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12.26.2008

Travel. . . Yes, Please

Fund app that I use through Facebook. I think I need to start working on spreading the pins out a little bit.



We've got a new year coming up. . . maybe it's time to put a little personal travel on the calendar.

12.25.2008

Yuletide Cheer

In Idaho it's cold outside. Cold and windy. Snowy, cold and windy. Wintry, snowy, cold, windy and some other descriptive adjectives and it feels goooooooood. Merry Christmas to everyone reading this and I suppose to the rest of the world too. Got a typical holiday planned today with family, food, presents, a cute kid, a warm house and good times. For most of my family this is the first Christmas in Idaho, but my sister-in-law's family has been here for years. Not years as in, "I remember when this was all orange groves (which don't grow here) as far as the eye can see," but years nonetheless. All the locals say that it's never this cold for this long here. Good for me. . . I came to shake off the oppressive Florida heat and that slightly unsettling feeling of almost breaking into a sweat at the slightest movement. . . and I think it's working.

I'm dubbing this the Laptop Christmas. I'm sure there are plenty of families that have had multiple holidays dominated by mobile computing devices but this winter is the first year we've found ourselves sitting around with a computer on every lap. Times change and so do we, I guess. Now don't get me wrong. . . computer time has been fiercely rivaled by Scrabble time but of course the circuit boards have their say in that game now as well. Easier to let the Scrabble website tell you what word is legal than sift through those pesky pages in a big, fat dictionary.

Speaking of things big and fat. . . I'm heading over to the bro's house soon where the snacking will likely be epic. Better get in gear and eat some cookies. I mean, pack some cookies up to take over. Sure, that's what I mean.

The snow is coming straight down now and the other bro says we're supposed to get 1-3 inches today. When was the last time that you had a white Christmas? Personally I'm gonna go enjoy the one we're having right now.

A very Merry Christmas and perhaps a tall mug of something warm (and partially toxic) coming right up. Cheers.

12.14.2008

FWD From A Family Member

The following was presumably sent to me in order to make fun of my lack of belief in a higher being. However, I just want to know. . . do I get the day off or not? -AD

FWD:
In Florida , an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter & Passover holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians, Jews & observances of their holy days. The argument was it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized day(s).

The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring, 'Case dismissed.'

The lawyer immediately stood objecting to the ruling saying, 'Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter & others. The Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur & Hanukkah. Yet my client & all other atheists have no such holidays.'

The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, 'But you do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant.' The lawyer said, 'Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists.'

The judge said, 'The calendar says April 1st is 'April Fools Day.' Psalm 14:1 states 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day.

Court is adjourned.

12.11.2008

Hi. My Name Is Aaron Diffleboppersen, And I Have A Drinking Solution

All together now. . . "HI, AARON."

I'm trying to figure out why we only refer to someone having a drinking problem but never a drinking solution. Do people really believe that no good ideas have ever been spawned throughout history without the assistance of a little Dutch Courage? Now don't get me wrong, I would never go so far as to argue that the imbibing of toxic liquids has produced MORE good ideas than bad over the years. I mean, let's face it, the old, "We're driving to Florida!" announcement at 5am has never worked out very well. . . or, indeed, ever even gotten out of the parking lot. (Thank you Larry Miller.) But (almost) seriously, doesn't the effect of alcohol on our brains make us think a little more loosely? Maybe you'll not just dance tonight but you'll dance with that midget on the bar? Ok, maybe not.

Sadly, that last paragraph does not mean that I've just cured cancer whilst having a cocktail. I merely want to remind people that some of our vices are just a part of life and maybe not as evil as some people might pretend. (But don't be afraid of taking a couple weeks off from Beelzebub's shillelagh. . . okay, I might have made that last one up but that doesn't mean it won't be popular vernacular for a drink by the end of the weekend.)

I'm watching Michael Phelps on The Colbert Report but I'm also clearing my gmail inbox, my work inbox, christmas shopping, planning my Tuesday night with some local Atheists, checking out a website my brother recommended, having a cocktail, holding my bed down, pondering 3 of life's 13 great mysteries, calculating 2 quadratic equations, eagerly awaiting the next installment of XKCD and watching the clock. Who said my generation suffers from ADD. I'm just AD. . . no extra D required. Of course trying to do all that necessitates the reality that this current sentence is now being typed almost 30 minutes after the beginning of this paragraph.

As usual I had grand plans for this post, including an expose explaining why it's strange to return to the states after a month in the islands (though island in the singular is certainly more accurate). However, it is not to be. . . so I will leave you with this one unprofound fact.

1) When I tell people that I'm working in the Bahamas the inevitable response is something along the lines of, "Oh, you lucky bastard!" But the truth is that when I tell you I've been working on "South Beach" for a month it's got nothing to do with swanky (overpriced) bars and beautiful women. THIS is South Beach (in Grand Bahama Shipyard on Grand Bahama Island) and yes, everything that looks like scrap metal in these pictures IS scrap metal. . . and there's a lot of it.

South Beach Misery
South Beach

And THIS is our office container where BBQs are frequent and the beer flows like, uh, sorry there's actually no beer here. The shipyard doesn't allow it. (Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink. Say no more.) The actual "office" container is the tan one and yes, that is a wood deck out front.
South Beach BBQ
South Beach Full Effect A-#1 BBQ

So I guess I haven't taken the time to fully explain the misery of working on South Beach 12+ hours a day. The reality of the "beach" is that it's made of dirt, sand blast grit, trash, scrap metal and the tears of children. It truly is a hellish place, but the shipyard is too cheap to pave it over (or even spray a little tar to keep the dust down). When the wind picks up it's common to see a dust wave of carcinogens descending upon one's self like soul crushing truth descends upon a person watching a documentary about a topic they'd rather not think about. (Britney Spears once said that she didn't like the films at the Sundance Festival because she had to think while watching them. Awesome. Now how do I get down off this soap box? It's a long way down and I'm without a single carabiner.)

Tangent complete. I've moved on to Craig Ferguson on CBS. So much funnier than Leno and Letterman it's not even funny. Wait. . . huh?

I leave you with some sage words.
Do Not Block Light
That's right, people, let's stay out of the dark and as they say in biking, Keep the rubber side down.

12.05.2008

Not Even The Least Bit Interesting

This is what I normally carry during dry dock (- the radio). I either need me some suspenders or a purse.

In Need of a Purse

In all fairness, the giant silver Bahamian cell phone died on me and I bought me a spanky new tiny Bahamian cell phone. Either way, I need some bigger/better cargo work pants for all that junk.

Ifin you're bored I dunn gone 'n put up a bunch of work photos on Flickr. Sorry there ain't much interestin' on the personnel front. . . 'fraid people might be 'fraid of their souls bein' stolen by the photog boogeyman (or just that climbing the corporate ladder is kinda hard when there's lascivious pictures of your person online).

Either way, enjoy. If you're a family/friend type person of mine you only need to request the whole shebang and I'll laden you with photos in such a way that will put my Pa's camping pictures to shame. When the camera's a clickin' I certainly knows from wheres I gets it.

Common grammar aside (obviously). . . I guess it's good to be back stateside, but it will probably be better in two weeks when I head to the land of potatoes and rednecks without ye olde company laptop (for once). Merry Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good. . . crap. What?!?! I missed Thanksgiving?

Awww, shucks.

12.03.2008

One More Month Gone

Still stuck on Grand Bahama Island until tomorrow afternoon.  Turns out the name of the island does not seem to transcend to the island itself.  But then again, I'm not exactly here for the beaches.

Another dry dock done but not gone.  The clean up and return shipments along with the invoices for the past month of work are the worst part.  But at least I've found a good sushi restaurant near my hotel and I plan on using my whole day's food allowance on dinner tonight. 

Strangest thing about finishing these jobs is getting back to Florida and not really knowing what to do with myself.  I should either join or start a cult.  Nothing makes time fly like craziness incarnate.

Rambling, rambling. . . as usual, I got nuthin' and I need to get back to work.

Cheetos.

11.20.2008

Drydockwhynot

As usual when posting during a dry dock I'm exhausted and I should be going to bed right now. But I guess my ego just won't let this site go. . . or I could just convince myself that I really do it for my family to know what I'm up to. No fun pics cause the company laptop just don't much like flickr. Gonna have to remedy that some day.

Five or so days into Infinity dry dock. Typical cluster (of nuts and berries) with all the same players following all the same stereotypes and utterly destroying the word fail and then dropping it down the tubes to the next, eagerly waiting, level of hades. Good thing I don't believe in the afterlife or I'd already be throwing three sticks for Cerberus just to see which way he goes. Point is that like most things is life that we don't do too often it's easy for me to look forward to dry dock when I haven't been on a tough on in a while. But the truth on the job is always so much uglier.

So far during the 5 days of this dry dock I have:
-- Thrown my hard hat twice (once in true frustration with a two handed dome cracker straight down into the dirt and once in a show of disbelief that sent my full-brimmed heat-trapper spinning beautifully along the dirt, sand grit and rock "pier" that we call South Beach here at the Freeport shipyard).
-- Yelled profanities at a level befitting a Bahamian dry dock but probably inappropriate for your local monster truck rally.
-- Made friends and gathered enemies.
-- Been offered a job that pays more and promises less stress (but is probably lying about both).
-- Worked more hours than. . . ah, nevermind. It doesn't matter how many hours I've worked when there's people out there like my Uncle, Cousin-in-Law and old college roommate who all regularly put in more weekly hours than I ever will (and my Uncle is RETIRED!).
-- Gotten a flat tire on the company F-150 and changed it with help from a fork lift and a passing Bahamian driver with a similar truck because mine happens to lack a jack, lug wrench and necessary bars to lower the spare tire. (Some good lookin' out when the company bought the truck at the Miami auction. "It's got 4 doors? Windows tinted so dark that you can't see anything at night? A/C works? Bald tires? Get's six-point-six miles to the gallon? Front end that needs more work done than Carrot Top? We'll take it!)
-- Chased, bribed, cajoled, belittled, praised, begged, cursed, insulted, drank and joked with riggers, slingers, crane operators, foremen, fork lift drivers, sub-contractors, vice presidents, rats, truck drivers and anyone else I need work from.
-- Bought a Bahamian cell phone for 45 bucks and kept the old Bahamian number I had when the local agent tried to rent me the same phone for 50 bucks a week AND I would have had to change my number.
-- Bouced a dozen mini-super balls off of, into and all around a large steel dry dock.

