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

This Is Where I Work

When I work.

This is the kind of ship I’ve been working on most recently. This video was taken on the DS-4. I used to work on the DS-3 and DS-5 and a couple of other sister ships. Sisters, meaning they’re all built to the same basic plan.

These drill ships are technological wonders. They’re very capable and fairly comfortable ships to work on. I would go back in a NY second! I keep hoping the price of oil will go back up. There will be no work for me or anybody else out there until it does. According to reports, there are around a half million people out of work due to the low price of oil.

I read the news every day to see the price of a barrel and how many rigs are working. So far, the price has recovered from around $26/bbl to around $50/bbl (just dropped back down to $47 last few days). The ON SHORE drillers have been taking advantage of the situation and are drilling like crazy!

They have already returned a couple hundred rigs to work. Every time they do, they put downward pressure on the price of a barrel of oil. That only delays offshore drilling from starting up again.

At this point, I’m wondering if we’ll EVER be able to go back to work. it is not cheap to drill for oil offshore. They’re not going to do it at a price of only $50/bbl. The companies that work offshore can’t work without making a profit. That means oil must be over $60/bbl and it has to stabilize there before any of us see steady work again. (IMHO).

I know, most people are happy to get cheap gas, I would be too if I was actually getting it as cheap as it should be with price/bbl so low. And if so many people weren’t out of work because of it.

If I could find some other type of work that was in any way comparable, I would be doing it. There’s nothing like offshore. There’s nothing I’d rather do than be a mariner. I’ll just keep hoping things get better before I’m forced out for good.

Already

Yeah, it’s over. Already! My first real job since I was laid off back in September of 2015 lasted exactly 5 days!

I was hoping it would go for at least a week, every day of work I get now is like a godsend.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to go back offshore for a few days, even tho I had to give up the 4 days I was scheduled to work in Houston. Wish I could have done both, but have to take offshore whenever it comes up. There’s just no comparison.

I hope this short job will be a foot in the door for future opportunities there. I know not many people are taking time off for any reason, not if they can help it. But sometimes, like this time, they have to. Maybe I can at least start filling in again when that happens.

Work

Finally! I’m going to work tomorrow! 🙂

It’s only a temp job. Maybe not even a week. But it’s the first real job I’ve had since I went as AB on that delivery job down to Colombia last August.

I’ll be going out as 3rd mate/JDPO (junior dynamic positioning officer) just to relieve someone who had to leave unexpectedly.

I hope, really really hope this is the start of something good!

More Shud

This past Saturday Night Live was the best I’ve seen in quite a while. SNL is actually one of the very few shows I’ll turn on the TV to watch, but it’s been disappointing lately.

This week it was really pretty funny. I liked the opener (about Trump and an alien invasion), the Olive Garden commercial was pretty good, and the mermaid sketch featuring Kate McKinnon as ‘Shud’ (who is part blobfish) and Scarlett Johansson as her best friend the anglerfish was hilarious.

I hope they keep going with this skit. Maybe they can even add Leslie Jones in there somewhere. I think she might add even more to it. 🙂

The Daily Post: Pattern

For today’s prompt: pattern, this is what I came up with…

I see patterns everywhere. Natural and artificial, large and small, intricate and simple. The photo is from my last trip to Turkey. I was not able to buy any of the beautiful ceramics (or carpets) this time, but looking at the photos I took reminds me of the time the merchants took to explain the meanings of the patterns to me. I wish I had more time (and money) to spend with them. 🙂

SoCS: Short

This post is for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. It’s Sunday as I write this, but the events I’m going to write about happened yesterday so I’m counting it. 😉 And I don’t think it’s going to be “short“, so consider it the opposite of short. 🙂

I went down to the beach  yesterday for the St Patricks Day parade. The weather was overcast with a light rain. I was late leaving home and thought I might get stuck in traffic, but because of the weather I made it in time for the judging without any trouble at all.

I got a few photos before it started raining hard and I had to run for cover. I headed to the Jetty Shack to dry off and watch the parade through the window.

I was sitting at the bar, enjoying a yummy Patty Melt (they make the best ones around) and listening to the surrounding conversations. I joined in (where maybe I shouldn’t have).

I can’t really remember how it started, but something to do with how young people don’t have any respect. It moved on to how society has encouraged people to do things that are illegal and cause harm.  Continue reading

Flower of the Day: Lily

I don’t have a whole lot of photos of flowers, but I like to play along with Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge when I can. Check out her post for more beautiful flowers. Today’s flower is ‘lily‘.

Another Busy Week

And not accomplishing much of anything. 😦

I’ve been working on all the usual stuff around here. Still looking for work. Spending hours filling out online applications for any offshore job I happen to see posted. I’ve been talking to one company for a couple of weeks now, but they don’t seem to have any idea of when they might (or might not) need me. It’s very frustrating, but at least they’re still talking to me. That’s more than I’ve had in over 18 months now!

