Friday, December 30, 2016

welcome to the shit show

It's been a busy few days. We've got some end-of-year accounting being done, because there's plenty of ships trying to get fueled with those suwheet 2016 dollars, and also plenty dragging their feet, running on fumes, trying to get the next fuel bill to show up in 2017.
      Our oil suppliers are throwing their inventories out there, which means that we're blending fuels in our tanks, making up the correct specifications for the customers. This represents a couple of extra steps and some calculations on our part- no problem for experienced hands, but new to new guys it's a new level of risk, a taboo magic to be feared and loathed. Takes a year or two to get comfortable with it.

 I've got a green tankerman filling in for my right hand man this week. Poor kid has the permanently-startled look of someone who is working way over his head what with the pressing workload and the doing things he has heard of but never actually seen done.
 I'm handholding where I can, but ultimately he'll be fine... except for last night, when a borderline abusive Black Gang (engineering crew) on a container ship really just shit all over him and then made a hash of his paperwork.

       New guys can either be mild as milk or explosively temperamental when  dealing with a hostile situation with a foreign ship crew. My new guy is a marine, and can control his temper. He'll have to learn with time when to be a bear.

       End result though, the guy had a brutal night, and I don't like learning that my people have been abused. Abusing my people is a right that I reserve exclusively for myself. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I missed that too, dammit

Welp, halfway today. I'm midway through my latest tour here on the Big Metal Monastery, and that's a good thing.

 The newest member of the B family, the son of my oldest nephew, was born a few weeks ago. He's the first of the newest generation of the B family. Although my mom was traditionally the MC of the B family get-togethers, her frail health and advanced age have brought my oldest brother and his wife into the forefront, taking over. It was my oldest brother's firstborn who is the new dad.
 Anyhow, Christmas Day, my mom was well enough to travel to my brother's for dinner and presents, and to meet and hold her great-grandson for the first time.
 Not a dry eye in the house. I certainly was dealing with a suddenly dusty room when I saw the pictures. My own branch of the B family is up there this week, taking part in the festivities, too, so the whole group has time to see each other.

 I'll make my way up there again come Feb, God willing.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016!

As I write this, I've got a 'virgin hot toddy' steaming next to my mouse, and, while it tastes as vile as it's alcohol-laden-counterpart, I can attest that it does knock me on my ass and make me sweat and crap my brains out, as does its' more traditional counterpart. Hopefully, along the way it works towards ameliorating my cold.

 As I write, in a warm office, with my computer, which I use to keep in touch with the entire world, I'm feeling pretty fuckin' blessed. 2016 killed off some nice folks, some bad ones, too, but for me, it's been a good year. Some folks are dealing with the 'what do we do now?' feeling of knowing that next year they don't have much of a voice within the federal government. It feels shitty to acknowledge that. I spent the last 8 years hiding my light under a basket, I empathize. Today, being the loudmouth that I am, while I'm an admitted small r Republican, a Reagan republican with libertarian leanings, I'm optimistic for the corrective measures that seem to be in place. We have an opportunity to have people who actually DO represent my interests in our government, and, God willing, they might get some things done. Let's hope, anyhow.

           So, tomorrow's Christmas Day, and, while I am working, we've got a decent schedule. We've got a small cargo parcel to load at 0200, and hopefully we'll be done by noon, and can sit and cook a massive and coma-inducing Christmas dinner after. Discharge isn't until sunup on the 26th. I've been eating healthy for a few weeks now, and am looking forward to ruining that temporarily.

          My first missed holidays started when I was 18, when I was pumping gas on Thanksgiving and Christmas days.  I was 18 and single, and the manager of the gas station rightfully put me on there 6am to 6pm, as I was single and childless. Still sucked though. I missed Christmas Day the next year too, although I caught Thanksgiving, and after all, I was home that night after 6pm sometime.
        3 years later, I spend Christmas in Blue Creek, a Mayan village deep in the rain forest of Belize, one of the last communities to make contact with the modern world. It was inspiring, and made me appreciate the true spirit of Christmas, as our day was focused on the people around us, and the meaning behind the season.

 Over the intervening years, I've missed probably 2/3 of my Christmas Day celebrations with family. I don't begrudge it. In my 20's and early 30's I was single, and, being childless, it made sense for shipmates to have the time to be with their loved ones. These days, older if not wiser, and with both wife and Child, I have a good job, but I only get Christmas with my family once every 3 years. On the upside, next year is my year, and when it does happen, I make a very big deal about it and enjoy it, and, in the 'off' years, my nuclear family celebrates when we can. Whether it's early December or mid-January, we have another Christmas day for us, and we enjoy it and make it work. This year, we did Christmas 2 weeks early, and, although my wife and kid are now with family up north to celebrate the day itself, I got to enjoy my Christmas, and got to church and confession and all that when I could, early on, exchanged presents (well, most. I always reserve some things for them to open on the day itself), and generally, made it work for us.

 So, tomorrow I plan to eat myself into a coma, and while I can't be with family or get to attend mass, I'll have a nice day, God willing, and that's enough for me. On ships and tugs, it often falls to the captain to ensure that Christmas is still special, even if it just means a good dinner. I was lucky enough to have a good example set by my early captains, who always ensured that there was a wrapped present for everyone, decorations, a tree and a massive dinner.

Our Bosun, Christmas 2008, aboard the SS NEW RIVER

Whether you're at home or at work, at sea or on land, I wish you all a Merry Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Righteousness for Rent

So, we were at a lay berth last night, so my partner and I out here headed ashore for dinner.

 We're in a healthy living phase right now here at HAWSEPIPER'S Afloat Global HQ/Muscle Factory.  As such, we're eating clean as we can.

 So, after some days cooped up, we went out last night ant tried a healthy restaurant.

Nature's Grill is a New York company that sells healthy food. That's what I can say about that. It's not great food, and it's not cheap food, but they sell food. 

 I had a bowl of veggies and teryaki chicken. Big B had a wrap of some sort. We had protein smoothies to drink, being on the clock and all. 

      Being curious, I asked if the place had a breakdown of the nutritional content or calorie count for the items. They do not. Many of the other healthy-eating burger joints and hipster vegan feedlots in the area do. Militantly, in fact.
       3/4 of the way through my dinner, an intestinal  cramp sent me to the head. That's a bad sign, not being able to finish a meal before it pulls the eject handle. While I went to the restroom to take an urgent, ah, rest, shall we say, I had a moment to think about what I bought. 

