Saturday, 26 April 2008


It would seem that nothing these days comes without asking. We finally had just a hint of what could have been as we were about the turn around the south-west corner of Oz. A sufficiently large number of people were feeling at least somewhat indisposed to consider the weather significantly rough :P.By and by a rather familiar sight greeted us, the surfed up windward side of Rottnest Island, and the distinctive, if somewhat limited silhouette of Perth skyscrapers :). Unfortunately, we weren't heading into Fremantle port, just making a short pit stop a mile or so off Rottnest's beaches.

As always, I find myself taken unawares by the fierce rate at which weather conditions seem to change the moment we leave the Southern Ocean and put a little bit of land, however obliquely, between ourselves and that polar hunk of ice a few (thousand) miles further south. Off go the thick jackets and wool caps. Now we sweat :|. Especially since with the end of the transit, we're going to be back on the good ol' back deck.

Currently: eagerly anticipating, not :|
Listening to: Evanescence - Call me when you're sober

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Seeing is believing

I guess I was always going to sit around a bit longer before getting back to Westeros...

In the mean time, I'm slowly winding my way through I, Robot. I wish I had a copy that didn't have Will Smith's mug plastered all over it, but it isn't exactly like I had a whole lot of choice. Once I decided on getting that book before I got to the boat that is. I can't quite put a finger on it but this strange feeling of awe fills me every time I read that book. A sense of something overpowering... Almost every Asimov tends to do that to me, but this more than others.

The only really new movie I've watched this time was No Country For Old Men. I'm sure it was quite well made and all, but unfortunately I was rather put off by the end of it. I guess it can be put down to a simple misunderstanding of sorts. I kinda started off rooting for the wrong guy :-<. Can be a little difficult to switch your point of view halfway through something quite as gripping as this. Oh well.

Ah yes, Dan in Real Life would also probably qualify as a relatively new one. It wasn't bad really. But unfortunately, I've developed a bit of an aversion to Steve Carell I think. Was it because of that role he played in Bruce Almighty? And then of course they had to go and turn him into a hero in the next one. Someone should tell these people something when they are about to commit such monumental blunders...Then yesterday I ended up watching Lost in Translation. After a very long time. I have a copy with me most of the time, but the last time I'd actually watched it was way back in college I think! So that would mean the last time I saw it, I didn't have first hand experiences of Japan, and Tokyo. :)

It is funny how one thought trails off into another, I was drawn back to my scared attempts at doing 'touristy stuff' :)). It's true! On the one hand, Japan is indeed a bit of a scary place for a lot of outsiders I think, thanks primarily to the seemingly strong aversion to any language other than Japanese. But more than that I guess it was just the whole -oh my God this is like a whole new country- thing still being very much on top of every other thought :).

I'd never noticed the feature in Windows Media Player about playing songs faster or slower! Probably 'cos I hardly ever use it. But it's quite hilarious! It's a weird kind of a rush, sort of trying to catch up with the music as it whizzes past quicker than usual :D.

Currently: amused :)
Listening to: Natasha Beddingfield - I'm a bomb

Monday, 21 April 2008

Lost arcs of what used to be a circle

We've been in transit for the better part of the week, and the weather's been great, as I had feared :-<. I mean, you'd expect that at least out of respect for the law of averages, we'd get some proper shit weather sent our way one time, but no :|. Bollocks.

Otherwise, it's going quite well. As with all transits, I'm getting used to the significantly slackened pace and urgency of life in general. If only we were to sign off right after. Instead, it'll be back to back-decking it in barnacle country :(. Well, I guess I should enjoy this while it lasts.
Most habits, no matter how religiously followed, for a time, eventually lose their hold. Sometimes it is merely that the charm is lost, or the sense of attachment (if there was any). Or maybe the surroundings change, leaving them painfully out of place. Either way, you appear to have changed. Or so they say.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Some cling on, to keep appearances. Others cling on, to preserve a slipping sense of time. And then there are those that grasp at change, sometimes merely for the sake of it. No matter, we're all just trying to keep our sanity.

I guess, the only way of knowing what you really are, is to see it weather the test of time and remain intact.

