Saturday, August 30, 2014


Bless the Seven Mad gods of the Sea, for we have been bestowed the rarest of rare gems: a quet weekend alongside a pier that allows shore access.

 I've been walking until my legs are sore, enjoying the sights and smells of New York. I've also been able to check off the following 'must see' things one looks for while in The Big Apple:

Down n' out mime? Check.

Sassy Large Black Woman looking directly at my crotch while asking if I've got the time? Check.

Arab child running into traffic, causing car to lock up brakes in a screeching halt? Check. Angry Arab father screaming at car for driving in the road his child desired to dart across? Also check.

 Late-30's women with bowl haircuts referring to their awful little dogs as their 'kids?" Oh, mais oui, check.

 Panhandler with sneakers which are more expensive than mine? Si.

400lb cop struggling to get out of his cruiser in front of the Italian Ice place? Yah.

2 old Italian guys nose to nose, talking loudly, hands flailing wildly? Check. Also, awesome.

 Only thing I missed out on on this morning's stereotype walk was an aggressive guy in a tank top yelling "Hey I'm walking here!" at traffic,

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Detox, but for reals, yo.

Man, I kinda feel shitty.

   I've been back at HAWSEPIPER's Afloat Global HQ/ recovery clinic for about 48 hours, and I...feel...rough.

    This is what happens when a recovering fat guy goes off the wagon for a week, I guess. Last week at home, I ate like a king, drank like a fish, exercised not at all and slept... well, not much, really. I packed a lot of living into one week, and Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife and I were glued shoulder to shoulder most of that time, so she's feeling it as well. I'm logy, grumpy and my energy level is in the toilet.

 Awesome time, totally worth it.

 But, back to it. I dragged my ass through my Day One Aboard exercises last night, even though it was Day Two, and it was a simple shake-out-the-cobwebs routine- an hour's walk around the deck, interspersed with pushups, situps and some curls with 30lb dumbells- not even enough to get me sore, but enough to get the lead out, you know?  And sure, I feel OK, now that I'm on the far side of a 6-hour nap since then, but I'm still not energetic.

 I need another day or two I guess, but some of that is, of course, because even though I poisoned myself for a week at home, it WAS only a week, and for a Family Man, that's not enough time for the Man... or the Family, really. My kid was super-excited to have me home, and we only had limited time together, as he's already in school, and the wife and I had to use school hours to run errands and do the hundred things that must be done when the breadwinner is home to win bread. My bank account is a smoking hole, for certain, and it's probably a good time to buy stock in Home Depot. Seriously, considering my affinity for good scotch and bad beer, you'd think I'd have spent all my discretionary money on consumables, but nope, Home Depot's garden section kicked my ass. On the upside, my patio is well on the way to looking more like an oasis, and less like a concrete slab with a bug screen around it.

    Anyhow, I managed not to wake up with a hangover during the week, which I credit to my kid's presence, as I don't need him to see me like that, but it certainly wasn't for the lack of trying. Once he was in bed, I retreated to the patio to watch the bass jumping in my pond and enjoy the breeze through my small collection of palms and Bird-Of-Paradise plants with the Mrs, pretty much as a nightly ritual. If there's any moment more sweet and homesickness-inducing, I couldn't say. There was a decent moon most nights, no rain (some heat lightning and distant thunder), and my neighbors on the far side of the pond are older than Moses, so they seem to go to bed with the sun.
 Yup, altogether a great week, but not enough to recharge my batteries to 100% because it was only a week, and I've overworked myself this year. Still not recovered from that, mentally, I guess. When I go home next, I'm going home for my full allotted time, and I plan to cry havoc and let slip my personal dogs of war then, in an effort to come back here the fucking ray of sunshine that is my usual self.

 On the upside, it looks like upon completion of our next cargo, we might get a morning off and shore access, to boot, so yours truly can get a decent 6-7 mile walk in and hypercaffeinate in an effort to get my cobwebs cleared and undo the damage done by a week of good livin.'

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Home for a few days. I'll be back at work much too quickly. Stand by.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Old photos

Here's some old photos from the wayback machine, featuring yours truly.

Friday, August 15, 2014

In Which I Solve Problems to Everyone's Satisfaction

As you may have heard, there was recent publicity  around an unskilled yet opinionated writer's assertion that women's plumbing supplies (tampons, pads and that sort of thing) should be subsidized by the Gubmint, as they were a basic human right because feelings.

 You can read a more exacting and thoughtful synopsis here.

"We need to move beyond the stigma of “that time of the month” – women’s feminine hygiene products should be free for all, all the time."

 I dunno. This is what I hear. 

 Anyhow, I have a solution. 

  Look at the surface area of the average pad or tampon. Plenty of surface area.   So you sell off advertising space, and using hypoallergenic ink, Stayfree and Co. can write off transport costs, AND IT WON'T COST TAXPAYER DOLLARS to do so. 

 Anyhow, what a shame, to let all that marketable advertising space go to waste. Think about it. Everyone's going to get on board, because it's for the children, or something. 

I can see it now:

"Trust Dr. Scholls"
"Radio Shack: We're still a thing."
"If you can read this, you could be reading COSMO"
"Brought to you by Disney."

Problem solved. 


So how bad is the manpower shortage in the maritime industry?

 It's bad enough that my employer is paying me my relatively princely wage to fill in a job as an Ordinary Seaman, an entry-level position in the maritime world.

 I'm working on a tugboat, something I never really got to do.  You see, I'm a tankerman, and paid my dues in a ship's engine room before breaking out onto the deck of a tanker, and then I came here to HAWSEPIPER'S Afloat Global HQ/center for sexual deprivation, skipping my employer's usual advancement route aboard their fleet of tugs.

