Friday, April 18, 2014


I left a comment on one of my favorite blogs after having heard that a schoolteacher who lost many of his pupils in the recent Korean ferry disaster sadly chose to take his own life yesterday. The man was unable to live with himself for not having been able to keep all of his students safe in the course of the ferry passage. This is so deeply tragic, as it's not a stretch to empathize with the poor man.

 Anyhow, as you may know, the captain chose to follow in the footsteps of the accursed greasy former captain Shittino of the Costa Concordia, and abandon those under his care. My own closing comment was that the wrong man hanged himself yesterday.

 At least former captain Lee had the decency to be ashamed. I hope to one day visit their resting places, so that I may piss on them before I die. And if I never make it that far, I hope that others will find those graves a convenient place to let their dogs have their daily shit.

 You know, almost 20 years ago I got my first little license, a 50-ton certificate, with the assistance of a schoolteacher who was moonlighting as an instructor.  This guy, who never captained anything larger than a cabin cruiser, knew enough to drill into our heads that the single greatest obligation we had was the safekeeping of those who placed their lives in our management and care for their time on board. 

 Still, no one who hasn't been on a sinking vessel can understand the pressure such a thing creates... but we can see that all but the most craven do their fucking job, even when it's hard... so fuck these guys, and I hope they die.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

the not-so-subtle prison mattress

When I make or accept a request to 'work over,' to work when I'm scheduled to be home annoying my wife and stressing my liver, one of the first things that pop into my mind is 'what kind of mattresses do they have there?'

 Despite what I'm sure are many requests to the contrary, we're still equipping workboats with prison mattresses- coil springs lined with felt, encased in rough synthetic fire-resistant fabric. Costs $39.95.  I checked.

 My own floating palace, the Afloat Global HQ, has better mattresses than I've got at home. And you know, I sleep better at work than I do at home. Consequently, I may be ill-tempered, inclined to bitchery (I'm a sailor. Like seagulls, we're known to do 3 things only: eat, squawk and shit.), and just a fucking ray of sunshine all day, but I'm usually able to fall asleep in short order, and sometimes wake up hours later having not moved an inch, and still comfortable for it.

 Take this week's boat. One of the finest-built and well-equipped small barges I've ever been on. Someone at Bollinger needs to be knighted. BUT, prison mattresses, which means my rotator cuffs feel like I've got hot sand in them, and I wake up every 20 minutes to move. It's a teeny-tiny mattress, and I'm not a teeny tiny man. I'm waking up to roll over, as I can't actually roll over and still be in bed. I have to wake up, prop up on one arm, and do a barrel roll in place. So it goes.

 "But they're fireproof!" No, they're not. They're fire-resistant. And you know, I'd rather be well-rested than have the extra warm fuzzy that comes with the knowledge that my bed isn't going to burn as fast as the mountain of clothing, rugs and other cloth sundries in my bedroom will. I don't wear nomex underwear. My clothes would still catch fire even if my bed didn't, and if I slept naked to be a little more fire-safe, I'd be creating a hostile work environment. Jealousy affects productivity, you know. You don't get this physique just by sitting around. You've got to eat AND sit around.

 Anyhow, I'm not actually bitching just to bitch. My point is that there's a disconnect between vessel construction and crew productivity as measured by cost containment. Design a vessel with poor athwartship movement access, you get guys hurt and slowed down by crawling over and tripping over everything that gets in the way. Prison mattresses rob crew of essential sleep, which is it's own reward payable in decreased productivity and increased long-term medical costs... not to mention that the $300 mattress I sleep on is 5 years old and as good as new, while the prison mattress is good for maybe a year. The downside there, though, is that sailors can be filthy, filthy bastards. I've had to throw relatively new mattresses overboard (in the open ocean, on a ship, not in the brown water I sail over these days) because a filthy animal slept fully-clothed without using sheets on a mattress.
 Actually, I don't know what's worse- a disgusting man with poor hygiene who sleeps in his work clothes, or a disgusting man with poor hygiene who sleeps naked. Needless to say, that experience ended in a lot of work gloves following the mattress into the water, and the man in question being blackballed from returning.

 Well, thanks for listening. The tylenol kicked in, and now my shoulders feel better.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

a little extra, no charge

As if going back to work after just 1 week free wasn't difficult enough, my ride from Boston to Brooklyn was... challenging. pouring rain/sleet and black ice all the way from mid-Rhode Island to southern Connecticut. The ass end of my truck was swaying more than Shakira's delightful backside. Then the 2 hours to go the last 10 miles across the Brooklyn/Queens Expressway in rush hour because of the slow icy driving beforehand. Well, end result is that I was ready to get down on my hands and knees to kiss the pavement like the pope stepping off his plane.

 Anyhow, I'm whoring myself out again for a week before returning to my regular job.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Light Falls on Marble Head

Last night was the first time I slept more than 6 hours in the past 3 months. I slept 6.5 Then I dozed for another 4.5 with Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife. Awesome.

 What followed was a lazy day. Made a light breakfast before meeting most of the entire Family B for lunch. Noted that I'm still dog tired. Still am.

 I'm being productive- point in fact, this is my first of only 3 full days at home in the past 3 months. I'm going back to work a week early to pay more bills to keep our post-move life more stress-free.

 In the meanwhile, I'm still a zombie, but I'm showered, beer'd and fed, and hoping for another 10-11 hours tonight.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


I'm home. Got off the boat a few days ago, immediately went to FL for house hunting. Just got back. Total zombie.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Last day

Well, tomorrow I head home. 77 days is enough. I get 12 hours to sleep and shift my dunnage, then Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife and I fly out to go house hunting somewhere much warmer.

 Last day is always a marathon of cleaning, paperwork, updating logbooks, packing and mundane chores. Given that, I'll leave you with some nice things to look at. Here are April's Brazilian girls for you.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The End

My childhood is officially dead.

   The controversial adult video store that opened up in my old hometown when I was a teen mysteriously burnt down last night. Considering that no one has bought an adult DVD in the past 10 years, thanks to Al Gore's Internet, I'd say this qualifies as 'suspicious.'

 A whole generation of men in the region I grew up in will be sporting black armbands on our strangely muscular right arms.