Travel Theme: Doorways

I stumbled upon the “Where’s My Backpack?” blog and Travel Theme: Doorways challenge while I was checking my reader today. I figured I’d join in…

Thai woman in doorwayThai man in doorway

Those first couple (of neighbors, sitting in their doorways) were from Thailand, up in the hills North of Chiang Mai. The next bunch are from Aberdeen, Scotland. I had to go take the course for Freefall Lifeboat before they would let me go out on my new job.

King's College, AberdeenAberdeen, Scotland 

And I just had to throw something nautical in the mix. 🙂 This is a photo of the interior of the boat we were practicing with all week.

door into freefall lifeboat

door into freefall lifeboat

 

Advertisements

Offshore- Rainbows

Here’s another entry for the Word a Week Challenge: Rainbow.

I took these at various times while working offshore over the last couple of years. The first one is a double rainbow in the background, with a supply boat in the foreground. The last one has part of the helideck that I wish I could have kept out of the shot, but I couldn’t get to a good spot to take the picture without it in there somewhere.

 

A Word A Week: Rainbow

This weeks Word a Week Challenge from the Word in Your Ear Blog is: Rainbow.

Here is one of my rainbow pictures. I took this one a couple of years ago, when I was working on the tuna boat. We sometimes went in to Tarawa (Kiribati/Gilbert Islands) to unload. We would tie up to a reefer ship in the anchorage off Betio (the main town on the atoll) and have a couple of days to get ashore there.

For such a small place, in the middle of nowhere, Tarawa had some interesting history. Some of the biggest battles of WWII were fought over these islands. There are still a lot of military ruins/wrecks/artifacts from when the Americans were fighting the Japanese there (Battle of Tarawa).

I’m not really into military history or how wars are fought, but I do understand the strategy of having those island ‘stepping stones’ for the US during WWII. The US still keeps an eye on things there. When I was there once, I met up with a US ship doing some ‘PR’ work throughout the Pacific Islands. A group of military people were cleaning up the war memorial and sent a medical team to help out the locals.

At this point in time, Tarawa has gone back to it’s sleepy small town ways. I really enjoyed myself there. The people were friendly and a lot of fun. A couple of years after I stopped working over there, I read a book “Sex Lives of Cannibals” by J. Maarten Troost. I highly recommend it. I laughed SO hard. Yes, it really IS like that there. 🙂

What’s Up With the Bathtub?

It rained pretty hard here a few days ago. Ever since then I’ve been having problems with my bathroom. I flush the toilet and it comes up through the bathtub! ICK!!

My bathroom, AFTER the plumber finished up. ;-)

My bathroom, AFTER the plumber finished up. 😉

It had done the same thing before a couple of times and I had it snaked out. I didn’t notice it this time til Saturday morning and no use calling a plumber til Monday.

Monday morning I called the plumber but they were swamped. Because of all the rain, they had all kinds of people calling in with problems. I had to wait til Tuesday to get someone to come by and take a look.

I thought maybe the sewer pipes were broken because of the fact that this issue keeps recurring. The plumber informed me that running a snake through the toilet is basically useless. Even if you unbolt the toilet and run the snake straight through the floor.

Well, since that’s the way we’ve been doing it in the past, I told him to go ahead and do it his way. With a BIG snake, from outside.

plumbers snake

plumbers snake

He dug a hole to find where the pipe came out of the house so I could see where it was, but he couldn’t actually do the work at that time.

I had to wait until today for the snake job. It worked!

example of what the snake can do

example of what the snake can do

I hope this one works longer than the last couple of times. At least now I know where to access the pipe from the outside so we won’t have to pull out the toilet again.

I still think the pipes might be broken. There’s more water in the hole today than there was when he dug it on Monday. We haven’t had any rain, so where is that water coming from???

All I know right now is; I’m happy to have a working bathroom again. 🙂

Lesson learned. If any of you have plumbing issues, don’t waste your time and money running a snake from inside the house!

