Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wanna build a fort?

As I found out a year and a half ago or so, the answer to that question is always yes.  I was living with my boss, the lovely and super smart beauty queen Rachelle.  She was telling me about her son, Alex.  That he was super funny and was nearly as immature as I was which sounded about right since he was fifteen and I was thirty.  She told me about this time at Subway when there was this bearded guy minding his p's and q's and Good ol' Alex asked if he could be the guy's padawan learner.  I respected that.  A lot.  When I was at TJ Max with Rachelle one time, I picked up a gnarled piece of drift wood and said, "Manmortigan...".  You know, like Willow?  With Val Kilmer and Warwick Davis?  Anyway, it was about that time that she compared her son and myself in earnest.

So I finally got to meet Alex at the job site.  The witch doctor, as it were.  We weren't particularly busy and the kid was there.  So we were just having some fun.  I was thinking of something we could do.  Apart from making a show about the office I suggested, "Wanna make a fort?"  He just stood up, as if to say, "Duh".

Now that we're current on the readiness  that all Americans should maintain when it comes to forts, I'll get to it.  I was walking back from lunch the other day.  I took an alternate route, which included a jaunt under a bridge.  Lo and behold...Forts.

It was like a little neighborhood of juvenile sensibility.  If someone dropped their kids and nieces and nephews off under a bridge where there was a ready supply of cardboard and pallets, this is probably what you'd find.  There was a tent on an elevated and rustic pallet platform.  It really had the effect of a Southern California manse, but without the pretentiousness of square footage.  Just a three person tent sitting on four pallets.  Awesome.

The more post modern, art deco piece was a wonderland of cardboard and cardboard.  It had an inviting entrance about the size of a moderate to large sized doggy door with the columns of the bridge acting as pillars.  Really a powerful effect, that.  Just like 4 refrigerator boxes and a few vintage, tube television packages to sell the intricate network of wood pulp and discarded packaging tape.

Then I realized I was looking at this through the prism of adolescent fort building.  Ya, if I were nine and whipped one of these things up, it might have been cool.  But if I were twelve, and were in the midst of enduring a frigid Seattle winter, I would for sure make a better fort than that.  How do you not have three full rolls of duct tape sealing the fridge boxes together?    Or maybe some type of buttressing for that sagging roof?  How about putting the pallets on top with a tarp over it or something so your cardboard doesn't get all soggy and worthless?

It occurred to me that this little Robinson Crusoe Redux wasn't all fun and games.  It was a clear picture of the homeless in Seattle being somewhat lacking in some rudimentary life skills.  I'm saying it could be cool to camp out under a bridge.  But you gotta do it right.  One of the guys left his Samsonite luggage outside on the veranda.  Come on man.  What?  Do you have more than three transients in there?  Can't fit the rolling luggage?

The conclusion, then, is that the problem of homelessness is far more complex than "no job".  I'm not suggesting I know what came first.  Whether the psychosis or the dredges is beyond me.  But at this point there is a serious problem.  The type of fort you build as a homeless person is a direct reflection on your character.  It's like a car for low to mid level earners or an actual house for mid to high earners. Or maybe more like the kind of wife you end up with.  You just gotta put a little more into it than that.

It almost makes me want to go cardboard flap to cardboard flap and charge these guys to build em a proper fort.  I know Alex and I could whip up some pretty intense forts.  Maybe they could even get box car Betty over there for a little date.  Who knows?  It was just sad to see such a promising premise come crashing down on me with the harsh reality of indifference.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mad man

I haven't packed my bags just yet.  That's kind of an inside double entendre.  The single part of this is the 'End of the World' thing.  Didn't bat an eye, such is my courage and defiance of danger.  Apart from the fact that I rarely know what day it is, I didn't put any stock into the Mayan deal.  Someone always thinks it's the end of the world.  Even REM.  I feel fine.

But while not contemplating the end of days or whatever, I considered taking a breakfast break at the end of my shift.  There was really only one option.  Mecca Cafe.  It's kind of amazing to me how serious Seattle takes their food.  It shouldn't be, considering how seriously the bulk of the population takes their selves.  And yet it is.  I have found a couple spots that serve illegally delicious burgers.  Granted, burgers are pretty delicious in premise alone, but I have a couple spots that are even more so.  And when it comes to breakfast...Pfft.  Mecca.  And there is plenty of pork to go around.

So while not contemplating the end of the world, I was considering the end of my hunger.  This outfit, Mecca, just does it right.  So much so that I was actually hoping the same grill guy/girl would be here to whip up my omelette.  I'm not even kidding.  When I was here last, the expressionless waitress described the grill person as the guy wearing a braw.  Huh.  No problem.  Hell of an omelette.

So I came in today and asked about this character, who's name is Cody, somewhat ironically, she expanded.  "Ya.  He wears a braw."  I was trying to be sensitive to the societal norms of Seattle, the Eden of progressiveness, and asked innocently, "Is uhh, is that normal?  Around here?"  She goes, "Around here it is."  She paused.  Then added, "But it's pretty weird.  He also thinks he's a vampire and hangs out on the roof a lot."  Huh.  OK.  I'm hip.  Still a hell of an omelette.

So despite the possibility of bloody vampire drool and the sexually ambiguous nature of the grill person and my relationship, I caught a cab to come here and get breakfast.  I'm basically paying $40 dollars for breakfast.  And it's a bargain.  Just omeletty and slightly burnt hashbrowny goodness through and through.  I didn't even need a menu.  I just kind of rambled off some things I wanted like I was tom Cruise or something, not ordering off the menu.  Phenomenal.  Blue ribbon for this place.

So, the question is: Do you want an omelette?  I feel like I can sell anything at any time.  And do so without the advertising jargon that puts people on their guard.  It started with the utility belt condom that I kind of invented in my head when I was a wee tyke of like seven.  Just did an infomercial in front of my parents about this condom that had grappling hooks for when it broke or came off.  If they weren't mesmerized, I'm sure they would have been appalled.  But anyone who's had to deal with Condom drama would have for sure bought one.

And here we are, twenty something years later.  Still spinning anecdotes about desirable things.  Like when I took speech in college, my teacher hated me.  With a deep passion.  It may or may not have had to do with my super macho sensibilities contrasted with her feminist slant/constant tardiness/smart assedness.  But whatever the case, we had a speech that was a kind of big project that we were supposed to have spent time on and have notes blah blah blah.  Well, the morning of the speech, I woke up a little late and decided what to do my speech on and grabbed the Listerine Mint Paste toothpaste.  It was empty, so I pulled the cap off and blew into it, making it look full and went off to school.

It was about my turn to speak when I walked in.  I strode to the front of the class with a self assured way about me and started.  Got the attention with something like, "have you ever woke up and felt like your mouth was just too funky to get clean with brushing?"  So I gave this speech and it was obvious I made everything up as I went.  But it was persuasive.  The teacher wasn't thrilled.  Mainly because she couldn't make her point about preparation etc.  I told her "If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready".  She loved that.

Anyway, when she was through berating my study habits I nodded thoughtfully and addressed the class.  "How many of you are gonna go out and buy this toothpaste today?"  Every hand went up.  They were asking to see the container so they could smell it etc.  I looked at the teacher and shrugged, "I don't know.  If this was supposed to be a persuasive speech, It seems like I kinda nailed it."  And there was for sure a tangible vibe of she hates me but I'm kinda funny and so she couldn't get any momentum with the class.  Sadly, I enjoyed it.

If there is a point, I think it's that that toothpaste no longer exists.  If I were their marketing guy, it would be a top seller.  Maybe it's time to think about a career change.  And I can sometimes sell myself as a desirable man to hang out with.  Easily the toughest sale of all.

Friday, December 14, 2012


I'm not really sure if I spelled that right.  The fact remains, however, that sometimes Mexicans be small. I mean, sometimes they be big.  But sometimes they be small.  Like the contractors on the boat who work tirelessly into the witching hours.

I'm from Northern California, where one may encounter a latin friend or two.  In fact, I am an honorary Mexican because my grandma of sorts was Mexican.  So it isn't as if this were some 'small' sample space and a premature assessment.  I'm not even saying that your average Mexican is smaller than your average white guy.  But the small end of the curve seems to be a bit smaller.

These guys were coming up the stairs from the factory to take their lunch.  I was at the top of the stairs and when they got to the top I kept expecting them to take one more step up.  Didn't happen.  I'm not a giant by any stretch.  A respectable 5'10"  when I'm lying and a modest 5'8" if you're measuring.  But let me tell ya, some of these guys are small.

I think maybe Montezuma time travelled to yesterday or the day before and got his revenge on me.  To take me down a peg.  Because I ate something that really didn't agree with me.  Woke up every hour on the hour to void my stomach, bowels, or any combination thereof.  Then I got a hotel room to make myself more comfortable.  Best hundred dollars I ever spent.  Because laying in the bunk in the bowels of the ship with latent primer fumes swirling about was no place to be.  So that was fun.

