Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Olde Tyme Pyrate Pics and Other Misspelled Activites

One Ring and I were talking yesterday about how, no matter what tourist trap we go to, we always seem to find those photo shops that dress you up in antique looking clothes and then take your picture. Thing is, these places are always set up in a wild west theme. It doesn't matter where you are - we were in Virginia Beach last month, for example - or how far away from the "wild west" you are, there are going to be photo studios that do that style of picture.

But try to find one that will dress you up as a pirate. Is that possible? Oh, heck no! Unless you live near one of the two studios I found on the internet (I think both are in California - yeah, there was a pirate hotspot!), your choices are cowboy, cowgirl, or ahem, lady of the evening.

Until now.

And of course, it's Disney World that's taking the issue head on!

Eye-liner not necessarily included ...

Here's the news from All Ears Net:

The Pirate League opens in the Magic Kingdom's Adventureland on June 29, 2009. The new location will be the spot for aspiring buccaneers to acquire special costumes and accessories, as well as an official pirate name. Guests can chose from three daily pirate packages:

-- First Mate Package: Includes bandanna; choice of facial effects (scars, tattoos, fake teeth, earring and eye patch); sword and sheath; pirate coin necklace; one 5x7 inch photo and personalized pirate oath for $49.95 plus tax.

-- Empress Package: Includes bandanna; shimmering makeup (face gem, tattoos, nail polish, earring and eye patch); sword and sheath; pirate coin necklace; one 5x7 inch photo and personalized pirate oath for $49.95 plus tax.

-- Captain's Package: Includes choice of costume/outfit from selection: choice of facial effects (scars, tattoos, fake teeth, earring and eye patch); sword and sheath; pirate coin necklace; three 5x7 inch photos and personalized pirate oath for $124.95 plus tax.

For reservations (for boys, girls and adults), call 407-WDW-CREW beginning May 11.

One Ring has already said that she's forking over the cash and getting me photographed the next time we head down there (July 18th!). You can bet that the picture is going to show up on facebook and this blog. The big question is: Will she make me a Captain, or a lowly swab? Leave your comments, and I will forward them on to her. Piracy was a democratic enterprise, you know. So let's put this to a vote!

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Old Pirates, New Pirates

There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal regarding the recent increase in news coverage of the Somali pirates. The author asked Cap'n Slappy, one of the founders of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, whether he thought that the modern pirates would detract from the popularity of pirate festivals, reenactments, and general fun with rum.

Good article, and well worth the read. Here's the link.

More later.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Guitar Pedal Blues

For some reason, I have a habit of becoming interested in things long after they go out of style. Books go out of print, movies that I had on VHS are unavailable on DVD, and cars that were hot years ago are no longer made when I finally have enough cash to buy one (Honda Civic del Sol, where are you????). Now my interest, and of course unavailable object, is in a particular type of guitar pedal. Namely, one that makes a guitar sound like a sitar.

Why a sitar, you ask (I'm assuming you're asking, because I'm about to tell you anyway!)? Well, the first song I asked my guitar teacher to show me was "Don't Come Around Here No More" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I've talked about that before. Sure enough, there's a sitar in there. There's also a sitar or sitar-like sound in "Paint it Black, by The Rolling Stones, "Norwegian Wood" by The Beatles, and even "Wherever I May Roam" by Metallica. Since I love those songs, and want to play them, I want the pedal.

Trouble is, there isn't one for sale right now. Oh, sure, there used to be. Danelectro made the Swami, Digitech made The Weapon (Dan Donegan's signature pedal), and there were a few others, like the Maharishi. The only place you can get these pedals, though, are on Ebay or some other third party site. The prices are absurdly high, due to the limited quanitity, and they usually come minus a few parts (like power cables or instructions).