We finished up working on one apartment and got it ready to rent. I thought we had it rented before we even finished working on it, but that fell through. I think it will go pretty quick (I hope so). I’m still waiting for the roofers to fix a leak and the levelers to honor their warranty (good luck!!).

I have one more apartment over there that needs work, but I need to wait til the rents start coming in before I can afford to start on it. It doesn’t look like it needs as much work as the last one, but I never know what I’ll find once I get started. 😦

I had some good friends come down and visit. We pigged out at the Chinese buffet and had a good time catching up on everything.

Other than that, I finished 2 paintings in class on Tuesday. I took them both to Hobby Lobby to get them framed. One of them was finished in time for me to enter it in the People’s Choice show (I’m always amazed at how many really talented people we have around here in this area). The other won’t be ready for at least another week. I think they both turned out OK, but especially with the lighthouse, not really what I was trying to do with them.

I wasn’t quite finished with the lighthouse when I took this photo. I’ll get another when I get it back with the frame.

I went to my usual political meeting Tuesday night. We’ve decided to re-start our project to get the BWA to remove the fluoride from our drinking water. It really doesn’t do anything for your teeth by drinking it. It only helps if you apply it topically (like with toothpaste). It’s really not at all good for you. Yeah, I know, most people will read that and think I’m just another tin foil conspiracy theorist. I think there’s more than enough evidence to show it’s not really necessary for good teeth (or any other reason).

So, I spent some time researching that. I also got a writing assignment for Great Escape Publishing. Whoo-whoo! Another byline!! I really need to find the time to query more publications. But that takes a HUGE amount of time! I was very hopeful when I applied to Big Grey Horse when they said they were looking for Texas writers. I think they would’ve contacted me by now if they were interested. 😦

I’ve been working on my yard the last few days. In between the rain. I’ve got the front yard about 25% finished now. It makes a big difference when I pull all the clematis vines off and put a little mulch out. All my citrus trees are starting to bloom. The grape vines are starting to leaf out. The strawberries are coming back!

Today I took a break and went to the movies. I go to the matinee when it’s cheaper. I wasn’t sure what to watch, either Logan or Get Out. I decided to watch Logan. It was pretty good. One of the X-Men movies. A pretty good action movie featuring Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine fighting the forces of evil in the shape of another mutant (Boyd Holbrook as Pierce).

I don’t want to spoil it, since it really was pretty good, but it’s not all blood and guts. There was actually a pretty good story. I’m sure there will be more sequels down the road. 🙂

Tomorrow is the biggest day of the year around here. St Patrick’s Day Parade at Surfside Beach! I have to get up early so I can get down to the beach in time to check everything out before the judging. Take a look here. Once the parade starts, I’m done with that! Time to wander off to the various parties. 😉

I hope the weather cooperates. It’s calling for 90% chance of rain tomorrow. 😦

My Wish

Sharing wishes with strangers makes a powerful emotional statement.

I agree. So for my contribution to the Daily Post’s photo challenge and discussion of the week, here is my photo and wish…

So many people argue that freedom is unworkable, impossible- but I think it’s really the thing that works best. It has been proven to be the best system for increasing the quality of life for the most people in every society that has tried it- (USA before we gave it away, Hong Kong, Singapore are just a couple of recent examples).

Like John Lennon sang, Imagine!

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need
PS- I took that gorgeous photo on a recent trip to Zanzibar, the scuba diving was fantastic!

Maritime Monday for March 6th 2017: Oil of Gladness

Another weeks worth of nautical knowledge courtesy of Monkey Fist and gCaptain. There’s an interesting article about Sadie Horton, one of the women mariners of WWII (who have never really been recognized). Beautiful photos of some ugly stuff. Sounds of the seascape to relax to. And pretty little jellyfish to watch…

10 Hours of Ambient Arctic Sounds Will Help You Relax, Meditate, Study & Sleep &nbsp …

Source: Maritime Monday for March 6th, 2017: Oil of Gladness – gCaptain

Flower of the Day: March 6th 2017

Since I’m not sure which flower Cee is picking for her flower of the day today (I see some tulips and daffodils and maybe a lily), I am posting a favorite photo I took a while back. These are tulips.

The flowers in my yard don’t look this pretty. At the moment, they are just starting to bloom. I have citrus trees, narcissus, miniature roses, mums, petunias, clematis, lilies, and a few others. The ones that grow best are the weeds (clematis vines cover everything)!