I think the most important thing going on here is that Craig Ferguson just kills it.  Every time.  I don't watch the show, but whenever I do I think the same thing: Look out ladies.  The guy just has charm and wit and that accent.  Every awkward moment, whether it's his own doing or not, is navigated with just awesome self-deprecation.  And he has no problem just slamming the door when a guest is being sorry.  Even though he's being tactful, his intentions are not lost on anyone.  He just owns the tongue in cheek with his female guests, who have each undoubtedly surrendered to his charms, hinting at obscured references to the past.  Craig is a heck of a guy.  And sometimes Mexicans are small.  Sorry Montezuma, but facts are facts.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Wouldn't you know it?  As soon as I start reading 'Treasure Island', a couple friggin pirates show up on the boat.  It's like I always say.  If you ever start reading a book about pirates, they are bound to show up.  I say that.  Well, I just did.  But really, I do say that you kind of receive on whatever channel you're tuned in to.  Like how when you were in school, if you learned a new word then you'd hear it sometime that day.  Or if you think your girlfriend may be cheating on you, then you see an episode of cheaters or something.

So that's a thing.  Getting what you're tuned into.  It seems mostly true.  We could go on and on about bringing bad things on yourself because of fear and this and that, but let's just stick to pirates.  Night watch got a little more fun last night.  Because as I was sitting there streaming Southpark, I spied a couple guys on the boat.  And it would appear they were after booty.  But not any treasure this boat had.  They apparently brought their own.

I'm not gonna sit here and say that these were Sea Beasts.  I'm not gonna do that.  Because they were land lubbers.  But the hazy gaze of these two buccaneers told the story.  Goggles.  And so it was.

I knew the guys.  They work on the boat.  They are friends.  But I gotta say that it kinda put me in an awkward spot.  Tomorrow, or today now I guess, is not a full work day where everyone shows up.  But we do have a foreman here on the boat and a couple guys who live here working.  So I tactfully suggested that they just be out of here by 5 am when every one gets up and to not leave a mess of things.

One of the guys asked me what room the foreman lived in so he could go wake him up.  Ya, not good. I was at least five steps ahead, per usual and was thinking about explaining the girls as they left to the captain if it got back and how I would cover the situation with some tapestry of lies.  If these were stowaways or some other kind of interlopers, I would have dealt with it more harshly.  It seemed in this case to be better to hope for the best and as long as no one made a mess, just leave it alone.

Nothing happened.  Fortunately.  At five am I told everyone it was time to go and they left.  I watched everyone leave empty handed and made sure no one fell in the water.  Felt like a potential crisis was averted.  Because let me tell ya.  A couple belligerent Tongans is no picnic.  And I was a little jealous to see my ex girlfriend June with another.

That's one crisis averted.  Hopefully I can deal with the others with the same level of aplomb.

Friday, December 7, 2012


I was eating lunch at Wholefoods today.  It was kinda by default because it was a place that was close enough to walk to, yet presumably had something of substance to sate my hunger.  I was kinda hungry.  And they have some wifi there so all in all it seemed to be a sensible decision.  And it was.  It was fine.

After eating my meal I went to the 'chill lounge'.  That's what they call this concrete room with a couple padded chairs.  And I was chillin, more or less.  A few people came.  A few people went.  A lady came in with her young child.  I wasn't paying any attention to them.  But they were there.

Then I heard her speak and kinda knew she was going to say something right before she did and so I was somehow paying attention when she asked this other woman if she was going to be there for a while.  It was me at one end, a woman adjacent to me on my left and the one in question who was being question adjacent right.  Woman with child was slightly beyond the woman on the right.

So she asked this hip but slightly unattractive woman if she would be there for a while.  I've found that in Seattle talking to strangers is a big no no.  But the look she gave this mother was just off the charts.  She was absolutely mortified.  And rightfully so.  It appeared at the time that she was gonna get around to enlisting baby sitting services.  Mom could tell right away that it wasn't gonna work out with adjacent right.  She turned toward adjacent left simultaneous to adjacent right muttering something like 'not really'.  She looked like she might just grab her stuff and leave to drive the point home.

Adjacent left admitted that she would be there for a bit.  Relief swept over mom.  She turned to the door, leaving behind an empty plate and a limp canvas bag.  I kinda laughed and said out loud, "huh.  I thought that was gonna work out differently."  And the others agreed and actually talked to a stranger.  We all assumed mom was just gonna leave her 5 year old with some strangers.  One of whom was me. Someone who certainly does not look like one you would want to leave your young kid with and has had a few dubious episodes with youngsters in the past.

So that's basically that.  Why didn't she just take the stupid bag that appeared to be mostly empty anyway?  It was odd on all fronts.  I kinda respected it.  Mom was basically saying, "Listen.  I don't want to carry this bag so you guys can watch it for me.  I will be back shortly so don't steal my wheat grass whatever."  Not bad mom.

On another note, science is failing me.  I got a notice that I went over my data plan (Even though it's unlimited) so the speed was gonna slow down.  Ya.  Slow down.  With this in mind I decided to give old Clearwire a call and renew my subscription to their internet deal.  And I did that.  Then, when I went to plug it into my computer, I noticed that I didn't have an ethernet cable plug.  No, it's not wireless.  My computer is so cool that it doesn't have that.  Or a dvd burner.

Oh well.  I'll just tether to my phone (again, not wireless).  Let me tell you what 'slow' means.  It means inert.  Dead in the water.  More information was exchanged on Bell's first telephone call than here.  It took like two minutes for my email to load.  Not an attachment.  The page.  That's what slow is.  Stopped.  Taking the starch right out of me.

Not really a big deal.  I do find myself tangled in wires, exploring the wheel house looking for a stronger signal.  Yes, just like the guy in the Verizon commercial.  There you go.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Ok, so I didn't get the best picture to really drive home the point here.  That picture is of the two dorks in "Weird Science" wearing bras on their heads.  I know the point of a picture is to not have to explain the picture.  And as you read on you'll find the humiliating irony that in the very post I'm using to describe a major breakthrough in computer stuff, I can't get a decent image to show up to be scintillating.  Or something.

And I wasn't really wearing a bra on my head, but I was probably close to this state of arousal.  Kelly Lebrock didn't show up or anything.  But I did get internet.  Somehow.  And this with neither spending extra money nor camping out close to a wi-fi deal.  Nope.  Just some good ol' fashioned yankee know how and a few other things.  Like a friend telling me that this was a thing.  And me doing a little searching.

The scene was set with all the usual decor.  A Piano, a TV, video games, etc.  But I was done with my book.  The book selection is looking bleak.  So, long intro to story short, my buddy said he had an app blah blah blah internet blah blah blah but he was online.  I'm not a droid guy.  The only smart phones I've owned and took seriously were iPhones.  And they work like they're supposed to.  All the time.  The droid that I have now is a bit more temperamental.  It seemed too daunting to even bother with, until...

Last night a friend of mine emailed me a video and assured me it was worth watching.  So I downloaded it on my phone but couldn't find it, then found it and it was the wrong format.  Then there was an error etc.  So I went to the old app store and dug up some new fangled doohickery, slapped it on the old HTC and voila.  Video time.  It was kind of a revelation to me.  This was probably the first time I solved what was to me an in depth problem on a computer or computer like device.  Got my shoulders kinda loose and thought "hey, it's not a conspiracy against me.  It can work."

So I came up to the wheel house today with a laptop computer under one arm, a phone in my pocket, and a tangle of wires and chargers and basically had a seventh grade science project.  When the chief engineer walked in, I'm sure I looked something like...

That.  Just doodads and wires and consternation on my face.  He kinda laughed and called me out on it too.  I just shrugged and said 'science'.  So he came and went while I worked through the night, or next twenty minutes just dealing with all of these incompatibility issues.  I got the program on the phone but needed it on the computer, the computer is a mac, you need this program, but with that program you need such and such thingy.

Welp, in what was certainly a task that I made harder than any sixth grader would have made it, I found sweet victory.  I was like Thomas Edison, marveling at his first, useless, dim light.  The internet is way faster on my phone than it is on the computer, or at least with the signal I had then.  And it probably wasn't even worth saving fifty or whatever dollars some internet would have been.  But it was alive.  ALIVE!

And here I am.  This is probably the least compelling story I could have told right now.  I could have made something up about a kid named Jamal and a cat that would have been better.  And what's worse is the fact that I tried to spare the details in my mercy, but really omitted anything that might have resembled a thought provoking sentiment.  But I have a keyboard in front of me in the comfort of the wheelhouse.  I will therefore run my yap about it.

