Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Spanked 0-2 in the first match of the ping-pong quarterfinals.  The old man is feeling............old.

Escape II

Was able to escape again, today.  Back out in the work boat for more underwater filming.  This time we filmed quite a bit, ass the water clarity was much better due to being much farther South of the Congo mouth.  Didn't see any mermaids, but the weather was right fucking beautiful as my limey buddies would say.

Die another little death

Reading the local paper, online, I see a headline that says a student at my son's university died in a car accident.  Passengers were hospitalized.  My heart stopped as I thought about how I haven't been able to get a response from my son via email, or his cell phone for the past few days.  It took me twenty minutes to choke down my fear and open the article to get the details.  Picked up and replaced the phone, a half-dozen times during those long minutes. 

It is never easy being a parent.  Never.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Caught this link from a Facebook comment, of all places.  Steph has funny friends!  Go check out the comments for the wolf shirt in the link.  Some of them are priceless.

*NSFW*  Naughty words, kids.

Great Day

Went out in the work boat this afternoon.  It was a bit rough, but we managed to do a little filming with the underwater camera.  It was just good to get off the ship and get some fresh air and sun.  Ended up a little seasick from looking down into the water and the camera monitor while bouncing around, but even puking beats flying a desk, any day.  Hope ya'll have a great day. 

Tomorrow is Middle Pirate's birthday, wish I was home for it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Next up...one of LP's favorite movies

It may be a bit premature, as nothing is signed, sealed and delivered, but it looks like I'll be working in Madagascar next job:)  It's been a long seven months here off the coast of Angola and well, Madagascar sounds like the perfect place to go and forget all this West African nastiness. For those of you that don't know, a short history on the place:

  • 160 million years ago - Madagascar is born as it separates from the African mainland
  • 80 million years ago - Madagascar breaks away from India
  • Around 2000 years ago - Madagascar settled by Indonesians or people of mixed Indonesian/African descent
  • December 1894 - France invades Madagascar and takes the capital Tana on October 1, 1895. France loses only 20 men in battle during the campaign but more than 6,000 to disease
  • 2005 The Pirate watches the movie and learns that lemurs come from Madagascar.
  • June 26th, The Pirate learns he might work in Madagascar and looks up the capital city in the giant Atlas to find it's called Antananarivo, The city of one-thousand warriors and yells "Fuck me!  That's cool!"
Antananarivo, The city of one-thousand warriors takes its name from an episode in Malagasy history. When King Andrianjaka, who had called his people the Merina (That can be translated into highlanders) occupied the twelve sacred hills (Ambohitratrimo, Ambohimanga, Ilafy, Alasora, Antsahadita, Ambohimanambony, Antananarivo, Ambohitrabiby, Namehana, Ambohidrapeto, Ambohijafy, Ambohimandranjaka) upon which Analamanga (where the forest is blue) was built, he had his royal palace and stronghold erected. One thousand warriors were quartered there and he called this city Antananarivo. In those days, the Merinas were divided into three castes : Andriana (nobility), Hova (plebeians), and Andevo (labourers).  Nowadays, Antananarivo's population exceeds one million inhabitants and its urban area has considerably grown. Surrounded by vast plains used for rice cultivation, Antananarivo has a Mediterranean climate due to its geographic position (1,400m above sea level).

*All this
Malagasy goodness comes from a plethora of sources across the wide-open plains of the wild and wonderful Internet.

 I'm going to have to watch the movie tonight, I guess.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Not your Facebook

Having a conversation about Facebook and other social networking sites today.  I noted that Facebook has a "friends" section, or list and wondering why they also don't have an "ex-friends" list, or "enemies".  You know, Cameron Pillowbiter has sent you an "Enemies" request, or Jason Jackass an "Eat Shit and Die" request.  Instead of sending your enemy a drink, you could send them a little, steaming pile of shit.  A "hate this" option under every post, that sort of thing.

Perhaps I should just start my own anti-social networking site like Fuckyoubook, or Hatester... 

