Sunday, November 28, 2021

A better day than yesterday

 I have grown to hate putting politics on my blog and in my very limited social media presence. 

 I believe in boobs, positivity and boats in my social media life. I'm not sure why I wrote yesterday's piece. It's not like I'm on a diet where politics are concerned, and avoiding the matter. I'd say it's more like not looking in the hole after using a porta-potty. 

     Today we are at a lay berth again, and I was able to get up before watch and take a 7-mile walk through Red Hook and Brooklyn to get to my favorite salad place and back. 

 Seriously, this is what middle-aged me has been reduced to.  20 years ago if we had shore leave in a likely port like Savannah, Corpus Christie, Port Everglades or the like, my shipmates and I  was all 'Fuck yeah, let's go ashore, eat hot wings 'till we fart blood, and get shitfaced drunk!' 

    20 years anan, middle-aged me these days is more like 'Let's go ashore for a long walk, just go crazy and get big salads! I just got to take my vitamin first.' 

 I don't miss being hung over at watch. Like at all. Not drinking ashore used to be like not opening presents at Christmas. It was an effort, and I hated it, but it was never something that I'd risk my job for, after it was outright banned. Social responsibility and age have done what regulations could not- eliminating not just the occasion to sin, but the temptation too. 

    My experience in walking through Brooklyn is often flavored heavily by my mood. Often I'm at my most misanthropic when I am going ashore. Today I left late in the afternoon, as I'm on the back watch (1800-0600) for the week, and so, after my walk and successful retrieval of a salad, on my walk back to the HQ, I got to walk through a pretty busy neighborhood and see it at twilight, with the lights on. It's not something I see often at all. It transformed my very-well-known route into something new, and I could look into shops that are obscured during the day, see the people inside. Overall, it made me far less misanthropic, able to see and appreciate the lives around me. 

       Not a bad day at all. Tonight on my watch, as our next cargo isn't until tomorrow after lunch, I'll be mucking about in the generator house with a clipboard, catching up on parts inventories and the like. Not exciting, but better than freezing my nugs off out on deck. 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Thanksgiving at anchor

 2 days out, we're down to some turkey scraps in the fridge of the HQ here at HAWSEPIPER's Afloat Global HQ/Home for tryptophan recovery. 

Thanksgiving was actually really nice. We had a *huge* meal, and as we were out at our mooring area at the foot of the Statue of Liberty, and had 3 other barges rafted up to us, after dinnertime there was a lot of visiting and everyone tried to pawn off leftovers to everyone else, in an effort to collect complements and, I dunno, be crowned King of Thanksgiving or something. 

 I do know that I didn't eat for 24 hours after that. No need. 

   I grew up a couple of towns over from where the first Thanksgiving was, and out on the edge of the Irish Riviera where I grew up, Thanksgiving was always a big deal. This year we're really getting the collective ancestral guilt trips by people who also weren't there, though. Like everything else, they hate our traditions and values, and as such, must try to ruin all holidays because they hate everything including themselves. 

     The revisionist history du jour now is that suddenly the Indians DIDN'T try to bribe the pilgrims to commit genocide against all other tribes in the area by taking the pilgrims and their guns under their wing. This despite a very clear history and clear and unambiguous writings of the people involved. Food for genocide against all non-wampanoag, especially those fucking Pequod.  Say what you will about the Pilgrims, they were a bunch of pacifist communists right up until they realized they could either starve,  join their hosts in endless wars as a mercenary force, or pull a Nancy Reagan and Just Say No. 

  We actually used to get taught in Massachusetts about what utterly shitty people the pilgrims were, and also how horrible the Indians were too. These says it's all White Man Bad, of course, and masturbatory fantasies of the  Noble Savage. 

 You know what happens when children learn actual nuanced history instead of a propagandized fantasy? They develop critical thinking skills. Why has Massachusetts been lagging so far behind in handing out Free Shit to anyone with Indian blood?  Education.  This is changing, of course. 

