Shallow Wells

We’ve been very busy out here on the rig since I got here. We’ve already done 2 wells and should be finished up and ready to move off this one by tomorrow night. Whew!

The next one should take at least a week, maybe 2. So maybe we won’t have to move again before I’m due off. 🙂

I REALLY don’t like this shallow water drilling!

We are working here on a ‘deepwater drillship’. It’s optimized for working in DEEP water (more than the 500m we’ve been working in lately)! Here’s one of ours, I was working on it a couple of hitches ago.

They’re nice ships, but much better to work the kinds of jobs they’re intended for.

Who cares about beauty? (We’re so much more than that)

Excellent post! I totally agree, we pay way too much attention to what someone looks like. The appearance they present to the world. We ought to pay more attention to who that person really is, I’m sure we would see something different that we expect much of the time.


Source: Source:

While discussing women’s education and why it’s significant, a third grade student said, “Girls need to learn, too. It’s not just about our looks. We’re so much more that.”

Smart kid. This is the type of thinking I wish the media would adopt.

From birth, little girls are dressed in frilly pink dresses. The first compliment we hear in life is that we are pretty, cute, precious, sweet, or angelic.

We are taught how to apply make up, and the media pushes their definitions of “beauty” in our faces throughout our entire lives. As girls, and later as women, we are taught that our beauty comes first.

Photography student Hannah Altman, currently attending Point Park University in Pittsburgh, recently did a photo series depicting the dangerous and impossible standards of female beauty. Through photographs of women splattered with glitter to represent blood, tears, and vomit, Altman shows how

View original post 706 more words


I’ve been trying for a few years to get started in a second (or 3rd) career as a writer/photographer. I’ve been reading International Living magazine for a long time now (decades). I usually glance over the ads, but eventually I was tempted to sign on for their travel writing course.

I did it and over the years since, I’ve taken a few other courses through IL and what is now called GEP (Great Escape Publishing). I started this blog at the Boston workshop they put on back in August 2013. I figured the blog would be a good way to get my work out to the public without having to go through an editor. I was getting so frustrated at having my photos rejected and I couldn’t even understand what they were telling me when they told me WHY they rejected them.

All along the way, I’ve still been trying to come up with something that I could sell to someone. I do enjoy writing and photography, but I am also really looking for some way to earn an income without having to be out on a ship so much of the time. I really want to find a way to travel more and spend more time doing the things I want to do instead of what other people want me to be doing. 😉

I have somehow managed to have a couple of articles published online (here, here, and here), but that came about only because someone happened to see my blog and liked what I had written on here. I had never been able to get up the nerve to actually send in a formal query to a real magazine editor.

Until last trip home. I FINALLY got around to sending in an article to International Living! I had high hopes. I was really anxious too. I had written a short article (they say short is much better to start with), but I had written it about Singapore. Singapore is not one of the countries IL usually features. I thought they might like it since it was about how to eat cheap there. They DO like articles about how to save money. 🙂

I’m still waiting to hear back from them. I HOPE they willl let me know something one way or another. In the meantime, I’ve been working on trying again to get my photographs accepted on some of the stock photo sites. I’m happy to say, I’ve managed to get some accepted!

I still don’t really understand why they accept some and they refuse others. I do understand what they’re telling me now, I just don’t SEE what they’re telling me about in the photos I’ve sent. So far, my acceptance level is 40% at Bigstock, 0% at Canstock and Fotolia. I’m getting better, at first my acceptance level was only 26%. 🙂

Here are 2 of the photos I submitted. Can you tell which ones they accepted? The first one is of a temple on a lake in Bali, Indonesia. The second one is of the beach in Cancun, Mexico.

Which one do YOU like best? Why?

Sewer Line Blues

I haven’t been able to post on here much lately since I’ve been pretty busy for the last week or so. I left home last Monday and spent 2 days traveling to the rig. I got here on Wednesday the 11th and was lucky enough to be assigned to the midnight to noon watch (so I got to go to sleep pretty soon after arrival onboard).

I was just starting to get settled in, then we had drills Sunday and unlatched the BOP on Monday. We moved right over to our next well and stabbed in later that day. We should only be on this one a couple more days and then move on to the next one. So it looks like this hitch will be pretty much like the last one. Constantly busy with setting up, maintenance, moving around, rip tides to watch out for, etc. Not much time for taking care of other business.

