Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Affordable Home Security

From one of those damn forwarded emails I hate to get and usually delete:

How to install an affordable home security system...

1. Go to a second-hand store and buy a pair of men's used size 14 Work

2. Place them on your front porch, along with a copy of Guns and Ammo

3. Put a giant dog dish next to the boots and magazine.

4. Leave a note on your door:
"Hey Bubba - Big Mike and I went for more ammunition. Back in an hour.
Don't mess with the Pit bulls. Better wait outside.They attacked the
mailman this morning and messed him up pretty bad.

I locked all four of them in the house."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

What's the difference between a politician and a bowel movement?

I don't know the answer (maybe nothing), but found this today:

From Wikipedia:
[Accuracy is the degree of veracity while precision is the degree of reproducibility....]

Politicians tend toward the latter.

My food takes the log way down, too.

Well, the ship did not get boarded by pirates, or blown apart by hidden bombs.  We had some repair work work going on that superseded the planned drill.  Maybe next week...

Last night I was so strung out I climbed into my rack immediately after the mid-day meal following my shift.  Loaded up  Long Way Down, the sequel to Long Way Round.  The intrepid pair this time set off to ride scooters from John 'O Groats in the North of Scotland, to the tip of South Africa.  Despite the extra planning and support this time round, they are still both certifiable. I watched the first two of 6 episodes.  I must admit, whatever they're doing, I find these two guys highly entertaining.  The European and North African scenery certainly rivals that of the previous ever-eastward journey, with the possible exception of Khazakistan and few bits of Mongolia.  I highly recommend both these video documentaries.

And you can bet I'll be getting this at point, too.  Charlie's a laugh and I can certainly commiserate with how hard it is to get rid of the chub after a certain age, no matter how hard you work at it.  I'll be out on the helideck working at this afternoon.

So yesterday, we received some emergency rations by taking one of our small boats over to the supply vessel.  Today, we might just bring them alongside and get the whole nine yards, if the sea state comes down.  The vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast was heaven!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Today I am required to brush up on explosive devices, IED's, pirates (YES!) and the ISPS (International Society of Pirates and Such) or some such nonsense.  On Saturday, we're going to have some sort of drill involving pirates, bombs and general nastiness.  Should be grand fun.  How many of you out there know the five most important questions to ask the caller when you field a bomb threat call on the telephone?  Anyone?  Well, I'm committing this sort of knowledge to memory for a pop quiz to follow the drill.

FYI, the first thing you should always ask a person perpetrating a bomb threat is, "ARE YOU FUCKING NUTS?"
If they answer in the affirmative, hang up the phone and leave the premises immediately. 

This has been a public service announcement.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled surfing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Great Adventure

The voyage continues.  Sea state has been bad for the last 72 hours.  No more than 30-40 knot winds and 4-5 meter seas, but after a few days it gets to be a drain.  Work has been an absolutely depressing mess for days, as well.  Only in the last 24 hours have things picked up and looked slightly rosy. I've been taking nightly saunas in place of helideck workouts.  Too nasty outside and the thought of being entombed down in the gym is enough to send me screaming, especially after a 15 hr shift laden with problems that would cause Sherlock Holmes to burst a blood vessel.

After the sauna, I've begun watching a documentary called Long Way Round.  Fucking brilliant.  Buy it.  Rent it.  Watch it.  I promise you 8 hours of pure entertainment for young and old.   Um, that is if yer young-ens don't mind a little swearing.  It's British swearing and you know they at least swear with class.  Anyway, it's about two blokes who basically jump on motorcycles, head East out of London and just keep going-all the way round the fucking world.  One of them is the rather famous chap who played young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the recent Star Wars movies.  This adventure was also made into a book.  Two years later the daring duo do it again in the documentary and book titled Long Way Down, in which they ride from the nothern tip of Great Britain to the tip of South Africa.  I've already read that book and it too was brilliant.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Key Grip

Busy!  That's me.  The workload this trip is heavy, very heavy.  Not a whole lot of time to blog.  Not a whole lot happening out here, other than the daily grind, as well.  My 12 hr shifts seem to be closer to 18 hrs these days and yet I'm still leaving things undone, every day.  I've not even had time for a daily workout and getting laundry done has been a pain.