And I'm spent. Hope everyone who reads this is doing well and cutting me slack on spelling, grammar and class. Cause we all know I'm in a class all by myself. . . so quite asking if you can cut into my one-man line.

To shower
To bed
To do it all again

11.11.2008

Hmm

I just read a little bit of what I posted the other night. Scared myself by realizing that I wasn't even drinking for that one. Guess I really was that tired. Well I won't make the same mistake tonight. Work is going well and I'll be ready for the next job that starts on Sunday but it's amazing the amount of work I need to do before then. I keep justifying these long work hours to myself by citing that I must be one of the only men for the job due to my lack of house, family, dog, compost pile, hobbies and social life. . . but then a small part of me realizes what I just wrote and that it ain't quite right.

I'm very curious to know exactly how many hours I really should put on the clock each week. (And who made this magic clock that we all use to gauge our time?) And that being written, it's past my bedtime again.

Good night, and don't let the bed bugs bite because if you let them get away with it once there really is no stopping the little buggers.

11.10.2008

One Down, One Falling and One at the Ledge

Well, here I am. . . in Freeport. . . again. I spent all of February here on a single job and now I'm spending all of November here, but now I have three jobs. I initially thought the Monarch of the Seas was only coming in for a shave and a hair cut (i.e. hull prep and paint with other minor works being done) but a 1.8 million dollar refurbishment package destroyed any hope I had of an easy dry dock. Thinking about it now, I guess it would have been easy (relatively) if it hadn't been for the Sovereign of the Seas coming in on the third day of the Monarch dry dock. And I guess even those two wouldn't have been so bad if I wasn't having to run around chasing shipments for the third job of the month which is the Celebrity Infinity dry dock.

But, as usual, I regress. I suppose I could digress but that would merely imply that I recognized my aggression and was stubborn enough to merely digress rather than regress. The world's a dress. (And if you can tell me what song the last sentence is from then I greatly admire your musical choices. . . and there might be points for you.)

Anywho, by now you've probably found typos, hippos and other general poes in this little opus. Even though it's before midnight and I slept in this morning (8am BABY) I still find my eyelids to be mysteriously heavy. . . hence the hippos I guess. There's not enough hours in the day to do every little thing that my employers wish for me to do and there's certainly not enough motivation for me to master the manipulation of time in order to create enuf time for me to do more work.

So, with hurricane Palona we're getting some cool weather here on Grand Bahama Island. Makes all the difference in the world. This may be rambling a little more than I ever thought I could but would that I could then I would yest I would. Making up words, it's on my list of things I enjoy. Lifivious. Yest it twer lifivious. I should start a cult. . . I bet I'd be good at is.

10.29.2008

Yeah, Not Really

Okay, so the motor vehicle pictured below with me in it is most definitely not mine. But it's fun to pretend. Got back from Boston on Friday night and drove up to Port Canaveral on Monday. The truck/car/roadster belongs to the man who initially hired me at Royal but was subsequently let go when the company, uh, went feral or something similar. Graciously he let me drive that roaring Chevy SSR most of the way back. Environmentally minded as I normally am I must admit that is was nice to just toe the accelerator in order to achieve a hundred plus with complete stability. (The Chevy SSR has a Corvette engine. It starts at over fifty-K and with the additional eight-K this guy put into the performance of the engine it's a pretty decent ride.)

Just wrote that I don't have much else to say but then kept writing after that so I was obviously lying. So I erased it all and wrote that. . . and this. My week in the office between dry docks has been stressful. My inbox is averaging over seventy messages a day which equates to a lot of interruptions when trying to get things done. Certainly not all of these messages need answers and at least ten of them are probably complete and absolute BS but that's still a lot of pings. Two more days, and maybe a few hours on Saturday, and then I join the Monarch in Miami on Sunday.

I guess I would have been correct if I had written that I don't have much else to say in that last paragraph.

Yeah.

Thousand points for whoever can stump me with a quote.

10.27.2008

10.25.2008

Another One Bites The Dust

Just got back from Boston last night. Was on a five day dry dock for the Jewel of the Seas. We installed a big diesel engine and generator (or a genset, as they say) back in October 2007 but it threw a counter-weight, damaged the crank shaft and twisted the engine. . . or some such nonsense. So in four and a half days we cut an access into the ship, removed the old engine block, slid a new one in and welded her back up. Of course, I say "we" but in reality I had nothing to do with that work.

P1040110

Took a few pictures though and I'm gonna try to get a bunch of old photos up on Flickr this weekend. I've got a week back in Florida with the possibility of flying to Freeport late in the week before my next job and I get to drive up to Port Canaveral (about four hours) on Monday for a meeting on board a ship. I've got three jobs coming up and two of them overlap. RCCL is handing the Sovereign of the Seas over to our Spanish branch (named Pullmantur) and the Monarch of the Seas is going into dry dock in Freeport for about seven days.

The real job is the Celebrity Infinity that I'll be starting in mid-November, also in Freeport. The last of the diesel genset projects. We've added these engines to 7 ships so far and replaced one as well. . . I've worked six out of those 8 jobs. . . wish I could say that I know the job in and out by now but the reality is that each job is done in a different shipyard and sometimes the contractors change AND the jobs are either for the Royal side or the Celebrity side which makes a huge difference. Anyway, just wanted to get something up again. I'll basically be in Freeport for all of November (happy Thanksgiving to me) but I'll try to post a bit. This picture below is probably my favorite from this last job.

Bow Line 1

10.04.2008

No Points Earned For Reading This Post

If you care one lick about where this country might be headed very soon you just might want to read this. (Here's the URL in case you want to see pretty, pretty pictures and read useless advertising on the side of the article: http://www.newsweek.com/id/160080)

When Atheists Attack

A noted provocateur rips Sarah Palin and defends elitism.
Sam Harris
NEWSWEEK
From the magazine issue dated Sep 29, 2008
> >>
Let me confess that I was genuinely unnerved by Sarah Palin's
performance at the Republican convention. Given her audience and the
needs of the moment, I believe Governor Palin's speech was the most
effective political communication I have ever witnessed. Here,
finally, was a performer who being maternal, wounded, righteous and
sexy could stride past the frontal cortex of every American and plant
a three-inch heel directly on that limbic circuit that ceaselessly
intones "God and country." If anyone could make Christian theocracy
smell like apple pie, Sarah Palin could.

Then came Palin's first television interview with Charles Gibson. I
was relieved to discover, as many were, that Palin's luster can be
much diminished by the absence of a teleprompter. Still, the problem
she poses to our political process is now much bigger than she is. Her
fans seem inclined to forgive her any indiscretion short of
cannibalism. However badly she may stumble during the remaining weeks
of this campaign, her supporters will focus their outrage upon the
journalist who caused her to break stride, upon the camera operator
who happened to capture her fall, upon the television network that
broadcast the good lady's misfortune and, above all, upon the "liberal
elites" with their highfalutin assumption that, in the 21st century,
only a reasonably well-educated person should be given command of our
nuclear arsenal.

The point to be lamented is not that Sarah Palin comes from outside
Washington, or that she has glimpsed so little of the earth's surface
(she didn't have a passport until last year), or that she's never met
a foreign head of state. The point is that she comes to us, seeking
the second most important job in the world, without any intellectual
training relevant to the challenges and responsibilities that await
her. There is nothing to suggest that she even sees a role for careful
analysis or a deep understanding of world events when it comes to
deciding the fate of a nation. In her interview with Gibson, Palin
managed to turn a joke about seeing Russia from her window into a
straight-faced claim that Alaska's geographical proximity to Russia
gave her some essential foreign-policy experience. Palin may be a
perfectly wonderful person, a loving mother and a great American
success story but she is a beauty queen/sports reporter who stumbled
into small-town politics, and who is now on the verge of stumbling
into, or upon, world history.

The problem, as far as our political process is concerned, is that
half the electorate revels in Palin's lack of intellectual
qualifications. When it comes to politics, there is a mad love of
mediocrity in this country. "They think they're better than you!" is
the refrain that (highly competent and cynical) Republican strategists
have set loose among the crowd, and the crowd has grown drunk on it
once again. "Sarah Palin is an ordinary person!" Yes, all too
ordinary.

We have all now witnessed apparently sentient human beings, once
provoked by a reporter's microphone, saying things like, "I'm voting
for Sarah because she's a mom. She knows what it's like to be a mom."
Such sentiments suggest an uncanny (and, one fears, especially
American) detachment from the real problems of today. The next
administration must immediately confront issues like nuclear
proliferation, ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and covert wars
elsewhere), global climate change, a convulsing economy, Russian
belligerence, the rise of China, emerging epidemics, Islamism on a
hundred fronts, a defunct United Nations, the deterioration of
American schools, failures of energy, infrastructure and Internet
security the list is long, and Sarah Palin does not seem competent
even to rank these items in order of importance, much less address any
one of them.

