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?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mute buttons

This boat.  Let me tell ya.  The galley guy, who's culinary skills are on par with a hot dog vendor at a baseball game was being annoying today.  He may not have known it, but sometimes it's in the not knowing that makes it so annoying.  The chief and I were talking in the galley for a minute and all of the sudden this guy is screaming in spanish.  I'm sure it would have been slightly less annoying if it were English, but the volume level was at an 11.  Guy could have been singing Mariachi death metal with that stuff.

So I asked the engineer, because he's so handy and technical, "So have you made a mute button for that yet?" and I gestured with my hand toward Jaime.  Without missing a beat, he goes, "They're all over the boat.  They're called fire axes."  I'm sorry if I shouldn't be talking about this on a public forum, but that's hilarious.  It's not like anyone cares what I say anyway.  But seriously, that's going in the movie.  It's gonna be hard to re-create the effortless timing of the exchange, but we'll make do.

We're starting to crowd up a bit.  Even old 'yellow fin' himself showed up last night.  I guess mama is coming tomorrow and some others are starting to file in.  Word on the street is that there's a new captain and mate coming aboard.  It looks like the wind of change is blowing.  This dream boat is gonna start getting real real soon.  I'm about ready to head out to sea.  Get some fish on here and make some money.  I kinda need some new material too.  We need to get crewed up so I can write a few more scenes.  Supposedly, there are gonna be a lot more all stars here this season.  I don't know how I feel about that.  These guys underwhelmed me last season.  And that's being really nice about it. 

Monday, June 25, 2012


Artists aspire to what is plainly before our eyes.  As well they should.  But it occurred to me as I took the opportunity to enjoy yet another Seattle dawn-that nothing even our wildest fantasies can envision compares to the every day world.  The miracle of life and living is by far the greatest mystery and adventure.  Examining even the most basic stuff is to me compelling beyond words.

How many of us embrace this?  I was standing at the bow of the boat and saw, smelled, felt, tasted and heard a natural symphony.  It is God's symphony.  As effortless as an arpeggio for a pianist.  Da, da, da, da, da.  And there it is.

I was listening to some music earlier.  One of my favorite singers, James Ingram, was playing.  But there was no video.  It seemed silly that I wanted to see this person who bared his soul to me through the headphones.  And I considered theater and its attempts at stimulating totally through visual and auditory stimuli.  Selling the experience. 

Well, it's not too complicated to understand that a show or production should deal with as many senses as possible.  We are always looking for a greater sensation.  Many people take drugs to alter their mind.  When we are intimate with someone special to us, we want to feel a greater connection than a mere mutual contortion.  We want to capture the mind.  We even long for the familiar scent.  And so it is with these experiences that our greatest artists put together.

How much more then is the world in which we are totally immersed?  The colors of the sky-that could have been easily been written off as simply a sky and filed away as such-were dramatic in the extreme.  Deep indigo fading to the redish sunrise we are familiar with.  We would marvel at the TVs that reproduce this.  I marveled at the original.  Wow.  The gull flew over head through the deck light and was lit up in a stark contrast to this sky.  It was wild.  And it was real life.  That just happened.

Life is happening.  As I've said before, I am convinced that enjoying these breaths is necessary in living joyously.  It seems so easy.  On the boat, I have met many people, and these from very different walks of life.  The common thread is that people who are disposed toward some happiness are happy and deal with adversity well.  Those who aren't don't even deal with success well.  There's no silver lining.  Living with the disease of pessimism is a struggle as tough as any cancer. 

There is so much to be joyous about.  He loves us.  As we are.  Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, that remains.  Receiving this is a revelation every time I think on it.  Even as boneheaded as I am, have been, and will continue to be, this truth can't fail. 

I avoid the free lance philosophy for the most part, but there is no escaping a little taste here.  Time is an illusion.  It must be so.  There is no coherent argument for the flowing model.  There are compelling spiels.  But when it comes to defending models of time that treat it as a thing that exists as it appears to conscious beings who experience it?  It breaks down.  Time is static.  It is a road that is moved upon, not the car that moves.  So when it comes to eternal questions about God's promises and the like, we don't have to worry about it changing at such and such a time.  Because He simply is.  When asked, God replied, "Tell them I am."  Tenseless.  Even the tensed descriptions of 'was, is and will be' imply the same.  Tenseless.  Timeless.  And wholly real when I am on the bow at dawn.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


In addition to Serbian plants, there are Polish guys named Jozef (Yo-sef).  It isn't easy to talk to Jozef because of a bit of a language barrier.  But he tried.  And in the midst of this Borat-like monologue I heard "and was take by gypsy".  Ah.  That perked my ears up.  So then I started listening.

There was still no chance of understanding anything he said.  But I asked, thinking this may have been in the old country, 'In what city did this occur?'  After asking a few more times and communicating something coherent he told me 'Seattle'.  Hmm.  I wasn't aware of any gypsies in Seattle.

I guess some 'gypsies' came and stole his buddy's car stereo?  Maybe?  It's like I always say, you gotta be heads up for those gypsies.    They'll take your car stereo in a second.  Am I the only one who finds it hilarious that someone I actually was talking to used the term 'gypsy' to describe a person and was being totally serious?  I'd go through at least a hundred other things before I came up with gypsy.  I may even exhaust my entire lexicon without it occurring to me that 'gypsy' is a thing.

Oh, and in other news.  My Serbian bud showed me the Wikopedia on his oldest brother today.  It starts, "Veselin Vukotic is a Montenegrin criminal and hitman."  That's how you get a party started right there.  \m/ all day.  I asked, 'But is he a nice guy?' and Danilo said 'Ya.  Pretty nice.  But ruthless.'  I just bet.  I'm respecting Dan's street cred more and more.  I mean, there are people that are tough and people that are mean.  But when you're talking about guys who are mixed up with Slobodan Milosevic?  Whole 'nother level.  So that's that.  Just getting to know my Eastern European friends a little better each day. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

If you laugh your face off it's probably on your keyboard

The first time I heard this, there was no context.  It was still funny, but I didn't know why.  After finding out what was going on with the video, it just got funnier and funnier every time I saw it.  So I'll help out with a little background.

Allegedly, this clown was doing a bunch of acid and locked himself in a clothes closet.  His buddies recorded him once they figured out he was just gone like Pluto (Lethal Weapon).  They then animated a gecko to put some pictures to it.  And voila.  We have the funniest video I've seen lately.

