26 September 2012

Bahia Blanca

at anchor for several days, thought we were going in tonight, the cargo receiver said, "Come on in, we're ready for ya" but the charterer aka the cargo owner said, "Negative.  No pay, no cargo." So we were instructed instead to sit and wait some more while the check clears or the banks in Europe open, something like that.

ship is almost 5 years old.  Used to be operated by M_____ but that didn't go so well, M_____ sold their LNG fleet, and T_____ bought 6 of the 8.  Seems that M____'s plan was:

1.  Buy new ship
2.  Do as little maintenance as you can get away with
3.  Sell it.
4.  Profit!

so lot's of low hanging fruit here, as far as stuff that needs to be done.

A wrinkle.  T_____ offered all the officers and crew from M_____ the opportunity to come work for the new sheriff, many took them up.  These same guys, the ones that ran the ship into the ground, are still here, onboard right now, claiming that everything was ice cream and lollipops before T______ took over.  Sure it was, they didn't require you to actually fix anything.

So like today, when I had my guys grease the coupling on the bow thruster, a rather expensive piece of equipment, and found that the coupling was completely empty.  Not that the grease leaked out, but that no grease was ever put in the coupling.  For 4-1/2 years.  Not possible, they say.  Just look at the maintenance record, it says it was done August 29th, just a few days before you joined.  Every day is like this.

Are they happy you are fixing things, that the ship is better today than it was yesterday?  My junior engineers are happy.  They're learning things, fixing things, making use of their talents.  But the senior, long term guys, the ones who are to blame?  Not so much.

The ethnic makeup is primarily Asian.  Indian officers mostly, and Filipino crew.  Curry at every meal.  Gonna be an interesting couple of months.

And the internet (yes, we have internet, though the captain turned off the wifi, so I'm using the old ships computer on which I can't use Skype ... my iMac is playing music right now, jealous of this ancient PC on which I type this) ... back to the internet ... our provider filters various sites.  Blogspot.com is banned.  So I can't view this post, once it goes out.  And not sure if I'll be able to answer any comments (from both of my readers) though I'll see them in my email.

19 August 2012

an answer to your question

Benjamin  posted this link as well as this question on my FB page, thought I could answer it better here.

Have you been on LOGOS Hope at all? I found this quote from current chief engineer Willem Zuidema surprising "I am impressed with the quality of work, I think it is actually better than what I have seen on the commercial ships.", in light of some memories from LOGOS II. Maybe things have changed culturally within the organization?
I have not been on Logos Hope, nor do I know, or know of, C/E Zuidema.  And I'm happy to give C/E Zuidema the benefit of the doubt, that his statement re: the work quality being better than what he has seen commercially, is true.  However, it may also be irrelevant.

Compare these photo's, from here:

With these:
What is C/E Zuidema's commercial experience?  And how long ago was that experience?

I have been on commercial ships that were worse, far worse, than anything I ever saw on Logos II, and I'm currently in a commercial environment (as shown by the second set of photos) which rivals a hospital for cleanliness, and where there is little tolerance for cutting corners, and no tolerance for a failure of equipment or procedure which would delay our on-time delivery of cargo.

GBA is in a different business than a commercial ship, though both use the same tool.  GBA (much like governments) does not have the commercial pressures and competition to force innovation and efficiency.  Even with the most talented and accomplished engineers (ahem ... cough cough) working for it, GBA would struggle, as the criteria for decisions is different.  On my commercial ship, my time costs money, delays cost money and reputation, there is a different calculation.  To use 10% more materials with a 50% time saving is well worth doing. With GBA, my time was free (to GBA, not free in an absolute sense ... there was a tangible cost as well as an opportunity cost that was borne elsewhere) and so was not valued the same as spare parts and fuel, which required hard currency to obtain.

So best wishes to C/E Zuidema and his fellow engineers and watchkeepers.  But apples ain't oranges, no matter how much we wish they might be.

17 February 2012

Combination in progress

Actual work started 03 Jan 2012.  Rough in is nearly done.  Plaster will start next week.  And the tile in the bathroom.

here are some pics of the 1 bedroom before renovation

and some of the kitchen in the studio
and here are some pics of the ongoing work
renovation pics

06 January 2012

"The Fat Trap" via the NY Times vs. Gary Taubes

I saw The Fat Trap online the other day, and found it an interesting read, especially considering some of my reading in the past few weeks:  Good Calories, Bad Calories; Why We get Fat; and Wheat Belly.

Today I came across this reply by Gary Taubes to the NY Times Magazine piece.

Taubes articulation of the effect of carbohydrates, specifically grains like bread and pasta, matches my experience (of around 65 lbs. lost over the past few years) and how, when I eat protein and veggies, as much as I like, I don't eat too much and am not hungry.


and now I see that Instapundit came across the same thing

09 November 2011

a hotel in Korea

it's 0632 and I've been up for a couple of hours ... jet lag, et. al. ... and not so long from now I will meet up with 6 colleagues in the hotel lobby, head to immigration, then to the ship to start another contract.  Same ship as last time, many of the same colleagues, same ogida, same pretty much everything.

Disappointing news:  the agent got to the back of the van (the agent who ferried me from one airport to another in Seoul) and grabbed my bag with my laptop, but dropped it, and now about one inch on the right side of my MacBook is gone.  Very frustrating.

I was home for less than two months, but there is a method to my madness.  You see, my building was finally able to obtain the Certificate of No Harassment, and renovations are in the process of beginning.  Just squaring away the paperwork with my building's management.

