Tuesday, June 26, 2012

you win this time, tampons.

I think the egyptian writers said it best when they wrote "Scarab, dogface dogface, eye, bird bird bird!"


             We pulled our cargo pumps today. They were quite clogged with the residue of old crude oil. In addition, we were told than on completion of the cleanup and roto-rootering of our underdeck pipelines, we would reposition to New York and rejoin the bunkering fleet there, which is good news for yours truly, who has gotten quite fat again and poorer besides for having less work and more access to cheesesteaks lo these past 4 months.

  The single largest component of the sludge? This is no shit. TAMPONS. Yes, as in vampire teabags. Someone had been dumping their bathroom waste at Sun Oil's refinery in the waste oil tanks, and we got to reap the benefits of two  20-foot high vertical pump pipelines clogged 100% full of pantymice-on-a-string. And the applicators, too. Let's not forge those. As a 30-something Bostonian, I remember full well the robust collection of plastic pink beach whistles that lined the beaches from Gloucester to  P-Town.

 The now-famous deck garden is doing well. The first tomatoes will be ripe in 2 more weeks.

This is a pump column AND a hazmat container, all in one. Like a pinata, but, you know, full of tampons and oil sludge

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ye Olde Newe Yorke Banana Hammock

Boxer briefs are acceptable, comfortable underwear for portly but active men like me. There's the support of briefs, keeping one's bojangles from bojangling, plus the extra coverage so as not to look like a 6-foot tall hairy toddler.

    The first time Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife saw me in my unmentionables (2 weeks after my wedding night, Ma, I swear!), which were semi-worn boxer briefs that had lost the elasticity around my legs, she had never seen boxer briefs, having never been involved with anyone from outside her own country, where briefs are, hilariously, still the norm. She later told me that she thought I had an incontinence problem or something, and was wearing some sort of adult diaper, so, while I think of it, Calvin Klein should go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut for making me look like Mr. Poopypants. In fact, I thought that "Frouda" was the Portagee word for underwear, and only learned last year that she taught me the word for 'diaper' in its' place, since I remember nouns by pointing and asking names in her language, and used my own froudas to ask their name.

She was polite enough not to say anything when she saw me in my froudas, but did later verify with an American female citizen that, in fact, I was coddling my Funky Bunch in high fashion.
         So, all that was to say that my wife still finds boxers and boxer briefs to be unsightly, which is funny in that I find 'unsightly' to be the exact wording I would use to describe briefs on an adult man, especially myself.
      So, with that in mind, when it was time to go to New York a few weeks ago, and since my wife was meeting me there and bringing my civilian (read: not covered in oil) clothes, I asked her to get me some fresh grunties, as my current crop at work are getting a little tatty.
      Well, paint my ass red and call me a stop sign if she didn't get me underwear that SHE found attractive. Now I am the red-faced owner of SIX pair of multicolored Body Glove grape smugglers in all colors of the rainbow.
 I tried one on, and felt completely indecent. I was afraid to tie my shoes for fear of being cut in half.

I'm pretty sure this is her revenge for wearing one of her lacy bits of lady clothing as an eyepatch one night and talking like a pirate. I swear my kid is going to be scarred for life. 

longish commute

Not bad. That's my thought on the commute down from Boston to Philadelphia today. I got here in 6.5 hours, with about 45 minutes lost in NY waiting my turn to cross the George Washington bridge. For someone who usually makes that run at oh-dark-thirty on a weeknight, it wasn't fun. There were people EVERYWHERE, but hell, it wasn't as bad as the 10+ hour trip home last time, so all's well. All the same, I'm looking forward to resuming my nighttime drives on the other side.
 Regardless, I'm here now, and moved back in, and settling nicely. We've got a bunch of remedial work to do to finish undoing the mess made last time I was on, and this has led to an opportunity to do some serious maintenance- looks like we'll get to 100% pull our pumps during the upcoming week, as they just ain't working no mo', so, while this will be a nasty mess, it will also be a chance to really get us in fighting trim now that (I assume) we've come to the end of our contract for now.

 But that's a post for another day...

Friday, June 22, 2012

packing lite

Tomorrow, bright and early, I head south for another month on my little steel beach. I'm ready.
     This has been one of the best vacations I've had since taking to shorter voyages four years ago. I hate to see it end, but I'm ready.

     Lots of blogfodder, but I'm just waiting for my wife to make me my last Caiperinha for this voyage. I'll say this:  either my truck is getting longer, or they're making parking spaces shorter. After a lot of driving and parking here and there these past few weeks, my full-sized truck with full 8' bed doesn't seem to fit anywhere anymore. I'm kind of wishing I bought a short-bed full sized truck like Jay G's. 