Feeling: a growing sense of apprehension
Listening to: Everclear - Wonderful

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

How far have you strayed from home?

Heading in, on the way out.

Our Great South Basin campaign (there's really no other way of describing it, battle after interminable battle...) did finally draw to a close. Almost five months after we'd pulled into Bluff the first time we went alongside again, this time on the way out. In the three trips, or parts thereof, a lot of things have changed. Uncharacteristically, this time I was one of the few constants. More or less. Somehow, more people seem to have left (or will be leaving shortly) than ever before.

While that last bit is not entirely accurate, (there was definitely at least one other time that felt at least as bad..) there is a definite sense of having to let go of too much too soon. Oh well, change does unsettle the best of us I suppose. It's just that the nature of the few trips here have set me thinking about this whole thing, probably a bit too much. And one of the by-products was the unfortunate realisation that I probably actually like being at sea too much for my own good :-<. Something I found infinitely more interesting were these strange sort of silvery patches in the water that caught my eye on the way into harbour. It must have something to do with the prevalent bright sunlight, but how that translated to these brief sparkling pools had me utterly at a loss!
Once we were tied up, there wasn't a whole lot to do right away. Unfortunately the circumstances had somehow changed and it was no longer possible for me to simply run off while still on shift :-<. After midday though, I decided to pay the hill top another visit. This time the weather was pretty much the opposite of my previous experience. This was technically a lot closer to winter, but far from wearing a jacket, I was sweating in my t-shirt under the glare of an unnaturally hot winter sun! It was nice to get a clear view of the island wharf (seen above) where we'd spent quite a bit of time, and under circumstances I'd much rather not think about... And of course there was the long snaking beach, so spectacularly devoid of any signs of human activity that it almost spelt out heaven.
And the road out that installation in the middle of the harbour that unnecessarily grabs my attention every time. (The exact purpose of it is still a mystery to me, although the big factory at the other end might have something to do with that).

It was a nice walk. I decided to go alone this time, and chose to retrace my path on the way back. The only unfortunate bit was the number of cars and camper vans that chose the same time to pay a visit to the same place. The absence of a side-walk made itself rather acutely felt :|.
Oh well, soon enough it was time to get back to work. Although this time I was happy to notice a remarkable improvement in the lighting :). I do realise that the sense of familiarity gained from such brief, frenzied visits can only be completely illusory, but after repeated encounters of this nature, it becomes difficult sometimes, to see the truth.
As we pulled away this time, while I was immensely thankful for the knowledge that we wouldn't be back any time soon, I was also already beginning to rue that very same thing. You see, it is such a fascinating place, New Zealand. And I'd only had the briefest of previews, I am sure. It's a shame things went quite as spectacularly evilly on other fronts :-<.

All in all there was a certain symmetry to this whole thing. Something one doesn't get to see often in the generally topsy turvy, disorganised, sometimes scarily unpredictable business of seismic. Maybe there is some sense after all, to all this confusion. Or maybe, I'm just seeing things...
Heading out, am I ever coming back?

Currently: in transit
Listening to: Dashboard Confessional - The sharp hint of new tears

Monday, 14 April 2008

Nothing as it seems

Some mornings are just plain. Thankfully, not all of them. It's still quite a while to go before the sun actually makes its appearance. There is just enough light to tell which way is east. But the horizon throws you off balance. It's not where it should be! It seems somehow elevated. Making you feel at once, rather small and still looking as if from a great height. The water feels too far away. The sky, displaced.

You wish the illusion had lasted just a little bit longer, but the light makes it too obvious. The clouds, black as ink the exact same shade as the water, promise to make the sunrise something out of the ordinary. But if only they'd stuck to the edge of the sea only a little bit longer instead of burning off in wisps, you might have escaped feeling quite as small.
--It's probably not a good idea to keep thinking in terms of the beginning of an end. There would never be any respite from the seemingly never-ending sequence of endings that appear to constitute life.

Had an interesting day back in Bluff. We are finally on the way out. There is a degree of symmetry to the whole thing actually... but more on that later. Took loads of pictures :).