Palin's most conspicuous gaffe in her interview with Gibson has been
widely discussed. The truth is, I didn't much care that she did not
know the meaning of the phrase "Bush doctrine." And I am quite sure
that her supporters didn't care, either. Most people view such an
ambush as a journalistic gimmick. What I do care about are all the
other things Palin is guaranteed not to know or will be glossing only
under the frenzied tutelage of John McCain's advisers. What doesn't
she know about financial markets, Islam, the history of the Middle
East, the cold war, modern weapons systems, medical research,
environmental science or emerging technology? Her relative ignorance
is guaranteed on these fronts and most others, not because she was put
on the spot, or got nervous, or just happened to miss the newspaper on
any given morning. Sarah Palin's ignorance is guaranteed because of
how she has spent the past 44 years on earth.

I care even more about the many things Palin thinks she knows but
doesn't: like her conviction that the Biblical God consciously directs
world events. Needless to say, she shares this belief with mil-lions
of Americans but we shouldn't be eager to give these people our
nuclear codes, either. There is no question that if President McCain
chokes on a spare rib and Palin becomes the first woman president, she
and her supporters will believe that God, in all his majesty and
wisdom, has brought it to pass. Why would God give Sarah Palin a job
she isn't ready for? He wouldn't. Everything happens for a reason.
Palin seems perfectly willing to stake the welfare of our country even
the welfare of our species as collateral in her own personal journey
of faith. Of course, McCain has made the same unconscionable wager on
his personal journey to the White House.

In speaking before her church about her son going to war in Iraq,
Palin urged the congregation to pray "that our national leaders are
sending them out on a task that is from God; that's what we have to
make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is
God's plan." When asked about these remarks in her interview with
Gibson, Palin successfully dodged the issue of her religious beliefs
by claiming that she had been merely echoing the words of Abraham
Lincoln. The New York Times later dubbed her response "absurd." It was
worse than absurd; it was a lie calculated to conceal the true
character of her religious infatuations. Every detail that has emerged
about Palin's life in Alaska suggests that she is as devout and
literal-minded in her Christian dogmatism as any man or woman in the
land. Given her long affiliation with the Assemblies of God church,
Palin very likely believes that Biblical prophecy is an infallible
guide to future events and that we are living in the "end times."
Which is to say she very likely thinks that human history will soon
unravel in a foreordained cataclysm of war and bad weather.
Undoubtedly Palin believes that this will be a good thing as all true
Christians will be lifted bodily into the sky to make merry with
Jesus, while all nonbelievers, Jews, Methodists and other rabble will
be punished for eternity in a lake of fire. Like many Pentecostals,
Palin may even imagine that she and her fellow parishioners enjoy the
power of prophecy themselves. Otherwise, what could she have meant
when declaring to her congregation that "God's going to tell you what
is going on, and what is going to go on, and you guys are going to
have that within you"?

You can learn something about a person by the company she keeps. In
the churches where Palin has worshiped for decades, parishioners enjoy
"baptism in the Holy Spirit," "miraculous healings" and "the gift of
tongues." Invariably, they offer astonishingly irrational accounts of
this behavior and of its significance for the entire cosmos. Palin's
spiritual colleagues describe themselves as part of "the final
generation," engaged in "spiritual warfare" to purge the earth of
"demonic strongholds." Palin has spent her entire adult life immersed
in this apocalyptic hysteria. Ask yourself: Is it a good idea to place
the most powerful military on earth at her disposal? Do we actually
want our leaders thinking about the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy
when it comes time to say to the Iranians, or to the North Koreans, or
to the Pakistanis, or to the Russians or to the Chinese: "All options
remain on the table"?

It is easy to see what many people, women especially, admire about
Sarah Palin. Here is a mother of five who can see the bright side of
having a child with Down syndrome and still find the time and energy
to govern the state of Alaska. But we cannot ignore the fact that
Palin's impressive family further testifies to her dogmatic religious
beliefs. Many writers have noted the many shades of conservative
hypocrisy on view here: when Jamie Lynn Spears gets pregnant, it is
considered a symptom of liberal decadence and the breakdown of family
values; in the case of one of Palin's daughters, however, teen
pregnancy gets reinterpreted as a sign of immaculate, small-town
fecundity. And just imagine if, instead of the Palins, the Obama
family had a pregnant, underage daughter on display at their
convention, flanked by her black boyfriend who "intends" to marry her.
Who among conservatives would have resisted the temptation to speak of
"the dysfunction in the black community"?

Teen pregnancy is a misfortune, plain and simple. At best, it
represents bad luck (both for the mother and for the child); at worst,
as in the Palins' case, it is a symptom of religious dogmatism.
Governor Palin opposes sex education in schools on religious grounds.
She has also fought vigorously for a "parental consent law" in the
state of Alaska, seeking full parental dominion over the reproductive
decisions of minors. We know, therefore, that Palin believes that she
should be the one to decide whether her daughter carries her baby to
term. Based on her stated position, we know that she would deny her
daughter an abortion even if she had been raped. One can be forgiven
for doubting whether Bristol Palin had all the advantages of
21st-century family planning or, indeed, of the 21st century.

We have endured eight years of an administration that seemed touched
by religious ideology. Bush's claim to Bob Woodward that he consulted
a "higher Father" before going to war in Iraq got many of us sitting
upright, before our attention wandered again to less ethereal signs of
his incompetence. For all my concern about Bush's religious beliefs,
and about his merely average grasp of terrestrial reality, I have
never once thought that he was an over-the-brink, Rapture-ready
extremist. Palin seems as though she might be the real McCoy. With the
McCain team leading her around like a pet pony between now and
Election Day, she can be expected to conceal her religious extremism
until it is too late to do anything about it. Her supporters know that
while she cannot afford to "talk the talk" between now and Nov. 4, if
elected, she can be trusted to "walk the walk" until the Day of
Judgment.

What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree
to which she represents and her supporters celebrate the joyful
marriage of confidence and ignorance. Watching her deny to Gibson that
she had ever harbored the slightest doubt about her readiness to take
command of the world's only superpower, one got the feeling that Palin
would gladly assume any responsibility on earth:

"Governor Palin, are you ready at this moment to perform surgery on
this child's brain?"

"Of course, Charlie. I have several boys of my own, and I'm an avid
hunter."

"But governor, this is neurosurgery, and you have no training as a
surgeon of any kind."

"That's just the point, Charlie. The American people want change in
how we make medical decisions in this country. And when faced with a
challenge, you cannot blink."

The prospects of a Palin administration are far more frightening, in
fact, than those of a Palin Institute for Pediatric Neurosurgery. Ask
yourself: how has "elitism" become a bad word in American politics?
There is simply no other walk of life in which extraordinary talent
and rigorous training are denigrated. We want elite pilots to fly our
planes, elite troops to undertake our most critical missions, elite
athletes to represent us in competition and elite scientists to devote
the most productive years of their lives to curing our diseases. And
yet, when it comes time to vest people with even greater
responsibilities, we consider it a virtue to shun any and all
standards of excellence. When it comes to choosing the people whose
thoughts and actions will decide the fates of millions, then we
suddenly want someone just like us, someone fit to have a beer with,
someone down-to-earth in fact, almost anyone, provided that he or she
doesn't seem too intelligent or well educated.

I believe that with the nomination of Sarah Palin for the vice
presidency, the silliness of our politics has finally put our nation
at risk. The world is growing more complex and dangerous with each
passing hour, and our position within it growing more precarious.
Should she become president, Palin seems capable of enacting policies
so detached from the common interests of humanity, and from empirical
reality, as to unite the entire world against us. When asked why she
is qualified to shoulder more responsibility than any person has held
in human history, Palin cites her refusal to hesitate. "You can't
blink," she told Gibson repeatedly, as though this were a primordial
truth of wise governance. Let us hope that a President Palin would
blink, again and again, while more thoughtful people decide the fate
of civilization.

Harris is a founder of The Reason Project and author of The New York
Times best sellers The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian
Nation. His Web site is samharris.org.
URL: http://www.newsweek.com/id/160080
2008

9.27.2008

Seriously? Palin?

I'm a registered Independent. Chances are good that I would have voted Obama in this election over McCain but at least I had respect for McCain before he chose Governor Palin as his running mate. Watch this and then really think about her being anywhere near the top of our government.



I don't even understand how she was elected governor.

9.23.2008

Posted Too Soon

Go figure. My trip to the Netherlands was just postponed/canceled. Looks like I may be working a super-short and rather intense 4.5 day dry dock in Boston instead. Starts on October 18th. The job is solely to change out the engine block of one of the diesel generators we've been putting into our ships. Should be a challenge to get it done in under 5 days. Raring to go.

9.22.2008

Back To It, I guess

The following represents my fall lineup.
(All dates and music eastern.)

Sept. 24-27 Boston -- I gets to watch me an engine get unloaded from a ship.
Sept. 29 Port Canaveral -- Wonder if there're any cruise ships around?
Oct. 9-13 Oakland -- Wedding bells (though not for me).
Oct. 14-25 Eemshaven, The Netherlands -- A new ship in the works here.
Nov. 2 - Dec. 4 Freeport -- Three projects in a month. Swell(tering).
Christmas in Idaho.

Ten cartoon points for the name of the character who said this.
"This is where the pilgrims landed at Fraggle Rock."

Fifteen REAL points for telling me where the 2nd line of this post comes from.

9.19.2008

Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

If you don't know why the above statement is true you can find the origin
  • here!


  • And you right can downright dumbdify down yourself right down
  • here.


  • FSM FOREVER! AARRRRRRRRGH!!!

    9.12.2008

    Through The Quad

    Just sittin' here on a Sci-Fi night watchin' Ike start to rip through Galveston. "Balls-to-the-Wall" reporter was just outside his hotel in some section of Houston trying to report how strong the wind was that was knocking him down (report!: it was strong enough to knock him down. . . do we need more proof that the wind is strong?) when some guy streaked the camera.

