Don’t ask me where I have been.

But do ask about the monumental trip I am currently making all the way from West Papua to good old Rugby Town.

Most of you will have no idea where West Papua is, or even that it existed. Well, take a globe, spin it around until you can see Australia, draw a vertical line up the middle of Australia and out the top, the first land mass you might hit will be Papua.  I was there yesterday.  Tomorrow I aim to be in Rugby, squeezing the squeeze.

How about this for a monster trek, 4 taxi’s, 4 flights, 2 train rides, 1 underground ride, two overnight stops in cheap (and a little run down) hotels and a quick walk off the platform into the arms of my favourite nurse.  Heavenly.

I have now had a year in Asia, a bit like John Thaw’s year in Provence – NOT. Different over here, mainly hot and humid or just plain hot so I am glad to be heading back to the chills of blighty.  Yep, you will think I am mad but one thing I noticed about people that move to hot climates – they spend all their time in air conditioned buildings so unless you count global warming as a win, they have gained nothing.

 

So, Rugby Town…..I wonder if it has changed much?  Will be in the Merchants Inn on Friday night if you fancy a beer.

If you have ever thought of crossword puzzles being difficult to complete correctly, try completing one wrongly – filling all those spaces with words and letters that connect correctly is a dozen times harder, I promise you.

 

We did have a new experience on board our boat recently.  Two of the guests wanted to get married.  The captain stepped up to the plate and did the deed.  The stewardesses pulled out all of the stops to make the boat look ceremonial and me, as the engineer, was tasked with commissioning a wedding ring!  That’s a first for me.  Scratching my head wondering what to use and how to do it, I finally opted for an old fishing hook, a gas burner and some snipe nosed pliers to get the job done.  Measured the Grooms finger with one of my combination spanners (he’s a 17mm by the way) and began to fashion the ring for him.  It actually turned out pretty damn excellent I might say.  I did hope he would leave it behind and let me keep it but he took it with him.  One day when I am fat and famous, that ring will be worth a mint I tell you – like an original Banksy.

Anyway, have a look at the photos, click to enlarge and place your orders for bespoke jewelery next time you see me.

 

So there you have it – the man has hidden talents don’t you know.

New Xbox One X is waiting for me too, along with a new personalised controller – all I need now is a 4k TV and I am in.  A major lottery win wouldn’t go amiss either but to get that one, I might need to buy a ticket right?  Something tells me though, I won’t get much time to try it out.  A trip to the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre is on the cards, renew my medical certificate in Nottingham and two little surprises for the squeeze, one as a birthday treat is, if I say so myself, a – fucking – mazing!!!  Don’t take my word for it though – check back here in December and read all aboout (for the Canadian readers) it.

Glad to see some chums have confirmed for the Merchants, always look forward to seeing the Beards, this time, Junior Gurnsey is even going to make it so I am told.  Biggest surprise – Mr. & Mrs. Brown will also be there !!!

 

And if you were wondering, I was a 21mm – that would be well endowed if I were a lesbian !

See you tomorrow bum holes !!

 

No Range Rover Sport this time 😦

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Could be – Soon enough

Been a hectic week.  Late last week we got word that the local volcano was showing signs of activity.  Earlier this week an earthquake close to one of the neighbouring islands triggered a Tsunami warning and then this morning I woke up to hear that the local authorities have raised the volcano threat to level 4 – eruption imminent.

To add to those natural woes, I also suffered a burst hot water tank on Wednesday night, flooding two cabins below and trashing some very expensive  audio gear.  Life’s good.

I have never been close to an active volcano before so I am actually contemplating hitting the road in the early hours with the scooter to take a closer look.  There is currently an exclusion zone in place at 6km but that might just be close enough – that little 125 scooter has a top speed of just 100 kph!

Poor old Rosie had her bag snatched the other night while on the back of a scooter.  Bali is not the paradise you might have believed.  Took her bag, bank cards, cash and new phone and vanished into the evening darkness.

Now here’s a tune from back in the day.

Had that blasting on thursday night as I finished putting the galley together after the water tank failure.

 

Talking of galley – we have a new stewie on board, I have my concerns. She joined 5 days ago and the very next day we had to travel to Singapore for a visa run.  We had time to talk unfortunately.  She said something to me that always, ALWAYS sets alarm bells ringing in my head.

‘I have travelled to 49 countries’

That saying, the quantifying of how much someone has travelled usually sends a shiver down my spine, makes me roll my eyes and go and talk to someone else.  This time was no different.  I have an issue with it because it then makes me think that those people only travel so that they can brag about it.  Great that they have actually done it rather than lie about it but I feel sad for them if they are only going to the effort of travel for bragging rights. That line is a clear indicator that someone is just full of guff.

