Thursday, 29 May 2008


Yesterday I finally did make good use of the long hours of light. Went for a walk up to a lake a little north of here. I'd been there once before, the last time I was here. While the lake itself hadn't been frozen over, the surrounding countryside had been more or less completely white. This time obviously, things were very different. For one, there were a lot more people about :). I was quite pleased to be able to find my way there without straying. Through school playgrounds and farm yards, past fields and across streams.It was quite a long walk, well over 10 kilometres, all in all. And I also went walking all around the lake instead of just getting there and back :). The horses made it quite worth while. This seems to be the season for people to go riding horses. Part of my mind was planning on using this route for future runs. The rest of it was somewhat more sceptical, I think :P. Especially by the time I did eventually get back to the apartment. It really doesn't help that the apartment is totally out of the way of everything :-<. With the weekend fast approaching, I should really make some plans. If nothing else, then just for a trip up to Oslo. Let's see how that goes.

Feeling: rather pleased with the day's work :)
Listening to: Stereophonics - Maybe tomorrow

Tuesday, 27 May 2008


I've been wondering whether to bitch about my extended troubles in trying to get the keys to my apartment on Sunday. I think I'll give it a miss. Instead I'll mention in passing how I fell asleep on the couch in said apartment the first night and when I woke up at 4, realised that it actually never gets totally dark in these parts these days. Pretty spooky. And this isn't even properly summer yet.Place looks awesome though. A lot less whiter than the last time :D. It's a shame I haven't quite gotten around to taking pictures yet. Will, soon, hopefully. It isn't exactly smoking hot though, incidentally. Although as long as the sun is up and about it's not too frigid. Then again, the sun's pretty much up all the time, so that's a good thing. I haven't really brought much by way of warm clothing.

Oh well, at least I did manage to get the work permit stamped in the passport today. Took all of a mere five hours! But now it shall last me 3 years :D. And what's even better? I can travel freely within the Schengen region without any further visas \:D/. So Paris, here I come, next time. Okay, now I should really get out of here and have a look around. Make some use of that sunlight.

Currently: hungry :(
Listening to: Alanis Morissette - Crazy

Sunday, 25 May 2008


It's drizzling in Frankfurt. I had to get a cup of coffee to get this seat next to the glass, they didn't have milkshakes :-<.

Okay so this is basically a rant (yes even more so than most other posts :|). The flight to Delhi wasn't too bad. Except for more proof of the extent to which Jet Airways go to circumvent the traffic snarl at the domestic end. They actually park their domestic flights almost smack in front of the international terminal, and make you travel all the way from there in that shuttle bus. Ditto for luggage. Only, when you are travelling with an international connection, you pick up you luggage at the domestic terminal and then promptly look for ways to retrace the trip you just made :|.

Of course on this particular night I was around, so three of the four buses that are run by the airport folks for transit passengers decided to go missing. I kid you not!! When I got to their desk, the people were frantically trying to locate one of the buses and another two had chosen to go on a refuelling trip without telling anyone :|. Thankfully I had enough time. Or so I thought. I'd obviously never seen the queues for immigration at IGI. Plus I seemed to be the perfect person to pick when closing a queue. That is, they saw it fit to close a queue just after the person ahead of me :|. Twice X-(.

Cut to the flight, and the most unruly boarding I have ever experienced! (And mind you I've experienced boarding for low priced domestic flights from Bombay where they don't issue seat numbers :|.) This turned out to be one of those super jumbos, twin decks and four engines and all that, but I managed to land a middle seat and there was no in-flight video! 8 hours, middle seat, no in-flight video. How could you possibly make it worse? Have one of those fixed reading lights, the ones that you can't shift to suit yourself, and then have it stuck at a wrong angle. No lights. No reading, no writing. Well I guess with absolutely nothing else to do I did get a fitful few hours of sleep and am not quite the sleep deprived wreck I expected to be :|.

