World’s Smallest Political Quiz

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World’s Smallest Political Quiz.

Try the quiz and see where you wind up, you might be surprised!

Worlds Smallest Political Quiz

Worlds Smallest Political Quiz

Only 4 Weeks

I’m ‘late’ going to work this time. I’m not exactly sure how that works since I’m still in the ‘pool’. I wonder if I’m going to work for my usual schedule or if I’m only going to be going for 3 weeks.

If I am only going to the rig to fill in for a person who is coming back for his regular schedule, then I will get off in approx 3 weeks. If there is not a regular person here that I am filling in for, then maybe I will be here longer.

I think I need to wait til the weekend is over to email my ‘handler’ in the office. Just like the last couple of ships I’ve worked on here, I get conflicting answers from the different people I ask about it on board.

It’s weird being in ‘the pool”.

On my last ship, they asked me if I preferred it to a regular rig. I told them I thought it would be a good idea to stay in it until I had a chance to complete most of my mandatory training. I thought so because I thought it would be easier to arrange the courses if I didn’t have a set schedule.

At the end of my last trip, I found out that this company figures training time as vacation time and so I now OWE them at least 18 days! I was not very happy to learn that (to put it mildly).

Now I really don’t see any advantage to staying in the pool except that I do still like to go to the different vessels. I always did like to see how the different people do basically the same job differently. I always liked meeting all the different people. I always liked working on the different ships and going to different places.

But, now with the huge issue I had with the people at the airport about my overweight luggage, I’m not sure I want to have to deal with that every time I come and go. Since they count training as vacation time, it seems they’ll always be pushing to send me back to work after 4 weeks no matter what I’ve been doing with my time off the rig.

Well, they already told me that it’s not up to me. It’s not even up to the crews (including the Master or OIM) of the rigs I’ve been working on. The decision of where I’ll be working is up to someone in the office. So, I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens and then make MY decisions after that. :-)

Oh Sunny Day!

Wow, I can hardly believe it. It’s sunny today!

That might not seem like such a big deal, but I’ve been working here in Angola since July and this is the first day I can remember that it’s actually been sunny out. It’s still not totally clear, there’s a large bank of clouds off to our west, but it’s much better than normal for this place.

I’ve wondered before, what’s going on with the weather here. It’s always the same. The seas are nice and calm. There is usually a low swell, always from the S to SW. It’s usually about a meter but every once in a while can get up to 2 meters. It really doesn’t feel like much on this size ship. I hardly even feel it move.

The wind is almost always from the South to Southwest but not as steady from that direction as the swell is. It’s almost always under 15 kts. Some days like today, it stays under 5 kts all day. :-)

The sky is almost always overcast. For some reason, there’s always a low lever layer of flat grey clouds. I’ve flown in the helicopter out here for close to 2 hours and never saw the ocean til we dropped down onto the rig. I’d be interested to learn WHY it’s like this all the time here. I haven’t really had the time to look into it.

Every time I’ve been here before, there’s been almost total cloud cover the entire time. Once or twice I’ve seen the moon at night (this is my first time on day shift here). Today, there are a few nice puffy cumulus clouds around but the sky is blue.

It’s a REALLY nice change! :-)

I’m On Board!

I finally made it back to work yesterday. I was supposed to leave to come back to work last Tuesday. I had to wait until I got a visa from Angola before I could actually leave to get on the plane. My company emails me a document that I have to  print out and bring with me. I got it late Monday and flew out of Houston at 1600 Tuesday afternoon.

I got to Luanda early Thursday morning 0500, stood in line for quite a while (they took everybodys temperature, checking us all for ebola). Then got my visa put in my passport and so ready to move from the international airport where I flew in, to the domestic airport where we fly out on the helicopters to the rig.

Instead, I was surprised when the agent informed me that I was not on the list to fly that day. I got to spend the night at the hotel. I didn’t do much there but try to sleep. I also TRIED to catch up on some emails, but that’s it. The internet at that hotel is SO horrible. IF you can get it to connect at all, it is SO slow. It’s really not even worth bothering with it. But for some reason, I always do try. It’s very frustrating!

I did manage to get a few hours of sleep, not enough to really get back to normal but much better than the usual rush to get right on the ship and to work. I did appreciate it.

