Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mental Escape to Brazil (semi NSFW)

With one week to go, and this being an extra week of work (paying for more classes for the Mrs. and also for repairs to my new truck since I saw fit to put the front end of it through the rear end of a crossover SUV while I was home last),  I'm feeling fairly disgusted with life in general just now. SO, with that in mind, here's a little something to cheer everyone up and close out July on a high note. I give you this months' ladies from Brazil.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

working over

Staying for an extra week. I'm at anchor in NY, on my temporary home, and I had some m&m's after dinner, and am now nauseous. Awesome.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Allright, I'm going to say it. I LIKE Chris Christy. The Governor of NJ is plain spoken and opinionated, sure, but he's also the most honest politician with actual experience on the Republican billet.

Granted, I don't always agree with him on many issues like gun control and the expansion of federal powers, and those things are important to me, but I think the guy's a force for good, and has the balls to do what he thinks is correct rather than doing what he thinks will get him reelected. A lot of armchair quarterbacks didn't like that he appreciated Obama's assistance in helping his state through the Sandy disaster. Imagine that. President helps the guy help his constituents (maybe the most positive thing  Obamallamadingdong has done in 5 years), and people are pissed because Christy said thanks more than once.

 For the most part. I'm not easy to please, anyhow. The last politician I actually fully liked was Ray Flynn, former mayor of Boston and Ambassador to the Vatican. Another guy I didn't always agree with, but in whom I saw the ability to govern well. I see the same in Christy, and, although I don't think the majority is ready for a politician who says no to more free stuff, I'd vote for the guy and hope for the best on the gun issue.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Warning! May cause shrinkage

WIRECUTTER is the only guy I know who has taken full advantage of the internet.

 I've got a *very* high tolerance for stories of crazy and occasionally gross misadventures. Reading this one made my butt cheeks clench so hard I ripped the fabric right off my chair. Go see this!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Working in the generator house today, I managed to open up my leg pretty good at mid-shin. This was about 2 minutes after I managed to drop a cordless drill on the top of my head while trying to get it down from the top of a locker overhead. Well, these two things happening led to me cussing up a blue streak, getting downright old-fashioned. Luckily I come from Irish stock, so my giant head is like a block of wood. Big target, but tough. The shin on the other hand was less fun, and having to go back in the gen room to peel a reasonably-sized patch of skin was fairly gross.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


We had some serious thundersqualls cross the deck last night just prior to sailing from Bayonne NJ. Sitting in the house looking out the porthole, I could see and hear the hawsers groaning under the strain- the wind was coming right across our beam, and even with all our lines bowsed tight, the wind blew us 2 feet off the the dolphins and reduced the breasting lines to damn near 1/2 their normal diameter under that strain. As we are very lightly loaded for today's fuel run, the wind had a lot of hull to bite on- had we been loaded more deeply we would have shrugged off the weather nicely, but after the cold front came through with winds pushing 40kt, we sailed in between a couple of squalls and scooted over to a nearby lay berth to wait for our next discharge out in Stapleton Anchorage in NY later today. This morning was spent tidying up, of course. After it comes on to blow like that things get tossed around- laziness and inattention during weeks of calm always means a fresh supply of crap on deck that needs to get cleaned up. Amazing how much stuff accumulates even on a tidy deck.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


...with 2 D's, for a "Double Dose" of his pimping. But that's not what I'm talking about today.

Fisheye view of a simplified steamship bridge. Electronics were out of the frame here.

Engine Order Telegraph. A repeater on the Operating Platform told the engineers how many RPM's the capt. wanted.
30+ feet above the water, a ship can still get pooped- a giant wave pushed the stern of the ship underwater, allowing this hawser to float free and break its' lashings.