    I'm not talkin' about a half-second jump through the frame, this streaker started at the far end of the parking lot so you caught a good glimpse of him but weren't quite sure what was going on. . . then he vanished. . . and then all of a sudden he's running RIGHT behind the "reporter." (Reporter, in this sense of the word, equals a dumb-ass in a rain slicker who thinks his career is going somewhere cause he's risking his life to transmit incomprehensible nonsense in the middle of a hurricane.) Point is, this guy streaked the whole frickin' parking lot. . . in a hurricane. . . now that's dedication. Talk about the need to be concerned with losing some fittings off your house!

    Point of me writing after more than a month, I guess, is that it's the first time I've been that tickled in a while. (And I'm not talkin' about cute girl-type-tickling which we all know results in myself suffering from a broken elbow.)

    Alas, the spell has been broken. While writing this the weather channel started showing commercials and I swear some sponsor came on and said they were sponsoring the "commercial free" coverage of the hurricane on the weather channel. I'll type that again. A sponsor came on in the middle of a set of commercials to say they were sponsoring the commercial free coverage of the hurricane. Either I need to get my hearing checked or this country is seriously FUBAR.

    And (as if to top that) after writing that (see above) the weather channel switches to coverage of my local weather (82 degrees with relative humidity at 2am) and RUNNING ACROSS THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN WHERE "NEWS" IS NORMALLY PLACED WAS A SCROLLING LINE TELLING US THAT mCdONALD'S IS CURRENTLY OFFERING 49 CENT HAMBURGERS AND 59 CENT CHEESEBURGERS or some such shit. My apologies for the swearing but I can't believe the world we live in.

    The only thing that just made it better was watching the "storm reporter" getting blown over in the wind again. Though at the moment the various reporters are attempting to one-up each other by arguing about what time their power went out where they are located. Needless to say they've mentioned their own power shortages a bit more often than they've mentioned the HALF MILLION people currently without power in the region. A number that's sure to grow significantly, and pretty darn quick too.

    Maybe I'm just being overly sensitive cause it could easily be MY current hometown that's getting a colonoscopy by Mother Nature. . . . could be.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Game: +5 bonus points (and a free FL souvenir mailed to you free of cost) for the first person who can tell me what movie is referenced in the Title of this entry. (ed. hint: the clue continues at the end of the first paragraph and throughout the second. . . if you can't put one, one and one together after THAT then you and I need to spend some serious time on your "movies I must watch" list.)

    (And if you STILL can't put it together you should know that the whole event in the movie was supposed to end up in the school gymnasium but instead ended up in the back of a rather large SUV with a nice (but not-too-bright) guy being made fun of for the relative temperature outside and the physical ramifications of that temperature upon his naked self.)

    (what? too much?)

    And now back to my regularly scheduled beverage.

    7.07.2008

    Boredom

    There is one email in my personal inbox and only a handful in my work inbox. If that's not a cause for boredom I don't know what is. Of course this is the time to take advantage of free time and get around to all the things I've been avoiding for a while but we all know that ain't happenin' as easily as it is written. Flying to California for a solid week on Friday. Hope to see some folks and actually catch up with them. Kinda lookin' forward to bouncing from couch to couch during the week. Yo tengo nada.

    For the sake of boredom.

  • Helluva Time Killer

  • Good Clean Fun

  • Office Fun

  • Depressing

  • Funny

  • Useful?

  • Science, Beautiful Science
  • 7.03.2008

    Proud To Be A. . . . Cliche

    An American, that is. I got into our nation's capital last night and spent today walking around the National Mall. It's been a few years since I was here and it's easy to forget how impressive all the buildings and monuments are. I wish I had more time here during this visit but it was enough just to walk between the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument today. My hosts and I have opted to head out to a friend's lake house tomorrow, rather than spend a chaotic night dealing with security and crowds on the National Mall.

    Happy Fourth of July to everyone. I, for one, am happy to be free.

    7.01.2008

    We're "Restructuring"

    Fabulous word, restructuring. It implies that something was inadequately structured to begin with. It might imply that things will get better, run more efficiently and kittens will be placed in every cubicle. It definitely means that some people will be out of work. Well, it's not time to panic yet (and I'd argue that really it's never time to panic, which is why I own a copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (actually, I own at least two copies)) but the word restructuring is being thrown around my company more than the word bonus, that's for sure.

    I'd say there's a darn good chance that we'll lose somebody from our little dry dock group but selfishly I will admit that it's pretty unlikely that I'm on the axe list. HOWEVER, if they decide to let our whole group go and use sub-contractors or some other type of chaos theory for dry docks then I guess my personal chances don't much matter. There's also the Super-Duper-Outsiderrific possibility that the whole Logistics department could be sub-contracted out. . . that's how it was a number of years ago. Anyway, I'm not too worried about it. I suppose if I lose my job I'll pull my stakes outta Florida but I'm not too sure where I'll end up. Probably end up on a steady diet of government cheese and living in my Element down by the river.

    Though I suppose I won't be able to afford my Element anymore. Guess I'll have to get a van. Bet my dad's got one he wants to get rid of. The (Faded) Blue Bullet.

    Well, I just figured I'd post a little rant since I haven't written anything in a month. Of course I have the best intentions of putting up pictures and writing down stories from recent jobs but I think we all know how likely that is now that summer is here. I've flying to DC for the weekend tomorrow. Have to choose between the utter chaos of the big fireworks at the national mall OR a relaxed overnight to some lake house for bass fishing and what not. After that I work for a whole week (almost) and then fly back to California again. Got me a wedding reception to go to but that's about it. For once the rest of my time in CA will be (might be?) relaxing. Of course I'm still going to be keeping up on my work emails. . . may as well show some dedication on my vacation right before they axe me.

    I'm also looking at taking two weeks in August for camping with the brothers and ye olde college roommate. How much vacation time do I have you ask? Good question, and one that has an answer that is constantly changing. Technically I've only got two weeks but since I've already worked 24 weekend days this year I'm trying to get some days back. Okay, all the days back. Guess I'm spent. I'll keep this updated if things get interesting at work. You can assume that if I don't update this page next week that all is well. Otherwise I'm sure I'll have an entertaining rant about big companies in America not caring about their employees and whether I'm gonna be living in Wisconsin, Idaho, Flagstaff, California or somewhere in Europe.

    I'm done.

    5.29.2008

    In Passing

    You're seeing the stern of the first ship I worked on in Hamburg being passed by the second ship I worked on. Oh boy do I need a vacation. Can't even find another flickr picture to put up to try and keep people entertained. Maybe I'll tell the story of dinner at Groninger next. Have you ever seen 8 types of pork on a giant slab of wood, served with a 20 liter keg of beer? It's Germanoliscious. . . or Deutschtastic. . . I'm really not sure which.

    P1010302

    5.25.2008

    Seven Weeks

    I ended up in France last year for about 7 weeks and I ended up in France, Germany and England this year for about 7 weeks. Same time of year, same result; two dry docks put to bed with decent reviews. Finally back in Miami now and yeah, it's a bit of a mind job. Drove the Element to the store last night and that was strange enough. Last time I drove was a week ago in a Benz on the Autobahn.

    To make sure things don't actually return back to normal yet I'm headed to CA on Friday. You know, wouldn't want more than 3.5 days in the office or I might feel like I was really getting through some of the mound of paperwork that awaits my return.

    I'm sure there are a dozen things I could write but for the moment I'm feeling a bit tapped. Obviously I've got tomorrow off so in typical fashion I'm having a hard time getting motivated in any particular direction. I suppose the least I can do is stop rambling on this post. Adios.

    5.20.2008

    A Week Ago

    (Post was written a week ago. That's how far behind I am.)

    Well another one has bit the dust. . . or the seawater, depending on how literal you want to be about it. The Brilliance got off without any major hitches, but with plenty of minor ones. Although I know that the rule of thumb is that every dry dock will end in chaos I would really like to change that for at least one of my jobs. This time I had all return items for Miami safely packed away in containers with documents and customs clearance all set and then one project leader decides that really he'd like some of those materials to go to another ship in Europe. . . not so much Miami. I was able to break the needed materials out of the container and get them to their new destination but now German customs isn't too happy and they'll likely be busting into said container in the coming days to double check the new documents I've created for the "new" container shipment. But I regress. . .

    Enuf of pure work talk, let's mix work with pleasure. As usual I really don't have much to complain about.

    (And apparently my thoughts either ended here or something more interesting came along.)

    5.18.2008

    Unky Dude Joke of the Day: Part Duex

    Pastors Sven & Ole

    Reverend Ole was the pastor of the local Norwegian Lutheran
    Church, and Pastor Sven was the minister of the Swedish Covenant Church
    across the road. I saw them yesterday standing by the road, pounding a
    sign into the ground, that reads:
    "Da End iss Near! Turn Yourself Aroundt Now! Before It's Too Late!"

    As a car sped past them, the driver leaned out his window and yelled,
    "Leave us alone, you religious nuts!"

    From the curve we heard screeching tires and a big splash...
    Rev. Ole turns to Pastor Sven and asks, "Do ya tink maybe da sign should
    yust say 'Bridge Out'?"

    5.12.2008

    This Is The End. . .

    . . . but not really.

    Brilliance moves out of dry dock tomorrow and over to a cruise terminal. A few cranes, fork lifts, containers and toolboxes and then I'm off to England for a few days of R&R before getting back to Miami. Somebody told me it's been about 96 degrees in Miami lately. . . . yeah, it's been, uh, 75 and perfect here in Hamburg. Darnit all.

    Try to find time soon to write a proper update. Most importantly is that the BR has gone well and now I might get a little time off.

    Cheers to all. The Hamburg Harbor birthday was a good time.