So now I'm down to my last desparate choice. Make my own. Mind you, I've never soldered anything, but I'm about to order the circuit board and parts to make the Jawari, which was originally designed by Tim Escobar and is now sold by (at least the circuit board is sold by) General Guitar Gadgets. The parts I'm going to have to order through Small Bear Electronics, as my local radio shack was sadly lacking in anything resembling electronic supplies. Remember the days when Radio Shack had everything you needed to build everything from a radio to a computer? Yeah, those days are long gone, apparently.

Anyway, today I found a company that custom made a Jawari for one of their clients. Woohoo! thought I. No need to worry about soldering or screwing up over $50 worth of stuff. So I fired off an email to see how much it would cost. And I discovered two problems.

The first is that they're based in Germany. Shipping charges would be a nightmare. the second problem is that the dollar continues to be worthless against the Euro. So the price they quoted me (100 Euros) would become $135 (at least) not including shipping and handling. And they wouldn't even paint the box!

So now I'm back to square one: teach myself how to solder and then build the box on my own. Kind of exciting, but I've never worked with electronics or electricity, so I'm feeling a tad nervous about the whole endeavor.

Anybody out there ever do something like this before?

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Is It Wrong ...

... to want to build a house that looks like this?

Yes, it's my dream. Will it come true? Doubtful. But there's something about the Haunted Mansion in Disney World that would make for an awesome home! : )

By the way, there is a pirate connection to this house - or at least the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. According to one of the backstories, Master Gracey, the owner of the Haunted Mansion, was a pirate who attempted to buy his way into New Orleans society by marrying the daughter of a noble. While Capt. Gracey was out to sea, apparently "financing" the wedding, the father of the bride informed her that her fiance had died in a shipwreck. Distraught, the bride raced through the bayou to the Captain's mansion, where she locked herself in the attic. She died there of a broken heart and became the "Bride in the Attic" ghost (of course, the current Disney World bride in the attic is a "black widow" serial killer).

Captain Gracey, upon his return, hung himself from the entryway rafters, and became the "Ghost Host" that we all know and love.

You can find this story under the heading, "Portrait #2" here. You can also find a dramatic audio reading of this story at the Doombuggies site. Look on the left hand site for the "Nuptual Doom" picture and link. It's really good, and I listen to it every Halloween for fun.
Going to lunch. Back sometime today.

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Those Other Pirates

Can you say appeals galore?

Last week, four administrators from The Pirate Bay, one of the world's largest file-sharing (and illegal downloading) sites, were found guilty of violating copyright / intellectual property laws and sentenced to a year in prison and $3 million in punitive damages. It appeared to be a slam dunk case, and the end of one of the major players in internet piracy.

Except that the judge failed to mention that he had a teeny, tiny conflict of interest. Turns out he belongs to two copyright protection groups. So now the motions for appeal and retrials are flying. 22 million users of the site are watching and waiting.

Here's the full story.

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We do more before 9 AM ...

... something, something, something.

Just got my coffee. I drink two (big) cups a day - one to get me to work, and the other to keep me there. Today is going to be a long, boring one. The doctor is out, nothing is scheduled, and Annoying Coworker is already starting stuff. On top of that, Drink Man is working on a conspiracy theory regarding his personal life that is making my brain hurt.

Should have treated myself to a latte!

Met a woman outside the coffee shop today. She had two purebred beagles that she rescued from a shelter. They were so cute. Made me wish I lived on a large bit of land (or had a huge house), so we could have a larger canine family. Then I drank my coffee and came to my senses.

I'll write more when I wake up.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Let the Trial Begin!

So the surviving pirate from the Maersk Alabama drama was captured and taken into custody after U.S. Navy Seal sniper teams killed his cohorts. His trial, as I'm sure you've heard on the news, is bound to be interesting, as prosecutors want to try the 15-year-old (if you believe his father; 18 if you believe the FBI) Somali as an adult with life in prison as the harshest penalty.

This may not be the trial of the century, but it's been a long time since pirates went before the court in these here United States. When was the last time?