I have travelled quite a bit.  I feel no need to brag about it, in fact, I suspect I am deliberately coy about it.  I have absofuckinglutely no idea how many countries I have been to – even if I sat down with an atlas and spun around the world, I am sure I would forget some of them – but I feel no need to share where I have been, with one exception – if you asked me specifically if I had been somewhere, then I would talk about it.

The same person then began to wank on about surfing and where they had surfed, then scuba diving came up, again wanking on about how this place was good, that place was good blah bla blah bla blah.  I just kept quite, couldn’t even be arsed to join in.

Generally I don’t mind talking about that shit when it naturally flows into conversation, I will share my experiences equally – but when its all about you trying to tell me just how fucking cool you are – I couldn’t really give a monkeys – keep it to yourself love.

Anyway, I digress.  The reason why this girl came to mind was when my water tank burst.  My alarms started ringing at 5am – I was up and ripping the galley apart to get to the offending water heater – typically boat builders put these in shit places and then build the boat around them – this was no exception.  So by 7 am, I had at least stopped the flow of water and was having a cup of tea in the crew mess.  Two hours of pulling the cupboards, walls, machinery apart in the galley – this girl walks through the place and down to the crew mess where I am sipping a well earned cup of PG.  Her first words to me after walking through what must have looked like a war zone??

Did you sleep OK?

Really ????  What do you think love, its 7am and the galley looks like a battlefield – do you think it fell apart over night?  Sometimes I think we give too much space on this planet to fucktards then another thought crossed my mind.  Maybe the number is 49 as the first 48 just wanted to get shot of her?

I also learned that she has offered to make a claim on her insurance for Rosie’s phone that was stolen and she has just sent her drivers license back to Oz to take some points for a speeding ticket a friend has just received as he already has the max points on his license.  I wonder how long this girl will last.

It was at this point I wanted to insert a clip from an old movie ‘Restless Natives’ but Youtube has failed me miserably.  A great film from the 80’s about the Clown and the Wolfman robbing tourist coaches on a Suzuki GP100. The soundtrack played by Big Country, you should go and look it up.

Now the Suzuki GP125 was the bike to have back then but these boys opted for the smaller 100cc version.  Pre dating the hugely successful Suzuki GP125 was the learner friendly Yamaha FS1E or ‘fizzy’ as it was lovingly referred to by spotty petrol heads of its time.  These two stroke pocket rockets were every teenage boys dream back then.

There – that cleared the air I think.  I feel better now, might even order another coffee.

If it is movies with great soundtracks you are looking for, I make two recommendations

Grosse Point Blank – with the supremely divine Minni Driver & of course Donnie Darko (Directors Cut) with Jake & Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Want to see Maggie at her best? Stranger than Fiction is the movie for you. Will Ferrel delivers one of the best lines in the history of movies – if you don’t understand the joke, rent the movie.  If you don’t agree it is one of the best lines in movie history – you are wrong.

Now, those chicks may be hot, they may be famous and they may be rich but they are definitely no SJ

 

Game On !!

 


You thought I was dead right?

Well not quite, although if North Korea have anything to say about that, I might be vaporised some time soon.

Firstly an apology.  In the 12 year history of this blog, I don’t think I have ever suffered a silence this long – almost two months !! So, as you might expect, I have plenty to rant about and as my connection is shit and I need to be quick, I need to type fast so don’t expect it in any kind of relevant order what so ever.

Skype – lets talk about them for a minute.  Couple of months ago, my Samsung auto updated overnight and gave me the all new Version 8 of Skype – what an abortion it turned out to be.  I also took the update on my iPhone to equal disappointment.  The android however, would let me roll back to V7 where it still comfortably sits until this day – making the android my extra special phone of choice again.

I would dearly like to hit the ‘New Skype’ team with a fully charged bolt of lightning – right up their ring holes.  They have turned what was a very unique and life saving application into some pre pubescent teenager dribble, forgetting that the majority of their user base is probably over the age of 30.  I keep checking in on the iTunes Store and also Google Play to see the hammering they are taking in the ratings but still they blindly plug on, forcing the shit that no-one wants on all of us.  What was once a 4*+ experience on the iTunes store has now dropped to just above 1*.