    5.03.2008

    All Hail The Lull

    When I can wake up and my first thought is not, "What are my priorities today?" then life is getting better again. I'm in the lull found at the middle of longer dry docks when the initial rush of things onto the ship has stopped and the inevitable wave of crap off the ship hasn't started yet. I half-read my last post and hardly remember writing it. Things are much better now. We have hot water for the first time in dock and I've actually set up a morning "off" tomorrow where I can sleep in a bit (at least as long as the men with the hammers don't start in with the steel pinging too early).

    Scattered as usual. Now that I have a little free time (i.e. time in which I should be working on something but don't absolutely have to be) I don't know what to do with myself. Go into town. . . or take a nap. Tough decisions, man, all day long.

    Bit of an update on the nearby future front; my Brohambra won't be joining me in Europe for travel so I'm going to spend about a week in the UK visiting friends again. After that I suppose it's back to Miami for a few months. . . trying to decide what to do with my summer and my 30th birthday. Could be somethin', but most likely it'll be a whole lot of nuthin'.

    Hail to the lull. May it last long enough for my spreadsheets to magically update themselves and for the planning elves to tell me how to close this project out rapidly and successfully. Prost!

    P1010327

    4.30.2008

    Is Something In Your Chardonney Really Ironic?

    Personally, I feel that it's more ironic that I wrote my last post under little more than a little hard work, elbow grease (pain) and boredom than that this post Should be coherent and complete though I hath imbibed most prodigiously on the Reeperbahn.

    That being said, I think that I have no idea what I'm talking about and should cut my losses here. So I suppose that's it. . . I'll cut it here.

    (Nine (9) shiny new points to the first biped who correctly names the artist who inspired the title of this post.)

    4.28.2008

    1st Day Dunn

    I really wish I could write something positive and showing a distinct lack of bitch and/or moan but somehow it just aren't-dunn-gone-be in me. That's right. . . dry dock has stole my lack to of complete that or sentence which be means are going to making sense. Heh, that was kinda fun to write.

    Really I'm kinda happy at the moment but tired and I should be in bed. The BR will be a pain in the butt like all dry docks but there are a few silver linings around the rain clouds that finally returned to Hamburg after a week of sunshine. Thursday, May 1st, is a holiday in Germany (and really most of Europe) and "they" say there will be a good chance that shifts will be cut early and people might find time for the loved ones in their life. I happen not to be over here with a loved one so I will settle for beer. . . preferably with a proper Bundesliga match on the big screen in the bar.

    The second silver lining is, uh. . .er. . . um. . . oh yeah, it's the beginning of the end. Two more weeks according to the ship or just nine days if you go with the shipyard's timetable. (yeah, there might need to be some more discussion on the timetable.) There is a third silver lining which is a three day party starting on May 9th and promising to be a good time. . . especially if we're still in dock and we can watch the whole show from the stern of the BR.

    If I were any more done I'd be burnt. A-out.

    Unky Dude's Joke of the Day - Part A

    Welcome to the first installment of Unky Lee's Joke of the Day.  By no means has Unky Dude written these jokes, and it's quite possible that he didn't even read some of them before passing them on via the interwebs.  Under no circumstance will I attempt to provide a joke of the day every day. . . because I like irony. 

     And without further ado. . .  (I thought this one was particularly appropirate considering my current position.)

    A magician worked on a cruise ship. The audience was different each week so
    the magician did the same tricks, over and over again. There was only one
    problem:


    The captain's parrot saw the shows each week and began to
    understand how the magician did every trick.

    Once he understood, he started shouting in the middle of the show, "look, its not the same hat!" or "look, he's hiding the flowers under the table!" or "hey, why are all the cards the ace of spades?"

    The magician was furious but couldn't do anything, it was, after all, The Captain's parrot. Then one stormy night on the Pacific, the ship unfortunately sank, drowning almost all who were on board. The magician luckily found himself on a piece of wood floating in the middle of the sea, as fate would have it ... with the parrot.

    They stared at each other with hatred, but did not utter a word. This went on for a day...and then 2 days ... and then 3 days.

    Finally, on the 4th day, the parrot could not hold back any longer and said,
    "OK, I give up. Where's the ship?"

    4.27.2008

    Switch

    Summit just pulled out and Brilliance literally pulled in right behind it.  Unfortunately I'm personally screwed because it took so much effort to get the SM out without any problems that I haven't been able to do much prep for the BR.

    If the good times are killing me, what will the bad times do to me?

    4.26.2008

    Almost

    Sorry for the lack of an update during this week.  Almost every minute I could spare on the computer was spent trying to get a handle on the Brilliance and set up two loadings prior to dry dock in Le Havre and Southampton.  Second loading in Southampton went off pretty smooth today and the Brilliance is on her way to us in Hamburg.

    Meanwhile the Summit is pretty much ready to go.  The dock bottom is clean except for 4 welders working furiously on one of the pods and the yard will flood the dock in about an hour.  We'll sit on the blocks with water in the dock all night and most of tomorrow while we bring in the lifeboats, check for leaks and start the numerous tests that are required before the ship departs tomorrow around 6pm.

    My work is well in hand for the Summit and in general everything is ready for the Brilliance but there's never ending paperwork and spreadsheets that I can work on tonight and tomorrow.  Hopefully I'll be done with trash removal and the last few containers in the early afternoon and when the Summit leaves hopefully there will be time for dinner in town before we get on the Brilliance late.  Probably won't be able to get on the Brilliance until after midnight so tomorrow will be another long day.

    Obviously my thoughts really have no coherent order so I guess this update is done.  We had one "emergency" today (aside from one guy breaking his ankle in the casing) and I ended up moving a couple hundred, 20 foot long plastic pipes all around the ship at the last moment.  Good work out but I probably could have done without. 

    Well, hopefully the water is back on in my cabin by now and I can hit the shower before getting back to Hell's Inbox.  Would seriously LOVE to hear how people are doing if anyone has time.  Every time I start to write a personal email something seems to come up. . . but hey! I made it through this post without interruption so maybe things are looking up. 

    It's quarter to 7 in the evening and I could probably crawl into bed after a shower and just not get up.  It feels good to be tired.

    4.19.2008

    I Love Silicon

    As usual I have to start by asking a certain number of people in the reading audience to get their minds out of the gutter. The silicon that I love is the paint they are putting on most of the hull of the Summit this week. Apparently the stuff is scary enough that the shipyard won't let people out onto the piers while they are spraying. What that means for me is some much needed inbox-clearing-time and a slight chance to work on the next ship coming in. So, today and tomorrow I get an extra two daylight hours at the computer, which is actually a good thing, and in a big way it makes the day seem easier.

    Of course weekends in shipyards are always just a little bit slower. With all the overtime charges each department gets rid of whatever people they can but all in all it's still 7-days a week for most people. Man, that was some boring shit I just wrote. I guess I got nuthin'. It's only quarter past eleven but I think I'll turn in. Tempted to take a day to sleep in tomorrow but think I'll get up instead and maybe take a nap while they're painting. Aww, who am I kidding. . . since I think it will be an easy day manana it will probably be a nightmare.

    P1010006

    Put a ton of pictures up on flickr of the diesel generator part of the project. Wouldn't normally do so many but we're supposed to provide pictures back to the corporate office but our Internet connection on the ship is so slow that it was more certain that I could post pictures online than email them back to the office. The four gigabyte card in my camera is already hurtin' pretty bad. I've toyed with the idea of taking pictures instead of written notes during the day on the pier. . . probably not quite there yet.

    I seem to remember something I wrote a lot this time last year in Europe and it strikes me as appropriate now.

    "The good times are killing me."

    (And a shiny new Euro goes to the man, woman, child, lemur, wildebeest or hobo who can tell me the band who has an album by the same name as that quote."

    4.18.2008

    . . . And Knowing Is Half The Battle

    Got confirmation last night that I will definitely be staying in Hamburg for the Brilliance.  The Summit leaves on April 27th and the Brilliance will come in the same day.  The Brilliance should leave on May 15th and then hopefully I'll take a few days either in Hamburg or somewhere else.  Just waiting to see if the The Ikus is going to join me.  No pressure, Ik.

    And now you know. . .

    4.14.2008

    Better

    Okay, not really. . . but today was terrible and then all of a sudden everything on my list of lifts disappeared. . . onto the ship. . . by 5pm. . . a thing of beauty.

    So, day two of actually being in dry dock is coming to an end. Aside from some minor miscommunication last night (meaning nothing got done for me on the night shift) things have been like a typical dry dock, just worse. Not ridiculously-terrible type worse, but unloading about 30 trucks onto one pier within one week's time usually means things may be a bit out of order. Ya think?

    Anyway, all hotel, marine ops, and smaller projects material has been loaded on the ship. There will be a few small deliveries here and there but really the focus now is just on the azipod work, new slewing bearing and installation of the diesel generator. It will be a little frustrating for me because these jobs really take care of themselves in a way and people will only come to me when they can't seem to get something done. Hard to explain.

    Any. . . um. . .thing? Nope. No thing (which is slightly different than nothing).

    My brain is still geared enough towards work and I'm sitting with a bunch of work people so really I think the only other things I could write at the moment would be construed as "bitching," which of course I would be. So I won't. If things continue this way I'll have some good online time each night so as usual I'll make the hollow promise of some pictures and stories that will hopefully be more interesting than, "Hey! Did you see that one crane pick we did today?"

    No hot water, no laundry, food is terrible, have to pay for clean drinking water and my dog's are barkin'. . . I must be on dry dock.

    4.12.2008

    Pier Side

    Going pier side with a ship when you're supposed to be in dry dock makes logistic efforts difficult.  There are usually no fixed cranes for material loading and depending on what port you're at the tide can vary quite a bit, making it impossible to load things from the shell doors where ships normally take provisions.  However, these obstacles can be overcome.

