Wednesday, 31 January 2007

The Scare

There are usually a number of things that could scare any given person. Eventually he or she realizes what those things are. With any luck, they take steps to fortify themselves against sudden, unwanted appearances of those.. things (for want of a better descriptor). Which is what makes the worst kind of scares those that appear out of nowhere, especially when they have never presented themselves to you ever before.

Like when you are walking down the quiet sidewalk on the quiet avenue through the quiet neighbourhood that you walk down every single day. Only this time, the knotted curtain on a realtor's hoarding masquerades as a dangling ankle at the end of a very white limp leg to the corner of your eye...

Currently: wondering
Listening to: Moby - Spirit

Bond, James Bond

Finally managed to see Casino Royale, that too in a theatre!! After failed attempts in Mumbai around the beginning of December, in Kolkata and Perth later that month and even after an entire trip spent onboard, I was pretty surprised to say the least :). And although I had enough people telling me that it sucked, and wasn't worthy of being a Bond movie and what not, I quite liked it!

As a matter of fact, I think Daniel Craig makes a good Bond. A very good Bond in fact, right after Sean Connery. None of that overly slick smoothness of the Pierce Brosnan Bond. But I did miss the gadgets :-<. And it absolutely tore my heart to see that beautiful, beautiful '08 Aston DBS V12 smash and buckle like that, but it did make for a good twist...

Currently: bored
Listening to: Dido - Life for rent

Monday, 29 January 2007

Daydreams on a hopeless Monday morning

Another totally awesome weekend, a long one at that, and now I'm back in office feeling completely wretched :-<. There should be a name for this. Oh well, there is, Monday morning. :| So we landed up at King's Park on Friday around 8-ish. It was still very bright and sunny, so we got us a bit of grass that wasn't already taken with mattresses or folding chairs or tents. (That's right TENTS!! These people seriously need more festivities in their year!) And settled in to wait for it get dark. In the mean time there were the usual planes with their plumes, putting up some seriously cool manoeuvres!Finally around 9 it got dark enough for the fireworks to start! Honestly, it was quite awesome! And yes, as I'd predicted, the 'fireworks' mode was sorely missed, but I didn't let that get in the way of enjoying a perfectly brilliant display :). Reminded me no end of the annual fireworks displays we used to have back home, right down to the usual obstruction of trees :D.
For a while we were a little alarmed actually, there were these scarily huge red glows on top of the buildings they'd used to set of some of the fireworks, looked like the rooftops had gone up in flames or something. Fortunately they hadn't. But later on we did hear that some of the barges on the river used to set off most of the display had indeed gone up in flames!! Haven't been able to confirm that news however.

Saturday was spent in a bit of a haze :P. And sometime during the day the TV decided to conk off with a rather alarming 'phutt' :O. But Sunday turned out really awesomely! We decided to go check out the much acclaimed AQWA. Ever since I'd missed the chance to check out the underwater walkway at Santoso in Singapore I'd been dying to visit one of these things, and AQWA was the perfect answer!For one, it had these massive stingrays and sharks, well, not massive sharks, but a lot larger than any I'd ever seen before! And I was so mesmerised with the blue tinted, almost surreal world that I totally forgot about my own prediction that I'd probably be more engrossed in watching out for cracks on the transparent walls than the fish :). There were also turtles, weird looking fish with grave looking heads, little bright yellow fish that seemed to be completely at odds to the rest of the population. But when there are such striking views of what probably defines fear for a lot of people, the rest kinda pales in comparison!We left the aquarium without managing a peek at the promised octopuses though, but the Leafy Dragon fish was quite interesting! And I ran into some rather old acquaintances, jelly fish from the trip out of Wakkanai on the Toisa Mariner :D. I still hold that they look very similar to bits of rubber debris floating around :P.
From there we headed out to see some of WA's famed golden sunset coast! Scarborough is arguably the best place we could have picked! It helped of course that the sun was playing hide and seek with a rather massive bank of cloud that was rising out of the West. Spent an inordinately huge amount of time perched on top of a couple of rocks watching the sky change colour. And people paddling in canoes. And waves thrashing over the rocks with slowly increasing intensity. Had to drag ourselves away in the end. Sundays aren't the best days when it comes to frequent buses.We cut it really really fine though! Got to the bus stop just as the drops were really getting big! As if on cue, the Sun broke cover, and there it was, a rainbow, the colours deepening slowly till it made an almost complete arch while the breeze blew the rain so it pattered lazily on our feet... This is what perfect days are made of, imperfect rainbows, backlit by a golden Sun, the smell of just-wet grass, and wind-blown rain. Good thing the bus landed up on time though, it was more fun watching the rain turn from light to torrential through the streaming windows :D.
I'm so ticking off the days to April 7th now, desperately, desperately hoping that I'm back in Perth then!