I was going to work in the yard this weekend and start planting. I have grapes, raspberries, pomegranate and lots of flowers to plant. It’s been raining all weekend and so I’m waiting for things to dry out. I think that’s what killed so many of my plants last year. It rained so much right after I planted them. I hope we don’t have floods like we did last year again (supposedly a 500 year flood), but the forecast is calling for rain all week and there are flood warnings out for the rivers again already. 😦

Wow | New airport checkpoint shocks travelers! | “Orwellian” MrMBB333

Scary? Not really. We are SO FAR beyond Orwell’s 1984 it is no longer scary, it’s TERRIFYING!
What in the HELL are they going to do with this? There is NO POSSIBILITY AT ALL that they will be using this for anything good for the likes of you and me! None whatsoever! There is NO use for this kind of technology but to CONTROL people. YOU and ME!
All those people out there in the world who think they want ‘security’, you had damn well better WAKE THE HELL UP! There IS NO SUCH THING and by your fears, you allow the always present power hungry bastards you’ve put in power to turn ALL of us into nothing but their slaves.
How far has the US come, in only 17 years? We are most certainly NOT a free country at all anymore. We are a police state and this perversion of our FREEDOM to travel is just the latest assault on our liberties.
I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees! Sorry, but I really just can’t understand ANYONE who would choose ‘security’ over freedom. Anyone who does, just does not understand the TRUTH of the matter. There IS no ‘choice’! You can NOT have security, there IS NO SUCH THING! If you make that false choice, you are throwing away your freedom for some imaginary utopia. You loose BOTH your freedom AND your ‘security’.
STOP DOING THAT!!!!!!!

2012 The Awakening

Yet another security checkpoint for travelers LEAVING America. After going through this new “security” point, passengers were stunned, didn’t even want to talk about it.
https://fee.org/articles/welcome-aboa…

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Travel Theme: Bark

Ailsa has another good challenge this week at her ‘Where’s My Backpack’ blog. This week’s theme is “bark“.

Here’s my take…

I took these photos at the Houston Arboretum last week (click on a photo if you want to see it bigger). I stopped in for a little relaxation after work while I was waiting to go to a meeting of the Sail la Vie sailing club. I always enjoy wandering around in nature and don’t get to do it enough. Even tho the Arboretum is in Houston, once you get to wandering around there, you can’t really hear much of the city noise.

It’s a nice quiet place to chill out, relax, have a picnic, walk the trails, etc. I saw a few people jogging around with headsets on. I prefer to walk and listen to the sound of the wind in the trees, birds, turtles plopping off their logs or poking their heads up out of the water.

 

I wandered around for a couple of hours. Taking pictures of everything and looking for interesting shapes, patterns and colors. I enjoyed watching the turtles in the pond and a small snake that was crossing the boardwalk with me. 🙂

Anybody know what kind it is? We had a ranger from the Brazoria County Parks & Wildlife department come to tell us all about our local snakes at last weeks Campaign for Liberty meeting. He even brought some to show us. It was really pretty interesting. I wish I could have gotten better pictures, but he was moving around pretty quickly (and the snakes were not sitting still either). I am guessing this one is some sort of garter snake.

Flower of the Day: Camellia

Join in with Cee, to share some beautiful photos of camellia flowers in her ‘Flower of the Day: Camellia‘ post.

Here’s mine.

Maritime Monday for February 27th 2017: Spy Vs Spy

Another weeks worth of interesting nautical history from Monkey Fist via gCaptain. This week there seems to be a concentration on Russia. There’s also some cool info about tattooing, sea monsters, sailing school ships and salty old restaurants. Enjoy. 🙂

With only the clothes on their backs, 881 Aleuts from nine different island villages were …

Source: Maritime Monday for February 27th, 2017: Spy Vs Spy – gCaptain

Watch: 10 Reasons Why Maritime SUCKS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdMYEKwxTyo Here’s a new upload from maritime Youtuber …

He really makes a lot of good points. I have to agree with him on pretty much everything he says. Yes, things are much, much better for sailors than in the days of Richard Henry Dana’s “Two Years Before the Mast“, but they’ve sure as hell been going downhill since the 1960’s!

Yes, the ships are built with all the latest technology, but the crews have been cut in half and more! Our workload has been constantly increasing, with less and less personnel to do it all!

Yes, our pay has gone up- but not nearly as much as it would take to keep up with inflation. Considering all the expenses we now have added on in order to be allowed to work offshore, we’re actually earning much less than we were in the past.

Yes, communications have improved- for the ship. Not necessarily for the crew. There are still so many ship owners/operators who think of their crews as nothing more than another tool to use and abuse, not human beings like themselves. People who also have a life off the ship (if they have people who choose to stick around and wait for the sailor who may not be able to contact them for months at a time- which is not very likely now a days when everyone expects instant gratification).

I said I would never again work for someone who treated me like that, but I never in my life thought things would get this bad out there! Even with the advent of the STCW, which I immediately saw for what it was (an easy way for shipowners to rid themselves of ‘expensive’ first world crews), I still never imagined how small the box I’ve been shoved into has become!