Pretty much it there.  Just uhh, haaaangin out.  I'll do better next time.  But I think it's pretty effin cool that I teamed up with science to solve a problem.  Now we just wait for computers to take over the world.  Probably seriously not far off.  Think about it.  Society could deal with almost any calamity better than every computer just not working anymore.  Kinda weird.  I'd be the only one left, driving a '66 Chevy with all this gas that no one needs anymore and a charming growth stunted Italian man playing an accordion in the seat next to me, you know, for my tunes.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that.  Later.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Let me tell ya.  It rains in Seattle.  There was a two day period a few days ago with little rain, but other than that it's been a daily occurrence since I've been back from sea.  Just rain rain rain.  It's not really that bad or anything, but it for sure is.  I guess the worse thing about it is getting around without a car in it.  But whatever.

So I had a pretty sweet weekend that wasn't on the weekend, but was at the end of my week.  We don't have to get into all the sordid details or anything.  I can just say in a kind of roundabout way that a 'friend' and I spent a smooth three days wining, wining, dining, and wining.  And I may or may not have come out of it looking like I was attacked by a cougar while getting pelted with paintballs.  Read, finger nails and bites.  Very exhilarating indeed.  And since the 'weekend' ended, it has rained.

The real fun of this time was just the silly banter.  We'd make really witty but dumb jokes and laugh endlessly.  For example, I called myself a degenerate while over-tipping some tender of a bar.  Obvious new word is degenerosity, right?  It was just priceless.  There were many other instances.  I really can't do it justice, so just take my word for it.  Good times.

So, besides hemorrhaging money and playing catch with a towel tied in a knot in a hotel room, I've been inventing.  Ya.  Saw a little of Shark Tank last night and had a thought.  If these guys can go up there with their nick nacks, then I can whip some stuff up too.  So last night I made a prototype of an invention.  Ya, it's just that easy.  Whether it works or not, we may never fully know.  But when the time is right, I'll give it a spin.

There is really no shortage of ideas rattling around up in this noggin.  People do that right?  Just invent stuff?  Cause here's the thing-I might not enjoy working on the boat forever.  And when I give up my 'yacht', I'm gonna need a yacht.  So if I have to be Billy Mays for a bit to get my own yacht going on, then I'll use the power of oxyclean or bead-mop.  Whoops.  Good luck figuring out what that's all about.

Understand though that while I can't figure out what I want to do for a living in earnest, I one thousand percent want to get paid to think.  Literally the best job I can think of.  Just spitting out crazy ideas and having people pay for them and think even the bad ones are brilliant because you're some eccentric genius.  I'll be like Steve Martin in 'The Jerk', just tacky opulence and senseless excess.  Have a trophy room with stuffed animals like Teddy Ruxpin and Care Bears.

And make no mistake.  Me being wealthy is the worse idea ever.  I'd be like MC Hammer, only worse. Just have an entourage of bums like the caddy in 'Happy Gilmore'.  But I'd be the worse enabler you ever thought about.  My sympathy for them would just be an open ended license to intoxicate themselves and for sure every homeless person within walking or box car range would hear about it.  I think this behavior of mine could be described as 'degenerosity'?  Yep.  She nailed it.

And as for me?  I may grow to the staggering weight of like 400 lbs, just crushing the meals I dream about.  Because I absolutely had a dream about two superstar combos at Carl's Jr last night.  And I woke up with an erection.  It may sound like a coincidence, but both of those things happened.  And in my dream I did what I'd do in real life.  Started ordering one combo, but quickly rescinded the order and got two, but with medium fries.  Totally ridiculous.

So I might be overstating it, but probably not.  I don't want to jinx my fortune or anything, because I for sure want a yacht.  If I were honest with myself, though, it may get ugly if I were mega rich.  Look at the people who win money in the lottery.  I am self aware enough to know that I have all the same weaknesses as them, only worse.  I'd probably opt to be paid over twenty years like I was responsible and whatnot and then call JG Wentworth like a week later to get it settled at like 50 cents on the dollar of what I could have had.  I hope I am kidding about that.

This was nothing.  But not good nothing like Seinfeld.  Just nothing.  Nothing good at all.  Except for the Peabo Bryson video.  That is good.  Love that song.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Where did shoulder pads go?

Ya so I'm always kinda looking back on the music of yesteryear or yesterdecade etc. and maybe it's stupid.  But I was watching this video and a thought occurred to me.  The modern generation of music is not only missing musicianship, arrangement, real instruments, talented singers, gheri curl, hoop earrings, and perms, but also shoulder pads on sport coats that women wear.  Any band worth their salt needs a woman strutting across the stage in a bold-colored sport coat.  It's just the way it is.

And I kind of miss the token heavy metal guitar solo that was in nearly every song, even soul or R and B music.  Dramatic strings that invariably ended in some dominant seventh were also a hit maker.  Think Michael Jackson.  Almost always some back and forth two chord thing and then dropping it down a half to a dominant seventh.  It's ok.  We have it all recorded if that's what we are into.  Let the talent of now slowly fade into the talent of yesterday.  Then we will appreciate the...whatever is happening now.

Back to the shoulder pads.  When I was young, I didn't understand what a dominant force my mother was.  She was beautiful.  As one of the family friends put it, "You could go all month without seeing someone as good looking as Michelle".  And that's merely where her beauty started.  I think it may have ended with sport coats with shoulder pads though.

Both of my parents were stereotypical eighties people.  My dad always wore nice suits and had that slightly pompodored, straight back hair.  He drove around a '63 Corvette, and hell, he may have even walked around with a toothpick in his mouth.  Mom wore what you saw every extra in every 80's movie and show wear.  That power suit of a skirt or pants and a shoulder padded sport coat.  She came home with that familiar slightly sweated in wool.  Damn.  I miss mom.

I didn't plan on talking about mom here, but her magnetism just mandates that I push on.  She could do anything.  And did.  I was telling a friend the other day about mom and how you shouldn't have doubted anything she said she would or could do.  She converted a single story house into a two story with plumbing and a walk in closet in the second story.  Pfft.  She turned our garage into a guest house/dark room.  Ya, she was a photographer.  Talking about her new macro lens and aperture priority.  I don't know if contemporary photographers need that technology to snap a good shot, but back then it seemed more to me like witchcraft to get from camera to a beautiful shot.  And she was the witch doctor.

I miss mom and her shoulder pads.  I miss the eighties and their shoulder pads and curls.  Maybe it's only because that's when I had the fondest memories of my family, being together and so in love.  If it's as simple as that, it's fine with me.  The two best people I could even imagine were at that point the center of my world.  I was the center of theirs.  If no eye has seen and no ear has heard what awaits God's children, then I can't speculate as to their frame of mind now.  I can say that they figure prominently in everything I do.  Some people resent their parents and their style.  Some only come to appreciate them later.  I have fully loved my parents for all the days from my beginning till now and will continue to do so until I cease to exist.

I will love them forever.  Funny what a set of shoulder pads in a coat can dredge up huh?  Let me tell ya.

Monday, November 19, 2012

And...We're back!

Ya so I'm now officially back to my old self.  I was feeling a little out of sorts for one reason or another.  This or that state of affairs was a bit coercive to my positive disposition.  At first I thought it was loneliness.  Then I thought maybe it was a first trimester life crisis.  And even now, I can't definitively say what the problem was, though I have my suspicions.  Whatever the problem was, however, C Dub doesn't give in mentally.  Sometimes you have to remind yourself of the fact.  It isn't that it's some self delusion as much as a decision to not let yourself be beaten by circumstance.  And there you go.  I think the main thing is I needed to sober up.  After getting off the boat, I may have indulged in a few ways more than was absolutely necessary.

That being said, here we are.  And let me tell ya.  Seattle is a beautiful place to just...breath in.  The douchebaggery/smugginess/automoton-like adherence to all things progressive is just...Mwuah.  That perfect mix of all the right ingredients.  And I have the perfect example.  I was speaking to a very close friend of mine who I shouldn't disclose named Briana who may or may not have been an observer on our boat.  It went like this...

I had what I thought was a doctor's appointment this afternoon at one in the P.  Called a cab.  After a short wait of forty minutes a cab got there and we were off.  Now, there was a lot going on today that deserves to be shared.  But the coup de grace was on the elevator at the hospital.  I'd just realized I was at the wrong place.  The scheduler didn't specify that I wasn't going to the same place I'd been going.  Whatev, no biggie.  I get on the elevator and this guy kind of a thing is there.  I can't say he was particularly guy-like, but he had some stubble on his face and narrow hips etc.  And he was freaking out saying, "Oh my God!  I'm so confused!  It says 'two' on the elevator and we're on the third floor!  But I guess maybe that is just on the elevator?"  He was talking about the stencil in the elevator.  The one that indicates which car it is.  It doesn't change.  At all.

I don't mean to make fun of the guy.  It's not my style.  I appreciated his extroverted approach to the situation.  It was just so funny seeing this guy out of sorts for such a silly reason.  Like if you were walking down the street and saw an address on a building and were confused that it didn't tell you what time it was.  Love it.