The language is a bit suspect.  It's nothing my sordid friends and acquaintances will mind, but if you're at work you might not want to blast it.  I mean, no one reads this garbage anyway, so who really cares?  But I challenge you to not laugh.  I challenge you.

And the boat is starting to fill up.  My buddy, the chief engineer Scott is back and that brightened the whole situation by a few points.  The guy is so cool it's stupid.  And I mean cool like a cool customer and cool like Fonzy.  At the same time!  For one thing, the guy is a car nut.  I think the only thing keeping him from owning every model of car every year is money.  Not that engineers don't get paid well,as is evidenced by the fact that he showed me some sweet pictures of his Aston Martin today.  Really?  An Aston Martin.  No way.  Not ever.  (That's from the video above). 

So the guy has cars.  Not that he needs them to validate his malehood, but because his ultra malehood dictates a sweet ride.  It's basic math.  And he's an engineer, so he's good at math.  Ergo, sweet cars.  But the guy is also just laid back and down to Earth.  He and I are on absolute opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to our prestige on the boat.  He is, arguably, the most important guy as engineer.  And I am without a doubt the least valuable player in this operation.  I might make the boat worse just for having a pulse.  And yet, he bs's and tells stories and...let me borrow his brand new Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 game to play until we get underway.  How cool is that?  I didn't even have to ask.  He said he had it and I suggested we play it.  He brought it down and was like "here.  Have a ball.  I don't play em till we leave."  He could have easily pretended he didn't have one and yell at me for being a degenerate. 

So that's cool.  It's like in Major League when Lou is like "I think it's coming together Pepper."  Well, the crew of the boat is slowly forming up and I'm seeing familiar faces.  And a new one.  A Serbian guy named Danilo.  He introduced himself in a pure mid western accent, but his name sounded kinda ethnic.  And he had some gulag tattoos on his arm.  I felt like Bruce Willis in Die Hard when Hans came face to face with him and said, "Please don't kill me,  you're one of them omigod omigod omigod..." and that his name was "Clay.  Bill Clay."  Well, we all know how that ended.  Bruce was onto him but couldn't resist, "That's some accent.  You should be on fuckin TV with that accent."  Kinda long winded.  But I felt like it was a trick.  Like Danilo was planted here as a spy and trained in Novgorad to be an American facsimile. 

Looks like a micro machine
I'm only kidding, but all that is true about his accent.  He sounds more American than me.  And he's a really nice guy.  Otherwise I wouldn't feel comfortable joking around about his perfect accent.  FYI, I joked with him about it too.  And I'm still alive so I think we're good.  And June got a damn Caprice with 28 inch rims.  It's ridiculous.  Beyond ridiculous.  He likes it.  I'm just not sure about that right now (Office Space).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I just saw something and had to stop what I was doing.  It was a little text picture of an exchange.  And it is what I'd call game. 

That's just perfect, in my opinion.  Granted, this all depends on how long it took for him to respond, like if that purple thing came ten minutes later, then no good.  But if he was quick on the draw and came right back with it, then it was gold.  Oh, and assuming the texters are boys and girls, respectively.

I'm not the best looking guy in the world, but I'd say satisfactory.  When it comes to wit and trickery?  Nearly unmatched.  I'm not gonna sit here and say that any girl I talk to is gonna buy my bs.  That's not what I'm saying.  In fact, I'm not much on Casanova and me and Romeo ain't never been friends.  The well timed wit is strong with this one though.  I'd be happy to provide a few examples of what I consider top notch game.

One of the more flamboyant game spitters is my buddy Deej.  Probably the funniest guy I know.  He just owns the self deprecation and charm.  One example is when he was out somewhere and just says to a cute girl that he liked, "I'll just be right over there if you need me."  Brilliant.  Totally unsolicited but not too forward.  Funny and cute. 

Larry David on Curb, after breaking up with his old lady, old what's her face found Xena warrior princess.  Uhhh, Who played Xena?  I was about to Google it then I remembered.  Lucy Lawless.  He said, "I'm not cool or anything, but if you'd like to..."  I forgot the rest.  He got the date though.

I think the very tip top of game in cinema was in the Karate Kid.  Daniel Larusso.  So they're walking into Golf and Stuff getting ready to have a good ol time and the musical fun montage is starting and Elizabeth Shue, or Alli with an 'i' says, "Do you play hockey?"  And Daniel says, "well...not professionally."  GAME.  And when she said her name was Alli with an 'i' and he said Daniel with an 'l'?  Fire game.

I'm not gonna recount all of my witty exploits, but a couple come to mind.  At one time I was talking to someone I was kinda interested in and she said something mildly flattering.  Very mild.  And I looked at her all inquisitively and accused, "Are you hitting on me?"  Fire.  A lot of this is in the nuanced delivery.  You can't just go out into the world unprepared and blurt this stuff out.  Gotta know how to doll it out with finesse.  Or an absurd lack of finesse.  Just can't be like Rico Suave unless you are that suave.  I am not.  Another time I was in a similar social situation and I was talking to this girl I kinda liked and blurted out, again totally unsolicited, "Ok look.  I might let you take me home.  But no funny business.  I'm not that kind of guy." 

So ya.  All of this because of that little picture I saw on theChive.  Just kinda got me in a soft spot.  That little flirty text exchange was priceless.  And the old napkin note, "Do you like me?  Yes...No...?" is a staple.  I have yet to see someone get that note and not smile.  It's not about being a clown or the center of attention, but being fun to be around and comfortable with who you are.  I believe it was Jack Palance in a Mennon commercial who said, "Confidence is very sexy.  Don't you think?" 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Doing drugs

There are two types of people in this world.  Those that do drugs and those that don't.  And Asian chicks.  They'll do what you want.  Before you get offended, that came from Family Guy.  It makes everything ok if you're quoting something else.  But ya, I drank some coffee and I'm pretty spun up right now.  And I'm taking digital drugs.  Call of Duty online.

Not really sure where to start here so I'll just dig in.  But first of all, the scene has to be set.  I'm in the galley parlor with my little bootleg internet device, a MacBookPro, a PS3, flat screen TV, and full size keyboard.  Just excessive electronic doodads in my modest little slice of heaven.  And a plate of half eaten chinese food.  This is probably what it was like when Martha Stewart went to prison.  Walking in and assessing her cell and just deciding it needed a few personal touches, and it goes with any decor.  Welp, in the same way, after spending a little time on my factory processing boat yacht, I found that books alone wouldn't do.

