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.