Still Don't Know Finnish

For some reason I haven't felt like writing anything while I've been here in Turku. It's been about seven weeks and I've had a lot more fun, taken more days off and visited more places than I did last year in ten weeks total. I should at least post some pictures on flickr or snapfish or somewhere! Lazy, that's what I am. Lazy homo sapien. That would be my rap name. . . if I were a rapper.

Good friend visited for two weeks in August and we had good times in Helsinki, Stockholm and Turku. Took the overnight ferry to Stockholm and that is definitely a different experience. Sort of a mini-cruise. It was nice to be in Stockholm again since I already know my way around. Hard city to get lost in anyway cause you get a little wet if you go too far in any single direction. I had aspirations of getting to Tallin before the end (only a two hour drive to Helsinki and a two hour ferry to Tallin) but things are about to ramp up on the Allure so that's probably not going to happen.

BUT the weather is still relatively warm here. Gets above 50 degrees every day but we've had some seriously heavy rainstorms. I'll take it though cause when the cold snap comes (and stays) is will rarely get above 40-45 degrees during the day. But the warehouse we've got this year will be a helluva lot better than the tent we had last year. I've decided tents should only be used for camping, not warehousing.

But for now it's time to find some grub and think about whether I should brave the outside world tonight. The Irish Bar nearly did me in last night so it might be a good night for a sauna and a good book. Need to enjoy my last few weekends of relative sanity and that rare feeling that I don't have a ton of work that I should be getting done. Heck, maybe I won't even come into the warehouse tomorrow. . . sounds magical to me.

Perhaps there will be pictures and stories soon. . . never can tell.


Back in Turku

Seems like a short time ago that I left Finland after working on the Oasis but here I am 9 months later to see the birth of the Allure of the Seas. Manny things are the same as last year with a few key exceptions. I've got an apartment this year (hilariously located in what is essentially a retirement community). There's a store in the bottom of the building, a basketball court across the stree and it's only five blocks to walk downtown. Got a car as usual (Volkswagon Touran diesel) which don't go too fast but ain't too shabby neither.


However, the largest change this year is that the shipyard allowed us to take over one of their huge module halls as a warehouse. This is where they build gigantic steel sections of the ships and then open the roof and lift the pieces straight out with a six-hundred-ton crane that stradles this building and the dry dock next door where they put the ships together. It's a ton of room but we're gonna fill it with every little thing needed to get the ship up and running. We're talking about everything from the linens to the forks to slot machines and surf boards for the flow riders. Roughly three-hundred and fifty ocean containers from all over the world and another four dozen trucks from within the European Union is what it will take to get the ship stocked and ready to sail to Fort Lauderdale for passengers. But I'm boring you so back to life.

The apartment, for what it's worth.


Yes, that wood door leads to the two person sauna off the bathroom. Good action.

The warehouse. We're gonna fill it, I swear.

The main square in Turku which has a fair almost every day of summer. Never has a square been in more dire need of a fountain or sumthin!

Well, I could write a whole lot more but it's Saturday and I've stuck myself in the warehouse all day so I need to get out of the shipyard and look for some fun. I really need to get ahead so I can take the next two weekends off when a friend from SF visits. Yup, time to get out of here. If I get to Helsinki and Stockholm (or Tallin) like I plan to I'll try to get some pictures up on Flickr. Good times.


Working In Finland Again

Apparently it's that time of year again, where I travel to Finland for three months and try to kill myself with work and occasional play.  Going to be working on the Allure of the Seas this year which is the sister ship to the Oasis which we did last year.  It looks to be a much different job this year for quite a few reasons.  First of all I've got an apartment that I'll share with one of the guys who works for me.  Last year I stayed about seven weeks in a hotel with only a mini-fridge for amenities and then moved onto the ship for the last month, though the ship wasn't anywhere near completed.  The apartment is supposed to be nice too with a pool, gym, internet and a sauna in my unit (before you get shocked you should know that it's pretty standard for apartments to have a sauna in each unit). 
Aside from the apartment, which should be a good time (I actually packed my new dartboard in one of my bags), I can also look forward to the fact that this year I know the shipyard, understand the process, am familiar with the town and have a few friends there that I met last year (no, I don't have a Finnish girl waiting for me).  So, while I may have new work challenges this year (mainly running a fully functional warehouse for the 350+ ocean containers and 30-40 EU trucks that will come in) I think it's safe to say that I'm looking forward to quite a few things.  I realise (spelled thusly since I'm sitting at Heathrow typing this) that I haven't posted here for a long time and as usual I'm not making any grand promises about posting more often.  For one thing I find it much harder to get motivated when I'm going somewhere that I've been before.  The pictures just don't seem as interesting.  Maybe I'll have to focus more on people pics for a change of pace.
Well, I'm headed to Finland now and with a little luck will be thoroughly exhausted but having a beer by Sunday night on the river in Turku.  Seems there's a big festival of some type and the weather is gorgeous (if maybe too hot) in Finland. . . . so couple that with a bunch of Finns on holiday and a sunset late in the evening and we've got a recipe for a good times disaster.  I doubt I'll last more than 2 beers before I'm sleeping sitting up at the table.  Guess I should do a little more work since the company is paying for this connection. . . and UK connections ain't cheap.  That's all I got.  (Well, that and droopy eyes.)