The reality is that books and my imagination would probably do just fine.  With the piano, of course.  But that old human demon of grass, greenness, and other sides of fences kicked in early on.  And I needed more cool stuff.  It's all used, so don't berate me too much.  Except the piano, that was new.

Anyway, I was dragging a little bit earlier and thought maybe some coffee would spruce up this enterprise.  So I drank some cups.  And got fairly wired.  Then I had the genius idea of hooking the PS3 up to the internet so I could kill a-holes online.  Let me tell ya.  It goes like this: Nacho cheese, sliced bread, killing a-holes online, printing press, electricity (Ya I know it's paradoxical that the video game supercedes the invention that makes it necessary), then the internal combustion engine and finally the wheel.  That's the list of brilliant inventions in order of relevance, utility, and pageantry.

I kinda made that list ridiculous just to sell the sarcasm.  But the fact remains that running around and shooting at other people is absurdly fun.  And kids should not be allowed to do it.  This is sooooo bad for a person's serenity it's not even funny.  See, most of us who play video games have kinda stepped up from the basic stuff to this in a rather linear and progressive fashion.  I, on the other hand took a three year sabbatical from video games.  Meaning I am viewing the experience with fresh eyes.

Ya.  The eyes of an irate killer.  I haven't had this much irrational anger since taking andro in the old days.  Some of these clowns have headsets and what not when they play online and you can hear what they are saying.  Well, this one guy was cussing in Spanish over the speaker and I literally wanted to punch his face.  I had a litany of racial slurs just ready to go.  Under different circumstances, I might not have noticed.  But because I've been living a simple and pure life, it was slapping me in the face.  Kinda like when I borrowed the ice wench's ipod that had nothing but rap on it.  Just put me in a bad mood.

But this is different.  Because it's awesome.  On Modern Marvels, they had some exec from a video game company say that the objective was to immerse the player blah blah blah emotional involvement blah blah blah.  Well, buddy.  Mission accomplished.  Silver Star for whoever whipped these games up.

And you know what this reminds me of?  Playing Call of Duty online?  When I worked with my cousin Jeremy and brought my PS3 to work with a flatscreen TV and when we weren't taking calls, we played.  Ya, the outbound calls seriously suffered.  I'm laughing right now because we were even talking rates with people and taking apps over the phone while playing.  We had our little script down, so we'd take calls while playing and if something really needed attention the one playing would gesture at the other like, "here man, you want to finish this round?"  And that person would scoot their chair over like a dog dragging its butt on the carpet to get in front of the TV.

Ahh.  That was fun while it lasted.  And perhaps not too ironically, it wasn't long after that paradigm shift in work activity that I had to do something else for money.  We should have pitched that to FOX for a new reality show.  Good times.  I gotta go shoot some terrorists.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Walk away

I just got the best advice I've had in like five years.  June told me to walk away.  I think it went, "lol...walk away".  Friggin abaracadabara hocus pocus it worked.  This little problem wasn't by any means insurmountable.  It was one of those sneaky, doesn't seem like a big deal until you're too deep in the quick sand deals.  You lay in the weeds for a good twenty minutes and find yourself fully entrenched in Dr. Suess hour.  Just stories.  I mean...Stories.  Like you read about.  Library of congress type word output.

There is another guy on the boat with a high word output too.  And I think this advice is somewhat applicable to that situation as well.  I was hesitant to talk about it because I like these guys.  I for sure wouldn't say this to them so free of tact.  But third time's a charm.  Sometimes the best way to deal with this stuff is let it fix itself and complain to no one except the lonely blinking cursor.

It isn't the words in themselves that make it tough to swallow.  I am, by all accounts, the most conversational person in existence.  That may be overstating it a bit, but I challenge anyone to think of someone they know that is more so.  The problem here is that there is no exchange of ideas. 

The conversational side of me is more about curiosity than hearing mine or someone else's voice.  I want to hear cool stuff and talk about relevant cool stuff.  But being the recipient of monologue after monologue is tough.  It takes a pretty sweet soliloquy to keep me engaged for hours on end.  Even old Bill Shakespeare himself loses me after about an hour and a half.  T.S. Elliot can keep me going for about 45 minutes.  But stories about the drama on deck of another boat?  That's like a twenty minute max for me.  To his credit, the other guy's whimsical whining about electrical duties on yet another boat has around ten minutes of appeal.

Again, these are cool guys who I enjoy working with.  But when it comes to twelve hours of nightshift and having company imposed on me?  I'd rather talk to myself.  I actually enjoy that from time to time.  The stuff I say to myself is easily funnier than most of what I hear around here.  Except for one of the stories was decent.  Long story short it goes like this.  And imagine being told in somewhat broken english with an occasional bandito laugh.  On one of the other boats there was a love triangle.  It got ugly.  When they got back to Seattle, one of the triangle's participants introduced the gang to his wife and kids.  The chick had a meltdown and the other guy...I didn't catch that part.  But when they came back for next season, my buddy on the boat who has this penchant for stories said, "There go the three stooges".  That's pretty funny.  I'll give him that one.

But sometimes you gotta walk away.  Another funny one I heard from the commodore was a Polish joke.  How many Poles does it take to change a lightbulb?  Ten.  One to hold the bulb and nine to spin the ladder.  Decent.  This fishing business is not for the faint of heart.  Just eats away at your soul until any bit of entertainment is like freakin David Copperfield.  Just oohing and ahhing over Polack jokes.  Just walk away.

Father's day

The first time I heard that song, my dad told me it was one of his favorites.  And now, it seems appropriate, when asking "why?".  That's the way of the world.  And so it is.  I generally avoid the holidays now.  I try to suppress images of my parent's birthdays.  It is not now, nor was it ever necessary for there to be a holiday to coax my thoughts to my parents.  I still think about them.  Every day.  I still have dreams.

When their passing was fresh, I had thoughts and even hopes that in my dreams they talked to me.  That I was communicating with them somehow.  I would grade each one on realism and naturally place the more enjoyable dreams in some category that made them real.  Now that some of the sting has left and my acceptance of their departure is more mature, I realize they live in my dreams the same way they live in my life.  As memories.

These memories are wholly positive and uplifting to me.  Please don't misunderstand.  But they are memories.  When I find myself in a situation that I'd like my dad to be in with me, like a funny show or something, I imagine what he'd say.  In these instances, his dialogue is of my imagining. 