Share Your World- Week 4

Here’s another one of Cee’s Share Your World challenges. She always has such interesting stuff on her blog. Not only these Share Your World challenges, but lots of different photography challenges and other interesting stuff. Here are my answers to this weeks questions…

Where did you live at age five?  Is it the same place or town you live now? I don’t remember exactly where we lived when I was 5. I remember we moved around a lot back then. My dad was doing contract work as an engineer for different companies. He would travel around from job to job. We lived in a cab-over camper on the back of a pickup truck. My mom, my dad, my brother, me, our dog and our cat. 🙂 We lived in lots of different places, all around the country (New York, Arizona, California, Iowa, etc). We didn’t settle down until I was about 6. That was in Florida, West Coast, near St-Pete/Clearwater.

No, it’s not the same place I live now. I moved here to Texas (Lake Jackson) when I was just barely 17. I wanted to go to school to get my USCG licenses so I could become a ship captain. This town had one of only 3 programs in the country at that time that you could go for only 2 years and come out with something really useful. I didn’t have the money for a 4 year program and wasn’t really into spending that much time in school anyway. Turns out, I did spend that much time in school, and more. It took me 5 years to finish the 2 year program. At least I was able to work after the 1st year! That wouldn’t have been the case if I had gone to the 4 year schools. Now, there are a few other programs around the country. They offer pretty much the same thing I went through, but you come out in MUCH better shape! They give you a LICENSE now instead of just an AB ticket!!

You are invited to a party that will be attended by many fascinating people you never met.  Would you attend this party if you were to go by yourself? Yes, of course I would!

Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it? I grew up in a medium size town, tho it felt small. I grew up in Madeira Beach, FL. Johns Pass to be specific. It was part of the Tampa-St Petersburg area, all of the towns ran together so it was really one large town or small city. Johns Pass was very much like a small town in itself. We had a real community. Everybody knew everybody and all their business. Everything you needed was there. We had a grocery store, hardware store, a 5 and dime, a few tourist shops, a few mom and pop motels on the beach, a laundromat, a few restaurants, quite a few bars, the Charter Boat center where a lot of people worked, the party boat docks, a couple of ice houses, and fuel docks for the fishermen, even an aquarium with dolphins and sharks until they tore the old bridge down and ‘remodeled’ the whole place.

my dads house was on the 1st finger bay, straight line from the bridge and a little to the right

my dads house was on the 1st finger bay, straight line from the bridge and a little to the right

the Old Johns Pass Bridge

the Old Johns Pass Bridge

Everything was within walking distance. School was about 3 miles away and there was another shopping center over there. If you needed anything else, you could catch the city bus and it would take you anywhere you needed to go. Yes, I really did like it, I miss how it was then, it’s changed a lot. It’s really nothing but a tourist attraction now. Just condos and tourist shops. They destroyed the entire community when they built that new bridge and replaced all the fisherman’s homes with shops selling cheap trinkets. I don’t like it at all, what it has become. It’s a real shame. 😦

The New Johns Pass, "#1 tourist attraction in Pinellas County."

The New Johns Pass, “#1 tourist attraction in Pinellas County.”

We lived across from Dons Dock on the finger bay.

We lived across from Dons Dock on the finger bay.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I used to want to be a doctor (I think I was influenced by my grandmother- she was a pharmacist). Then, I figured out that I really don’t like sick people all that much, so I decided to be a veterinarian. That lasted until I was shipped off to high school to sail around the world on the traditional square-rigged sailing ships. That did it, I decided to become a ship captain. I wanted to sail around the world and get paid for it. I’ve been sailing ever since and FINALLY got my Master Mariners ticket only a couple of years ago. 🙂

Ariadne, one of the ships I got to sail on for high school

Ariadne, one of the ships I got to sail on for high school

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I’m grateful that I got to spend some good quality time with my best friend. I brought over a pot of stew and we had a couple of hours of good conversation. 🙂 I’m looking forward to one more Icicle Race on this coming Saturday!

Meet Your Strawman!

This is something that really ought to be getting more attention. I know most people just think ‘oh yeah, just one more nut- job conspiracy theory’, but when this stuff is really happening, does it REALLY matter weather it fits the definition of a “conspiracy” or not?
What matters to me is how the hell can we get OUT of this trap??!!