 I bought a feeling more than a dinner last night. I bought a feeling that I was eating healthy, that I was doing my body a solid, so to speak, looking out for it, irrespective of any digestive issues. There wasn't any substance to the feeling, of course, and it's subjective, but it's an obvious selling point, that they're selling a lifestyle item. When I worked out the calorie content of my healthy-seeming meal, which contained no real heavy carbs or bread or fats beyond the cooking oil, it was quite high- I barely made my dietary goal for the day. My plate, full of food that normally is fed to my food for THEIR food, was a letdown. Hot sauce helped. 
     The walk back helped. The day prior, I had walked 7 miles and was still feeling it yesterday a bit in my feet. It was a nice night, and  other than a vague concern that I'd need to use the can on the way, pleasant if cold. 
    We made it back, and after an hour or two, the farting started. 

 Oh my God. It was funny at first. But it wouldn't stop. Both of us. It was like two anxious ships passing in the fog, over and over. I wanted to hang one of those stinky trees for your car from the back of my belt. 

It's still happening today. I walked 5 miles this morning, putt-putting like an old motorboat. Luckily, in Brooklyn, it already smells mostly bad anyhow.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Hawsepiper and the Real Model

So, being aware that I'm too goddamn fat and too prone to enjoying fine food, fine whisky and fine sitting on my ass, while I was home, last couple of times, I started building a new boat.

 If you know me in the real world, you know that I used to build skiffs and runabouts in my mom's garage. Some I sold, none I kept. The largest one, I held one of the best boozefests in my party history for a turnover party, where 12 people helped me turn the boat over, w/ blocks and tackle, as I built the hull upside down and spun it over to finish the interior. In the end, that boat was my greatest failure. I ended up chainsawing it to clear space in the garage for my brother to restore a SWEET 1971 Olds Cutlsss 442.
     At any event, in recent memory, I haven't built shit, so I starting building a little boat.

CNC precut panels and assorted materials

Crash Bulkhead and the display cradle (finished in a basic brown paint I had on hand). 

Frames. The sticks at the bottom will be used as supports to rest on the bench when placed, to align the frames

The keel, including shaft, sitting on the Mommobile. Fucker's big for a toy, isn't it!

mounting frames on the keel

aligning in 3 dimensions requires bubble levels, emory boards, superglue and superglue accelerator, and epoxy.

hull, slightly modified off-plan, w/ fantail stern. Thank God some key parts were precut!

hull and stern detail. shaft and stuffing box were a bitch to epoxy in.

frame, sitting to dry. I had to arc my booze nad beer bottles for 12 whole hours while the epoxy was setting. Kept me paying attention. 

Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife has been enjoying that this work has kept me sober and available during daylight hours, although she has NOT been a big fan of me sneaking out to my Fine work bench in the evenings to 'set one last piece to cure overnight.'
       Such fuckery has not gone unpunished. I got to enjoy sitting and watching her watch Brazilian TV for an hour or two on a couple of occasions, with a 'hey, I was waiting for you and got sucked into this show' after.
 So it goes.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

much stuff

Lots of things going on, most of which are not interesting. That's about right for most of us, yes?

         The EL FARO wheelhouse voice recordings were made public. If you can stand to read them, I suggest trying, but be warned, the last few minutes, well,it's an absolute heartbreak, and you may get something in your eyes, chances are- and whatever the court of public opinion may say about the Captain's decision to be where he was when the ship went down, the transcript will surely show you the man himself, who died a hero.

"Captain Davison is the only Master in recent memory who – as far as the evidence can tell – died at his post, on the bridge of his ship, for the sole reason of ensuring that the last remaining crew member under his direct command had a chance of survival. The facts clearly show that Captain Davidson acted with Physical Courage on the morning of October 1st, 2015."

 You can read that op-ed piece HERE. 

 Here's a link to the transcript.

I figure better men then I can comment on this on maritime fora. Regardless, for those so inclined, prayers for the repose of the soul of the captain and his good crew are reasonable.


 Here on board the HQ, we're dealing with the first true cold snap of the season. I woke up at 2320 to one cargo pump down (gelled fuel, maybe, or whatever, but no pump), and our hydraulics frozen at several key outlets- a capstan and the swing motor on our deck crane. Restoring motion in a limited way is an unpleasant exercise, but after 30 minutes, successful enough to keep working.

Tough night. First of many, I suppose. So it goes.

I want to share an obituary from a guy who came from a town close to where i grew up. It may be the greatest obituary I've ever read. Certainly made me wish I had met the guy.

Irishman Dies from Stubbornness, Whiskey

Chris Connors died, at age 67, after trying to box his bikini-clad hospice nurse just moments earlier. Ladies man, game slayer, and outlaw Connors told his last inappropriate joke on Friday, December 9, 2016, that which cannot be printed here. Anyone else fighting ALS and stage 4 pancreatic cancer would have gone quietly into the night, but Connors was stark naked drinking Veuve in a house full of friends and family as Al Green played from the speakers. The way he died is just like he lived: he wrote his own rules, he fought authority and he paved his own way. And if you said he couldn't do it, he would make sure he could.

Most people thought he was crazy for swimming in the ocean in January; for being a skinny Irish Golden Gloves boxer from Quincy, Massachusetts; for dressing up as a priest and then proceeding to get into a fight at a Jewish deli. Many gawked at his start of a career on Wall Street without a financial background - but instead with an intelligent, impish smile, love for the spoken word, irreverent sense of humor, and stunning blue eyes that could make anyone fall in love with him.

As much as people knew hanging out with him would end in a night in jail or a killer screwdriver hangover, he was the type of man that people would drive 16 hours at the drop of a dime to come see. He lived 1000 years in the 67 calendar years we had with him because he attacked life; he grabbed it by the lapels, kissed it, and swung it back onto the dance floor. At the age of 26 he planned to circumnavigate the world - instead, he ended up spending 40 hours on a life raft off the coast of Panama. In 1974, he founded the Quincy Rugby Club. In his thirties, he sustained a knife wound after saving a woman from being mugged in New York City. He didn't slow down: at age 64, he climbed to the base camp of Mount Everest. Throughout his life, he was an accomplished hunter and birth control device tester (with some failures, notably Caitlin Connors, 33; Chris Connors, 11; and Liam Connors, 8).

He was a rare combination of someone who had a love of life and a firm understanding of what was important - the simplicity of living a life with those you love. Although he threw some of the most memorable parties during the greater half of a century, he would trade it all for a night in front of the fire with his family in Maine. His acute awareness of the importance of a life lived with the ones you love over any material possession was only handicapped by his territorial attachment to the remote control of his Sonos music.