And now Franfurt with a large cup of excessively sweetened coffee gone cold (which isn't that bad actually) and I'm wondering why I paid this obscenely exorbitant amount of money for wireless internet :|. Ah yes, I should mail my mum. Unlike the other places I usually travel to for work, I don't have a phone number in Asker yet and no clue as to the phone/internet situation at the staff apartment I'm supposed to stay in. (If and when I do manage to find it, hopefully later today.) I should also go see if that insane crowd in front of passport control's thinned a bit.

in transit
Listening to: Linkin Park - Hit the floor

Saturday, 24 May 2008


This is beginning to go beyond coincidence :|. Visas and me, and the invariable trouble involved in me trying to actually get one /:). Let me explain the latest in an ever lengthening list of incidents.

As I'd mentioned, my application for the Norway entry visa sat with its feet up on the Royal Norwegian Consul's desk in Kolkata for almost a week before even getting sent to the New Delhi embassy. And then it took a good two days to get there! The person I unfailingly got at the other end of the line there finally seemed to take pity on me when she heard that I was supposed to leave in 2 days :|. However, having been put on hold in the morning, when I called up a little past midday, I was told that the visa section had closed for the week!!!

I had already started reeling off calls all over the place to get my flights delayed, when I got a call back! It was Thursday, and they'd finally received my application. To my extreme amazement, they promised to stamp my passport and send it back the very same day! Come Friday evening, I finally had the passport back, and guess what? It's a single entry 1 week visa :)). Well, that's all it was supposed to be, but the amount of trouble I have to go through for the little things :-<. So yeah, I'm finally heading off to Asker tonight. For the first time since December '05, and yes, this means bye bye Perth, except for crew changes :). And hello really really long hours of daylight :D.

Oh, I'd missed out on a significant bit of news the other day :P. I finally got some first hand experience on a Canon EOS. Wasn't particularly impressed to be honest :|. Especially with the lens, which was the basic kit 18-55 mm job. The good thing is, that was a 350D (XT), so there's still hope that the XSi would fare better. I'm hoping to find out sooner rather than later...

Oh! And have I mentioned?! I've finally started with book two of A Song of Ice and Fire \:D/ (before I completely forget the first book entirely :|). I was lugging it along with me all over the place the whole trip, but only yesterday actually started reading it. Lesse how long this one keeps me occupied.

Currently: leaving
Listening to: Corinne Bailey Rae - Like a star

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Road trippin'

I've been meaning to put this one in for the better part of 2 days now, but hey, people have been known to do worse in the procrastination department. So. I'm back from the family trip. And since my cousin was around for absolutely all of it, we had a blast :D. Unfortunately, late nights and too many really early mornings conspired to make it even more tiring than usual :(.The highlight of the trip was undoubtedly the drive from Shantiniketan to Asansol, simply because for once it was just my cousin and me. Catching up can be so much easier without a million prying ears :|. And of course, car stereo on full blast, competing with the roar of the wind whizzing by the rolled down windows :D. (Somehow everyone else in my family seems to think the car AC is a must use item, even in really decent weather.)And then I managed to convince the rest of the family to undertake a trip to what used to be a top getaway spot in years past, Maithon Dam on the river Damodar. I hadn't been there in many years, but as with some things, nothing had changed. The guards still hollered at you if you got within 10 feet of the dam gates with a cam :|. The tea stalls still have no rubbish bins for the throw-away cups. I guess I wasn't particularly thrilled when a boating trip in the lake was suggested with great enthusiasm :|. But I went along anyway.

Oh the other thing that had me very kicked was when on the way back the car odo ticked past 11111 kms :D. Even took pictures and everything :P.--

And this morning when I checked in with the visa people at the end of the requisite week, I found that my papers had indeed left Kolkata, but not last Wednesday or Thursday as promised. They were sent yesterday. Yesterday!!!!!! I guess I'll find out tomorrow if I'll get my passport back in time for my flight at all... If not, it's the same old routine. Run around in a frenzy, mailing all and sundry to try and get fresh flights. Then fly twice around the world thanks to bookings at short notice :-<.

Listening to: Natasha Beddingfield - We're all mad

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Ups and downs

:) Oh boy.

So I'm back home, and by the time I got here the eye was back to relatively normal dimensions. Close enough so you wouldn't notice anyway. Of course it's not like it hadn't had enough time :|. Anyhoo. It was the usual summer Kolkata, hot humid, sticky and still. I was quickly reminded that this is the kind of heat I can take easily in my stride. Not the kind prevalent in the North West Shelf even close to winter, in the absence of wind :(.

