifying galaxies to finding such a unique object, to having that object studied by the freaking Hubble?  Then she gets the news on her b-day:)   Galaxy Zoo rocks.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Big scissors killed the golden years

I stumbled across this while reading a wonderful rant on King Lucas of Star Wars Fame, written by one of my old editors at FTTW, Michele Catalano, who now pens for Pajamas Media.  She's written a couple of very thought-provoking articles on a recent cyber-crime of sorts-cyber, not crime) and the mess that the Zion Range issue has become. 

Anyway, Good read and while I don't agree with ALL of the particulars, I think Jane's premise is sound and generally, on-target.

To Boldly Go....

In Star Trek V, The Final Frontier, Spock's errant, half-brother, Sybok "borrows" the Enterprise to enter Sha Ka Re, the mythical, Vulcan heaven which lies beyond the Great Barrier at the center of the galaxy.  Last night as I slept, I pierced the Great Barrier and somehow managed it without a star ship.  Like Sybok before me, wait.............scratch that, he technically comes way after me, doesn't he?  Shit.  Like Sybok after me....No, that just doesn't sound right.  OK, let's just start over, shall we?

Just like Spock's bro, I have longed for Sha Ka Re.  For many years now, I've had, um, issues with aging and the inevitable breakdown of the 18 yr old body that has carried me beyond forty and into the new millennium.  For quite a while, I was able to pull off abusing my body in weekend sports, extremely physical jobs and the alcoholic/chemical pursuits of a madman.  Something changed about 5 years ago and shit just stopped working right. Old injuries began to hurt, my weak back began to betray me on a regular basis and new fonts of pain and stiffness rose up daily to greet me, like a knife to the kidneys, every morning.

So I stumbled around, bound to my planet Nimbus, dressed in rags and wishing I had a star ship, but never doing much about it, other than to leave the couch for more chip dip, or a second glass of milk to wash down those last eight Oreos.  About a year ago, I finally had had enough and began a pathetic attempt to quit smoking and get in shape.  I found both to be more than a challenge and putting smoking aside, the workouts were killing me.  My joints were especially against this new plan.  Since December, my right hip joint has given me problems, burning intensely after just 5 minutes on a treadmill, or elliptical.  My shoulders, oh, my shoulders.  Wracked with arthritis, felt like they rusted up about 15 years ago and lately, like somebody filled the joints with gravel. 

None of this deterred me from my goal of Sha Ka Re, but let me tell you, not being able to lift your arms up in the morning until you've spent 30 minutes in a scalding hot shower is not very pleasant.  My greatest this year fear has been a morning without hot water and not being able to brush my teeth.  So, I pressed on through the pain.  I made regular pilgrimages to my chiropractor (Dr. Hill, I love you, man).  Bless him, he ironed out a lot of the problem in my hip, but the rest of my body continued to break down.

For the past three weeks out here off the coast of Australia, the weather has been unbelievable. Sunny and about 100 degrees every single day.  I joined a few of the crew in subjecting myself to a Mon/Wed/Fri circuit training workout supervised by our medic and personal trainer.  It's been pretty brutal, especially in the scorching Australian sun and baked metal heli-deck.  My body continued to break down and the pain worsened, every single day.  Undaunted, I also worked out on my own, every day we didn't have circuit training.  I've been doing several KM worth of laps around the heli-deck, most of the time, working out with dumbells while walking and running.  I was sure that not giving my body a day off was making things worse, but really needed to loose the weight and well, I get pretty stubborn at times and just can't let things go.  Showing up for a workout in mortal pain is just wrong, I know, but I'm stupid like that.

Lately, I've hurt myself so bad on the off days that my fellow crew have had to resort to public humiliation in order to get me to participate in the circuit training, after some particularly brutal off-day workouts.  Yesterday was an off day.  It was also the hottest day of the trip, so far.  I slogged out to the deck and did my laps, meaning to limit myself to a half-hour, in order to avoid; getting burnt to a crisp, paralyzing myself and passing out from heat exhaustion.  I was also waaaay behind on sleep and wanted to get my head down before 6pm.  Well, I'm pretty much an idiot and pushed myself, brutally, for nearly two hours, finally coming inside, burnt to a crisp.  I went to bed confident I'd be a complete mess tonight.

I awoke to find that sometime during the night, I'd pierced the Great Barrier and now resided in Sha Ka Re.  I opened my eyes and panicked.  I knew something was very wrong, but couldn't figure out what it was.  After carefully levering myself out of the rack to a standing position, I realized the problem.  I was totally and inexplicably pain-free for the first time in years.  Not only could I raise my arms above my head, but they seemed to float up and wave around like drunken Klingons, of their own accord.  I was standing in Sha Ka Re and had no pain to share with that deranged God, imprisoned behind the Great Barrier.

To celebrate, I shaved and brushed my teeth BEFORE taking a very short, lukewarm shower, while singing "Row, row, row your boat...gently down the stream..."


Selamat pagi, people. Momma Kat needs some help. She needs an awful lot of cards for our troops. Get up off your fat asses and work off some of that Memorial Day BBQ and send her a card, or letter. If you can't manage that for some reason (like me, stuck in the middle of nowhere), go here and fill out an e-card. One minute of your day could mean a world of difference to a young man, or woman, in harms way and thousands of miles away from friends and family. Those fine people that lay their lives on the line for us, deserve our support.

Kat's thousands of cards short of her goal. Go give her some love!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Got Bacteria?

This will give a whole new meaning to the phrase computer virus...

Midwestern Tragedy

Image courtesy of AP.

Ain't No Free Lunch... posted this today. It's very sad, but also well-written and I recommend taking a minute to read it. For those interested in helping these poor folks out, this might be a good place to start.

The practical workout

I finally put up my little map of places I've been.  It's at the bottom, same place I stuck it on my old blog LOAP.  To be fair, some of these places I haven't worked in and only visited an airport.  Then again, that's about all I ever get to see of the places I work; airports, hotels, docks, heliports and red-light districts and these places all tend to be the same, no matter the country.