And then I went down to the main entrance to get my cab to the place where my appointment really was.  I don't want to get into the merciless ineptitude of the cab companies out here.  I will say that I called for my first cab at noon and didn't catch my last cab till 2.30.  So it took about two hours to get two cabs in a city over run with cabs.  Anyway, I'm down in the lobby area and this clown at the desk asks me if I have to check in.  I said no.  I'm waiting for my cab.  Should just be a minute.  It wasn't a lie, I didn't know how long it would take.

But the guy is looking like he doesn't want me to be there?  I don't know.  So I said to him, 'I could sit outside if you'd prefer'.  It was pouring rain, but he managed to miss my sarcasm and said, "Oh.  Well it's raining so I guess it's ok."  Thanks bud.  \m/

Anyway, I don't want to get into what I see as deficiencies in the character of, if not the mean Seattle resident, the mode resident.  People are people wherever you go.  It was just kind of funny to me to see this happening.  And the rain.  It has not stopped since I've been here.  It's amazing how different people who are no different in terms of pre-disposition to someone like myself and others in the world can be so different.  It was like a scene from a futurist's dream.  The future.  It's here.  So ya I'm a little buzzed from a few drinks and it's still soooo stoopid.  But no one cares or reads so there you go.  Ha!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sold! To the man dressed in black

So I'm back at it.  After being on the boat for a couple days my enthusiasm has picked up a bit.  I took a look around at my surroundings and just knew that my yacht could use some decorating.  Ya, that Russian is over there in his ivory tower, all high and mighty, but the Katie Ann is no slouch.  She's a good boat.  But it needed a few touches.  The first of which was a TV.

So I started the process like anyone else.  Craigslist.  If I had a car out here I probably would have gone shopping somewhere, but as it was, or is, I don't.  I browsed the classified section with mixed feelings until I saw a peach of an ad.  32 inch Samsung LED in the box.  275 dollars.  Ya, I'll call on that.  I spoke with a lady.  She said she'd come to me.  Yay.

Here's where it starts to get kind of fun.  I told her I was in Queen Ann near the cruise ships.  That sounds fairly benign.  She started getting kind of close and called me back to get a more precise destination.  Then I revealed that I was at pier 90 on a fishing boat.  We're starting to get a little more questionable here.

So after talking her through the labyrinth of security, overpasses, turns, and detours I started getting more specific.  "Ok, just come down the docks to the end.  I'll be dressed in black."  She goes, "I don't know man, this sounds kind of shady."  I said, "It's cool, don't trip."  She was a little skeptical with, "O-o-oh, kkk-kay".  She came down and I hid behind some nets on the dock and sprang out as she drove by.  I'm not even lying.  Then I asked all nonchalant, "Uh, anyone selling TVs around here?"

I had to calm her down a little bit, saying "I was just being funny.  Nothing to worry about here.  Do you have a blade?"  She looked at me with some apprehension.  I said, "You know, so I can open the box?"  With some relief she gave me a razor (I don't know who should have been more scared) and I opened the box.  And that's pretty much it.  We both kind of laughed at how questionable the exchange could seem if it were editorialized and edited.  Then I asked her if she had more TVs and tried to set up a nefarious trade route of TVs for people on the boat.  She said no and that was that.

On the bright side, I got a pretty sweet TV for pretty cheap and can entertain myself a little better.  I might see about getting some channels now.  I might not.  I probably will.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I'm laughing.  I won't know why either.  Except maybe because it's party time.  There's no internet on the boat where I perform my night watch duties with the meticulousness of a four-year-old.  No, really, it's the best security you can buy for nothing.  With that being the case, I took a little jaunt to Pete's coffee or whatever this outfit is called and doubled up on five shots of espresso with my drip.  We're at ten now and I'm not sure if I need to go to eleven.  Pretty amped, but in that clean, legal, wholesome kind of way.  So if my jittery and non-compliant fingers can get through ten minutes of drivel, I'll spout off for a minute.

There have been complaints in our retention department (the single, solitary soul who bothered to read this) about my last post being a downer.  "That was negative.  Bummer.  All you did was complain about being hurt with your shoulder and having an abscessed tooth and missing your friends and being college educated but working all day every day for nothing blah, blah, blah..."  And she was right.  I like the boat in my own unique way and shouldn't complain.  That's not what I'm about.  I try to remain positive in all situations.  Is it wrong to vent a little?  Maybe maybe not.  But I'm done with that.  No more crying about this, that, or the other.  Except for one last thing...

How hard is it to get some decent internet?  How hard is it to listen to a Dionne Warwick song?  I really just want to listen to Dionne for a bit.  Buffering is still a thing.  Brutal.  I thought that went out with cassette tapes.  For those of you out there who actually have some bandwidth, I present you with a gift...

You are welcome.  I have so much to say with my super caffeine infused mind right now that I actually have nothing to say.  It's sad really.  It would seem that the title of 'stoooopid' is rather apt, no?  That's just the deal.  But it's fun if you make it fun.  I have a piano on the boat still.  I should probably play it or something.  I still have some skills, but am in a bit of a creative funk.  It's kind of routine to sit down and play some of my favorite progressions.  Then, after a few minutes or an hour or so I'm done.  For sure not complaining.  But the truth is I've never worked on stuff on the piano.  Or, more accurately, I haven't worked on anything since I developed rudimentary skill.  The only songs I've practiced to play and kind of get right are 'Canon' and 'Moonlight'.  And that was back in like 2001.

Maybe listen to something and try to play it?  Or whip up a new song?  I'm for sure not stressing about it.  It seems, though, that I have the most fun playing when I'm playing for someone who enjoys listening.  That kind of means I prefer the intimacy over the music, or at least a combination of the two. Nothing wrong with that, I guess.  It was similar in baseball.  I loved to play.  But I really loved to play in front of a big crowd and kind of refuse to play recreationally.  I'm sure there's some implication of insecurity there and needing praise or something.

And let me tell ya.  Seattle is a tale of two mindsets.  Really a dichotomy of smug and smug.  In all fairness, a coffee shop is not a fair sample to judge a city on smugness.  But it happens everywhere around here.  I always feel like people are trying really hard to be nice when they are, like it doesn't come naturally.  Everyone looks so serious.  Just kind of in an iron bubble that they would prefer not be penetrated.  I don't know if that means anything, or if it's just that I look so uncouth that people clam up.  That has happened before.

Fun anecdote: The times I've flown or ridden buses I've noticed that the seat next to mine is invariably the last to be taken.  It is a certain fact that I will have an empty seat next to me if there is even one on any form of transport.  I guess it has its advantages.

Just fun all around.  You know what is a bit torturous?  The world's largest yacht is on the dock about 500 feet away from my yacht.  That Russian billionaire's friggin yacht is within 7 iron range.  If you know me at all, then you know that I love yachts.  I seriously thought about popping in over there and trying to make myself at home.  Just showing up and finding the piano, which undoubtedly exists, and playing it like, "Huh?  Who am I?  Oh.  I'm the pianist.  Have I spoken to Andrei?  No.  Who hired me?  What do you mean?  I'm the pianist..."  You know, just kind of squatting there until the indifferent billionaire and his entourage just accept it and shrug.  That idea has some merit.

Part of the boat job thing is wanting to just go and do some crazy stuff and have some stories and whatnot.  I think stowing away on a russian billionaire's yacht and weasling a job as the pianist would be quite the feather in the cap.  If I were more certain of his English skills, I'd be more confident about my chances of talking my way into a gig like that.  It could be a good thing.  Put me on the payroll for like a thousand dollars a day to be the American pianist who is "much funny, da?"  Ahh.  If I disappear, there is a ninety percent chance that that is what happened.  If I never come back it's because they got tired of me and you can rest assured that I contributed to the food chain as shark food.

The barista just came over and asked how I was doing.  I almost made a Michael J Fox joke aobut not being able to text on my phone because I was jittery.  I didn't.  Mixed company and all.  Muhammed Ali would have likely been better received, but she probably doesn't know that the former heavyweight champion has parkinson's.  So I'll just leave it alone.

For sure I'm not out of ramblings.  But I am done for now.  It's still stooopid.  Except for the stowaway thing.  That is, quite literally, the best idea I've had in months.  And I've had a few.  Some of you have been party to these ideas.  In fact, just recently I had a great idea.  Wouldn't you like to know...I probably can't share it though.  Seriously.  I have one parting gift...

I like Dionne's versions better than Aretha's.  And Dionne was first.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

And a partridge in a pear tree

Sometimes sequels suck.  Sometimes they dominate.  Sometimes they are just different?  I'm not gonna lie about it.  The last couple months sucked some life force out of me.  Kinda like when you're playing a video game and the little life meter at the top or bottom of the screen shifts from being full power to low power and just inches its way to the edge of the screen?  But sometimes you get the banana or star or whatever and it brings you back to at least half power but then creeps keep shooting or punching or otherwise hindering your progress?  That was B season 2012.  I'm off the boat now, but it hasn't stopped.

