Writing 101: Death to Adverbs

From out of the hot bright sunshine I walk into the cavernous space. As my eyes adjust, I breathe in the smell of slightly stale cigarette smoke and listen to the sounds that surround me. I hear plinking, whirring, tweeks, cheeps, and bleeps. It sounds like R2-D2 having a major breakdown. The casino draws me into its cool dark depths.

Wandering between the crowded rows of an amazing variety of games, I hear the one armed bandits scroll and clunk. Bells ring along with the sound of coins falling into the plastic buckets that await the bounty. People of all ages and appearance sit and stare. Smoke and sip their free drinks.

The table games attract attention with their beautiful dealers all dressed in old time finery. They wear uniforms of sparkling, satin-shiny red lingerie. Fishnet stockings and black high heeled shoes complete the intended image.

Cards shuffle and fly towards the waiting marks at the blackjack tables. Young couples dressed to impress smile across the felt as they count their cards and hope for a 21.

Crowds of people cheer as someone wins a roll of the dice on the craps table. The roulette wheel spins and clicks and the ball drops to its last black number. Whoops and hollers as the man in the Bass Pro Shop t-shirt wins the game.

I make my way to Penny Lane. Take a seat. Slide my dollar into the waiting slot. Video machines with multiple games. Five kinds of Keno, 10 Slots, Poker. Jacks or Higher, 9s or Higher, Double Bonus, Triple Bonus, Deuces Wild, Aces Wild. Β All for only 1 cent each!

I have 100 tries to strike it rich! I play.


Writing 101: Contrasting Views

But Mike, a free country would never FORCE someone to buy anything.

But Jill, they already force us to buy car insurance.

I don’t HAVE to have car insurance Mike, in fact I don’t even HAVE to have a car! But that’s not right either. So, according to you, 2 wrongs make a right?

Nooooo, but people NEED ‘health insurance’.

Who says?

It’s just common sense Jill.

Really? I think it’s a HUGE scam!

Scam? Come on Jill. Health care is so expensive, if anything happens to you, you can easily get financially wiped out.

And the reason for that is the fact that ‘our’ government has become so involved with the health care system. It is not anything remotely resembling a free market anymore. Before they started screwing it up (100 years ago), it was the best in the world. We had a system that was affordable and innovative. The few people who couldn’t afford what they needed were helped out by charities, as well as friends and neighbors.

WTF are you talking about Jill?

Well, lets see. To start with, they went right along with the requests of the ‘doctors’ to restrict entry to the medical profession. They created ‘licenses’ and ‘accredited’ medical schools. People could no longer see the health care professional they wanted to, they were restricted to only those approved by the government. Of course, when you restrict the supply of something, the price goes up. Just like those doctors ordered.

Then, they created the FDA (not called that to begin with). That created the same problems with the supply of drugs and other products to do with health care. Now, it’s to the point where a company has to spend multi-MILLIONS of dollars to get an ‘approved’ drug on the market. No wonder the prices for drugs are so high here when the same things cost 90% less everywhere else. And, most places you don’t need to get a prescription either (saving you more doctors fees).

Are you nuts Jill? You want to let the snake oil salesmen loose again and allow people to buy adulterated products?

No Mike. I want to let the free market work. If you would ALLOW it to, there would be PRIVATE groups that would take over those functions that we really NEEDED. Just like the UL and Consumer Reports checks out many things now and informs people of whats up. There would be groups doing the same thing for health care providers and for drugs and other items related to health care.

But there would be no force behind those groups!

Yeah Mike, that’s the idea. No FORCE. Why do you think people need to be FORCED into doing things all the time?

If they won’t do what they ought to on their own, then someone needs to find a way to get them to do it.

REALLY? So who gets to decide what everybody OUGHT to do? You? Me? The President? Some irresponsible government bureaucrat?

Well, since Congress passed the law, then we all ought to follow it!