Chris enjoyed cross dressing, a well-made fire, and mashed potatoes with lots of butter. His regrets were few, but include eating a rotisserie hot dog from an unmemorable convenience store in the summer of 1986.

Of all the people he touched, both willing and unwilling, his most proud achievement in life was marrying his wife Emily Ayer Connors who supported him in all his glory during his heyday, and lovingly supported him physically during their last days together.

Absolut vodka and Simply Orange companies are devastated by the loss of Connors. A "Celebration of Life" will be held during Happy Hour (4 p.m.) at York Harbor Inn on Monday, December 19.

In lieu of flowers, please pay open bar tab.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

the return

 Well, I'm back. Another month here on board, and Christmas and the Holidays will come and go while I'm here. So it goes. Part of the job. I'll have Christmas next year.

 I spent very little time online while I was home, other than occasionally trolling people on fecesbook while on the toilet or drinking, so I've got hours of catching up to do.

 Anyhow, I've been enjoying 'Bertstrips' recently. You can see some more examples HERE:  

 I'll be back after I enjoy some fake news and visit pages of the folks who I like to read here in my little corner of the world.

 You should too.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Gearing up

Welp, time to head back north and get to work. I'll be leaving later today, to spend the night at a hotel prior to crew change.

 I'm dealing with my first hangover in years, modest, actually, and almost gone by late morning, but still a great reminder that I'm not as young as I was, and also that I should make sure that it's years before the next one, too. How I managed that is another story for another day, except that it's dumb and boring.

 I haven't worn long pants or anything other than tshirts at home or polo shirts when out (I tend to dress nice. Being fat, it's too easy to cross the line from casual dress to slovenly dress), and shorts, obviously, though it got cool here one night. Must have been 68.
 Something tells me I'm going to miss that.

Saturday, December 3, 2016


I'm at home, decompressing. Back soon. \

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Forever Yours, Literally Hitler

It's been a fun week on the internuts. I'm shedding 'friends' on fecesbook like a dog's fur in springtime what with my shitposting and all. It's been a great distraction in my offtime here as I wind down another tour at HAWSEPIPER's Afloat Global HQ/hostel for indigent mariners.

         Very patient friends from my days as a younger, less relentlessly sane man have been shitposting all over the place, themselves. This political season has really brought about feces-slinging in epic proportions by the left, and that includes my leftist leftover college friends, too.

 It took a little while for someone to summon Hitler at the Republican du jour, but once it got started, Hitler has been one busy dead asshole.

 Comparing a Republican politician to Hitler has enjoyed a time-honored tradition among leftists, turns out, since Hitler was actually still alive.  This is actually a twofer- where people Summon Hitler for political shits and grins, generally they also declare the same person as being fascist. It's sort of like finding douchebags in Starbucks. You can find douchebags and you can find a Starbucks, but generally, once you've identified one, you'll take note of the other being there and mention it.

    In the early days, before Literally Hitler, back when mankind's thinking set were not a bunch of under-educated women who studied Women's Studies and Marx, but have  have never read Euclid and the fathers of Western philosophy, summoning Hitler was done specifically and consciously as a shocking act, rather than so much shit-flinging, which is where it stands today.
     Oh, politically, it's all the same stew, I suppose, but I might be more inclined to be offended by a retired combat veteran who parachuted into Anzio calling me names, rather than some midwit twat whose idea of struggle is leaving comments on Huffpo about LuLuLemon not having stretch pants in dumpy sizes. Someone with no skin in the game calling me names is just a joke, far as I'm concerned, and boy don't that piss 'em off too, when they can't get traction by calling you a name they know is a bad name. The whole point is to shock your opponent into silence, thereby 'winning' your argument because your opponent gives up trying to talk sense to your retarded ass.

        At any rate, although calling someone Hitler-like is actually more powerful than the more pervasive and laughable Literally Hitler of today, it's what we have, so it's what I'll deal with.

    As I mentioned above, summoning Hitler has been carried out since Hitler was a pup. FDR himself, the fatherless cocksucker who opened concentration camps in America to imprison Japanese families during the war, FDR was the father of Literally Hitler. FDR might even be the first Shitposter of legendary fame. At this time, Hitler was still alive and the US was not yet at war with Germany.

      Since Barry Goldwater's failed Presidential run,, every Republican President has enjoyed many fine opportunities to be accused of being Literally Hitler. That's 52 years, HALF A CENTURY, of Literally Hitler.

       So why doesn't this seem to be working well for Allfather Trump?

   I can hear our generators running in my stateroom here at the HQ. I can't actually HEAR them, unless I focus on it, though. It's not that they're quiet. They're not really. I'm just habituated to the white noise. When I go home, the silence of a house with no generator running is shockingly silent, and the ringing in my ears, fish jumping in my pond, and occasional sound of the air handler kicking on are startling.
   It's the same with cries of fascism and Literally Hitler.

 Trump is Literally Hitler. Mittens Romney of the Magic Underwear fame, the man whose role model was Mr. Rogers (PBUH), was Literally Hitler. (Binders Full of Women FTW!). John McCain? Literally Hitler. Bush Jr, Bush Sr? Literally Hitler, Literally Hitler. Hell, Senator Robert Byrd, an ACTUAL KKK member, got in detail about Bush being Literally Hitler, accusing him of being both the man himself AND Herman Goering! Quite a feat, indeed.
       Ronald Reagan was an especially noisome case of Literally Hitler. Reagan was Literally Hitler for getting the US involved in the forever war in Grenada, which no one can find on a map without help. Reagan was accused of being Hitler more than any other president in US history, as were all the members of his cabinet. We effectively reached Peak Hitler to date with President Reagan, but who can say what tomorrow will hold?

Under Reagan, we achieved Peak Hiter

    After Peak Hitler, there was a plateauing and a decrease in incidents of Summoning Hitler, although the practice by no means went away.

So where are we after 50 something years of Literally Hitler?  Not even the most reviled Ronald Reagan (PBUH) declared the 4th reich. No concentration camps since we kicked Democrat FDR's shameful legacy into the shitheap of history where it belongs. No thousand-year-reich, unless you count the 1,000 years of debt proposed by effete manlet Robert Reich's ideas for how to stimulate the economy by euthanizing it.

   So, despite the fact that after 50+ years of flinging the same old feces during their daily 2-minutes' hate, the shit no longer sticks, leftists are still dropping trou in search of ammo for the next handful, regardless of results. I interpret this to mean that there is no feedback loop, and even though summoning Hitler no longer works as anything but a reverse virtue-signal, allowing the rest of us to tune out the noise-maker preemptively, it's not going to stop. Every election will be the final chance to stop Hitler. Again.