Of course, I have tried half a dozen other applications for communicating with friends and lovers but none of them do what Skype V7 does.  That got me thinking.  See those developers at New Skype must have thought ‘we need to do what everyone else is doing’ and that makes no sense.  If you have a product that is the same as 10 others , your market share is limited, people will choose which they use based on silly things, colour schemes, friends that use them etc.  If you have a product that is different and no-one else does anything to rival it – you have something that, I remember from my corporate days, is referred to as a USP or a unique selling point.  That alone will draw people in, away from those other 10 products in the market that don’t have your function. Sadly though, New Skype is giving its clients something they don’t want or didn’t ask for – a bit like ‘New Coke’ if you are old enough to remember that.  Sadly though, and unlike New Coke, I expect New Skype will not be withdrawn in favour of the old V7 masterpiece, even when customers leave in their hundreds of thousands to other platforms.

Either way, its a loss for the consumer – even more so when I asked Skype to refund me the credit that is on my Skype account and they said no.  For anyone like me who works away and likes to communicate long distance in relative simplicity – Skype was a godsend, now it is just a pile of shit.  All of this at a time where I was seriously considering a move away from apple completely and back to Microsoft – but now that’s on hold.  I hope I can eek out more life from my 7 year old mac.

The world is a changing place too, as I edge towards 50 I am feeling different.  I put some proper grunge on this morning, Soundgarden, no, I am not a fashionista that recently got into Soundgarden when their lead singer recently died – (quick divert here), why is it, that when someone dies, iTunes suddenly doubles the price of their music?  I can see it now, news breaks across the world and the iTunes admin staff go into overdrive to instantly hike up their prices, Chris Cornell was no exception, as were the Beastie Boys when Adam Yauch left us behind, even the mighty Bee Gees get the same treatment – it really pisses me off, these big fat corporations getting even bigger and fatter from other people’s misery.

I just mentioned to my second engineer, how about some real grunge?  I put on Screaming Life and jokingly said ‘this is probably older than you’ – turns out , it was. After the whole album was gone, I turned to a little bit of Green Day just to spice things up a bit.  then it hit me – these fuckers on here probably don’t even know Green Day, FFS.

The biggest frustration I have with the youngsters on board is their lack of caring and respect for the very vessel that keeps them safe and alive.  They crash around, bashing and slamming everything, leaving every electrical device turned on with no thought for their actions.  I have just had a frantic call from the chef about his freezers.  From the sound of his radio call, you would think his freezer was on fire when in fact all that had happened was he had shut something in the door and damaged the door seal.  Now call me a twat if you will but if you can close a walk in fridge door with two steel plates in the way that shouldn’t be there and NOT EVEN NOTICE – you shouldn’t be working at sea.  Go and join a Facebook group or something, complain all you like but please, fuck off and leave me alone.

The other week, one of the stewardesses came to me with a door handle in her hand.  She had slammed the handle down with such force that the shaft that runs through the door from one handle to the other had sheared completely.  That’s a lot of force.  Even better, I don’t think they know that door handles can also be used to close doors gently so that you don’t wake other people up.

Now of late, I have had more of a need to communicate while at sea than I have in recent years.  I am of an age where we didn’t have full time internet connections.  Transatlantic sailing was done from Mallorca to Antigua without any contact with the rest of the world, 16 or 17 days at a time. Now, everyone feels so privileged that they should have it all the time.  This in turn causes the boss to have internet anguish as I like to call it.  His speeds get so slow that he can hardly function.  In fairness to him, if I was paying 4 grand a month for an internet service, I would want all the bandwidth too but it is making my life extraordinarily hard.  On a work level, my boat computer gets shut down from the outside world.  That can be a real drag.  When the boss is on, I have to be very selective about what work I do, most of it is hugely invasive so it has to wait.  While it waits, I normally catch up with suppliers, theories, paper work or just hunt out solutions for current problems.  Cut me off from the outside world and it really hurts.  Most of my shopping is done with suppliers in America who are 12-18 hours behind.  Cut me off at the wrong time of day for a couple of hours and I can lose a whole day – not funny.

Then of course, there is the want and need to communicate with the squeeze. I am not talking about full on video conferencing here but just the need to send or receive simple messages or photos and that gets frustrating. Two days it took to download a recent video message the squeeze sent – as it happens it was a very important clip, a tearful squeeze explaining and sharing how she struggles with my absence – and it took me two days to see it.  Looking at it from her side, she has bared her soul, sent me a message and I haven’t even bothered to respond – or so it seems.  Knowing how things can spiral out of control, i get frustrated at the inability to communicate.  Let me put it into perspective.  When I am finished here today, I will click on the menu area at the top of my screen. i will then wait for around 30 seconds for the menu to appear with the ‘sign out option’.  Now imagine trying to load a whole page?  It ain’t pretty.