Currently: day-dreaming
Listening to: Rang De Basanti OST - Roobaroo

More AQWA pics here.
More Scarborough pics here.

Friday, 26 January 2007

Bang! Bang! Whoooooshhhh..... KA-booooom!

Oh My GOD!!!! Why?!!! Why did it have to be so looong?!!!! I'm talking about Munich. And I am not even going to go into the whole take on the Israel-Palestine/ Jew-Arab thing. Unfortunately, there was definitely some very good acting. Unfortunately, because I ended up feeling sorry for them. On the other hand, the other movie I saw recently, Derailed, I actually liked better! It might have something to do with the fact the I like Clive Owen. And there wasn't the overload of 'based on real events' and the associated 'implications picked up from the real world political scenario' thing. Whatever that meant.

Oh! I also watched The Holiday sometime this week, it was awesome!!!! It was fun, I loved Kate Winslet in it, and Jack Black was brilliant as usual :). Though I did end up wondering in passing, does Surrey snow disappear and reappear that prodigally swiftly?!! I'll have to go there to check it out I guess. Fun movie nevertheless.

Right, so it's Australia Day today, so even though I'm not in India celebrating Republic Day, it's still an extended weekend!! \:D/ And there'll be fireworks over the river tonight! This is when I miss one of those P&S Canon's with their built-in fireworks mode, it takes so many attempts to get it right with mine :-<.

Currently: dying of this opressing heat :(
Listening to: Third Eye Blind - Narcolepsy

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Slipping away

Thieves in the night. They steal from you your dreams while in your sleep you dream them. You wake up with a start. As if from a dream, but you can't be sure, 'cos you can't remember. You lie awake till the alarm rings. You get up and brush your teeth. You walk out into the half frozen half molten sunlight and see the school kids waiting for their dad. You suddenly remember, and begin to wonder, what was it? Was it something nice? You hope it was. At least you were happy while you slept.

Feeling: lucky
Listening to: Avril Lavigne - Things I'll never say

Monday, 22 January 2007

Ouchhh! II

There are these times. You don't want to dwell upon what you could do to something or someone that lands up in your path. It's just too gruesome. Usually the worst thing about such times is that you are the one who's gone and done something massively stupid :|. Right, so the tooth pain completely disappeared after testing me for 3 days and yesterday was the best day I've had in a long long time. Come today morning, what do I do? I jump off the first floor balcony of my house and scratch the hell out of my arms and sprain a finger in the process.

So it was my flatmate who locked me in the house without leaving me a key, but I was the one who actually figured, whatthehell, I'll just go upstairs and jump! Yay! Duh /:). Should have at least realised there wasn't much by way of handholds, so instead of smoothly lowering myself down and landing lithely, I scraped down, and landed howling, while trying to figure out if any of the neighbours had noticed my antics! I really didn't want police sirens screeching down the street.

To add insult to serious injury, later in the day I was walking by a tatooing place, sporting big bandages on both arms. This chap comes up and goes, "So did you just get those done?!" When I pointed out the scratches that I hadn't been able to cover up, he goes, "Aah, so you got them removed did ya?!" X-((. So my aforementioned flatmate gleefully pointed out, no, there was no tattoo involved, I'd just fallen :-<.