Feeling: blase
Listening to: Dashboard Confessional - So long, so long

Thursday, 10 April 2008

On one Kirk O'Bane. And death.

It is definitely the way to go, I've figured. Whenever they do make a movie of a book, go see the movie first.* There's half a chance that they might have made a good job of it. Then go read the book. By that time you'd have already enjoyed the movie (or not), in either case you would never have been able to blame the book for completely butchering the chances of ever liking the movie, which might possibly have been quite decent otherwise, simply by being so much awesomely awesomely better.

Right. So as might have faintly come through from the above bit, albeit, my return to the formerly trademark hyper-winding sentence construction might not have helped, I loved About a Boy. Absolutely to bits. I mean, he's just so totally brilliant!! I was tempted to compare bits of Hornby with Haddon, but it doesn't really hold. Except in that they've both had me laughing hysterically as they've been methodically unfurling the mostly quite gruellingly real and messed up lives of the characters....

And incidentally, I've read both in the confines of my cabin on the boat, and hence have ended up worrying if any of the occupants of the cabins with common walls had heard. Watchful glances at people on shift on subsequent days have, however, not revealed any signs that my co-workers suddenly found me any more potty than is ordinarily the case. Thankfully.

So there you have it, a sure addition to my 'all time fav' list of books. Now the only question is, should I head into the next GRRM, or should I take a slightly longer break? We shall see.

Feeling: super-charged.. unfortunately, this is bedtime :-<
Listening to: Natalie Imbruglia - City

* The obvious exception, as has been mentioned earlier in this space, no doubt, happens to be the Bourne series. Watch the movies, don't read the books.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Second time lucky!

For a change, something actually worth mentioning happened today! :D Well, I managed to finally catch a decent sunrise, having tracked down the time with sheer perseverance. But that's not entirely it :P.It so happens that at the moment we're on the run from the weather. So when the call came in from the bridge telling us that hundreds of dolphins had been spotted off the bow, I had no hesitation whatsoever in dashing up the 5 flights of stairs, cam in tow :D. Others had picked other locations, but from prior experience, the higher you are, the better.
It was indeed the largest group of dolphins, or indeed any marine mammals I'd ever seen! Including aquariums. Unfortunately, they were some distance away, and the lack of anything of a telephoto nature amongst my possessions made itself acutely felt :-<. For those of you who haven't figured it out, the chaps on the helideck in the photo above are actually looking at the dolphins. No matter, I'd been there before :D, what we do have an abundance of on the bridge, is binoculars >:).Believe it or not, the dolphins were actually even farther away when I took this photo :). Yes, yes, I'm a genius :P. It did take me a whole bucket load of clicks to actually get a few decent ones though, but it was well worth it :). What made the thing a whole lot sweeter was that about a year or so back, I think, exactly such an opportunity had presented itself. Unfortunately, I was off shift at the time, and in my cabin. Given that most people on the boat don't recall ever having seen anything like this, leave alone seeing it twice, I'd never thought I'd ever get to see such a sight. But there you go, such is life :D.

I don't think it's actually possible for me to read two books at the same time. Even when I start off with more than one, one or the other eventually wins and the other lies untouched till the first is done. Quite enjoying About a Boy. And since Wiki very kindly pointed out that the movie in fact ends differently than the book, there's even an element of unknown.

In the meantime, the F1 season's finally getting a bit interesting. Was absolutely thrilled to see a Massa led Ferrari 1-2. But was almost even more thrilled to see a Force India actually finish ahead of Hamilton!! :D. Also found an unlikely fellow F1 fan in the 3rd officer. And what's even better, his opinion of McLaren is almost identical to mine :). This trip is beginning to show promise!

Currently: sleepy, quite inexplicably
Listening to: Dixie Chicks - Wide open spaces

Sunday, 6 April 2008

In and out of time

Really obvious things have a way of eluding me, annoyingly often. A simple adjustment of my daily schedule has 'suddenly' gifted me a full extra hour in my off time!! Remember how I keep complaining about never having enough time off shift?!! And it took me almost two years to figure this one out :|. I guess it's just that some habits die hard.