Yesterday, I was up at 0430 and on the way back to the airport at 0530. I had a huge problem with checking in for the helicopter flight.

It seems the baggage allowance is only 15 kg. I have 2 bags. My hand luggage is 10.7 kg. I will not go anywhere without it. It has my computer, my paperwork (licenses, passports, health records, etc), medicines, kindle, phone, cameras, cords, adapters, etc. I really don’t know WHY that little bit of stuff is so heavy, but I think the bag is probably at least a couple of kg all by itself.

My checked luggage weighs 15.6 kg (this trip). I have pared it down as much as I thought I could get by with. I am willing to have them send that out to me later. Last trip they lost my checked bag on the way to Angola for weeks. So, I could get by (if I have to) without it. I did mention that to them a couple of times but they ignored me on that.

Of course I would prefer to have it. I have my own comfortable (as much as possible) boots. A jacket (it gets cold on these vessels at night). I froze last hitch until someone remembered somebody left a jacket in the drawer and I borrowed it. A few changes of clothes. Toothpaste and shampoo that you’re not allowed to bring on board the planes with you anymore since 9-11 (and they charge a FORTUNE for out here- $38 for a tube of toothpaste!). A few snacks (sometimes the food really SUCKS and you just need a little taste of home- literally).

Most people here come back to the same vessel every time. So most people can leave all their clothes, etc on board. Most people do not NEED to bring everything they’ll need for 4+ weeks with them every time. But since I am still in the pool and never know where I’ll be assigned next, I DO need to bring everything with me, back and forth, EVERY TRIP.

The people checking us in at the airport for the helicopters don’t care about that. They don’t like to cut any slack. I do understand that the helicopters are very strict about their weight limits. They can not and will not fly if they are overweight. Or even close to their weight limits.

BUT, there is some variation in the allowances. For instance, they have a standard allowance for body weight. I’m not sure what it is, maybe 100 kg. So, if I weigh only 50 kg, ( I WISH),  then I should get more baggage allowance. But it doesn’t work that way.

I was lucky to be in line with the OIM and a couple of other guys from my rig that had some room in their bags. We split my extra weight 3 ways between them and then I was finally allowed to check my bags! WHEW!!

I really don’t know how I will be able to cut my baggage weight any more than I have already. I will have to see how I do this trip and if there is anything I don’t use that I could possibly leave at home. I really think they ought to make allowances for people that don’t go back to the same vessel every time.

I’ll worry about that when I have to get ready to come back to work next hitch. For now, I’m just glad to finally get back aboard and start settling back in for another 3-4 week long hitch out here. :-)

Paris

Did you know the Paris (CDG) airport has free wi-fi?

Thank goodness since I haven’t been able to gain access to any of the airline lounges here. Usually, I can always get into the United lounge, but I can’t find one here (maybe I’m just lost, this airport is HUGE).

For some strange reason, they don’t have a Petroleum Club in Houston. I mean really, it’s the oil capital of the world! They do have one in Paris. It’s only a half hour ride away from the airport. WTF???

WHY would they put an airline lounge OUTSIDE of the airport? And so away it’s hardly useful for any layover less than 3-4 hours?

I don’t get it. AND, the same airlines (Air France and KLM) who have the Petroleum Clubs DO have regular old airline lounges INSIDE the airport, but you’re not allowed inside if you’re ONLY a Petroleum Club member.

The Petroleum Club is supposed to be exclusive. Much more so than just the regular airline lounges. I don’t understand why they don’t allow access. You have to fly enough to get the next level of card. I only have ‘ivory’. :-(

Anybody from the airlines on here that could enlighten me about this? I’ve already tried asking around at the airport and get no real answers.

Dreamy: Las Vegas

Up for a challenge? Here’s another entry for this weeks challenge from the Daily Post. The challenge is to illustrate the idea of ‘Dreamy’. Here’s what they have to say about it…

This week, we’d like to see an image that looks dreamy to you. A photo of a place you often visit in dreams. A snapshot of your dreamy boy- or girlfriend. A scene that looks a bit out-of-this world. Take us on a flight of fancy!

 

I already posted one photo from my trip to Las Vegas, but it’s such a dreamy kind of place. I thought about it and came up with some more ideas.

