SoCS: Vol

Linda’s challenge today for Stream of Conciousness Saturday is…

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “vol.” Find a word with “vol” in it, and use it in your post. Have fun!

My first thought was ‘volvo’, I don’t know anything about them. I’m not really into cars, especially not newer models. Then I thought of ‘volunteer’. I volunteer sometimes at our local Seamans Center (in Freeport, TX). I haven’t been able to lately. I’ve just been too busy. I don’t really understand that, since I have hardly been working.

Usually I work offshore. I’m gone for weeks at a time and then home for a while. When I’m home, I have to catch up with all the things I didn’t get to do while I was gone.

Since I haven’t been working, I figured I’d be able to get a lot done. It hasn’t worked out that way at all. I spend so much time looking for work! I also found a couple of part time jobs so that takes up even more of my time.

Oh well. I will continue to volunteer when I can. As a seafarer for most of my life, I appreciate how much any Seamans Center is worth to a sailor. Maybe not quite so much as in the old days, when we had to wait to go ashore and then go find a telephone office. We’d have to wait in line for hours to call home.

Now we have phones on board and some people even have cel phones so they can call home once the ship gets near enough to land. The Seamans centers still offer phones to call home. Now they also have internet access (a BIG plus).

It’s a friendly place in a strange port where you can go hang out and be comfortable.

Anyway, volunteer was only my first good thought. My next thought, and the one I really wanted to write about was voluntarism.

That is at least as important to me as volunteering. In a way they’re connected. I strongly believe that we should all follow the principle of voluntarism. I think it’s the best way to live together as a society. Everyone free to live the way they want, with no one else forcing them into a mold they don’t fit into. All doing the things they really want to do. The way I understand voluntarism is- living life through voluntary actions.

That means I am against the use of force. I agree with the Libertarian NAP (non-agression principle- which does allow for defense of self and others). I do not think any (responsible) human being has the right to control another as long as a person is not harming anyone. There are all kinds of arguments that can be thrown out there, like ‘what does it mean to be responsible?’, ‘what does it mean to harm someone?’. etc, etc, etc.

Serious libertarians spend hours debating such questions. I am just a libertarian ‘lite’. I want to live a peaceful, prosperous life. I want to live as a free human being. I want everyone else in the world to have the same ability.

So many people think it would never work. But it has worked in the past. If you look at the most prosperous, the most advanced societies on the planet you’ll find out that they also had the most liberty. Just compare North and South Korea for a good idea of what I’m talking about. People who are free to live as they chose can get very creative and they do mostly find ways to get along.

I was reading something just the other day about an ancient city. I think it was in Turkey somewhere. The article mentioned that it was, in fact, an anarchy. If this wasn’t a SoCS post, I would go and look it up (I will do that later and post on it). 😉

In the meantime, check out my sticky post at the top of my blog. Take the quiz and see where you stand on the idea.

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Practice 1

I started following Rebecca L. Weber for tips about how to improve my writing. I got an email from her this morning that struck a nerve. She had gone to a retreat and at the end, the teacher had 3 recommendations for how to improve…

  1. practice every day

  2. practice every day

  3. practice every day

Rebecca says “the best way to improve your writing is to practice every day.” I already try to participate in Linda G. Hill’s SoCS which is a free writing challenge. This will be another challenge, just to myself.

I will write something here, every day. Anything counts. Doesn’t matter what I say (and I don’t mean to piss anybody off), but please comment if you feel like it. The more, the merrier.

If I can, I will keep on posting other interesting stuff here too. Maritime Monday, Songs of the Sea, news about offshore, good food, books, music etc. It’s amazing how little time I get to blog, even when I’m not working! Everyday stuff just keeps on interfering. I hope this will help me focus, as well as improve my writing. 🙂

SoCS: March

For Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, the theme today is: March. Click the link for the rules and join in. 🙂

“March”. It brings to mind music, like the kind you hear in a marching band. John Phillip Sousa, etc. Also, the marchers, marching.

It reminded me of the parade I always try to see in New Orleans. The Krewe of Kringle puts on a great parade every year for Christmas. I’m usually in New Orleans around that time to attend the Workboat Show if I’m not offshore.

New Orleans is always fun. I love going up there to visit. I always see old friends and meet new ones. I always find something new and interesting to do. Last time, I finally got to ride the Steamboat Natchez and go to the WWII Museum.

I’d love to go up there again. This weekend is the New Orleans Bourbon Festival. I would really love to go to that! It sounds like a blast. Not as crazy as Mardi Gras, but I bet it’s still a lot of fun.

I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere for a while tho. I’m still not working. 😦

Just Jot It Jan: 10 Danger

First thing I thought of when I saw todays prompt (danger) for Linda’s Just Jot It January challenge was the robot on the old TV series “Lost In Space“. I used to watch that show after school in the afternoons and always got a kick when the old robot would freak out. It kept repeating “Danger! Danger Will Robinson!” while madly waving it’s ‘arms’ around and spinning it’s little ‘head’. 🙂

But I really wanted to make a few comments on the perception of ‘danger’, of what’s dangerous, and how much it’s changed since I was a kid watching that show.