REALLY? Last time I looked, the LAW (the Constitution) said we are still a Constitutional Republic, NOT a democracy. The Bill of Rights still stands and there is NOTHING in there that authorizes Congress to write any such law, therefore regardless of what they may pass, it is NOT valid.

This country is SUPPOSED to be one that respects individual rights. It was formed specifically to do just that! When it violates that principle, then it is our right and duty to protest, up to and including civil disobedience and refusal to follow such unconstitutional so-called ‘laws’.

Oh Jill, you kill me. Go ahead and do that and go to jail. Get yourself shot for your beliefs.

No Mike, really its you and people with your attitude who are killing me. With every ‘fix’ your people put into effect, to ‘fix’ the things they screwed up before, it makes it harder and harder for me (and everyone else) to get decent health care in this country! I haven’t even got into the REAL drivers of the high cost of health care.


Yeah. Do you realize that pretty much NOBODY ever had or needed health insurance til the government enacted wage and price controls towards the end of WWll? Health care was very affordable up until that time, even with the restrictions on providers and drugs. Because of the restrictions on wages, companies had to offer something ELSE to get the workers they needed. That something just happened to be health insurance.

That started the whole deal of tying insurance to your job (a HUGE problem), and it started the big problem we have now. That being no real price control. When people don’t have any concern about what something costs, then usually those costs are going to go up. Company paid health insurance started that ball rolling.

Medicare and Medicaid started in the 60s and really started pushing that ball!

So, now you’ve got restrictions on supply and a humongously increased demand and what could you possibly expect but that prices will go up?

Yeah, but SOMETHING needed to be done. People are dying because they can’t afford health care! Do you just want to let them die? That’s pretty harsh.

Mike, no one is turned away from an emergency room if they can’t pay. The hospital is required to take them (that’s another problem). Then they’ll have HUGE bills to pay (which they’ll either stay in debt forever or just walk away).

What I think is that we need to actually try to fix the REAL problem, which is government interference with the market.

Oh yeah, always back to the government. The government boogyman. You’re a broken record Jill.

If I am, it’s only because the government IS the root of most of our problems!

Yeah Jill, whatever.

Las Vegas: Showtime

I always love to go to Las Vegas. I’m not really that into gambling, but the whole place is one big show!

I don’t have a whole lot of time here this trip to play. I’m heading out to Red Rock tomorrow for the International Living conference I came here for. So I figured I should stay downtown on Fremont Street to make the best of it.

This place is always so interesting. There are professional entertainers all up and down the street, but the ‘real people’ are just as entertaining (if not more so). πŸ™‚

Las Vegas!

I’m heading to Las Vegas early in the morning. I have to get out of here by 0500! Much earlier than I like to get up. I didn’t want to waste a day and only get there in time to find my hotel and hit the sack, so I took the early flight.

I’m going specifically to the “Fast Track Your Retirement Overseas” Conference. I’ve been trying to find a way to get out of here for a few years now. Nothing I’ve tried so far has worked.

Now that I’ve finally found another job where I’m working overseas again, things are looking up! I think I ought to be able to make a move soon.

Actually, I was ready to go back in June. I had tickets bought already. Too bad I just started this new job. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to tell them right off the bat I couldn’t go to work when they asked me to.

So, I cancelled that trip. Too bad. Now I don’t know how long it will take me to get back down there. At least with this new job I shouldn’t have to worry too much about getting thrown in prison for lack of totally unnecessary and ridiculously expensive obamacare scam ‘insurance’!

I’ll have a couple of days to explore Las Vegas itself before the conference starts. It’s actually outside of town at the Red Rock Casino. It looks pretty nice, but it’s way out in the middle of nowhere.

Anybody have any ideas of interesting things to do around town?

Writing 101: An Interesting Character

I met Capt Hugh a few months back at one of the weekly meetings I go to whenever I’m home. The Campaign for Liberty is an offshoot of Ron Paul’s Presidential campaign and I’m a big supporter of his views. So is Capt Hugh.