Yesterday, I did manage to get off the ship and away from my ever-growing pile of duties and responsibilities.  I took out one of the small, work boats, along with three other crew.  We spent some time doing underwater filming of some bits of the gear we tow behind the vessel.  I drove the boat for a bit and also worked as key grip.  None of that best boy shit for me. That job sounds like being the priest's favorite alter boy.  Didn't get my name in the movie credits, either.  Still, our work should garner an academy award nomination.  It was one helluva movie:)  Trying to film moving gear underwater with a camera attached to a moving boat by an articulated pole a meter or two underwater is no easy task.  The water resistance makes it hard to pan, or keep steady, but we got the shots and then drove around for a bit, so I could get used to piloting, again.  It's been a while...

Anyway, it was a good trip and so refreshing to get away and be able to look at the ship from a distance and just revel in the fact that you are NOT on there, if only for a little while.  The only bummer was a possible broken finger I received when somebody who shall remain nameless whipped a steel pole clamp over the side, crushing it.  Fucker hurts and I still have a broken finger on the opposite hand from bowling gone bad back in May or June....lost my water bottle over the side some time during the trip, too:(

In other news, despite the increase in work and decrease in blogging, I will soon be once again featured elsewhere on the net.  A small group of people; most of whom have been, or should be committed to extended vacations in state-run institutions, that I may, or may not of at one time been associated with have once again decided to pollute the world with our own vision of madness and mayhem.  Poo, incest, dancing naked in the forest, S&M poetry and illegal suppositories are about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting humanity.  This time it shall be a religion, a way of life, a mind-fuck with designs on stealing your children and pilfering your bank accounts.  Or maybe just a place where a few bored, geeks babble about how they hate people who pick their noses while driving-only time will tell.  One thing is for sure.  There WILL be room for all of you at the temple.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Yesterday was quite a day.  Multiple fires, the ship filled with smoke.  Dead and injured bodies lined the corridors.  I laid out extra hoses for one of the fire teams, rescued an unconscious cook and performed rescue breathing (had a pulse, but was not breathing) until the medical team arrived.  After they took over a hot spot erupted on an upper deck.  I ran yet another set of hoses to fight that one.  The original fire then flared back up, down in the mess and the fire team had to return and hit it again. It was one of the more involved and interesting fire drills I've worked in a long time and even though it took much longer than usual, it was well worth it.  We all learned a few good lessons in how carefully the peripheral teams have to search for hot spots and perform boundary cooling.  We also identified a few communication problems and figured out a quick and easy way to prop open automatically closed fire doors so they won't pinch a fire hose before it charges up.  I also learned the cook needs to loose a few pounds if he wants to be rescued from a fire.  Son of a gun was heavy.  Turned my 12 hour shift into 17 hours, but I'm not complaining.  This drill I began to learn the ropes in preparation for taking over command of the ventilation party and I'm happy to play a larger role in shipboard fire-fighting while here in Australia.  I think it's some sort of maritime law, but while here, the Australian nationals we have to employ due to union laws, make up all the fire teams.  I'm luck to be able to grab one of the peripheral teams instead of having to stand around at the muster station, waiting to assist as necessary.

Other than that, I've got little to report.  We're kicking ass and taking names out here.  The additional two people working for me are proving to be both a help and a hindrance.  Both girls were seasick for nearly a week and it took a lot cajoling and lecturing to get them back on their feet, eating and drinking and able to work a full shift.  Now that they're present, it's taking an enormous amount of time to train them, set up all the corporate crap, introducing them to the training and QHSE reporting programs, etc.  The little actual work they can contribute really doesn't offset the time I have to put into them, but I'm hoping they stick around for a while and it pays off in the future.  Whatever, I get a break for the next 5 days as they are farmed out to learn how one of the other departments operate.  Everyone onboard is cross-trained in everyone else's job right from day one.  The best part is I get my office back to myself and can enjoy a peaceful respite today, donning my headphones and jamming instead of answering 10,000 questions:)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Today is the day...