2012 The Awakening

The story of how everyone has a strawman created for them at birth and how it is used to collect revenue for your government. A fun and informative animation made in the spirit of freedom. Please spread and upload with credits intact also link back to our channel if you do. Hi-res and mobile versions are avilable for download from our website.

http://www.infomaticfilms.com

Honours for this video (9) (Thanks to you guys!)

#12 – Top Favourited (This Week)) – Film & Animation
#14 – Top Rated (This Week)) – Film & Animation
#21 – Most Discussed (This Week)) – Film & Animation
#44 – Most Subscribed (This Month) – Directors
#55 – Top Favourited (This Month)) – Film & Animation
#57 – Top Rated (This Month)) – Film & Animation
#71 – Most Viewed (This Week)) – Film & Animation
#86 – Most Discussed (This Month)) – Film & Animation

View original post 12 more words

Gorgeous!

After the last couple of days, I was glad to wake up to some sunshine! I’m heading back out on Galveston Bay for another Icicle Race today. The weather report shows sunny and cool. Just the way I like it. 🙂

8am 9am 10am 11pm 12pm 1pm 2pm
Forecast
Sunny
Sunny
Sunny
Sunny
Sunny
Sunny
Sunny
Mostly Sunny
Temp (°F) 40° 43° 48° 51° 55° 57° 60° 60°
RealFeel® 38° 43° 49° 54° 57° 59° 60° 58°
Humidity 86% 78% 68% 59% 50% 44% 40% 39%

Icicle Races

I went to the Sail La Vie meetup last week hoping to sign up to go sailing on Saturday. I haven’t had the time to go out for quite a while and was really looking forward to taking a leisurely cruise around the bay.

I was really disappointed when I found out that they didn’t have enough people signed up to charter a boat for the group. Luckily, one of the members had a boat entered in the upcoming Icicle Race and offered a spot onboard to me and the 2 others who had been looking to go out on Saturday.

I had never been in a race and was a little apprehensive about it all. I wasn’t really enthused about the idea of rushing around, tweaking the sails for every tiny little advantage we could get out of the boat. I’m MUCH more into just relaxing and enjoying a day on the water. Listening to the soft sound of the waves passing by and the calls of the seagulls following for scraps as we drink some wine and dispose of our uneaten chips. 🙂

I think we must have got lucky. The wind was very light to start, only about 4-6 kts and then for a while it dropped off to nothing. The whole fleet was becalmed. I’ve never been in that situation, a couple of dozen boats all drifting together, so close you could reach across to share a beer.

The wind picked up a little bit just as we were coming up to the first mark. We slid around on the inside of a big bunch of boats and managed to skip ahead of the crowd. It was pretty exciting there for a few minutes. 😉

The crowd thinned out as we made for the next mark, but as we closed in on it, the boats bunched up again. Everyone was trying to cut it as close as possible. We heard a loud bang and CRUNCH ahead of us and watched as a couple of boats tried to get their fenders in place, but it was too late. I’m not sure how much damage was done, but ANY work done on a boat is expensive!

We made that turn on the inside of another big bunch of boats and then made for the finish line. The wind was shifting so we had to tack a few times. It was a challenge to try and figure out how far to go on a tack before coming back to the course for the finish line. I think we made some time up with good estimates on that part of the race too.

As we were coming in to the finish line (between markers 1-2 to Kemah), we were cut off by another boat. They cut right in front of our bow and I don’t know how we managed not to have a collision. I don’t know what they were thinking on that boat, but as we were yelling at them, they called back to us that WE were supposed to stay out of their way. Huh????

Overtaking vessel is ALWAYS the give way vessel!

After that last shot of adrenaline, we took in the jib and headed back in to the marina. We made it home in one piece, without any damage, and I think we did pretty damn good! Capt Vic said we did better then ever before (in this race) and I know we still had a pretty big bunch of boats still out there behind us when we hit the finish line. 🙂

Yuk!

The weather here has been back to dull and dreary winter. Rain, rain, and more rain for the last 3+ days. I haven’t even been able to get out of the house for a walk.

I don’t mind an occasional rainy day. I have plenty to do here to keep me busy. But when it goes on and on for days, I start getting antsy. I want to go outside. I want to see some sunshine.

