RE: vitalization

When I finally find/make time to create an update it so happens that my hands are a bit frozen. Turns out that Northern Germany is about as warm as the name would imply. Actually can't complain 'cause it's only been 'mostly cloudy' the last few days. . . though today showed a chilled face of such ferocity that it even bit through my 'padding' and numbed me up good by the end of the shift.

So how's the job going?
Typical dry dock. Long, semi-productive days with a distinct lack of respect for the logistics department. It's a small ship that's trying to complete more work, in a shorter period of time, than much larger ships complete. We've got six logistics people working the cranes and forks. Four on day shift, two on night. Normally we've got two or maybe three people total. Needless to say we could use another person or two and we're constantly pinned against the wall by contractors, marine department, F&B department, hotel department and of course more contractors.

Whelp, there ain't much to this but it's all I'm up for. I'll try again over the weekend but we've got full services so I ain't holding my breath.

Hope all is well whoever you may be.



Great city.  Good beer.  Pretty girls.  Having fun driving in my spanky new Golf TDI rental. 
Head to the Blohm and Voss shipyard again tomorrow to start work in earnest.  Co-worker and I dropped by there today but just to look around.  HUGE YARD!!  I mean, like, bigger than one o' dem lampshades that Tiny Elvis was always talking about back in the day on SNL.  Seriously, the shipyard in SF has two dry docks and a few piers. . . this place has something like 17 docks! 
Um. . . yeah.  I've got shipyard envy.
Not gonna type long cause the free computer I'm using in the hotel lobby has a German keyboard, I suppose as it should.  The z and the y are switched, the shift key is the same size as a normal key, there are quite a few bonus keys with fun little markings over them and almost all of the special symbols aren't where we Americans think they're supposed to be.  Ah yes, it's the little things while traveling. . . like being able to write a coherent email in under fifteen minutes and without hurting your delicate hands, like mine.
Hope to establish a pseudo office at the shipzard tomorrow and will maybe get a few pictures up. 
Double dunkel please.  Danka.


Turns Out

Well, no surprise here, it turns out that warehouses are the same all over the world. Gruff workers smoking cigarettes, fork trucks threatening every last little piggy under leather and more disorganized freight than you can shake a mongoose at. (ed. note: this blog does not condone the shaking of mongooses (mongeese?) at anything or anyone, under any circumstances. Keep your mongeese to yourselves people.)

My work here in RTM is pretty much done. There might be some freight this afternoon but for the most part everything is labeled, organized and prettier than a cold beer on a Friday afternoon. Speaking of which. . . every office I've visited in Europe has cold beer in the fridge. Where did we go wrong people?!? If the USA is the freest country in the world then where's the beer in the workplace? Seriously, this upsets me more than a little. Not even for the lack of actual consumption but more for the implication that people aren't responsible enough to enjoy one beverage with their co-workers and then drive home. Life is sooo hard. . .

. . . just ask Paris Hilton. (Here's a ray of shining intelligence for everyone out there; the aforementioned girl (not woman) is UGLY. Not an attractive thing about her. Think about it and then find some dog-awful picture of her at some premiere for some event that she did nothing for. She's skinny, squinty, sallow and sad. All in a row. This has been a public service announcement from a guy who has no right to give public service announcements.

Off my high horse and back to the real world that matters, or doesn't matter. . . I can never remember which is correct. Does the "real" world (i.e. getting up, going to work, dealing with BS all day just to buy things that you don't have the time to enjoy) matter? Or is what Really matters the complete opposite? If somebody figures it out please let me know.

Sorry, no interesting pics of Rotterdam yet. Haven't gotten out much and we all know how well those night pictures of the distant skyline turn out. Oh well, I'm sure I'll be back here and I'm staring ten days in Hamburg square in the face before the vessel even arrives for dry dock. There might be a few beers consumed in that time. Check out the famous fish market on a Saturday morning and scrupulously avoid anyone who wants to drag me through the red light district. My motto, if you have to pay for it maybe you don't deserve it. Just my personal opinion. But what else is a page like this good for if not my personal opinions?

Don't answer that.

For those who care, the people here where I'm working are nice, at least to me. But then again anytime I thank somebody and tell them that it wasn't necessary for them to bring me that sandwich for lunch or that second cup of tea they just laugh and say, "It's okay, you're a customer." Makes me wonder what life would be like if I wasn't a customer. . . and if I was paying all the bills on this trip. Oy! I can remember how incredibly broke (and buried) I was when I returned from that two month European trip last year. At this point that trip feels like it was four years ago.

Hope everyone is well wherever you are and whatever you're doing. Whatever you do, stay away from College Ave in Berkeley this Saturday because it's birthday weekend among my old group of friends back home and some insobriety may ensue. Break out the notes and the pirate eye Jones, I'll be thinkin' of you all this weekend. And to top things off the Candeeman turns something like forty-seven this Saturday in Vegas as well. Helluva weekend to be sober. . . so don't be.

A Heineken tipped back to you all. Grab your bike and move to the Netherlands, you'll fit right in.