I posted another one about an Elvis impersonator who was performing right outside my hotel. Lots of women thought Elvis was pretty ‘dreamy’. Then I posted some dreamy girls for the guys. :-)

Las Vegas really is a dreamy kind of place. I think it’s one of those places that’s built on dreams. All kinds of dreams going on there. People go there dreaming to hit the jackpot and get rich. They go there hoping to hit it big and make a name for themselves as a singer or a dancer or chef or…

I love to hang out in old downtown. It’s not like the Strip (which is interesting in a different way), where things are spread out and isolated. Every casino has it’s own attractions and you pretty much stick to one since it’s a pain to move on to the next.

Downtown is different. Everything is close together. There’s lots to do (Mob Museum, Container Park, Neon Museum), and all kinds of things going on. Fremont Street is the hub of all the action. There are at least a dozen different casinos all within easy walking distance. It’s easy to hit one for drinks, another to eat, try the poker at one, blackjack at another…

Fremont Street is really pretty cool. They have a light show projected on a huge blocks-long overhead screen. You can go zip-lining right over the top of all the crowds. There are artists at work, lots of little shops along the street. They have all kinds of bands and performers scheduled to play on the various stages. And then there are all the unscheduled ‘performers’. People who just like to come out and play. :-)

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Dreamy: Hotties

Up for a challenge? Here’s another entry for this weeks challenge from the Daily Post. The challenge is to illustrate the idea of ‘Dreamy’. Here’s what they have to say about it…

This week, we’d like to see an image that looks dreamy to you. A photo of a place you often visit in dreams. A snapshot of your dreamy boy- or girlfriend. A scene that looks a bit out-of-this world. Take us on a flight of fancy!

 

I already posted one photo from my trip to Las Vegas, but it’s such a dreamy kind of place. I thought about it and came up with some more ideas.

I posted another one about an Elvis impersonator who was performing right outside my hotel. Lots of women thought Elvis was pretty ‘dreamy’.

Since I posted a dreamy guy for the ladies, I thought I’d post some dreamy girls for the guys. :-)

These ladies (‘Hotties’ was the name of their group) were also on stage singing and dancing. I love to watch people dance! These Hotties put on a really great show. They even got some audience participation. A couple of ladies volunteered to be in a ‘dance-off’ up on stage (no- they did not have those nice costumes or high heels!). The lady from France won. The audience loved it. :-)

Fremont Street is really pretty cool. They have a light show projected on a huge blocks-long overhead screen. They have all kinds of bands and performers scheduled to play on the various stages. And then there are all the unscheduled ‘performers’. People who just like to come out and play (more on that later). :-)

  

 

 

Instagram

Does anybody know if you can do instagram on a laptop computer?

I always take pictures with my camera(s) and then upload them to my computer. Instagram looks like it would be pretty cool to play with, but when I tried to go there, it said I didn’t have any ‘devices’. I think they mean a phone, ipad, etc.

Any way to use it with a laptop instead of another kind of device?

Seat Assignment

What’s up with Air France? They send you an email to check in online, but then they won’t let you check in online?

That’s what happened to me this afternoon. I got an email so I clicked on the link to check in. It told me my seat assignments, but there was no seat map so I could see where I was going to be sitting. I always do this when I fly ContinenUnited. It makes things much less stressful to have all that settled before you get to the airport.

I wanted to make sure I got an aisle seat. I HATE being stuck in the middle on a long flight like that (10 hrs to Paris and another 8 to Luanda).

So, since it told me that seat assignments weren’t available online, I continued on with the checking-in process. Instead of giving me a boarding pass like usual, it only gave me a “provisional check-in document”. WTF?

Since I have baggage to check (lots- but cutting down), I have to go to the desk to check in anyway, but I really don’t understand this whole episode. If I’m not going to be allowed to choose a seat or get a boarding pass, then what’s the point of going online at all?

I even called Air France, to try and get a heads up on my seat. The lady on the phone also told me there was nothing that I could do until I got to the gate. She didn’t have access to the seat maps either and so could not help me. Why not, is it so hard to allow a choice of seats before getting to the plane? None of the other airlines seem to have this issue.