It’s supposed to be nice again tomorrow. I sure HOPE so. I’ve signed up to go sailing again tomorrow and really looking forward to it. Last week was a blast and this will be another race in the Icicle series.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the rain ends TODAY. 🙂

What’s Going On?

 I looked at my blog this morning and I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had shot up to 72 views (from 8) in the last day. It seems like it’s been really slow lately. I haven’t had more than 10 in the stats bar for at least 2-3 weeks. I went to look at my stats page to try to figure out what was going on and saw that I had 133 views already! That’s the most ever! WTF???
  • Views 141
  • Visitors 121
  • Comments 0

This is very strange. No comments? Only 3 likes out of 141!! views? That is nothing like my usual daily activity on my blog. I’m just wondering what’s going on? I hadn’t even posted anything yet today…

Stats for January 21

Nothing Published

When I looked to see what people were looking at, this is what it showed. That doesn’t add up to anywhere near 141 (or even 133). But when I looked into it more, it showed me a whole long list of posts with 1 view each. Taking all those into account, the numbers did add up. I still have no idea what’s going on.

  • View  14 Home page / Archives
  • View  6 Dave’s Peach Pie Moonshine Recipe
  • View 3 Halloween Treats Recipe Slideshow
  • View 3 SNL: Obama Addresses Putin
  • View 2 Zero to Hero- Day 21: Let the World Know
  • View 2 I’m On Board!
  • View 2 Shadowed
  • View 2 German Coast Guard Trainee
  • View 2 Brrrrr!
  • View 2 Women Rallied Behind Beautiful, Wartless Witches
 It looks like a few people did searches that brought them to me, but that only gives me 8 viewers.
 
 8Search Engines

These are the blogs where people came to visit me from today. Happy to have the interaction, I liked all of those blogs! I’m on bloglovin, but nobody ever seems to look at me there. I think this is maybe my 1st one that showed up here in my stats. I hope that’s a good sign. 🙂

  • ViewsSearch
  • 2 seamans mission limassol cyprus
  • 1 peach pie moonshine
  • 3 Unknown Search Terms
 I always like to see where people are from. I wish more people would tell me more about themselves in their comments, but the little flag widget I have on my sidebar and the stats map are nice to have. They give me a clue. I wonder what makes people from some places come visit my blog. Most of my visitors are from the USA, UK and Canada. I guess today some seamen must be due into port in Limassol (Cyprus) and looking for news about the local Seaman’s Center there. That gives me an idea. I should put a link up for those things! 🙂
ViewsCountry
  • 132United States
  • 3United Kingdom
  • 3Spain
  • 3Cyprus

I’m glad to see some of my older posts are still holding some interest. 🙂

  • ViewsAuthor
  • 127Capt Jill
  • View 6 Dave’s Peach Pie Moonshine Recipe
  • View 3 Halloween Treats Recipe Slideshow

Total comment followers: 37

  • View 109 About
  • View 27 World’s Smallest Political Quiz
  • View 18 In Praise of Alcohol 
  • View 18 WordPress Family Award- I Won One!
  • View 15 Happy New Year 2015
  • View 14 Photography 101 Challenge: A Pop of Color
  • View 14 The War on Jobs Continues
  • View 13 Unexpected News!
  • View 13 Travel Journey of the Week: New Orleans
  • View 13 Zero to Hero- Day 7: Personalize Your Blog
  • View 12 Dreamy: Elvis
 Seems like the categories people like to look at are the things I am posting a lot about, so that’s good. Sometimes it’s hard for me to categorize things, they’ll fit into more than one place, so I label them with more than one label. 🙂 
                 149 lifestyle
  • Total WordPress.com Followers: 597
  • Total Email Followers: 12
  • 418Facebook
  • 162Twitter
  • 24Tumblr

If any of you have any ideas about any of this, please feel free to comment. Any of you had any weird stats today?

Share Your World

Here’s another challenge from Cee’s Photography blog. I only manage to stumble on her posts every once in a while. I’m not sure why. Maybe I need to check into my reader a lot more often. I have a hard time keeping up with everything online tho.

