Thursday, June 25, 2009

A bumper crop

When I returned from the boat for my vacation yesterday, I was anxious to see how my tomatoes were doing and Excited to find them at the peak of their harvest-ability. I had told my neighbor Ann, who shares a yard with me, that she could have all she wants and to pick them as they become ripe. When I returned, she showed up with a big bag of them saying she had had all she wanted, but didn't know what to do with the rest. So I gave about a dozen to my other neighbor, Joey who has a wife and 2 kids and here's what's left of the ones that were close enough to ripe for picking. Who knew just 6 plants would produce so many!

Hmm. The picture has no frame of reference. Well, the biggest ones in that picture are 3.5 inches. I was surprised how much bigger they are than the store bought roma tomatoes =).
I grew romas for a reason: time to make some spaghetti sauce entirely from scratch! Too bad all my herb plants have long since died from neglect and the brutal Lousiana Summer heat.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer vacation #1

Hmm. Three posts in one day might be a little excessive, but one long post just wouldn't do for such unrelated topics.

T minus two days until the first of the two vacations I have planned for this summer! The second one will be for the Ashurst and Benac family reunions in Washington DC, of course, but this one will mostly consist of a road trip with some friends to Michigan for the Rothbury Music Festival. Why drive 20+ hours just to go to a concert, you ask? Well, let me assure you, dear reader, this is no ordinary concert. The very long list of performers is headlined by none other than the great Bob Dylan himself! Also, the festival is four days long and will include many activities other than just musical performances. Also, I love road trips.

But before embarking for Michigan on the 29th, I plan to:
1. get dental and eye exams
2. get a Louisiana driver's licence
3. get halfway through the two online college courses I am behind on
4. spend a couple days in Texas with my family
5. buy some clothes (ugh, I HATE shopping)

It's definitely not gonna be one of those relaxing, do-nothing vacations, and I am doubtful that I will accomplish as much as I'd like to, but it will be a nice change of pace to live fast for a couple weeks after all this time just floating around the Gulf.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Frigate birds and catfish

So, we've had some down time during the last couple weeks, but only for a day or half day at a time, so I've been doing some fishing. In the brackish waters of the Louisiana Coast, there is a whole different set of fish than I have ever been around before. I am told that what I want to catch are the red drum, or "Redfish," the black drum, or flounder. But after many attempts over two weeks, all I have had luck with is a particularly crappy variety of catfish locally known as "hardheads." Even old school Cajuns avoid eating this type of catfish, and old school Cajuns have ways of preparing almost every animal found in the state for human consumption. But I caught plenty of these hardheads. Here's a pic of the biggest one:

Impressed? No? Me neither.

Anyway yesterday we were tied up to an abandoned, ruined platform all night. In the morning when we went to unhitch from it, I noticed a flock of frigate birds roosting on top of it. Frigate birds migrate long distances over open ocean and can spend months on the wing without landing thanks to their unrivaled wingspan to weight ratio. I have been seeing them alone or in pairs lately, so I knew they were coming through here this time of year, but didn't expect to see any perched, let alone a couple dozen. So as we came close to the platform in order to cast off the mooring line, I gave a shout and they all took off at once. Here's a picture of that moment. I love the graceful shapes of their wings and tails.

My Dad

Thanks, Dad for:

Your ability to bear a virtually unlimited number of children on your back just like a horsey.

Making an effort to instill a deep, spiritual appreciation of all god's creatures great and small. Even the rare Omigosh bug.

Keeping a vast library of classic (and cult classic) literature. I still sneak books from your shelf when I visit. I'll bring "The Grapes of Wrath" back next time.

Teaching me how to hunt and fish, and then teaching me enough about computers that I don't have to except for fun.

Introducing me to Johnny Cash and Ray Stevens as well as Rimsky-Korsakoff and Mozart.

Reminding me to be good, and if I can't be good, to be careful.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Nocturnal Jet

Yes, dear readers, I have decided to reveal my alter ego as swashbuckling vampire super hero Nocturnal Jet! I'm sure most of you already had your suspicions, but now it's official.


The nocturnal jet is a meteorological phenomenon which has prevented us from getting any work done from about 12am to 12pm every day since Sunday. Incidentally, these are the hours of my shift, so I have spent my waking hours with the boat tied up to one of the numerous oil platforms out here and all the surveying is being done while I sleep. With the usual boredom of my job thus intensified, and this being my last week before my non-reunion Summer vacation (more on that later,) I think I have been acting a little strange, and my co-workers are kind of tip-toeing around me almost in awe of my 2.5 months with no time off.

But never fear, dear family and friends. I know how to cope with cabin fever and depression: overeating and escaping into computer games for 12 hour binges! Oh yeah, and exercise too, I guess.