Well, according to the US Naval Institute blog, that would be 1861, when the Savannah, out of Charleston, SC, made the huge error of mistaking the brig USS Perry for a merchant vessel. The Savannah was captured and the crew put on trial. Ultimately the whole case hinged on whether or not the ship and her crew were pirates or privateers. A privateer receives permission (a Letter of Marque) to raid shipping and confiscate goods from a sovereign nation, while pirates do the same thing without any nation's approval. Did the Confederate States of America have the right to send out privateers, or were these sailors simply pirates? The jury couldn't decide, so a mistrial was declared. Of course, the issue would become moot in a couple of years, when the Civil War decided this and other issues once and for all.

There's a really neat article on the Savannah in an 1861 issue of Harper's Weekly, which can be seen here. The link goes to a picture of the Savannah. Once there, click the link under the drawing to get to the article.

148 years later, and we're back to the same problem. This is going to be a very interesting trial.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Sucker for a Ghost Story

Last night I watched an episode of Ghost Hunters on my DVR. I haven't watched the show since the horrible 2008 Halloween live episode, in which the investigators appeared incompetant, unprofessional, and frauds. But I had heard that they were going to the aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia to investigate a haunting surrounding a travelling Titanic exhibit. According to the exhibit curators, all sorts of creepy stuff - cold spots, unseen hands pushing people around, and full body apparitions - are experienced.

So yes, I devoted 30 minutes (the investigation only took up half the show) of my life to see what they would find.

The answer? Not much. Oh, sure there were the usual experiences, such has "Hey! Someone just grabbed my arm!" or "Did you fall?" "No, someone pushed me!" but nothing that could be scientifically proven. They picked up one EVP, that seemed to say something like, "No. Wait. Please stay." But again, after the Halloween fiasco, I can't accept that as evidence. For all I know, the sound guy (they travel with a full crew, as audiences discovered) could have done that up on a mixing board.

Still, it would have made for a creepy fun time, if it were true.

I also checked out the movie The Haunting in Connecticut, which is supposedly based on a true story. I say supposedly because it's brought to us by the same investigative team - Ed and Lorraine Warren - who were the first ones to take a look at the famous Amityville Horror house. If you recall, that story, after making a small fortune for the owners of the house through book and movie deals, was proven to be absolutely false. This time around, the Warrens brought their grandson and nephew and announced that they were "psychic researchers."

And like their previous investigation in Amityville, this story has been shown to be completely false. Apparently the only "true" part in the "based on a true story" is that the family bought a house that used to be a funeral home. That's it. Everything else is Hollywood. Which is a shame, because the film looks like it would be a great ghost story in its own right, without the "based on a true story" hook. And I wouldn't feel like an idiot after thinking, "Really? I'm not being fooled for the umpteenth time?"

Because just for once, I'd love to visit a authentic haunted location and witness an actual haunting. Yeah, I'm that much of a sucker for a ghost story.

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The Facebook Tea Party War and Other Strange Events

I've been remiss in my posting of non-frustrating things. Yesterday I went over my writing from the last few days and noticed that I've been spending a lot of time venting my frustration about Annoying Coworker or patients, or my depression, or whatever it is that I seem to feel like whining about. Either that or the pirate situation in Somalia. That's captured my attention, too.

But today is a (somewhat) better day. The weather is beautiful, there's nothing going on, and I have my second cup of coffee in hand before 9 am (and that's a bloody miracle!). So I figured I'd keep things a little lighter, unless all chaos raises its ugly head and ruins what looks to be a wonderful day. Always the optimist, I am!

Two nights ago I posted a comment on my Facebook page regarding the conservative protests to Obama's tax plan. I simply said, "What a waste of perfectly good tea." That's it. Apparently that was enough, though, to spark a barrage of posts from my friends and acquaintences that is still going strong and driven at least on person from Facebook all together - at least for the moment.

