Saturday, 31 January 2009

Grey to Black!

Another retirement. This was merely a loan, but since I'd had it for over three and a half years, I suppose I'd come to a sort of grudging understanding with my Latitude D610. I'm happy to say however, it's no longer mine. As much as I loved to hate it, there was still a slight hesitation before I wiped it clean of almost all traces of my use.The replacement comes in the shape of a significantly sharper looking and obviously much faster E6400. What with 4 G of RAM instead of the paltry 1/2 G in my 610 :|. The only unfortunate part so far has been that it's come loaded with Vista instead of the tried and tested XP. Oh well, one can't have everything I suppose. It's definitely time to move on.

The ambient light sensing automatic keyboard back-lighting, the integrated web-cam, microphone and SD/SDHC card reader and other, somewhat more important things like reduced weight and dimensions are of course not to be ignored either.And to go with it, I finally managed to lay my hands on just the kind of backpack I'd been looking for, a Crumpler :). Of course the longer story of my visit to Oslo and how it wasn't one but three new Crumpler bags that walked out of the store this morning will be told in due time :).

Currently: Crumpled :D
Listening to: InGrid - In tango

Sunday, 25 January 2009

White weekend

It is unbelievable how many crime thriller type serials there are on weekend TV here! Everywhere I suppose. That's the other thing. No matter where you are, TV in English is almost all the same.

Anyway, by the looks of it, I blew a perfect weekend for skiing :-<. Not entirely my fault if you ask me, honestly! Too many people cancelled. I suppose it wasn't their fault either, not entirely... At least the weekend wasn't a complete waste :). I finally got myself a pair of proper boots for this weather. (Yes, my sneakers can heave a huge sigh of relief.) Now for the back-pack. Know where to look for the perfect thing. Just hope I do find it. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait till next weekend :|. Oh yeah, saw a properly frozen river on the way :).

Currently: hating the coming Monday morning :|
Listening to: Craig Armstrong - Angelina

Thursday, 22 January 2009

As the Magnum Opus slithers away...

Not everyone can tell a story right. In fact not even the ones that can tell stories can tell all stories right. But every now and then a story will tell itself. And no matter how bad the telling might turn out, the story may still shine through. Not often though.

More often than not the scratches and scars are more obvious than the dull brightness glowing through. And I figure what's the point? The ugly will show itself anyway. And once it shows itself, that is all that remains. The rest, the beauty, fades into the inconsequential transitory stain of water from the melted snow.
Am I gonna be alright?
No I'm not gonna be alright
Nothin' is alright now
Am I gonna see the sun come up?
Or am I goin' down?
'Cause everyday I'm here
All I feel is sheer
Feeling: old, cold, under the -OH influence and incoherent
Listening to: Eels - Agony

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Why I want to be a polar bear right now

It's still snowing. And yes, it's practically been snowing all the time (at least as far as I can tell) since I last mentioned it! Everything looks like a big giant (albeit rather complicatedly shaped) cotton ball. Which is all very nice and fine as long as you dont have to step out into it. Actually even outside it's not too bad. I've realised that temperatures around 0 I can actually live with quite happily. Zero degrees Centigrade of course.I'm a little circumspect while walking around these days though. As displayed above, pretty much any and every surface with the slightest non-zero horizontal component is loaded with snow. One of these days I'm gonna be walking under one of these trees and a huge lump is going to slide off and land right on my head :|.Not that there's a whole lot of walking happening. Just the to work in the morning and from work in the evening. It just so happens that somehow all the people I usually hang out with here are missing. Most of them are landing up next week, but that still leaves what promises to be a rather solitary week. I'm planning to down shift to the minimum of activity possible. Not do anything that doesn't absolutely have to be done. Like laundry. Or not. Anyway, point is, I'm seriously considering going into some sort of hibernation. Having to land up at work everyday isn't going to help very much with that though is it? :-<

Currently: *brrrrr*
Listening to: Requiem for a Dream OST - Winter overture

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Taking the long way

For a journey that involved travelling to and from the same time-zone, 38 hours is a rather long time. Yet that is what it took me to get from the boat offshore Angola to my apartment in Asker. And for good measure, it involved 5 different flights! Thank God for transit hotels though, otherwise things could have been a whole lot worse.

Has anyone ever heard of Soyo? It's a place. Mostly an oilfield operations base in the Northern part of Angola, right at the mouth of the mighty Congo river. Why I spent practically half a day there with absolutely nothing to do or see is beyond me. The principal thing I remember about the place is the dust. And the extremely high frequency of helicopter arrivals and departures!From there it was on to Luanda, and thereafter towards Gatwick on a flight where I proceeded to pass out as soon as I hit the seat. This Gatwick bit had caused me some concern right up to the day of crew change, seeing how I do not have a UK visa of any kind, and need a transit visa to even just pass through. Fortunately, there are provisions for us seafarer types. And I was able to obtain a 24 hour entry pass and with that, access to one of the airport transit hotels!

