I've got two cloth bound notebooks that I use for keeping maritime-related notes. The Class Book and the Dirty Book, They're each about 20-25 years old. The Class book has notes on everything I've ever taken a class in for work- everything from marlinespike seamanship to celestial navigation, cargo handling and damage control, to clamping off a cut blood vessel and calculating dosages for medication.
The dirty book is just that- it's a smaller pocket-sized book with coffee and oil stains, paint, handprints, blood, all sorts of contaminants on it- it's a book with notes for reference when I'm doing dirty work, which includes GPS and LORAN coordinates of bottom features in Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay, the numbers and bearings between buoys to get into several ports (for navigating in fog with a stopwatch and compass and no electronics or maybe just radar ), lists of taxi companies, the better sort of nudie bars in various ports, the phone numbers of people I've met over the years, directions to stores from docks all over the world, as well as notes on how to mix paint from scratch, start an inert-gas generator and troubleshoot the same, strip high viscosity oil from a ship using Framo pumps and nitrogen, valve sequences to isolate multiple fuel tanks across a mixmaster manifold, a list of bookstores all over the world, the numbers of different dockside phone booths, from the days before cell phones, the names of bartenders and managers at restaurants, things like that- the sort of knowledge that you need right away when you need it at all.
Combined, this represents the sum knowledge of reference-worthy knowledge that I've learned after 35 years of messing around in boats.
... and now I'm starting to make a 'clean' copy, something written neatly, and it's hard.
My hands ain't right, and they haven't been right since my early teens. Between getting my hands utterly Borked at 14, and both hands having a deep and persistent infection for 25 years (I am deeply allergic to fish oil, (yay, contact dermatitis!) and the resultant split open skin from being exposed to it all the time allowed for an infection that stayed with me, up until about 3 years ago and took over a year of hard work on the part of a doc to fix).
Well, anyways, my dashed hand-modeling career aspirations aside, I'm really unhappy with the discomfort when I write with a damn pen. I type very fast, up there with what a good secretary can do, which has been a great way to forget that writing sucks for me. Good training, anyhow.
'Good training' refers to anything that sucks at work. "Dammit,the shit tank is overflowing into the bilge, and the shut-off valve is behind a waterfall of poop water!" "That's some good training, there."
Still, all in all it actually IS good training- as a result of my taking up the mantle of scrivening my own work, I'm reviewing rules, tricks of the trade, laws and skills, many of which I no longer use in my current job- skills and minds rust as surely as metal.
Some head scratching too, from my notes. Why the hell was I so worried about rules regarding lighting on Dracones? What the fuck is a Dracone?
Well, there's some stuff like that. I can only guess that it was related to something we were doing in class.
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