Today I saw another of her Share Your World posts and so I’m going to do it. 😉

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? I guess this means someone still alive? Someone real? That’s a hard one! My first choice would be God. If there really is one, I would really love to have a conversation- in person- and not have to wait til I’m dead! But, since that is apparently out of the question, I’ll have to pick somebody else.

There are SO many interesting people out there, people that I’ll probably never get to meet. I’d love to meet some of the great explorers/adventurers, like Sylvia Earle, Robert Ballard, Jessica Watson, Max Hardberger, Elon Musk (explores new things!), etc.

But I think I would most like to meet Jeff Berwick, the Dollar Vigilante. I would LOVE to talk to him about what’s going on in the world. How to escape from all the CRAP, and just find a way to enjoy life. Find a way to escape the traps set for all of us here in the US and get OUT! Find a way to avoid being used and abused and live MY life on MY terms! Yeah, I think Jeff would be my #1 choice for a dinner guest. 🙂

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else? I sing to myself (usually along with the radio) all the time. Last time was yesterday while I was driving back from the grocery store. To someone else? I used to do karaoke a lot. That was probably the last time I sang to someone else (the audience). It was a while ago. I haven’t had the time to go out much lately. Probably over a year ago now.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be? The ability to eat anything I wanted and stay a ‘normal’ weight. I gained a lot of weight very quickly when I was a kid (still really can’t figure out why), and ever since I have tried everything I can think of to lose it. I can never manage to stick to any kind of diet for more than 2-3 months since they never seem to give me results anywhere near the amount of effort I put in (diet and hours of exercise). I know how I am supposed to eat, I just don’t like eating that way. I don’t like ‘healthy’ food, I like junk food. I can’t imagine spending my whole life just eating things I hate, forcing myself to be miserable every day, all day long. I’m not that sorry about the fact that I’m fat. But if I could have ANY ability, that would definitely be the one I would pick.

What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about? I can’t really think of anything. I think humor is a good way to deal with most things. Even most ‘serious’ things. The latest outrageous attack on free speech (Charlie Hebdo) is a good example. “Terrorism” is serious, right? I think one of the best ways to fight it is to ridicule it. Or ignore it. Either way works for me. But since ‘our’ leaders have decided NOT to ignore it and instead take away OUR freedoms, then I think humor is going to be the more effective way to deal with it.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I’m grateful I got home from work. Safe and sound. No pirates, no ebola, no injuries on the ship, no delays at the airport, no lost luggage, no issues with the rental car. ALL good. I found out last week about the “Icicle Races” and I’m looking forward to going sailing next weekend. 🙂

 

Song of the Sea: Legolas’s Song of the Sea

I never heard this before. I was looking around on youtube for some more ‘salty’ type music and stumbled on it. I think both the singing and the video are beautiful.

And it actually does remind me of the elves. 🙂

I just went last week to see the latest move (The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies). I loved the actors, the scenery was gorgeous, the story was good. I was really more into the characters in this movie than the battles, the “big picture”. This one is supposed to be the last, but it left me wanting more.

I LOVE that story (the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, etc).

Ron Paul: “We now live in a police state”…

Yes, Ron Paul is right about this (as he was about so many other things). Most Americans refuse to open their eyes to this truth (or about the rest of them). They seem to be either just slogging through the daily grind with no time to think or anything else. Or they’re completely convinced that the OTHER mainstream political party is the cause of all the problems in the world.

Truth is that BOTH the mainstream political parties are in reality the SAME and they ARE the cause of most of Americas problems. Try getting people to see the truth to that, keep on banging your head against the wall.
Yes, we ARE living in a police state! Thanks to Ron Paul for all his work, from another head-banger. 😦

We see as through a glass darkly

Former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul says our entire system has been “based on lies and ignorance.”

“If Americans were honest with themselves they would acknowledge that the Republic is no more. We now live in a police state. If we do not recognize and resist this development, freedom and prosperity for all Americans will continue to deteriorate. All liberties in America today are under siege.

It didn’t happen overnight. It took many years of neglect for our liberties to be given away so casually for a promise of security from the politicians. The tragic part is that the more security was promised — physical and economic — the less liberty was protected.