I find it amazing that people are having such a visceral reaction now to the financial plans of the country. Where were they for the six years that the conservatives controlled the entire government and let us from a budget surplus to a massive deficit? Where were they when the recession started, and the government did nothing? Where were the flying tea bags then?

But now that the liberals and moderates have taken charge, suddenly the country is heading to hell in the proverbial handbasket. And the people who were accusing protestors of siding with terrorists are now calling protests a patriotic act.

What a strange country we live in!

And I still consider Wednesday's protests to be a considerable waste of tea.

In other news, I am temporarily suspending (for the weekend, probably) reporting on the pirate situation in the seas off Somalia to take a look at another type of piracy - file sharing.

Late yesterday (Friday in Europe), Swedish courts handed down a stiff guilty verdict and sentence for the founders of Pirate Bay, a file sharing site popular around the world. Each will serve a year in prison and have to pay fines totally $3.6 million. There's a lot of speculation on the internet as to how this will affect file sharing and illegal downloading of music and movies. Already a significant drop in internet traffic out of Sweden, occuring with the start of the trial, has been noted by the folks who monitor such things. My personal opinion is that another website will open up - if it hasn't already - in a country that doesn't care much for such things. Piracy of intellectual property is commonplace in Asia and elsewhere. I remember seeing kiosks selling bootleg tapes in Russia. So probably we'll see the next generation of the Pirate Bay opening up in China or Somalia - wouldn't that be ironic; pirate websites operating out of a pirate nation! - or somewhere else soon. Assuming they aren't up already.

One Ring has gone to visit her parents and attend a bridal shower for a friend. So I'm doing the bachelor thing all weekend. I'll post more on this and other things later on.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Morning Groans

I'm here. I'm breathing. I'm tired. I haven't had my second cup of coffee and already Annoying Coworker has come to me twice with issues to which he already knows the answers. On the plus side, he seems to be quite the expert on CYA actions, so perhaps I'll listen (just a little bit) to him on occasion. But for the moment, my tolerance level for silliness is at a particularly low level.

So lunch is in a little while and nothing much is happening at the moment. If I get more energy and life gets more interesting, I may write more. Otherwise ...


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Monday, April 13, 2009

Ye Been Warned!

Annoying Coworker has been bombarding my inbox with repeated claims of ignorance regading policies, proceedures, and desires for me to do his work. I had to take a break from the last rant in order to calm down and vent a little bit to Drink Man. When I came back, AC was waiting for me. Actually, I had no sooner sat down and began typing through some charts before I heard his shuffling feet moving slowly down the hallway. AC is a large man, and for some reason he doesn't pick up his feet when he walks. The resulting sound is what I imagine a very slow moving zombie makes - only more annoying.

After repeating some of my responses, and covering the same material that we had already covered in the emails, I must have sighed or groaned loudly because he asked, "Is something wrong?"

"Well, I'm busy and I'm tired. Plus I'm sure you've noticed that the heat in this office is cranked up to that of an oven. And I'm pretty sure we've already been over all the things that we've been talking about for the last 15 minutes!"

"I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page," he stammered. "That's all. And I really think we need to sit down with the boss to discuss how we're going to do things."

"Look, she's already said that she doesn't want to be disturbed because she's working on things. If you want to bother her, go ahead. But I'm leaving her be."

"Uh ... okay." And then he shuffled slowly off. He turned once to ask another question, but the look on my face sent him on his way.

"You know she took me off the curriculum project ..." he said from the hallway to no one in particular.

Probably because she wants the work to get done, I thought.

Next person to walk in will get a broadside!

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Feeling Marooned

Today is frustrating, boring, and lonely. Not sure why - I mean there's the obvious reason that the doctor is on vacation and so I'm all alone at my end of the hall with nothing to do - but I'm just really over it today. Like I just want to wander off and find something much more interesting to do, such as watching paint dry or ants march. It's just been that kind of day.

Before I forget, the above painting is by 19th Century painter Howard Pyle and is entitled Marooned. So don't anyone sue me for not citing sources! Of course, that raises the question whether pirates actually cite sources, or just steal them outright! : ) But I digress ...