I still don’t know Capt Hugh very well. We haven’t both been home off our ships at the same time very often. He looks like an ordinary guy. Comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt. Middle aged, average height and weight, nothing really special about his looks. But it all comes out when you talk to him. His passion for life and liberty, his sense of adventure, his determination to do whatever it takes to further his goals.

He doesn’t live near here. He lives up near Dallas somewhere, I think. That’s a few hours drive from here. He comes all the way down to our meetings when he’s home from work. It shows a high level of commitment to the goals we’re working toward (increasing freedom and liberty).

He works offshore like I do. He’s working as captain on some kind of oilfield support vessel. Recently he’s been working out of Africa (me too). I’m working off the Congo River, Hugh is working further north. He’s on a much smaller vessel than I am and so he gets to go into port occasionally.

If you’ve never worked out of Africa, you have no idea what that entails. It’s very chaotic and can be extremely frustrating. It takes a really special person to not only go there and do the work that needs to be done, but to ENJOY it. I’ve only met a couple of people like that so far and each of them was full of great stories and a love of life that showed through.

I follow Capt Hugh on Facebook. He’s quite an adventurer. He’s planning a vacation in Africa whenever he gets off work (who knows when). With everything going on over there, including an epidemic of Ebola, he doesn’t let it stop him. He takes the opportunity when it’s offered. A ‘free’ trip to Africa! What a deal!

Capt Hugh is not only captain of the supply vessel he is employed on, he has his own little sailboat too. That’s another feather in his cap! He’s willing to put everything he has on the line, buy a boat, fix up what he can, and then take off for parts unknown. That all shows a real spirit of adventure, love for the ocean, and a desire to find the freedom we’ve lost here.

I hope he is able to sail off soon. I’ll keep track on Facebook. It’ll inspire me to see where he winds up. I know it’ll be somewhere worth going.

Writing 101: Be Brief

Along the Old River the shrimp boats unloaded. A battered white envelope drifted in the breeze. Bored, I picked it up. Something interesting?

“Dave” was the only address. I opened it.

“Dear Dave” it began. Would Dave clean up his act if he read the list of his shortcomings?


Serially Lost: Island Girl

Todays assignment is to write about a loss…

One of the worst feelings I’ve ever had in my life was when I saw her sitting on the bottom, the muddy brown water filling her cabin and sloshing around her decks.

The “Island Girl” was my fathers beautiful staysail schooner. She was the love of his life. We grew up on that boat. I remember so many happy days spent cruising the Gulf of Mexico with friends and family. I remember sitting around the main cabin doing my homework while my brother and sister screamed with pleasure as they hauled themselves up the rigging and then dived right back into the water. I remember taking the Girl up the rails at Tarpon Springs for a bottom job and running aground every time we left.

Island Girl

Island Girl

I inherited the Island Girl when my father passed away. I had already been doing all I could to help him take care of her while he was sick. But she was an old boat. She was build in 1910. Wooden hulled. I spent a couple of summers helping my dad cover her up with layers on layers of fiberglass in an attempt to strengthen her hull and so prolong her life.

As my fathers health declined, so did his ability to maintain the Island Girl. He tried, but he just couldn’t get down there to do all that needed to be done. There is always SO much work to be done on any boat, and the older they get, the more needs to be done. It’s a constant battle against rust and rot.

As always, I was working offshore and so couldn’t help much, but when I was home I would run down to the marina and at least start her up, check the bilges and see if there was any major change since my last visit.

I was working a month on/month off schedule. Same as I am now. You’d think with a month off I would have plenty of time to take care of a simple sailboat. After all, I’m a captain, I take care of boats for a living.

Well, I guess I could if I had an unlimited amount of money and nothing else to do with my life. Even then, I did have other things I preferred to do with my time off the ships. I really didn’t want to spend all my time off one ship working on another boat!