The book thing is getting seriously addictive. But try as I might, I couldn't refrain from buying one in Changi :|. Having been genuinely impressed by one Hornby, I decided to go for another. High Fidelity. I think this one's been made into a movie as well, hasn't it? But I haven't seen it, so haven't the slightest clue about the plot :). Should be fun.

Had a very strange couple of flights back. Must have dozed off, can't remember most of either! As I said, very unusual. Must be why I woke up at the unheard of hour of 8:30 am yesterday! And then proceeded to spend the rest of the day wondering about it...

Anyway, so this morning I woke at a much more regular 10 o'clock and found a bomb waiting in my inbox. My Norwegian work permit's been granted, but. (Ah yes, the omnipresent but :(.) First I have to get an entry visa to Norway! I was like "What?!!!! And when where you people going to lemme know?!! Like after I got hauled off to jail or deported by immigration when I landed up?!!!"

Thankfully, NO immigration happen to know what they're doing, and within the first minute of my call to the embassy in Delhi they knew what I was on about. Which, given my state of mind was probably quite an admirable thing. And all I had to do over the rest of the day, was find the consulate in Kolkata, hand in my stuff and then get asked to sit around twiddling my thumbs for a week. Or ten days. They weren't specific. Now my flight out of here is exactly ten days from now, so it's definitely cutting it real fine :-<. Oh well, if not, there's always last minute delays extending my vacation :P.

Some readers may or may not have noticed how suddenly half way through the season my posts on Fantasy football disappeared :). That was right around the time we shot off on the Kiwi road trip, and the lack of attention over the busy Christmas period (that's my excuse anyway :D) saw my rank take a headlong plunge into the 30's (from the mid teens I think)! Now this weekend marked the end of the season, and some how or other, I'd managed to claw my way back up to 16th :D. And yes, at some point I did get Cristiano 'pretty boy' Ronaldo back. There really wasn't a choice :(. I figured what with the enthusiasm of the start, the thing deserved at least a mention at the end :). There's always next year :D.

Earlier this evening I was out for a bit of a walk for some reason or other. At some point, I noticed that I'd left my phone behind. The wind was picking up in sudden gusts, an almost definite precursor of sudden summer thunder showers we call kal-boishakhi's in these parts. Sure enough, not long afterwards the downpour began. God knows how long it's been since I've had this much fun out in this city. Or felt rain water this warm, relatively speaking of course. And probably the first time I've intentionally got drenched in the rain in years :).

Feeling: on a high
Listening to: James Blunt - Billy

Sunday, 11 May 2008


This has got to be the longest crew-change I've done yet. On the way off the boat that is. The weather Saturday morning was quite nice, but apparently we were still on the limit for the choppers to land! They must've had rookie pilots or something :|.On to Barrow, and for some reason, we had to fly through Karratha instead of directly down to Perth. To make it worse an extra passenger on board at Karratha made life difficult for all of us as the crew had to find him and caused a massive delay!

I was pretty much dead tired, but ended up having one of the more extraordinary trips thanks to a pretty crazy, half-drunk passenger in the seat next to me, and a cross-word puzzle :). Once in Perth though, a lot of people were hurrying off straight to their onward connections. Thankfully, I was awake enough to bid Vic (my departing boss) a somewhat half decent farewell. A significant improvement on the previous occasion.

It had been warm in Perth till recently, we heard. But we were greeted with showers. So I spent most of the ride back into town staring at the splotched red and green lights on the rain splattered windscreen... It was quite late by the time I was trying to work the card key to my room.Spent a lot of today lying in bed, watching TV, whiling away time on the lappy, just lying. Finally sometime in the afternoon, managed to pry myself off the bed and out onto the streets. Had quite a nice long walk around actually. If things go to plan, then the only time I'd be spending here in the near future will be for crew changes. And time's usually at a premium on those occasions. Then again, we all know how plans involving me and visas go...It would appear I've stopped being averse to taking pictures of the same things :). So I indulged myself.
Currently: waiting
Listening to: Snow Patrol - Run

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Jolly Roger!