    Now, I grew up in the Irish Riviera, the area south of Boston where the Wampanoag used to call home. 90ish percent  of the population is less than 3 generations removed from Ireland. It is the most dense population of Irish ancestry outside of Ireland. Being that the potato famine started this diaspora and the potato famine displaced Catholics almost exclusively, no surprise that until recently there were  3-6 large Catholic churches in every town in the region. Hell, the church I grew up in was the smallest one in the area, serving only 5-600 or so families  And by families I mean Irish Catholic families, with plenty having 6-12 kids.  

 I say this only to note that this is the area that provided the bulk of the fiscal support for the Irish Republican Army right up until the Good Friday Agreement, not so many years ago.  This is a people who famously carry a grudge across generations,  to whom the name of Margaret Thatcher still sits in good company with the names of Stalin, Mao and Hitler.  For a people who still bad mouth British Protestants regularly, and even have their own holiday to do so ('Evacuation Day' is a holiday in Massachusetts) , the people of the Irish Riviera, having been educated about the realpolitik of the first Thanksgiving, side with the British.

 And thus, in our modern era, with there being a risk of no side being able to claim victim status, and worse, no delicious self-guilt for the spiritual descendents of Calvin to get their rocks off,  the story of the First Thanksgiving must be changed, history expunged until we have only a constant present and no past, except where it is beneficial to do so to destroy the sense of community and bonds of tribe and of shared values. 

    Whatever, I moved out of the area.  I've long since come to accept that despite their limitations, British people are OK. It's been a generation since the Good Friday accords. Nobody, literally, is worth hating for their past. Even Margaret Thatcher is not worthy of my enmity anymore. It is long past the time to stop seeking amends from people who did nothing to incur our grudges, merely on the basis of genetics. The people who do so are the worst sort of scam artists. I believe that there is a word, starts with R, ends with 'acist' that describes people who blame innocents for perceived slights based on their genetic makeup. 

 Seriously, fuck those people. 

 At Thanksgiving out at anchor, we sat, a 2nd generation refugee of Irish descent from the People's Republic of Massachusetts, several men who were the descendants of slaves (one of whom, and this is cool, being a great great grandson of Newt Knight, the man who started a rebellion and founded the Free State of Jones during the Confederacy). There was also a Cuban who as a teen swam 90 miles on a rubber pool toy to Miami, another guy is the son of an Orangeman, and there were others, and none of that political bullshit mattered. We are away from our homes, dealing with loneliness for pay, and we shared what we had so that everyone could eat their fill, then overeat their fill too. Things get real simple real fast when you stop looking for a reason to hate, and stop looking for a scapegoat for your own decisions. 

    I'm grateful to have had such good company on a day that can be a bit lonesome. I'll say it. I LIKE Thanksgiving. 


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

First Watch

 OK, back at work again.  Rather than use this as another Dear Diary post, I'll say that it was awesome, but my wife had a crisis at her workplace that she had to unfuck and I spent a lot of time translating documents back and forth. For all her efforts, mastery of medical and legal-grade English is elusive. Mastery of medical and legal-grade Portagee on my part also is not very good. Hell, mastery of English on my part ain't wicked pissa either, if we're being honest.  Either way, all's well that ends well, and I'm back on board. 

 I got my trash stowed away and made up my bunk, and was pleasantly happy to see that we had no orders for Thanksgiving or for after that, as well.  Since I stayed last night at the whore-and weed-saturated hotel my company puts us up in for crew change, I slept only fitfully, as is tradition, and so I caught a 4 hour nap prior to my first watch. I woke up to see we have a bunch of cargoes fixed for the next 5 days or so, but tonight, my first watch, I am free. I'll be working for Thanksgiving, so I guess I'll have to be thankful for my job, but will likely be eating Thanksgiving standing up and one handed. So it goes. 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Little Projects

 I've been home for a little over a week, and it's been great. I've been doing a bunch of yardwork and exterior maintenance around the house, and messing with my potted plants and such too. It's been a fine break from the burning diaper that is the internet, and Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife and I have spent about every moment possible together. 