Given the recent indiscretions of a certain politician who was oh so quick to crucify a certain past president for the same sort behavior, I could even start a special site just for politicians called HypocriteSpace, where they can dump on each other for taking bribes, screwing prostitutes, doing drugs, and whatnot until they get caught doing the same thing.   I bet you'd even get those bogus members, you know?  Prostitutes and lobbyists posing as fellow politicians, trying to get you to add them as friend, just so you'll visit their website and negotiate for a blow job, or a favorable vote on gun control.  You could allow them to form and join groups, just like Facebook; Vote Yourself a Larger Salary, Sell a Seat in Congress, What's Wrong With Breaking Campaign Promises?, High Priced Call Girl Lists For the State and Federal Elected, Proud To Be Corrupt, Great places to Get Away and Cheat on the Wife (The Argentina group won't be very popular) and Who Needs Morals? We were Elected. The possibilities are endless!

I think I'm on to something here...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

To journey home

Flights for crew-x are out.  Bastards booked me 24 hours later than the rest of the crew and have me going through Charles Fucking De Gaul!  Worst airport in the world:(

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tuna and my bloated head

I know a guy named Tuna, not that it's relevant to anything, other than I am surrounded by tuna.

I watched the tuna schooling around the ship again, today.  They are a brilliant, electric silver-blue that looks fantastic in contrast to the deep blue of the ocean.  There are literally tens of thousands schooled up around the ship, endlessly cruising in a circle around the hull.

I've had this theory about my ability to sleep onboard and what affects it. One of the issues is incline.  NASA uses incline to study the effects of weightlessness.  I've checked the meters that track the pitch, roll and heave of the ship.  I'm sleeping head down at an average of 2-4 degrees.  A hard look at the drink dispenser in the mess confirms this-it has a clear, plastic reservoir that illustrates the pitch, roll and heave nicely, when filled with a colorful juice or whatnot.  Hard science, people.  The juice never lies.

Anyway, I think I need to switch my sleeping direction head to foot and alleviate the blood pooling in my head 4-5 hours/night. That cannot be good, can it?

A dab of politics, pinch of history and a dash of religion

Got this from a Senator John McCain Tweet: Obama's Persian Tutorial
It's a damn good read, no matter your opinions on the subject matter.

From here to there

I love this view. Want to be here...

View Larger Map

instead of here.

View Larger Map

Interesting to note from the undersea formation trending from/to the mouth of the Congo, it seems the origin of the river might be tectonic in nature, somehow.

Old man wakes up feeling like death from simply playing 4 games of table tennis

The old man is being very quiet about his wins last night and hoping that he can think of an excuse to not play any tourney matches today.

I feel so bad I'm putting creamer in my coffee for the first time in 35 years.  No, I don't count Baileys as creamer, thank you very much.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Old man takes four in a row! Kids are stunned...

Pummeled victim number two after a quick smoke. These kids are no match for the fat, old smoker. Took the punk in straight sets 21-9, 21-6.

The Pirate is up 2-0...

Time to retire to the sauna.  Smoked my first opponent in the table tennis tourney in straight sets of 21-10, 21-18.  Rubber match my ass.  He was a 24 yr old Chinese kid who held the paddle like backwards, or upside down?   Everybody said the professionals do that, so I tried the same thing.  It worked *shrugs*

OK, I AM sweating like a pig and wheezing like a steam locomotive, though.  This ping pong is NOT for old people...and only five more opponents to go.

where I'm at today

My thoughts tend toward my children, today.  Wish I could see them. 

Happy fathers day to dads everywhere, especially those serving away from home and their children.

Normalcy is not not normal

I've not had a "normal" trip offshore in a long, long time.  I'd forgotten what they're like and in some sort of twisted alter-reality, I find that I don't like it when I don't have multi-million dollar disasters hanging over my head.  I sort of miss the pressure, damn me for a fool.  I also intensely dislike the paperwork, administration, etc., that I have been able to blow off for so long now.  It all makes you feel like a stuffed suit, dancing for the organ grinder back on the beach.  I am up to my ears in procedures, policies, instructions, lists and reports and it's a little mind-numbing, not to mention borrrr-ring. 