 Jesus Christ.
  Well, I assume that under this will continue. And I don't really mind, even if it's a touch grating. It gives me a great warning that I'm wasting my time trying to fish through a sea of flung shit in search of one piece of corn that might hold value. As such, I can antagonize such people with ease by not disguising my contempt for their tired old conversation stoppers. And, honest, when my fecesbook friends list is counting backwards like a space launch countdown, I know that I'm doing God's work, fucking with these people.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well everyone, Fuck all those who want to be unhappy about it. I don't begrudge anyone who doesn't want to celebrate Thanksgiving, the same way I didn't want to celebrate the battle of the Boyne and the Orangemen's parades back in my grandparents' country.

 I'm grateful for my wonderful family and friends, to have a good job and the time to enjoy it, for my health and God's many, many gifts to me.

   May God bless and keep you, and although I can't be home with my own family for Thanksgiving this year, I hope you can be, and can enjoy it.

 For my fellow mariners who, like me, will be on watch and moving stuff from A to B, I hope you have a peaceful watch and a hell of a dinner, with time to watch the game if you want it.


 I also bought a ham, although I actually like turkey, too.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Killing more trees in the paperless society

I know that I'm evolving in to a curmudgeon. I accept this. I haven't started shuffling yet, or kicking kids off my lawn, but give me time.

       I wrote a few weeks ago about the necessity and desirability of being fairly meticulous in maintaining good oil samples and chain-of-custody procedures every time there's a transfer of oil on the water. You can check it out here.  Bearing in mind that I write mostly tongue-in-cheek, I try not to be too pedantic about a very pedantic process. If I were writing a technical manual, it'd be different. This blog is also my practice slate for creative writing, God help us, which I do here and there. 

         So, in following with the prior post on the benefits of giving a flying fornicato about what is, ultimately the last line of defense against getting one's ass handed to oneself in the bunker trade, We here at HAWSEPIPER's Afloat Global HQ and Hot Dog Safari got a nastygram sent from the Home Office, reminding us, timely enough, that not adhering to procedures is a Bad Thing and Not Liked At All. Another nastygram sent out more recently, said something similar as a reminder to do other paperwork properly.
      I'm looking for my toldya face. My alter ego, Nostradumbass, saw it coming. 

      Without going into the internals of my employer's handling of this sort of thing (ain't my business; I universally deal with it it by trying not to need handling), this sort of feeds back to a question as to why the hell anyone, especially anyone with a family, would want to get on the radar by not working with a CYA mentality?

      There are few universals when it comes to filling out paperwork in bunkering. Even chain-of-custody forms vary across charterers, although they are often similar. The HQ generally works with 6 charterers, some of whom have special procedures that vary from their own SOP in dealing with particular shipowners. Knowing and keeping track of the details of a million little things is important. Innocuous stuff, like whether I am supposed to type in sample seal numbers on an official document, or have a 3rd party write them in on a reciept after I print it, that sort of thing. It varies, and companies get very soggy and hard to light if their liability is increased because I was not aware of their often counterintuitive wants. It pays not to forget. Well, more accurately, SOMEONE pays if you forget. 
     Of the few universal documents that we have, the one that every vessel in some form has is called a Declaration of Inspection (or some variant thereof). Often, both parties will have their own DOI's, and before a transfer starts, we will exchange information in a Pre-Transfer Conference (again with the capitals), whether formal or informal, and fill out each other's documents. 
     It is NOT legal in the US to transfer oil across the water in commercial quantities without a DOI. Not Legal as in 'please fine me personally, US Coast Guard, if you ever find out I didn't fill out a DOI.'
    I'm not kidding, the Coast Toasties are really dicks if you don't have this particular paper shield filled out just so. 
       Without getting into the particulars, a DOI is a checklist of things you swear under penalty of law that you did prior to starting the transfer. It requires signatures and bona fides of both parties to be valid. Signatures, initials, etc. It's a discoverable document that might as well be a neon sign if you skim or skip a step, to ensure corner-cutting is kept down and safe transfer is probable. 
     There are people whose job it is to make sure that your paperwork in the past was done correctly, so that you and your employer know that you're fucking up before anyone else does. Vetters are welcomed with the enthusiasm of a rectal exam, and like a rectal exam, they're a necessary evil, another check against slacking standards and the early links in an error chain. 
       I describe my job to some folks as being a cat herder. I try to keep a million little details just so, put together as needed, where needed, in a constant effort to do an adequate job under less-than-idyllic conditions... and conditions are always less-than-idyllic. Delays, language gaps, mistakes, distractions, etc- on my side and also on the other side, too. I bunker for my supper, whereas ship's engineers bunker once a month or so, so it makes sense that I'm faster and more efficient at it, plus the HQ is purpose-built, whereas bunker stations on ships are designed on the fly, and often badly. The most annoying and one of the more important parts of my job is to ensure that the not-always-very-conversant-in-English engineers I'm working with know what's going on, are doing their part, and know the particulars. Bunkering being what it is, an annoying afterthought for engineers who are chronically sleep-deprived during port calls, they'll often sign anything. I could send up a form requiring they transfer custody to me of their immortal soul and any virgin daughters, and most of them will sign it. "Spik Inglich, yis yis." Guys like that have to be protected from themselves, and, more important, I have to protect myself from their ignorance by trying to kill it where it lives. 
     I try not to be pedantic here, but at work? I ask the same question in different forms 3 times to be sure that I'm understood. 
      "Chief, you understand that you need to tell me 10 minutes before you need me to stop, yes? No last minute stops, except for emergencies, OK?"
     "Yis Yis."
     "OK, Chief. If you need to stop, how many minutes' warning will you give me? At least 10, yes?
    "Yis Yis, ten."
     "Thank you chief. We'll be standing by for your call to stop when you need us. Call us 10 minutes before, so we are prepared to stop."
 Sort of like that. Doing that without being a dick is a challenge. Bunkering is not a trade for socially adept people, which is one of the many reasons I hate having strangers work for me. Many people are abusive or just outright fucking retarded, bowling over people who barely speak English by being domineering and rude, which costs us time and safety.  I've blown the hard hat off of a couple of people's heads with a flying monkey fist at night and rung their bell when they were being rude, back when I was an AB on a tanker. I have no desire to have that done to me. 
   But that's another subject in itself. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

rest (NSFWish)

Inspiration for blogfodder is light on the ground. I'm just not feeling inspired.