    The Summit arrived in Hamburg Friday night has been pier side ever since.  Yesterday we needed two mobile cranes on the pier and a barge that was brought from the shipyard to come along starboard side to load materials for the diesel project.  We don't go into proper dry dock until Sunday night and that means almost everything is already behind.  Slewing bearings, POD work and the diesel generator project.  The weather here in Hamburg is decent but cool and if we have too much rain we won't finish the paint work.

    I'm a bit fried already. . . the first day of dry dock (especially if you're pier side instead) is always the worst.  Looking good today for me to get some time on the computer or even (gasp) doing something other than work for at least a few hours. 

    "All is well.  Remain calm!"


    (474,000 points for proper recognition of the above quote and an additional 12 points for the person who can tell me the significance of the number 474,000.  (The second point award is so low because I only know one person who can get the reference to 474,000 for sure.)

    4.11.2008

    Ham It Up

    Been in Hamburg a few days now. It's cold and I like it. Got out with some co-workers last night; good German restaurant, couple of bars on the Reeperbahn. Nice to get out but knowing that work will still be there the next day dampens the mood. The ship comes in early evening and ties up at a container pier near the shipyard. Tomorrow we've got a barge and a crane set up (to work separately oddly enough) trying to get materials on the ship and trash off of it. Probably board the ship tomorrow late in the afternoon. Then I'll find out if the hotel director booked the presidential suite for me or not.

    Shipyard is a mess. Moving everything over here was the easy part. Now people start asking for things and I get to find them. . . or not find them, depending on the part. Don't really feel amusing at the moment so I won't try.

    Picture is of the Summit in San Juan when I went down there to pre-load. Just to give some sort of representation of this vessel I'll be working on starting tomorrow.

    SM in San Juan

    4.06.2008

    In St. Nazaire

    Got into this here one horse town yesterday and I will freely admit that I ain't hardly done a thing since checking into the hotel. A visit to the store with the mad-Greek I'm traveling with and I've even managed not to eat out today since my room is surprisingly equipped with a kitchen. (I would call it a kitchenette but since I find that word incredibly silly I won't.)

    Probably not something I should write on a blog that I now know people from work might check but I certainly haven't done an overabundance of work yesterday and today. I find it hard to get motivated when any plans I make will likely be thrown out of the window and any tracking of materials I do will probably turn out to be incorrect upon my arrival at the local warehouse tomorrow. Hard to explain but it goes without saying that inevitably any information I gather right now will not be able to answer the specific questions my superiors will have tomorrow.

    But I regress, or digest. . . or something. So I guess I'll just give an actual update to my "schedule." St. Nazaire Monday followed by a few hours in La Rochelle Tuesday and then back to St. Nazaire. With a little luck I'll catch a flight out of Nantes Tuesday night or Wednesday morning but I suppose a train ride may be in my future as well. But I'm thinking I'll definitely be in Hamburg sometime Wednesday and that's good. A few days to actually organize on site and with people who will be helping me. Luckily I have worked in this yard before (Azamara Quest in Sept/Oct) so there's no real learning curve.

    Sure wish this tv had an SAP channel in English. Congratulations to my oldest brother who got quite a few points from the last post. Unfortunately, since he had to cheat on the last quote he'll probably end up in the negative this round. Tough luck, brotha. Perhaps it's time to introduce the kid to South Park.

    4.05.2008

    B.C. (not the cave dwelling dudes)

    Thbbbbbbbbbthbthpbthpbthpbthpbthpbthpbthpbpbpbthpbbbbththth.



    (Twenty-Seven (said in an enthusiastic and flaming voice) points to the person who knows the comedic literature referenced in the title AND only REAL line of text in this post. . . AS WELL AS the show that the enthusiastic and flaming twenty-seven points quote comes from!) (Careful, this one is for experienced procrastinators who may have done nothing for a certain number of years in their life except read bizarre comic strips and watch cartoons.)

    (Double-secret probation points for the person who knows which comedian once yelled out in an old man voice, "NOW PUT ON CARTOOOOOOOOONS!!!!!!" during a stand up routine.)

    (ed. note: I was going to work in a points-earned number related to the final score of the Tri-Lambda victory over the jocks in "Revenge of the Nerds" but I just couldn't pull it off. Either that or I was worried that I truly never will get out of this 12-year "quoting movies" phase of my life.)

    (And don't think I'm not tallying the points in order to crown the 2008 winner. First man (cause women probably aren't stoopid enough to participate) to earn 350 points will win. Of course, there are additional points to the person who knows what cartoon the ghetto-slang version of 350 comes from. "That'll be tree-fitty.")

    (Shit. Now I'm just handing points away.)

    4.02.2008

    Great Idea

    Sure, it's a great idea to send me 64 emails on my travel day.  Granted I didn't set my "out of office" reply like I should have but damn! . . . 64?!?  I'm not exactly a first class manager here people.  Anyway, blessing in disguise that I was stuck at CDG-Paris all day.  Crappy airport but 6 solid hours on the internet and I guess it's all good.

    Tired.  So tired.  Gota long day tomorrow then maybe a little slackin' over the weekend before the real work begins.

    Happy days, happy days, somebody jog the jukebox. . . it's stuck on the Lumberjack Song again.

    Stuck

    And the plot thickens. . . in fact it thickened so much that I'm stuck. Literally. Right now I'm sitting in the Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. Flight coming in was late and I missed my connection to Brest by about two and a half minutes or so. Thankfully for only 20 Euros I was able to get a decent internet connection here so I've just been sitting here filling up other people's inboxes and racking up my cell phone bill. Dollar a minute, she ain't gonna be pretty this month. Been sitting since 9:30am and don't catch the next flight till 3:30pm. Super.

    I can't remember what I wrote last night but here's where the job is at now. Brest Yard is definitely going on strike Friday (or Monday, not sure) so we're about 99% on moving the whole job to Hamburg. Good for us once we actually get all this stuff moved over there. Bad for us at the moment. So we (and when I say "we" please rest assured that I am far from the only person working on this problem. . . hence the reason I can justify taking 5 minutes to write this update) yeah, so we have 5 trucks going from Brest to St. Nazaire (later to Hamburg) right now with smaller items, about 7 more trucks being loaded (hopefully straight to Hamburg once the contract is signed), 11 containers that will require 6 trucks straight to Hamburg, one feeder vessel already carrying two diesel generators that will be loaded in Brest with items too large to go over the road (it takes 3 weeks to get an oversized load permit in France) and another barge with the new section of the hull in Cherbourg.

    I'm spent just thinking about it but really most of it is in the process right now. Tomorrow will be interesting and then I might have to go to St. Nazaire before Hamburg but at least the job is being done in a better shipyard now. Wish we had just planned to go to Hamburg in the first place of course but I hear that hindsight is 20/20 which means that actual planning must be like 10/10 or something.

    Sorry this isn't very interesting. I have to disagree with my brother's comment on my last post. . . if my life were a reality show I think I would get kicked off. Internet keeps cutting out on me. Guess I should fucos on work.

    heh

    4.01.2008

    Doh!

    I'm about to board my flight (ATL-CDG-BES) and will arrive in Brest, France tomorrow morning at 10:50am. By all accounts I'll be jumping right into a fire.

    Shipyard in Brest is going on strike on Monday. We've been given 48 hours to get all materials out of their warehouse or they will be locked in. Management is trying to arrange for dry dock to be moved to St. Nazaire where the ship was built. St. Nazaire is only about 10 hour drive away.

    Of course this all happens as I'm flying and my boss is flying as well. All the cliches apply here. . . people panicking, too many cooks in the kitchen, communication is unclear between countries and companies, etc. etc. Not to be too cocky but mostly likely the evacuation of this warehouse wouldn't be that big of a deal if they just left it to me. I've been working with all parties involved for quite a few months. . . a few phone calls and it's done. But instead we're looking at VPs and Directors and Managers from all different areas getting involved and trying to solve problems that don't exist. And that's my rant/soapbox/bitch session. Personally I'm going to do my best to calm down and enjoy LOST Season 3 on my Archos.

    I've got a short flight to Atlanta, probably some crappy phone calls there and then try to relax on the way to Paris. Hasta la vista!!! Tengo Nada.

    3.30.2008

    PR

    Had a successful loading day in San Juan yesterday. I only dealt with 4x20' containers being loaded on the bow of the vessel but overall the ship did 24 containers. Preparation for the dry dock beginning in France on April 11th. In addition the ship will load smaller amounts of material (and technical representatives) in La Rochelle, France and Vigo, Spain. Alas, I don't get to attend either one of those loadings.

    However, I'll be in Brest, France starting on Tuesday and should get the first weekend off with a rental car cause the ship won't be in yet. Don't know what I'll do. Gotta hang with a Celebrity manager named Ioannis Ouzounidis. We call him Ouzi and yes, he's trouble. I'll probably keep myself (and my liver) as far away from him as possible in our 9 days together in France before the vessel arrives.

    Well, this afternoon and tomorrow will be my last chances to talk to people cheaply for a few months. As of right now I'm set to finish off the Brilliance in Hamburg until May 17th or so. Might get 10 days to travel between Summit and Brilliance. Haven't decided where to go yet. Will probably depend on whether my bro (THE IK) decides to join me or not. One option is to sail with the Summit after the job is done. They do a little 10 day jaunt around Western Europe. We'll seen. Since I'm headed to Hamburg anyway and I haven't seen Berlin yet. . . maybe. . .

    Hope everyone is well. I'm still kickin', though I'm not actually too sure what my foot is actually making contact with. Hope it's not kittens or puppies or something like that (cause that would be um, you know, wrong).

    Prost!

