Friday, August 24, 2007

So many people have come and gone...

...Their faces fade as the years go by
Yet I still recall as I wander on
As clear as the sun in the summer sky

Its more than a feeling, when I hear that old song they used to play (more than a feeling)
I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)
till I see Marianne walk away...
I see my Marianne walkin away...

I freaking love the guitar in that song, and no mistake. One of my favorites.

So, I'm sitting in a little courtyard in Ibn Batutta Mall, using an internet cafe's wifi. I'm so metro it hurts, sometimes. This also marks the first time I've made back-to-back blog posts, other than updating Yon Lonesome Road - which reminds me, I should put up 2006's NaNovel, Searching For Avalon. Well, the completed parts of it, anyway. >_<

Seems I was mistaken about the UAE shutting out Flickr - despite all the warning signs I received when trying to access it on the USO wireless last night, I'm getting through just fine now. Weird! Updated, although most of the pictures I've taken (and I've been snapping away like a fiend lately) are fairly bland, and probably not of much interest.

Friday night (late afternoon/early evening, actually) - I'm planning on hitting the clubs tonight, or at least the bar at the Seaman's Center, and getting fairly well ripped. Tomorrow being Saturday, I've traded away my duty and have absolutely nothing on my plate except for coming back out this way and spending more time bumming around on the intarwebs. I'm fairly caught up on my comics and forums by now, so maybe I'll get some writing or some such done tomorrow.

Or, more likely, I'll be lazy and enjoy the time off. ^_^

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Whoa whoa da di da dam dam baby...

...whoa whoa da di da dam dam baby,
I close my eyes
I tell you how much I care
then you smile and say to me 'let me be your destiny'

Latest music addiction is techno - managed to score several gigs of music(and more pr0n than I care to discuss in a public venue) from a friend on the ship, and I've been rocking out on a regular basis lately.

So, here's a new milestone in my blogging 'career' - I'm sitting on the signal bridge, the second highest deck of the ship, in what is easily ninety degree heat, never mind the fact that it's 8:30 at night out here. I'm hooked into the local USO wifi net, which despite being at Shed 66, probably a quarter mile from where I'm sitting, still reaches us. The connection's a bit wonky, unfortunately, which means the fistful of vouchers in my pocket, each supposed to last an hour, probably won't get me through the next forty minutes... but I'm online, on my own computer, with a decent connection rather than the snail-like ship's comp.

The UAE apparently has a bias against Flickr - I can't access the site, instead getting bright red warning labels telling me to turn back, for the love of Allah.

Okay, I'm being hyperbolic - but man, am I happy the ship lets me e-mail photos in, 'cause otherwise you happy people would be without visual reference on my oh so exciting journey.

So, as you can probably tell from the context clues, we're back in Jebel Ali... just another sprint of loading cargo and carrying it back to the fleet. I'm still waiting on a couple of packages, one from home and one from ThinkGeek, but I highly doubt I'll see hide nor hair from either before September... the fleet Postal Service just doesn't move that quickly. Funny, how I can beat a package across the Atlantic, even though I'm on a ship and it's (presumably) being flown.

Was contacted by an old friend on Facebook, a school chum I haven't talked to since she moved to Hawaii our junior year (Hi, Laura!)... hopefully she'll still be in the area when I make it home, I remember her being pretty fun. Admittedly, my exposure was sitting next to her in Oceanography class, so I might simply be remembering everyone who wasn't the teacher (with his Ben Stein monotone) as being bright and entertaining. Speaking of Facebook and old friends, another person I haven't talked to in forever tracked me down, presumably by looking for old classmates - Micki, my friend(?) Rob's ex-girlfriend. Haven't talked to her since she and he called it quits, which made seeing the friend request an odd thing - but since Rob and I haven't talked to each other in almost a year, now, I guess there's no reason not to.

A year ago. Last time I talked to Rob was when I moved into my 'new' place, living on my own for the first time...

A year ago today, I was on the USNS Apache, somewhere off the coast of Monrovia, Liberia. We'd recently put out a fire on the MV Tahoma Reefer, rescued a half dozen Liberian fishermen who'd capsized in rough water, and generally kicked ass and taken names. I missed home, but I was doing pretty well - holding my own, holding a turn. In five days, I'd get the word that my best friend and roommate had killed himself. Four days after that, I'd be sitting in a hotel room in Ghana, waiting for my flight home.