But I don't have to wonder if he would be proud of me, or if he'd be pleased with me.  My dad was a good dad.  A loving father.  And he always loved me.  I believe he still does.  But even so, I want to make him more proud.  I wish he could hear me play.  And I really wish I could hear his thoughts about working on the boat.  It would be so much more real to me with this man who I loved to talk to about these things.

Besides the impressions in my mind, I still live with his impression on my soul.  I was given a great gift by my parents.  That of my perpetually positive attitude.  My dad was not a hater.  He stayed up.  I could count on that.  Even in my folly I see him and am thankful.  Even in my obnoxious manner I see my mom and am thankful.  I couldn't say they live still in me.  I carry some of their gift to the world.  My friends enjoy this gift.  I enjoy it too, in friendship.  There are so many other things they gave to me.  It would be an insult to catalogue them.  I want you to know that I am happy with who I am and thank you guys for it.  I miss you every day.  Still.  But I am doing better.  And I'm trying now.

Friday, June 15, 2012


My medical license may have to be revoked, or at least put in a probationary state.  I said Star Trek Voyager was the cure for insomnia.  Now, I'm not backing off of that completely, but the notion bears some scrutiny.  Naturally, I've turned to Voyager to help with my sleep issue.  Maybe I just went to the well too many times.  But I am kinda liking the show.  I'm almost getting into it.  That captain Janeway is closer to Kirk than Picard ever was.

Just so we're clear, and to prevent the immediate suspension of my medical license, I still fall asleep part way through the episodes.  But that could be because I'm tired.  Or, it could be the case that Voyager is an entirely likeable show that still puts people to sleep.  It is not logically contradictory for a show to be at the same time likable and sleep inducing.

The faulty assumption is that bad shows put you to sleep and good shows engross to the point of keeping one from sleep.  This isn't necessarily true.  I like Beethoven.  While he doesn't put me to sleep, it's possible that I could go to sleep while listening to him.  In the same way, I could watch a show like Voyager, enjoy it, and fall asleep while watching.  In fact, it's likely since it has been my go to program.  And the one that I watch when in bed.  In my stateroom.

The DVD players on the boat don't have comprehensive controls-like menu buttons or arrows-but only play and stop, so when watching a series on DVD, I have a better time in my room where there is a PS3 and a controller for it.  Hence my watching the series in there.  By extension, when I am watching the show it is from bed, where I fully intend to sleep.  With this in mind, it is the case that when I do fall asleep, it is with Voyager on as background.

Does Voyager make you fall asleep?  Or is it simply a function of it being on when I do fall asleep?  I think it helps.  But I realized that it's slumber inducing effects are becoming a bit of a liability since I kinda do want to watch the episodes.  One thing I can say about the sleep situation is that I don't fall asleep every time I hit the rack.  I don't avoid sleep by staying up.  Much of the frustration comes from trying to sleep in the rack and being unable to do so. 

Totally pointless, I know.  Just a roundabout and slightly concealed compliment to the show.  I am a Trekkie.  I loved Kirk and Spock and the rest of the gang.  I never got into the next generation (and never tried).  I'm not quite into Voyager, but it is acceptable. 

Today was the first totally sunny day in Seattle since I've been here.  Not a cloud in the sky.  The sun is always, or at least usually out at some point in the day and even when raining is never far away,, but today is like a spring day in Sacramento.  I think people from California hear about how much it rains in Seattle and get put off by comparing California rain to Seattle rain.  It's totally different.  Seattle rain is more like Hawaii in terms of the sky's appearance.  It's not horizon to horizon gray for days on end like a California storm.  It's more like a perpetual sun shower, or a misty variably cloudy pattern.  I'll take the Seattle rain.  It doesn't come down like cats and dogs and the streets don't flood.  It just feels perpetually clean and cleansing. 

Ok, party is over.  I'm talking about the weather.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Corey Watts M.D.

And it's time for another honorary title.  I found the loophole.  Again.  For some time now I've had trouble sleeping.  I trace it back to the tragedies of '07, but that's not entirely true.  I had some trouble sleeping before then.  It's just that since then, I've had a bit more.  Sometimes, like in this last week, I stay awake for two days, then sleep for a few hours, then stay up for another day or two.  It isn't by design.  I love sleep.  But when my head hits the pillow, I am basically flipping a coin.  Sometimes I feel that weight behind my eye lids and fall into a deep and gratifying slumber.  And the rest of the time I just see my inner screen blurring by with thought upon thought upon thought. 

But now, I am a certified sleep doctor.  Because I found the cure.  "Star Trek Voyager"  my friends.  It'll put a meth addict to sleep after the first hit of the day.  Just waking up after a bender and feeling totally refreshed, hitting the pipe or whatever they do and popping in the old Star Trek Voyager dvd and falling right to sleep.  It really is a powerful sedative.

Now it's possible that me watching voyager coincided with the circumstance of me being flat exhausted.  Possible.  But this isn't the first time it's happened.  Like any good scientist, I didn't draw the correlation between voyager and sleep right away.  Kinda like how people watched apples fall out of trees for centuries before working out gravity.  So I'm kinda like Isaac Newton.  In a sense.  And like Ike, I'm a good scientist (I am not a scientist at all, actually).  I carefully considered all of the factors before forming a cogent hypothesis. 

The first thing that popped into my head was that it was only when I was of a limited capacity to reason that I popped Voyager in, and my capacity to reason is seldom compromised, so it was easy to find the correlation between lack of sleep and this choice of entertainment.  But that was at first.  As I noticed that every time I played the dvd, I had to scour my memory to remember where I left off, it occurred to me that I was falling asleep during the programming.  With all the time I've spent on this boat-much of which is spent in the galley parlor watching dvd's-I've gone through a few.  I even made it through Future Zone and Future Force without falling asleep.

So, having watched every dvd on the boat, including the Tyler Perry movies June likes to bring, it is only the Voyager series that is putting up a fight.  A word about Tyler Perry.  If you don't watch these, I can't blame you.  But if you have watched them, then you'll understand what I'm about to say.  Every one has gotten me.  There's always a point when the dialogue and acting is just so powerful.  I can't explain what it is.  But I've seen like four of them and they all got me.  So there you go.  They look silly to me in the trailers and stuff, but I find that I always enjoy them.

