Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dark stormy nite.

It was a dark, stormy night. It really was. I was an able-seaman on the S/S Ocean wizard. She was an 11,000 foot oil tanker and the last of the American tramp steamers. Once, one of 3 sister ships that were the largest in the world. She couldn't fit threw the Panama canal. She was big and slow and built with out labor saving devices and was a bitch to work. God, I loved her. My watch was from noon to 4 and midnight to 4 am. Before watch I would polish her bell. It took over a week to get it polished the first time as it hadn't been done in years.
On my off-watch hours, I would lay in my bunk and listen to the sounds of her inner workings. Normally the last thing I heard was a mechanical switch turn on a pump below in the engine room. As the pump circulated what ever liquid, I would be lulled to sleep like a baby in the womb.
We were a week from shore being pounded by a storm. Headed for N.Y. from the Shetland islands in Scotland. I had a tooth ache so the liter of scotch I was drinking every day was being ignored and tolerated. The pain was maddening. Speech was difficult.
It was the perfect night.....
At 4 am, I finished watch and headed from the wheel house and down the 7 decks to my cabin. The elevator was very slow, so I normally walked down. I go into my cabin and remove my work boots. I don my foul weather overalls and put on sea boots. Grab my jacket and go listen by the door. "All clear" I crack the door and find no one outside. The door to the weather deck is dogged down so as to be water tight. I open it with the small pipe hanging on the door. As it creeks open I can feel the cool night air and smell the ocean salt encrusted on the outer seal and bulkhead. One last look behind me and I am out the door and dogging it back tight. I am on the aft deck in the "lee" and protected from the wind and driving spray by the house as the ship sails straight in to the weather.
As I round the house, I am exposed to the wind and it drives me aft. I all but run for the rail and grab on with both hands and arms. My hood was down the moment I turned the corner and my face and hair are already soaked as I plot my course to the bow, a 1,000 feet forward and up the ladder of the focsail.
Spray is refreshing. White water is invigorating. Green water takes you down.
The trek to the bow takes 20 minutes. Fighting the wind as my foul weather gear acts like a sail exhausting my efforts to advance. Hand over hand up the side rail of the ship, I reach the focsal and am in the lee once again. I take a much needed rest. I want a cigarette, but that would give me away to the guys in the wheel house on watch. The bow of the huge ship rides up on a wave only to dive back down. The sound is defining as she slams in to the next swell and white spray flies over my head and aft, driven by the wind. I wait for relative calm then scramble up the ladder and duck behind the anchor windless. As she slams in to the next swell, I dive to the deck behind the small truck sized starboard windless. I grab the chain and hold on as the green water drives me back towards the ladder. as I am about to lose my grip, her nose rises and the torrent of water lessens. The bow still rising, I jump to my feet but keep low and run for the bow and dive under the bulwark at the very point of the ship. As she dives down and plows the next sea, I am protected as the white water explodes over my head and drives aft harmlessly away.
Her head starts to rise back up skyward. Now in the lee of nothing, not even the next sea. I stand with one hand to port, one to starboard and face the storm. The wind howls, I bellow. The wind screams and I roar. (No quarter asked, none given)
She rides to the top of the swell and begins to fall. I wait one second to late duck below the gunwale to safety. The oncoming water dislodges my left hand and spins me backward to the right and slams me into a stanchion. The water, the pain and the adrenaline are intoxicating.
My ship slows with each dip as she tries to plow her way back on top. She climbs once more and I regain my feet and handhold. I feel no pain from my face or back. Just the cooling water mixing with the hot sweat inside my cloths. She starts to fall as I holler in to the wind............
I took 3 "knock-downs" that night. There is no joy in being slapped down to the deck. There is grace and honor in getting back up.

Why would any one need a Computer?

Why would any one need a computer?
I too, asked "why you would need one?" I was met with the same knowing smile I now give when I hear this. The answer is so huge it’s hard to answer. And the answer is as varied as the many things you can do or what the user would like to accomplish.
It is widely regarded that the printing press is the most important invention in the last 500 years. Invented by a man named Gutenberg, around 1440 A.D. He was not thought to be that brilliant by his neighbor’s. It changed the world and all but created the American Revolution (among so much else) when used to as a device to raise awareness of the situation. The Boston massacre, although greatly exaggerated, cemented American resolve with an artist’s rendering of the tragedy. Printed on the printing press. On a computer, the printer is a "peripheral" If the pen is mightier then the sword, the home computer is a nuke.
Before I go shopping for any large ticket items, I research it online then find best price. I don’t often buy much unless I really do need it. With online researching before buying, I have saved at least $2,000 over just going in to a local store with out checking the prices at other local retailers in the last year. There is actually amazingly less identity theft in cyberspace then using checks or credit cards in the real world. Saves time and money.
There is a plethora of free on line learning tutorials. I love (I love free more) Also Barnes and noble book store has some outstanding courses. You buy the book, and then complete the course’s What really surprised me most about online schooling is that I had more interaction with the professors and other students then I did in "brick and mortar" schooling. Also, the national GPA in brick and mortar schools leaves females with a 6 point deficit. With "Cyberlearning", it is a dead heat between male and female students GPA. Also, online learning has a much higher drop out rate, but better GPA for those who finish. (Really do need to be a self starter.)
There are many ways to work from home and telecommute. This is ideal for Moms, stay at home Dads and people that for one reason or another need to stay at home. ( is an excellent source for work at home ideas) Using these, I have opened a webpage hosting company, a PC repair business and 2 not for profit organizations.
We have all heard the horror stories about kids and the Internet. It is truly a frightening thing and keeps me awake at night. But studies are showing that the Internet helps kids advance in communication, artistic and many other areas. Is just like television and the world at large. We have to monitor and keep them out of dangerous places. All large companies, the U.S. military and most jobs want or require some computer skills. I worry more about kids in parks then on the net. Take the proper percussion's and disallow chat rooms where the bad folk go to troll for kids.
For the elderly, home bound, handicapped, and the lonely, the home computer allows them communication and interaction that all we humans need so much. Bottom line, a home computer is like a car. We could live with out one and if we never had one we would not know how valuable a tool and transport it is.
God bless. Love and peace to you and yours.

Long and dull

The day ended like the last 32. Finished mowing lawns at the golf course. Walked to the store and bought food, beer and tobacco. On the way back to the bar I live above, I stop on the trail next to the water fall and drink 3 beers and smoke 3 cigarettes. Today a chip-monk sat with me for the 3/4 of an hour. He was at first skittish. Then calm. A cat happened past, across the river and eyed us both, the burly ruff neck and the chip monk. The chip monk became concerned again but soon relaxed. The cat wondered off and the chip-monk did as well. Tomorrow I will bring nuts for him (gonna call him "Franciscan", he's already a monk) I chose to believe that pleasant discourse gives God cause to smile more then the best plied prayer. On the way to "my spot by the falls", I was driven past by a man who had beat me out of my car in a business deal. He is a foot taller and a hundred pounds heavier. As our eyes met, there was fear in his. The ego liked it, but that lessens the spirit. Was glad to have met the chip monk. Hope and pray you are all well, as I do every night.