World’s Smallest Political Quiz

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World’s Smallest Political Quiz.

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Worlds Smallest Political Quiz

Worlds Smallest Political Quiz

What’s it Like In Granada

I’ve been here (Granada, Nicaragua) since Tuesday afternoon and I’ve been busy since I got here. Granada has about 125,000 people living here, but it really doesn’t feel at all like a big city.

I’ve been walking back and forth between my homestay and the school a couple of times a day, to and from the Central Park and/or the lake and it just feels like a sleepy little small town in a lot of ways.

Maybe it’s the horses? They still use horses here for a lot of work. I see them all over town, including in the lot next door. I haven’t taken a city tour in a horse cart yet, but I probably will before I leave. People say it’s a nice way to see the city. I see the locals riding around town in them too. Granada is ‘famous’ for its horse carts. They even erected a statue of one at the entrance to the city. :-)

Maybe its the drummers I hear practicing every night? I followed my ears to the local Red Cross (next to the Iglesia Guadelupe). They’ve been diligently practicing for their ‘fiesta patronal’ coming up August 15 (in honor of the ‘Virgen de la Asuncion’. It looks to be a hell of a party! I watched the band practice their music while the dancing girls accompanied. The guys continued their basketball games undisturbed.

Iglesia de Guadelupe

Iglesia de Guadelupe

Maybe it’s how the pace of life seems so relaxed? The people here seem to take things as they come. I don’t see people rushing around to do anything. I see them sitting outside their doorways relaxing or talking (might be because the AC is too expensive and it’s HOT and humid here). People come out at night to hang out in the parks or play in the streets (there’s not much traffic).

what a nice change! even the cops are just chillin'

what a nice change! even the cops are just chillin’

All in all, it seems like a pretty decent city to spend some time. Maybe I’ll come back. :-)

Nicaragua Here I Come!

I finally got my vacation! I’ve been asking about it since April. I had to work 2 months straight to ensure I had the dates I needed off so I could attend a blogging workshop in Costa Rico. It was really just pure luck that it worked out that I could do that.  My boss told me a while ago that I could have that week off, but who wants to travel so far just to spend a week in class? Not me!

So, I got home from the ship late Friday night after 2+ days of traveling from Luanda, Angola. I spent all weekend trying to catch up on rest and mail. Monday was spent running errands and returning phone calls. Tuesday morning, I set the alarm for 0300 so I could make the 0845 flight to Managua. Even then, I almost didn’t make it!

Arrival in Managua was a nice change. Quiet and simple. No long lines or huge hassles. Ricardo, my driver, was waiting for me right outside. I had arranged this through my chosen school, Nicaragua Mia.

Nicaragua has dozens of Spanish language schools. They’re all very affordable and they all seemed to offer pretty much the same deal. I wanted to get out of Managua right away and thought Granada sounded good, so I picked a school there. Nicaragua Mia got the nod since they answered my email immediately and I was setting all this up last minute.

Ricardo took me directly to the school where I could finalize my choices for the week (how many hours of classes, any afternoon activities, etc). Then he took me to the home of my local host, Maria Elena. She was very nice and welcoming. She showed me my room and asked me what I wanted for dinner (in Spanish).

view from my balcony

view from my balcony

I decided to take a walk after getting settled in. Lake Nicaragua is just a few blocks down the street, so I walked over there. There’s a nice park and malecon along the lakeshore. People were hanging out over refrescos and helados (ice creams). I wandered around til it started getting dark and then headed back to my room.

Lake Nicaragua

Lake Nicaragua

When I managed to find my way back to the house, it was already dark and Maria Elena had dinner waiting for me. We had dinner together of pollo, pinto gallo, and verdes (chicken, rice & beans, and vegetables).

I was still dead tired from the last few hectic days, so I hit the sack by 10:00. School starts at 08:00 and breakfast here is at 07:30. I hope I can catch up on some sleep soon! I really hate to be falling asleep when there are so many interesting adventures awaiting. :-)

my room en la casa de Maria Elena

my room en la casa de Maria Elena

 

Been Busy!