By then, it’s usually too late. All that’s left is middle seats. :-(

I DID put down on the company travel profile that I prefer aisle seats. So far, they have been about half/half with seating me in them. Who knows if it’s because they buy the tickets at the last minute or if the flights are just that full or if they just never even consider the things you filled in on their form?

Does anybody else have this problem? Does it tick you off/frustrate you or am I just being a whiner?

I hope Air France is going to be better in the air than they are online! It looks like I’ll probably be flying them a lot with this job. I DID say I preferred KLM, mostly because I REALLY prefer Amsterdam over Charles De Gaulle airports. If you’ve been to both of them, I’m sure you know what I mean.

So far, they haven’t sent me through Amsterdam even once yet. :-(

Dreamy: Elvis

Up for a challenge? Here’s another entry for this weeks challenge from the Daily Post. The challenge is to illustrate the idea of ‘Dreamy’. Here’s what they have to say about it…

This week, we’d like to see an image that looks dreamy to you. A photo of a place you often visit in dreams. A snapshot of your dreamy boy- or girlfriend. A scene that looks a bit out-of-this world. Take us on a flight of fancy!

 

I already posted one photo from my trip so Las Vegas, but it’s such a dreamy kind of place. I thought about it and came up with some more ideas.

He was a little before my time, (I preferred David Cassidy from the Partridge Family), but I’ve heard plenty of women say they thought ELVIS was ‘the bomb’, ‘hot’, ‘somethin’ else’, ‘sexy’. Dreamy, in other words. :-)

Here are a few photos I took of Elvis (impersonator) on Fremont Street. He was performing right outside my door (while I was staying downtown at the Golden Nugget). He did put on a good show, everyone enjoyed it. :-)

WPC: Dreamy (Out of This World)

Up for another challenge? Here’s my entry for this weeks challenge from the Daily Post. The challenge is to illustrate the idea of ‘Dreamy”.

This week, we’d like to see an image that looks dreamy to you. A photo of a place you often visit in dreams. A snapshot of your dreamy boy- or girlfriend. A scene that looks a bit out-of-this world. Take us on a flight of fancy!

Well, it’s not something I’ve dreamed about, but it does look out of this world. Especially with the dome behind it and the guy standing there right next to it.

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago when I was in Las Vegas. This is right at the entrance to the Container Park, right downtown. They have all kinds of neat shops, galleries, restaurants and even music and other events. The mantis lights up and even shoots flames at night (I missed that part).

Doesn’t it kind-of remind you of one of those old B movies?

You know, the ones where the bugs mutated and attacked after getting hit by radiation? Or the BEMs landed and were out to get you?

I used to LOVE watching that stuff! Old sci-fi, creature feature, horror, bring it on! :-)

Comedy: Steve Hughes

I got an email earlier today from the Dollar Vigilante (I subscribe). He was talking about how we need to find ways to get more people to wake up, to see what’s really going on around them, to get involved.

It’s funny cause I was just suggesting the same thing at the Campaign for Liberty meetings I go to Tuesday nights when I’m home. How maybe we could try to use movies, videos and COMEDY to catch peoples attention.

At least long enough for us to start a conversation. Hopefully the comics would at least open their minds and get them thinking just a little bit out of the ordinary. Then maybe we could open it a little bit further. I was thinking along the lines of George Carlin (who was also in the TDV video).

I never heard of this guy Steve Hughes before. He’s from Australia. In the video he says he lives in England now. He’s doing a show in Sweden (Swedish subtitles). I think he’s pretty funny in this show. I also think he says a lot of things that OUGHT to make people THINK. I like that. :-)

I especially liked it when he started up about second hand smoking. Check it out. :-)

PS- If profanity REALLY offends you, maybe you ought to think twice, he does use cuss words.

Can’t Remember to Forget You

OK, this is fun. I’m playing with youtube tonight. Tell me which one you like best (and why). ;-)

Songs of the Sea: The Dutchman

This is such a beautiful song in more ways than one. I love John Gorka. He’s a fantastic songwriter. He tells great stories with his songs.

Pay attention to the lyrics in this one. I think it’s so sad but so sweet.