In 2001, God help us, I was finishing the sea-time requirements to upgrade my mariner credentials to work on merchant ships. I had over 2,000 days at sea already documented, but only 120 of those were on an unlimited (read: very big) tonnage ship. I needed 180 days to sit for the exam to become an Able Bodied Seaman. At the time this picture was taken, I was finishing my last week on board a ship that was working the west coast of the US, and it was heavy seas on a crank ship as a rule- an overly-stiff oil tanker that rolled deeply and at lightning speed in the trough of a swell.
    As I was yet to be rated Able on this ship, I was doing the usual chores of an Ordinary Seaman. I was the dumb laborer on board for 10 hours a day. Until I had an Able Seaman's rating and the 24-page Rating Forming Part of a Navigation Watch checkoffs signed by an officer, I couldn't stand watches.  I used my off time to learn how to stand cargo watches (turning valves on deck while oil and ballast were moving in and out) and steer the ship. My most proud moment as a sailor, from the day I first got paid for working on deck (age 7 or 8), was not the day I got my captain's license. It was the first time I stood a watch as quartermaster, the helmsman who steers the ship when a pilot is on board to bring the ship into port. Nothing made me more proud than the casual 'thank you, good job' the pilot threw over his shoulder as he went down the gangway. That was in Savannah GA, and over the next 8 years, I'd work with that pilot 30 or so more times, and we were on a friendly basis. I made it a point never to work one day over the minimum sea time I needed to upgrade my credentials, and thus in the next 8 years I'd work 4 months and take 2-3 months off at home, but in that time I'd be in classes for at least 4 weeks to upgrade my skills and licenses.
        Among the first major projects for that was to upgrade from Ordinary Seaman to Able Seaman. This is among the oldest and largely most traditional exams in a sailor's career, and the only practicum for Americans. Along with a standardized multiple-guess exam, the prospective AB must show his proficiency in marlinespike seamanship, tying any combination of knots on request and being able to splice a line and whip the ends while under a time constraint.
      Anyways, I passed and returned to a ship with the same company. By the end of my first voyage I was asked to become a permanent crewman, and had already made some lifelong friends. I would spend 7 more years on that ship.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Educate yourself!

Did you know that Brazil has beauty contests just like the ones in the US?  They take them far more seriously than we do, though. Every year, the whole country stops to choose the woman with the best looking backside in all the land.

 Say what you want about Brazil. It's corrupt and dangerous and exotic, but they've got their priorities set out pretty clearly.
I vote for the one with the amazing ass. 

(Photos) Fishing with the Notorious B.O.B, 2003

280lbs of sweaty HAWSEPIPER and 1000lbs of warm old herring. Smelled like a bible story.

smells like...what's the opposite of freedom?

So we burnt up a serpentine belt on one of our generators yesterday. No big deal, really, in the scheme of things, but it's unsettling.   The lights flicker and dim as the engine dies, alarms blare, e-lights come on, and the sacred AC unit stutters to a halt. The silence behind the whistles and beeps is unnerving. After years and years of spending most of my time on a boat, it's wicked hard to sleep if there isn't a generator roaring or bull gear rumbling. The silence taint natural.

 At any rate, hustling into the gen house and being rewarded with the stink of burning giant fan belt, (like gunpowder and vomit) to fire up the other gen and switch the breaker panel over, we then proceeded to stare at the alter of the HVAC unit while it spooled back up successfully, probably as a result of our saalaaming and making burnt offerings to the god of AC.

Monday, July 15, 2013

hilt deep I stab

So, I do like to look at nekkid ladies, admittedly. Thus, I subscribed to Jenny McCarthy's facebook page.

   Did you hear that she's going to be on the TV show "The View?" That's one of those shows, like Wheel Of Fortune, that idiots watch rather than the news. This is disturbing, in that Jenny is a funny but vapid fool with beautiful breasteses who is just smart enough to speak well but not intelligently, and she embraces weird-ass ideas like the whole thing about not vaccinating your kids because since everyone else does, you don't have to, and since she passed on antisocial tendencies in her gene line, expressed as autism, she magically made the connection between her kids having been vaccinated with having autism, even though the connection between the two was debunked 20 years ago.

 FWIW, I need to get home soon so I can purge my kid with tobacco smoke and sacrifices to Gilgamesh so he turns out to be a mighty warrior. There's actually a stronger correlation between that and health when compared to the connection between Vaccines and autism.

 At any rate, I sent a nice Facebook message to Ms. McCarthy, as she will soon be the only woman on "The View" who isn't a spavined freemartin, but yeah, I also chastized her for her 13th century views on medicine. Well, more precisely, I might have said something about her having helped kill more kids than SIDS, but whatever. Point is that I threw a brick of science through a very ignorant window, with prejudice. You're welcome.

halfway home

Tomorrow marks the halfway point of this trip. It's been...a little unpleasant physically, this being July and all. Meat for the blog grinder has been a little light, I know, these past 2 months. I do hate heat waves and being rained on, and that's pretty much been the story of these past few weeks, and that certainly doesn't help.

