Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State of the Union

Obama's speech is technically not a "State of the Union" address, just addressing a joint session of Congress. I just watched most of it in bits and bobs. As much as I could take in one sitting, anyway.

A few "fun" facts about State of the Union Addresses from Robert Schlesinger at USNEWS.COM:

"...Actually, the speech was not always called the "State of the Union" and, for that matter, was not always a speech. Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution says that the president "shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."

... Thomas Jefferson, the third president, started a long tradition of presidents sending their reports up in written form. The next president who gave the annual report (not yet the "State of the Union," mind you) in person as a speech was Woodrow Wilson in December 1913.

...Franklin Roosevelt started the modern tradition by delivering his first report to Congress, in 1934, as a speech. It was the first such address titled the "State of the Union." It wasn't until 1947, however, that the name came into general usage.

...Coolidge's 1923 address was the first broadcast over the radio; Harry Truman's 1947 State of the Union was the first broadcast on television; George W. Bush's 2002 speech was the first webcast from the House's website.

...The longest State of the Union (or whatever we call it) by words: Jimmy Carter's 1981 address—which was also the last such written message—was an astounding 33,667 words.

...The shortest such speech in terms of words was the first: Washington's 1790 report to Congress, which he delivered to a joint session in New York City, was a mere 1,089 words. The picture of brevity."

This year?

I should have burned a $20 on the porch, pointed my finger at picture of Bush, told myself everything is going to be alright because Obama is the second coming while shoving a baseball bat up my ass and beating off. At least I would've got the happy ending AND would've ended a half hour earlier.


Just found out I've been to the site of the fastest gust of wind ever recorded.  Flown in and out of the island many times.  It's kind of an interesting place, actually.  At first blush, it doesn't look like much, but it has a history and some unique wildlife and now, some big plans in store for what WAS some sort of wildlife refuge.  And yeah, it's got these big, termite hills.  It's off the west coast of Australia and was my jumping-off point for a year, while shooting off WA.  I used to fly a Charter jet from Perth to the Island, where I'd hop a chopper to my ship.

Quote this

"Political Correctness is about turning a blind eye to painful reality because your comfortable feelings are more important to you than saving lives and providing quality of life to people who work their ass off to be productive and are a benefit to this great American Dream."  -Ted Nugent

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


So my wife comes home with two loaves of bread given to her by a friend.  One is holy and one is hemp. 

Ezekiel 4:9 bread has all the same ingredients described in the bible.  It says so and I believe it.

Healthy Hemp bread has a ton of seeds and it says it doesn't get you high.  No shit.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

home for the post-holidays

Been home a week.  Still tired.  Still haven't quite cleared the last six weeks of snow from the drive, but damn close. 

Lost the Internet.  It took Charter 4 days, 6 trucks and 6 servicemen.  They left saying they changed the signal to this area and would change it back until they figured out what went wrong.  Finally, a day later, it came back.  I wonder how long it will last.

Just about the only other thing going on currently, is the thought that I might clean up my workshop tomorrow.  Yeah, polar opposite of life on the boat.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy B-day, Eddie

Today is Edger Allan Poe's birthday.  He would have been 200 today!   I'm currently reading a novel about a man who enlists the help of the person Poe modeled his famous C. Auguste Dupin after, to solve the mystery of Poe's death.  So far, it is an excellent read and fitting that I'm reading it on Poe's 200th birthday.  Watch out for ravens...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

give a little

And finally, to round out a three-post day (morning, actually), I wonder aloud why it is that yesterday I read that the amount of US aid currently being sent to Haiti is about to exceed that of aid to anyone or anything else, ever. More than the tsunami and more than hurricane Katrina.  Please do not get me wrong.   I am all for that "helping fellow man" crap, but I first wonder how less aid was sent to the many millions more people displaced and fucked over in general, by the tsunami and how less aid was sent to our own fellow Americans in the wake of hurricane Katrina?  Just one of those little mysteries of life, I suppose.

And just for the record, two days ago I flew from the southern tip of the Mississippi River delta, all that way up to New Orleans, in a helicopter.  Can anyone remember what year Katrina struck without Googling the answer?  I'll tell you.  It was August 29, 2005.  They still have not yet fully recovered after 4 1/2 years.

Smell this

Ever wonder why some things are SO much more expensive in the US, than other places?  Case in point:

The following are excerpts from an AP wire article posted on Yahoo! News...the accent/bolding is all mine.

'...NEW YORK – Johnson & Johnson issued a massive recall Friday of over-the-counter drugs including Tylenol, Motrin and St. Joseph's aspirin because of a moldy smell that has made people sick.

The FDA said about 70 people have been either sickened by the odor — including nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea — or noticed it.

The FDA said McNeil knew of the problem in early 2008 but made only a limited investigation.

"McNeil should have acted faster," said Deborah Autor, the director of the FDA's Office of Compliance of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "When something smells bad, literally or figuratively, companies must aggressively investigate and take all necessary action to solve the problem."...'