I’ve been so busy! I left the ship (LATE). I finally got off on Thursday, got to Luanda around noon. Had just enough time for lunch at the hotel and a beer out by the pool with a few of my shipmates. YES! First beer after 2+ months tastes soooo good! :-)

Headed to the airport at 1500. Got on the plane at around 1800. Had about a 10 hour flight to Dubai, a 4 hour layover there, and a 16 hour flight to Houston. Instead of my previous flight with KLM through Amsterdam which was much shorter AND I paid for an upgrade to business so I would have been able to sleep, I was stuck flying coach in a packed full plane for 2 days. Talk about tired!!

I got home about 9 PM Friday night. Fell asleep immediately.

This crew change was SO screwed up! Because I got home so late on Friday, I couldn’t make any of the phone calls I needed to. Like try to set up appointments for Monday, etc. I was WAY too tired to wake up Saturday morning to go sailing that afternoon, so those plans were ruined.

All I managed to do was to catch up on sleep a little bit and get through the humongous piles of mail!

I had a bunch of errands to run today, phone calls to make and get ready for my vacation tomorrow. I sure hope it goes better than the last few days have been going.

I tried to get a rental car today to take to the airport so I wouldn’t spend so much money on parking. Even with the huge rip-off charges for ‘drop fees’ (when I bring the same car back and forth every month), it’s still cheaper to rent a car to and from the airport than to park my car there for 3-4 weeks. So, I tried to get a car this morning.

They called me back around noon (when I was supposed to get the car) to tell me they didn’t have any cars yet. They expected them by closing. I had so much to do and couldn’t wait around til closing, so I figured I’d go ahead and use my truck (even tho it needs some work right now). Couldn’t get it started. :-(

I had to rummage around for the battery charger, clean up the battery and let it charge for a couple of hours. I finally got it started and was able to run some errands.

Good thing too, since they never did come up with a car they could give me today. Maybe tomorrow they said. Lot of good that’ll do when my flight leaves at 0800!

I should be somewhere in Nicaragua by this time tomorrow. :-)

This is Messed Up!

Here I was this morning, feeling good and all ready to go home. I even managed to get an upgrade to business class for the 10+ hour flight from Amsterdam. It was expensive but I thought it was worth it for a 10+ hour long flight. I just HOPE they’ll give me a refund! Continue reading

8 Weeks!

It’s crew change tomorrow! I will finally be able to leave this ship and head home (that’s if there is no problem with the helicopter).

I left home on May 27th (after spending 2+ days on call). I will have spent over 8 weeks away from home this time. All ‘in the service of the ship’, so technically work time, even tho this company won’t figure it that way.

I’m tired of the way things are going out here, but that would take a whole ‘nother post to go into…. It’ll be so good to get off!

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Green

Cee always has such fun photo challenges on her blog. I always like to try to participate when I can. It’s hard to do when I’m out here. I don’t have a lot of free time and the internet is not always available when I do have a little time to get online.

This week, her Fun Foto Challenge subject is: ‘lime or bright green’. I found a few decent photos with nice, bright greens in them. These were all from a trip I took to Indonesia a couple of years ago.

Check out those green, green rice fields!

I spent some time in Bali and then went over to Sulawesi in search of a sailing ship. That didn’t quite work out, but it was a fantastic trip. I loved every minute of it. I’m not sure why, but the local people loved having their picture taken with me. ;-)

Half And Half No. 3

The challenge from the Daily Post was Half and Half. I didn’t know what to post for that subject. Here’s a classic…

Glass half full, or half empty? ;-)

Half And Half No. 2

The challenge from the Daily Post was Half and Half. I didn’t know what to post for that subject. I took a look at a few of the other entries and saw a lot of sunsets. That is usually one thing we get a lot of out here! Half sky- half water. :-)