The Dutchman by John Gorka

The Dutchman's not the kind of man
Who keeps his thumb jammed in the dam
That holds his dreams in,
But that's a secret that only Margaret knows.

When Amsterdam is golden in the summer,
Margaret brings him breakfast,
She believes him.
He thinks the tulips bloom beneath the snow.

He's mad as he can be, but Margaret only sees that sometimes,
Sometimes she sees her unborn children in his eyes.

Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee.
Long ago, I used to be a young man
Now dear Margaret remembers that for me.

The Dutchman still wears wooden shoes,
His cap and coat are patched with the love
That Margaret sewed there.
Sometimes he thinks he's still in Rotterdam.

And he watches the tug-boats down canals
And calls out to them when he thinks he knows the Captain.
Till Margaret comes
To take him home again

Through unforgiving streets that trip him, though she holds his arm,
Sometimes he thinks he's alone and he calls her name.

Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee.
Long ago, I used to be a young man
Now dear Margaret remembers that for me.

The winters whirl the windmills 'round
She winds his muffler tighter
And they sit in the kitchen.
Some tea with whiskey keeps away the dew.

And he sees her for a moment, calls her name,
She makes the bed up singing some old love song,
A song Margaret learned
When it was very new.

He hums a line or two, they sing together in the dark.
The Dutchman falls asleep and Margaret blows the candle out.

Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee.
Long ago, I used to be a young man
And dear Margaret remembers that for me.

Taking A Break

So, as per my earlier post, today I took a much needed break.

I slept til past noon. Got up and had a leisurely breakfast. Took care of the mail. Even went out to dinner and a movie.

I hit my favorite Chinese buffet and then saw the latest Dracula movie (Dracula Untold). After all, it is coming up on Halloween, (my favorite holiday other than St Patricks Day).

This version seemed more an action movie than a horror movie. I was definitely rooting for Dracula and his bats! Luke Evans stars as Dracula. He was nice to watch. :-)

It was a good movie tho. Beautiful scenery, beautiful people, a little bit of magic and mystery. Lots of action, swordplay and that kind of thing. I was a little disappointed with the ending. (No, I’m not going to spoil it for you.)

Check it out…

I Needed A Break

Ever been so tired and run down you just couldn’t force your eyes open another minute?

That’s been me the last few days. Today I finally had a chance to just SLEEP.

Today is the first day in months. At least since I started this new job end of May. Probably longer than that. Where I’ve had more than 6 hours straight sleep. I slept 12 hours! It felt SO good!!

I’ve been SO busy, for SO long. I feel like I never have an hour to just chill out and not do anything. Today, I took the time to say: hell with all that other shit! I NEED to take a few hours for myself! I NEED to SLEEP!!

So, I did. :-)

LAS

Well, I made it through another security theater without blowing my top.

I waver between frustrated anger at the fact that these people all think they’re doing me some sort of favor by stripping me of my ‘god-given’ (Constitutional- Natural) rights along with my clothing and my dignity, and incredible sadness and depression over the fact that the American people put up with all this TOTAL BULLSHIT with barely a whimper of submission.

I wonder how in the hell did a country full of risk takers, who ALL (other than the Indians) came here from somewhere else, leaving everything behind to make a new life for themselves in the land of the FREE, turn into such a bunch of whiny, irresponsible, scared shitless morons every time ‘our’ government whips up a fear frenzy?

I wonder how many people REALLY believe that “our government” has our best interests at heart, is only doing what it “has to” to ‘protect us’, is only ‘doing its job’? I wonder how in the hell they could POSSIBLY still believe all that CRAP when it’s been proven over and over and over again that ‘our’ government is full of evil bastards who would kill their own grandma if it would get them even an ounce more power!

I wonder how is it possible they’re still willing to give ‘our government’ the benefit of the doubt when it’s been proven over and over and over again how it has stolen our wealth to grow it’s own power. It’s committed numerous unjustifiable attacks against too many countries to name here. It’s committed crimes against humanity (against it’s own citizens, not just against foreigners)- MANY times in its history.

Doesn’t ANYBODY pay attention to history? Doesn’t ANYBODY think about what the hell they’re REALLY planning?

Does anybody think Americans will ever grow some balls like the people in Hong Kong have?