Other stuff impinges. My mom is sick, and on the mend, thankfully, but that's never easy when you're bobbing around out on the water. Driving in the rain last time I was home, I rear ended someone; first time I was ever at fault in an accident, and didn't that suck. My beautiful new truck needs a nose job, and lord knows when I'll have time for that. Anyhow, I'll try to get re-inspired here at some point.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The far side

If you remember Gary Larson's "The Far Side" than you're an old fart like me. If you don't remember, prepare to have your eyes opened and your sense of humor raised. You can find a good starting tribute to The Far Side HERE

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The stuff that nightmares are made of.

This is a lamprey, Petromyzon marinus and it's a parasite found in most every ocean. I don't know about you, but as an avid swimmer who doesn't like lakes because of the odd encounter with a leech,  I may never swim again after seeing this. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a puddle under my chair to clean up and a person to defriend on my Facebook account now that I can never sleep or take a bath again.
Seriously, God. WTF?

Monday, July 8, 2013

What if the American Revolution started today?

Boston – National Guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault weapons were ambushed by elements of a Para-military extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimate that 72 were killed and more than 200 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw.

 Speaking after the clash, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage declared that the extremist faction, which was made up of local citizens, has links to the radical right-wing tax protest movement.

Gage blamed the extremists for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal revenue offices. The governor, who described the group’s organizers as “criminals,” issued an executive order authorizing the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with the government’s efforts to secure law and order.
The military raid on the extremist arsenal followed wide-spread refusal by the local citizenry to turn over recently outlawed assault weapons.

Gage issued a ban on military-style assault weapons and ammunition earlier in the week. This decision followed a meeting in early this month between government and military leaders at which the governor authorized the forcible confiscation of illegal arms.

One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out that “none of these people would have been killed had the extremists obeyed the law and turned over their weapons voluntarily.”
Government troops initially succeeded in confiscating a large supply of outlawed weapons and ammunition. However, troops attempting to seize arms and ammunition in Lexington met with resistance from heavily-armed extremists who had been tipped off regarding the government’s plans.
During a tense standoff in the Lexington town park, National Guard Colonel Francis Smith, commander of the government operation, ordered the armed group to surrender and return to their homes. The impasse was broken by a single shot, which was reportedly fired by one of the right-wing extremists.

Eight civilians were killed in the ensuing exchange.

Ironically, the local citizenry blamed government forces rather than the extremists for the civilian deaths. Before order could be restored, armed citizens from surrounding areas had descended upon the guard units. Colonel Smith, finding his forces over matched by the armed mob, ordered a retreat.
Governor Gage has called upon citizens to support the state/national joint task force in its effort to restore law and order. The governor also demanded the surrender of those responsible for planning and leading the attack against the government troops.
Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock, who have been identified as “ringleaders” of the extremist faction, remain at large.

And this fellow Americans, is how the American Revolution began, April 20, 1775.

 On July 4th, 1776 these same extremists signed the Declaration of Independence, pledging to each other and their countrymen their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. Many of them lost everything, including their families and their lives over the course of the next few years.
Lest we forget…