Sad to say, offshore Angola is sadly lacking in this area. I don’t know why, but it’s almost always grey, gloomy and overcast skies. It’s very rare to see a nice sunset here. It’s kindof depressing. Day after day seeing nothing but grey skies. I’ve been here almost 8 weeks now this hitch and so far, I’ve seen the sun only 2-3 times. :-(

Half And Half

The challenge from the Daily Post was Half and Half. I didn’t know what to post for that subject. I finally came up with these photos. They might not be politically correct, but I’ve never been known for being that!
I took these pictures a couple of years ago in Bangkok, Thailand. I really love Thailand. The people are so nice and friendly and there’s a really laid back atmosphere, even in the big cities. I usually stay a few days in Bangkok and then go off somewhere else. Maybe Phuket, or Chiang Mai.  I’d love to spend more time exploring more of Thailand. I haven’t really seen much of the country. I always do enjoy my time there.  I especially like the way they treat people there. They accept you as you are. There doesn’t seem to be the prejudice that there is in America. At least I don’t notice it as much.

I took these photos at the famous Calypso show. I had a great time. They really put on a great show. The performers (shown above) were all men (or transgender). I chose this for my post on half and half since these people are considered to be half men- half women, he-she’s, lady-boys.

I’ll come back later with a more standard shot. ;-)

Selfies

Ha! I needed a laugh today. I hope you got one too. :-)

Carl Miller – Right to travel without a license plate

Capt Jill:

I agree with this guy in principle. We should NOT be forced to get a license plate. I have argued against being forced to get a drivers license in order to use the roads I have PAID for, the car I BOUGHT, the gas I PAID for. There is NO justification under constitutional law for the state (or any other government agent) to FORCE me to submit, to BEG their permission to travel freely!
I was BORN with the INALIENABLE RIGHT to TRAVEL. FREELY! That means I can move along a public road or any other public space without interference as long as I am not bothering anyone else. That goes for the airways too! The TSA and all its bullshit security theater is a HUGE violation of my rights and IS totally unconstitutional in every way! Where’s the warrant? Where’s the probable cause? What right do those government thugs in uniforms have to restrict you in ANY way in YOUR RIGHT to travel? The answer is NONE! They have STOLEN your rights from you!

Originally posted on 2012 The Awakening:

ATTENTION everyone that watches this video and engages in the discussion!
Just so everyone knows this channel does not give legal advice. This is a constitutional discusion, of which please note that the Constitution happens to be the HIGHEST LAW OF THE LAND. The founders wrote a simple yet concise document that needs no legal interpolation. So If your rights are being violated by a faciest tyranical government, please read and understand Thomas Jefferson, when he said that this does and will happen unless the Tree of Liberty is guarded vigalently by each and every generation.

People have an inherent nature to argue, and to believe in lies. There is a huge difference between knowlege and wisdom. To know something/anything doesn’t make a person smart. In fact if that person then declairs their knowlege, then at that momemnt they show their pride. Pride goes before a fall, always. I desire…

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Songs of the Sea: Pirate Chantey

Here’s another little sea chantey to add to your musical collection. It’s done by Key & Peele, 2 funny guys who used to be on MADtv (which I loved). I really used to love MAD magazine when I was a kid, but the ones they’re coming out with now are nowhere near as funny as they used to be (and no, it’s not just because I’m getting older!).

This sketch somehow manages to be both a little risque’ and PC at the same time. ;-)

Pirate Chantey– Key & Peele

“Thar once was a lass so fine,
She was drunk on Barleywine,
I’d been (out) to sea for a month or three,
I knew I could make her mine.
But the lass was past consent,
So it was off with her we went,
And we threw her in bed and we rested her head,
And we left cuz that’s what Gentlemen do…

A woman has a right to a drink or two,
Without worryin’ about what you will do!
We say Yo-HO but we don’t say ‘ho,’
Cuz ‘ho’ is disrespectful, yo.

Thar once was a girl from Leeds,
Who I heard was good on her knees,
So I docked my ship for an overnight trip,
To take care of all of my needs.
She was fine as the tales did tell,
And my mast began to swell,
So I laid her down and I raised her gown,
And performed cunnilingus for an hour or so.