And speaking of time, New Zealand seems to have moved out of DST, and so have we. Unfortunately, the party responsible for letting the crew know about said change thought it no significant matter and consequently posted the notice well after most of the night crew had already gone to sleep. Cut to midnight, I walk in, sleepy and grumpy as usual, only to be told that I didn't really have to turn up for another hour!! X-( Not quite the best way to start off the day :|.

Currently: still bummed :(
Listening to: Radiohead - No surprises

Friday, 4 April 2008

Oh Eddard :-<

When they say the characters in A Game of Thrones are venomous, they don't tell you the half of it :|. That's a scary story if I've ever read one! And by the looks of it, things are merely warming up! This book hardly ends to be honest. There's not much by way of a conclusion, even in part. Point is, you've got to get to the next one! There's no escape.

I will however, take some time out to detox first.

Currently: smouldering
Listening to: Pearl Jam - State of love and trust

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Clouds and linings, silver or otherwise

It' a good thing that for once we didn't have to head straight out to the back deck when we got back to the boat. (Oh, yeah I'm back on the boat.) But that didn't stop these last couple of days being insanely tiring. Now why I could hardly last till 3 pm before passing out since getting back onboard, despite the work situation being spectacularly chilled out, I don't really know. My usual bed time is closer to between 5 and 6 :|.

It might of course have something to do with the highly protracted travel to work. By the time I got to Singapore, I'd already been on a couple of 2.5 hour flights, and the 7 hour stopover in Bangkok in between :|. Of course, free Wi-Fi rocks, and that kinda' made things somewhat bearable :). But for all that time, I still had to rush to my gate on the way out of Suvarnabhumi thanks to a couple of frighteningly incompetent ground staff :|.Singapore was nice, especially since I've found this one place that makes absolutely awesome real fruit smoothies :D. I'd brought along enough books to easily last me way longer than this trip, but after heading into almost every book store I passed by, I succumbed to the temptation and bought another bunch.

I managed to stay away from the new Jhumpa Lahiri book. It happens to be another compilation of short stories, only, this time they aren't quite as short... Instead, I picked up Nick Hornby's About a Boy. Yes, the movie was based on the book. I liked the movie, a lot actually, so let's see how the book does. And while I was at it, got another couple of Asimovs as well :-<. On the up-side, I'm almost done with A Game of Thrones, and planning to take Histrionix's advice and not go rushing through the rest of the books and end up waiting for the last one :). So the number books I own and haven't read will hopefully soon drop a little from the -oh my God this is insane- levels.

Once on the super-long SINCHC flight, and with no sleep apparent, I decided to give Juno a watch. Liked it, and was quite impressed by Ellen Page. It is actually pretty funny for the most part. The dad was totally awesome :D. And then I finally gave in to temptation and went for 2 Days in Paris. Partly 'cos I was rather sceptical of availability in stores and even more sceptical of the actual chances of it showing at a theatre near me :|. It wasn't bad or anything, just a little bit all over the place... sort of. Of course, it didn't help that I was constantly drawing parallels with Before Sunset. Although, there are definitely more similarities than the location. Oh well, I'm glad that I did see it though.For once we weren't actually staying in Christchurch, but taking a flight straight to Invercargill. Past non-starting aircraft engines, and missed luggage (not mine) and lounging on the terrace 'viewing-gallery' we finally got to our hotel in Invercargill late in the afternoon. Unfortunately, I knew if I did go to sleep right then, dinner would be history by the time I woke up. So by the time I did get to sleep, there wasn't a lot of time left for the 5 am start :-<. This was another one of those ferry crew changes and I did try to sleep on the way, but the seats were most uncomfortable. On top of that there was the bone chilling cold :(. It was a small comfort, but I did get to drive this time. And since then, while I've been awake enough on shift, as soon as I'm off, this absolute exhaustion engulfs me and that's it for the rest of my day :|. Oh well, by the looks of it this job might just be over before long, and then it's the transit back to Oz!

Currently: firin' a hole!
Listening to: Dashboard Confessional - Hands down