Mr. Bud.  I just found yet more new music in my library.  This time, a group called Potliquor, from Louisiana.  You will like.

Official shout-out to PR.  I see you have a profile.  It's the first step toward blog addiction.  Beware.

Yesterday's workout.  Very interesting as well as exhausting.  The medic really puts in the effort to create a new, thorough and balanced circuit every other day.  Yesterday's circuit was a great example.  It was also practical, which was very cool.  Some of the stations:  Dragging a truck tire (where the hell did it come from??) across the deck by hauling in on a huge deck line (rope), then slinging it over your shoulder and running it back to the other end.  Hauling our Man OverBoard (MOB) dummy back and forth across the deck in a fireman's carry and finally, performing CPR on Respiratory Failure Roy, our CPR practice dummy.  In between those stations, you have to run across the deck, do sit-ups, 5-counts, medicine ball drills, etc.  All in all, a damn good workout and excellent practice of a few necessary offshore skills.  I think he must have taken inspiration from fire school and their version of the yearly firefighter agility test, which is not easy.  It won't be long and I'll be haulin hose and dummies and fightin fire, again.  Mmmmmm.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Attack of the bad reviews

Remember the book review I wrote for Faster Than The World?  The one about the birds and the bees book for children?  I noticed somebody ended up at the review from something called "Google Book Search".  Turns out Google lists two reviews for the book and the top one is mine.  Poor fucker, I'd almost feel sorry for the author if hadn't blasted my eyes with the drawing of the mom and pop clones, naked in the tub, playing with a plastic boat.

Totally unrelated, but I've been listening to Christmas music all night. Why, you ask?  Well, I surely don't know, but I can say that Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Lost Christmas Eve" is my favorite Christmas music of all time.  At least until I get "A Mad Russian's Christmas".

And then he smashed his laptop into tiny little pieces and burned them in the ship's incinerator

Yesterday, while working out on the heli-deck, I heard a loud screech from over the side of the ship, then a huge cloud of evil-smelling, black soot rose up from amidships and settled over the bow. Seems we burned up a turbine when one engine inexplicably shut down, or something to that effect. It turned out to be little more than an inconvenience to operations, but provided a few minutes of drama to fend off the boredom that has settled in. It also served to pull me away from my workout long enough that I cooled of too much to continue. That was very fortuitous as today I am so stiff and sore that I can only hobble around like a little old man. Had I put in the extra hour planned, I would not be walking today.

From the inordinate amount of star-gazing, as well as researching CRUX, I've developed quite an eye for the southern hemisphere's night sky. I'm probably more familiar with this one now, than my own back home. I've already got the midnight sky memorized and a good idea of how the constellations track, what comes up, or goes down at what times and wish that a telescope was feasible out here.

Caught LP on the computer tonight. I saw PW's Googgle chat active and knew it was LP playing games on the computer. I chatted with her a few minutes and convinced her to call me on the phone. It sure was nice to hear her voice and listen to her laugh. We're starting to count the days until I return. I really need to get out of here.

Yesterday, I began to make plans for returning to FIRE SCHOOL. I've also got to do a medical exam, first-aid course, helicopter underwater escape training and sea-survival. I'm wondering if there is a way to take PW and LP. I'm sure LP would have a ball at the fire field watching her old man put out some fireballs. PW, might not, though.

OK, enough is enough. My cursor (and the letters I type), keep jumping back to where the mouse is left when I began to type. This F$%K!!!!!!! means that I'll be typing along and suddenly find myself back in the middle of a sentence, or paragraph, typing over what I've already done!!!! I'm outta here.

UPDATE: Just for the Fyreman, I've added a picture of me (my helmet anyway) just walking in to put one of the fires they offer up for our enjoyment, at FIRE SCHOOL:) MY god is it fun, there!

Monday, May 26, 2008

money for nothing

Japanese dude is the latest to walk the walk and talk the talk.  He won't be getting his chicks for free for very long.


I just browsed the photos taken by Phoenix, just minutes after landing in the North polar region of Mars.  Here's the first images taken of the region:)

day 24 in the sun

Woke up this morning in a stiff and sore body.  Yesterday's workout was especially evil.  It seems out medic/torturer gets very tough on us when the girls don't show up for circuit training, leaving only me and a British guy. I don't know if he takes out his anger at the girls skipping out on us, or he just delights in torturing people, but goes easy on the girls.  Whatever the case, the lazy bitches didn't show up yesterday and I fucking hurt today.  The only bright spot in the workout was not vomiting my giant hamburger and plate of fries eaten 15 minutes before, over the side. I was close, very close, but one of the cabin crew was just putting the finishing touches on a rollie and graciously offered it to me after the workout.  Stomach calmed, I walked laps for a half hour, enjoying the sun.  My eyes were nearly swollen shut this morning, however...

In opposition to the sun, I went back out on deck tonight for a little star-gazing.  The guy who joined me in discovering the Southern Cross last night had already been out and "discovered" 3 more "southern crosses" and armed me with the approximate heavenly coordinates.  He was right, there are many sets of stars that would all make suitable "southern crosses".  The real McCoy was also evident, this time on the opposite horizon and oriented right way up.  I'm still not terribly impressed and prefer any of our "discoveries" over the real deal.

I wonder, can the recent dearth of posting in the blogosphere be attributed to the approaching summer?  I find myself hitting the "discover" button in Google Reader every day, now.  It's somewhat depressing when I'm out here and the posts begin to thin out.  Come to think of it, it's even more depressing that my life narrows to the point that my mental health can be gauged by the number of favorite bloggers who post on any given day.  It's a bad day when I can read my email, blogs, comments and the news in under 5 minutes.  What to do for the rest of my 12 hour shift?  This trip, I've gotten my dept more organized and insisted on continuously developing the reports and instructions that are typically produced in a panic, three days before crew-x.  Now, the various documents sit open on my PC 24/7, getting updated as issues pop up, decisions are made, or phases of my work are finalized.  Much more efficient, but also it makes life onboard more predictable and BORING.