However, it's nice to work less than 18 hr shifts and have the energy and time to work out and sauna.  Today I begin the first round (and last for me-I suk) of the ping-pong tournament.  There's a $100 prize up for grabs, but I suspect that one of the many Asian fellows on here is going to kick the shit out of everybody, unless a certain Frenchman can hold his own.  Me, I'll retire to the sauna and get the results in the morning;)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bomb goes boom

Saturday in Angola. Good times.  ISPS (international ship & port safety) drill.  This time it was a bomb, hidden somewhere onboard.  Naturally, we have to go find and disable it.  Common sense, right?  I mean, if you know you have a bomb onboard, don't immediately make like a hockey player and get the puck out.  No.  We've all seen bombs in the movies, so get out there and cut the red wire, not the blue one.  It always helps to carry a pair of tweezers and a pair of small snips, btw.  And pay no attention to the increasing tempo of the background music-it will stop suddenly when you cut the wire.

Dressed to kill in bright orange, we scoured the ship and eventually found the bomb.  It was an IED located in the hospital-inhuman bastardo terrorists tried to blow up the freaking hospital.  Well, maybe they actually know the medic and then things begin to make more sense...

Anyway, the medic found and disabled the device, so we could head down to the mess and a snack, while watching a particularly gripping presentation on the new version of the ISPS code.  Like I said, good times.

And how was your day?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Save a fly

This is a fine example of why I think PETA are a bunch of idiots.

A Michigan amusement park to aviod

Visited this place a few years back and had a nice time.  Won't be going back.  Ever.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Beginning of the end

Unpacked the rest of my shit this morning and then promptly selected my flights home.  I LOVE these short trips.

Just went topside to have a smoke and catch some rays.  Leaning on the railing, I noticed we are being shadowed by a rather large school of tuna.  Looks like sashimi for dinner.

Temperature is down.  Only a comfortable 80, or so.  Nice change from Africa hot.

Got my old cabin back this trip.  I've been in 3 others during the last three trips.   Every time I head off to my cabin, I wander down a random companionway, forgetting where I'm sleeping.  I have to stand there and think about it.  Woke up this morning totally disoriented.  At first I didn't know where in the world I was, then as I walked out I thought I was in one of my other cabins and went the wrong way toward the instrument room.  Whoops.

Entered the ship's ping-pong tournament despite not being able to play worth a damn.  Figure I'll give the rest of the crew some entertainment.  I'm nice like that...

Saw some kids back home got busted for trying to smuggle some drugs to an inmate in the local prison camp.  Haven't kids today heard of keistering and keeping your mouth shut?   I guess as a society, we're just not teaching our kids the life skills necessary to make in the world.  Damn sure MY kids would do a better job of it if I get sent up.

miles and miles

Have you ever used Microsoft Project?  How about the online project server crap to share a project interactively with others?  I am trying to complete a setup using both and it is killing me.  Buggy-ass shit with lousy documentation:(

On the bright side I've now added another 10 TB of disk space and a couple of file servers to my system and I LOVE the extra space!   I feel like getting inside that space and dancing a jig:)  Too bad it will be all used up in another couple days...

That Dude asked if I get frequent flier miles.  Yes, many.  On many different programs and airlines.  I haven't bothered to join all programs/airlines because, frankly, after traveling for work I have no fucking desire to go anywhere that requires flying and airports/Montezuma's revenge/hotels/buses/bad food/rickshaws/luggage/trains/helicopters/standing in line/ships/ignorant fucks/sampans/dugout canoes.  Soooo, I collect miles from a few programs that I think PW and the kids might use and that's about it.

I once tried to calculate how many million miles I have flown and it quickly got depressing.  Too damn many is the answer.

I happen to know where the geographic opposite to my home is on the other side of the planet.  I've been pretty damn close to it.  More useless information...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 3

Well I'm all settled in on the ship, now.  I've been pretty sick since arriving in Luanda, but felt better this morning when I awoke.  Yesterday was kind of a blur-did very little other than begin training the new guy and attending a fire drill.  Still need to finish unpacking and then dive into work.  My other employee has been taking care of the work and completing an upgrade to our computer system and thankfully, has done a bang-up job.   We had a serious injury yesterday-one of the guys got a huge fishhook embedded in his thumb, requiring the medic to operate to remove it.  That's the price we have to pay for sashimi and I for one, am willing to pay it.  We lost a 4-foot yellow fin tuna, yesterday, too.  Hopefully, that is a sign of the tuna to come!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back in the saddle

I'm back in my office chair.  You all know the sagas and stories to get here-it was all the same, a lousy 4 1/2 day commute.  Arrived here dead tired and sick. Think I ate some bad shit on one of the flights.