I always figured that when it got slow offshore, I could ship out on a tugboat, or a tanker, or some other kind of vessel. Well, due to the US Coast Guard constantly changing the rules (and not always putting out the notifications they are required to by law), it is no longer possible to switch sectors like we could before.

Now, if you work on a tanker, you must stay on a tanker or you will lose your ability to ever go back to that kind of work without paying enormous fees to be ‘trained’, (ex: $1,100 for course, $500+ for lodging, $300+ for transport, $300+ for food). To do the same thing you’ve been doing for 5, 10, 15 years in the past ! Same goes for almost every type of vessel now. Passenger vessels only want people with that specific type of experience and paperwork. Towing vessels can only take people with towing endorsements. DP vessels will only take people with DP certificates. Etc.

I’m lucky I’m not a sailor from the Philippines, or China, or any of the other ‘third world’ (meaning low wage) countries where the overwhelming majority of seafarers come from now a days. For an American, working for MSC (Military Sealift Command) is probably the longest hitch out there. It’s supposedly 4 months long. I hear from friends it’s more like 6. Those poor crews from the Philippines are working for 2 years at a time before they can go home!

Most American ships are in pretty decent shape. They’re in great condition compared to a lot of the crap I’ve seen sailing around the world from other countries. Ships with ‘flags of convenience‘. Owners flag their ships outside of their own countries for financial reasons. They can get cheaper crews, bother with less rules and regulations, pay less taxes and fees, etc. Some of them are decent, but many of them are not. Check out this report by the ITF, they do a pretty good job of keeping track of this stuff. Or this, which makes the ITF report look tame.

Watch the video for a pretty good run down of what to expect shipping out. He doesn’t really get into the good parts. But then again, there aren’t too many good parts left anymore. 😦

Any of you sailors out there, I’d be very interested to get your take on both the video and my comments on it.

Source: Watch: 10 Reasons Why Maritime SUCKS (Things To Consider Before Joining Merchant Marine) – JeffHK – gCaptain

Songs of the Sea: I Hate Boats

They say the 2 best days in the life of any boat owner are the day he buys it and the day he sells it. Here’s a song for those who are getting to that 2nd best day!

Organic Gardening

I’m re-blogging this post (click the link below)-these guys have some cool ideas about organic gardening. I’ve never had much of a green thumb, tho I used to try pretty hard to keep a jungle of plants around. My idea of organic gardening is just to plant it and leave it alone (no fertilizer, no pesticides, etc). I’ve learned not to count on anything but trees! My lime tree sprouted up like a weed and is extremely productive. Same with the lemon tree. Oranges are coming along. Grapes are doing so-so.

Last year I tried cucumbers for the first time in ages. Something got to it. One day it was gorgeous, next day it was dead as a doornail. Same thing got to my grapes, raspberries and mint. 😦

I’m going to try the cucumbers again and probably try the pomegranates and blueberries again (tho I just found out they don’t like our dirt around here so maybe not). I have one struggling bush left, I didn’t know they needed 2 to produce.

I’ve been working in my yard when the weather’s nice and I’m not busy with something else (like work, or photography, or blogging, etc). I have most of the front yard ready and about a 5th of the back yard done. I need to get it all done soon, before it starts getting hot. I won’t go outside in the summertime here if I can help it. 😉

If I ever get the yard cleaned up, I’ll pick a few plants to try out this year. Anybody have any suggestions for plants that grow well on the north Texas Gulf Coast? They’ll need to be extremely self-sufficient, since if I ever do get a real job again I won’t be around to tend to them for months on end.

Here’s hoping for that! 🙂

Photo: Via Pinterest Keyhole Gardening was introduced in Africa by the Consortium for Southern Africa Food Security Emergency (C-SAFE) to help ailing and frail Africans grow their own produce with minimum effort by means of a specialized raised bed. The bed, which is waist high and in the shape of a keyhole, allows for standing […]

via Five Notable Organic Gardening Methods — Garden Variety

Maritime Monday for February 20th 2017: Philosophenschiff

I imagine there must’ve been some very interesting conversations on that ship. And what a shame for the people of the USSR. They threw out so many beautiful minds. 😦

Here’s this weeks Maritime Monday from Monkey Fist via gCaptain…

The Ships That Helped Silence the Early USSR’s Intellectuals Russia exiled hundreds of academics …

Source: Maritime Monday for February 20th, 2017: Philosophenschiff – gCaptain

Ships Crew

Pretty good breakdown of crewing on merchant ships.

The field of merchant navy involves a certain order of hierarchy with the seafarers holding different ranks on ships. This ranking system ensures smooth coordination of on board operations and promotes proper management strategies. The nomenclature of merchant navy ranking system is universally accepted by shipping companies and commercial vessels around the world. However, there […]

via A Guide to Merchant Navy Officer Ranks — ‘Expression’ Of A Thoughtful Sailor