For example: just being kids. We used to stay out all day long. No cell phones. Nobody thought twice about not being able to contact us every minute of the day. We rode our bikes or skateboards everywhere (without helmets). No one thought that was OMG sooooooo dangerous! We were allowed to run around by ourselves, without an adult, even outside of our own yards and nobody ever considered calling the cops. We were ALL ‘free range kids’ back then and nobody had a problem with it.

We drank plain old tap water, sometimes even out of the hose in the backyard. Nobody worried about ‘germs’. Cooties, maybe (but you didn’t get those from the water). Nobody died from the lack of expensive bottled water.

I’m only going to list these few examples. I could go on for hours! I just don’t understand WHY the perception of ‘danger’ has changed to the HUGE amount that it has. I think the attitude of so many people today is just absolutely ridiculous! The risks today are NOT that different! None of us was really harmed by ANY of that stuff we did as kids. All of which could get parents hauled off to jail today (or at least dragged into court). It’s happened!

WTF is wrong with people these days? Why does everyone consider all those things suddenly so dangerous? We all survived our childhoods just fine. What exactly is the problem?

Why are we, here in America (especially), changing from a country where people once came and put up with real hardships, real dangers (wolves, bears, indian attacks, blizzards, tornados, etc), into a country where we insist that we must be 100% perfectly safe at all times, in all circumstances? And if we find the slightest little risk, we must strive to eliminate it from all possibilities of it ever happening?

And if, by some ‘miracle’ after all we’ve done to prevent it, something actually does happen, then we have to sue the shit out of everyone remotely involved?

What does this kind of atmosphere do to people? How, exactly is it helping us? By turning us all into whiny little babies, screaming for big brother to come and take care of us- to protect us from all conceivable harm?

How is that helping us live our lives as responsible human beings?

Why in the world would anyone choose to live that way? Personally, I don’t consider that kind of existence to be ‘living’. What a drab, dull, desolate and dreary existence. 😦

As a libertarian, I have to say, let people who want to waste their lives trying to avoid all ‘danger’ do what they think they can with their own lives. But, I wish to hell they would stop trying to force the rest of us into their narrow little mindsets!

Ben Franklin said it best…

JusJoJan: Robust

Today’s prompt for Just Jot It January is ‘robust’.

Up until a couple of months ago, I would’ve used that word to define the oilfield… “booming, powerful, potent, vigorous, prosperous, tough, roaring, rough, rugged, vital…” . Yes, it was all of those things.

Now, I don’t know what to call it. Busted maybe, but it’s certainly no longer “robust”. 😦

Frozen: Just Jot It January

I’ve joined in Linda’s blog challenge of Just Jot It January. I’ve been posting every day so far but today is the first time I’m using one of the prompts. Today’s prompt is: frozen.

I can’t help thinking about yesterdays Icicle Race out on Galveston Bay. One of the guys who was out on the boat with us was just about literally frozen the whole time! Unlike myself, he’s a skinny little guy and has no natural insulation. 😉

He’s usually the most enthusiastic sailor of all of us. He’s constantly checking the sails and tweaking the trim for every last bit of speed he can get out of the boat.  But yesterday he stayed holed up down below through most of the race. Even the standard sailors cure (a shot of rum) didn’t do much to help. 😉

We joked about the ‘wind chill factor’ the rest of the afternoon, how it was so much colder on deck with the wind (since there really was not much wind). We finally gave up on the race when the wind died down to only 2-3 kts, and motored the rest of the way in to the dock. We got there in good time for the crew party at the clubhouse. The hot chili and a few more shots of rum finally did the trick. 🙂

Icicles

Today was the first in the series of Icicle races here on Galveston Bay. I pried my eyes open early and ran up to Kemah to join Capt Vic and his crew. We got underway in time to get the crew warmed up and make a couple of practice runs at the starting line.

It was cold and damp, cloudy and drizzling rain, but we were in good spirits. We had some decent wind (N 10-15 kts), to start the race. We had a great start. Crossed the line right on time and were making about 7 kts all the way to the first mark.

From that point on, it was all down hill. The wind started shifting and dropping off. We had to tack a couple of times to make the next mark. That cost us a lot of time.

By the time we rounded the 2nd mark, the wind had died down to under 5 kts. Not enough to do much for a heavier boat like ours. We tried to sail wing and wing downwind, but it really wasn’t working well. We didn’t have a spinniker and weren’t classed for it anyway so couldn’t have used it if we did have one on board.

We tried for about a half hour, pretty much every other boat had already passed us so we decided to just throw in the towel and head for the dock. At least we would get there before the rum was gone (Cruzan Rum is one of the major sponsors of the Icicle Races). 🙂

There are 4 more races to go. I hope the weather is better for the next one. It’s not a lot of fun to sail when there’s no wind. Even so, I was happy to be out on the water today. 🙂

The pictures are from last years races, I haven’t had time to download the new ones yet.

PS- I’ve joined in the Just Jot it January challenge, you can see what it’s all about here.

2015: Year in Review

Whew! I’m glad it’s over! Here’s hoping for a better year this year!