Highlights of the trip. 

Flying from Minnie to London with some lady and her kid next to me.  They ended up; her head on my shoulder, his head in my arm pit, drooling on my lap (him, not her).  They woke up after a few hours (I was half out of it, vegetating in my headphones and could've cared less) and she was mortified.  He decided we were now buddies and kept poking me when I wasn't looking.

Walking in a half-hour circle in London Heathrow, twice.

Trying to sleep on the freezing granite floor in Heathrow, hoping for a quick catnap-NOT.

Getting a business class seat while everyone else from 4 different ships (not just mine) was seated in cattle class.  I razzed them pretty good, but one guy got me back by sneaking in and whacking me on the head every time he got up to pee.  He pees a lot...

Stopping to rap with the Bose kiosk guy in Minnie.  He offered me 200 bucks for my 300 dollar, 5 yr old, broken QC2's.  YES!  Picked up the 350 dollar QC3's for a lousy 150.   Love the on-ear, smaller, lighter, rechargeable next generation phones.  They rock and after about 35 hours of playing, have yet to wear out the supposedly 25 hour battery.

Finding out my buddy got deported from Angola for the wrong stamp in his passport.  I have the same stamp...

Spending only 2 hours in the cage this time around!

Traveling 12,000 miles and 4 1/2 days, only to find out the Wings fucking lost.

Hearing rumors of my next job possibly being Columbia, or Peru-two places I've not yet worked.  Panama Canal, here I come...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane...

It's that day, again.  Crew-x.  Heading back to Angola today.  I've been sick for the last two days and nothing is done.  Soooo, I've got a ton of things to do to get ready for work.  I hate these days:(   I still need to pack, charge batteries, print out the legal docs for Angola as well as handover notes and get my ass over to Mr. Budd's to grab some mp4's and DVD's.  Packing is the worst, though.  Once again, I have to figure out how to pack up my whole life in one, soft bag that weighs less than 7 KG's.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A day in town

Cool and misty today.  Almost raining.   Took LP to school for her last half day, then picked her up for some father/daughter time.  We went shopping, checking out jewelry and canoes, then I got a quick haircut.  After that, we braved the downtown construction to hit the Chinese restaurant.  I had spicy, sesame chicken, she had crab rangoons and satay pork.  Before heading to the chiropractor, we stopped at Pete's so LP could see the great, spiral staircase stringer.  She was duly impressed and wants to see the changes inside, too:)  I got a GREAT adjustment and he noted that my shit was way twisted and tight as a snare drum.  We also bought LP a half dozen chapter books.  Looks like a night's reading for her-she is finishing the first book right now.  Tells me she's on page 62 after less than an hour's reading.  She takes after me and it looks like her reading addiction is going to get expensive.  That's about it.  We're home and it sucks outside so I'm off to do a little crew-x paperwork and maybe take a nap...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Slash and burn

Spent the day slashing and burning the back 40.  Did it all by hand and I am one sore bastard.  PW too, is down for the count.  We are nearly ready for fill dirt, though.  Just need to take out a few stumps and one more day of burning.  Please let me find somebody who wants to dump free fill dirt here...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The end is near...

Sitting in the back yard burning brush.  Just got my flights for the upcoming crew-x.  Gonna miss this place.

Fire pit

Last couple days have been good weather-warm and fairly sunny.  Yesterday, I burned scrap wood and brush in the back of my property for about 6-7 hours, then spent half the night trying to get the coals out.  I was actually out in the back spraying the fire pit with a hose at 2am, in my pj's.  While I was burning in the back yard, my dog was shitting in the dining room.   He's sick.  He's had to go out to crap about 30 times in the last 2 days.  Good dog that he is, he runs over to the neighbors and shits his brains out...

Today I cut up more scrap for the fire pit and wisely kept the dog out with me.  Highlight of the day was a full mug of coffee dumping into my laptop.  I took it apart, wiped it down, shook it out and left it apart for about 10 hours.  Put it back together tonight and it works fine...

Tomorrow? More yard work and maybe I'll take LP out for a bike ride.  Crew-x is looming.