So, I just took care of the bare minimum. It was enough to keep her afloat while I tried to sell her. Every once in a while, I could round up some help and we took her out for a sail. What a treat! Even tho we couldn’t raise the mainsail all the way up due to an owls nest in the mast, she was still a pretty fast boat. We had great fun.

What a sad, sad, sight to see her sunk like that.

The night before everything was fine. There was a big storm coming, so I made sure she would be alright to ride it out. I went down to the dock and checked that her lines were properly secured. I checked to make sure every one of her 6 (!!) bilge pumps were working. I checked that the batteries were charged. I checked that she was all buttoned up for the rain.

The storm came and the tides were higher than normal. I had to wade down the dock through chest high water in my need to ensure she made it through it all OK. Yes! I sighed in relief! She was floating high and dry and looking lively. I made my way back down the dock, sloshed up to my truck and took off home thinking everything would be just fine.

I got a call in the morning from Old Rip at the marina. One every boat owner in the world dreads to hear. “Your boat’s sunk”. WHAT??!! Oh no! How could that happen? I was just down there last night and everything was fine!

Aiiiiyyyyyeee!! I jumped in my truck and rushed back down to the dock. The tide had gone down and the water was much lower than usual. The Girl was on the bottom. My stomach sank and I felt soooooo sick. I was stunned. I couldn’t figure out what could have happened. It was all I could do to keep from just sitting down right there at the end of the dock and just wailing my sorrow and loss.

That boat had been SO much a part of my life for so many years. She was like part of the family. Now what?

3 Significant Songs

Todays’ assignment from the Writing 101 Challenge is to write about the ‘three most important songs in your life’. Then they carry on in the assignment about ‘free writing’ and ‘committing to a writing practice”.

Here goes…

1. Son of a Son of a Sailor by Jimmy Buffet. I’m sure some of you might have an idea of why this song is important to me. “I went out on the sea for adventure”. Yep, that’s me. I always have identified with this particular song. I always loved Jimmy Buffet. I think he’s a great songwriter. He always tells a story in his songs and it’s usually a story I can understand and relate to. I grew up on the beach in Florida. My town used to be a little fishing village. We had plenty of characters hanging around. Many of them were the same familiar types Buffet sings about. I remember a few times growing up when Buffet would come through our town visiting. I saw him play a few times at some of my favorite local bars (I was still underage). My stepmother told me once that his manager was married to my stepsister. I never was that close to her so I never investigated any of that. I love that particular song since it seems to tell so much of what I feel like. The only thing that gets me is the whole “SON” of a “SON” of a Sailor. They never talk about the ‘daughter’ of a sailor, unless it’s something like she’s sitting around waiting for her loved one to come home. I was always a little jealous (maybe more than a little) about how the men always had it so easy. They could do all the things I always wanted to do so badly. For ME, it was always such a huge fight. Even now, it’s still a struggle. I should have been born a man!

2. House of the Rising Sun. I always loved this song. It was the first song I learned how to play on the guitar. It’s such a soulful song and so easy to sing. I still sing it for kareoke sometimes. I love New Orleans. It’s one of the reasons I chose to move to Texas to go to school for my AB ticket instead of one of the other 2 schools in the country at the time (San Diego or North Carolina). I thought I would be able to go to New Orleans every weekend to party. I thought I could go to Mexico every other weekend and El Paso to visit family fairly often too. I had NO idea how big Texas was or how long it took to drive to any of those places from where I moved to go to school.

3. What do you do with a Drunken Sailor. This was the song we sang all the time when we were getting rowdy when I was in high school on the sailing ships. We sang it at the end of my high school graduation on the wharf in Copenhagen. We were all dressed in our blue jeans and blue Oceanic t- shirts with our yellow foul weather jackets on. We had our diplomas printed on the back side of some Russian chocolate wrappers we had saved up special for it. I love how this song is such a FUN song to sing. It gets more and more creative after the first few verses.