Feeling: stupid!!
Listening to: Radiohead - Worrywort

Sunday, 21 January 2007


We were theorising about impossibility. Skip's sure that there are other living beings in the universe, and my contention was that since you cannot possibly know, for all practical purposes, there are none! Pissed him off no end, but it set me off thinking. Imagine a sailor in the ocean without the slightest inkling of what shore is. No, I'm not stressing on my own desolation, it's just that we are in the exact same position. Somewhere in the universe, with no inkling of what the end looks like. If there is one in the first place.
Started reading up on stars and their evolution and came across the phenomenon of galactic collisions. It's awesome!!! Here we are, worried about some giant asteroid that's supposed to come ploughing into the earth at some point, and there's not a whole lot we can do, except maybe try to blow it up or something! Imagine being part of a galaxy that's about to collide with another! Even if we knew about it gazillions of years in advance, there's absolutely f***-all we can do about it!! Except maybe hope to somehow survive, and watch the stars play out a gigantic game of war where many die, many are born anew, and a few, the supreme warriors, go supernova! Wouldn't that be something?!! :)

Currently: starry eyed
Listening to: Oasis - It's getting better (man!)

Friday, 19 January 2007

Ouuchhhh! :(

Right, so it's crew-change tomorrow! And that's not the most important thing on my mind right now :|. Talk about looking at everything through a haze, all I can think about right now is the quickest dentist's appointment I can get once I'm back on land :(.

Some tortures are physical
And some are mental,
But the one that is both
Is dental.
~Ogden Nash

For the better part of this week now I've been grappling with the fall outs of wisdom :(. One in particular actually. So my first wisdom tooth came when I was about 18 or so, I think, could have been a bit earlier. The fourth and last one made an appearance around 20, but it refused to show all of itself. No doubt reconsidering such a premature conferring of wisdom to one so undeserving :|. Anyway, it stayed there, half in half out, waiting for the opportune moment.

That moment arrived this week. Sometime in the night, and woke me up with a terrible pain shooting through my head and reducing the left half of my lower jaw to a blur of mind numbing throbbing. Well, I'll save you from the gross bits about the tooth getting stuck under the jaw-bone, and grinding it's way through... nevermind. So now it's a little better, I'm not loaded with pain killers, and can still move my head around without wincing.

One of my slightly less observant co-workers came up to me this morning and went, "Hey man! You've really grown fat this trip!!" I pointed out the asymmetry and smiled at his widening eyes. Then regretted the move immediately. Smiling's still not on the list of do-ables. Which makes life kinda difficult, me being me.

Currently: in pain :(
Listening to: Natalie Imbruglia - Intuition

Wednesday, 17 January 2007


In this last week of this trip, I've chosen to completely overhaul my life off shift. (Yes Jon, I do have a life off shift, surprising as that may sound. :P) No more circuit training, no more madly rushing down the swaying and teetering non-existant path on a motionless bike, or rowing furiously while being buffeted by the waves that reach me through some n bulkheads... No more staying awake too late to get even 6 decent hours of sleep. Of course there were other circumstances, rather beyond my control, that also contributed to this, but we shall not go into that. At all.

Instead, I've been back to reading a bit more than I usually do here, and managed to finish Eldest. Loved it, and then of course was left hanging on the edge :(. There's a certain sense to reading a trilogy when all three books are out. Now I'm desperately waiting for two final books to come out, the last Game World book and the last Inheritance book :-<. Anyway, with not much choice, and since the the book had been lying bookmarked at page one since I bought it a month back, I picked up The Inheritance of Loss again.

It probably wasn't the best idea to go straight from Alagaesia to Kalimpong in a space of barely 5 minutes :|. There was a certain similarity in that gloom permeated both, the end of Eldest, and the beginning of TIoL, but the world, stripped of it's fantastic aspect, it's promise of an ultimately happy ending, and of course the magic :), seemed altogether too dismal. Coming across this article on Kiran Desai the next day did help get me more 'into' the book so to speak... though it might just have been the gap. But I'm beginning to quite like the way she skitters about in time and space with the narrative. I like it, but am wary of letting myself get too immersed into it, afraid that the gloom might somehow seep into me. And that, while still on the ship, is not a very good idea at all :D.