Most other days, other places, seeing how I landed there at 7 am, I would have just dumped my bags and headed out to the city. Unfortunately, I was already so washed out that even though the thought did occur to me, I wasn't awake long enough to properly consider it. Plus, it was still completely dark, and raining. At seven in the morning. The famed British weather I suppose. Plus, I'd made a 30 odd degree jump in temperature in under 12 hours. All in all, I think staying indoors was rather a good thing.
So it turned out that my 12 hour layover at Gatwick was quite profitably spent, and by early afternoon I was back at the airport, feeling considerably more human and less zombie. From there onwards everything more or less proceeded like clockwork. Immigration was no longer an incomprehensible or frightening process. I had to check out my bag everywhere, but I suppose that's a more sure way of avoiding loss of luggage than any other, so I wasn't really complaining. Seeing how I'm planning to go ahead and leave my bag here and henceforth travel check-in luggage-free, it would have been supremely ironic if I'd lost my bag on this one last trip :|.
One rather curious thing I noticed on the way into Amsterdam was the vast number of windmills set up in the ocean! After ambling rather aimlessly for a few hours at Schiphol (During which time I discovered and decided against buying an interesting variety of gadgets. Which actually led me to realise that half the things I have would probably never be part of my possessions but for long layovers! I also discovered a couple of paperbacks, Slam but Nick Hornby and a very very curious book by the name of The Other Hand by Chris Cleave. But these last two did not buy simply because if I had I'd have had to carry them in my hand. (I absolutely have to get myself a bigger back pack.) I promised myself I'll get them the very next time I see them.) I was finally on my way to Oslo.

It was snowing. A lot. Fortunately the temperature, while still on the wrong side of zero, was not too far from it. Even in the dark, the rolling fields, covered in the anonymity of white, gave the landscape a somewhat bizarre aspect as the train sped on towards Asker. My apprehension of disaster at this last hurdle began to grow. You see, I still had to pick up my apartment keys from the guard at the office reception. And my jacket!

Thankfully, there were several cabs at the train station, even at that hour and the keys I got after a somewhat protracted search. The jacket, however, that I'd left in my boss' care the last time, he had very inconveniently forgotten to leave at the front desk :|. Fortunately, the elderly guard was already expressing concern over my choice of attire (the really, very light jacket I travel with that some people would rather call a sweatshirt :|) and was more than happy to help me get access to more appropriate protection.

So it was a little past midnight that I finally managed to get here! I didn't wake up till very late in the morning obviously, but you couldn't tell. The sky was overcast and it was still snowing! The awesome thing about the apartment is that I don't really have to venture out for meals if I don't want to!! Unfortunately, I still had to go get the food first for that to be possible :|. Honestly, if I didn't know my way rather well, I could have gotten terribly lost! There are no roads, or side walks, or any other sort of demarcation! It's all uniformly fluffy white snow.
Looks quite nice though :). Plus, for the first time since July, I'm back at this apartment :).

Feeling: almost at home :)
Listening to: Eels - Flower

Friday, 16 January 2009

Of fires and frying pans

There is no doubt about the fact that by now I am more than ready to get off the boat, and this being crew change day, I'm practically dying to get out of here, and consequently, should be hopping with joy. (It has not been a particularly easy trip, for a fairly wide variety of reasons, which one shall not go into here and now.) Unfortunately, things are not quite as simple as that.

Given that I might have to go out in the boat and ferry people around shortly, probably right up to the moment I need to get back and board that chopper, time is at a premium. So all the details of why I am severely apprehensive of this crew change will not be forthcoming at this moment. Except of course, for the gist of the matter: that I am in fact severely apprehensive of this crew change :|.

Assorted possibilities: a long and painful wait in Luanda, arrest in Gatwick due to illegal immigration, loss of baggage at various locations including, but not limited to, Luanda, Gatwick and Schiphol, death out of boredom at Gatwick airport over an excruciating 10 hour period, severe frostbite at Oslo or Asker around midnight tomorrow night, freezing to death in Asker because of the unavailability of a place to sleep in that night and/or the unavailability of my jacket.

Double Frick!

Currently: apprehensive!
Listening to: Eels - Your lucky day in hell

Monday, 12 January 2009

Flying through the night

What is death like? I try not to dwell on that question. But every now and then, sometimes on especially disappointing days, I like to think about it. And since usually this is an attempt to alleviate the mood /:), here is what comes to mind. A feather lifted up on a column of warm air. A silent sigh and elevation. Above the murky surrounds. Needless to say there is never pain or fear :).
The whole world just comes alight, woah!
Moving through the air and you have no cares.
Feeling: deferred effects sinking in
Listening to: Moby - Ooh yeah

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Status quo

It would appear that I'm getting used to 2009 a lot quicker than I usually get used to new years. I wonder why.

One thing I've been feeling somewhat happy about this new year is how much sleep I'm managing to get these days! Last night, for instance, I made it to almost a full ten hours for the first time ever! As may be obvious, this means all the rest of my usual off-shift activities have gone straight out the port hole :-<. But I really feel like I need it right now. I hope I'm not coming down with something :|. I started off the new year with a bit of luck actually. There was New Year's Day bingo on board, and I won stuff!! :D. That, on top of the fact that I won at the Christmas bingo means I'm really warming up to the thing :).

Boating's back on full throttle again. Which is a good thing. But might be contributing to the need for sleep :|. I've managed a few closer looks at the other vessels around us though. And no matter what anyone says, I maintain that the Trident, with its white stripe (and the significantly slender arse end :P) looks a lot better than the Eagle :D. I should call people.

I suddenly (well, not particularly suddenly, took me a little bit to actually check through the years) realised that it's been a while since I've been home or thereabouts for my birthday. The last time was when I turned 17... And I have no idea what set me thinking about that, so don't ask.No replies to HNY mails are depressing. Thankfully, I didn't have too many :). I love the ocean, I really do. Really! But I hate the desolation. As it was put to me recently, I hate that my world begins and ends with me these days :-<<<.

What's to say that's not going to change... Here's to hope.

Currently: aching to go back out in the jet boat
Listening to: Rihanna - Rehab