OK. I went a couple of minutes over my time limit that I set for myself to ‘free write’. I had a hard time holding back from adding some interesting links. No editing, no thinking hard, just letting the words flllooooowwwww…

So, I didn’t want to deprive anyone of seeing what I’m talking about, so here are some links. πŸ™‚

Here’s a video Son of a Son of a Sailor

Here’s one of the Animals singing the House of the Rising Sun

And here’s a link to an earlier post with a great video of the Drunken Sailor Song. πŸ™‚

German Coast Guard Trainee

Cute. πŸ™‚

Writing 101: Ship Scenes

OK. I’m behind again. I’m trying to work through this Writing 101 challenge (again). I tried it before when I was at work and just could not keep up. Real life is once again interfering with my time in the blogosphere.

I’m doing the best I can but ya’ll are going to have to just bear with me. πŸ˜‰

So, today I’m working on the assignment for Day 2. It’s actually Day 7. 😦

The assignment is to write about a place, describe a setting. They ask you if you could be anywhere you wanted to be, where would you be ‘right now’?

I’m having a hard time winnowing that down. I could imagine myself at the top of Macchu Picchu or chillin out in Ubud. I could put myself under the sea on a dive in the Great Blue Hole off Belize or the atolls of the Pacific Ocean. I could imagine myself at home with my family when I was growing up in Florida or sitting around the gangway on my old ship with some great friends.

But I think I’m going to go with a cruise. I can hardly remember a better time than I spent as a kid on those sailing ships. I had such a great time. It was such a fantastic adventure.

Yeah, I was probably my usual self at the time, bitching about having to holystone the decks on Sundays or having to do laundry by hand. But I’ve very rarely had as many awesome, intense, all encompassing feelings of exhilaration and pure joy. Of just being fully and completely ALIVE and in complete harmony with myself and my surroundings.

I remember sailing on the Ariadne across the Atlantic Ocean. We left La Gomera in the Canary Islands and sailed for Martinique in the West Indies. We had a couple of weeks to make the trip.

The Ariadne was a large, 3 masted schooner. She carried a German crew and a few passengers and our entire school of fairly rowdy teenagers. I was 16 at the time. I remember long lazy days split between classroom, projects, and learning the ship.

I remember lying in the itchy, rough manila net under the bowsprit. Looking out for ships, weather, loose containers or anything else of interest. I would cheer on the dolphins as they sped along with us. No sound but the bubbling champagne rush of the sea along the sides of the ship and the waves lightly slapping the bow as the ship sliced through the slowly heaving blue-green swells.

The sun shone brightly in the perfectly clear, china blue sky and made the infinite depths of the ocean glow with stars of vividly bright patterns in so many gorgeous colors: neon green, canary yellow, turquoise, violet, wine, maroon, and purple.

Not too hot and not too cold. The days were warm and the sweat dripped in my eyes as I worked to sand down the pinrails.The nights held a chill, just enough to appreciate my wool watch cap. The winds were fair and powered us along at a steady rate as we worked the ship to get the best speed we could out of her with sails alone.

The winds brought the smell of salt and seaweed, yet it was somehow so FRESH. Sometimes the light, clean, crisp smell of rain and dew in the mornings. We would find flying fish dead- or almost- along the bulwarks sometimes, as we made our way forward to the galley for breakfast. We collected them for the cook who might fry them up for us or pass them on fresh to Whiskey the ships shaggy grey and white mutt.

Breakfast was served family style with fresh bread, butter and jam. Ham, cheese, eggs, fruit and milk (while they lasted). Helping the cook wash the dishes and prepare the meals was another way we passed the time. Peeling potatoes was a daily chore, everyone liked french fries. Hot and salty, crispy on the outside and nice and fluffy inside. Just perfect, every day. πŸ™‚

We spent 4 hours on watch divided between helmsman, lookout duty and odd jobs. Then another 4 in school tending to our studies in Math, English, Cultural Studies, Oceanography, etc and things like Celestial Navigation, Marlinspike Seamanship, Sailtraining, etc. The shipboard schedule was the same as the traditional worldwide merchant fleet: 4 hours on, 8 off, 24/7.