I guess part of the problem is the natural let down I'm feeling from being off all weekend and coming back to work - an environment that seems to be growing more dysfunctional at an exponential rate. The only other person I work with in this department (other than the aforementioned doctor) is going to be out tomorrow, and is in the process of trying to send most of his work my way. Annoying Coworker is also trying to sow discord by bringing in my superiors and insinuating that I'm not doing my job. And nothing gets my rage going than for a lazy person to call me lazy!

You know what? I'm going to continue this rant later. Drink Man just called and he's doing a coffee run. I'll be back in a few when I'm calmed down more.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

And It's Over!

Navy Seals rescued Captain Phillips of the Maersk Alabama, killing three of the four pirates. The fourth is now in custody.

Here's the story. I'm going back to eating Easter candy.

Have a great rest of the weekend.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

More Proof That Those Who Fail to Learn from History ...

... are doomed to repeat it.

This time the lesson comes from the Barbary Pirate War, when Jefferson was in the White House and William Bainbridge was an officer in the naval force sent to the coast of North Africa to stop the pirates. Today, it's a different coast of Africa, Bainbridge is a destroyer named after the aforementioned officer, but the story is very much the same.

Here's the New York Times article that proves the point.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Video of Today's Tornado

I pulled this from The Tennessean's website.

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Tornado Update

The latest reports are that two are dead and thirteen are injured following a dual tornado strike in Murfreesboro, TN, where I work. Here's the latest from The Tennessean.

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I Think I Want to Move

We just had a line of tornado producing storms roar through here. In fact, I was for a time trapped in another part of the hospital. Actually I refused to be trapped, and ran across the parking lot in the pouring rain, unaware that this was going on at the same time:

This picture was taken from the front door of the building where I work. The tornado is passing over the far end of the complex and heading towards a residential area nearby. And yes, One Ring is angry at me for being a fool!

News is still sketchy, but we've been hearing sirens and seeing a lot of rescue vehicles going in the direction where the touchdown occurred. There may have been more than one tornado. According to the latest news I could get, there were nine injuries and and quite a bit of damage. Needless to say, we're all a bit shaken over here.

We live north of my work, so One Ring and the dogs escaped the worst of it, though she did have to spend quite a bit of time in the closet with the nervous pups. Actually, she said only Barney was nervous - Kona had fallen asleep. Typical for that crazy mutt. She gets freaked out by light and shadows on the floor, but a tornado? Nah, that's not worth staying awake for!

This is our second run in with tornados this season. The last one came with a storm system that flooded parts of downtown Nashville and severely damaged several businesses not far from our house. This one was a lot worse and both hit without any warning. I'm sorry, but I'm used to hurricanes. With them, you get a week or so worth of warning, the local news stations pass out nice little maps so you play storm tracker at home. Shoot, we would even occasionally have hurricane parties! Not with these things. I told One Ring that if this keeps up, I'm moving back to the coast!

Okay, there's more to post, but that will have to wait.

Hope everyone else is doing okay.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Craziness at Work and Other News

I have a headache. Not because of allergies, though the dust and pollen around here have really amped up over the last few days. No, I'm going crazy because Annoying Coworker is roaming the hallways of work.

You see, there's an argument over intake paperwork into which people are putting WAY too much energy. Annoying Coworker doesn't want to do the task that we've been assigned, so he's throwing his energy into saying that the paperwork should not be done the way the boss wants it done. Rather, it should be done his way. And since the boss (and the doctor) aren't in this week, he's coming into my office and venting. Thankfully, I'm not a chaplain anymore, so I don't have to pretend I'm compassionate. I am compassionate, mind you, but when dealing with Axis II personality disorders such as narcissism, it's best not to let that show. Otherwise you're simply fueling a fire that will never end.