 Obviously, this is a cry for help. Here are some Brazilian women to the rescue!

Click to make biggly.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Not being a concern troll

I'm hearing stories of people complaining that Trump supporters are being bullies.

        I spent my college and grad school years, plus a couple more besides, being a closeted Republican. When I gave up on my white collar career as a scientist and became a professional mariner, I started being a little more honest with people, through a filter, of course... time has a way of wounding all heels, though, and as I transitioned from commercial fisherman/part time merchant mariner to merchant mariner/part time commercial fisherman, that filter started eroding.When my life stabilized and I found myself married and giving up fishing, well, the damage was done, and I no longer talked wicked good, my Boston accent became more ascendant, and my vocabulary was winnowed down to where it stands today. Along the way I got more honest with myself and strangers, too.

 I'm watching schadenfreude all around me for the people on land.

 The people that accused me and mine of all sorts of nasty things are in fact saying those nasty things themselves. Projection is a thing, I guess.

 The #notmypresident people are destroying their own legacy. So long as it doesn't affect mine, IDGAF.

         Parents who have been frothing at the mouth and accusing Trump of being all sorts of evil things are panicking because they don't know what to tell their kids. Their kids just watched their parents panic and act juvenile, saying and doing things worthy of no respect while they fling shit like monkeys, howling because after so many years, it no longer sticks.

    Your kids are panicking because you're making them panic. STOP BEING ASSHOLES IN FRONT OF YOUR KID.

     My kid has seen me say and do some dumb things, and some wrong things. I take pains to make good on any mistakes, and for him to feel that he is safe and secure, loved and protected. He doens't believe I'm infallible, but if I acted like an asshole in front of him, that would hurt him more than it would hurt me. Thank God I've got Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife to reel me in when I need it.

     Watching these parents who have just demonized the president of their country, the one thing I'm not seeing enough of is what I and my people went through for the past 8 years. The 'Well, this is ugly, but I guess it's what people want.' Phase. You know, as in democracy.

        The most amazing thing to me is the doubling down. All the hate and name calling creates a backlash, costs Felonia Von Pansuit the election, so instead the losing side further demonizes the suddenly-empowered  heretofore silent subset... and then they wonder why they're being bullied.

 It's not right, to be shitty to each other, but I sure understand it, and understand that I want very little of what they have.

 I work on the water. I audit life ashore. We tend to compartmentalize our lives as professional mariners- we look at being on the boat as prison, something to get through, enjoy when and where we can, to enjoy our lives at home.
         I sometimes slip when I'm at home and refer to work as 'home.'  I'd rather be at my house when I'm at work, but I don't put my life into suspended animation while I'm at sea. I know I don't want that life that many of my friends have, going to a bland job to earn time at home. I empathize with the idea, and I do earn my paycheck to enjoy it at home, for the most part, but all the hate and politicization makes me VERY grateful that I can retreat to work when I've had enough, and there I'll be judged by more important criteria; how I do my job, and am I pleasant to be around. That's about it. No R or D, big or small.
       Anyhow, we have a new President, finally one I voted for, and I hope he does well. Hoping otherwise is just shitty. He's our leader, and if he does a shit job, we're all hosed anyhow.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Well, that didn't take long.

    After 8 years of grinding my teeth and watching Obama blunder his way through the White House and leave a trail of death and destruction in the 3rd world, the election results have made me feel like we got a breather, but that's about it.

   There's been some bullying, and some counterbullying, too, as people on both sides get nasty. Lots of closeted Trump supporters are opening their mouths for the first time, shocking the sensibilities of their political opposites.

    My wife's family have flipped the fuck out. She got some serious shit for being an immigrant who voted for Trump. Well, that happens when you are invested in a country and your family is not, I guess.

 Well, either way, I'm sitting back and watching the shit show. I hope Trump will fix immigration the easy way, by introducing massive, crippling fines to those citizens who hire illegal immigrants to cheat on their taxes.

 I figure fuck them, I get my ass handed to me by Uncle Sugar every quarter. They can too. I realize that artificially-subsidized industries like restaurants, construction and landscaping will get hit and pass the costs along accordingly. Well, that's what happens when you obey the law. Life gets harder. I'd love to be able to pocket the 38-40% that I lose every year so that the gib me crowd can warm their thumbs in their own exhaust.

 At any rate, I'm shedding social media friends like a dog in springtime, and it's delicious.  I'm not being particularly nasty, but I'm being less... restrained. It's fun.

Don't matter much to me anyhow. I'm mostly on Gab now.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Erection day

Damn, I should have saved that title for a post when I put up the Brazilian girls.

         Today is election day. I voted before I went back to work. Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife voted this morning. As it happens, we voted for the same folks this time. Isn't always the case.

       Tomorrow we'll either have a frission of energy and a big question mark as to what the future holds, or it'll be time to call down for Final Protective Fire, (put wonderfully eloquently here)

All the arguments have been made. I am under no illusions about whether America will be made great again. Now that so many people are so aware, simply hanging on a little longer at this point would help. I am under no illusions that the election may be stolen, I want to make sure they have to steal it. I am under no illusions that the electoral college may be rigged, I want to make sure they have to rig it. I don’t want them to just have it handed to them. None of us know what a Trump administration will be, or will do, but we’ve already seen a Clinton presidency. We already know the rot and corruption and indescribable evil up front, instead of it being hidden in Little Rock. Satanic isn’t even the right word, it isn’t strong enough. When the next incarnation of the undead Reno roasts more children alive in their mothers’ arms, that evil will not have had my help doing so by giving it a pass. At least this time I won’t have Marine captain’s bars on my collar, making me vomit when I see them in the mirror.

 Whatever happens, it'll be a watershed moment. I'll know a lot more about my place in this society. I suppose I haven't thought much about it before. I know who I am, and that my core values are not represented by anyone currently in Washington. When Ben Carson makes a baby with Ronald Reagan and Bobby Jindal's DNA, I'll take greater interest.
      Well, anyone who thinks that this is an opportunity for reconciliation is a fool. Today is a big fork. Either I will be in the in-group for once, and perhaps able add my voice to those who want to stop from driving off a cliff, or I will be in the out-group, in which case I will accept the vox populi and reassess my strategy for dealing with the world as it is. 
     One thing I never got is all the scare tactics. We've come a long way as a society in terms of the gains we've made to improve life for all citizens. Even if we voted Lyndon LaRouche in, it wouldn't undo the best of the protections that have been emplaced for the most vulnerable among us. We're not going to be going backwards, not where we made true equitable progress.  We're electing a president, not a priest-king. Maybe, if we're lucky, some of the ridiculous laws and corrupt actions that raise deviant and immoral practices to near-sacramental status can be dialed back. God willing. 