P.S. This is my first post with a link in it. If you use the link, lemme know if it works. =P

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

2 Months

I just looked at the dates on these pics, and they were taken 2 months ago. That means I have been working on this boat for 9 weeks with no time off to speak of. Blasted perfect weather. So I guess it's about time to actually post said pics:

These Seagulls were really excited about or boat that day. Either they thought we were a fishing boat full of tasty morsels, or we were kicking up goodies from our wake. They followed us for a couple hours.

This huge tanker was anchored in the way of our survey line, so we called the Coast Guard up and they made the massive ship weigh anchor and get out of our way. We felt very important.

A sunset over dormant shrimping boats. Nice.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What i'm doin'

Well, I haven't posted in a while. I have no good reason for that at all. I will not apologize nor promise to do better in the future. It's just the way I roll. Anyway here is what I have been up to in the last couple weeks: Perfecting my alfredo making skills, reading nonfiction (Confessions of an Economic Hitman and A People's History of the United States,) working, trying to get back into an exercise routine, gaining weight (not the good kind, refer to alfredo making comment,) winning over my co-workers with my irresistible charm and quick learning, being very careful about choosing good friends, weeding my tomato patch (almost every day,) and, of course, playing guitar and computer games. Some things I have been missing: My Mother's birthday, my Brother's birthday, and my Sister's senior project performance. Things I will not be missing: my family reunion in Virginia this Summer. That's right, it's official that I will be there, and with plenty of time to spare.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The importance of eating well

With my recent abundance of free time due to Spring weather in the Gulf, and scarcity of social engagements due to being shy and new in town, I have been devoting a lot of time and energy into stuffing my face. I have tried making Quiche (yummy,) Alfredo (wish me better luck next time,) and new ways to perfect my old favorite bacon and eggs with whole wheat toast, strong black coffee, and a banana (the secret is to put the cheese in the pan before you put in the eggs, so the cheese flavor gets strong enough to hang out with the egg yolk flavor.) Also, I finally have a productive and renewable herb garden.
After reading my sister Jessica's post about her garden, I decided to follow suit and try my hand at veggies. Being the adventurous soul that I am, I decided to run before I walk and try tomatoes. There are three big planters in my yard where weeds have long since choked out what was meant for them, so I weeded and tilled one of them by hand until it was uniform, dark brown, loose, rich, sweet smelling soil. Then I planted six Roma tomato seedlings about 18 inches apart. My neighbor Ann came out and helped. She's cool like that. So I'll keep y'all posted about the 'maters.
So speaking of my neighbor Ann, we're gonna BBQ tonight just for fun, so I made my original recipe souse last night. I was about to start when I looked up at my pots and pans hanging over head and decided that enough was enough. I was sick of using crappy cookware. I have a gas stove, so I really needed some nice, thick bottom pans for it. So 90 bucks at Target later, I had a good saute' pan and a good 3qt sousepan, and a couple other random utensils. It was worth it. The first time I put a slice of bacon on that saute' pan, I actually heard angels singing. I never thought that kind of temperature control was possible on my cheap stove. No: cooking is not my calling in life. Just like being a rock star isn't. Going pro would take all the fun out of it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I am so shallow

So I am trying the online dating thang, and it has shown me that in spite of all my progressive ideas, and lofty aspirations, I am basically just like every other jerk out there. If I was really the compassionate nice guy that I see myself as, I would be giving the girl with severe cerebal palsy a chance. It's so sad and brave the way she went out there and posted pictures of herself, mentioned that she was just like other girls if you know what she means, and dared guys to give her a chance. Sorry, but I'm just not that guy. Or the lady that was like "I'm almost 40, I have two kids, three teeth, and I'm 250 pounds. If you're still interested we can talk." That was it. She meant it as a joke, but I think it's kind of sad. So what did I do? I messaged the cutest girl I could find whose write up showed the most promise of being fun to go out with, of course. I'm only human.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


It seems like any time I feel like blogging anymore, I feel like posting about two unrelated subjects, so here's the second post in one sitting:
My Basil plant is blooming! It's gonna have kids! The way things grow down here in the swamp, I'm gonna be rolling in home-made pesto all year! I bought a box with four full grown plants at a nursery for like six bucks. That's how much a bottle of dried basil costs at the supermarket. Apparently two were female and two were male. One of them died because I can't water them when I'm working offshore, so I have to hope it rains enough. The other one with flowers (I don't know if it's the males, or the females that produce fruit) is doing quite well, and today I noticed three flowers that look like tiny white orchids.

I'm not claiming to have a green thumb yet, though. the plants I have tried to raise from seeds are all dead, or in pretty bad shape from bugs eating at them. Oh well, looks like I at least have some free basil seeds coming.