I am headed back to sea for two reasons:
1)  renovations are expensive, and I need to earn
2)  renovations are messy and noisy, and I need to sleep

So the theory is, when I return mid February to NYC, the renovation will be more or less finished (will need to pick out and install lighting, stuff like that) and I can finally enjoy some square footage in NYC.

28 March 2011

off to Indonesia

an early phone call this morning.  the saturday flight was changed to a Tuesday morning flight, and back to sea I go.

Will have internet on this ship, so my regular email address will work.

Possible movement on the apartment renovation thing, but time will tell.

05 March 2011

Minna's Salmon Soup

I've got some free internet here at Cafe Esplanad in Helsinki, while I wait another hour or so before meeting up with Saara and Geoff, and I wanted to get Minna's Salmon Soup down on paper before I forget.

1 Litre of water
2 bay leaves
handful of whole peppercorns
1 leek, thinly sliced
about 2 cups of diced potatoes
1 small onion, small dice
1 lb of salmon, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup of half and half

Boil the water and add the leeks, bay leaves and potatoes.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, saute the onions in some olive oil over medium heat until slightly golden and soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the salmon to the onions, and brown on all sides.  When the potatoes are about 5 minutes from being done, add the onion/fish mix to the soup.  One minute out, add the half and half.  Salt to taste.

Serve hot with brown bread and cheese.

01 March 2011

John Batchelor Interview

Q & A

very interesting.  I listen to this guy all the time.  When I was at sea, and had a few hours of internet passing through the Suez Canal, I'd download a bunch of his podcasts, because I knew that was the most dense, effective ways to capture the news that I was missing.  The show is thoughtful, intelligent.  Saturdays are particularly good, when I'm at sea, as he does a lot of book interviews, which are not time sensitive ... you can listen to them months later without feeling that it's old news.

08 February 2011

Going to See Tonight

Iranium | Iranium the Movie

at the NYC showing, where the director will be lecturing before/after the film.

28 January 2011

More Piracy Thoughts

The Pirates of Pittance? - By John Hood - The Corner - National Review Online

not to mention the time, while we are passing through the Piracy HRA, that we spend looking for pirates rather than fixing things.

21 December 2010

Certificate of No Harassment

yes, this is the stone in my shoe.

This is the impediment to my renovation.

This is the source of the STOP WORK ORDER on my building permit.

This is the milieu of the bureaucrat who's voicemail says "I'm out of the office until January 12th, so if you need something for which I am responsible, &%$# you"

You see, C of O, or Certificate of Occupancy's weren't required in NYC until 1938.  I learned that today, courtesy of google.  In 1938, my building was an SRO.


that's one of those places where you get a bed in a room, but no kitchen, no bathroom.  Those things were "down the hall."  My building is no longer an SRO.  In reality.  But on paper?

So it seems that, in the 1980's or thereabouts, when Real Estate became more valuable than it had been in the SRO plagued 1970's, some unscrupulous landlords were tossing out SRO residents and combining those single rooms into big apartments:

1.   Kick out loser tenant
2.  Combine rooms into giant suite (sweet!)
3.  ????
4.  Profit!!!!

My building tossed the losers in 1986 (when they went Co-op).  However, we never got a new C of O.  Too much scrutiny.  Anyhow, back to the 1980's.  Somehow, some supercompassionate wonderful person said, "We've got to protect these losers.  No one else will.  Let's make a new regulation:  In order to combine rooms or remove kitchens or make the world a better place, first you've got to fill out a huge giant enormous application to certify 'no harassment' to these losers, and then we'll let you make the world a better place."  In other words, you have to prove that you didn't harass anyone and kick them out (them being the losers living in an apartment with no bathroom and no kitchen) in order to make your giant huge apartment.

The DOB used to go with "self certification" by architects.  It worked more or less like this:  Architect made fabulous plans to renovate apartment.  Dept of Building said, "go ahead, do your thing ... if you made a mistake, we'll make you tear down the walls after all that fancy tile is laid."  But they never did.  Until about a year and a half ago.  Right about the time that I was having my architect apply for a building permit.

So now, architects, fearful of vengeful clients with tile debris in their hair, said, "FCUK THAT" and went for the full approval process i.e. the building department says "all is well" with your plans.  That's what my spineless architect did.  And the building guy said, "All is well" and issued the permit.  However, his boss, the very day that I flew to London last September, said, "NO FCUKING WAY!" and issued a Stop Work Order.  He said, "We've got to get confirmation from the SRO tenants [the ones that don't exist in my building] that no one kicked them out with harassment!  Gotta protect the people!!!!"

Meanwhile, several other smart people in my building had bought apartments next to theirs and were keen on combining.  These people are stalled just like me.  My building applied for a waiver:  "We don't have any SRO apartments any more, so we don't have any SRO tenants.  There's no one to exploit!"  Building Department said, "Not my problem.  You've got to get these non existent potential victims to vouch for you that you're not a greedy a$$hole."  Reminds me of the tale in "Life and Fate" where the Russian guy won't drop the provisions on palettes to his fellow countrymen behind enemy line, via airlift, because "there's no one to sign for receiving the stuff."

anyhow, who knows when the certificate will be issued.  Meanwhile, I'm paying for an apartment I can't use, and have a balloon payment due 03JUN2011 ... anyone have a large pile of money that I can borrow?