So, you can go around taking your ambien and Tylenol PM and benadryl to fall asleep.  One episode of Voyager is like two xanax.  Easily.  And have you ever shamelessly spilled water on yourself when drinking?  I don't mean shamelessly drinking a lot of water and finding that you had a little spill.  I'm talking about just guzzling some water out of a too big cup and feeling it seep around your mouth and on to your chest but deciding in that brief period that you'd rather deal with the spill than stop drinking.  Maybe you're making some guttural noises too?  It's kind of like scratching an itch when you know it's making it worse but it just feels so good you can't stop.  Ya that happened.  I kinda thought it was funny how I didn't spill on accident and didn't stop when I noticed, but decided consciously that I didn't care and needed that full twenty ounces of water now.  In sleep medical school they said it was good to hydrate.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Seattle dawn

Do you ever feel just alive?  Just embracing fully this distinction humans have of consciousness?  I feel alive.  I mean this in a very profound sense.  It seems obvious that if one has any feelings at all then that implies being alive and is therefore redundant for a person to claim being alive.  There are many adjectives that approach describing the feeling.  I feel the most brute description of being 'alive' is appropriate.

I was up on the wheel house again.  I need to make a habit of doing this more often (not that I don't go there often as it is) because it is there that I feel the most.  I came up the stairs and was progressively immersed in this Seattle dawn.  It began with the fresh scent of the sea.  Then the cool air combined with this scent.  And I was convinced that I had what must amount to the best air on Earth as mine for the taking.  I felt it deep in my lungs and ahhh.  Then I noticed the half moon overhead pulling our tide toward it, suspended by God's hand.  And like the wind that can't be seen, but still blows the trees' leaves, I saw His hand everywhere.  I know He won't leave me.

I felt special.  I felt blessed, not only because of the renewal that comes with every realization of His love for me, but also for having the temperament to embrace this.  I considered how fortunate I am to have a curious intellect.  That His mystery compels me is a joy to me.  I am blessed to be able to play a piano and express myself in another dimension.  I remember being frustrated as a small child (one of my first memories) because I couldn't talk and express myself.  My world, which consisted of the looming faces of my parents and the universe in the great beyond outside of my crib was beyond my ability to interact with.  So this expression is very dear.  It is a language unto itself, like a tongue offered up to heaven.

I remember learning in college of a case in which a man had no memory.  He could remember only a minute or so.  His journals reflected a perpetually blissful state.  He talked of being born anew continually.  While this might not be the way we choose or wish to live our lives, I believe strongly-now more than ever-that there is a kind of salvation in living the moment.  Not in a drink and be merry for tomorrow we die way.  In a be merry and glad kind of way. 

A philosopher who was very interesting to me in school had a theory about this type of thing.  It was called Aesthetic contemplation, where aesthetic is having to do with beauty.  His name was Arthur Schopenhaur and he was a very pessimistic sort of fellow, leaving his thoughts to linger mostly over the tragedy of human nature.  But in this, he did notice that there were moments of respite.  The tragedy of human nature, in his mind was the human will.  That we were always searching in a perpetual game of conquering and seeking to sate various hungers.  He felt that we couldn't enjoy things for what they were because everything we encountered in life was put into a category of some utility, as in this thing will make this or that part of my life better or worse in some way or another.  But, he conceded that art could move people to just take it in, not wanting to do anything with it but just be.

Some of us have experienced this with lovers.  When you don't have any lustful desire with a person, but are happy to just quietly enjoy their presence.  Also, in nature we get this feeling.  It is when we are at a loss for words, generally.  And music.  Not the base contemporary music with so many messages of sex, but the classical style music.  This is in large part because without lyrics there is no message to apply to life.  Anyway, the point is that enjoying things as they are without relating them to life is entirely fulfilling.

I am fulfilled.  I would trade hardship for these moments.  I choose to have them even in hardship instead.  I am loved by the author of love.  And I am humbled.  And I am glad.  He has made me glad.  Amen.

Making history

Mark your calendars.  History was made today, just this very hour, in fact.  I'd mention what day that is, exactly, but I'm not really sure myself.  I don't even know what planet I'm on anymore, let alone the day.  It could be Sunday.  Maybe June 10?  If that really is the day, it was a complete guess.  And if it isn't the day, it's not because I'm intentionally trying to play dumb and exaggerate my indeterminate position in time.  I really am just not sure.  It's kinda like how they used to navigate, using an inertial system of sorts, by getting a fix on their position at sea every so often and then trying to keep track of how fast they have been going and for how long.  But they were using hour glasses with sand instead of clocks.  And rather than having a GPS to keep track of progress they threw a rope with some knots tied on it and counted.  That's how the term knots came to be when talking about speed.  I learned that tid bit on the History Channel, not out here at sea.

So the date thing is a little like that.  I remember knowing the date a few days ago to the 8th.  It feels like it's been a week or so since then, but once I factor in the perceived reverse time dilation, I come up with around three days since that time.  I'm fairly confident it's beyond the 9th, and don't think we're as far along as the eleventh.  So my guess is June 10.  Ok.  Looks like it's Monday the 12th, but it just turned to Monday a half hour ago, so I was off a day.  No biggie.

The history that was made was this:  My phone actually played a video all the way through.  I know.  Exciting.  I got some budget cell phone when we came back from Alaska last season just to get by for a bit.  Atrocious.  Absolutely awful.  I told Rich I was gonna go the iphone route because I like the one I had before, but I'm actually not that audacious to drop iphone cheese for a month and a half of use before going out to sea where it won't work for four months.  I could see him quietly judging me as I told him this, like "hey man.  Why don't you get your shit together a bit before getting fancy electronics."  All he really did was nod a bit.  I gotta tell you, the guy is pretty cool and mellow.  So I didn't go iphone and videos won't play. 

Except for today.  And it was kind of a ho hum.  I wasn't really expecting it to play, so I didn't invest myself fully.  It can be irritating to get into a jam only to have it stop part way.  I've nearly frisbeed my computer for this.  And now I don't really want to press my luck and try again, because I'll expect it to work only to be let down.  Maybe this is just one of those rare moments that you don't get to enjoy like the eclipse I didn't see a few weeks, or however long ago it was.  I'll just accept it and speak reverently about the one time this piece of crap phone played a video.  Like the night Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson.  Just a moment of singular brilliance.