It didn’t start out too bad. I was working steady for Ocean Rig, and no matter how much it sucked, it was still a job. That’s MUCH better than where I am now, with NO job! Or maybe I should say no money, I could do without the job if it didn’t mean no money!

Yeah, I hated their petty BS, they never really listened to me (or anybody else on the vessels) and insisted I repeat time wasting, un-necessary “training” instead of allowing me to enjoy my time off. I hate all the rules and regulations, but that’s something to deal with pretty much everywhere now. I keep hoping to find a small mom and pop company that does things the old way. Somewhere we all could really ENJOY work again (and not just do it for the paycheck).

Even so, I still loved the job for 1. the pay, that allows me to enjoy 2. the time off, and when I go back to work 3. it’s still out there on the water instead of in some dreary office cubicle!

drill ship

I really didn’t do much other than work last year. I did manage to go sailing a few times with the local meet up group Sail La Vie. I actually managed to finish ONE of my goals from last years New Years resolutions (post at least once a week). I SOLD an article! I uploaded a few photos to the stock agencies that were accepted (most failed).

Nothing really exciting til I took a vacation down to Central America in late July. I had been planning to go to a blogging workshop in Costa Rica for months and hoping I could make it work with my schedule. At the last minute, I was able to work over and so could make the trip.

I flew to Managua since it was the cheapest flight I could find. I went directly to Granada for a week long Spanish immersion class. From there I went to the blogging workshop in Costa Rica. I had been considering moving my blog to a paid site for a while since I thought I had to do that in order to ‘monetize’ it. I only started blogging as a way to earn money and yes, I still DO want to do that.

I wanted to find a way to get my photography out there, my writing out there, my experiences out there- PAST the editors and to the people who might enjoy it! So far, I am not making much progress in any of that. Yes, I have had a few people ‘like’ my posts, but nowhere near enough ‘followers’ to make it worth trying to put any sort of links or ads on here. So I moved the blog while I was at the workshop and had help.

That was a pure DISASTER!

For 3 months, I had a total of 3 new followers, 4-5 likes, a dozen or so views. I was so frustrated and discouraged. I still haven’t figured out what went wrong or how to fix it. I DID finally find out that most of my old followers hadn’t actually disappeared, they were still here, on my OLD blog and didn’t get transferred to my NEW blog like they were supposed to have been (automatically).

So, I have basically had to start BOTH blogs over again from scratch as far as finding an audience. I was about to just say the hell with it all and chalk it up as just one more failure. One more money making scheme that will never work. But then I thought about it some more and I really do like blogging just for the sake of blogging. It’s not all about the money. I like meeting people from all over the world, I like seeing what they’re all doing, I like participating in the challenges, and I also like seeing what I can do to increase my stats. 😉

So, I will keep on blogging, still hoping to someday figure out how to make some money off it, but in the meantime having fun with it.

I did really enjoy the workshop and it was helpful (except for the screwed up blog move). I had a good time with all the other bloggers, but after it was over I was eager to get back to Nicaragua. Costa Rica was just too expensive for me!

I went to San Juan del Sur and stayed to see the arribada (the turtles coming to lay their eggs). That was really something! I wish I could have stayed longer to do it again, but I wanted to go back to Granada for the hipica. That was supposed to be something really special. Something like the running of the bulls in Pamplona but not as crowded, plus fancy horse carts and all kinds of celebrations. I was really looking forward to it.

I got back to Granada and found out they had changed the dates (without notice) and so I would miss the celebrations after all. 😦

My friend from high school was coming down and I was getting sick of the heat and humidity, so I decided to meet him in the northern mountain town of Matagalpa. That was a nice change. We went riding around in his rental car. We went searching for the town of the weavers which turned into a real adventure. I would never had tried to take a little rental car up in those crazy mountain roads, but T had no problems.

We finally found the place, only about 100 population, I’m still amazed we even got there. After that, we had to buy some fabrics. T did.

I went back home to look for work after that trip, Ocean Rig called and laid me off while I was down there. T decided to go take the TEFL course. He’s happily teaching English in Mexico now. I’ve been thinking about doing the same thing.

I’ve been trying to figure out what in the hell I’m going to do now. I’ve spent my entire life at sea, never really done anything else and now there is NO work out there. Now that the price of oil has taken a nose dive and the forecast is not looking good for the next year or 2 (at least).

I went to Phoenix for a conference on how to earn a living overseas. That was interesting, especially if you want to run a business, but I don’t want to work any harder than I do now.   I still don’t really have any great ideas on what to do myself. Not unless I can flat out ‘retire’ with enough money to last til I die (I can’t). I went to the Workboat Show in New Orleans, hoping there would be someone hiring at the job fair there (there wasn’t). I went to a writing workshop in Colorado, hoping to get my writing polished up enough to send in to magazines (still working on that).

I’ve mostly hanging around the house, filling out job applications, waiting for emails or calls about work, not feeling like doing much of anything, wondering what can I do to make things work out. How can I make a move? How can I motivate myself to just DO IT? or at least do something?

 

PS- This is my first post in Linda’s Just Jot It January challenge. Click the link if you want to join in. 🙂