Learned just the other day that I'll likely be working in Southeast Asia for at least the rest of the year, with maybe a short diversion in Singapore a few months down the road.  I guess I'll be working on my tan and racking up the Qantas/New Zealand Air miles, but the 3-4 days travel either side of a trip sure cut into the time with my family:(

Yogurt and muesli as a meal is beginning to loose it's appeal.  So is the growing pile of dirty spoons on the shelf in my office.  Every night a couple hours after I start my shift, I bring a cup of yogurt/muesli back to my desk, then pitch the empty cup, tossing the spoon on a shelf, meaning to take it back down to the mess, later.  Never happens and the spoons pile up.  I've just noticed I called it muesli!  It's the European influence onboard.  Whatever, the shit is getting old and has about as much appeal as a bowl of used nicotine patches.  I think the last spoon just went into the pile...

Sunday, May 25, 2008


At 4:53 EDT, NASA detected a signal from the Phoenix lander, transmitting from the North circumpolar region of Mars.  The folks at Mission Control JPL in Pasadena, Ca. have done it again, this time putting a lander with it's own little laboratory up on the North Pole of Mars.  They'll dig into the soil, to the ice below, sample it and then bring it back to the laboratory built into the lander.  Four Hundred, twenty-one million miles traveled.  One hundred, seventy-seven million miles from Earth, they nailed it, some nine months after launch.  Burned in at about 27,000 miles per hour and landed on a virtual dime.  The intelligence, effort and luck that must come together to pull off such a feat astounds me.  I hope my children can one day gather together to drink a few beers and watch man land on Mars.


I guess this is the most difficult night I've spent at sea in the last 10 years, except for the night PW was sick, last year.  My son officially graduated about 20 minutes ago.  PW called me from her cell and I was able to listen to his name being called and all the cheering.  Afterward, I thanked her for everything she's done to help her oldest step-child to get to this day and then walked out to the darkened heli-deck to cry.

Such an occasion shouldn't be spent alone in the dark, 15,000 miles away from everything and everyone that matters, but that is the life I've chosen.  After I got my shit together, I noticed another crew out walking in the dark.  He asked if I'd ever seen the Southern Cross and we looked for it among the many stars visible from the blackness of an oceanic vantage point.  After a minute, I picked out a likely set of stars, spanning the sky in a majestic and symmetrical spread.  Truly awesome.  A minute later, the night fire watchman walked out and showed us the real cross.  It was small and dim, barely visible in the extra atmosphere you have to peer through as you get closer to the horizon.  Not exactly majestic, but still special. 

As I was leaving, I saw a long-tailed shooting star, streaking silently across the sky.  I made a wish for my oldest daughter's good fortune and happiness, who is also very much on my mind tonight, then came back inside to face the next 8 hours of my shift.

From the ashes

Yesterday turned out to be quite a long day.  After putting in my requisite 12 hours, the dept heads got together for a mid-trip, ops meeting.  An hour plus of that shit really knocked my dick in the dirt. It was pretty light-hearted for a meeting, but still left me shuffling my feet and mumbling.  It was all I could do to drag my tired ass outta bed this morning and I barely made shift change.  Fortunately, there is little to do tonight, being the weekend and all caught up with my production and testing.  I'm putting together a small shipment and wishing I could ship myself home. 

Back home today, my son is standing up in his cap and gown and officially graduating from high school.  I just called him, but we only spoke briefly.  He was attending another school's graduation ceremony and it would've been rude to sit on the phone during the proceedings.  Made me feel very disconnected and far away.  I guess 15,000 miles is pretty far away, unless you're an astronaut, but I don't normally feel it this bad.

Had a long talk with the only other American onboard.  We spoke of things we've read, or heard from our family.  It sounds like things are starting to get pretty bad back home.  Tell me, are things really falling apart back in the U.S.?  We get a sense that things have really taken a turn for the worse in just the few short weeks we've been away.

Completely unrelated, but my science buddies on the Interwebs tell me that the Phoenix should be landing right about now.  I'm trying out a few non-NASA websites, but can't seem to get any information.  Hope that little bastard makes it.  I'm trying to connect to the Phoenix Landing BLog right now, but my connection is shit, or their site is down:(

Hope all you folks have a nice, lazy Sunday.  Monday down here so far, sucks.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Open and say Ahhhhh....

I feel like a dentist today.  I come on shift to get a list of little problems.  Nothing life-threatening, but a long list.  Today is nothing more than visiting and correcting problems.  Tape won't run.  Fix it.  Resource is unavailable.  Get it added.  Outputs are corrupt.  Re-run them.  Database variables being overwritten.  Disable updates.  Broken crown.  Send them to a real fucking dentist.

Fortunately, I cannot fix everything, so I have something to stare at in frustration, for 12 hours.  Something to upset my stomach if the 8-shot mugs of espresso don't quite do the trick. (3 mugs so far and it's only 3:45am)  It's nice to have something unfathomable looming over my head all night.  Keeps me company.  Much like the new, extreme-weather parka I picked up this trip.  I wear it here at work.  In Western Australia.  Where it's sunny and 105 degrees.  Every single day since arriving.  I wear the parka while working in my office and the glass house that houses all my computer components.  It's cold in here in my office.  We chill it down to cool and de-humidify the workstations and GIANT monitors.  It's freezing in the glass house, cooled for about 100 processors, 25 servers, a dozen large routers, tape drives, power supplies, etc.  I hate it in there.  My parka is a snorkel-type and you bet your sweet ass I've got that snorkel, well snorkeling.

I think snorkel should be spelled snorkle, despite what spell-check and Google are telling me.  I'll bend to the will of the masses and Merriam-Webster, but you may take this as an official protest.