You know about some of the new faces and it isn't the same and blah blah blah.  What you didn't know is that on the first trip I tore my rotator cuff in my left shoulder.  I saw the doctor on the companies dime thankfully and she was pretty sure that's what it was but referred me to the orthopedic surgeon to confirm etc.  Well, the boat was leaving before said appointment and we made a meager 800 dollars net in our first trip of Haik.  I don't like Haik.

So I was faced with the choices of living life with 800 dollars plus whatever I had without my projected earnings for the season over the next several months or hearing Mickey tell me to 'get up because he loved me' and that 'he didn't hear no bell'.  I stuck it out, telling the insurance guy for the company over my shoulder that I'd keep them in the loop and if it didn't get any worse I could work through it.  Which turned out to be true, as far as it goes.

We headed north.  To catch yellow fin.  Now, compared to Haik (still not sure how to spell 'Haik'), yellow fin is a cash cow.  But I knew better than to get too excited.  Anyway, we went.  And in that time I got promoted to freezer lead.  Yay.  Also, in that time I got an abscessed tooth.  That hurt.  A lot. I spent a period of ten days of my last trip working sixteen and a half hours and averaging two hours of sleep because the pain made it hard to fall asleep.  The state of the boat, at the time, was a bit 'dodgy', as it were.  We were missing one of our foremen because he had a heart attack at sea and apparently almost didn't get to land in time for treatment.  For one reason or another.  I was not the doctor.  I can't speak to the accuracy of the statement.  That was the rumor.

Fraternizing with the observers is strictly prohibited and punishable in any number of ways.

I was told I would be leaving on a 'medical'.  That means there is no negative consequence for getting off the boat and travel expenses are paid.  The paper work I signed said there was no deductions from my check to be made.  Which is important, because after seeing another dentist yesterday, I got an estimate for a root canal.  North of three thousand dollars.  Ya.

Upon checking in with the company I learned that travel was deducted.  Life meter is dwindling.  But the captain and factory manager liked my night watch style, so I still have a gig there as long as the insurance guy approves it.  Life meter in a state of limbo.  Here we are.  A Motel six in Seattle.  The light was left on.

I like the sea.  I got promoted.  All good things.  Rotator cuff surgery may not be as forgiving as even the Bering Sea.  And I might have to just yank this tooth out.  But, assuming I have a job that I am fit to perform next season, we are supposed to have machines that cut the heads off the fish which will nearly double both their selling price and our shares.  So there is that.

All in all, it was a rough B season.  Torn rotator cuff, abscessed tooth and a hundred days plus at sea. Two bouts of pneumonia. Sick with a cold or flue for a full week and a half.  The worse galley you ever thought about.  Rules may or may not have been broken.  Some new friends.  A few bucks.  A desolate Motel room.  Hard to complain.  Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sometimes sequels suck

Sometimes sequels suck.  You go in thinking one thing, or that the thing will be like the last thing.  Well, you can't step into the same river twice.  Everything is always changing.  And so it is with the boat.  This season is not like last season.  In many ways it's worse.  In some ways it's better.  Either way, the Katie Ann keeps sailing and the world keeps turning. 

First of all, we've made maybe thirty dollars catching Haik.  Over the course of a week.  The freezers are freezing the fish at an alarmingly slow rate.  Like five hours as opposed to two.  Our catcher boats are Indians-you can call them natives if you prefer-and they don't give a shit.  And the ice wench is gone.  It didn't occur to me how helpful that was to my day to have the wench's smiling face and ready laugh.  Also, the responsibility of keeping her in the game kept me in the game.  There are no straps on the bags now.  It is quite literally twice as much work to load a freezer now.

On a bright note, I have some creature comforts and am bunking with my buddy Robby.  We play video games.   I play piano too.  In fact, last night I played piano for the entire boat.  We hadn't caught any fish in a couple days.  I walked into the galley and saw on the board that I was going to do a Haik dance on the trawl deck at 11pm.  News to me, it was.  But when I was summoned at eleven and found out they were being serious, I couldn't refuse my boss or my crew.  Just the kind of team player I am, I guess.

So I went out and did this Icky shuffle meets Merton Hanks with some Dumb and Dumber mixed in.  There were som insensitive moments with regard to the Macaw Indians too.  It was good fun and everyone laughed.  It was short, however, and an encore was called for.  Well, I didn't really have one.  Not having one didn't stop me from round one, so I proceeded to do an encore with some enthusiasm.  Someone said, "Play the piano".  Enough said. 

I sent my roadies to fetch the board, stand, and cables.  Within two minutes I was hooked up and the crowd was surprisingly silent.  I had their attention and wasn't going to waste it.  I started with something light-an instrumental of 'Beating Those Cakes' and followed with a freestyle 'Stormy Monday Blues' where I said something inappropriate about each of my bosses.  Everyone laughed hysterically.  Feeling a bit confident, I put out the disclaimer during the intro, "The opinions expressed in this next piece are in no way indicative of my view towards women".  Then it began, "She's a porn star..."  That's right.  I played 'Pornstar' in front of the observers, bosses, God, and everyone.  Then I wrapped it up with a few bars of 'Jade', or as Dominick calls it, 'Splat' for reasons known to he and myself. 

Mission accomplished.  High fives.  Laughter.  I'd like to say shock, but they pretty much have me figured out.  No shock.  Just some enthusiasm.  And the fish did come today, but they came to the tune of a two minute dance.  Only eleven tons.  Whatever.  It could be a long season if I let it.  I won't.  I'm gonna make my own fun if I have to.  I have done it before. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Total abortion in the hold.  I was all glad to be back in action and out of the factory.  Nevermind the three hours sleep or the disorganized mayhem that became of the maiden fish processing for B season.  Never mind all that.  I was gonna go home and get going again.  And I was pretty happy about it.

So myself and two other guys went down there to stack product.  A bag came down.  And got stuck in the chute.  I climbed up there to get it loose and noticed it wasn't very slick.  So I went up top to tell the guys to hold off on putting bags in for a second.  One of the guys looked dead in my eye and dropped it down the chute.  I told him.  He said to tell the other guys.  I said I was trying to tell him so he wouldn't do what he did.  No biggie.  I climbed up the conveyor and un clogged it.  They poured some water down the chute to make it slick. 

The bags started coming down and out of the chute.  Here we go.  We're off, right?  Wrong.  Literally a third of the bags got hung up on the belt before it even dropped to five feet.  I had to jump, climb, poke with a pry bar and prod to get it together.  And it did not stop. It's something that can be fixed, but looks like it should never have been.  It was like a suicide mission for the bag, with practically no chance of making it across a few belts and around a corner or two.  There was a gap between two of the belts that was big enough for bags to fall through.  No lie.  One of them fell through and hit me in the face.  Nice.

Before getting into the real peach of a circumstance, I gotta mention that my two freezer pals were not having much fun.  And they kinda folded on me.  Not a toatal fold, but I can see the look of defeat on their faces before they know it's there.  It was there.  Nice guys and good workers.  But whatever anger I was feeling, they probably registered as discouragement.  I was mad that it was so aweful because of so many things that should have been addressed.  They probably felt like there was noway they were gonna get through a whole season of this.

And once I noticed the kicker, I felt the same way.  They were sending the bags down with no straps.  This might not mean anything to you, but picture if you will, taking luggage without a handle.  Because that's what it is.  It is quite literally more than twice as hard to stack bags with no strap than with.  I know this because it is harder to grab one bag with no strap than two with a strap.  If the strap on your backpack breaks, you obviously carry it around like a kitten.  But you don't choose the one with nos traps if you have a choice.  We have a strapper.  The first bag that came down had a strap on it.  I offered to work alone down there to help pick up the slack and this is the deal?  Come on.  Can't do it.  It's hard enough when you have straps unloading freezers of fish.  To make it twice as hard seems silly. 

It would be like asking someone to gut a fish with a butter knife.  Ya, it can be done, but it's not the best way.  It's not gonna make the company money to give people poor equipment.  I'm not even suggesting we stop production if the strapper goes down.  That's not what happened though.  I know this because I went up and asked.  They said they canned it.  Why?  I can't think of a reason.  And if anyone thinks offload is gonna be anything short of a disaster with people trying to pry these bags out from between other bags rather than grabbing a strap, you've got another thing coming. 

I was upset.  Like show me the red button and I'll push it upset.  I haven't talked to anyone about it in earnest because I'll probably say something dumb.  But I am not happy about what happened to my home.  At all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Unto the breach has new meaning

I said we were going once more unto the blah blah blah the other day with optimism and positivity or whatever.  Ya, well I'm feeling like I'm literally into the breach.  Like, gunpowder on one side and a ballistic future straight ahead.  I'm sure some of it is the fact that I've worked  something like 45 housrs with 9 hours of sleep in the last three days.  And some of it is sympathetic breahiness feeling.