Always take care of yer lady fair,
Cuz they deserve as much attention down there!
We say Yo-HO but we don’t say ‘ho,’
Cuz ‘ho’ is disrespectful, yo.

I once had a woman so fair,
Whose whom contained my heir,
With a son by my side, the seas we’d ride,
The child she would bear.
But my woman she was no fool,
She was working her way through school,
So I did support when she chose to abort,
Because it’s her body and therefor her choice.

No we don’t say ‘booty’ ‘less we talkin’ ’bout gold,
and we don’t look at chests ‘less they’s treasure-holds!
With a hat and a feather and a cutlass on our hip,
We don’t say ‘she’ when we’re talking ’bout a ship!
We don’t say ‘bitch’ and we don’t say ‘whore,’
Cuz that language leads to things like body dysmorphia.

Thar was a lady with a golden eye,
And the doctor said she would die,
So she emptied her purse to lift the curse,
And prayed to stay alive.
She awoke the very next day,
And in her grave she lay,
But the scariest part of the story from the start,
Is I bet you assumed the doctor was a man.

Women are doctors too,
And for a fraction of the doubloons!
We say Yo-HO but we don’t say ‘ho,’
Cuz ‘ho’ is disrespectful, yo.

Thar was a slut with tits to here, and an ass that- (gunshot. he is dead and that is good.)

Cuz it’s Yo-HO but we don’t say ‘ho,’
Cuz ‘ho’ is disrespectful, yo.”

Symbol: Plimsoll Line

I decided to join in on the Daily Posts challenge: Symbol. I thought about the waterline one immediately. I think if you haven’t spent a lot of time around ships, you might not know what this one means, even if you see it around you all the time.

This symbol for the ships waterline is called the Plimsoll line, after Samuel Plimsoll. It’s also called the international load line since its function is to inform as to the maximum level a ship can be loaded safely. To put it simply, if it’s underwater, the ship is overloaded and therefore unsafe to sail!

If you look at a ship, you should see this symbol midships (about halfway between the bow and stern). All commercial ships should have this prominently marked on their hull. The ‘deck line’ marks where the main deck level is located. The ‘A’ and ‘B’ on either side of the circle refers to the ‘class society’. In this case the American Bureau of Shipping. It could say LR (Lloyds Register) or BV (Bureau Veritas) or otherwise classed. These are the people who actually figure out exactly where the marks should be placed.

The markings to the right of the circle refer to the type (fresh, brackish or salt) and temperature of the water the ship is floating in. The density of the water changes according to these variables and so the ship will float higher or lower in the water when she sails in different conditions. And so the ship can be loaded with more or less cargo.

The Plimsoll line has saved thousands of lives since Mr Plimsoll first started working to stop overloaded vessels from heading to sea (with subsequent losses of ships and sailors). Plimsoll fought hard to stop the ‘coffin ships’ from sailing and spent years trying to enact legislation to protect the people who worked at sea. Here’s a bit from A Cheer For Plimsoll written and sung by Fred Albert in 1876

So a cheer for Samuel Plimsoll and let your voices blend
In praise of one who surely has proved the sailors’ friend
Our tars upon the ocean he struggles to defend
Success to Samuel Plimsoll for he’s the sailors’ friend.

 

There was a time when greed and crime did cruelly prevail
and rotten ships were sent on trips to founder in the gale
When worthless cargoes well-insured would to the bottom go.
And sailors’ lives were sacrificed that men might wealthy grow.

 

For many a boat that scarce could float was sent to dar the wave
’til Plimsoll wrote his book of notes our seamen’s lives to save
His enemies then tried to prove that pictures false he drew
but with English pluck to his task he stuck, a task he deemed so true.

It wasn’t until the loss of the SS London in 1866, with the loss of over 200 lives, that Parliament started paying attention to Plimsolls’ simple solution. In 1876, the UK made the load line marking mandatory, but it took until 1930 for any international agreement to come about.