I'm ready to protest my own review of the HP Pavilion laptop.  While the little 14.1" bastard I bought is light and small and all things good, it also doesn't have the left-hand USB port in the right place for my remote mouse transmitter.  Every time I type, it disengages the mouse.  Then, to use it I have to move the mouse around while simultaneously waving the transmitter up and down, to re-connect.  TOTALLY ANNOYING (like someone typing in all caps) when trying to blog, or intentionally mis-pronouncing words.

There is a young Indonesian girl on here.  She came into my office saying "pee on my ride, pee on my ride".  I was slightly taken aback.  I finally realized she can't quite manage the "mp" sound.  I think the Indonesian language is light on consonants.  Turns out she was saying "pimp my ride"...

Funny how the whole world hates Americans, but rabidly watch Pimp My Ride, American Chopper and the latest International hit, Mythbusters.  Last trip I watched a NASCAR race with a Filipino.  He was totally into NASCAR and even knew the drivers.  I know shit about NASCAR and am not 100% sure I've even spelled it right. 

Tonight, one of the English gunners was up in the middle of the night (for his shift, anyway).  Said he had to get up to see who won the pole at Monaco.  Rabid fan.  I told him if he lived in Alabama, he'd be sitting on the tailgate of his pickup, swilling Budweiser, grilling cheap steaks and spitting between his teeth.  He told me I have no class and shuffled back to bed.  Wahteveh.  We declared your asses officially kicked in 1783.  Get over it.  Red-coated, pillow-biters.  Loooooosers. 

Seriously, I love all my British friends.  They have the best sense of humor on the planet, are often the only ones willing to stand shoulder with us, sometimes have the same last names and speak American as their first language.  Stephen B. Hawking is British.  I don't know what that has to do with anything, but he's one smart dude and occupies Sir Issac Newton's post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge (I think LL occupies that post in my blogosphere, or will when the site is up at 100%, just to throw in a mathematical term and the obligatory link to someone).  You must be an intellectual bad-ass if you can fill the shoes of the guy who invented Gravity, much like filling Al Gore's shoes after he invented the Internet, I imagine.

Really, that would be two pairs of shoes; one belonging to Vinnie Cerf, who invented ARPA(net) to connect a few universities and research labs for the United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), and Tim Berners-Lee who invented the World Wide Web (WWW) for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).  Al Gore my ass.

Speaking of my ass, it's not so sore as it was, thank you very much, Al.  Sitting down for 12 hours/day is really a pain in the ass.  Really.  Walking, running and flailing around like a jackass, trying to do circuit training do not seem to help, but I'm keeping at it, daily.  Yesterday, the yard was empty.  I did laps with a set of barbells, all alone.  Just me, the fence and the sea.   And the guy on watch with the rifle...

Finally, in a bit of related trivia, did you know that Vinnie (The Man) Cerf actually offered a spirited defense of Al Gore's claim to have taken the initiative in creating the Internet as a senator?  He did.  Al also received a 2005 Webby award for lifetime achievement, recognizing 3 decades of contributions to the Internet.   I think Pornotube won this year's award, didn't they?

Friday, May 23, 2008 which I congratulate my wallet...

For my oldest son getting good enough grades that he had thousands of dollars in college scholarships heaped upon him last night at his honors banquet.  I was so fucking happy for my wallet that I dug him out of my carry on bag where he sleeps while I'm onboard and told him the good news, then we danced around the room, together.  I bet he had a hard time falling asleep, last night.  I know I did.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My son, the honors student:)

For my third and probably final post of the day (unless frogs fall from the sky, or PW calls to tell me its time to begin my second career as a lotto winner) is to tell the world that my son is graduating with honors from high school this week.  Tonight is his honors banquet.  While immensely sad that I cannot be there to watch him accept the honors he has earned over the past 13 years he's kept his nose to the grindstone, I am also bursting with pride.  He's grown into an intelligent and thoughtful young man and there is no greater moment in a parent's life than seeing their children succeed where they, themselves have failed.  Yes, I'm a geophysicist, no I never graduated from high school.  At 12, I ran away to join the circus (fabricate semi trucks in Texas).  I'm very grateful my son has not followed in my footsteps.

Brekkie anyone?

My breakfast this morning (sans breast implants) consisted of a coconut shrimp appetizer with sweet chili sauce.  Pesto pasta, a beef tenderloin and mushroom casserole, chicken satay and then for dessert, a small square of angel food cake smothered in chocolate sauce and sprinkled with coconut.  Washed it down with a full mug of espresso.  Bang!

Eating for two

During the evening meal, the subject of the latest stores delivered to the ship, was raised.  Usual complaints about the lack of certain favorite foods and the like.  I complained about the lack of fresh milk.  For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, don't bother, it's putrid stuff.  Somebody mentioned their were no crisps, only cracklins.  I know crisps from the inordinate number of brits I've worked with over the years, but was at a loss for cracklins.  It was suggested that I try a bag, so I got up and snagged one out of the cabinet.  I tried a bite and then pulled out the little desiccant packet of silica and tossed it aside, saying the packet probably tasted better.  A navigator sitting across from me suggested it WOULD taste better since your supposed to sprinkle it on the cracklins, explaining it was the spice packet.  I begged to differ and handed him the packet.  He turned white and explained the cracklins he eats at home come with a little bag of spices.  He thought the packets were salt and had sprinkled them on his cracklins.  I told him it was silicone and he was likely to grow breast implants.  He was not amused.  Turns out that despite the skull and crossbones on the package, the silica is harmless, even if coated with Cobalt (II) chloride, which is common among desiccants.  Gotta love those lessons learned at the expense of others;)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spaghetti Burrito and the crouching leopard

Business first. A new review is posted on my review site.
Also, I had to update the review of Dr. Bronner's Liquid Soaps. I've since tried a new product and two, new uses:)
I feel the need to warn people of a new and dangerous element I was exposed to yesterday, during circuit training. It's an exercise called "stalking leopard" push-ups. While it may go by another name, if someone directs you to walk across the floor on your hands and feet like a leopard, doing a sideways push-up ever "step", refuse. Not only does it feel un-natural and exhausting at the time, but the next day you'll really feel it. Obviously developed at the Bayer Aspirin Laboratories, this thinly disguised aspirin binge is soon to be outlawed in all 50 states, I'm assuming.
It's been just over two weeks since I left home to spend 12 hours at a stretch, sitting on my ass and my hemorrhoids are killing me. Too much information? Stick it where your hemorrhoids live, I'm in pain.
Oh yes, and for those of you back in The Copper Country, it was about 105 degrees, sunny with no breeze, yesterday. Rock lobster I am.
Finally, "Things I see out here that you don't": A spaghetti burrito, courtesy of my Kiwi/Aussie galley staff. Strange and not all that tasty.

