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...