So now I look at the calendar on my computer and it says it's the eleventh.  What day is it?  If it is the eleventh now, then it was the 10th on the day I thought it was when I started writing because it was just after midnight and I was counting it like it was the day before.  If that's the case, then I was right all along.  Man, it's tough some times being lost at sea at the dock for hours on end.  Literally have to walk off the gangway to get your feet on solid ground.  I hope the sarcasm is obvious. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I need this

I don't know where this came from.  I need it.  There's really nothing to say that the picture itself doesn't say itself.  One point to make though, or question to ask is how in the hell was this not more popular?  I'd never even seen one before.  You understand that we'd be listening to the next generation of Earth, Wind and Fire instead of garbage hip hop if these were marketed better right?  If every household had one of these and some white Lakeside tapes or even Chaka Khan or something more bland like Hall and Oates, then my generation would be wall to wall virtuosos.

So, in essence, I blame Casio shirking their responsibility to get this thing to the masses for modern music.  It may seem like a long leap in logic, but the only conclusion to draw is that Casio hates music.  If a doctor cured cancer and didn't shout from the rooftops that he did that would mean that he hated people right?  Like he's into science so he figured out the cure, but is really not concerned with the positive results.  Same thing here.  Casio was big in the eighties, which is the time period from which this thing came, I'm guessing.  They had a bunch of engineers coming up with cool stuff, but the boss was sitting all high and mighty with his cigar on the top floor of Casio tower laughing maniacally and denying funding for the marketing campaign.  It's really heartless if you think about it.

The world would be a better place if they'd have just run an add during commercials for St. Elsewhere and Hill Street Blues.  Maybe Dallas and V too.  It seems cruel to me now.  I'm seeing a lot of potential here for a piano learning device too.  Remember typing class?  "Q-now, A-now, Z-now...".  I think we could have made some tapes to really spruce up the music world.  "A raised five flat nine-now."  Oh well.  I'll tell you one thing.  I would one hundred percent play this thing.  I have a professional stage piano and a MacBookPro and I would turn to this Casio CK-200 or whatever it is in a heartbeat.  Then after a minute I'd probably jump ship, but in a pinch it'd work for a bit. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Objects on map appear closer than they are

Last night I put another one in the books for tenacious night watch.  And couldn't sleep after shift.  At all.  This has been going on for three days.  I have around four hours total sleep in the last three days.  I'm gonna come crashing down like Wile E. Coyote here in a few hours when I get off.  I hope.  I'd love to get a solid, don't know where you are or what time it is when you wake up ten hours of sleep.  Just waking up and going to the bathroom for five minutes because you came out of a coma.

But that's beside the point.  After not being able to sleep and seeing that it was nine am already I decided to take care of a few things before sleeping.  It really wouldn't do to try to tackle anything after sleep but before four when I'm supposed to come on.  So I'm sitting here at the old confuser looking up radio shack online to see where they are and when they open.  I needed a cable to go from the computer to the piano.  I took a little peak and lo and behold there is one just a couple blocks away.  Riiiiiigghhht. 

I'd considered taking a cab.  But cabs can be a bit pricey and for sure a walk wouldn't kill me.  Or so I thought.  I started trudging along.  I was weary from lack of sleep.  It hit me about a half mile in that I hadn't had any rest.  But then I thought about Rambo low crawling through the muck and eating things that would make a billy goat puke.  One foot in front of the other.  For many in the city this would be morning exercise.  For me it was an incursion behind enemy lines.  It was one man, betrayed by technology that he loved, on a mission of justice and a slim hope for peace.

About two miles into this operation I got to the fork in the road where I crossed the street to enter...Queen Ann.  It may be art imitating life or vice versa.  But there are a lot of guys holding hands in the Queen Ann area.  Well, I had to sprint the last half of the busy street because the light was changing.  I saw the imposing hill in front of me and decided, for what reason I'll never be certain, to run up the hill.  If you haven't been to Seattle, it's about as hilly as San Francisco.  Hmm...  Anyway, this was a serious hill.  I can quantify neither the grade nor distance except in beats per minute of my heart.By the time I got to the top, I was on the edge of a pulmonary meltdown.  Total anerobic gridlock. 

I oriented myself and walked the remaining mile to radio shack.  I realized, quite belatedly, that the map made the trip seem way easier than it was.  The guy at radio shack was a conversational guy, so I mentioned that I walked from pier 90.  He said, "You did what?  That's pretty far man."  I didn't mention that I ran up the hill.

So that was thrilling.  I feel like crap right now because I'm tired.  Not sleepy tired, but borderline shut down tired.  Like maybe some vital functions are gonna start prioritizing what's most necessary in my body.  But I have a stateroom.  I'll enjoy its luxury after completing my work in the parlor.  The piano is collecting dust today.  I did see two of the sweetest budget films since Space Mutiny though.  Future Force and Future Zone.  Both with David Carradine.  Both awesomely bad.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

High class living

I guess it's best to come prepared, right?  I've been talking about living the dream on my own roughly three hundred foot yacht and I have a piano here and WD Live blah blah blah.  Once again, I thought I was kidding about all these notions of high society on the high seas, or low tide, as it were.  Turns out, I was just being prophetic.  I tossed and turned in my bunk stateroom contemplating the many issues that face a crappy fisherman renaissance man.  It was just too much and so I came out, walked through a few hatches, and in the galley parlor I found a bottle of grey poupon.

But this wasn't just any bottle of grey poupon.  This was a three pound jug of it.  And with all the BS I spout and as prone to exaggeration as I may be, this is one hundred percent reality.  The jug was so big, I read the contents and saw '3 lbs.' in all it's glory.  I literally haven't even seen a bottle of French's that big. 

I guess it's fitting though.  The Katie Ann is trying to improve her image and attract a more capable crew that sticks around.  And we all know that nothing quite screams credibility like a big bottle of grey poupon.  I can see it now, we're steaming along on our way to the Bering Sea and on the way up a container ship pulls up along port and some clown in a hard hat calls across the way to the deck boss, "Pardon me.  But would you happen to have any grey poupon?"  Our grizzled deck boss busts out with this cauldron of it and says, "Indeed we do."

So if you're rolling in a bently eating prime rib in the back, you have the little 4 ounce job to kinda lazily spread it about your fine china and when you're rolling in a factory trawler, you have a drum of it with a hand cranked pump.  I guess it's just the natural progression.  Joe hurt himself on the job yesterday and is taking about a week off.  I wonder if the first engineer, Ky, might have inspired a case of Ky-itis and Joe didn't just fake an ankle roll.  I wouldn't be joking about it if it were more serious, but every day I hear about how the VC in the engine room makes work unbearable.  Which brings me to my next point.  I asked for more hours since Joe is gone so work with Ky.  Twelve hour shifts is kinda making me soft so I'm going for sixteens now.  Pfft.