I look around and people are going apeshit.  Just mayhem and chaos everywhere you look.  And we haven't even started on the Haik yet.  Haik is a volume fish.  Just keep it coming like Ketih Sweat.  The oiler just told me he worked a twenty hour shift.  I know the Chief worked at least a twenty and is probably gonna work a twenty every day we are at sea.  Poor guy.  The deck guys have been at it for a while.  For the first time since being on the boat, I feel like the Daffodil. Working in the freezer, I usually scoff at everyone else like they have it easy and feel all macho and whatnot.  Naw.  I'm feeling a little like a Daffodil.

I went back into the freezer hold yesterday with a few new guys to get a couple things done.  I went in in street clothes because it was only minus 15 C or so.  They got cold a few times and looked like they weren't enjoying themselves too much.  But they never complained.  In fact, they did an excellent job.  One of the guys was from Sacramento, North Side.  His name is Cione.  I can't even profile himby race.  But he has a pretty strong 'fro.  And an effing sweet ski mask.  I was down there with a tall thin white guy with a sock, or neck/head covering with just his face poking out, looking like a Swiss Police Officer and a damn menace to society with a ski mask looking like he was gonna rob me for fiber and straps.  I probably just looked like an a hole, but the factory manager did say I was cute.  This already?

We moved fiber, which is what we call the bags that the fishies go in, for about six hours.   I'm not gonna lie.  I was a bit spent.  I got soft on night watch.  I need a training montage stat, you know, to get the strength up.  I did start singing Rocky theme songs a little bit yesterday.  It wasn't the same without Ice Wench or Zac.  We did get 'I Believe I Can Fly' in.  As a group.  Yay. 

The freezer did feel like home though.  I was glad to be back.  The new crew is strong and seemingly ready.  Hopefully able.  But I do miss some of the friends of last season.  This abusive girlfriend, Katie Ann, just has me longing for her and even her worse characteristics.  I'd seriously be happy to see Ayane and Naptime's lackluster faces.  Ya, well, it's hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Once more unto the breach my friends

I think that was Shakespeare or something.  And here we go.  Once more.  Allegedly, we're leaving at 1800, or 6.00p.  We'll see about that.  Yesterday was the Chinese fire drill you'd expect a day before going out to sea with over half new people, so I expect the powers at least think we're leaving today.  Yesterday was particularly exciting for me.  It started at six am with the dogs and began to slow around five pm when I jumped off the pier into the water.  Salt water tastes great and is less filling.

So I got done with night watch and made my way to bed around 0530.  Right about the time I felt the welcome heaviness behind my eyelids, I heard a commotion in the hallway.  It woke me.  And here are the dogs.  They were only looking for bed bugs, but they woke me up all the same.  I thought up a new scene for the movie.

A guy on the boat sees the dogs coming and gets uneasy.  He grabs his bags and storms out into the halls and yells out, "Nobody move!"  and looks side to side.  Then he backs out of the hall to the bow through the hatch and says conversationally, "just take it easy everyone".  The whole time, people are not even remotely worried, but just a little confused about what this guy is up to.  He gets on the bow and jumps overboard.  A thud is heard because he jumped off the side the dock is on.  Everyone goes about their business like nothing happened and the dog guy consults his clipboard saying, "Ok, so we're gonna spray 402."  The guy who jumped off was worried about them being drug dogs because he had drugs with him.  But then he gets back on the boat with a stiff neck from the fall like nothing happened.  His bunk mate asks "what was that about?" all calm while looking at the newspaper or something.  The guy says he was scared the dogs would smell him.  Bunkmate says they were just dogs for the bed bugs and it flashes to drug guy dumping a couple bricks of drugs into the sound.  Bunk mate starts laughing and pulls out his own stash and says "Pfft.  No one cares if you have drugs here.  Ha."  Something like that.

So I was up again and around eleven I went back to bed, but shortly after that, June came into the room and told me we were doing crew up etc.  Well, I wasn't thrilled about that either, but I got up, again right as I was about to fall asleep, and went to the galley.  Finally a few hours later I had all my paper work filled out and Serena said, "go get some sleep Corey."  I asked, "So I'm done?"  She nodded.  I went back to my room and read until my eyes got heavy.

In the dark, having turned the reading light off, I rolled over toward the wall.  Had the blanket stuffed between my legs and everything.  I was preparing for hypersleep.  And after all of the interruptions, and heavy petting and teases I was now alone in my room.  And sleep was setting in.  Then I heard a jiggle on the door handle.  I ignored it.  I deserve this sleep.  I will fight for this sleep!  We must protect this sleep! I heard a little voice, "Watts".  Fuck!  My foreman Otto was standing there, silhouetted by the hallway light, beckoning my presence...somewhere.  I put up a bit of a fight.  He was unmoved.  Well, one thing I won't do is tell a foreman no.  So up I got.

He sounded sympathetic to my situation, but offered no solution.  Other than walk to the end of the pier and jump into the water.  Now understand, jumping into the water off the boat or pier is something that could be fun at a different time.  Under these circumstance, it was like being offered a dinner at a fancy restaurant after eating twenty dollars worth of McDonalds.  Just no way to enjoy it.  So I walked over there.

They told me to get into a life suit.  These things suck.  They may have their purpose while stuck in the water in the open sea.  Without that kind of motivator, they only sucked.  And they were hot.  And we weren't ready to jump for a good ten minutes.  I put my suit on and walked to the edge and fortunately asked if I could jump and get it over with.  No, I could not.  He asked us, once we were ready to go if we would jump off the pier or if we wanted to go down closer to the water.  We all opted for the top.  One of the guys had a heart attack out of fright.

Everyone jumped.  I was last.  As I left, I heard the guys at the top yell something.  I thought I was gonna maybe land on something.  That is really a bad time to yell.  I landed a near perfect preacher and felt the bass on my face.  Nice.  Then we got in our little star thing and were practically immobile in the suits.  The life raft may have been easier if I A; didn't have to go to the bathroom and B; had slept in the last two days.  As it was I got in with as little grace as was possible.  And nearly fell asleep.  It was kinda nice in there.  I could be stranded at sea for a few days in that thing.  And I'll maybe be glad for the drill if the time does come to abandon ship.  I was not happy about it yesterday.

So I get to go to sleep now right?  Wrong.  There was stuff to do like get all the life suits back on the boat.  I saw the safety guy and other dude who were yelling and asked, "Were you guys trying to tell me something on my way down?"  They said I was at a funny angle.  Duh.  You think I'm gonna make a leap form there without doing a splash?  Crazy talk.  The splash, if you're curious was first of all the biggest of the day.  Secondly, it was higher than the pier which was a good twenty feet over the water.  I win.

Then I got on the boat and couldn't sleep.  I mixed company with the degenerates on this thing.  We talked about silly stuff that I can't bring myself to talk about here.  I really can't.  I need to shave.  I need some more sleep.  I'll end up lugging stuff around all day.  Then I'll sleep.  I'm actually looking forward to putting the freezer suit on and getting in the hold.  Seriously.  And I can't talk about what we were talking about.

Monday, July 9, 2012


I never knew what it was like to go through life bitter.  Or cynical.  I always assumed, for the most part, that people felt how I did and dealt with their problems in a similar fashion.  When I saw people get worked up about stuff, I kind of assumed that they were looking for attention or made some cognitive effort at being mad.  I didn't think it could come that easily.

Well, I take everything back.  I've been coming to realize that people are just wired differently.  It seem silly that I'm just coming around to this now, but it's true.  I thought people had a default position that was like mine.  Today I got a taste of cynicism in it's purest form.

I was at Fred Myer today.  That's like a Raley's or Ralph's meets Target for you guys in California.  I was just looking for a book to read.  For some reason, the selection bothered me.  There was a Bourne book in it's fifteenth sequel (written by a different author).  And there were a couple Star Wars books, which Ive never read, but since I liked the movies I thought I'd at least give the back cover a glance.  Gay.  Totally effing gay.  I don't mean gay like homosexual, but gay like extra faggotty.  Didn't even have Han Solo or Darth Vader.  Come on.  Grabbed a Star Trek book with high hopes and it was some ultra gay spinoff thing.  Didn't have anything approaching Kirk. 

So I was just fuming in the book aisle.  I don't get mad like this ever.  But I was prepared to judge the whole store because of a few books.  It could have been that they were sold out of the good books.  It could have been that they had such good books that they sold out in a day because everyone knows how good the books at Freddy's are.  Nope.  I was going with everyone was a raging commie. 