And the image above is just a randomly chosen, recent ship photo. These puppies are some of my new, dual-30" widescreen monitors. They're so damn big that they're actually too big. Items on the ends of the monitors seem like a mile away and I have to either sit way back, or lean way over to read things. Never thought you could have a screen that was too big, even if you use two at a time, like I do...
************** **************

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Just another day in the pen

Another workout in the prison yard. It was a painfully beautiful day, yesterday. Around a hundred degrees, intensely sunny with small, puffy clouds scudding across the horizon like a fleet of corsairs on their way to pillage foreign merchant ships. With some kick-ass music thumping in the headphones, I walked and ran laps around the helideck for nearly 2 hours. Still can't shake the prison yard feeling, though. Despite a 360 degree view of a truly beautiful ocean on a sunny day, I was still running on a gunmetal-grey deck and fenced in. The orange boiler suit clad inmates were missing from the basketball game, though.
After the initial shock of fresh vegetables wore off, I hunted around to see what other delights we received. I found yogurt, which was good and milk which was not good. Why, you ask? They sent us chocolate milk, banana milk. Coffee and strawberry milk. Fucking MINT-flavored milk! Whole milk? No. Low-fat. Nada. 2%? Not a fucking chance. No regular, plain old white milk, the way it comes out of the cow. The chandler must think we're a bunch of fucking kids.
As of yesterday, everything I am now required to produce at work, I've never done. I've never even seen these things done and have no clue as to how to go about them. I've got some support shore-side but sat comms are dodgey and they only do the 9-5 gig. I'm feeling pretty damn alone and inadequate, kind of like a fry cook getting sent into space as an astronaut on a solo flight...
I'm working on a new review for the other site when off-shift, but progress is slow. Not a whole lot of waking hours left after a 14 hour shift, workout, meal and an hour or two of training. I've yet to type out the Great List of The World's Best Music According To My Music Library.
Finally, has everyone heard Kat's interview on America's Freedom Broadcast Radio (AFB) about Operation Love From Home? You can stream, or download it, I think. I've got limited bandwidth and work restrictions, so I can't do either:( Kat also sent me this email:

[Howdy all!
For your listening pleasure, I've attached a copy of our 32-second promo for our non-profit troop support organization, "Operation Love From Home" ( This spot will soon air on (the first, but hopefully not the last, to air the spot!) ~ feel free to email it around. :)

"Mama Kat" Orr, President
Operation Love From Home]

Very cool and in it's honor, I'm going to email it in this post, or edit it in Blogger. I've not yet tried this and technically shouldn't from here, but it's a tiny file and a very worthy cause.....OK, I'm not savvy enough to get the darn audio clip in here, so I put up the Banner:)

Monday, May 19, 2008


The supply ship is slowly closing the gap with our ship, as we keep steaming along, making money.  Although it sounds like they are having a little trouble coming alongside (it is not easy to bring two moving ships tight together in rough seas), we should have fresh, green veggies in a matter of hours!!!  I am so pumped...

A blogging miscellany

Not much on the plate today that's blog-worthy.  Work is work, it's DAMN hot here and my sunburn has turned to tan (finally, almost-showering is no longer painful) and I am properly and continuously frustrated.
Out of boredom and lack of feeds (from ya'll) I clicked Google Reader's "Discover" button.  Surprisingly, the first offering is the blog of one of the Zookeepers:)  I added it and hope I can keep up with the astro-science.
I noticed one of my Google contacts, auto-added from a certain group's long and winding email conversations who calls herself Molly and very well may actually BE named Molly, had a link suggestion in her, um, what'dyacallit message thingy that I also clicked on out of boredom and a lack of reading material (I have to read SOMETHING with my morning coffee, dammit).  Well, it was about human herbivores, written by one.  I have little or no interest in herbivores, and herbs in general, unless they're smokable, but true to my nature (one of reading every word on a cereal box if I don't have a paper, or book, regardless of the fact I read the entire fucking box, yesterday), I read the article.  Interesting, engaging, witty and yes, even informative. This is where I should note that if you mis-spell witty, as whitty, Gmail offers to change it to shitty for you.  Which is anything but and personally, something I find witty.
Finally, speaking of personal, I have once again made the great and terrible, personal choice to quit smoking.  Working out every day in extreme heat, driven by a sadistic bastard medic and personal trainer has made it, dare I characterize the afore-mentioned, personal hell, as easy?   I think not, but when combined with my trusty nic-o-tine patch, I find that I start the day completely forgetting that I smoke.  I'm still slipping in the occasional butt, or two when work pushes my blood pressure to dangerous levels and I have to leave the room, or take a fire axe to someone's cerebellum, or my computer's processing nodes, but otherwise, I think I might be successful given a few more days.
Oh yeah, the image above is one of a piliated woodpecker who lives around my house and will fucking die if he ever pecks on my house again after midnight.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Music, sweet, sweet music

So I've been meaning to address LL's tagging me for the music meme.  As it was close to crew-x, things have been a little hectic today and I tend to procrastinate, I've only now actually done something about it.  I HAVE been thinking about how difficult it would be when I actually have to narrow down my tastes to just a few tunes.  Today, I browsed my music library and wrote out a list of songs, just one per artist, that represents what I think is the best of my current collection, at least on this laptop.  After much frustration, I could only cut it down to 50 songs and one selection is actually a pair of songs that absolutely must go together.  I realize I've missed a lot of my favorite songs and a few of my favorite artists who I don't happen to have loaded on here right now, but I did the best I could.  I noticed that I've got an artist from every letter of the alphabet except, G, Q, U, X, Y and Z, though I could've picked tunes from Garth Brooks, Queen, U-2, Xavier Xerxes, Yani (ok, not) and ZZ-Top, but I didn't.