With cradle-to-grave welfare protecting all citizens from any mistakes and a perpetual global war on terrorism, which a majority of Americans were convinced was absolutely necessary for our survival, our security and prosperity has been…

View original post 33 more words

Capt Jills Favorite Beef Stew

I just got home from the ship Friday and the weather here has been cold and miserable. Damp and dreary, drizzling and gray. Yuk!

So, I decided to cook up a pot of my favorite beef stew. It’s great stuff to have when it’s cold outside. It’ll fill you up and keep you satisfied for a while.

It’s one of the very first things I learned to cook (if you don’t count sandwiches or macaroni and cheese from the box). 😉

I remember the first time I made it. I actually had quite a bit of help. I had recently moved out of my dads house and rented a little efficiency apartment from him across the street.

I was working on the party boats down the block and a couple of other jobs too, plus going to school so I wasn’t really into cooking all that much. One of my jobs was as a dishwasher at a Greek place on the corner. They let me eat there for free, so that took care of dinner most nights. The other job was as a galley hand on the party boats. I sold ready made sandwiches and drinks to the passengers when they wanted a break from fishing and helped with things like getting lines untangled, baiting hooks, and cleaning the decks. Part of the deal was I got to eat (and drink) for free. That was only on the weekends.

I was a lot more into partying back then and never thought too much about groceries (tho I sure never went hungry). I made enough to live on but had to live cheap. I remember I would buy a loaf of white bread, a small jar of miracle whip and a package of baloney and that would do me for the week. With maybe a couple of cans of soup (and some beer) in there too. 🙂

One day, some friends of mine, fishermen friends I knew through my dad, came by and asked me to cook them up a pot of stew. They asked me since most of the guys didn’t keep a full time place of their own. They stayed on the boats mostly and there’s not a lot of comfort to be had on those little snapper boats. Sometimes they would rent an apartment from my dad, but only if they were going to be in for a while (and if they felt like they had the money to spare from more important things like having a good time). My dad used to get so mad at me for letting them come over to clean up or store their stuff, but that’s another story…

So, they came by. Storm’n Norman, O’Brian (OB), Bucky, and Danny, with a hunk of meat, some potatos, carrots, onions, and a BIG bottle of Lambrusco (the secret ingredient). We would check out the progress, throw in some stuff, stir it up, add a shot of wine, then pass the bottle around.  I’ll never forget cooking up that pot of stew. It smelled so good! It was delicious! And I still make it the same way.

No recipe. Same secret ingredient. Maybe not quite so much of it tho. 😉

I think of my old fishermen friends every time I make it and wish they were still around, but I left Florida a long time ago and I never hear much of anyone over there any more. It’s all changed so much. Most of what I grew up with is long gone, including the people. 😦

If you want to try to make a pot. I’ll give you the start, but it’s mostly just a few basics and then throwing in whatever’s around.

Capt Jills Favorite Beef Stew

1-2 lbs beef (chuck roast works great) (cut into large pieces)

1-2 large onions (cut in half and then thick slices)

1-2 large Idaho potatos (cut into 1-2″ pieces)

6 carrots (cut into 1-2″ pieces)

2 stalks celery (cut into small pieces)

6 beef boullion cubes

1 tbsp (real) butter

1-2 pkgs brown or mushroom gravy mix (to taste)

1-2 pkgs frozen veggies (depending on what’s around)

1 cup (or more) red wine (I use Lambrusco)

Throw the butter in the pot with the onions and stir it around a bit. Then throw in the meat to brown. Season it up with some Worsteshire sauce, onion salt, garlic, celery salt, Mrs Dash, pepper, or whatever else you like for seasoning. Once the meat gets browned, add a little water (couple of tablespoons) and a couple of shots of the wine (I like to use Lambrusco). You can add the boullion cubes and celery any time.

Once the meat starts to get tender, add the carrots and potatos. You’ll need more liquid now, so cook up the gravy in a small pot and add it to the stew once it thickens up. From now on, you can add whatever you want. I wait to add the frozen vegetables til near the end, since I like them to still be nice and bright colored (and not mushy). I usually add a package of mixed vegetables, maybe a pack of cut green beans, maybe some green peas, just depends on what I have in the freezer. Sometimes I like to add fresh mushrooms.