So Annoying Coworker is annoying, and I'm trying to get in touch with my boss to figure out what's going on. In the meantime, one of my colleagues is leaving today for Florida, so a group of us are meeting after work for dinner and drinks. The talented people seem to be fleeing here, so now I'm beginning to nervously wonder if getting hired on as a permanent employee was such a wonderful event!

But wait, there's more going on today!

Annoying Coworker also took Tuesday off, leaving me to run the entire clinic BY MYSELF. Insert expletives here, please! Yep, even though the doctor is on vacation, he's decided that he can skip town to run some errands, even though I'm the one with the least experience with this patient population. On the plus side, I won't have to deal with him. On the negative side, the patient group that's coming in on Tuesday are really messed up individuals, and require a lot of work. Grrr.

Over in the pirate department, there are updates!

The pirates apparently have called in reinforcements from Somalia to rescue their four comrades who are holding Captain Richard Phillips on a lifeboat. Thing is, those reinforcements, assuming they're dumb enough to show up, will be met by the USS Bainbridge, which is already on station, and the USS Halyburton (named after a corpsman who died in battle during WWII, and not the infamous government contractor - which is spelled Halliburton, by the way - as I had originally feared!), which is on its way.

In this article, a spokesperson for the pirates stated blustered, “The situation will end soon. Either the Americans take their man and sink the boat with my colleagues, or we will soon recover the captain and my colleagues in the coming hours.

“But if they, Americans, attempt to use any military operation I am sure that nobody will survive,” he said.

If he's referring to people on his side of the conflict, I'm inclined to agree. Otherwise, I think he's wrong. A destroyer and a frigate against a bunch of guys in open boats with outboard motors? I'm thinking their rescue operations won't get anywhere near Phillips and his captors.

Factor in Navy Seals and Marines who I'm sure are present as well, and the odds go against the pirates exponentially. This is going to get very interesting very soon.

And, in an anticlimatic final thought before I leave here, head to a bookstore to relax and then head to dinner with Drink Man, Departing Colleague, and a couple others, I am happy to point out that my Pirates of the Mysterious Islands cards should be delivered today by UPS. Small joy, but a geeky needed one!

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The Pirate Standoff Continues

Yesterday, as I got ready to leave work, I thought the pirate attack on the U.S. cargo ship off the coast of Somalia was pretty much over. The crew had fought back, disabled the ship, and even was rumored to have captured one of the pirates. The other 3 or 4, I believed, had gone over the side with their tails between their legs. Even One Ring, not known for patriotic furvor, joked, "Don't mess with the U.S.!" And I was feeling very proud of our merchant marines. I still am.

But now it has become apparent that while the pirates did go over the side in a life boat, they took the captain of the Maersk Alabama with them. The USS Bainbridge, a destroyer, is on location now, and the FBI hostage rescue team and hostage negotiators are also working to free Captain Richard Phillips. Here's the latest from the AP wire.

Unless the pirates are incredibly stupid, desperate (which is possible), or suicidal (again, possible), Capt. Phillips should be okay. The problem is, though, that no matter how this standoff ends, the piracy situation is unlikely to change. There are only 20 warships in the waters around Somalia, an area 5 times the size of Texas. Clearly a much larger force is needed. Furthermore, Somalia has not had a working government since the early '90s, and the last time we tried to fix that, we ended up in the famous Blackhawk Down scenario.

So if you're of a mind, keep the Captain, his crew, and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Hopefully this situation will be worked out, both in the short and long terms.

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I Wish More of My Patients Were Like This!

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I Don't Even Want To Know What Goes In These Drinks!

I saw this on the Engrish Funny website. The first two are rather obscene, and show how risky translating things can be. But I chuckled when I saw the third drink. How exactly do you make a "Love of Pirates?" Click here to see the menu. Not safe for work. Of course, I'm at work now, so it shows what a wild, risk taking pirate I am, right? I said, "Right?"

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Well, That Didn't Take Long!