It's hard to believe it's been a year since Joe died... I still miss that boy so fucking much. I dream about him, sometimes... he never seems to know he's dead, but I always do. I'm torn between telling him and just enjoying the moment, knowing that I'm going to wake up soon. He's always happy... I hope he really is, wherever he might be.

I think my main reason for believing in life after death is because I can't stand the thought that this is our only chance at things. Reincarnation or afterlife, I hold onto the hope that I'll see old friends again.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I picture you in the sun...

...wondering what went wrong
And falling down on your knees, asking for sympathy
And being caught in between all you wish for and all you've seen
And trying to find anything you can feel that you can believe in
May God's love be with you
May God's love be with you

It's somewhat ironic that the day I decide to update my blog is the day my little sister (hi, Jess!) leaves a comment on my last entry, asking me to update my blog - funny little coincidence there. Ahem.

Well, we're well and truly in the Burning Lands now. The temperature's been cresting a 100* Farenheit every day, the humidity ranging between 80 and 100%, the sun bright and cruel. This is our second time ducking into Jebel Ali, the port area of Dubai (or a neighboring city to Dubai, I'm not entirely sure - this whole area is very, very peculiar). We're working hard - running into port, loading massive amounts of cargo, unrepping the local battlefleet and running back in to rinse and repeat. It's pretty miserable, and the heat is murder - but the money's good, and it actually feels pretty nice to be working. The pace on the Supply when we're in the States is slow, the work pretty boring - it's good to be doing something for a change, and the faster pace of the work fills the days and makes them rush by pretty quickly. Well, usually - standing on the pier under the sun, a minute feels like an hour.

I'm keeping hydrated, refilling my Camelbak M.U.L.E (3-liter) two and even three times throughout the day, but I keep sweating it out as fast as I can suck it down - had some serious trouble with heat rash and chafing when we first got into the Gulf, but I think I'm over the worst of it now - just gotta keep changing my shirt as it gets soaked. I've found wearing an undershirt helps a lot, too... but that's probably more than anyone really wanted to know.

My external harddrive, "Wanderer", finally died on me the other day - it's been giving me a lot of problems lately, and finally gave up the ghost. I was lucky it did so on a day when we were in port - Dubai has a lot of electronics stores, and I managed to replace it within the day with a 160 GB model. Also picked up a nice set of headphones - together, the two cost me 700 dirham, about $200. After dinner at the Emirates mall, I had a couple pints of Guinness at the Seaman's Center in town, where a shipmate asked me to play wingman for him when he made his approach on a tableful of British chicks. Figured what the hell, ended up spending much of the rest of the night talking with them - turned out they were sailors off the HMS Richmond, although they kept Dino (my shippie) preoccupied by claiming they were in the UAE on a cruise ship, on holiday. Pretty amusing watching him try to prove that they were military - he finally got one to slip and spill the beans, probably 'cause she was the drunkest of the bunch. They eventually split off, and after hitting a couple more clubs Dino and I called it a night.

Next night I had duty (again - hurray for money!), and was suckered into washing the ship. We hooked a firehose up to the pier potable water source, and got busy spraying all the dust off the bulkheads and deck. Had a nervous moment when I spotted three women on the other side of the wall of connex boxes that surround our section of the pier; they seemed kind of off color. When I saw one of them gesturing at the ship and making counting gestures, I tipped off one of our security det. When he and I walked outside, they split.

Might be nothing; might be something. It's the thing I hate most about being over here, other than the heat; you never know when someone's being friendly 'cause they're friendly people, 'cause they're trying to get you to buy something, or 'cause they're getting ready to stick a knife in your back. They say Dubai's safe for us, or they wouldn't be letting us pull in; but there are way too many people with guns on board for me to really relax out here.

The odd cultural blend around here throws me sometimes, too. The stores one sees in the mall are often the same ones you'll find in the States, and people, I've found, are basically the same everywhere you go - same clothes, same attitudes, same mannerisms. Then you walk by a pack of women in burquas, or the mall PA system starts playing the call to prayer, and you suddenly remember you're a stranger in a strange land. So, in conclusion: I hate the sun. I miss home. But I love the money, and Lord knows I could use it right now. Keep on keeping on.