I add a little more of the wine right before dishing out the stew, that way there’s a real taste of it in the stew. I may also have a glass along with the stew and not just in the stew. 😉

 

Law and Order?

 

Yeah, I know I’ve been doing a lot of political posts lately. I hope it’s not getting to be too much of a downer. But one of the main reasons I started blogging was to try to get a discussion going (with me or with others) about all the things politics is doing to our nation and our world.

I’ll move on to another subject soon, I promise. 😉

This video is kind of long (16 mins). I thought John Oliver did a great job of injecting some humor into a subject that is really pretty sad. Super sad when you think about it. All those millions of people having their lives ruined, just so the powers that be can say that they are fighting the war on ‘drugs’. As this video on asset forfeiture vividly shows, it is NOT a war on drugs, it IS a war on US.

This whole asset forfeiture thing is just one way they fight their war against US. The very idea that they have the right to tell a person what they can put into their bodies (eat, drink, or otherwise consume) is a humongous fraud and a HUGE violation of the principle of individual liberty that this country was founded on.

The principle that the ONLY legitimate function of government was to PROTECT those liberties that we ALL were BORN WITH simply by the fact that we are all human beings.

How far we’ve fallen. 😦

Cross

Here’s my entry for the Word a Week Photography Challenge: Cross. I took this in the famous Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It’s funny, but I just used some other photos from the same place in a different photo challenge (WPC: Shadowed). 🙂

Shadowed: Bird Market

Here’s my entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed. These pictures show the shadowy stalls and the people who work (and live) in the “Bird Market” in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It was such a fascinating place. There were all kinds of things for sale there. Birds, bats, reptiles, rodents, etc. And pretty much anything else you could imagine. These pictures don’t really do it justice (but I only had a crappy little point and shoot with me).

Shadowed

Here’s my entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed. These pictures show the shadows in different ways: shadows on the ground, a person in the shadows, a shadowy place (graveyard). I took these pictures in the famous Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires. I really loved it there. I’d go back any day!

I mean Buenos Aires, not specifically the graveyard. 😉

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Movie Review)

I don’t watch all that many movies. But when I’ve got a long plane ride, I might watch one or two. I usually have a hard time finding one I think will be worth the time. Since I can never sleep unless I’m lying down (or I’ve been up for over 24 hours and just too exhausted to stay awake any longer), I’m apt to try out  the in flight ‘entertainment system’ on the plane.

My flight home from Luanda to Frankfurt was 8 1/2 hours long. Then I had another 10 1/2 hour flight from Frankfurt to Houston. I didn’t really see ANYTHING worth watching at first glance. I flipped through the choices again and again, searching for something to keep my mind occupied (the book I was reading just wasn’t holding my interest).

I finally decided to try this film. It’s not something I usually would have watched. I usually prefer science fiction/fantasy, horror, or really silly comedy. (I also watched the ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ this trip home.)

I’m glad I did decide to watch the ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’. It really was pretty funny. Not in an ‘in-your-face’ kind of way, but in a more subtle kind of way.

The idea behind it- of a fantastic retirement home in a faraway, exotic, cheap and affordable location- was very interesting to me. I’ve been looking for that myself in real life. I watched the movie to see how the characters dealt with the different things they’d come across in daily life in a foreign country.

I loved the movie. The actors, (Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton and Dev Patel), all did a great job. I especially loved the way Muriel (Maggie Smith) grew into her new life. The director (John Madden) found the perfect settings and put it all together in a wonderful way. I really enjoyed myself. I laughed a lot, I even cried a couple of times. I’ve always wanted to visit India and this film has given me even more reasons to go. 🙂

I have a couple of friends I really hope I can get to watch this movie. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes an adventure, travel, learning new things, new cultures, about life, about yourself. I thought it was very inspiring and worth sharing.

Let me know if you’ve seen it already and what you thought.