Then I got to the checkout line.  And when I was done buying all my stuff the lady kinda looked at me.  It was like three hundred dollars worth of stuff.  And she asked if I wanted a bag.  Uhhh...Ya lady.  I'd like a bag.  She told me it was five cents for a bag.  And she tried to fit everything in one pathetic excuse for a paper bag with no handles.  Hey lady, I'll splurge for the extra bag.  Money is no object when it comes to bags.  The lady behind me was beaming with pride that Seattle finally passed a law that was so environmentally conscious.  Oh, and they were selling canvas bags there too.  I wanted to scream, "Oh come on!  this is a racket!"  No one would have cared.  So I just made a little comment about that and went about my business.

I gotta tell you though, the self satisfied smugness of everyone there almost got me upset.  I cooled off by then.  I don't want to get into a tit for tat thing with these people.  If they feel better about re using bags that's cool.  I didn't want to get into how many more people are gonna turn to plastic because they no longer get paper bags to use as garbage bags at home.  I didn't need to get into how 'corporate' and 'capitalist' it is to sell bags at the checkout where you are charged for bags.  It's cool.

I'd calmed down.  I think the point is that I felt bitterness for about a ten minute period.  It went away, but I felt it.  And I thought about what a bummer it is for people to go through life like that.  Especially people who don't like people and want to save the world and get mad when everyone doesn't do the things that they do.  That's gotta be a bummer.  Having seen it both ways, I'm not ashamed to admit that it's best to mind your own business and worry about your own problems before fixing everyone else.  Getting mad about things you can't control is for the birds.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


That's right.  Whitney going all America on everybody.  I like my Whitney Houston patriotic.  I can't speak for her politics or feelings about this place, but when I hear her sing our anthem like that, it's hard to imagine she's anything short of a founding sister.  And wasn't she beautiful?  I miss Whitney.  While I'm not one to put celebrities on a pedestal, I'm even less inclined to be unimpressed with phenomenal female singing talent.  In fact, if I were a super hero, that would be my kryptonite.  Beautiful singing women. 

But here we are on the fourth of July, both with and without these beautiful singing women.  Though we shouldn't compartmentalize patriotism or interest in this country, there are times when it should be magnified.  Memorial day is one of those times-though we should always remember.  Christmas is one of those times for me as well, thinking about freedom to worship and the King.  The fourth of July is really the time to go all 'Merica on everyone.  To me, that means just loving life and appreciating what we have here.  And celebrating the audaciousness of over the top fireworks displays.

I don't get political here, and will not do so now.  But I will say that people need to figure out what it means to be an American and what America is all about.  Platitudes about injustice and whatnot don't wash with me.  This country is the single best hope for the world. 

It was, in its inception, a new paradigm of individual freedom.  The people who came here had a clear concept of tyranny.  And with what remains the greatest treatise on human freedom, they whipped up our founding documents.  At this point in time, they dreamed of a land with a small government and the necessary checks and balances to check a usurpation of power.  And with all the faults along the way, from then till now, this is the greatest concept of liberty the world has known.

It was upon this founding that the republic decided to end slavery, seeing clearly the hypocrisy in the practice while touting the merits of freedom.  After being freed, Frederick Douglas had thoughts about government intervention.  When asked, "What should the government do to help you now?", he replied, in effect, "The government has done enough already.  I want to succeed or fail on my own merits."

And now there is this concept of government refereeing life.  With the wealth and power of this country, a new paradigm is being clung to.  The wealthy are vilified and characterized as unfair to those who aren't as wealthy.  I don't like it.  I am not wealthy myself.  I would probably benefit in the short run by jumping on this band wagon.  That is not what America is about.  Happiness is not about wealth, either.  The pursuit of happiness, however, is totally dependent on the concept of a job well done and a sense of accomplishment for one's efforts.  This distraction of flashing shiny lures to the fish in this sea is nauseating.

No one is guaranteed wealth.  No one is guaranteed a job.  No one is guaranteed a wife.  Nothing is guaranteed.  But this thing that people cling to called hope is not only a right, but an intrinsic piece of humanity.  And these modern day sophists use the term while whittling it away.  They deceive with clever words and loosely defined end games while implementing the very things that are humanity's undoing. 

This American Dream is not to be given the scraps off of the table.  And liberty is not having life mandated by bureaucracy.  Hearing someone suggest from on high that we need coercing for our own good is disgusting to me.  America is about living in a civil society on one's own terms.  With one's own goals.  And miss me with that greed business.  Americans are the most generous people on Earth.  Every time a disaster hits-in any part of the world-Americans donate the most money.  And I'm talking about citizens with the Red Cross etc.  Many talk about how America hates Iran etc., but when that Earthquake hit, Americans donated more to the cause than even the oil rich Muslim countries.

That greed argument is just a way to get class envy and class warfare going.  I don't like it.  America isn't a jealous place.  We should be happy for others who have done well for themselves and try, if it's something we want to do, to be like them.  Not knock them down a peg.  However greedy corporations and the mega rich might be, they aren't nearly as greedy as a tax hungry government.  Walmart at least has to sell stuff that we want to get our money.  If we aren't satisfied with a company's policy we can go shop somewhere else.  When it comes to the government, we have to wait till it's time to vote.  And then we are only basing our vote on the information available.  If they can lie and swindle to the point of selling a turd pie, then that's what is voted for.

So maybe this was a bit political.  So what?  I feel strongly about this.  We need to think hard about what kind of place we want to live in and what kind of place we want to be.  For me?  I say let people live how they care to live as long as it isn't coercive to others.  I don't need the government telling people they can't drink a 20 ounce soda like they do in New York City.  I don't want them telling me what kind of car to drive.  I don't really want them doing anything other than upholding the law and protecting us from our enemies.  As far as I know, that's their job.

America, eff ya!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New economic principles

I don't even know where to start here.  There were two recent deviations from normative economic protocol.  The first was simple, so I'll start there.  I went to a Shell gas stations for a few provisions.  The dude at the counter scanned my stuff and left it on the counter.  I asked if I could have a bag with that.  He told me it was five cents for a bag.  That's it.  That's all that happened.  But are you kidding me?  Charging me for a bag dude?  I know Seattle takes the environment seriously, but wow.  Kinda thought it was optional to bring a canvas bag for your groceries.  But whatever.

The really fun thing was a little different.  One of the guys who was here (who is the same guy who would just walk up and talk at me about nothing for ever) yesterday to get his stuff out of his room.  I'd loaned the guy some money and bought a couple meals for him because his auto pay wasn't set up and he didn't have a bank account for them to auto pay it to.  No biggie.  Just wanted him to get his account set up so he could get his program together.

Anyway, a couple days after that he got some stuff in his eye and went to the doctor.  Then he complained about some extra symptoms.  To me.  Not the chief or office.  Bottom line is the guy disappeared for three weeks.  Then he texted me when he was coming back and said we would square up.  I told him that I would be sleeping and to leave it on the bunk next to mine.  So far so good, right?

Well, I woke up when he came in with that stupid ass look on his face.  He said, "Hey, uh, man, your stuff is up here and I gave you some groceries too.  And I left you something special."  So I woke up a little and asked, "What's so special?"  He said, "I brought you some real shit."  A ridiculous back and forth ensued.  He was beating around the bush miserably.  Finally I got it out of him, "Some weed man."  Like he's doing me a favor.

I asked, "Are you fucking kidding me?  What am I gonna do with that?  Besides throw it overboard?"  And he defended it, arguing with me about how good it was that he brought me drugs on a boat that the Coast Guard might search.  And for a company that tests randomly.  It's a real wonder the guy got canned.  So I told him to take his weed.  He said he'd see me in a minute.  I didn't know why.

When I got up a few minutes later and noticed a mere ten dollars I assumed he was getting more money for me.  Nope.  Guy just left.  Are you kidding me with this?  Just showing up with weed like it's currency?  Why not bring a roll of twine?  Or how about twenty dollars worth of socks?  And the groceries?  Ya it was two six packs of Top Ramen and a zip lock baggy with some q tips.  Literally the most valuable thing he left me.

The nerve right?  I would have rather he told me he didn't have the money.  Or, sometime before he got here he could have mentioned his creative solutions to the problem of owing me money.  I really resent him showing up with a random assortment of crap and acting like he just hooked me up.  That stupid look on his face, all self satisfied that he was giving me ten dollars in cash,  some welfare groceries, a sweater that was too small, and a gram of weed.  True that's a diversified portfolio, but I'm not in the market.

So that's that.  Getting charged for grocery bags and whimsical payment plans.  I'm actually getting kind of upset thinking about it.  It's not the money.  Trust me.  I waste 25 dollars without batting an eye.  But I don't like being taken advantage of.  It just makes the irritating portion of his persona that much more irritating.  I didn't mention it out of irritation though.  It's just that being in the presence of two new bartering paradigms within twenty four hours compelled me to share.  Nothing will surprise me ever again.