I got news right before I left home that the plumbers will be asking around $3000(!!!) to repair the sewer issues at one of my properties. We had been trying to find a way to do it ourselves since it mostly consists of digging a hole.

I even went to talk to the city code enforcement officer about doing the job myself. He told me I could only do the job if it was my homestead and I would have to show him proof that I lived in that house. Owning it was not enough (WHY NOT???).

Since my drivers license did not have that address on it, I was SOOL (shit out of luck)!

He would allow me to dig the hole myself, which we had hoped to be able to do. Since that was by FAR the main part of the job, that would save us a hell of a lot of money. So, for the next couple of weeks at home I was trying to help find a LICENSED plumber who would be willing to do a little moonlighting. Let us dig the hole and he could just come at the end to supervise. All he had to do was be there to connect the pipes back together.

In the end, we could not find any one like that (I guess the plumbers union must be pretty strong). They all insisted that THEY must do the ENTIRE job.

So, I will have to spend an EXTRA $2500 (and up), for licensed plumbers to dig a hole (at $100 per hour and up)!

WOW! What a friggin’ RACKET these guys have going! BS your way into getting the government to FORCE people to hire you, even for jobs they’re perfectly capable of doing themselves! WOW!!

Does anybody else have a problem with this situation?

I mean, WHY the HELL should ANYONE be able to dictate what you can do on YOUR OWN PROPERTY??????

The principle of ownership implies USE of something. If you can’t use your property, the way YOU want, then you do NOT own it! Yet, you still have to pay for it, and you have to KEEP ON paying for it. Even after you have paid the full price (many times over if you financed it).

Property taxes, they mean that you NEVER really can own a piece of property.

The way I look at it is: if you want to dictate to me what I can or can’t do on what is supposedly MY property, then YOU can PAY for it, since you get to use it for what you want and I don’t get to use it for what I BOUGHT IT FOR!

Too bad there are so many busy bodies that just can’t control themselves. Our entire society has pandered to them for much too long (they should have been laughed out of town the first time they mentioned the subject!). Now, they even imagine that they are in the right (they are NOT). But there’s no fighting them anymore.

Oh wait, there IS one group that is having some success in fighting this sickening trend. The Institute for Justice does help people fight for their property rights (among other things). They’ve been doing an excellent job and I am happy to support them as much as I can (wish I could do more- so many people need their help).

We’re all between a rock and a hard place. Either you pay rent forever so you can never escape the rat race (and put up with even MORE restrictions on what you can do in your HOME), or you buy property so you can earn some income, but yet you are more and more restricted every year.

So, the figures you based your decision to buy an investment on are devalued every year until you wind up even worse than you would have been if you never even tried.

It’s absolutely shameful what we have allowed to happen in the USA. We used to have a free country (or at least one we could say was more free than anywhere else). Now, we are SO FAR from that idea, it is ridiculous to even mention those words together any more. They are almost opposites now (America-free).

I sure hope the sewer issues are fixed by the time I get home. I sure don’t want to have to deal any more with this ‘shit’! (But I already know I have another problem to deal with at another place- and it will also be very expensive!). 😩

Songs of the Sea: One Particular Harbor- Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett is one of my all time favorite singer-songwriters. I grew up on the beach in Florida and his songs really captured the essence of the beach lifestyle. I loved his music then. I love it even more now, since it reminds me so much of all the things I miss so much. I can picture this ‘one particular harbor’ easily in my mind. Here’s another Song of the Sea…

One particular harbour
By: jimmy buffett, bobby holcomb 1983
Ia ora te natura
E mea arofa teie ao nei
Ia ora te natura
E mea arofa teie ao nei

I know I don’t get there often enough
But God knows I surely try
It’s a magic kind of medicine
That no doctor could prescribe

I used to rule my world from a pay phone
Ships out on the sea
But now times are rough
And I got too much stuff
Can’t explain likes of me

But there’s this one particular harbour
So far but yet so near
Where I see the days as they fade away
And finally disappear

But now I think about the good times
Down in the caribbean sunshine
In my younger days I was so bad
Laughin’ about all the fun we had

I seen enough to feel the world spin
Mixin’ different oceans meetin’ cousins
Listen to the drummers and the night sounds
Listen to the singers make the world go ’round

(pan solo)

Ia ora te natura
E mea arofa teie ao nei
Ia ora te natura
E mea arofa teie ao nei

Lakes below the mountain
Flow into the sea
Like oils applied to canvas
They permeate through me