The next step is to actually type out the list of 50 songs and their album and artist.  Gee, I'll post that, what-next month?

Oh yes, and while writing out the list, somebody stopped into my office and asked me what the one song I couldn't do without would be.  A blood vessel burst in my temple.

Doing Time

It has been said that working at sea is like being in prison, except out here you might drown, but have less of chance of becoming someone's bitch and getting the bootie flu.

After a long, boring shift I went up to the helideck to work out in the Australian sun.  The helideck is on the bow, forward and below the bridge, which looms three stories above.  The deck is ringed with a fence and painted battleship grey.  It has a 23M-wide circle painted in the center, as a target for the choppers.  At 82 feet wide, it's a pretty large area and yes, I know I'm mixing units-so sue me.

Anyway, it's the largest flat surface on the ship, out in the sun and usually has a fair breeze, so we often use it for exercise.  I walked out yesterday to see:

30 people, most dressed in boiler suits, some stripped to shorts, all performing some sort of exercise.  A pick-up game of basketball ran in the center, where we erect one of those portable hoops.  Some crew walked laps around the outer fence.  Others worked out with free weights and a few took over corners to do push-ups, or sit-ups.  Others stood around in small groups, talking, or watching the game. 

It struck me that the whole scene looked exactly like a prison yard.  I glanced up at the bridge to see if the watch had a rifle trained on us.   I told one of the gunners I belonged to the Yooper Brotherhood and we'd do him if ever wandered into our cell block and then spent the afternoon asking people what they were in for and wondered what would happen if I shanked one of the navigators for the price of a pack of smokes.  I suppose the goons wouldn't cap me since the navigators are a bunch of keister bunnies, anyway...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Fire! (not)

Yesterday, after my shift we conducted a fire drill.  This time we simulated some really nasty chemicals burning in a store room.  I was on the ventilation team.  We had to set up a hose and extinguisher close to the store room and close the vents to the room.  We neglected to close the vents and didn't get the hose and extinguisher close to the room, but otherwise we did a great job, according to the drill's referee.  Bad day and a few lessons learned...

At PW's suggestion, my next review is on soap.  I think she was really suggesting that I needed to USE some soap, but hey, I'm a pirate!  Showers and soap are for guys who get manicures and use hair dryers.  I get splashed by seawater at least once a day...


Armed Forces Day

Today is The U. S. Armed Forces Day, established on August 31, 1949, to thank both active and veteran military personnel, for giving of themselves to protect our country.  Give em a heartfelt thanks if you see them on the street today!  The above image of our flag is the only one I seem to have on this laptop.  It was taken a couple of years ago at my favorite hideout.  The kids were proud of their decorating and LP is posing, as usual:)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Week 13 Wordzzle

Managed a Wordzzle!  Crammed it all into one and at least did it in order.  Posting from email, so the fancy linked image is out this week:( 

Go see Raven and the rest of the Wordies by clicking the permanent little fancy linked image over there and finding her Mr. Linky when it goes up-------------------------->

This Week's Ten Word Challenge is: sergeant, lunatic, peanut butter and jelly, cyber space, flattery, musician, auspicious, cardinal, paprika, flowering plum tree

And for the Mini Challenge: sinister, magazine, American flag, rain storm, chess board

My sergeant was a lunatic.  Often covered in peanut butter and jelly, he cruised cyber space for flattery, often hitting on the odd musician, while the other privates played chess on a footlocker. One auspicious day he hit on a cardinal asking to be covered in paprika and tied to a flowering plum tree.

The sinister sergeant had to go.  We emptied a magazine into him and disposed of the body to save an American flag, despite the rain storm.   The chess board was left at checkmate.

Seeing and Reading the Stars

When I'm at work, I don't have a lot of spare time to surf the web. Little chunks of time, here and there. Way back when, I think it was LL who turned me on to Google Reader and I was saved. I was definitely at that point where I had more "must read" blogs than spare time. Since then, blog reading has been a breeze. Commenting, not so breezy as anyone who reads the feeds knows. Today is the first day Google Reader is just not working. Oh, it loads up enough that the little tab at the top teases me with "hey, four of your favorite blogs have been updated", but that's it. I've left it up in hopes of it miraculously loading on it's own, flooding my laptop with blogging goodness, but no, it taunts me by increasing the number; 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 14, 18, 21!! I am not happy.

Disgruntled (and SORE from yesterday's workout), I took a short break to do some laps up on the helideck. It's pitch-black on the bow and the moon is down (Steph). The stars were incredible and I took a few extra minutes to lie on my back and just watch the heavens. The milky way was brilliant. Spread across the sky, sort of like a line of puffy clouds. Very cool, our outer spiral arm. I couldn't help but imagine our galaxy and what it would look like to the outside observer, which made me think of Galaxy Zoo and the fact that Zoo II is coming soon...

Finally, speaking of space-whomever was kind enough to let me know that Peter F. Hamilton started a new series last year-thanks (LL?) . Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained were good, long reads. Well, I should note that Peter has started a new set of books set in the Commonwealth universe, though about another 1,500 yrs in the future. All I will say is that a few old faces pop up, some that you wouldn't expect. It's also not a fast read, nor such a fast-paced story as the Commonwealth Saga. Little, or no action, The Dreaming Void, feels a little dull and forced like he's trying desperately to keep it interesting. Nonetheless, as a few old Commonwealth friends pop into the picture, I've decided I'll bite when the sequel comes out. Ozzie only knows if the next two will be any better, but he's one helluva good author.

