Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shipping out

God willing the creek don't rise, I will be shipping out tomorrow.  I've got flight reservations for 0715 hours, but no visa, yet.  Hancock/Minnie/Chi town/Brussels/Luanda in two days.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Questions, questions

I loathe to write about politics, but occasionally I just can't help but wonder aloud at what I see.

I wonder why the financial sector's bailout comes with strings that now limit bonuses over a million bucks (after the fact), but the auto industry bailout comes with demand of re-structuring, public chastisement by the president, firings, possible loss of benefits, etc? What the fuck is up with that?  Must be that the auto industry didn't contribute enough money to the current government.  Bummer.

I'm dropping my favorite senator an email to ask him just what the fuck is up with that, but feel free to set me straight on this cause I just don't get it. 

Friday, March 27, 2009


LL suggested I get Twitter. She also mentioned Christopher Walken's Twitter page and after about 5 minutes, I was hooked. I read a couple pages and man is that guy wicked funny and smart. So I got Twitter and there's a linky thing on my sidebar (of course, there is now a widget for everything). I can twitter from my phone which will be a crew-x bonus, assuming I ever crew-x, again. After 12 years at sea in this business, I have come to expect the unexpected and realize that anything can and invariably DOES happen and nothing much surprises me. OK, the Pope stealing my chopper was a small surprise, but today's eleventh hour reprieve was not. Africa is a different world and things happen on Africa time, NOT your timeline. No visa, no crew-x, no sweat.

We are planning a hike into the woods, despite the heavy snow. The recent thaw and now low temps should make the snow walkable, even in the deep woods. Not sure where we are going to go, or who is coming, but I hope we can agree on somewhere remote and quiet! I need a few hours of nothing but the wind in the trees and the winter birds.

Best laid plans of mice and men...

...often go awry.  Crew-x was canceled, again.  Sure glad I am not the one onboard.  Looks like another half to a full week on dry land.  Yo, ho, ho!

In other news, we bought a new wood stove.  This winter we struggled with a small, Morso parlor stove called The Squirrel.  Mr Budd lent it to us so the price was right, but I had to re-split all of my wood and it ate wood like you would not believe.  Fed that thing at least every hour, had to constantly play with the draft and while it did heat most of the house, it was just too much work and now we're out of wood. 

The new stove, a Lopi Endeavor, is a treat.  At 500 pounds, it was a bit tough to get into place, but it rocks.  Lights easy, burns very well and constant.  It employes re-burner tubes in the top of the firebox and is rated at just over 70% efficient.  The re-burner isn't catalytic, so not worries about replacing ceramic inserts and all that jazz.  Best thing is the glass front door.  LP and the dog love to watch the fire and after watching a very hot fire damped down, I find watching the gasses re-burning looks like a cross between some of my better physcadelic nights as a teen-ager and the burning plasma of an Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscope I once built and fooled around as a side job while in college.  Definitely the thing to watch with an altered mind...
I've been watching a lot of CNN lately.  Bernie Maddoff?  Kill him.  People greedy enough to invest in something too good to be true?  Fuck them.  Any politician that says the crap in Mexico is our fault and we should apologize?  Kill them, or send them to the border, the Mexican side.  Our side?  Line it with troops given orders to shoot anything that moves.  Obama?  Me thinks that the halo has finally slipped off and even his devoted followers will see he is, after all, just another lying, spineless politician.  AIG, et al?  Let them fail.  People will suffer, but we are all going to suffer greatly as the eventual impacts of this unbelievably huge and foolish bailout.  Auto industry?  Fuck them.  As with the financial institutions, giving billions to folks that continuously and knowingly fucked up will only make it possible for them to do it again. AIG bonuses make that point better than I ever could.  Everyone on both sides knew it would happen and it did.  The only reason it blew up was that the media decided to tell the public that the public was outraged over them.  I'm glad the media tells us what we are feeling, but I still dislike them for some reason.  The uneployment numbers are ignoring the number of people graduating from college, or high school, trying, but unable to enter the workforce and will not show up in the unemployment benefits statistic because they are ineligible.  People that work for my and any other, multi-national corporation are also ineligible, as those corporations never pay state unemployment tax.  The snowstorm last night felt like a kick in the balls, this morning.  As I get older, more and more things piss me off.  Why?  The previous fact pisses me off...

Anyhoo, I have to make some plans for an unexpected, extra weekend at home.  Ya'll be cool.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Back to Africa

Because I slipped on the ice today and broke my right, little finger, I of course came home to find out that I'm also heading back to work on Saturday.  Typing is not exactly easy, but I'm a hunt and peck typist, so no worries.  I've got a day to get things in order and get the fuck outta Dodge.  See you cats on the other side!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Pope took my chopper

I know I have been basically silent the last 3 weeks, but it has been by necessity and perhaps some circumstance. Five weeks of major stress, lack of sleep and a somewhat crappy 21,000-mile commute home just plain kicked my ass.  After arriving home I'm told that I'm grinding my teeth in my sleep, giving me a week of excruciating pain despite eating codeine like peanuts.  But finally, just a couple nights of a bite thingy and I was fixed.  Then, I promptly got whacked by a killer cold/flu I'm just now recovering from.  Been sleeping, or at least laying around in a semi-vegetative state for the whole of my three-week break.  Read a few books, though.

Anyhoo, I WAS supposed to head back to Africa, but the dang Pope decided to fly in this weekend as well.  As you may or may not know it's not exactly fun, or easy to get in, or out of Luanda, even on a good day.  Try it the same weekend as the holiest of holies is in town and your outta luck.  Our usual base at the mouth of the Congo has been shut down for days, already and it looks like the dude in the funny hat has taken my chopper, most likely for a birds-eye of the sunbathers on the beach, or a quick chopper hunt of one, or more of the big five at one of those private big-game ranches.  So, today I was notified that crew-x has been indefinitely postponed.  I am deeply dissappointed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

short break

Nothing blog-worthy going on right now.  A toothache last week and now a sore throat-the beginnings of a cold.  Basically, I've been sleeping a lot.  I lost a lot of sleep during the last trip and arrived back home in pretty bad shape and this break was only to be 3 1/2 weeks long.  In fact, I received my marching orders just yesterday.   Flying back to Angola in 10 short days.  Spending as much of it as I can with the family.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

And one for LL...

OK, I'm addicted.  I just had to watch one more jaw-dropping talk.  This one I know LL will love.  It's all about them numbers:)

For Blondie

A very good friend of mine turned me on to TED talks, something I am astounded to say, completely passed me by in recent years.  I cannot thank him enough for the time I've spent on this site.  It is truly an engaging site and my head spins after just a talk, or two.  There are so many brilliant talks on this site that I've just decided not to mention the other three I just viewed and only suggest that if you ponder our fate as a species, have even a glimmer of interest in space, or often find hope in the resilience, determination and courage that is the human spirit, listen to what this man is going to attempt.  While I know that LL and Mr. Bud will love this talk, Blondie, I think you will find more than some cool ideas on the possible future of man in space and I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.  As I wrote my son tonight, what I wouldn't give to be 20 years younger and have something of value to offer this man and take a chance at joining him in his quest.   I give you Bill Stone on TED.