So change will come, change will happen, change is good – and if you oppose change there is always Facebook where you can say you protested your bit by joining a Facebook action group where once you have clicked ‘join’ no further action is taken.

So, change is good, unless you are the New Skype Team, in which case your product change was shit but nowhere near as shit as receiving your p45 when Bill Gates sees all the reviews people have left you.

 

Anyway – I want to leave you with a little grunge.  Not my all time fave track but one you are more likely to recognise.  As it happens, it’s not too bad either.  This song deserves your attention so stop what you are doing and take a moment to enjoy it.  Put your headphones in, turn up your speakers, lean back in your chair  – just take a moment.  Grunge is not dead – long live grunge

 


A Holiday by the Oxford Canal

I am currently sneaking my way back to blighty to surprise the squeeze.  I think I have got away with it so far but that first flight was 10 hours.  10 hours of Skype silence in a part of the day where that would be considered unusual – I wonder if she will put 2 & 2 together and get 4.

And that leads me nicely into a story I just read on the BBC. Not one for vague news & reporting inaccuracies I noticed this little paragraph in an article that was telling us about the death of a maths genius in the US.  It struck me as a little odd.  These guys are meant to be so clever but they didn’t know which number comes between 2 and 4.

Nicknamed the “Nobel Prize for Mathematics”, the Fields Medal is only awarded every four years to between two and four mathematicians under 40.

Dont believe me?  Link to the article below. There is only one number between 2 and 4 as far as I am aware.  OK smart arses, you can’t include fractions this time, the number refers to people so it really has to be a ‘whole’ number this time

Maths Genius

So there – it appears I am smarter than the biggest maths genii in America.  Mind you, America, I am not setting the bar too high am I ?

 

So, the start of a month off.  What can I achieve this month?  Hopefully the Samsung will get repaired quickly, I will be reporting on the customer service experience right here so please check back.

I am also going to see if I can visit Chernobyl, Cannock Chase and maybe even Scotland while I am off.

Oh yeah – Hot Tub Time Machine, Drive the Rangie and sell the Volvo


UK Mail & DHL

Ok, Here we go, just like Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction – I want to unleash fury

Unleash fury on fuckwits !!

UK Mail – or to give them another name – DHL – you twats!

 

So I have a Samsung S8 currently lost in their ether – can I get help? No fucking chance.  Click on the phone icon on their support website – absolutely fuck all!  Talk to someone ?? forget it.  Get cut off by an automated service – most definitely.

OK, so I made a mistake.  A present for the squeeze, a new S8, delivered to my parents for security while I am out in Singapore – but I forgot the fuckwit factor ( a multiple of 100 apparently).  Parents away on holiday, a consignment in my name that they refuse to leave with a neighbour and I am three weeks away.

Under normal circumstances you might expect that I could divert the delivery to someone else – but not with these soapy tit wanks – it seems nothing is possible.

My only option is to delay delivery for another 3 days in the hope that when that one fails, I can delay it again until someone is at the delivery address.

Under conventional thinking, a call to a human being could sort this out, authorise the delivery somewhere else and the squeeze could, as a surprise, receive her new phone – but DHL – or Dick Head Losers as I will now refer to them, can´t seem to grasp that as a basic.  The horror is making me weep.

 

Almost as much as the new Skype update – W T F ???????  I just looked at the most recent reviews and Skype, you are getting more 1 star reviews than Apple OS releases used to get before Apple stopped letting people write reviews – Skype is now horrific.

I would change to Whatsapp – but their Facebook privacy issues piss me right off!

 

I am having an anti technology day (Those geek fuckers that were bullied at school deserve another good fucking kicking).


Smartphones – The choice of a New Generation.

The other day, I very nearly took a step into the unknown.  It would have been a momentous occasion too, no less spectacular than when Armstrong walked on the moon.

I almost wrote a blog from my phone.  It would have been a first for me, if I am honest I find those little screens a bit fiddly.  Can you imagine JK Rowling writing her next book on a smart phone? Aint gonna happen – genius needs comfort.

Anyway, not being a complete tech phobe – I did upload some photos from my phone to the blog.  It also happened to be very easy too. I liked it.  But there was method in my madness.

Around 6 months ago I finally took the plunge and bought an Android phone.  Spurned on by Apples continued push to constantly take away all the functionality in their products that I like and thus force me to pay for a cloud account that I do not need or want.  Better still, they take away functionality and then put it in an app that you have to buy.  That can’t be right.

So, slowly I began to use the Samsung S7 Edge. What a beautiful phone – if nothing else, looks wise it was like comparing Florence Welch to Vera Duckworth, Florence being the Samsung.  It sits in your hand with more ‘ooomph’ than an orphaned kitten, it really is something to behold.