That I have to sit in front of my monitor and watch everything come crashing down, unable to stop it, clueless as to why.  Everything.  Is. Fucked.

This happens every trip, at least once.  Often, once a week.  As my job all boils down to time and there's never enough of it, a stoppage of everything is catastrophic and causes me major fucking stress and $$.  Sitting a thousand miles away from the nearest help (who happens to be sleeping for the next 8 hours, as well) does not fucking help.

Does anyone else out there have a job where part of your normal routine is to be forced to watch your world fall apart, every time you go to work?  This is why my hair that's not falling out in clumps is rapidly turning grey.

On top of it all, circuit training starts back up today and our medic/dungeon master just laughs maniacally if asked about it.  I'm kind of scared.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Bozo bites the dust

Larry Harmon played Bozo The Clown for over 50 years.  He wasn't the original, but he was the real Bozo.  Larry died of congestive heart failure on Thursday.  As a little kid, I shunned TV, never watching Saturday morning cartoons, but I did watch Bozo pretty faithfully, broadcast to Detroit from Windsor, Ontario in the 60's and early 70's.  My fondest Bozo memory was an all-out brawl perpetuated by two brothers visiting the show with their cub scout troop.  Several years later those brothers moved to my neck of the woods and hung out in the same crowd.  I still remember the night The Bozo Show came up in conversation and I found out they were the guys who started the fight years before.

Mind you, I hate clowns and pretty much believe all clowns are evil.  As a child, I had a recurring dream that a clown resembling Bozo lived in my basement and every night would try to lure me down there in the dark to eat me.  He would always manage to put me into some sort of trance and I would end up fighting to stop, as I slowly walked down the stairs into the pitch-black basement, Bozo waiting at the bottom, arms outstretched, waiting patiently to devour me.  Finally, one night I woke up from the dream and forced myself to head down into  the basement in the dark and walk every inch of every room down there-all in the dark.  I emerged a conquering hero-the evil fucking clown was dead in my mind. 

For several years the dream stopped, then I read Stephen King's IT, in 1986.  Wham!  The dream returned, nightly.  In 1990, the TV movie came out and I made the mistake of watching it.  Evil clown in the Basement had a new fucking face and and was more frightening than before.  Eventually, the dream faded again, but resurfaced in the last few years when somebody talked me into watching the Rob Zombie horror movie, The Devil's Rejects.  THAT fucking clown will haunt me to the day I die.  Holy fuck, he is the Evil Clown that other evil clowns are afraid of.

Anyway, I'm now doomed to having that nightmare tonight for sure, but I just wanted to note that if ever there was a non-evil clown who didn't eat children and make wind chimes with their bones to sell at carnivals, it was Larry Harmon's Bozo.  Maybe.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day 2

Spending all shift listening to my favorite Christmas music-Trans Siberian Orchestra.  I think there's something wrong with me...

The Chief Gunner brought me a juggling kit today.  Bean bags and a book that has lots of cool tricks.

My opposites generated about 200 pages of documentation for me in less than 4 weeks.  Thats more than 7 pages per day.  It's a wonder they had any time to actually work.  Thank the heavens I'm a speed reader, or I wouldn't get to work for a week.

Our first drill is today.  I'm on a ventilation/boundary cooling team this trip.  Sure beats mustering and then standing around for half an hour waiting for the drill to end.  I'm ready to eat fire, baby.

The weather sucks.  Beaufort force 6 today and rising.  Gonna get rough for a day or so.  Too bad I have a couple of trainees who started out sick in calm seas.  They're fucked.