    3.27.2008

    Revision Quatre

    Just finished up a wonderful week with my friend from England. We hit all the best restaurants (that I know of and can afford), laughed ourselves into giggles (mostly at my expense) and spent a long weekend in Key West with the watching of the sunsets and the eating of the fish and the snorkeling of, the, uh. . . water. Oh yeah, and the gaining of the sun. I'm not the darkest I've ever been but let's just say it's a good thing my next destination is France and not the Bahamas again or I'd have to start wearing one of those hats that rice farmers wear.

    Anywho, here is the new, new, new, newer, newest revised schedule for me, myself and I.

    Uno: San Juan, Puerto Rico from March 28-30; Saturday loading of the Summit before it's Trans-Atlantic crossing and the start of my next dry dock.

    Dos: Brest, France from April 1-30; Back to my favorite French coastline for the same type of dry dock I did last year at this time when I was first hired. Same yard, job and people but not quite the same level of experience (or lack thereof) for me. However, if anyone is interested I can tell you that it will be a bigger mess than the last two dry docks we did there. . . ask me why on my non-existent forum.

    Tres: Two possibilities from May 1-12; Either I will be traveling on my own (probably Berlin, Copenhagen, etc) or I will be working on another dry dock in Hamburg for the Brilliance. All of this, of course, depends on my knees and their willingness to keep my big butt afloat.

    Quatro: (the quatre in the title is French in honor of. . . ) Hamburg, Germany from May 12-17ish; Spend a week helping a co-working close out yet another diesel generator project. Will only be there for the last week of the job.

    Cinco: May Somethingth; Arrive back in So Flo, have knees properly assessed, start therapy/work out, achieve enlightenment, call Buddha and the Dali Llama to thank them for prior, snorkel and generally revel in living on a warm water coast.

    So basically I'm off again. Any of you friend type people who have been putting off that phone call to me will either have to call on Sunday afternoon or forever hold your peas. . . at least till the end of May. Ramble, ramble, harumph, harumph, and if I don't get a harumph out of that guy I'm gonna take away his paddle ball game.

    Forty-two points for the person who knows what movie I was just referencing and an additional thirty-seven points for anyone who knows why the first points awarded are the number that they are.

    Drinking less than you may thing. . . Love, ad.

    3.16.2008

    A Wild Saturday Night

    Unfortunately the title of this post is a little misleading. Scratch that, it's just downright sarcastic. I filed my taxes last night. Sweet. My boy, you are the epitome of a good time! One of the roommates even asked if I was going out in an attempt to get himself motivated. . . I failed him most thoroughly. But on the flip side the government owes me money and Florida doesn't even take income tax so unless you own a business or property or any of that fun stuff you don't even have to file in Florida.

    I knew there were some reasons I moved down here. It's the little things. Silver linings on hard pillows as it were.

    So, we had a few reasonably cool days and some actual cool nights but now we're back to the business or making people sweat. Personally, I'm avoiding it today by organizing things in general; my room, computer, lemurs, addresses, small wicker baskets and whatever else I can find. Figure the soonest I'll move out is in October when the warehouse/office I work at moves twenty miles to the Northwest so I may as well hang something up on the walls of my bedroom. Silly.

    (By the way, will someone please tell me when I reach an age where it is no longer acceptable for me to just be renting a room in a house and I need to force my cheap self to rent my own place? Thanks.)

    Whelp, time to find that Motivation. I think I saw it under the bed earlier curled up with a bottle of vodka. Maybe I'll name my Motivation and join him in an attempt at brotherly bonding that will later result in him spending more time with me. Hank. My Motivation might be named Hank.

    Killer.

    3.11.2008

    B'tween

    Serenade dry dock ended last Thursday. . . Summit dry dock begins April 6th (for me anyway).  Actual job starts on the 11th.

    Gotta say that I feel a bit behind at work, school and life (scratch the middle one) which is odd since people keep asking me when I'm going to take some time off.  Time off?  Right now?  Doesn't sound too sound to me.  Oh wait, I am planning on some time off.  Friend of mine through Trek America is visiting from England for a week starting on ol' St. Paddy's Day.  Good timing, I'd say.  Though I guess the argument for bad timing could be made as well.

    So, maybe a trip to Key West, a little beach time coupled with maybe some snorkeling or water sports of some type and the obligatory fine food and wine.  MAYBE I won't even open the laptop and I'll turn off the company cell phone and tell people I'm heading North instead of South.  Couldn't hurt for a few days.

    Thought I'd have this weekend to "catch up" but now I might be heading to San Juan Friday night and flying back Saturday night.  Seem silly?  Marine department people do things like that all the time.  And as usual there's no coherence to my thoughts so I'm going to bed.  In the middle of that classic time between jobs when I should take time to upload photos and update my blog and Facebook and thank Dog I don't have a myspace page.  Hell, it'll take me a few hours just to re-arrange the files on my 160Gb Archos PVP. . . (just bought LOST season 3 and I'm looking forward to that on some upcoming international flights from hades).

    Oh yeah and to keep the marriage vibe for 2008 rolling I just found out two more good friends of mine from high school are getting married.  That means I'll be home for at least a week in July, a long weekend in October and some time in summer of 2009.  That makes four total for this year and one next year. . . all people I consider to be pretty darn close to me.  I have to miss one in April down in Phoenix but I'm sure the others will be a good time.  Tengo nada and nowhere to go.

    Done and dunn.

    3.02.2008

    Still Alive

    Well we were supposed to leave the dock and go pier side tomorrow but now it looks like we won't get wet till Wednesday. My portion of the job is pretty well in hand but there's still work to do. With a little luck I'll only run the crane eight hours each day for Monday and Tuesday and with a lot of luck the ship will head to San Juan straight from the dock on Wednesday.

    Sorry so dry. Got another Bar-B-Que down on South Beach tonight. Don't worry if you don't know what I'm talking about. . . it ain't all that exciting. Hope to be home on Thursday but with only a month until my next dry dock starts I suppose I may be at work on Friday.

    Cheers.

    2.23.2008

    Still Kickin'. . .

    . . . but somebody check the heat index on this place. Sweatin' as I type and got nuthin' more than a cold shower and a sweaty bed to look forward to. But the job is goin' and tomorrow we're fixin' to BBQ us up some fiery goodness on the unholy patch of ground we call South Beach. (Here's a hint. . . it ain't exactly like the South Beach that Miami is famous for. There ain't no women and the men have all been puttin' in fourteen hour days for two weeks now ('cept me cause I dunn gone and enjoyed me a weekend in PHX.).)

    Seriously. . . sweat drippin' from my eyelids as I type this. No a/c on the ship and gotta sleep with my cabin room door open to try and catch the breeze. Good thing nobody minds a naky-fat white guy on a tiny bed these days.

    Yeah! Try to sleep tonight with that thought rattlin' around up there!

    Not really sure why I do what I do. . . but then again there's probably a good reason up there that's just close to incineration and is hiding till cooler weather prevails.

    2.20.2008

    Back Into It

    Got back Monday night.  Three flights really did a number on my ka-nee.  I didn't feel too bad but when my co-worker met me in my cabin to hand the job back over to me he wisely pointed out that one of my legs was roughly twice as big as the other.  Huh. . . go figure. 

    Luckily we're in the middle of dry dock right now so the work load is greatly reduced.  In addition my logistics sub-contractor who normally mans the ground post had to go home for a few days so I've been on the ground running that side of things.  Sucks to get down off the ship (DD gangways are never kind and usually resemble an attempt to climb Half Dome) but once I'm on the ground we've got a twenty foot container set up as an office down there with a fridge, fans, desks, etc. . . the only thing missing is internet cause if I had that I could run the whole job from the ground and sleep in the container.  Yeah, cause that's not ghetto.

    So, we're in the lull before the storm and trying to get as far ahead as possible.  This is the enjoyable time when the crane only runs twelve hours a day instead of sixteen and on Saturday and Sunday I should be able to cut back to eight measly hours and then we can bar-b-que and have one of those beer-type things down on South Beach.  (Ed. Note:  South Beach is actually a desolate wasteland where we stage containers, trash and materials and has none of the charming characteristics of normal beaches. . . not even the sand.)

    It's not late but it feels that way.  With a little luck I'll have a little more time online the next few days. . . you know, to catch up on the rather bloated work inbox I have accumulated.  Haven't exactly got a swollen personal inbox and wouldn't mind hearing a bit about how people are doing these days.  Cheers.

    2.17.2008

    Weekend Off

    Flew back to FLL on Thursday night.  Quick load of laundry and a repack and then a flight to PHX at six AM on Friday.  Got into PHX late morning. . . lunch with friends. . . pick up the tux. . . meet more friends. . . drinks are had, etc., etc.  Yesterday was the rehearsal and dinner to meet the wedding party.  Now it's today and today is the wedding.

    Only had to take a couple of phone calls since leaving the Bahamas so the job seems to be going well.  It's awfully nice to get off of the computer and away from work for a while.  Seeing a few good friends always helps.  Speaking of getting off the computer. . . have a happy Sunday.

    2.10.2008

    Dry Dock Begins

    Well, the job begins tomorrow.  Would certainly like to be better prepared but I always feel like that.  Ship doesn't come it till eleven AM and the dock won't be dry till late afternoon and then we can start running the cranes, so I've got a little more time to organize.  Wish it cost less than three bucks a minute to use my cell phone over here BUT I'm flying to Phoenix on Friday morning for a wedding weekend so hopefully I'll speak with a few of you before I get back to Grand Bahama Island.

    I'm watching Six Degrees on the National Geographic channel.  Probably need to cut it out before it depresses me too much.  Hope everyone is chugging along just fine.  Life is too good not to be.