And there’s that one particular harbour
Sheltered from the wind
Where the children play on the shore each day
And all are safe within

Most mysterious calling harbour
So far but yet so near
I can see the day when my hair’s full gray
And I finally disappear

Ia ora te natura
E mea arofa teie ao nei
Ia ora te natura
E mea arofa teie ao nei

Ia ora te natura
E mea arofa teie ao nei
Ia ora te natura (ua pau te maitai no te fenua)
E mea arofa teie ao nei

Ia ora te natura
E mea arofa teie ao nei
Ia ora te natura (ua pau te maitai no te fenua)
E mea arofa teie ao nei, hey now, hey now, hey now

Ia ora te natura
E mea arofa teie ao nei

Ua pau te maitai no te fenua [bounty of the land is exhausted]
Te zai noa ra te ora o te mitie [but there’s still abundance in the sea]
Ua pau te maitai no te fenua
Te zai noa ra te ora o te mitie


Sailor’s Valentines

While I was home last time I went to see what the local painting class was all about. I’ve been wanting to try it for a while, but haven’t done it because it lasts for 4 weeks and I’ve never been home to be able to start and finish the whole class in one hitch at home.

Since I was home a little longer than usual (and had to pass up the trip to Panama I was hoping to take due to paperwork issues), I called the lady who runs the class to ask if maybe I could take 1-2 classes each time I’m in town.

She was very nice and told me that would be fine, and invited me to come in to the next class just to see if I thought it would work for me.

I showed up late and just watched for a while. I met everyone there and wandered around to see what they were all working on. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. They all had their own projects to work on. Everything was very informal. The instruction is for either pastels or oil painting. I’m really more interested in watercolor or acrylic, but I figure it will still help me a lot to learn the techniques and most of those should transfer over to whatever medium I choose to work with.

The class meets weekly at the Brazosport Center for Arts & Sciences. After the painting class was over I spent a little time looking around the facilities. I’d been there before, but not for years. There’s a museum, a planetarium and a theatre. They also have a gallery where they feature art by members of the local art league. They had some really nice paintings in there, some beautiful portraits and some seascapes with birds I really liked.

I went through the museum again. They’ve really added a lot since last time I was there. They’ve always had a fantastic shell collection. It’s one of the largest in the country. They have some pretty good fossils. I noticed the megalodon jaws, (they were giant prehistoric sharks!) the minute I walked in the door. They’re hard to miss since they’re about 6 ft accross and at least that tall!

They have a really nice collection of moths and butterflies. I tried to take pictures, but I just couldn’t get any good ones with the way the light reflected off the glass. I did get some good ones of the ‘Sailor’s Valentines’. Since Valentines Day is coming up soon, I thought I’d post about them. Here’s a picture I took of one.

The Sailor’s Valentine is typically a box covered with shells formed into some sort of ‘romantic’ theme. They were supposedly by sailors who would pick up shells in their far off travels and then make these pretty little boxes to present to their loved ones when they got home. It was a pretty big thing back in the 1800’s. They fell out of style but are making a comeback now. The ones I saw at the museum are alll made by locals (not sailors) recently, as hobbies.

They just seem like a lot of work to me. I guess the sailors must have had a hell of a lot more leisure time back in the old days!! Then again, their hitches usually lasted for years rather then the month or so most of us (American) sailors have to stay out for now. The crews from other countries aren’t nearly so fortunate as we are. Some I know of have to stay for a minimum of 2 years(!!) before they’re allowed to go home. 😩

Here’s a picture of my favorite one from the exhibit. It’s not so ‘romantic’ and could be for anything. I really like the flamingo. 🙂

❀ Happy Valentines Day! ❀


Hi Ho, Hi Ho!

I’m on my way back to work. Leaving Frankfurt now. Should arrive in Luanda around 10 hours from now. I should be on the ship for about a month, so don’t get too worried about me if you don’t see me posting quite as often. It’s hard to keep up with anything online when I’m offshore.

TSA Demands Internal Passport for Domestic Travel

TSA Demands Internal Passport for Domestic Travel.

This is another great article from the Dollar Vigilante.

Yep, here we go, following in the footsteps of such wonderful places as NAZI Germany, Soviet Russia (USSR), and Apartheid South Africa. We absolutely MUST stop this! We do NOT need to “show our papers” everywhere we go!!!!! We are NOT slaves or animals that must be constantly tracked and under surveillance!!! Yes, ‘our leaders’ do think so, but why do so many ordinary people go along with them? WTF is WRONG with people, that they would even suggest this???