Monday, July 2, 2012


This guy was one of our cooks last season.  Are you kidding me?  Harold?  You had jokes and didn't even tell anyone?  I guess he told someone because I found out.  I mean I could have found him by accident because I was looking at stand up comedy last night.  For like eight hours.  But in this case the galley guy that came back told me.

Let me tell you a little bit about Harold.  Harold showed up all unassuming and polite.  I was probably one of the first people to talk to him because I'm like that.  He said his name was Harold and he was working in the galley.  I said my name was Corey and I was the Ice god.  That was that.

Then breakfast time comes rolling around and friggin Bobby Flay is in the kitchen.  Full on white lab coat or whatever it is that they call it when a chef wears it.  Hell, he mighta even had a hat, just kinda collapsed off to the side like the bakers in Bugs Bunny.  This guy made crepes, or thin little pancakes if you're Ricky Bobby.  He whipped up individual omelets.  It was a sight.  And a taste I guess too.

The food on the boat was just fantasgreat with Ricardo and his Puerto Rican turkeys and whatnot.  But breakfast was just breakfast.  Pancakes and scrambled eggs with some potatoes.  Nah.  Not with this guy.  Went to town.  Announced his presence with authority.  But he had no jokes. 

And it's funny.  I know a few standups.  They aren't usually the life of the party kinda guys.  But they are funny on stage.  Wonder why that is?  Because it's just a job?  Like you didn't often see me hitting or throwing things in the baseball days, but we weren't on the field.  It would seem that with comedy, the field is life, right?  Always working on your craft and all that?  Seeing if jokes play or don't?  I don't know.  It's probably just the hurt talking because I love some jokes and feel like if you've got 'em, better flaunt 'em. 

But that isn't the way it works.  I am not mad at Harold.  I just feel like we could have gotten weak, and when I say we I mean me.  He laughed at me plenty.  But we probably weren't laughing at the same time.  I forget which one of my girlfriends got me with that one.  But it got me.  That's it.  Our galley guy was a foul comedian and had me thinking he was some diligent pastry chef. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Surf's up pal

Just watched 'The Last Boy Scout".  I know this wasn't the 80's-it was 91-but it's in the spirit of those 80's films.  80's movies have been on my mind lately.  Every time I watch a modern movie I find myself picking it apart for all the ways it doesn't stack up to the cocaine induced 80's brilliance.  And some of this applies to the 90's as well.  It's not like as soon as 1990 hit Nancy Reagan's 'Just Say No' campaign started working.  It kinda just slowly became too PC to make awesomeness somewhere along the way.

I know I sound like an old man, reflecting on when a loaf of bread was only 99 cents.  And in another twenty years I'll probably be longing for the days of Vin Diesel because movies will have sunk to such a level as to make him seem like the good ol' days.  Just like my dad, loving Laurel and Hardy and Cary Grant.  But he also liked Mel Gibson and Lethal Weapon.  And we loooooved Looney Tunes.  If you don't like Bugs Bunny, I can't help you.

But ya, we see it in Pop culture everywhere.  Back in the 90's, I thought 'Man, this music huh?  Wish they made em like they used to...'  And now I listen to music from the 90's with fondness.  In twenty years we'll be like, "remember Gaga?  She was something special."  And "What happened to Justin Beiber?  He was such a handsome young man" etc.  I understand that looking backward things seem to gain some appeal.

But the movie thing is an objective fact.  Notice all the remakes they're trying to do?  Colin Farrell as Quaid in 'Total Recall'?  Come on now.  And there are others, but I don't want to get into it.  The bottom line is people were more creative in the 80's.  And 90's.  And 70's.  And 60's.  You could keep going back to Shakespeare and the original Beowolf and even the Odyssey.  It's like the well has run dry or something.

Two things need to happen.  One is cop partner movies.  You really can't go wrong with the police commissioner screaming "I got the Mayor climbing up my ass!".  Once that happens, everyone is happy.  And the second is kids doing cool stuff.  What happened to that?  You know, kids running away from home looking for dead bodies, or killing vampires, or repelling Russian attacks.  That's a good start for Hollywood there.  Cop buddies and kids, Hollywood.  You're welcome.

It's a good thing I'm making a movie to get these guys in line.  I hadn't thought about doing an 80s tribute or throwback.  But maybe I will.  Just like 'Slapstick' at sea.  I don't know.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Facebook dominance

I was perusing facebook a little earlier.  I'm not a big facebook guy.  The novelty wore off.  I don't network.  I'm basically not hip.  But, if you've been paying attention, then you know I am obsessed with 80's culture.  Obsessed might be overstating it a bit, but I am at the very least fondly disposed toward it.  It was my youth.  It was a simpler time when everyone did coke and cheese was finely grated. 

And this 80's cheese is the topic.  While looking through facebook, one of the posts was an old friend from high school asking what every one's favorite 80's movies were.  176 comments later we had it mostly worked out.  That's right.  176 comments.  All of which were on topic.  We weren't talking about the HealthCare law or calling each other names.  Just some good old fashioned 80's movie naming with the occasional quote thrown in.

We didn't stop because we ran out of movies.  Pfft.  Come on now.  We mercifully ceased operations because there were people getting updates on their mobile devices at an alarming clip.  The guy who originated the post sent out two apologies to anyone who may have been inconvenienced.  We blew facebook up with a non-stop barrage of 80's awesomeness.

The funny thing about it, apart from everything, was a comment from Skye Dickenson.  Another one of my friends from high school who was a few years ahead of me.  So we're going in basically a three way race with an occasional fourth.  It was myself, Marty, Pete, and Wong.  We were at about the 130 clip or so on the comments.  Maybe more than that.  And out of nowhere, Skye comments.  With the simplicity of a spoon he wrote, "Killer Klowns From Outer Space".  Just stopped the world for like three to four minutes. 

There's no coming back from that right?  We were dredging up some serious 80's cheese too.  But 'Killer Klowns' just took it.  And we heard not another word from him after that.  He was like Reggie Hammond in 48 Hours rousting the redneck bar.  Just went in, ruffled some feathers, made his point and left.  "There's a new sheriff in town.  His name is Reggie Hammond". 

Sure.  You had to be there to appreciate it.  Ya, I'm exposing myself as someone who's clinging to his youth with the tenacity of a snapping turtle.  But in the final analysis, the 80's rocked and Killer Klowns won the night.  Well done Skye.  Well done.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


This picture has nothing to do with anything
Is there anything more excruciating than listening to a good ol' boy get cultural?  I know the worse is when the white guy tries to get all hood with black guys.  That's the worse.  But a close second is the broken, bastardized, and mildly offensive mix of English and Spanish.  And I don't mean offensive like culturally insensitive.  Just mildly offensive to the ears.  It's also pretty bad when people use broken Spanish to talk to people who don't even speak Spanish.  Like asking a Russian something like "comprende?" 

But here we have the galley guy.  The head galley guy.  Who is very nice and a cool guy.  I'm not saying it's a character flaw or anything.  It's just a questionable habit.  So he's talking to the two-I guess they're Mexican-galley helpers the last couple days.  You know, sometime after the chief told me "there are mute buttons all over the boat.  They're called fire axes".  Still laughing at that.  So since then they've been cleaning up the galley and doing some good work.  Every one is just hunky dory or whatever positive characterization you could put on it.  And the whole time my piano and stuff is in the galley, btw. 

So the chief of the galley or whatever they call it is a good ol' boy from Tennessee.  Billy Joe.  Ya, that's right.  He's got one of those deep voices only a southerner can have.  And whenever he talks to Jaime or Marta it's in this busted ass impression of a Mexican accent with the occasional Spanish phrase thrown in.  Oh!  It makes me cringe.  He asked Jaime the other day if he had 'sopa' to clean with.  I've failed Spanish at least ten times.  I'm no linguist when it comes to Espanol.  But I couldn't help chiming in, "that's soup".  Marta laughed.  Billy Joe didn't hear.

But really.  This is like when you couldn't count to ten when you were ten years old and went "uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, sixo, seven o, eight o, nine o ten o."  Right?  Just putting 'o' or 'a' at the end of a word and pretending it's Spanish?  I mean, I kinda respect the effort and boldness of it.  He's trying to be 'amigos' with them.  I'd say we should be friends and if Jaime can't understand say it a little slower and with more force.  And if he still can't understand maybe give him an impatient look or something?  I just don't think you can meet someone in the middle when it comes to language.  It's hard enough when you're each using words that exist in your respective tongue.  When you're each making up words in different languages and some of them are a made up language?  No chance.

Again, I like everyone involved.  I'm not saying I don't.  I'm just saying that while we all are somewhat guilty of this, my buddy Billy Joe has taken it to the next level.  And maybe beyond.  I'm thinking about blogging the outline of the movie, just so I can keep track of ideas.  No one's gonna steal it if I do, right?