OK.  Now then, some McNeil/J&J products allegedly shipped on wooden pallets that smelled funny.  No warehouse workers get sick.  No truckers get ill.  Nobody stocking shelves gets ill.  Customers walking isles crammed with dozens of boxes of smelly pills do not get sick.  BUT, about 70 people taking the pills get sick from the smell? Or notice it?

Does this really mean if I call up the folks who make, say, Miracle Whip(tm) and tell them it smells like feet, that they have to recall 7.4 million jars of the white stuff?  Who decided that in the US, people should walk around with their fingers in their noses, secure in the knowledge that somebody else is responsible for their safety?  What the fuck is wrong with a little personal responsibility?   Why is that if something smells funny, a company has to recall millions of dollars of stock?  This article says the FDA listes about 70 people who got sick from the smell of the pills, when nobody handling them by the thousands and tens of thousands did.  If anyone reading this believes that, please send me $127 and I will give you the keys to the kingdom.  I will tell you the secret to unlocking the mysteries of the universe.  I will give you the knowledge you need to bring yourslef riches, happiness and the power to anything, be anything you ever wanted to be.  Really.

PS.  Do not take fish oil pills.  They DO smell like feet.

Buy this?

A picture of this guy makes me want to buy nothing, except maybe a hand-gun.  What the fuck were they thinking?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Well, when you talk about things like everyone going home in one piece, something else is bound to happen.  We were hit by another ship, yesterday and it popped a hole in us.  Couple of them, I think.  Big fucking dent, too.  It was our own supply ship who was trying to marry up with us while we were both underway (the way we always do it, cause we CANNOT stop, or multi-million dollar accident occurs)  Anyway, we are fine now.  Somebody is down below with their finger in the hole.

Crew-x is in three days for me.  I get off a day later than most of the rest of the crew cause I'm special that way.  Fuck.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Going home

Glad this trip is coming to a close.  I'm tired from too many 20 hour shifts in a row.  Tired of the teeth-clenching stress that slammed down last month , grabbing me by the back of the neck and worrying me like a hyena on a zebra carcass.  Fuck this noise.

I've got two projects going simultaneously, right now.  Not good.  Way too much shit needing to be stored in way too little grey matter.  LL's little math puzzle the other day, frustrating as it was, was also a nice distraction, even if I do hate maths almost us a much as they hate me.  If I can get my shoreside support and a twitchy client to make some final decisions soon, I might be able to put Colombia behind me forever, or at least for the next six months or so.

The new project I'm also setting up is of a complicated sort.  It involves multiple vessels and some pretty complex geometries and MATH (fuck) puzzles.  I was somewhat horrified to see that the format of just the name of something has gone from a simple alpha-numeric to an alpha-numeric with hexadecimal characters and a modulus hiding in there.  A freaking name, people.  Anyway, it is quite the challenge to set up and I have not been dealing with the stress well, and I need to get the fuck. Outta Dodge.

Yesterday, as I was sipping my first cuppa here in Dodge City, a frantic call came over the radio.  Man overboard.  Seeing a bit of general panic and indecision in the room, I bolted out the door, grabbed some gear and ran to the Fast Rescue Craft.  After about a minute, two more people showed up and as we were preparing to launch, we got the call to stand down.  Turns out the ship that made the call was 20 miles distant-too far for us to be of any real assistance.  They had 3 other vessels close by, so we went back to the radio, to await the outcome.  A few minutes later, a muster roll-call revealed all crew to be safe and the alarm to be false.  Big fucking sigh of relief.  The chances of finding one of us in the water, even on broad daylight are, in fact, very slim, bordering on none.  This was illustrated early last year when one of the crew from one of the ships working with us right now, was lost in broad daylight, surrounded by a fleet of ships.  Rescue craft were even in the water at the time of the incident, the crew member spotted in the water and still he was not recovered.  ever.  So, yesterday was just another reminder that I work in a dangerous and unpredictable environment and that it pays to be vigilant.  I was heartened to see that we repsonded to the radio call, lightening-fast.  I hope if the call is ever for me and not to me, that someone else responds equally fast.  I look forward to crew-x in a few days and God willing, once again, we will all be here to go home.


Friday, January 8, 2010

One week to go

Still offshore Louisiana.   Crew-xing next week.  Busy as hell this week.  Working two projects at once and it feels like my head is going to explode.  Cannot wait to go home and sleep for a fucking week.  Praying we have good weather for the choppers.

Not had much of a life this trip, beyond a few hours off at Christmas (if you call running around encased in pillows, yelling HO HO HO, a break).  I HAVE managed to watch seasons1-4 of LOST and am working my way through season 5 right now.  Blondie was SO right about the awesomeness that is LOST.  I am so hooked and while I have my own ideas about the answers to the many questions, I really need to sit down and hash this shit out with somebody who follows the series.  BAD.