Monday, June 4, 2012


I invested a lot of time in finding this picture.  If I were more tech savvy, I'd just snap a picture of the real weapon and post it.  This baseball bat cum scythe is actually pretty close so we'll just leave it there for now.  Remember how I said Joe was unimpressed with my ball and chain?  Like it was no big deal and he is a red neck and sees crazy stuff all the time?  I thought I was kidding.  I thought I was being funny.  Reality is stranger than fiction my friends.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have conceived of this weapon he not only thought up or constructed, but had in his effing car.

That's right.  He gave June and I a wave and said he was off to the casino to meet his grandparents blah blah whatever.  Then, five minutes later he walked in with what appeared to be a bat with a skillsaw blade on the end of it.  Only it wasn't the barbed blade that you cut wood with, but some bastardized hybrid that was ground down to a smooth, circular, and deadly cutting edge.  I could read the signs like a native tracker.  He cut the bat down the middle at the end and drilled what was probably a 3/8 inch hole.  Maybe a half inch.  Stuffed the blade in and fed the bolt through the hole in the blade and secured it with a bolt, washer and nut.

It sounds simple.  After the fact.  But it took some doing and some creativity to conceive of and render a reality this contraption.  It looked like a mutant q tip from planet Zolar or something.  Literally the strangest thing I've seen lately.  And I've been entrenched in strange.  I'm laughing now, but he just walked in with this thing and a slight smile on his face-

*Quick note here.  I heard some ruckus on the docks and immediately grabbed the bat saw.  So I'm not even close to saying it isn't my weapon of choice.

-And set it down.  I asked him, "Where the hell did you get that thing?"  He scoffed and shrugged and said, "In my car."  When he said it it was like he was saying 'Duuuuhhhhh.  Where have you been?'  Freaking Joe man.  I tell ya.  You meet some interesting people out here.  And I think I'm one of them.  I can only imagine what's said about me and my oddness.  I tell you what, though.  When that 'coon comes back, it's gonna be curtains.

'Coon huntin'

Ya, I put an appropriate picture here so no one would get the wrong idea about this post.  I've been hanging out with red necks too long on this boat.  Raccoons are 'coons.  I don't have a problem with that.  And when you're hunting them, it's one thousand percent 'coon huntin'.  Not raccoon hunting.

So I was doing night watch the other night.  Mighta been last night.  Time does not have the cyclical relevance on the boat that the real world offers.  It's just a dull grey line.  My timeline is bedazzled with sparkles and other fun stuff like pianos, but in terms of monotony and no TGIF?  Dull grey line.  Anyway, I heard a ruckus out on the trawl deck and sprang to action.  I saw Joe all excited, "Dude!  That effing raccoon is out here!"  And he was running wildly with a snow shovel trying to get at this thing. 

I said, "Joe, I need a weapon."  He didn't respond.  So I started grabbing pipes from the scrap pile and they were all like eight feet long.  Not really good for swinging at an agile little bastard like this raccoon.  So I was nimbly moving about with one eye out for the 'coon and another out for a suitable weapon.  Then I saw it.  It musta been like when little Arthur saw the sword in the stone, just gleaming and calling to him. 

What I spied, my friends, was the fisherman's version of a ball and chain.  Only it was line and a shackle.  But with a twist.  It had one big shackle tied to two pieces of line and each of these were attached to their respective smaller hooks.  I was like Will Ferrell in Step Brothers coming up with all kinds of irrational positive attributes for making bunk beds.  Only I was getting all worked up about the utility of some steel tied to a rope.  Just doing crude combat moves, 'see?  If I want a quick strike, I just swing one of the smaller hooks.  But for the coup de grace I have the large shackle.'  It would have been sad if I were being serious.

I was kinda trying to keep the whole Road Warrior vibe going, like a Mad Max thing.  I heard in my head, "CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON!"  And that little prick Joe didn't even bat an eye.  Acted like it was the most natural thing in the world for me to be trudging around the boat, dragging what amounted to a ball and chain while hunting a raccoon.  I guess those good 'ol boys have a bit more creativity when it comes to some 'coon huntin'.

You know, I'm always looking for the laugh.  I'm not a hard man.  I don't particularly like raccoons.  But I don't have an insatiable blood lust for them either.  I'm just as satisfied to just scare him off.  Friggin Joe wanted to stomp kick, double leg drop kick, skin, and eat this thing raw.  Not even when I was breathing heavy like Igor did he notice or care.  When I brought it up, I said "Joe.  Man I was kinda looking for more of a reaction out of you when I grabbed that improvised weapon."  He said, "Ya.  I saw that.  Pretty good."  Thanks bud. 

The 'coon hunt' is over for now.  Maybe we'll see him again and get more of a tactical approach to this little vermin's demise.  But I guess it was fun just chasing him around the boat for a bit.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Rush Hour 4 and WD live

Headed over to Subway to eat fresh a little bit today.  To get out of the Pier area on foot, one generally crosses the railroad tracks.  We've all done it.  Usually not very exciting.  When there's a train in the way, you walk like an extra half mile back and then up some stairs and over a bridge.  Apparently, pedestrian traffic isn't a large concern for the governing bodies.  Hence my moonlighting as a stunt man today.

So I started the walk to the railroad tracks singing Rockin Robin like on 'Stand By Me' and met with a barely moving train.  I spied a car with steps up and down each side.  I looked back at the bridge.  And I hopped on the car thinking I was gonna cross it and jump off the train.  Then I thought better of it.  I figured a long walk for sure wouldn't hurt me and if I got hurt pulling a stunt like that I'd never hear the end of it.  At my funeral, if anyone even came, they'd be saying, 'He finally did it.  He finally tried to pull a boxcar Willy and live on the trains and look where it got him.  Such a waste.  Where's the bar?'  So I jumped off the same way I came and left the train behind me.

And I began my trek clear to the other side of the pier and started climbing the stairs after negotiating the chain barrier.  Just when I started condemning the lackluster security, I saw the barb wire gate locked shut before me.  I don't know what got into me, because I knew the train would move sooner or later, but I climbed the barbed wire fence.  I even took off my hoodie, doubled it over and covered the barbs with it.  I saw that in a movie once.  Except that guy had a leather jacket.  It worked, but the hoodie got snagged when I pulled it off from the other side. 

