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.


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.


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.


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.


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!"


    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!


    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.


    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.