Then of course there's movies! After a sequence of really terrible, not so bad, but still quite missable, and one reasonable movie this side of new year, I'd gone back to old and trusted fare. The Lion King IIIs and the Sinbad- Legend of Seven Seas's and the Titan A.E.s never fail to amuse :). But last night I got somewhat dragooned into watching Almost Famous. I'm quite surprised how I'd never actually watched it before. I was quite blown away to be honest. It's exactly the fascinating, heartbreaking, out of the ordinary kind that I've come to love. And I was also extremely surprised, and very happy to see Zooey Deschanel (Trillian in H2G2!) with her sparkling eyes and weird look, and her awesomely funny name :D, though for a very teensy bit role.

And finally Sudoku. >:) Yes, it's back! Though the incidence of this passtime off-shift is usually merely a spillover from on-shift :P. So me and Jon are back at it, and at other vague variants of it that Jon keeps finding every other day! First there was Kakuro, apparently the monster cousin of Sudoku, which was a bit of a passing phase, but now there's Killer Sudoku! (Or Addoku, but I find that name disgusting, though it does convey the sense better.) Anyway, now that I've rambled long enough, I'd get back to my latest Killer grid, and leave you to figure out what these are from the Wiki links :D.

Currently: almost lukhha :D
Listening to: Oasis - Stand by me

Monday, 15 January 2007

Living on a prayer

I need to know that things are gonna look up
'Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup

I find it ironic, and at the same time completely natural, that we tend to pray really hard only when in trouble. (Or is it just me?)

I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me

I do know people who do not believe in God, or some other thing/being/entity to pray to. I'm always in awe of them. It would take a kind of fortitude to be able to go through life, with all it's uncertainties, injustices and incomprehensibility, that I find wholly beyond me.

Currently: brooding
Listening to: Train - Calling all angels

Saturday, 13 January 2007


A scar over a scar. New injury covering up old imperfection. Layers of hurt leave their marks, some visible, some not quite so. But he sees them all. A strange uneasy comfort in the memory of past indescretions, mistakes, accidents. He misses the old scar, resents the new one. One was a life, the other a death.

Current Mood: contemplative
Listening to: Tracy Chapman - Telling stories

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Here we go again

The big seas and rolling waves are back. And the high windspeeds. And it all happened quite suddenly, over barely a couple of hours, after 3 days of pretty calm (well, relatively speaking) weather. So now it's back to a see-sawing deck and swaying drunkenly down corridors :P.
The weather in the last few days had been so calm in fact, that we were out in the small boat twice in three days! And the last time we went out... well, let's see. We were out for a couple of hours. Within the first ten minutes we were pretty much drenched. Skip maintains that I was the last person dry, but he must have access to a slo-mo replay to have figured that out /:). I did try sidestepping a few of the waves that came crashing into the boat, but I might as well have taken a dip in the ocean and tried to stay dry. It was like someone was emptying a few gallons of water on our heads every few minutes!! It was totally awesome :D. For one I very wisely didn't have my cam or my watch on me :P. And the cool water on the extremely hot day was quite welcome. If only it hadn't been so salty :-<.It was a good trip, the best I've had in months!! It was beginning to get a wee bit boring to be honest, and this was just the perfect thing to put the spark back into small boat trips :).

Feeling: perky!
Listening to: Pearl Jam - In hiding

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Let there be light!

What do you do when you're scared of something? It's not like the fear is completely irrational. There were reasons. But you can't stay afraid for long. They won't let you! Not even long enough to try and forget... Even you don't want to cower away, lose yourself in the dark. So you light yourself a little flame. In the wavering light you go back to the beginning, and teach yourself the first step. That's the hardest part. Then the flame begins to grow, and you may have to walk for long, or maybe not, but in the end there will be no darkness, fear, or doubt!
Feeling: light :)
Listening to: Moby - I'm not worried at all

Friday, 5 January 2007

Such is life.

It was just one of those days :D. Barely an hour into the shift, the night cook lands up with these extremely iffy looking things, attempts at recreating Scotland's most famous snack: deep fried Marsbars! Believe it or not, it's true!!! Such things as 'deep fried' chocolate do exist!!! No wonder they drink so much, the food's fer shite man! (This wasn't exactly bad, but c'mon!!) Then Skip lands up in the recording room claiming that he's just witnessed a sight I've been waiting for ever since I first heard of it, waves so high, they actually crashed over the helideck!! I made for the bridge immediately.