 Well, see you tomorrow. Sun's still gonna rise at the predicted time. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

On Transporting Oil: Sampling and Chain-Of-Custody

One of the least-appreciated professional shields that we carry as tankermen is our adherence to proper procedures in sampling the oil that we carry.

 Put another way, properly sampling the oil that we are carrying is absolutely the most powerful means of protecting ourselves from liability claims made against our vessels, our customers, and ourselves... and yet, it's looked at as a pain-in-the-ass routine task... which is fair, as it often is. However, it's an underappreciated part of the laundry list of procedures and competencies that have to be adhered to and seen to in the course of every cargo transfer.

       Often, a 3rd party carries out the sampling, in which case there's a temptation to set them loose and handle more pressing matters.

 In bunkering, transferring fuel for ships' own use, we handle sampling on the discharge side. Carried out properly, 'good' (accurate representative samples) samples are taken by filling a plastic bag at a slow drip throughout the course of the discharge, and handling chain-of-custody documentation, filling sample bottles at the end of the discharge, sealing them with numbered seals, and ensuring that the documentation is correct, and that we retain some samples, and give some to the ship, to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This all gets done as a matter of routine, but there's a very important procedure to it, as it is a chain-of-custody issue, and potentially, evidence, if there's trouble down the road.

 On the shipside, more often than not, once we kick our pumps on, they just start filling up a bag or bottles of the oil, which means that they get whatever was in our pipelines, which is fine, but if it took hours and hours to fill up our tanks, the oil does separate by temperature and any density variation, so what is in the sample bottle may not reflect what is in my tanks.

 This is a BIG issue, as ships pay a laboratory to analyze their samples, in case bad fuel causes engine problems later on, which can cost tens of millions of dollars in liability between them, their customers, and the oil supplier.

 There's always a temptation to cut corners in any routine procedure. I could cut corners if I wanted.
 BUT, every now and again, we get a call where a customer sends a surveyor to pick up one of our little sample bottles because there's an issue- 99 out of 100 times, the laboratory finds that the sample given to them by the ship differs in composition and quality from the specifications that we supplied at the time of transfer. There is no difficulty on the ship side, but for liability's sake, different is bad.
        Density, specific gravity, flash point, pour point, water content, heavy metals, solids and sulphur all are found in heavy fuel oil. Sulphur, especially, is rigidly controlled based on where the ship is traveling- many parts of the work have ECA's, regions where the sulphur content is regulated. So if the sulphur is off, God help the ship burning the fuel. On the flipside, low-sulphur fuel is very expensive, so ships often carry low-and-high sulphur fuel, and use it as needed.On top of that, the quality of the fuel is important to know, as it will determine how the engine will perform, and some engines are more sensitive than others. My understanding is that with large slow-speed engines, adjustments can be made to accommodate specific fuel qualities for optimum performance.

    And shit happens. I've been on ships where the main engine craps out because of shit fuel. I've also been on a ship where contaminants in the fuel caused excessive smoke, which led to a big to-do with the tree-huggers.

 When shit does go wrong, that 1 time in 100, it gets expensive FAST. Ships get delayed, they must pay. Customers don't get their shit on time (90% of all goods are transported by ship), they lose money. The point is someone gotta pay. If the fuel is bad, that means the supplier, our customer, but that actually is exceedingly, exceedingly rare. However, if someone fucks up by the numbers, it's worth the effort to blame someone else.
 So, imagine how the customer feels if they're presented with potential problem with their fuel, or, heaven forfend, a multi-million dollar loss, and then they discover that the Domino's boy, the tankerman on the delivery vessel, fucked up the sample procedure somewhere. Their shield and protection, the sample bottles signed, countersigned, and sealed, just went from being their saving grace to the pot in which they're gonna get cooked.

 And that shit happens. Look, if the oil is bad coming out of the shore tank, that's not my fault. If I fuck up the sampling, it becomes time to shoot the messenger. Personally, I love making a lateral pass when it comes to accepting liability. The oil quality control isn't in my wheelhouse unless my samples can be called into question.  If I can step back and stay the hell out of that kind of fight, I win. The best way to do that is to have rock-solid samples and a reputation for taking rock solid samples. That's not to be despised, either. With that, anything that goes sideways is not my problem.

 I love when a problem is not my problem.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

...and then my head exploded!

Well, I'm back at work, and as it's 4am, that means we have cargo. We (by which I mean I) just finished loading and have been released, which means that we can leave when we please, which we are pleased to do at the turn of the next tide.

        I just finished John C. Wright's Somewhither and, while I didn't log on to write a book report, IT WAS AMAZING. It's a beautiful story about an ugly boy. At times tragic and lovely, and occasionally I laughed out loud, too. It involves science, religion, faith, combat, love, the occult and explores multiverse theory and the rewards and cost of doing the right thing... or not. Myths, biblical events and the power and need for morality get covered, too. 
 I'm not doing the story justice. While I really like Wright's work in general, his earlier books are at times too detail-oriented in giving names to myths as part of the background in his allegorical works, without fully fleshing them out, which can be frustrating. This time, no. Somewhither is a masterwork, and I can't wait for part 2. 

In other news, it's cold, stinks like oil and I wish I was home, but I also kinda am at home. After a couple of months of flying Jetblue, I flew American to NY the other night. I need to revisit my stance on American Vs. Jetblue. 

     I've been saying bad things about Jetblue for years, but the fact is that flying American Airlines has become far worse than Jetblue. American has jammed yet more seats onto their planes, and while my ass still fits in their seats, my shoulders are way, way outside now. My only real lasting beef with Jetblue is that they monetize having a shitty boarding experience- you pay a premium if you don't want boarding to be an utter shit show, and that's just common, you know? American is more organized and polite about it, but at the cost of having no legroom, so even a stubby-legged guy like me (I have only 29" legs, even though I'm 6' tall) ends up with his knees jammed up at ear height in the 8" between my seat and the one in front of me. No one, no matter how tidy, smells nice after 3 hours on a plane, and having one's balls being just inches under your nose because there's shit for legroon is not a way to inspire customer loyalty. 