One Week Down

Today marks one week onboard.  I'm finally settled in, it took longer than usual to get acclimated, both to the heat and to the rhythm of shipboard life.  It can be difficult sometimes, to get used to everything pitching and rolling, vibrating and the noise.  There are always computer fans humming, thermal plotters shoving out plot rolls and inch at time, chains and ropes banging, loose items rolling in the drawers, or on shelves.  The engines and waves banging the bow.  Lets not forget the engine alarms-wailing sirens that can be heard from anywhere on the ship.  These go off every couple of hours. (I don't know why)

Anyhow, then there's eating a snack for breakfast at midnight, breakfast for lunch at 5:30 am and lunch for dinner, at noon.  It's all so different than life at home, but once your settled, it's also oddly comforting and very familiar.  Which is in total contrast to the job, which can get stressful, chaotic and very frustrating, at times.  Cutting edge technology and the unpredictable, harsh and sometimes violent ocean do not mix well and make for some interesting challenges.

Speaking of challenges, this trip I've abandoned my cherished elliptical cross-trainer for the medic-sponsored circuit training program.  All my previous trips on this ship, I would laugh at the medic and crew as they popped into the gym for their short, 20-minute workout.  Ensconced above them on my elliptical, music blasting in my headphones, I couldn't hear them, but I would watch and laugh at what really was a comical sight.  They looked to be doing little more than bending and squatting and only for a few minutes.  Sadly, they were all a bit uncoordinated and that really lent a comedic air to the whole affair.

Nonetheless, after talking shit about the program since December, I was persuaded to give it a try this time around.  Chiefly due to the fact that its being run out on the helideck after my shift and between that and a pick-up game of basketball, there was no room for me to just run laps.  After all it was freezing when I left home and yesterday it cracked 100 degrees.  Can't pass up a bit of sun after a long, cold winter.

Well, suffice to say that I will no longer be talking shit about the circuit training.  It has proven to be difficult and exhausting, partly due to having to accommodate my busted finger, but mostly due to the medic making sure he works us to the bone in this soul-crushing heat.  Its been three days and I hurt everywhere.  My abdominal muscles hate me.  I'm also sleeping like the dead, and that, however, is a big plus on here.

That's about it from here.  It's nearly time for me to get up off my couch and head in for shift.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Queen of the Desert

Dancing Queen, by ABBA comes up on my media player.  I'm instantly transported back to the night I had to keep my visiting parents (and the kids) out of Water St. so as not to blind them with the site of Bill and JP in dresses.  Those were the days, eh Mr. Bud?  That headdress made out of drinking straws and tin foil with the plastic fucking birds?  Priceless...

Where's that photo??

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Another Review

LL's comment on my math woes made me feel better.  If she has an issue with modolos, or whatever they are, then I feel pretty good about muddling through them, even if I'm not sure of the spelling without Googling it.  A quad expresso and a call from all three of my girls (you hear that, son?) have also greatly improved today's mood.  I've decided to start up circuit training with several other crew out on the helideck this afternoon, despite my broken finger.  It's like 90 out there, folks:)

I had a little down time this morning and finished the next review, so I threw it up-pun intended...go check it out at my oh so unprofessional and amaih-clone looking review site and find yourself a nice pair of shoes, or sandals. 

Pirate Lab

Many, many years ago.  Many.  When I was in college, I had to take a lot of math for a guy getting a degree centered around the idea of spending a lot of time walking around naked, hitting rocks with hammers, or licking them.  This is what I wanted to do, drunk , or sober-get naked and hit rocks, or lick them, depending on what I wanted to know about said rocks.  I used to write the word "rocks" so often it was abbreviated "rx", by the way.  I remember energy was a capital E, circled and delta, or a triangle meant change and well, I digress...

So, I was a drunken rock jock with a big hammer, which was never called a rock hammer, but an Estwing, because chances are your rock hammer wasn't worth a shit if it wasn't an Estwing.  And they made me take enough mathematics courses that I could've obtained a mathematics degree at any other university in the country.  I couldn't spell "Budweiser", but I had to pass differential equations.  Not right. 

I spent the majority of my nights in college at the math lab, begging for help and sucking my thumb in the corner.  At least every night I wasn't at the physics lab, or the chemistry, thermodynamics,or english labs.  Never needed help from the geology lab, at least.  Which is a good thing, since we didn't have one...

So yeah, the math lab.  I think the prof who ran it named his kid after me since I was paying for the little fucker's future college tuition, under the table, for all the extra help.  That lab got me through a lot of ugly times filled with violent and unpredictable variables and algorithms that would bite you in the ass if you turned your back.

Here I am tonight, 15,000 miles and many years away from that math lab and my job rams me in the rear a really long, complicated  expression that uses that f*ing modulus crap.  I ask around the crew for help.  Blank stares.  Deer in the headlights-type stuff.  I'm on my own, but today, if you want anything, don't know anything, or even if you can't spell something, you Google it, if you have access to the Interwebs.  Google is the God of the New Millennium.  God is Google, Google is Good.  If that offends your religious side, I'm sorry, but God has a sense of humor. (ever see a platypus?)

Google "bad-ass math expression and WTF is modulus?" and you know what comes up as the first hit and has the information I need?  My old math lab:)  That kid's tuition was worth it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Another Product Review Website

Yeah, I know-everybody and their brother has a product review site.  I don't care.  I'm not in it for the money, I just enjoy passing on those products that I've found to be a good deal and actually perform as advertised and don't fall apart after 3 days.  If I review it, chances are it's worth the money, no more so than the products covered in my very first review....

I've even put up the free pirate music, same as here in the pirate's cove.  There's also a link over in my sidebar, if the God's were kind to me and I didn't screw it up.