The Plimsoll line has made shipping much safer, at least for the ships that follow its direction. It’s a simple enough thing that anyone can take a look and see if the ship is overloaded or safe to sail. But it looks to me like greed (on the part of shippers) and fear for their jobs (on the part of the mariners) keeps overloaded and unsafe ships sailing the worlds oceans. I think from plenty of news items, (like this, this, and this, etc), that people around the world are still not taking advantage of this hard earned knowledge.

Morning Drills

We had morning drills (fire & abandon ship) today and the computer has been waaaayyy toooo sloooow all day. I’m too tired to post anything interesting.

More coming tomorrow! ;-)

Songs of the Sea: Fins

In honor of Shark Week, Jimmy Buffett puts on a great show with ‘Fins’. Just check out those big screens in the background. :-)

LOVE IT

I get so discouraged working out here sometimes. I used to love coming to work offshore. I actually looked forward to it and was eager and excited to come back to work. I wanted to go places, to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

I loved working outside on deck, where I could enjoy the weather. I loved the feeling of the wind in my hair and the sun on my skin (even tho I sunburn easily). I loved looking out and seeing nothing but the blue, blue water all the way to the horizon.

I loved to see the beautiful constantly changing seascape. I loved to watch the waves and clouds. I looked for signs of life around me. Birds: pelicans, sea gulls, terns, herons. Fish: mahi-mahi, ling cod, tuna, sharks, and dolphins (mammals, not fish). Even things like seaweed and jellyfish were of interest. I loved to watch the intense colors of the sky when the sun rose or set.

I loved the fact that my job depended only how well I did my job. It didn’t matter what I looked like, how I talked, my level of formal education, how much money I had in the bank, what kind of car I drove, how I dressed. I loved being able to work dressed in an old pair of shorts, t-shirt and a pair of flip-flops.

I loved slow days offshore when we would throw a line over and catch a few fish. We always caught something. Mahi-mahi, ling cod, rainbow runners, sharks, kingfish, snapper, grouper, catfish, etc. Sometimes we kept them to eat, sometimes we threw them back.

I loved standing lookout at night and seeing the stars so blazingly bright at sea when there was nothing around for hundreds of miles to blot out their light. I loved watching the dolphins play in the bow wake when we were underway and seeing them pass by at the rig. Continue reading

Peach Pie Moonshine

I noticed that my post about Dave’s moonshine recipe has been one of my all time ‘liked’ posts. Too bad, but I think Dave’s site has disappeared. I can’t find it anymore when I click on the link or even when I google it. :-(

I saw this one about Peach Pie Moonshine in an email I got the other day and thought I might see if you all liked this one as much as the other. At least the link to this one is still good. :-)

More Than 5

Here’s another new challenge from Cee, this one is easy. ;-) Just need to have more than 5 of anything. Here’s a shot of -more than 5- woven straw baskets.

I took this at the Houston International Festival the last time I went. I always enjoy it. There is always so much to see and do. They have fantastic music (live bands) and food. They have booths with stuff from all over the world. This picture was from a booth in the ‘African’ area.

Last year they were going to file for bankruptcy. I don’t know if they’ll have it again. If they don’t it will be a real loss for Houston and I will definitely miss it.

AN OPEN LETTER TO MY UNCLE SAM

Capt Jill:

Here’s a post I came across today, he writes the way I feel.

Originally posted on rixlibris:

Dear Uncle, you recently celebrated your 239th birthday but I did not attend the party.  I tried very hard to get into the spirit of the occasion, watched countless TV programs extolling the event, even bought a new flag to hang by the gate.  My effort was in vain.  I just could not bring myself to look you in the eye, wish you a happy birthday and pretend that all was well.

You’ve changed, uncle, and I scarcely recognize you any more.  Where are all the promises you made that year before your actual birth?  What of all the reasons (grievances) you spoke of when you convinced us to separate ourselves from old King George?  When you talked about “taxation without representation” you never even hinted that you would eventually have a tax code that ran some 65,000 pages and be incomprehensible to all, even those who crafted it.