 Pool season is over, sadly, and now my pool is just there for show until May. One of these years I'll put a passive heat exchanger in my AC units, using bleed heat from the AC to warm the pool and extend pool season. 

 Politics, screaming hate, all that stuff that our culture tries to throw at us, very little of it gets through when I'm at home. God Guns and Good people down here in my part of Free America.  

 I'll be back to the shitshow in another week. Until then, I plan to not think about it. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

last watch

 One more watch and a shower to go.  The last week, beyond getting some maintenance issues addressed, has been deeply uneventful. It's been great. 

 God willing an' the crick don' rise, I'll be headed to the airport after breakfast tomorrow. 

  Last time home I was pretty low-energy. I'm feeling more productive in theory this time. Plus, I love the holiday season, and although I have to come back to work the day before Thanksgiving, the busiest travel day of the year, and the airlines have really gone all-out in 2021 to make air travel more miserable than ever before, I'm looking forward to seeing the sun and boiling my balls off in the jacuzzi for a few weeks. 

Friday, November 5, 2021

Weekend update

 Well, my last weekend aboard for this tour is coming up. We have 2 small cargoes fixed for the weekend, which will keep us busy. We spent the last 2 days lying to at a lay berth near Brooklyn Bridge park, which was wonderful, in terms of being able to do maintenance and get some needed stores, and I could walk every day, and not in circles around the perimeter of the deck for once, which was nice. I'm eating healthy these days, with my blood pressure higher than a junkie holding a 50lb crack rock, it's been good motivation. I've made it to my late 40's without needing any daily medication, and while I do have to take BP meds now, I hope that weight loss and a good clean diet will  enable me to get off the meds. 

      So, one bummer of a thing to see is how badly NY's vaccine passport has screwed restaurants. Takeout places are booming, and shops that built outdoor seating areas on adjacent parking metered spots on the sides of streets are also pretty full of shivering patrons. When I walk by places with indoor dining, it's not so good. Shops are required to verify a potential patron's vaccine passport before allowing them in. 

   The whole 'papers, please' thing tastes like copper in my mouth. And while this isn't an issue for me, as I am eating clean and my favorite salad place is take-out only, I feel bad for the residents. OTOH, most of them could leave if they want, I suppose.  I sure am glad I live in Florida. I'd be the subject of ridicule if I said that in public up here, though. 

        With no orders, I've been up at night standing my watch, and it's been peaceful. I really need a new book series to read, though. I'm not really a TV person, and Farcry 6,  the video game I was so excited to play, has proven to be utterly disappointing. I loved the predecessors. 

      I heard that the new federal vaccine mandate put a Jan 4 date on when companies like mine will have to enforce employee vaccination. Knowing this is unworkable, I wonder if this executive order was designed to be a white elephant for optics' sake. 


Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The last day, but a week of nights to go

 Well, today is my last watch working days. I'll go off watch tonight for an abbreviated sleep period, and my next watch will be dogged too, to get me into the schedule of working nights without messing me up too much, and without foregoing sleep. 

 So, one week to go, and I'll be up and moving about at 2am on watch tomorrow... well, later on, really. 

 Working night watch has many disadvantages but there are a couple of advantages, too. The main one is that I don't have to deal with the shoreside staff much at all, as they've got the sense to not work nights. It's generally quieter in most ways, although we tend for some reason to load more at night rather than in the day, but that's OK, too. It's more pleasant to load the HQ than it is to discharge. No screaming diesel pumps, no traffic, even the VHF radio is quieter. People speak in quieter voices. 

 A mixed bag. But the best part is that it means that I have only a week to go on here before I can go see my family.