And, believe me, this will only be the beginning. 😩

Better be prepared for some SERIOUS SHIT when they get this “law” into effect! I hope to hell I can get myself out of here before the shit hits the fan and I encourage anyone else here in the US to find some options too. The USA is NOT going to be a safe place to be for much longer. Get out while you can!

I was really hoping to make some serious progress in a couple of months when I was due to get my yearly bonus from work. Got news the other day that they’ve cancelled my bonus (not all of it, just stopped earning it from end of the month- it’s a HUGE pay cut). Not just me, everybody was cut! How can they do that? It was in the contract. I guess those are only for one side to obey, the side that doesn’t have the power and money to do whatever they want. 😩

With the price of oil so low, I guess I should be happy to still have a job. I’m sure the company knows that and so that’s why they’ll do whatever they want regardless of any ‘contracts’.

One step forward and 2 steps back. That’s what it seems like around here. I guess I should consider myself lucky that I can see what’s coming and take steps to prepare for it. It sure as hell adds a lot of stress to life tho.

I’m trying even harder to find some way to get out of the USA. I haven’t been able to find anywhere else to go that will allow me to WORK to support myself. That’s the only holdup. A lot of nice places are OK if you want to just go there to live, or to retire, or if you want to start a business. But they won’t let you work and possibly take a job from a local. I don’t blame them for that, it’s just frustrating for me when I want to leave so badly and I can’t find a way to do it.

Lately, I’ve even looking at just saying screw working anymore. I’ll just get permanent residency somewhere. I MIGHT be able to scrounge up enough to live on til I die. IF I move somewhere cheaper (and I die young). Maybe I’ll get lucky and that country (wherever) won’t deport me to the US when it really gets bad. Just got hit with approx. $3000++ plumbing bill, that kind of thing sure doesn’t help!

Oh well, what can you do but keep trying.

Songs of the Sea: Under the Sea (the Little Mermaid)

Here’s a cute little cartoon video. A happy song with a nice tune. It’s from Disney’s film “The Little Mermaid”.  Yeah, I enjoyed watching it. 🙂

Don’t Stay In School

I was reading an email this morning about education. It was really more about the disadvantages of “public” schools (government schools).

This video was in the email. I don’t usually listen to rap music. I’ve never heard of this guy, Dave. Or his Boyinaband. I did check it out today. Just because I finally have some spare time at home and because of the recommendation in the email from TDV.

I think Dave makes a LOT of good points! No, I don’t think school should completely eliminate ALL the classics. But I DO think they spend a lot of time on things that  nobody is EVER going to use.

OK, if you’re going to be an engineer or scientist, (or math teacher) then I’m sure you’ll be using quadratic equations. For pretty much everybody else, you’ll be fine if you ace geometry (or even just basic arithmetic) and skip algebra completely.

Same goes for all the other subjects: Science, English, History, Civics, etc.

Why don’t we just give all our kids a great background in those basic subjects. Up to about 4th grade, say. They OUGHT to be able to ace it by then.  And if they’re some of the few that can’t, then DON’T let them hold back the ones that can do the work! Put the slow ones in a special remedial class and stop with all the political correctness that is ruining everything for everybody! Get some discipline back in the classrooms so the kids that want to learn, can learn. Concentrate on giving ALL of them a good foundation: “readin’, writin’, ‘rithmatic!” Spend the rest of the time up til High School building on those foundations with more intensive studies.

Then, after that, let the kids and their parents chose a more applicable education. Surely by High School, all involved ought to have a good idea of what they want to do with their lives. Let them opt out of todays’ standard “college prep” and take something more practical if they want to (technical or trade track).

I agree with the premise that kids are naturally curious and WILL learn what interests them. If you show them how a subject will be relevant to them, then they’re a lot more likely to take an interest.

In my own personal experience, I was very lucky to have the chance to leave the ‘public’ school system before it totally destroyed my chance of a good education. I was one of those students who always aced the tests, etc. I made straight A’s without even trying. By the time I got to High School, I had already started skipping school. Just because it was SO DAMNED BORING!

I decided I had much better things to do with my time than to take Algebra yet again! I had been taking that class (earning straight A’s) since 4th grade! No one could/would explain to me why I should waste even more of my time in that class. Nor could they say why there were no options!

People seem to think that the ONLY place you can learn something is in ‘school’. I disagree!! I’ve learned a hell of a lot more on my own, then I ever did in school.