   Also, sushi. Very happy that I had it after running my errands today. Eating raw fish, drinking a pair of scorpion bowls and then running around in 95-degree sun could have been bad.  

 Finally I got to catch up with an old friend who is home on leave from the army. We spent yesterday out on George's Island in the Boston Harbor islands, which will be a post of its' own. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I've had bad days... but they weren't that bad.

I've said to a few ex-shipmates that I've wondered how the former president of the company I used to work for has been feeling after he ran the company into bankruptcy. AHL Shipping Co. was always a make-and-break operation- the fact that it cratered is less remarkable than the fact that it lasted as long as it did, given that they were handed reemie shit show ships from the builder from day one, ultimately failing after attempting to reinvent the wheel by making their own ships when Korean-designed kit ships were available elsewhere. At the end of the day, RH, the former president of AHL, made hay while the sun shined, and kept a bunch of us employed using ships held together with duct tape and baling wire; something of an achievement to be proud of, regardless of how the company went tits-up at the end.
      Several other oil shipping players made sure to kick AHL on our way down- OSG America, among them. When AHL struggled to repay federally-guaranteed shipbuilding loans, OSG was there to ensure that the loans couldn't be renegotiated, but rather, the ships were repossessed and scrapped, thereby ensuring that their largest competitor and the 400 mariners who worked for them, would be sure to be on the breadline, and the US Government lost about $100 million, instead of losing, say, $0 through negotiated repayments. This was 2008, of course, when it was still fashionable to fuck the taxpayers whenever no one was looking.

 At any rate, I enjoyed the word from Moody's and the NYSE recently when OSG was singled out for losing value at near-record pace the past two quarters, going from $45 a share to less than $10. Considering that they're still the largest oil transshipment company in the US, this is hilarious, in that other companies are doing just fine. OSG made the news in that the division heads in their US division just received $1.1 million dollar bonuses, which, in my opinion, is some badly-disguised fuck-you money for some not-ready-to-retire- aged dead men walking.

Monday, June 18, 2012

because it's my ball, and I want to go home.

The other night, I posted a facebook, uh, post, where I mentioned that the muslims in Nigeria yet again were engaging in their favorite hobby, killing Christians. A friend, a very intelligent friend, took exception to the fact that this was the second such post on the matter in as many weeks. She proceeded to write a well-reasoned but naive piece on how since muslims make up 20% of the world, and other religions have engaged in equally shameful behavior in the past, that they should get a pass.
   Ultimately, rather than argue on the merits of holding people equally accountable for crimes against humanity based on the crimes, and not on their wonderful religion, I chose to delete her rant, since it was annoying and took too long to read, and, at that, wasn't worth my time (and if she's a reader here, I apologize for my harsh opinion. Your reasoning was awful, given that we rarely agree on matters of politics, and you have a fantastic handle on the language and rhetoric in general- the post in question was a lump of coal amidst your usual diamonds).
   I guess I pissed her off by deleting the post. My explanation was simple. It's my fucking facebook page, and i like debate, but it has to be reasoned debate.
 And that's all I have to say about that.
      I've discovered also that bud light, while making inoffensive, easy to drink in quantity beer, now makes an alcohol-heavy variety. I have taken to bringing one or two with me into the bath at night along with my e-reader, rubber duck and phone. I find that a hot bath at the end of a hard day (of drinking) is nice.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

From home

The past week has been scary busy- sometimes scary, often busy.

    I'm still at home, and since my wife has a new living room set that sucked up my beer money (and lunch money, and fun money, too), I am home early on a Thursday night, when normally I would escape the double dose of Brazilian soaps that are on tv... but here I am at my desk instead, and there's a loaf of beer bread about 2/3 done in the oven. Not bad.
      When I was relieve at work, I had shipped my family down to New York by train and met them there, and we played tourist for a few days. New York is not my cup of tea, but I was very proud of not having a panic attack in the middle of Times Square this time... I have a thing about crowds and being lost. At any rate, we took a carriage ride through Central Park, took hundreds of photos, and generally ran down the savings account.
    Turns out, New York is expensive when you're there with family, and when you're cheap, and they're not.  I realized after coming home that I could have taken the fam to Aruba for a week for the same price that I spent for 3 days in NY. And maybe I could have avoided the 10 (!) hour ride home. Seriously, 10 hours. It took 5 hours to move the first 3 miles on 95 alone. I was ready to kill, plus we were crammed into my truck, which I bought when I was a fisherman, many years anon, and certainly is nothing near as comfortable as the mom-mobile my wife drives. So that sucked too.