 So, yeah. They're paying me my rate to do a job that normally pays substantially less, because they don't have the people to fill the spots. I'm doing the job of a raw greenhorn.

   No one wants unskilled labor on a boat, so companies hire the bare minimum of shoemakers and then many hope to promote from within. BUT, when there's a gap between fieldable employees and minimum crew figures for a vessel to leave the dock, stuff like this happens.

 And this is why I'm shouting out to the world that if you're out of work and worried, contact me. If you're unemployed and turning your nose up at a $50,000 a year job, you're obviously not THAT worried.

Monday, August 11, 2014

no time

Crew change tomorrow, so it's pretty busy tonight. No time to post. Here, look at this until I get back.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Blood sugar must be low. I'm crazy grumpy, and no reason to be. It's a gorgeous day, easily one of the nicest of the summer. We're working, but tomorrow looks like it will be easier, and enough time to get to the store, God willing, to load up on frozen meat, canned goods and soda for next month. I'm out of here in a few days, but got talked into working over, doing an extra week on a POS barge that we can't keep a crew on (on account of it being a POS, as you might surmise). Still, I'm happy to be working for a company that ASKS the questions like "Hey, could you work over on the (name redacted)?" rather than, you know, laying guys off every time the CEO gets shitfaced drunk and drunk dials the dispatcher, which is the reputed MO of another company operating here in NY.

 Things are good. Why am I grumpy? Probably because I'm still going to be here when I COULD beexploring the neighborhood around Heaven's Waiting Room, and Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife is waiting for me at home, too, as she doesn't like exploring without me. She's in a funny situation. Being a latina in south Florida, and having a damn heavy accent, lots of folks switch to Spanish when they talk to her, and then she gets the dog-hearing-strange-noise look, as, in fact, she doesn't speak spanish, but its' latin roots allows her to understand about 1/3 of what's being said.

 Ah, the pleasures of marrying a foreigner. It makes for fantastic humor. It's damn eerie that my life at home feels so much like this:

Still, those sorts of moments are exactly why I'm a little homesick, I guess. After all these years, sure it still happens.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Get a job!

I don’t often talk about it here, but I spend time each month helping people to get jobs on boats and ships. 
     Many are guys in their 30's and up, who are looking for a fresh start in a new career. Some lucky few are young kids in the late teens and early 20's, looking for direction and a more exciting and lucrative trade than working in an office.  
   The one thing both groups have in common is a desire to do something meaningful, exciting and exceptional that actually pays well. 

The maritime industry is in dire need of level-headed individuals looking for a trade or career. As most of you pros already know, it's not so easy to get your first job. Once you've got some experience and have advanced yourself out of entry-level, you'll never be out of work for long.

       Unless you’re a Legacy employee, and have a father who’s in the trade, navigating the overly-complex application and credentialing process to become a professional mariner is a convoluted procedure, with interlocking trip hazards that can make simply getting a job on a boat a real pain in the ass. Even with assistance, it takes time to find your first job, but after that, you’ll rarely be out of work again, especially if you advance yourself beyond the basic skills acquired at the entry level. 

Who We Are
      Merchant mariners are the civilians who work on boats and ships. We’re the deckhands, engineers, cooks and officers who work on vessels such as tugboats, oilfield supply boats, ferries, construction vessels, oil tankers, container ships and car carriers. We even work as contractors aboard ships carrying goods for the military.

This is a ship simulator. If you advance, you will be spending time in one of these.

      Some mariners sleep in their own beds every night, some stay on their vessels for a few days, or a few weeks. Some ships travel the world endlessly, and you might work for 3, 4 or 6 months on board… and the one constant with most of these jobs is that you will only work half the time. If you work for 2 weeks on a tug, you can expect to have 2 weeks’ vacation before you go back. There’s no need to work more than 26 weeks a year… unless you want to, and make overtime.
   The pay is good. You should earn somewhere around $45-50,000 in your first year, with full benefits in most jobs. Smaller ferries and daywork boats pay less, and where you choose to work matters. Ocean jobs pay more. Working in the Great Lakes or on the western rivers pays less. There are tradeoffs. You will have purchase power, have opportunities to travel, and will work a lot less than your peers. There is also unlimited opportunity for advancement. Your first job may require you to paint the bilge of a tugboat, but there’s nothing stopping you from training and upgrading your licensure in between cruises to eventually become captain of some of the largest ships in the world.
      A great number of Americans come into the maritime trades as a second career. I know exactly how this works, because I was one of them. With over $100,000 in student loan debt and zero interest in staying on the original career path I chose, I got my first job on a rusty old oil tanker in 2001, scraping rust and painting the engine room for 4 months. I quickly advanced, but I made several lifelong friends on that first trip and got to explore cities and towns along both coasts of the US. If you hate your current job or just feel like you’re going through the motions, I know what that’s like. I’ve been there.  

 To qualify to work as a professional mariner, you need to run a gauntlet of paperwork that includes dealing with the Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security to receive credentials, and you will have a medical exam and drug screening, and will probably need to take a 5-day firefighting and water survival class that will be more fun than the job itself. This process is NOT free. Many people acquire training and credentials while working their regular job. You will make your money back in your first week.

 If you think that this sounds interesting and want to learn more, contact me. I can be reached at oceanpulsemarine (At) If you're looking for a career change, a backup job skillset, or a way to work part-time to support your full time lifestyle as a bum or professional traveler, Pick Up Artist, semi-pro basketweaver, amateur gynecologist or surfer, this is a job that makes those things possible. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014



 Did you know that 'The New Yankee Workshop" episodes are all on Youtube? See you in 6 weeks.

Welcome to Heaven