Looked to me then (and it looks to me now), like we have a one track system. Dumb down the smart kids (and the middle of the road kids). Let the slow kids set the pace of the class. IMHO, that is a road to disaster! And just look at how bad the results are compared to a century ago! Here’s a link to an 8th grade exam from 1912. Could YOU pass it?

(I can’t. I have 2 degrees- one of them is in math).

BUT; if kids could pass it then, they COULD be taught to pass it NOW.

Now we graduate kids from High School that can’t even READ! Or do even BASIC math! I know, because I used to tutor a hell of a lot of them when they got into college. And WHY are they even allowed into college if they can’t ALREADY read, write and do math???

We really need to stop spending so much time, money and other resources on making sure (or trying to) that everybody can go to college. Somehow we’ve managed to make a college degree a ‘necessity’.

MAYBE if we got back to where a high school diploma actually meant something, like a graduate really knew how to read, basic math, basic all around education and HOW TO THINK, then a business would once again be able to trust that the person they’re interviewing for a job could learn the skills to do the job without needing a complete education after they got hired! Maybe then you wouldn’t ‘need’ a college degree to get a ‘good job’.

After all, one of the main reasons we send kids to school is so that they can ‘get a job’. Hopefully, a job that will allow them a decent standard of living. A “good job”. I don’t see why we should FORCE kids to stay in school if that’s all they’re looking for.

The other reason we send kids to school is to give them a real education. To learn how to live their lives. I think we are failing BADLY in this task. I think we should teach these lessons from the earliest opportunity and all the way up through High School.

Yes! Like Dave says; teach them about money, currency, and where it comes from! Teach them about finances, about how the stock markets work, about banking, about budgeting, about debt and interest, about how to balance a checkbook, about how to run a household.

Teach them about how to shop for groceries, about nutrition and healthy eating, about how to cook. Teach them how to grow a garden. Teach them about their bodies and how to stay healthy (and how NOT to become parents!), and how to raise a family IF you want to.

Teach them about the society they live in (and the worldwide situation), about how they are part of the community, about their rights and responsibilities. About politics and voting and corruption and how the system REALLY works! About history and how all this came about.

Teach them about the rest of the world: Geography, world events and how they relate to history and how it affects them, now. Languages, to help them get by in a changing world. Natural science and environmental studies, so they can understand how the environment they live in affects them and is (or is not) effected by them. Throw some travel in the mix, it’s a GREAT way to teach many different subjects!

Teach them about science (and math), basic principles and how it is relevant to them!

Most important, teach them how to THINK!!

NOT just how to regurgitate facts, or to pass the next test. Teach them how to go about learning about a subject. Teach them how to find the information they need to solve a problem or to answer any questions they may have. How to use logic and how to get past all the advertising and propaganda we all have to deal with constantly.

I think learning HOW to learn is the most important thing we can teach. But I don’t see much of that going on in schools anymore. 😩

Listen to the lyrics to the song above, do you agree or disagree with Dave?

Why or why not?

Mural- Dixie Friend Gay

I saw this challenge from Sue over at her ‘A Word in Your Ear’ blog. The word of the week is: mural. I have a few photos of murals. Actually some of mine are a little different, most people think of murals as paintings on a wall. I have some of those, but I also have some murals made in different mediums than just paint. This one is one of my favorites.

My photo doesn’t do it justice. This mural is just STUNNING. I took this a couple of years ago when I was at the Maritime Education and Training conference at Texas A&M University in Galveston (Texas). There is more to it than just the part I could get in this picture. It’s HUGE.

It’s actually a mosaic, made of millions of little ceramic tiles. The artist Dixie Friend Gay made it. I’m not sure how long it took. There’s a better picture of how it all looks in this link. And another one to more about her art.

I think her mosaics are just incredible. I wonder that her work isn’t more well known. I think it deserves to be. What do you think?

We Are Young- Mural

I saw this challenge from Sue over at her ‘A Word in Your Ear’ blog. The word of the week is: mural. I thought I should get into this one. I have a few photos of those. Actually some are a little different, but this one is one of my favorites.

A Few Sea Creatures- Textures

Here are some photos in response to Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Textures.

A cute little crab in camouflage (above). The underbelly of a starfish (below). These are 2 different kinds of starfish.

Below: A spiny sea urchin. A hermit crab wanders among some small sea anemones. A large sea anemone.