Love it, or leave it-whatever, I'm cool.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

attachment filesize limits are a pain in the &ss

So I spent an hour attaching a butt-load of photos to an email post and the email return an undeliverable notice-exceeded filesize limit.  So here's a single waterfall picture from my last weekend at home:(

Saturday, May 10, 2008

back at sea

Long commute.  Left a teary-eyed LP and PW on Wednesday.  Had Chinese food and gourmet chocolate in Minneapolis.  Flew first class to LA and had a darn good steak and a couple of those little bottles of merlot.  The flight from LA to Brisbane was LONG.  Walked many laps around the plane and the food was crap.  Watched two decent movies, both with no endings-they just stopped- Charlie Wilson's War and There Will Be Blood. 

In Brisbane, I learned that Australian Customs use beagles for their drug/ food sniffing dogs in airports.  They are very cute, but I saw no less than three people get busted with beef jerkey.  One of the handlers says the little buggers work better when they are hungry.   She let me pet her beagle, unlike the customs guys in Miami who beat the fuck out of me and insisted on roughly performing a body cavity search after I scratched the ears of one of their drug-sniffing labs.

It took over 5 hours to fly across Australia, from Brisbane to Perth.  From the plane, all I saw was desert and mountains.  I checked into my hotel in downtown Perth around noon, showered and walked to our office, only a few blocks from the hotel.  I was invited to a meeting to outline what I will be doing out here for the next few months and I was so tired it all went over my head.  It was all I could do to stay awake.  After a few hours the office geeks took me to dinner.  We ate outside at a little Indian joint and it was wonderful.  We ordered a ton of appetizers and one of everything on the menu and shared it all over a few bottles of wine.  Curry, curry, curry with a side order of curry.  After a 3 hour meal, I stumbled back to my hotel through huge crowds of people partying like mad.  Evidently Perth is quite the party town.  Me? I was out cold by 11:30.

Woke up at 3am and hopped a charter flight to Canberra, then Barrow Island.  The flight atendants had a rough time with a plane full of 65 sleepy, angry, hungry, hungover pirates.  Very cool desert landscapes all the way there.  It was scorching when we disembarked.  Giant ant hills dotted the entire landscape and Barrow Island is some sort of Class A nature preserve.  Class A must mean ANTS cause they were everywhere, the hills up to 3-4 feet high.

I was on the first chopper out, so I had only 5 minutes before watching the helicopter training video (mandatory in all countries before flying a chopper), donning a lifevest and heading out.  The ride was thankfully short-only 45 minutes.  We flew a Super Puma this time and they are also slightly more comfortable than the SK176 workhorse we usually use.  So I landed here, got a very confusing hour-long handover from my opposite and he left me sitting here slightly dazed and very tired.  Once my subordinate landed on a later chopper, I gave him a handover and began to dive into work.  I managed to hold out until 7:30, then came back on shift at 11:00.  No rest for the wicked, but I'm pretty beat tonight.  The best I can mange is to sit here and read emails on the new, DUAL, 30" widescreen monitors installed on my workstation.  Man, are they sweet!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Down to hours

Crew-x is tomorrow morning.  Last night Mr. Bud calls to tell me that he's got a house we can salvage from.  Instead of packing and all that shit, I charged the bat's for one of my screw guns and hauled a load of tools out of the basement for today's "change of plans".  After dropping LP off at school, PW and I unloaded -STEPH-an 1800's era MORTICIAN'S COUCH and a bunch of salvaged wood flooring and and ancient moldings.  The couch was covered in pleated, black leather, had claw feet and dragons carved in the sides.  Too cool.

After that we headed over to a place with a house and barn that are being torn down tomorrow.  PW and I salvaged all the ductwork out of the basement then began on the old wood flooring.  The first room we tackled had only 1/4" flooring glued down.  Took an hour of tearing off molding and dismantling a closet to find that out.   The next room had beautiful, old wood flooring, but after another 1.5 hours I was frustrated, dirty, sore and tired.  I've got a busted finger and it was throbbing.  LP was due to get out of school and we had set up for someone to watch her.  On my last day home.  Fuck that.  I threw in the towel, packed up the tools and we picked her up early from school.  I did manage to rip the electric motor and fan out of the furnace before we left, though.  Not turn of the century wood flooring but I'm happy and LP is only in the next room (also pounding away on her computer).  Now, it's a quiet dinner, pack and wait for Mr. Bud to get here so I can ambush him with a bottle of vino.

See you cats in Australia.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I still suck

Crew-x is looming in just a few days and I've been doing everything other than sitting on the computer.  Friday afternoon while the kids were at school, PW and I met another couple at this new place in town.  It's a bowling alley, big arcade, bar and restaurant.  The place even has a wine list.  We scarfed a decent meal, three bottles of vino and decided to bowl a few games.  My birthday was Saturday so I had a couple shots forced on me.  After sucking badly at bowling, we picked up our daughters and decided to head back for more of the same.  We even managed to con our teenage daughters into coming and Mr. Bud popped in.  I got pretty drunk, my teenager kicked my ass in bowling and I jammed my ring finger by slamming a bowling ball straight into the ground instead of sending it down the lane.  My finger is one big, purple sausage.  I nearly had Mr. Bud cut off my wedding ring, but today the swelling has gone down just a tiny bit and I think I'm going to be able to keep the ring and the finger.

Anyway, after a bit of a long day and night, we spent my birthday laying around the house eating and watching the tube.  PW made a food run and the girls presented me with a cake after dinner.  Nothing spectacular, but nice and quiet and relaxing.  Today was PW's, as well my oldest son's birthdays.  Oldest son was out doing whatever he does, but the rest of us hooked up with two other couples and LP's two best friends and Mr. Bud.  We all tromped out to the woods and hit a bunch of waterfalls.  GREAT DAY in the woods!!  It was a cool, sunny day and the kids had a blast.  We followed up the waterfalls with a pic-i-nic lunch at the park and a leisurely drive home via the backroads for just a bit more scenery.  PW made a huge pot of chili and Mr Bud and I washed it down with a damn fine, local microbrew.  I've got a ton of great pictures but they're still on my camera and one of my other computers.  If I have the time, I'll transfer a few on here and post them. 

So, sorry for being a slacker but time's a runnin' out...