The big drawback was something all Android/Mac users will tell you about – synchronizing.  See, when you plug your iPhone 6S into your Mac, it syncs everything for you, writing data in both directions between your phone and your laptop.  The Samsung has none of that, despite several apps claiming they will do it, I have yet to find one that really does work.  So manually, I pull out the expansion card and write all of my data, music, contacts across once or twice a month.

It really was a bit of a drag – or so I thought.  The more I used the phone the more I liked it.  Yes, dragging the data across was a bit of a pain but I am happy to do it now and have much preferred to stick with the Samsung over the iPhone.  In fact over the last couple of months, the 128gb iPhone 6 has become nothing more than a very expensive iPod.

Another nail in its coffin – I downloaded a music player to the Android the other day and have to say the sound is insanely good so the iPhone days are clearly numbered.  With a 7 year old Mac beginning to creak at the seams, there could easily be a 100% move away from Apple on the cards.

Apple have left me miffed for a long time, offering updates with many new things but they never – NEVER tell you what they have taken away, and they always take away something I am very used to using.  Now at this point I would normally push you over to the App store where you could read customers reviews of Apple software updates so you can see for yourselves – BUT – as their last 3 software releases got so badly slammed by the users, Apple decided to stop letting people leave reviews. That’s good logic right ?

Now, back to Samsung – technically, the phone is streets ahead.  I won’t bore you with blurb but instead stun you with a master piece of a practical experiment.

In the photos section of my blog you will find a folder entitled ‘Asia’.  In there are photos that have only been taken with a smart phone, my big camera hasn’t seen the light of day. If you click on one of the photos it will open it in full screen but also show you the source of the photo – i.e. iPhone 6s or Samsung (SM).

You will be stunned by the photos the Samsung has taken – stunned!  You will be certain I am telling porkies and I used my big camera – but no, they are all phone shots – the Samsung not streets ahead, but motorways/freeways/autobahn ahead.  The iPhone is an infinity away – it misses the mark by at least a Steve Jobs.

So there you are – Samsung over Apple every day of the week.

There is however, a sting in the tail.  A sad ‘Steve Urwin’ style of sting that threatens to diminish all that the Samsung has achieved. Even the waterproof phone that I can use to Skype the squeeze while I am in the shower has a serious, loyalty threatening flaw.

Customer Service.

I had the misfortune just over a week ago to be laying on the floor with the phone in my pocket. I heard that light and gentle crack that can only come from smart phone glass and knew instantly I had damaged my phone.  I took it out of my pocket to see the back of the phone was shattered.  I was pretty amazed if I am honest – I didn’t even realise the back was glass.

Anyway – it broke. I took it to the local Samsung shop here in Singapore.  They told me as it was a UK phone, they could not repair it as the parts were different.

I got in touch with Samsung customer services in the UK. I got in touch with then 6 times in as many days.  After 6 days of repetitive email it transpired that the Samsung ‘Experience’ store in Leicester couldn’t repair it for me, they could only sell me a new unit. It also came to light that there was not an approved Samsung repairer within a 50 mile radius so my only option was to have a courier collect the phone, have it repaired and returned to me.  This would take 7-10 days.

I am lucky.  I have a back up phone – the 6s.  Could you imagine not having a back up phone and being without your whole world for a week or more?

Now here’s the real sticking point for me.  If I broke my iPhone in the same way, I could walk into ANY Apple store worldwide, pay a small fee and take an exchange phone out of the store normally within 20 minutes or so of walking in. Samsung may just piss me off and direct me back to the Apple store.

Samsung please take note (but note a Galaxy note as they catch fire right ?)

Now, bug off over to the Asia photos section and see what I mean.

 


Pure Plagiarism

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to £100…
If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this…

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay £1.
The sixth would pay £3.
The seventh would pay £7..
The eighth would pay £12.
The ninth would pay £18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay £59.

So, that’s what they decided to do..

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball.

“Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by £20”. Drinks for the ten men would now cost just £80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes.

So the first four men were unaffected.

They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men?
The paying customers?

How could they divide the £20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

They realised that £20 divided by six is £3.33. But if they
subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).

The sixth now paid £2 instead of £3 (33% saving).

The seventh now paid £5 instead of £7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid £9 instead of £12 (25% saving).

The ninth now paid £14 instead of £18 (22% saving).

The tenth now paid £49 instead of £59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a pound out of the £20 saving,” declared the sixth man.

He pointed to the tenth man,”but he got £10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a pound too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!”

“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get £10 back, when I got only £2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works.

The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction.

Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.

In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.


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