Remember my last post? The one where I told you that twenty Americans were being held captive by Somali pirates on a freighter from Norfolk, Virginia?

Yeah, well, it's all over.

The crew apparently didn't need the help of the United States Navy. Or any navy for that matter. They took the ship back themselves.

So I guess the message is that if the world really wants this pirate war to end, all they need to do is put Americans onboard! Think about it, what with the unemployment rate here being sky high, what would be a better solution? We get jobs, and the pirates get their tails kicked back to Somalia! : )

For the record, I'm not aware of even one instance of this happening during the Golden Age of Piracy (1650-1725). A lot of pirates are rolling in their graves right about now!

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I Wonder How the U.S. Navy Will Handle This

Up until this point, the Somali pirates have been attacking ships with non-American crews. I suspect that, even though the U.S. has ships in the Gulf of Aden, this is part of the reason we haven't heard much of any interdiction actions by our fleet. Most of the action, it seems, has been between the pirates and warships of other nations, such as Turkey or Russia.

All that may have just changed.

Yesterday the Maersk Alabama, based out of Norfolk, Virgina, was seized. It's carrying tons of food and other relief supplies and was heading to the Kenyan port of Mombasa. There are twenty Americans on board.

Here's a New York Times article that provides more information.

Norfolk, Virginia is home not only to many shipping terminals and drydocks, but also the Norfolk Naval Station, the world's largest naval base. It will be interesting to see how the Navy ships respond to that taking of a prize that has so many local connections...

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

And Fake Pirate Update

Saw this yesterday morning in the parking lot at work. The decal is on the front winshield of a black Scion XB (which I tend to call "milk wagons" due to their shape). I'm sorry, but calling your car "The Black Pearl" and using an old English font does not make you a pirate. Lubbers and rednecks all!

And this is coming from the guy who decorated his car in a "Haunted Mansion" theme. Don't worry, though. I've already promised One Ring that I won't do anything to my next car (which will hopefully be purchased soon after my new job is finalized).

It will however, probably still be rather piratical. Why? 'cause the way my household economy is at the moment, I'll probably end up getting a Toyota Y-Arrrrrrr-is! : )

But no stickers. That's just tacky.

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Real Pirate Update

After a long lull, the pirates operating off the coast of Somalia have apparently reorganized and have enacted new tactics. In fact, they've been quite successful, picking off 5 ships in 72 hours! Part of the reason for this is that they've left the Gulf of Aden - they're old hunting grounds - and have moved into less patrolled, but still very busy, shipping lanes.

Here's the article that explains more.

Seems the multi-national force has its work cut out for them.

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A Momentary Slowdown

So I figure I'll post a bit. First some good news.

The suicidal patient from yesterday was found alive, well, and not suicidal. Turns out that he was just mouthing off and venting his anger at the doctor. Figures. I'm finding it hard to resist the temptation to beat the tar out of him for making a very serious claim when he wasn't actually feeling that way.

But now I'm breathing a sigh of relief, although I am receiving a ton of memos and manuals from people I don't know at the hospital on how to properly treat suicidal patients. Of course I already KNOW that and have proven that before; people apparently feel the need to pass on knowledge and show how smart they are.

Drink Man is having a rough time today as one of his friends is leaving to take a job in West Palm Beach, FL. Meanwhile, her replacement has OCD and is obnoixious as hell. So this morning my cell phone was flooded with text messages from him complaining how screwed up things were in his building. He had calmed down by lunch, but apparently she is still critical of everything and anything she finds. Thing is, he has far, far more education and training (and experience) than she ever will. And she's trying to tell him what he's doing wrong.

I just fired off an email to the head of Chaplain Services, just to see if there was still any chance of me getting hired on there. Not sure if I even want the position they have (even though the money is A LOT better). But with all the craziness and disgruntled employees around here, it might not be a bad idea. And this whole suicide thing has me a tad shaken; it just hit me way too close to home.

Well more in a little while. I need to check on a few things.