2015- Year In Advance

I just did a post on what I’ve been doing last year. Now I think I’ll write one on what I hope to be doing next year (other than ‘retiring’ from work and spending all my time in   a hammock under the palms on some bright tropical beach with a couple of cute cabana boys fetching me umbrella drinks between our frolics in the clear blue ocean waves). 😉

My major project this year is to get myself located in some other place. I NEED to get out of the United States of America. Most people won’t understand why (it’s political), but it’s been a goal of mine for a long time now. The feeling that I’ve had that I need to leave is just getting stronger all the time.

I’ve put it off for a lot of reasons, #1 being the lack of available work visas (and a trust fund). If I didn’t still have to work to support myself and pay my bills, I would have already moved years ago. I recently found out that Panama has a new visa program and so I have been trying to find a way to get down there to check it out.

I had planned to take a trip down to Costa Rica for a blogging workshop last May and from there head over to Panama to get this whole process started. But I got a new job at the end of May and had to cancel that whole trip. 😦

Since then, I’ve been trying to get to Panama and haven’t been able to. I had planned to go after I got off the ship this trip, but at the moment I have no idea when that will be or how long I’ll have off. All plans are on hold until I can make sure of my work schedule.

Other than going to Panama, to investigate moving there permanently, I hope to travel more this year. Last year I went to Las Vegas, Korea, and New Orleans for vacations. I wound up going to Aberdeen, Scotland and Luanda, Angola for work. I did get to look around Aberdeen a little bit while I was there, but I haven’t seen anything of Angola except the airport and the drive to/from the hotel.

Seoul Korea for the travel writing workshop

Seoul Korea for the travel writing workshop

There are so many places I’d still like to explore. My #1 travel goal for this year is… Antarctica! It just looks so amazing and I love the fact that the animals are still unafraid of people. I want to get there soon since I’m afraid that the ‘authorities’ will be restricting access even more than they already have. I’d love to take a small ship cruise down there where you can get up close and personal with the landscape and the animals. I hear there are even opportunities to meet some of the people who work down there.

I’d also like to hike up Mt Kilamanjaro and do a safari while in Africa. I hear Botswana is really great for that. Kenya or Tanzania sound good too. The guys from South Africa on here tell me I should go visit their country. 🙂

I’d love to visit India. I’ve always been fascinated by the art and architecture from that region. I think the culture is very interesting and the landscape and wildlife look like it’s a place I really have to spend some time.

I’d love to cruise the Nile and see the Pyramids in Egypt. I love all the history there.

I doubt I’ll even get to go to all of those places I just mentioned, so I’ll leave off on the travel wishes for now. I also want to get a few other things done this year. 😉

I want to finish working on the house I’ve been replacing the rotten siding on for a couple of years now. 😉

I want to get out sailing more often this year. Maybe even get another little Sea Snark so I can go out by myself without having to go all the way up to Houston. I’m so glad I found Sail La Vie so I can go out sailing with them whenever I’m home and have the time, but they almost always go out sailing from Kemah onto Galveston Bay.  I hate having to spend 2-3 hours driving just to get out of the house to do something different!

I want to learn at least basic Portuguese so I can communicate better with the people I work with now.

I want to find more time to work on my art. I like to draw, paint, etc. I’ve seen some classes I can take locally, but never seem to have the time to make it to any of them. Problem is, they’re usually for 4 weeks or more and I’m never home for that long. Maybe I can just go to 1-2 classes? Here’s a picture of a pastel drawing I did while I was out on the tuna boat.

I want to learn more about photography and find the time to work on my photos some more. I want to get signed on to (and accepted at),  at least ONE stock agency.

I want to work more on my writing and improve my style. I really need to figure out how to describe things better. I have always been just a very straight-forward person, both in writing and in person. I don’t know how, but I need to learn how to “show, not tell” when I write. I want to get off my butt and at least ASK a few editors to take a look at my articles!

 

I want to do better with my blog. I’m still learning. I haven’t been able to stick to any kind of ‘editorial calendar’ like I was trying to. I’ve had a really hard time keeping up with other bloggers in the challenges or even keeping in touch at all.

At this point, I have no idea how much (if any) of all that I’ll be able to accomplish this year. My list of things to do this year will probably wind up just like my list of “things to do today”, or “this time home”. Never finished, but never ending. 😉

Do you have lists like that?