I wish them all the luck in the world over there. I hope they can save themselves and their country. I hope the Chinese rulers turn out to be more sensible than ‘ours’ are here. I hope they’re successful in saving their freedoms in Hong Kong and I HOPE the Americans can learn a lesson and STAND TOGETHER to fight our common enemy!

Time Flies!

Well, it’s over. My brain is overflowing with too much information from all the great presentations and interesting people I’ve met here in Las Vegas. I’ll be heading home tomorrow. Then heading back to work already on Tuesday. Wow! Time flies!!

When I came to the IL conference “Fast Track Your Retirement Overseas” this year, I thought I had my mind made up. I had pretty much decided on Panama.

The main reason is because I’m really not old enough (or rich enough) to ‘retire’ yet. I needed to find some place. ANY place, that would allow me to continue working so I could support myself outside of the USA.

Not many places offered that as an option. In fact, in over 7 years of looking, Panama was the ONLY place that I could find that would allow me to continue to work in my profession. Or even anything remotely resembling the profession I’ve spent over 30 years of my life becoming proficient in.

Most places would not allow me to do anything other than teach English (since I don’t know how to do anything else their own people can’t possibly do). The restriction is to keep me from stealing a job from a local. OK. I get it.

I was seriously thinking about teaching English. I still think I might do that some day. I think it would be pretty interesting. The thing is, I don’t want to have my work visa and ability to stay in country totally dependent on my job.

Lots of times I see language schools will give you a job and they will do all your paperwork for you. Then your work visa (and ability to stay in country) is tied up with that school! They sign you up and promise you health care, housing, etc. OK, all that sounds great.

What happens when you take them up on it? You show up in some foreign country, you’ve never been there before, you don’t know anybody, you don’t speak the language, and the housing they put you in looks NOTHING like the photos they sent you beforehand.

Are you expected to just shut up and live with it? You’re in some small town in China in some freezing cold, dirt floored hovel with a squat toilet. Or a tiny room in Thailand you’re sharing with another couple of teachers that has no AC.

Yeah.

Now what?

The whole idea of looking outside of the USA is to find OPTIONS!

I’m not saying things wouldn’t work out perfectly with a teaching job. I might wind up in the most beautiful situation ever. My point is, I don’t really have any idea WHAT I’d be getting myself into. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that level of risk at this stage in my life.

Soooooo…

I’ve been searching for years to find a country that would allow me to move there and continue to WORK as a mariner. It’s been a very hard thing to find. Panama recently started a program that would work so I figured I had better get down there and start the process.

Too bad my new job switched around my schedule and I had to cancel my trip to Panama.

Over the last couple of days here at the conference, I’ve learned that there might be other options. I’m almost certain someone told me that Mexico has some new programs. Uruguay too.

I’ve signed up for more information from all of those places, along with Belize, Philippines, and even Malaysia.

If nothing else, maybe with this new job I can FINALLY move out of the USA. At the very least escape obamacare before I get sucked into that humongous trap!

I’ll be heading back to the ship on Tuesday. I hope I can work out some kind of schedule with work so they can get their ‘training’ done so I can have the time off I’ve earned the next time home.

That’s a whole nother issue I don’t really want to get started on right now. I think I’ll go enjoy my last night in Vegas and try my luck on a few games.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime- New Orleans

I love to take pictures at night. They almost never turn out very good but I keep trying. I was glad to see the Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime.

Here are a few I took the last time I was in New Orleans. I always try to go to the Workboat Show if I’m home. It’s usually in December. Last year someone forgot to reserve the convention center (duh). So they had the show in October.

It was nice to see New Orleans dressed up for Halloween instead of Christmas. :-)

Las Vegas: Conference

The IL Conference starts this afternoon. This is the real reason I came to Las Vegas.

I sure hope I can get some useful information. Enough good info so I can FINALLY make the move!

Work is driving me CRAZY! Even on vacation these people bother me. Usually, when I’m off work, I’m OFF. No one bothers me at all. Never hear from them til I get my plane ticket.

I was OK with my previous job. Too bad obamacare forced me into taking a permanent job. I HAD to do it in order to get insurance. What a SCAM!

I need to find SOME way to retire. NOW!

I need to get out of the USA. NOW!!