 So, since I've got tons of miles, I'm drawing them down and flying for free on American for now. After the miles are done, for the most part I will be too. While I don't love getting onto Jetblue, the seats are certainly more comfortable and I don't have to limp off the plane. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Successful day

Well, I'm finally at home, but just for a few days.

       It's been great, as it often is. But too hurried. Other than being abandoned at about 2200 on my couch last night to watch "Gold Rush" and drink bourbon until appropriate levels of drunk happened, I hadn't had any real downtime.

 I now live in South Florida. I don't shovel snow. I do, however, pressure wash, and that took up all of yesterday. Serious, this is a thing. Mildew darkens the concrete of my driveway and my patio, too, out back by my pond, so twice a year I wash the concrete on my property with a high-pressure water gun. I have a 1,800psi gun, which does the job. It's also great for clearning out cobwebs at the top of my screenhouse and washing windows on my second floor while standing in the yard.

 If my driveway isn't appropriately spotless, it's a $100 a day fine. And I've spent plenty of time with a 5,000 PSI water blaster to strip paint and blast rust off of good steel, so I haven't cut off any of my toes or anything. I did take the tip of an old sneaker off last time, though. Stumbled with my head down.

 Along with that, I had to reset some of the threaded lag bolts that are driven into my foundation to accept the bottom of hurricane shutters. They hadn't been used in years, so some of them got snapped when they shuttered the house here in Heaven's Waiting Room a few weeks ago in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew. 

     So, it's been a domestic couple of days, and I did other, equally or even more boring routine stuff, too. Setting myself up for actually relaxing next time I come home, 4 1/2 weeks from now. I got 6 days off this cycle, and tons of shit to do.
 I'm currently marinating stuff for tomorrow, as I type. I'm multitasking.

 So there hasn't been much time for me to do anything that I actually like or really even WANT to do, but so it goes. There are good moments. I'm having a glass of Maker's Mark right now, and tonight I'll split a bottle of champagne w/ Inappropriately Hot Foreign wife and enjoy a cigar. I got a line on some Cohibas. This year's crop of largemouth bass seems to have had a few survivors, so the fish are jumping in the pond, and the winter trade winds are far enough north just now that my little wind chime is making nice noises above the fountain.

   I voted today, also, so I'm feeling Civic as hell.

    I had to wait 45 minutes to Make America Great Again. Seriously, early voting used to be for sailors and military members. Judging by the 300lb Haitian woman behind me who was speaking on the phone THE WHOLE FUCKING TIME, I might have been been pissing on a forest fire today in casting my vote.
 Don't get me wrong. It's good she was exercising the franchise even if she was obviously going to vote for the other person. She was a citizen, and, while on parole (she told whoever she was chewing cud with on the other end of the phone that her parole officer was "trippin'" and out to get her 'for the money."
 Lord, send some of those sweet, sweet $32,000 a year Parole Board bux this way, amirite?
    Well, I learned the girl behind me's story over the next truly awful 45 minutes. She was not using her indoor voice, and so I reread the same page of Nick Cole's 'Control-Alt-Revolt' like 8 times and kept losing track. Anyhow, she is 28, has four children from three men, and while she's not illiterate, the father of her youngest child is, as she has to fill out his Social Security Disability application for him, and she's worried that she'll 'fuck it all up and not get him his money' in her words.

 Seriously. I try not to be a dick. I met a no-class parasitical walking stereotype. And I couldn't get away.

 Well, I voted, anyhow, and that was good.

 Anyhow, time for a refill.

 So, tomorrow's a wash, at least during daylight- got social shit to do, but I got reservations to a French restaurant tomorrow night, so the feed should be decent. Sunday, God willing, I'll be able to laminate a couple of pieces of curved wood I fabbed up last time to make... well, that's a separate post on it's own.

Friday, October 21, 2016

From The Department of Want Want Want

Here's a cool link on framing and planking a wooden boat hull.

 George Buehler's boats are pretty and rugged old-school full displacement yachts.

The whole 'I love you' thing

A lesson I got from my father, years ago, was to make sure that the people I love know that I love them.

     It's not an unusual lesson where I grew up. A working-class town where everyone's parents were born poor and spent time in immigrant neighborhoods before moving out to the peaceful, safe and relatively quiet suburb where I grew up. Most everyone's father was a veteran, and most of those had been in combat in Korea or Viet Nam, which probably had a lot to do with it.

     The way my father told it to me, he never wanted to deal with a situation where he didn't say the words in his heart simply because he didn't know when he was talking to someone for the last time.

 It's a lesson that stuck with me, and, turns out, with my brothers, sister, and friends, too.

  I had to go to my familial home up north this past weekend for some very heavy family stuff that I just don't want to blog about. While I was there dealing with B family business, some old, old friends lost their father.

 I spent the whole weekend with people I've known since Kindergarten, and their parents, too. It wasn't a fun reunion. Between learning why I was home, and dealing with friends who had lost their parent, it was a chance to reconnect with people I haven't spent much time with since leaving MA.

 At differing times, and with differing people, I'd meet with folks, and I think every lunch and dinner I was with differing combinations of friends and family. Each time, it'd end with hugs and I love you's, or 'Love you, man.' perhaps said more gruffly, but certainly meant all the same.

 We got a funny look for it once at a local restaurant. I was with my old roommates Johnny Sparks and Spinach, guys I lived with back when I was lobstering and sailing as AB on a tanker- guys I went to grade school with, and went to church with, and have known since we were all 5 or 6. Not guys you expect to be hugging and saying terms of endearment in public, you'd think, right?

 Wrong. In my experience, it's the guys who are big, gruff and often reluctant to talk about emotions that are the most comfortable in expressing them under the necessary circumstances. People are pushing their kids to be more sensitive, but they're conflating emotional weakness and fragility with sensitivity. Sensitivity is a middle-aged ironworker, the type of guy who won't stop working to get stitches unless he's going to pass out from blood loss, a guy who normally doesn't finish a sentence without swearing at least once, who drops everything to rush and be with a friend who is in need of emotional support.
     And don't get me started with elevating crying to a sacrament. You'd think that the shit is mandatory for any boy now. My wife nearly killed me when I said "quit that or I'll give you something to really cry about." to my kid when he cried about something minor. I felt like an unbelievable shitheel when I did that, but it was an important lesson, and a good one, for both of us.
He jokes about it today with me. He's a sensitive kid, more than I was at his age, and I was a sensitive kid, and that's a good thing. He's also emotionally mature for his age, and no pansy.
    I cried a couple of times this weekend. So did my brothers, and most of my friends too. Shit hits you at odd times. My brother welled up in a 7-11 parking lot. I got hit while taking a piss at one point.
   I've said "quit being such a pussy" to all of my friends at some point, and meant it at the time. I've had it said to me, too. There's a time to emote and a time to try to bull through it. People overcomplicate it. Mostly pussies, in fact.
          All the same, there we were, hugging, saying I love you, in public, and one of us crying slightly. Nothing shaming about it, and it happened more than once. That's what good friends are about. 