Night watch in the middle of the ocean is like nothing else. It’s just amazing to see the black velvet sky, awash with those STARS like blazing diamonds. Nothing else around you. Occasional sounds of a creaking line or a sail luffing in the wind. The ship is dark except for the running lights which are purposely made as so not to interfere with your ability to see at night. Listening to the soft hiss of the swells as they pass down your side as you gaze in awe at the night sky.

Tweaking out the constellations from the abundant array of twinkling stars normally masked by the bright lights of town is a challenge. Remembering the stories of those star clusters is another way to keep your mind at play. Acting lookout is a wonderful way to calm yourself. You can take the time to really THINK.

It doesn’t surprise me at all how many famous artists (writers) were seaman at some point in their lives. There’s just something about it. “It gets in your blood”. I’ve never had another adventure like that one. I’ve been hoping to ever since.

I’ll never forget it.


Apple Cinnamon Infused Vodka

Apple Cinnamon Infused Vodka recipe from Betty Crocker.

This looks really tasty. And simple too!

I like that. I’ll have to try it. The first comment there mentioned a drink recipe that sounds fantastic too. Looking forward to tasting that one (and making up more of my own). πŸ™‚

I can throw this together before I go back to work and it should be ready by the time I get home again. πŸ™‚

PS- I know some people this would be a great Christmas present for too (too bad I’ll probably be offshore for Christmas too)

How to Host an Oktoberfest Party

How to Host an Oktoberfest Party – Betty Crocker.

Since I’ll be going back to work soon, I’ll be missing Octoberfest this year. It actually started in Munich yesterday.

It’s already over here in Houston. I might have gone if I knew about it earlier. Really,Β I just had too much to do at home to check out fun things to do. 😦

It’s always like that when I first come home from being offshore for a month or more. With this new job I recently started it looks like I’ll be missing ALL of the things I’d like to do for the next few months at least. 😦

Here are some fun suggestions for those of you who DO get a chance to enjoy some interesting events on your time off. πŸ™‚

Those pretzels look especially interesting. And beer is always good, I even have some Saint Arnold Octoberfest brew in my fridge right now, I’ll just have to settle for a few of those before I leave for work. πŸ™‚

Anyone On Youtube?

I’ve been trying to figure out youtube tonight. I’ve only looked at it a few times in my life so far. Yeah, I know I’m out of it. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I was thinking that I’d like to post a video I made on here. I can’t figure out how to put it on here. Then I thought… I’ve posted videos from youtube on here before with no problems.

So, then I thought I should upload my videos onto youtube. That’s where I’m having trouble. I guess there must be some tricks I’m not aware of.

I can get it to the point of trying to upload. Then it tells me it will take HUNDREDS of minutes!!! Obviously, I’m not going to sit around and wait for 500 minutes so I cancel the operation. It’s not really that large of a file.

I haven’t figured out how to do ANY editing of my videos on my computer. I have windows live movie maker, but when I tried to edit a video and save it, I couldn’t open it again at all.

Has anyone here worked with videos? Have any helpful hints? I’m lost and I admit I don’t have enough interest at this time to spend a lot of time fooling around with it if I can’t figure it out pretty quickly.

Yeah, I’m being lazy on this. Just too much to do in real life to play with it for too long.

Happy International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Arrrrggh Mateys! This is the day we’ve all been waiting for (or not). πŸ˜‰

It’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day! Enjoy watching the festivities from last year. Maybe you can find some around your location too. πŸ™‚

I know my sailing buddies at Sail La Vie in Houston are having a big dress like a pirate paaarrty and sail tomorrow.Β (I’m just still too beat from work, that looooong journey home with no sleep,Β and too much to do to justify a 3+ hour drive, even for a great party).