    The scary part came after, when there was talk of breaking up my crew. This was going to happen, despite much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and I spent the day in a major funk. No more tomato garden, no more beautifully-decorated house, no more being completely and utterly certain that whoever is on watch can handle safely whatever may come. I was destined to go to an old, not-particularly-well-cared-for floating septic tank with a house that was made to support one Oompa-Loompa, not two and three 6-foot plus men.
    Glory of glories, it didn't happen. Ruined a couple of days, though. I had no idea how much I would miss my floating Pickle Barrel until threatened with losing it. I will be returning to HAWSEPIPER's same-'ol same- 'ol afloat global HQ/floating fort of awesomeness, where everyone aboard can still sing the words to "Detroit Rock City."
     Afterwards, basking in the glow of a near-miss, Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife convinced me to buy a new living room set made, apparently, out of dead cow skin and pieces of the True Cross, going by what I paid. She's happy, anyhow. We also looked at our first house together, but that's a good story in itself, for another day. IN the meanwhile, I'm almost 1/2 way through this time off, and it's going fast!

Monday, June 11, 2012


Home, slightly overwhelmed, more later.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

...where the good Lord split ya'

Again, Blogger is engaging in a session of masturbating in a full-length mirror, introducing me to the 'new' blogger, which, as far as I can tell, is the same as the old, except that everything familiar is now hard to find, and the icons make no sense. After a few minutes of trying to find out why they wouldn't let me put a new post up, I found on orange block with a triangle next to a rectangle, which is apparently supposed to be a pencil, which is apparently supposed to mean "new post." I don't know. Bunch of amateurs.
     Anyhow, I was writing to say that I am bowing out for a few days. After 10 weeks of handing out oil and lashes of the whip to all the good boys and girls, I am going home for a few weeks. Today is the fourth anniversary of my wedding to Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife, formerly Inappropriately Hot Foreign Girlfriend. I missed it by one day. Tomorrow she and Boy will meet me at the almost half-way point home, in New York City, for a few days to celebrate. I could give a good goddamn about New York's delights, but my wife is beside herself with excitement, and I am sitting in Philadelphia on our anniversary while she is out in Boston's 'burbs, so I had to come up with something.
 See you soon.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

summah! (semiNSFW)

Well, Pissed  got me thinking about it, and it's June now, which means that it's high time I drove up traffic brightened everyone's day with this months's pictures from Brazil. After the last few weeks, I could use the cheering up, not least because I realized last night that I won't be going to Brazil this year, in service to the plan to buy a new house come winter. Regardless, here's something nice to look at.

Friday, June 1, 2012

much ado

After the past few days, it was wonderful to settle down here in my own place and get caught up on maintenance, painting and the like. We're still in the process of switching the deck paint from storm gray to deck red (the better to hide the blood!), so getting out there to fling nonskid and roll out the acres of hot steel has been a good opportunity to put my head down and lose myself in some mindless labor. A mini-vacation.

     In the meanwhile, we've been hosting visitors. I forget if I mentioned it, but a scene from the upcoming action movie 'Dead Man Down' was filmed aboard here, and Colin Farrell took his turns around HAWSEPIPER's afloat global HQ/ cinematic backdrop. Executives and functionaries working for the oil major who pulled a whoops on us and dumped sludge in our tanks also came to take a tour- killing two birds with one stone, in that they could see the scene where things went sideways and show some mid-level staff what a tank vessel looks like. They brought several lovely ladies with them, too, which was nice. Of course, everyone was more excited about our tomato plants than anything else. They've certainly been a nine days' wonder here on our steel beach in terms of novelty value, but I'm quickly coming to look forward to watering time, when I can do something a little out of routine in my day, so I can see their point.
The galley. Now featuring paint!

 I never feed Canada's flying rats. Except this time. The chicks were nice, as was the obvious parental care.
 View from atop the mast of an ATB

 Looking down the barge coupling- the gear visible at the bottom is the tugboat's retractable coupling- by extending it out from the hull of the tug and turning it 90 degrees with the hydraulics, the tugboat becomes rigidly connected to the barge.
    Watching a thundehead anvil up right over our heads was neat, as was the 30 seconds of warning we had when it was time to go inside and button up the house.


 Other than that, I'm not quite recovered from my adventures last week, mentally, which means that getting out of here early next week is coming at a timely time.