Moving Day

I suppose I should have saved that subject title for if I ever decide to get out of Florida but for now it will be used to say that I'm moving onto the ship tomorrow but will only be there a few days before I fly back to Ft. Lauderdale. Got a month in the ol' F-L and then on to a job in Virginia followed by (hopefully) a little R&R&RA.  (Rest & Relaxation & Running Around)
See cause I'm so smart that with my two weeks off I think I'll go to IAD, PHX, FLG and PDX just for kicks (and gradumifications, hilarity, familiarity and quasi-family).  And seriously I've used the airport codes cause for a few of these places it might feel like that's all I've seen.  Of course this might all change (well, at least drop the last airport code) if I need to go to Finland for meetings regarding the Allure of the Seas sometime in May. 
However, as a few people love to remind me I've got it good.  Real good.  (Too bad I keep remembering that it's all relative.)  And I do remember that. . . . I guess.  Now if someone will just remind me of that when I'm on that eleven hour flight from Amsterdam to Houston on Thursday, I'll be fine.  Actually, I'll be fine if I can just get an aisle seat. 

Well, as usual, I'm rambling.  Managed to work out And drink just a little tonight which seems to make me mellow.  Perhaps I shouldn't write posts when listening to the slower songs by Tool (mom, don't bother looking that band up).  Happy thoughts to all.


Home On The Twenty-Fifth

Ok, so it's only a few days sooner than I thought I was gonna get home but this is very exciting stuff!  This means I'll have FOUR FULL WEEKENDS in Florida before leaving on the next journey!  (And NO, this isn't sarcasm (even though the "NO" was) because I'm looking forward to four weeks working only fifty to sixty hours a week and getting in some biking.)
It's still cold here. . . yup. . . almost cold enough for me to look forward to the Miami heat.  But not quite.  Hope all is wild and quiet in the world.  It is here.


Chilly Willy

Those of you with dirty minds take two steps back in this game of redlight, greenlight that we call life.

Been in Papenburg, Germany since Sunday on an "emergency" call to the Eclipse new build project. (All my best to Skip's mom, and Skip himself, during this tough time.)

Whelp, turns out it's cold in northern Germany this time o' year. . . who'da thunk it? This morning it was minus four on the ol' celciometer. Cold and gray and meanwhile it was actually NICE in Miami for once right before I left. Ah well, at least I can work out a bit without sweating too much (of course "working out" in this environment involves me either stacking pallets, wrapping pallets or pushin' the ol' pallet jack around the warehouse for hours on end (and by "jack" I'm not referring to my co-worker who's first name isn't Pallet but it happens to be Jack. . . yeah, he's too old to push around) which can be fun but gets a little old on the ol' back) which is completely different than Miami usually is where I'm dripping with sweat just getting geared up to ride my bike, without actually riding it.

Three steps forward to anyone who got all of that last "sentence" on the first, or even second, go 'round. An additional step forward to anyone who thought my adaptation of the word celcius was at all clever. . . it may not have been at all clever but at least I tried. Which reminds me of this story. . .

Once upon a time (or Back In The Day, as the kids sometimes say) whilst involved with a ceremony at church (no laughing, please) I was standing around with my brothers and at least one other "older" person. (Remember that when you're young even people two hours older than you are "older.") I don't remmeber the exact conversation but not surprisingly it was centered around the Virgin Mary and various jokes that might pertain to such a singularity as her. At some point, rather innocently I might add, I piped up and blurted out, "But I thought Mary had a little lamb!?" Welll, I'm pretty sure I didn't understand how funny that might be and on what levels but I did think I was funny and the "older" kids actually laughed and I felt a little too good about myself. When asked where I came up with my fine little interjection I responded something to the effect of, "You gotta swing the bat if you wanna hit a homerun." About as genius as those sports commentators who point out that the team who scores more points is gonna win the game. Fin.