Speaking of taxation without representation, how…

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Share Your World

I always like to see Cee’s interesting questions and answers for her Share Your World Challenges. She also has some really great photography challenges going on every week. Here’s my response to the challenge for week 27.

What is your favorite month of the year? I really had to think about this one for a while. It depends on my location. Here’s my perspective from living in SE Texas. I really don’t like the summer months. From May until at least September, it’s just too damn hot, muggy and buggy (pesky mosquitos!) to enjoy being outside at all. The winter months from November- February are’nt usually too cold, but then we have a lot of really dull, dreary, rainy, and still muggy weather. The days when the Northers have blown through and the skies are clear and bright blue and the air is fresh and crisp are beautiful, but there aren’t enough of them.

I do like the fall, the weather is starting to cool off again where it’s nice to spend time outside and there’s Halloween to look forward to. I also love March-April. The weather is still cool, the air is fresh and clean, the plants are all starting to grow again and I look forward to checking my ‘garden’ every morning. I look forward to seeing the flowers start blooming. Lots of my neighbors let the bluebonnets take over their yards.Texas wildflowers are just stunningly beautiful in the Spring! I guess my favorite month would have to be March. For all the reasons I mentioned for spring, AND we have St Patricks Day to celebrate in Surfside! :-)

Irish pirates

Irish pirates

Do you drink coffee at all? I’m not a big fan of coffee. I don’t really see what the big deal is all about. I can’t understand the admiration for all the expensive, fancy drinks at places like Starbucks. I almost never drink coffee at home, I usually wake up and have a cup of hot tea and then drink iced tea all day long. When I’m on the ship, I’ll drink coffee. Just because it’s there.

What was one of your first moneymaking jobs (other than babysitting or newspaper delivery)? I worked for my father around his rental properties and on the boat. He paid me $3 per hour. He’d have me clean up between tenants, paint, plumbing (unclogging sinks and toilets), pulling weeds and taking care of the plants, etc. During school breaks, he would take me out fishing with him and I would cut bait, bait the hooks and help gut and ice down the fish. I got out of that as soon as I could!

My first ‘real’ job was down the street on the party boats. I got hired on as a ‘galley girl’. I could only go out on the weekends. We made 2 trips a day. I would tend the galley selling drinks and microwave sandwiches. When nobody was interested in food, I would help the deckhands baiting hooks, cutting bait, untangling lines, getting fish off hooks and putting them up on the ice for the passengers til we got to the dock. Then we would filet the fish for tips and clean up the boat at the end of the day and get it ready to go out again in the morning. I had another job washing dishes at a little Greek restaurant down the street after school too. I kept busy. ;-)

We lived across from Dons Dock on the finger bay.

We lived across from Dons Dock on the finger bay.

List:  If you play video/computer games list 5 games you like? I don’t play many games on the computer. I’m not very good at games where you have to be quick. ;-) I do like a couple of them. One of my all time favorites is a game I used to play with the crew on one of my old ships ‘the Performer’. If I remember right, it was called VGA Planets. It was cool. The goal was to ‘take over the universe’. You chose which alien race you wanted to play as. Each one had its own special abilities. You started out from your home world with certain assets. So many spaceships, so much population, so many cities, etc. You chose a strategy to carry out your goal of conquering the universe. Trade or war, shifting alliances with the other players, etc. It would take us a day or so between moves when the controller would roll over the computer so we could make our next move. A game would usually last an entire hitch (maybe more). We worked 5 weeks on, 5 weeks off there. ;-)

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I’ve been on the ship at work since the end of May, so not a lot happening with my life here. I am grateful to still have a job since so many in this industry have been laid off already with the plunge in the price of oil. I’m grateful that this type of work allows me more time off than most so I can spend time doing the things I really enjoy. I’m looking forward to getting off here soon (tho not as soon as next week) and attending a blogging workshop in Costa Rica. I’ll spend a couple of weeks exploring down that way after the class.