Without the second mortgage

Roughly 16,000 miles and 48 hours.  An SUV (PW's), 5 airplanes, two magnetic trains, one cable-drawn train, 1 car, 1 bus and 2 helicopters.  Short and simple commute to work.  I had only one tight connection, but both my bag and I made it.  The guy right behind me?  He made it, but not his bag:(

Arrived in Perth around noon and stayed till about 6am the next day before continuing on with a bus ride, airplane and chopper flights.  Walked to an outdoor pedestrian mall and had Chinese dumplings in the food court.  Walked back to the hotel and crashed the fuck out, hard.  Yesterday, it took two chopper flights to get onboard.  During the first flight, we were turned back due to heavy seas pitching and rolling the ship beyond the safe landing limits which happen to be 9 1/2 ft of heave and 3 degrees of roll.  Landing on a deck heaving nine feet up and nine feet down is a treat and is exactly what we ended up doing, yesterday.

Once onboard I managed to see everyone I missed saying hello to at the mall, hotel, on the flight and in the heliport.  As much as I hate leaving my family and friends, this ship and it's crew are becoming a second home and family to me.  I even have to new additions to the family-two girls who will be working for me, as long as I stay on this ship. I met them both briefly, onshore, then gave them a tour of the ship.  One lasted 20 minutes, the other an hour.  They have both been down and out, puking ever since-about 12 hours. I'm going to have the medic barge in on them this morning to check their hydration levels.  Sucks to be them.

Anyway, I'm here.  The ship is in good condition, the crew all fine and it's good to see them.  That said, work fucking blows. Thirty-four days to go...

PW: This time I didn't forget anything and it was a damn good thing I pulled out the extra bottle of mouthwash, shorts and fleece.  I still had to crotch my spare laptop battery, DVD's, rechargeable batteries and beard trimmer to make the luggage weight for the chopper.  Try flying in a chopper with all that shit in your pants!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Last night in country...

Pretty much sucks.  Even the last day, I get irritable, and annoyed with everything.  Stiff and sore and stressed out, basically not liking life.  Went to the chiropractor (my buddy:) and the relief lasted about 10 minutes as the stress creeped back up my neck.  Hate the thought of leaving everyone behind as I leave for 6 weeks on the rusty tub.

We did have Chinese for dinner.  We did see Mr. Bud and the boys and at least myself, LP and PW spent most of the day together.  I even went in and priced tools in the pawn shop. (40 bucks for a Makita grinder/cutter was tempting).  It's one of those one hand type if you're interested Mr. Bud.  At least I remembered to call you about the Wileys jeep and the cement at the Houstons...

Today, I got hit by a semi truck while downtown.  Tough guy that I am, I survived the blow by not being in my truck when the idiot clipped my rear view mirror on the driver's side.  The mirror was already broken by PQ when she let my truck roll off a cliff in the back yard.  You can ask her if you're curious...   Anyway, I told him it was already broke and that he could pay half since he made it completely inoperable.  After the cliff, I screwed it back into the base and it was actually still a functioning mirror, sort of.

I guess that's about it.  I'm out of steam and in a shitty mood.  Gotta pack.  Oh yeah, Rita reminds me that I LOVE books. I love to read them, feel them, smell them, sleep, eat, crap, walk, and even drive with them (pulled over, but never convicted of reading while driving).  Yesterday and today I ransacked the house and FOUR bookstores to complete 3 series of books to take to the boat.  All of them over 10 years old and read about 15 times, each.  Nothing like a good book.  No matter how many times you've read it.  Rita's book is built and almost out.  It's a mommy book, but I think it has at least one essay by a DAD, so technically it's a parent book:)  Given her writing and her love of writing and all things bookish, plus the list of contributors (whoa) you might just want to pick that puppy up.  Go check it out.

So, I'm off to drink wine, pack and read LP to sleep, one last time.  See you on the other side.