Instead, I’ll be heading to the Texas Navy Day Celebrations here locally at Surfside Beach. Maybe I’ll even get to shoot a cannon! Arrrrghh, that’s a piraty activity too. πŸ™‚

Check out the Talk Like A Pirate website, maybe you can find some nearby pirates to practice the lingo with over a good glass of grog. (It helps). Join in the fun! πŸ™‚

Anyone who wants to send me pirate pictures, feel free! πŸ™‚

Window: Aberdeen Pubs

This is an entry for the Word A Week Photograph Challenge: Window from Sue at A Word In Your Ear blog.

I took this one while I was on a trip to Aberdeen Scotland a couple of months ago. I was there to take a course in “Freefall Lifeboat Coxswain” for work. I got out of class early enough to wander around town most days. I was glad I always take my point and shoot camera with me. These are just a few of the interesting windows I saw there. πŸ™‚


The definition of the word Conundrum is: something that is puzzling or confusing.
Here are six Conundrums of life in the United States of America:
1. America is capitalist and greedy – yet half of the population is subsidized.
2. Half of the population is subsidized – yet they think they are victims.
3. They think they are victims – yet their representatives run the government.
4. Their representatives run the government – yet the poor keep getting poorer.
5. The poor keep getting poorer – yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.
6. They have things that people in other countries only dream about – yet they want America to be more like those other countries.
Think about it! And that, my friends, pretty much sums up the USA in the 21st Century.
Makes you wonder who is doing the math.
I didn’t come up with the above, a friend sent it to me in an email. I thought it was worth putting it out there for a few thoughts from the rest of you out there. This part is all mine. πŸ™‚
How did we turn into such a socialist country from what was once the most free country on the planet? How did we turn from a country founded SOLELY to support and protect INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY into this mess we have now?
Any thoughts? Comments? Insults? Rants??

Writing 101: Try Again

OK. I’m going to try this “Writing 101” thing again. I tried it before, but I was on the ship and could never find the time to do the assignments. I’m really glad the folks at WordPress decided to run this challenge again. I would like to improve my writing.

Today is the first day of the challenge. I got home late Friday after a couple of days traveling home from the ship. We were working offshore Angola (West Africa). I worked all night Wednesday and then started my voyage home Thursday morning.

I was basically up for about 60 hours straight, not counting the few minutes at a time I managed to doze off on the plane(s). I’ve had a couple of days to rest up and catch up on mail, etc so I hope I can find the time now to keep up with the assignments for this challenge. πŸ™‚

Today’s assignment is pretty easy. It’s to “JUST WRITE”. Just like talking, I can always find something to say, I can always find things to write. Who knows if anyone will listen to what I have to say either way I put my thoughts out there? It seems most of the time I am ignored. 😦

I think I have some good ideas and some good solutions to a lot of the things no one likes to see happening around the world. It’s all about FREEDOM. Too bad I’m not the dictator of the world. What a paradox. πŸ˜‰

I would SO love to see this world full of people where everyone is able to live their lives the way they choose. I would love to see everyone able to live to their fullest potential. I would love to see everyone have enough to eat and comfortable surroundings and work that they enjoy.

I used to have long arguments with my best friend J. about this kind of thing. I told her once I would love to buy an island. I would have to buy it so that it would be mine, as legitimately mine as it would be possible to be. (Not to get into the whole argument about is it really legitimate for people to own land at all). I just don’t want it to be claimed by any government, they would ALL be totally against everything I’m trying to do.

I would turn that island into my own country. Anyone could come there and do anything they wanted to do, as long as they didn’t hurt anyone else (no murder, rape, robbery, etc). That is my basic premise in life. That is the idea that I live by.

Of course the USA would probably bomb the hell of my island. There’s NO WAY they would allow the world to see that a place with REAL freedom could exist and prosper. It would prove to the entire world what a fraud (and a danger to the entire planet) the US has become.

