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.)


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

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?"



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?



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.


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.


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."


. . . 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. . .



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.


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.)


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


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.


B.C. (not the cave dwelling dudes)


(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.)


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.


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.




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.