In Rotterdam

Tired. Maybe not even from jet lag. Certainly not from anything "bad" that you all have going through your minds. Been treated to dinner two nights in a row but haven't gotten a chance to see much of the city. If I can get enough work done tomorrow then I might have a bit of time Friday afternoon. . . otherwise I only have Saturday morning and we all know how likely that is.

Time to shower. Nice hotel. Too nice for me. Better clean up my act I guess.

Stay up and work or go soak in the tub that's actually big enough for me.

Tough one.


Funny. . . But Not In A "Ha Ha" Sort Of Way

Things do happen to me, I swear. Okay, maybe they're not terribly interesting or worthwhile things; nor are they challenging and eccentric things; but they happen none the less. Just like creative grammar. . . that's a "thing" isn't it? Point is that every time I actually write one of these little things I say to myself, "Self! You should put something down every few days instead of every week or two. I don't care if it's an old story, a fictional story, a worthless update on the interesting breakfast you had or something wholly worthwhile." Then I silently vow to be good about posting interesting tidbits for the people back "home" and promptly don't. See once you post something then you might want to post again right away but it's sort of like that untrue rule about not calling girls too soon. You FEEL like you're not supposed to post again for at least a day. So I have every intention and ability and the fodder to do it with and then before I know it a week has gone by and now I have to compress quite a few things and leave most of it out. And there that is.

It's two o'clock in the morning and I leave for Rotterdam in about twelve hours. Gonna pop into the office in about five hours since I don't have a printer at home (I know, I know, livin' the high life). But I've got a little Gershwin over the speakers and most likely can't get to sleep cause of all the darned excitement and I'm gonna be gone for five weeks and I get to see new places and I get to work out of the office and I get to drink good beer and, and. . . and things shall be as Dog intended.

Promises, promises. If it all works out I'll have pics of ROT up within the week and maybe a story or two. Should have four days with a relatively light work load and then a similar situation in Hamburg for ten days (including rental car and a couple of Sundays) before all hell breaks loose. And let me just tell you my family, my friends and my random clickers. . . if you think the last couple jobs in France were tough I can assure you they were a drop in the bucket.

RCCL did this same job to an identical vessel back in May and the horror stories that emanated from that job still haunt my dreams. Of course we're taking more logistical manpower than I've ever even heard of for a revitalization but that don't mean it won't be not pretty. (Triple negative?) Seriously we've got my boss, myself, another Project Manager and three (count 'em if ya got 'em) subcontractors with us. Most likely we'll be running one shift from about seven in the morning till around five in the afternoon with four of us and then the other two guys will take over at five and only use one crane instead of three until around two in the morning. But who knows, these things always change by the time the job starts. Seven to five doesn't sound all that bad but those are just the hours the cranes will operate for our shift. In and around (and after) that is all the fun computer and phone time spent tracking shipments that we weren't told about that needed to be here yesterday and are more vital to the job than me keeping my heart beating. . . at least that's how they act. Oh yeah, and there's also the inevitable fact that there won't be enough people to unload all these containers until two in the morning. . .

What's that? You need volunteers? And you thought you saw me raise my hand? Sure things boss. My hand was up, whatever you say. Last notable and fun-fact for this job is that the ship is so small and we have so many people working on it that we'll be bunking times two in each room (and possibly times three). I realize that people cruise in these rooms all the time but I gotta admit that it's more than nice and good for moral if you have your own space/shower/music/nakidity and only your own snoring to deal with after an eighteen hour shift that's about to roll over into one more shift of similar magnitude.

Welp, I think I'll put on my dunn-deroos and see if I can't squeeze a little sleep into these eyes. We'll find out if I still love to travel sometime tomorrow. . . after I've been properly compressed into a plane seat for a few hours.

At least my family was loving enough to give me Stephen King's, "Dark Tower" series to keep me interested. Haven't pulled the trigger on that Archos 605 yet but the books are more entertaining than digital media any day. And they never seem to run out of batteries. Funny how that works.

Maybe even in a "Ha Ha" sort of way.


Two Year Injury

Well, it's been two years to the day that I first had my right elbow x-rayed after that, um, incident with a young lady friend of mine. And you can all get your minds outta the gutter cause you know damn well that if this had happened under any sort of kinky circumstances I'd tell you straight up. Hell, I'd probably write a book. Anyway, here's the first x-ray I got in Flag two years ago.

Elbow Bent

At the time the radiologist labeled it as an occult fracture of the elbow, though he did not specify the exact area that was fractured. (I was now officially part of occult. Heh!) Soft cast and a sling. . . props to TmfC for wrappin' me back up a few times. Cost me my last Trek America trip but a few weeks later the swelling was down and mobility was probably about eighty percent.

A couple of diagnoses later and some physical therapy and I find myself here in Florida with proper health insurance again. Went to a orthopaedic surgeon and between the x-rays he took, the original x-rays and the MRI report from eighteen months ago he diagnosed me with an occult fracture. But this time he told me exactly where he thought it was (is?).

Close up 2

There it is!

Close up 1

Basically there was a fracture along the bottom line of that triangle. The triangle slipped down a bit and mended itself there. And that is why I don't have full extension of my right elbow. . and probably never will. When I try to straighten my arm the bone and tendons don't want to let it go all the way.

For now it's PT which I probably can't start until I get back from Germany in mid-October. C'est la vie.