I have never actually been to the bridge at night. As in deep in the night, with the moon is high in the sky, casting an eerie light on the world that should be asleep, but seems restless, tossing and turning. White tips frothing above the tall waves bathed in the shimmering light. Innumerable columns of some solemn army headed for a grim destination. The howling of wind, rendered distant by the surrounding glass, was still strong enough to leave me deeply impressed.
I've managed to get pretty much my entire shift interested in Google Earth again :D. I've done it before, but that was a year and a half back, and I'm now on the other shift ;). So Jon comes up with an idea this morning, he challenges me to find a ship, not any ship, he further qualifies, a U S Navy aircraft carrier, in proper high-res on GE. I didn't think too much of it then, but the idea kinda grew on me >:).
By the end of shift, I'd found not one, or two, but eleven!! :D Eight of the twelve in active duty currently, and three that have been decommissioned. \:D/ The one shown above is the USS John F Kennedy, CV-67. The other vessels I managed to locate included the USS Enterprise, CV-65, the USS Nimitz, CV-68, the first two nuclear powered aircraft carriers in the world, the USS Abraham Lincoln, CV-72, the newest one I could find, the USS Kitty Hawk, CV-63, the oldest, commissioned way back in '61 and the USS Ranger, CV-61, now decommissioned.

Feeling: lazy :P
Listening to: Dido - Closer

Tuesday, 2 January 2007


After half a week of agonising over the possibility of the whole cyclone thing turning out to be an expensive dud, it finally grew into a category one tropical cyclone. It was almost as if my privately coaxing the clouds actually worked :P. Even with a headstart of over 2 days we quite clearly felt the effects of TC Isobel, although from a fairly safe distance.True to form I went out at dawn to get some evidence :D. The focs'l deck, my primary haunt, was flooded with water forced out from the anti-roll fresh water tanks by the ship's exaggerated rolling, so off I went to the helideck and after a lot of clicks got these proofs of exactly how severe the pitching was :D.
Now negotiating the helideck in wind speeds of upwards of 40 knots is not a very bright idea, as I'd figured out on my very first day on the Trident, up in Sakhalin. But now I'm a little smarter :D, so I kept the ship's superstructure squarely behind me, facing the wind. Indulge me, :) but let me explain why it's a better idea to keep yourself between the wind and structure as against keeping the structure between you and the wind. In the former case, you can quite easily support yourself on the superstructure, taking care to keep yourself close to it. In the latter case, you don't have to worry about the wind at all, unless, you turn a blind corner and then suddenly there's the wind in front of you, and nothing behind :P. Well, not nothing, just the ship's railing you can very well get blown right over! A known adversary is so much easier to negotiate than an unknown one, no?

This is actually the first time since the Sakhalin trip that we've seen weather like this! And even this isn't quite as bad, yet. I mean, there's the threat of getting moved around while sitting on chairs, but it hasn't actually happened yet. Or maybe that's just 'cos I'm about 15 lbs heavier :P.

Currently: rolling and pitching about
Listening to: Citizen Cope - Sideways

My New Year's day 'off'!

So turns out I had my New Year day off after all :D! Well, almost. This cyclone avoidance strategy thing's actually quite good fun! We'd had to pick up part of the gear on the 1st, but that was done by the time I came on shift today, so we spent the rest of the day catching up on other things. Like... umm.. well, you know how it is when you have a lot of time in your hands and not much to do :P. The 'cyclone' is now showing signs of never actually turning into a cyclone, and we've had our (almost) day off one day late, but better late than never right?!
Ah yes, I did make very good use of my time today! Catching up on locations with updated resolution on Google Earth! :P Turns out all the three homes I've lived in, my hostel as well as each place I've stayed in for over a week in the last year and a half are all available in high res!!! I love Google!!!! :D

I really was thankful to be able to unwind like today :). Come tomorrow and it's back to the real world :-<. But I'm grateful for this rather nice start to the year. As one of my Polish crewmates would put it: "Looks promising!!" :)

Current Mood: chilled out :D
Listening to: Moby - The rafters


Update: The cyclone has finally achieved full status :D. It's called Tropical Cyclone Isobel.