Yes, on my island you could drive without a license, without wearing seatbelts or helmets. You could drink or get high on whatever you wanted to (but you would be responsible for your actions whether high or not). There would be no spying allowed for any reason. There would be no universal ID such as social security has become (and therefore a magnet for identity theft). There would be no such things as ‘guilty property’ (asset forfeiture), money laundering laws, etc. Yes, there would be legal gambling and prostitution and there would be no such thing as a ‘victimless crime’. You could work at whatever you chose, for whoever you chose, for whatever wages and benefits you chose. There would be no government licensing of anything.

Since this island is based completely on voluntary action, I can see people working together to provide all the things we need and want without resorting to the use of force. If we need roads, schools, etc, people will come up with ways to provide them just like they did in colonial times in the USA. I can’t even think of anything we would need taxes for, so there probably wouldn’t even be any of those! πŸ™‚

I would base my laws on the US constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights and I would follow the letter and the INTENTION of those documents! That being to promote INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM! To keep the people in control of the government and NOT the other way around.

We would get into huge arguments about what exactly was meant by the word “hurt”. I told her, I think it would have to be defined as an ‘objective’ hurt. Something obvious to everyone else. Otherwise, anyone could just make anything up they wanted.

I think it would have to be something ‘proveable’. Something that you could prove actually happened to you and that it actually did hurt you. You should be able to prove real harm.

So, we got into all these arguments over ‘what if?’…

‘what if she moved in next door to my multi-million dollar mansion and built a junkyard?’, (who said I would have a multi-million dollar mansion? I just spent all my money to buy this island!

‘what if she came to my (multi-million dollar mansion) and shit on my floor?’ (multi-million dollar mansion??), if she shit on my floor on purpose, then I think I would throw her out of my house. If she was sick or something and couldn’t control herself, then I think I would send her to the hospital but still get her out of my house!

‘what if somebody’s feelings got hurt?’ see above point about being objective and proveable

‘what if somebody trashed your boat?’ unbelieveable! they would have to pay restitution for the damages and/or they would get deported!

After a while of this kind of thing, we both got sick of the argument. I decided I would not really want to be dictator after all. It’s too much work!

I really just want to be left alone to live my life in peace. I don’t want to BE alone, I just want to be LEFT alone. There’s a huge difference.

It seems very few people understand where I’m coming from. Almost everyone seems to think people are somehow better off with other people running their lives instead of themselves. I am totally in opposition to that idea.

This is why I am searching so hard to find some PLACE where I can live the rest of my life. It is no longer possible to have that in the USA. The country that was founded to allow people exactly that freedom.

My only hope now is to somehow get out of the US permanently and find some out of the way place where the people will just accept you for who you are. Where they areΒ happy to live and let live. Where their government does not have the resources to constantly interfere. And if it does, where the people will force it to back off!!!

So, OK, I’ve rambled on now for over the 20 minutes the assignment called for. Hope some of you made it all the way to the end. πŸ˜‰

Any comments on this subject (or any other) is always appreciated. πŸ™‚



Almost Home!

I made it off the ship and an 8 hour flight from Luanda to Paris. Now I’m almost ready to jump on the 10 1/2 hour flight from Paris to Houston.

Here’s to hoping my luggage makes the same journey I do this time. πŸ˜‰

On Watch- Looking Out the Windows

This is an entry for the Word A Week Photograph Challenge: Window from Sue at A Word In Your Ear blog.

I had my watch partner take this one of me while I was looking out the windows at the FPSO (floating production storage offloading) flaring off.

This is what it looks like on the bridge of a drillship at night. We are working offshore Angola, about 85 nm SW of the Congo River.

I’m Beer!

This is an entry for the Word A Week Photograph Challenge: Window from Sue at A Word In Your Ear blog.

I took this one while I was on a trip to Korea a couple of months ago. I like the colors and neat graphics of this shot.

AND, I like beer! πŸ™‚