And it's crew change day again! Finally. It's going to be a chopper ride for the first time since like October. So it took me quite by surprise that my bags are suddenly heavier than the prescribed 10 kg limit! I'm specifically blaming it on all the books that I brought along. (And the lot I bought on the way in :|.) Thankfully, I'm going to be on a Super Puma flying 3 people short of full payload, so it's highly unlikely that my few extra kilos of paper will cause us to splash into the ditch :P.

So I finally do know where I'm headed. And it's not to Oslo, or Perth. I have been asked to go home! And await the Norwegian visa :|. Now that in itself might not have been such an unwelcome bit of news, except that the change was left till so late that I couldn't get any flights home till Monday! Which means I'm stranded in Perth for the weekend :(.

And to top it all, for the last couple of days I've been having to get used to temporarily living one-eyed (for a very short time hopefully). Thankfully, I seem to have gotten good enough at my job to manage it quite decently half blind. Nailing beans with a fork at the lunch table, however, is another matter :-<. No, jokes about eye-patches being cool etc. are not welcome :|.

Currently: minus depth perception :-<
Listening to: One Republic - Stop and stare

Tuesday, 6 May 2008


Someone up there likes me. Or is bent on creating that impression. Only in that we're still in production and unlike on the last few occasions, haven't ended up on the back deck within a few days of getting away from it. Everything else that was wrong with life, still is. But I'll take what I get.

In the mean time, a few things have slipped by without making much of an impression. (The fact that I was altogether too preoccupied with more (de)pressing things definitely has a fair bit to do with that.) The first race of F1's European leg this season at Catalunya went of extremely well. From the Ferrari perspective obviously. What I was actually a bit more excited by was the planned re-introduction of slicks in 2009!

And of course Liverpool got themselves kicked out of the Champions' League. I had already kinda given up hope after that Anfield leg ended in a draw thanks to Riise's own goal :-<. By the sound of it though, the Stamford Bridge leg was a bit of a thriller. But as I said, there were other pressing matters at hand, and I wasn't really paying attention. Now that both Barca and Liverpool are out, I'm not exactly overly enthusiastic about the Moscow final.

The days seem to be really dragging on now. And I couldn't be arsed to try and put in any amount of effort to make things any better :-<. It's really one of those sad depressing phases people go through now and then. Bored and somewhat tired and stressed out. Break off the regular habits that keep a semblance of regularity and sense to life in general. Fail to fill up the ensuing gap with anything meaningful in anyway. End up feeling even more bored and while not particularly tired or stressed out, feel like it anyway. Vicious cycle really :(.

Have been fooling around with the cam around sunrises though. Waiting in vain for some more of the spectacular calm. While at it, some half interesting results have appeared thanks mainly to the custom white balance feature.

Three more days and a wake up. (Or in more realistic terms, four and a half days.) Never mind where I'm headed after this, I need a stiff drink. Or a few.
Living isnt a simple thing
I know
No one ever said its supposed to be
I know...

Living isnt a simple thing for me
I know ways to make it easier

Currently: generally bummed
Listening to: Everclear - Electra made me blind

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Rattle and hmm

Few things could possibly be more therapeutic than stripping a wooden streamer reel of its covering planks. Done the 'right' way. Using appropriate but minimal tools. And with appropriate speed and ferocity.

I'm trying to teach myself how to play table tennis with my left hand. Thus far, the main difficulty has been my reluctance to actually play people, with my left hand. And the upright other half of the table isn't exactly a proper training partner. Beyond a certain point. Nonetheless, I'm relatively happy with progress.

We're done with back deck work, for the time being, within a highly respectable 5 days. Unfortunately, the respite might prove to be short-lived. Deja vu, huh? :-<

It was actually quite a nice change to be in exceptionally calm waters during most of deployment after the five months in New Zealand. (Yes, yes, I admit my benchmark for bad weather had been thoroughly skewed. But getting used to the constantly rough weather can do that.) Unfortunately I let slip too many exceptional moon rises and sunrises and by the time I finally took the trouble of carrying my cam outside, the mirror flat seas were gone. And with them, some truly unreal possibilities.... --

This happens to be a long trip. An extra week. The following break however, happens to be only four weeks, i.e. a week short. I'm still not sure where I'm headed when I get off the boat. And, once again, my boss is getting transferred. Drama, drama, drama :-<.

Feeling: depressingly stressed out
Listening to: Snow Patrol - Chasing cars