 My son, he knows, and I hear him saying it to me and his mom, when it's time to say goodbye.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

embracing the routine

Well, I'm back on board, and getting back to my routine. I'll be here a few more days before heading home for an abbreviated time off.

  It's been a hell of a few days.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

when life happens

Some of the most common and difficult parts of life are unavoidable, like saying goodbye for now to those people who you love most in the world.

 Blogging will be light for a while.

Sé do bheath' a Mhuire, atá lán de ghrásta, tá an Tiarna leat.
Is beannaithe thú idir mná agus is beannaithe toradh do bhruinne losa.
A Naomh Mhuire, a mháthair Dé, guí orainn na peacaithe, anois is ar uair ar mbás. Amen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Shart Life

 I always get a kick out of those goofy 'salt life' stickers that many shoemakers get all juicy over and put on their vehicles. I think it's great that people get out on the water and enjoy it, even if most of them are a hazard to everyone around them, including themselves. I wonder if this is how Hell's Angels feel when they pass by a goof on a scooter with a lawnmower engine?

Oh, for crissakes. 

Well, here's a picture I took a couple of hours ago. We're in Gravesend Anchorage, outside New York Harbor, a somewhat exposed spot that I hate visiting. See that tiny 1-foot gap between us and the ship on the left? There are special foam bumpers that we use specifically for wedging in between us like that- expensive little shits, too. The smallest ones, which are about 2 foot long, run about $2500 each. The medium ones, which are mounted on special sleds and hydraulically lowered, are closer to $5,000 each.  The bigger ones for the next size up are even more expensive, and actually come with rubber tires chained to them to reduce wear. You know, like soles on sneakers.
     At any rate, it takes a tugboat operator with mighty brass ones to play bumper cars at this scale- operating where inches count, relying on a deckhand with a walkie-talkie to relay distances a few hundred feet away, this sort of work requires great spacial orientation skills to do well. Between wind, current, momentum, and the 3-5 second delay between the gear lever and throttle and the response, I have deep abiding respect for a good tug operator. Bad ones? Well, I try not to be too much of a dick about it, but I figure if you can't do your job well, you shouldn't be there.

 So tonight, with a modest swell running, we transferred a couple hundred tons of diesel and another couple hundred tons of heavy fuel oil to this tanker, for their own use as bunkers. The 100-foot hose you see there is the heavy fuel hose, a 6-inch (internal) diameter hose that is made like a car tire- steel-belted radial (mine is made by Goodyear. Go figure), and we'll transfer the oil at 50-100psi, about the pressure of a fire hose.

    The problem here is that the ship had a fuel manifold connection just forward of the house, but under the bridge wing. Normally, I'd position us a little further forward, and point my crane aft so as not to get in the way of the bridge wing of the ship. For several reasons, this wouldn't work tonight, and there being a swell and the chance of us banging into each other strong enough to compress the bumpers (figure 20-30,000 tons coming together at a high speed, not much CAN stop that short of a tractor trailer-sized bumper), our first focus was on safely mooring in a good position. We used 9 mooring hawsers at various angles to control XY motion in the horizontal plane.
      At any rate, when it came time to transfer fuel, I had to position the 60' deck crane within inches of the spotlights, pilot shelter and other hardware bolted to the ship's bridge wing. While three guys were wrestling the VERY heavy fuel hose into position to bolt it in place, I had to jockey the cable and swing controls so as not to whack the ship with my crane and sort of keep the end of the hose in the right  neighborhood for the guys working, too. The end of the hose is too heavy for 3 guys to hold at chest height, but the more you choke up and put the end of the crane cable to the end of the hose, the more likely that the hose will be damaged by any heave or roll once the men start to bolt the flange to the manifold.

 If it sounds complicated, it's not, it's absolutely not. It's one of those things that, if it can't be done safely, I just wouldn't do it. No big deal... well, it is, but not to me. The ship would have to be moved to a more protected anchorage to get their fuel, which would require a pilot, and all hands being called, etc, etc. Not my problem, and if  there wasn't a good safety margin on both sides, that's what would happen. I did the fine work with our crane because I can, and also because I spent 8 years on a ship similar to the one in the photo, and crushed fingers, pulled back muscles and worse are not uncommon when doing less-regular activities like bunkering, and I don't want anyone to deal with that.
   Ultimately, tonight's job was one of those ones that really showcases that ship-to-ship oil transfer does not have to be a particularly complex evolution, but the difference between doing the job safely and doing the job safely and well, is a small one that comes down to managing details and sub-acute risks. It was a low-danger job, and while the sea state made it marginal for go/no go, it was never iffy and I always had backup and backup to the backup. The tug driver sat in the seat and got his ass kicked for hours just in case he was needed. I had my second man to hand, and the guy I mean, if we were rattling the dishes from the swell and bouncing off the ship, imagine what a little tugboat was going through. Probably rattled some fillings loose on the crew. Managers talk about risk management and JHA's and such, but that's just formalization of what should already be happening. It keeps someone working I guess, to tell us how to do what we already have to do.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Changes are coming

I'm shaking things up here at HAWSEPIPER's Afloat Global HQ/Home for the criminally underappreciated.

 No, my career as the world's first middle-aged plus-sized male underwear model is still not taking off.

 I'm changing how I consume media and interact with the world a bit... which is a fancy way of saying that I'm joining some new sites and going to start backing off of others.

     I was never a fan of Twitter. I quickly discovered that Twitter is mostly a platform for actors and people with a lot of free time to show off their great success at getting by on minimal IQ.

 Not that I'm bragging about my IQ. If I was wicked smaht, I'd be working from home, not on a floating metal sausage cart.

 I started using Gab, an uncensored, apolitical improvement on Twitter. I say 'apolitical' but it does skew conservative, as that is the political bent of people who seem to get kicked off of and have 'technical' difficulties with Twitter. And so far... I like it a lot.

   I'm also using Infogalactic, a wiki that is in beta development with the goal of reducing poltical bias and openly labeling opinion and bias where it exists.  So far so good there, too, but its' dependent on evolution and the quality of editing as time goes on.

 Early days, yet, for both, yet both look good to me.