So I'm home free, right?  Wrong.  I walk to the top of the bridge and find another more imposing barbed wire fence.  And this one is right in the middle of the bridge's traffic, so I don't really want to be screwing around there for everyone to see.  but there is a concrete causeway to my right that is just about reachable if I climb the fence to the barbed wire, then side step to the columned guard rail.  There is no opportune walkway on the other side, so I have to do it when there is no traffic.  I estimated the time it would take to climb the wall and checked the traffic.  I saw a break and started climbing.  Somehow I got over the thing without undressing myself and walked down the bridge.  I was sweating.

So that was exciting.  Felt like I was on a covert op at the docks.  Really just wanted a sandwich before work started.

And in another development Joe Rodgers, rocketed himself to the very top of the food chain.  He went and bought this thing that's called WD live?  I think?  Well it's a device that plays digital files like a Tivo player.  And he has a freaking terabyte of crap on it.  Took fifteen and some change hours to transfer the files to it.  And now there is mucho programming.  Bravo Joe.  Stand up, my friend.  And I'm teaching Joe how to play the piano.  No charge.  Because  basically I like the guy, we're here, and I love it when I see the lightbulb go off in people's head when they get it.  He's a very smart guy and picks things up fast.

Like so many other days, today is a good day.  I am glad to be alive.  Still.  Living in my moments and not worrying about a thing.  Because every little thing is gonna be alright.  And not a stitch of progress on the movie.  You can't force the creative process.  

Taking sludge to new depths of viscosity

Ya, so I've pretty much been an on and off coffee drinker since I was ten years old.  Tastes good.  Sometimes gives me a little pep.  Rarely have I needed it for any productive reason.  I've hardly considered caffeine a drug, though Pablo Castellanos' dad declared to me that his kids weren't allowed it.  Because it's a drug.  I said, "huh?  How is that? (I was like twelve when this happened)"  He said, "It's a stimulant.  It gives you energy."  I said, "Ya.  So.  So does sugar.  Pfft."  Had him stumped.  Anyway, as the night watch authority, I've been dipping into caffeinated goodness from time to time.

While I typically cream and sugar my coffee to the sweetness of Audrey Hepburn and lighten it accordingly, I've been drinking coffee black since being on the boat.  Figured I'd give the being a man thing a try.  So, during last season I drank the coffee the galley guys made and it was just fine.  Well, I don't know what the ratio is or should be between grounds and water.  We all know I'm an excess kind of guy, so I filled the filter with coffee and added a standard pot of water, or thereabouts.

So I knew my coffee was blacker than an ace of spades.  What I didn't know was that it was impervious to cream.  If I failed to mention it, I only drink my black coffee cold so I can slug it down.  For sure not gonna sip some acrid black coffee hot only to prolong my suffering.  If it's cold, I can just shotgun it like it's...something you'd drink fast, cause I don't drink alcohol.  Much.

I put a conservatively estimated four tablespoons of dry creamer into an eight ounce cup mostly full of coffee.  This was seriously a non-dairy creamer snowstorm.  Couldn't even see the coffee beneath.  And I stirred it, waiting for the magical, Mr. Wizard like transformation into something matching mine or Audrey Hepburn's skin tone.  Ya, good luck with that.  More like Wesley Snipes.  My coffee went from Darth Vader to Wesley Snipes with absolutely no hope of even getting to Lionel Ritchie.

You gotta admit, that's an impressive feat of coffee strength.  And if you weren't paying attention, I made up like five units of measurement here.  We have the 'snow storm' of cream.  The blackness of 'an ace of spades'.  The lightening to any degree from "Hepburn, to Ritchie, to Snipes, to Vader".  Our yardstick of sweetness is again Hepburn.  Oh, and the transformation is Mr. Wizard.  Pfft.  I think the measuring standards people need me there to keep em in line.

Sign the guest list

The freezer ghost, who the ice wench named Tom, or claimed to have been told was named tom, just won't quit.  Is it possible that I see someone walking away from the doorway literally ten to twenty times a night and he isn't there?  Is that even possible?  I've seen enough ghost movies to know that these guys like to make their presence known, but with subtlety.  Well, apart from the poltergeists, I mean.  And I'm glad Tom is on that smooth mellow walk the halls vibe.  I really am.

I'm a bit hesitant to make the request, but I almost wish he'd punch the clock like everyone else.  You know, like the Wile E Coyote cartoons when he tried to steal sheep from the sheep dog?  "Hello Sam."  "Morning Fred."  And then they go at it.  Only here it would be like, "Hey Corey, I'm gonna do some light haunting until around 0 three hundred, ok?  So, don't be alarmed.  It's just me.  And I'm an ethereal spirit kinda thing, so I'm not gonna make off with your piano when You aren't looking."  Then he'd give me the finger gun mock shoot like Fonzie and we'd be cool.  Maybe I'd say something like, "Ya, ok Tom.  Listen, uh, if you wouldn't mind doing me a favor I'm gonna be listening to some Tunes for a little while.  Could you come haunt me if the alarm goes off?"

That is cooperation folks.  But I really feel like we're working at cross purposes here.  Like half the time I see him, I make rounds on the boat and give that cursory night watch scrutiny.  Oh, and I figured out what the deal with the Katie Ann and her military history is.  Alleged...military history.  She was built for the Navy to be the first Navy Trawler.  I guess to feed the sailors.  I don't think the plan panned out though.  That is the story as told by Joe, the oiler as he heard it from chief.  So, wherever Tom came from, he's lurking.

Now, I don't believe in ghosts.  But I don't not believe in them either.  I'm not gonna let my pre-conceived notions hinder any assimilation of evidence.  I guess I'm a skeptic becoming less skeptical.  And there is a freaking raccoon lurking too.  It's gonna be like Caddyshack pretty soon.  I'll play Bill Murray to a tee.  It's too bad they don't make pipes in a 34.5 inch Louisville Slugger C243 model.  I'll have to make do with the assorted random stuff around the boat for my traps and whatnot.   "Cinderella story.  He lines up the coon, and oh it's twenty yards into the Smith Cove water hazard for the raccoon.  Exemplary shot by the unknown Corey Watts."  Something like that.