Quite the masterpiece above, eh?
Everyone who read that take one step back cause you probably just got a little dumber having read it.

Ok, so far dinners have been taken in the hotel restaurant (which is excellent but not exactly lively) so tonight it's off to the pub for the Man U football match (hopefully) and some rumproast. Papenburg is only about fifteen-thousand people so I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get a seat at the bar.

Five steps forward to anyone who snickered at the word, "rumproast."


T-I-D-E. . . Tired

Or so a certain woman in a certain BB King song would lead me to write. Cause that's how ya spell tired when you're too tired to say all the letters.

I leave Tokyo manana. Bound for Wisconsin I am. Culture shock here I come. Quite a few people might think that I'd rather be here than at my destination. Arguments for = fresh sushi, cute Japanese girls and the "thrill" of traveling in foreign lands. Arguments against = big fat steak, a pace not designated by twelve million people living in one small area and shit howdy! have you ever even met my brother in Wisconsin?!?!? The man is a laugh riot #1 cowboy genius comedian savant extraordinaire! (Seriously, if the adjectives don't get separated by commas it means a little something extra.) Oh yeah, and he has been reported to read the dictionary while patronizing the latrine! (Though I have never witnessed such actions myself and I'm sure he only studies the words of our forebearers as a means to add to his legendary cowboy genius status. The cad!)

So I must say that Singapore and Tokyo were great (especially the food, which will likely warrant a whole folder on Flickr but will sadly never be seen by my great foodie-friend Missus Brandy Sue Loo Hoo Harms-(insert Italian sounding name here). But that's ok because perhaps the Indian Ocean connection with the weak ankles will pick up on the pictures and upon her next meeting with the Loo Hoo will convince her that she should spend some serious time in Asia for her new food blog.) But, uh, yeah, food is good. . . especially here.

As usual I'm quite obviously babbling, which is a serious sign that I haven't had enough to drink tonight. However, fat and happy as I always am I'd like to take this opportunity to say that too much time spent in large cities might be bad for people. Perhaps I've spent a day too many wandering around incredibly crowded streets just waiting for my head to snap on that one guy or gal who isn't Asian but then again, perhaps I just need to relax and visit another Onsen. More likely, I'd say.

Final thought: In light of reviewing the above post I wonder if I'm allowed to write an entire entry within parentheses? Does writing within little sideways arcs mean that I didn't mean any of it? Are asides considered a permanent thought as opposed to a flightful fancy? Do tangents hold rank with the 'real' words that supposedly make up the trunk of this grammatical experiment? Am I more full of shit than a dung beetle's nest?



Let Another Project Begin

Minor chaos will ensue for my project which starts tomorrow. However, the logistical nightmare in Haiti makes me wish I were putting my meager talents to a more noble purpose. I'm all for altering the plan and being as flexible as possible but that place is screaming for a little order and a person with the vision to see the entire scope of the problems. I can't even begin to comprehend but my heart goes out to the people on that island.

I was going to post pictures of the Singapore skyline, local sights and some of the ridiculously awesome food I've been eating but it just seems wrong. Time to sleep in a bed I am currently forever grateful for. (And if that's not ironic truth in two words I don't know what is.)


Is That A Rocket In Your Pocket? Or. . .

My man TC writes, "…there’s a rocket launcher looking think on your flicker at picture 1100526. What is that thing and, if it is indeed a rocket launcher as I suspect it is, can I get one shipped stateside for an engagement gift?"


My answer: That is ABSOLUTELY a rocket launcher, Brother! And HOW! You never know when those crazy pirates are gonna snap up that grand ol' tradition of hang glider attacks on giant cruise ships! Initially we were just gonna go with millions of doves we could release from the stacks on the ship to interfere with the gliders but eventually a slightly more hi-tech solution made more sense.

Your order has been placed for one (1) industrial strength, self-guiding rocket launcher along with a mounting system for your mountain home. Good luck with the foes you plan on deploying this system against; aggressive mountain elk, flying marmots, raptors and of course, hippies. Happy Hunting!


Ok, actually this is a crane mounted on one of the high points of the Oasis of the Seas.


I won't tell you what the crane is actually for because it's so mind bogglingly dull compared to images of hunting flying marmot pirates from the rooftop of a mountain home (maybe with a few PBRs alongside) that you'd probably pass out from lack of blood to the brain due to all the blood looking for a part of the body that is doing something more interesting than thinking about what this crane is actually for.

Good night.