    2.07.2008

    Travel, Thy Name Ain't Freeport

    Been on the island of Grand Bahama since Tuesday and life is cushy. Relatively temperate eighty degrees Fahrenheit, car from the shipyard, room in a resort-type hotel, office in the yard with A/C and internet (though the hundeded-fitty emails still in my inbox make me regret the connection) and looking forward to a working Saturday but a Sunday mostly off. Of course the island is so small there ain't much exciting to do.

    Now if you want to know how to really experience, take advantage of, and enjoy, an "exotic" local take a quick read of an entry by Pistol Pete on a website linked to the right and run by a few guys I know, some people I don't know and of course the star of the show is a rather large fellow from Philly who complains a lot (and who I grudgingly know).

  • DrunkCyclist

  • Make no mistake, no matter what you read on that page the underlying theme is that riding a bike is good and good for you. The world, and especially The States, would be a vastly different place if everyone actually rode the bikes they used as clotheslines in the garage.

    Rant, rave, sometimes rage (though never in a violent way). I seriously think that like most Americans I don't do enough (or, in fact, shit) about the things I claim to believe in. Perhaps a change is in order. Too bad my job gives me the perfect excuses not to do a thing other than handle my business.

  • Broward County Atheists


  • The FBO (once again to the right) is terrific. Maybe I'll eventually be able to compare it to the
  • FBA


  • If you have the ability to think back to a single moment in your life when riding a bicycle made you feel good in any way you should find the time to read some of this.

  • Thoughts on Cycling Culture


  • "I'll tell you what killed vaudeville, see. The talking pictures, that's what killed vaudeville!"

    2.05.2008

    The Year of the Flight

    Carbon footprint nuthin'. . . I'm makin' a gall'darn carbon snow angel this year. Including the flights I've already taken since January first I'm on pace to have at least sixteen flights this year. Not sixteen round trip flights though so I guess when you call it eight flights it doesn't sound so bad. Not like my boy JG. . . that man probably has enough frequent flier miles to retire by now.

    Sittin' in Ft. Lauderdale airport, where I should probably just rent an apartment, and waiting to fly to Freeport. The nice think about Freeport is that it's only about a thirty-five minute flight. It's one-hundred and five miles from Miami to Freeport which is awfully nice cause it's easy to correct mistakes for work or otherwise. Hell, I might even fly home this Friday and back on Sunday depending on how things look at Grand Bahama Shipyard. I've heard tales of people COMMUTING from Freeport if you can believe that. I suppose I could see flying in for the week or out for the weekend or some variation of that but taking a flight every morning? . . . and on a puddle jumper no less.

    I flew from PHX to Flag a few times in a twenty passenger, dual-prop plane (a flight which has been immortalized by Ron White in the first few minutes of the original Blue Collar Comedy Tour. "I flew here form Flagstaff because my manager doesn't own a globe!" . . . . "We took off from the Flagstaff airport, hair care and tire center there. . . " Classic.). However, my first flight experience dealing with Freeport involved a ten passenger plane. Eight. . . it was awesome. Anyway, the one I'm on today must be twenty to forty people so hopefully my lunch will stay with me pretty easily.

    Guess I better get some actual work done while I'm here at the airport. Another CRITICAl (STAT) shipment for the as-yet-un-running Jewel diesel generator project. Crate worth fifty-K from Freeport back to Miami. I swear we should just buy a little boat that can hold a couple of containers for local transport.

    Here's to the inevitable start of another dry dock!

    2.03.2008

    For the Bushies

    I don't care what your political beliefs are. Just watch this and THEN tell me that our president has been doing a good job the last seven years.

  • Bush Tells Us What His Job Is


  • And if anyone cares to know, I'm registered as an Independent. This has got nothing to do with political parties and everything to do with how far in the hole our country is in my opinion.

    You know. . . cause this is the internet and therefore my opinion counts.
    ha

    2.02.2008

    What My Job Sometimes Entails

    The following is an example of the type of thing that I sometimes do during the course of my job. (WARNING: The following is a bit long and quite full of hot air, but did you expect anything less?)

    Sitting at my desk Tuesday morning tending to regular business I get a phone call from the project manager for all eight diesel generator projects we are working on. (I have been on dry dock for two of these projects and have two or three more dry docks this year that are centered on the DG installation project.) The project manager is on board the GTS Jewel of the Seas where they are very close to getting the massive diesel generator operating that was installed during an October dry dock. As often happens during a project this big there were a few last minute parts they needed to get the engine running.

    I was asked if we had the ability to air freight some spare parts from the Miami area to St. Marteen, where the vessel was to call the next day. I checked with our in-house air freight company and it turns out we got lucky and there was a four AM flight to the tiny island. The flight was arriving at seven-forty the next morning so we could pretty much be assured the package would make it to the ship before she departed at the end of the day. . . as long as there would be no issues with customs. A quick call to our agent on St. Marteen set me at ease with regards to customs clearance because he laughed when I asked him if there would be any problems getting the package on board by the end of the day. No worries.

    So far, so good and this technical emergency should really be no big deal as long as the part they need is actually in the Miami area. The diesel project manager told me that a representative from a company called Wartsila would be contacting me to arrange the pick up of the part. (I'm thinking it's no big deal. . . a technical company that big normally has a warehouse in Miami and I'll just need to call for a pick up of the part.) It's still before lunch and I think the situation is well in hand. I only need to have the part delivered to Miami International airport by five PM so there's plenty of time. Still no time for lunch though because now I'm a little behind on the work for my upcoming dry dock. No worries.

    Get a call around two PM on my cell phone. . . number starts with plus-forty-seven so I know it's from Norway. (Damn, I thought I might get this done without having to worry about mis-communication due to a language barrier.) The Wartsila rep on the other end of a phone is in a very noisy environment and has a classic, and heavy, Italian accent. Guess he ain't Norwegian. He verifies that I'm the guy to talk to about the spare parts and tells me he's in Ft. Lauderdale. Turns out he's not so much in the actual city of Ft. Lauderdale but rather he's on a ship that is anchored in Port Everglades which is the port in Fort Lauderdale for cruise ships and container vessels. Possibly this information would have been handy a little earlier since the only way to reach a vessel at anchor is to hire a tug boat to get out to the vessel for the pick up. A few worries.

    I have no idea who to call for a tug boat in PEV (Port Everglades) Harbor. None. All four of my co-workers, who might know this kind of thing off the top of their heads, aren't in the office and don't answer their cell phones. A generic web search produces a few shaky possibilities. As I'm starting to cold call companies that probably can't help I get a lucky break and the Italian calls me back. He's gotten two numbers for tug companies from the captain of the vessel he's on. I call the first number and get lucky. . . but not in a sexual way. The company has a tug that can make the pick up fairly soon. We've never done business with this tug company but luckily payment isn't a concern since we're so big. What is a concern is finding a place where the tug can meet a designated truck that will then bring the package to our warehouse. Building addresses are one thing. . . having a truck meet a tugboat at some random pier might be another. Still only a few worries.

    Things work out. The tug company gives me a pier number in Ft. Lauderdale that might be a good transfer point and the trucking company doesn't seem to have much of a problem with waiting at a pier for the boat to arrive, especially when payment for the time spent is guaranteed. Things are looking good and it's still early afternoon.

    The Italian number pops up again. I answer to the sound of engines roaring and large men with sledgehammers doing whatever it is they do in endless engine rooms on board massive vessels. "Hold minute. I move," the man shouts. He's wondering when the tug will arrive and I assure him it's on the way. (At least I hope it is.) I finally have a chance to ask him what the dimensions and weight of the package are. Dimensions? What dimensions? There's not even a box involved. I reply, "Ummmm, okaaaaaay. . . . . . . what do you have?" He's got four bolts, thirty-six inches long and five inches in diameter with the appropriate nuts, compression washers and the specialty tools to make it all work.

    My reply, "Yeah, uh, you're gonna have to go ahead and find a crate or something to put that all in. We can't exactly air freight a hundred kilos worth of loose metal parts." He's flusterated and hasn't thought of this. My air freight company finds this a convenient time to call and remind me that they need the dimensions of the package before they can guarantee the booking on the flight. Things progress, a crate is found, the tug arrives, the cell phone is passed to the captain of the tug and we confirm the drop off pier and the pick up company. Everything is now either shiny or green depending upon if you're watching "Serenity" or "The Fifth Element."

    I communicate the likely success of our air freight plans to the head project manager and now at three-thirty in the afternoon I'm told there is a second item that will need to be air freighted to St. Marteen or it won't even matter if the bolts make it. (Sweet. Thanks for the timely heads up.) Of course, we aren't even sure if we've found the second item that is needed or where it will be in So Flo once it's found. To cut the "suspense" I'll say that it all worked out in the end. The tug met the pickup truck on the Fifteenth Street pier in Ft. Lauderdale and luckily the second part was found, purchased and was able to be picked up by the same truck that was designated to pick up the crate of bolts from the tug. No worries.

    The truck arrives at our warehouse and predictably the crate isn't sealed and there's not a stitch of paperwork attached to it. The bolts and nuts look like they were possibly removed from a similar engine to the one they are destined for, and possibly removed that morning by those same gentlemen who normally wield the sledgehammers. Our warehouse staff kindly seals the crate up and after a quick verification of the weight and some affixation of proper paperwork from the air freight company the truck pulls away from our warehouse at five-fifteen in the afternoon. (Turns out the actual cut-off for air freight is six PM down at MIA but it's not wise to tell anyone else that or they'll be asking you for specialty air freight at five-thirty in the afternoon.)

    So that was half of my Tuesday. The parts were confirmed on board the Jewel the next day but true to form for most departments in this company I haven't heard a stitch about how successful (or unsuccessful) the start up of the diesel generator was. Oh well, I guess I did my job.