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  1. Listen my children and you shall hear
    Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
    On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
    Hardly a man is now alive
    Who remembers that famous day and year.
    He said to his friend, “If the British march
    By land or sea from the town to-night,
    Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
    Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
    One if by land, and two if by sea;
    And I on the opposite shore will be,
    Ready to ride and spread the alarm
    Through every Middlesex village and farm,
    For the country folk to be up and to arm.”
    Then he said “Good-night!” and with muffled oar
    Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
    Just as the moon rose over the bay,
    Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
    The Somerset, British man-of-war;
    A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
    Across the moon like a prison bar,
    And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
    By its own reflection in the tide.
    Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
    Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
    Till in the silence around him he hears
    The muster of men at the barrack door,
    The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
    And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
    Marching down to their boats on the shore.
    Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
    By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
    To the belfry chamber overhead,
    And startled the pigeons from their perch
    On the sombre rafters, that round him made
    Masses and moving shapes of shade,–
    By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
    To the highest window in the wall,
    Where he paused to listen and look down
    A moment on the roofs of the town
    And the moonlight flowing over all.
    Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
    In their night encampment on the hill,
    Wrapped in silence so deep and still
    That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
    The watchful night-wind, as it went
    Creeping along from tent to tent,
    And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”
    A moment only he feels the spell
    Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
    Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
    For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
    On a shadowy something far away,
    Where the river widens to meet the bay,–
    A line of black that bends and floats
    On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.
    Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
    Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
    On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
    Now he patted his horse’s side,
    Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
    Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
    And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
    But mostly he watched with eager search
    The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
    As it rose above the graves on the hill,
    Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
    And lo! as he looks, on the belfry’s height
    A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
    He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
    But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
    A second lamp in the belfry burns.
    A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
    A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
    And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
    Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
    That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
    The fate of a nation was riding that night;
    And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
    Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
    He has left the village and mounted the steep,
    And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
    Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
    And under the alders that skirt its edge,
    Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
    Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.
    It was twelve by the village clock
    When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
    He heard the crowing of the cock,
    And the barking of the farmer’s dog,
    And felt the damp of the river fog,
    That rises after the sun goes down.
    It was one by the village clock,
    When he galloped into Lexington.
    He saw the gilded weathercock
    Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
    And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
    Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
    As if they already stood aghast
    At the bloody work they would look upon.
    It was two by the village clock,
    When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
    He heard the bleating of the flock,
    And the twitter of birds among the trees,
    And felt the breath of the morning breeze
    Blowing over the meadow brown.
    And one was safe and asleep in his bed
    Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
    Who that day would be lying dead,
    Pierced by a British musket ball.
    You know the rest. In the books you have read
    How the British Regulars fired and fled,—
    How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
    >From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
    Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
    Then crossing the fields to emerge again
    Under the trees at the turn of the road,
    And only pausing to fire and load.
    So through the night rode Paul Revere;
    And so through the night went his cry of alarm
    To every Middlesex village and farm,—
    A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
    A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
    And a word that shall echo for evermore!
    For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
    Through all our history, to the last,
    In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
    The people will waken and listen to hear
    The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
    And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Sitting at a lay berth in Brooklyn, I've been looking out over the water and land around me for much of the evening, watching a series of thundersqualls go by. In that time, the airports have diverted traffic from one side of us to the other; at sunset, I watched the planes running up my port side about 5 miles off... now they're running athwart the stern, lined up in the darkness as no more than a series of lights, each one representing hundreds of lives... but those people I can't see, and around me, here at a bend in the Gowanus basin, surrounded by Brooklyn on 3 sides and Staten Island in the distance closing the box, I get an inkling of how New Yorkers survive the closed in spaces- their anonymity comes from being one of many in the crowds, but in places like this, despite being surrounded by millions of people at close quarters, I can't see a single body... at this moment, I am alone, or, as alone as I can be, anyhow, considering where I am. I guess this is solitude, New York style. It's pretty solitary out there, surprisingly enough. I prefer the country kind of solitude, for it's wholeness- here, the buzz of humanity fades into a background noise that I can't hear except when I focus and pick out the hum of vehicles and machines in the distance. My mind interprets this as a solitary sense, yet I know that this is an amalgam of the tides of humanity, an artifact of my coping mechanism for being surrounded by about 7 million too many warm bodies at close quarters.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

keep calm and look at some Brazilian women (semi NSFW)

Well, I had a nice post ready to write, but then I went to bed this afternoon after spending all day baking on a hot steel deck, only to have a tugboat moor to us out in the anchorage, and spend the night smashing off the hull with every wave, directly under my now-sleepless ass. With much wailing and gnashing of teeth I managed to not seek out a masthead and a high-powered rifle to lay out mine vengeance. So, yeah, I need this too. Here's some nice Brazilian girls to look at:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


I'm out of seclusion again!   After a *Very* demanding few weeks of spending time in a remote cabin on the water, intense two-a-day's of heavy liver exercise and also some actual work here and there, I'm back on board the Big Metal Monastery and adjusting to sobriety and celibacy again.

 It was a big mix of ups and downs, so I'm ready for some unmemorable and unremarkable days at sea.