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Monday, April 6, 2009

Well, That was Fun

Okay, without going into too much detail, let it be known that I screwed up. Maybe. Kinda sorta. I allowed a patient who exhibited suicidal ideations to leave my office. Of course, I'm not sure how I could have stopped him, since I was the only one here and he's built like a tank. Still, the boss said I should have stopped him, called the campus police, etc., while he was still on property.

So I've spent the last twenty minutes running around trying to get the local authorities out to his home to do a wellness check. Or, rather, I've worked with Annoying Coworker (God, please don't let him screw this one up!) and some other people in trying to get some help his way. The trouble is, the system seems more interested in CYA than actually doing something productive. I'm now wondering if I should work late until this is resolved one way or another.

I remember having a debate with my first chaplain supervisor as to whether or not one could prevent someone from completing suicide (that's the preferred term nowadays, as "committing" sounds like a criminal action). One of my chaplain colleagues said no, but he said yes, and to say otherwise was letting yourself off the hook for being responsible for your fellow human being. As one who has had both a fraternity brother and an ex-girlfriend complete suicide, all I can say is that hurts. I don't know to what degree I was / am still responsible for their actions, or for the actions of the patient who walked out on me today. What I do know is that I feel horrible. That and $4 will get you a latte at Starbucks.

I'm going home. I'm dreading coming in tomorrow.

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Nope, still boring!

We had just a momentary glimpse of excitement, but then everything went back to stone cold boring. I'm not complaining, though. In fact, I'm pretty relaxed and happy. So much so, that Drink Man wondered if I was having a manic spell.

30 minutes later ...

Okay, news of the moment: be careful of what you wish for. Not that I wished for this. I just had a patient come in and claim suicidal ideations. Now I'm running crazy. So I'll write more later.


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You Can Tell It's a Boring Day, Can't You?

For the record, I have never seen The Goonies. Hence, my less than perfect score on this here blog quiz, courtesy of Mental Floss. Click here to take it.

And here are my results:

A Pirate Quiz

Score: 92% (11 out of 12)

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Sleepy Monday

There were storms last night. I know this because Kona kept getting up and going outside to investigate the noises. No, she's not like other dogs. In fact, I'm pretty certain she's insane. One Ring is taking her to the vet today to rule out a physical cause to her occasional aggressive outbursts towards Barney the wimpy Beagle. We found some (very) minor wounds on his ear that could have come from racing through brush or from Kona's attacks, but we're not sure. So we're going to the vet, see what he says, and then taking her to obedience classes for some behavior modification.

So between the weather (and no, the tornados that hit Nashville did not come near us, although it was pretty scary for a while there) and Kona, I didn't sleep all that well last night. Which means I really want a nap RIGHT NOW! But, sadly, Annoying Coworker keeps calling me - even though he's right down the hall! - and asking me to do stuff. Doesn't he know that when the doctor is working in the ER, that's my nap time? Sheesh.

In other news...

I gave in to temptation and bought a box (18 packs) of Pirate cards. Yes, Wiz Kids was shut down by its parent company, Topps, and yes, there is no one here to play that most awesome of pirate tabletop games (like there are any other pirate table top games? None that I know of!), but still, I dropped $20 including s&h. Which came out to something like $0.72 per pack, if I don't include s&h and $1.11 if I do. Since they're $4 per pack in the stores - when you can find them - I'm pretty happy with the price. And I did find solo rules for the game, which I may use if I can't find anyone to play with. We'll see.

In more mature news, One Ring and I booked our anniversary getaway. It's 10 years this time around, so we decided to do something nice - and it's not Disney related (gasp! shock! outrage!)! We've booked a B&B for two nights in Chattanooga, where we'll hang out in the art district, see the aquarium and NOT go to the Dragon Dreams Dragon Museum, which is THE place to see what happens when OCD mixes with someone's hobby of collecting dragon related dust collectors! We went there the last time we were in Chattanooga, and while it was interesting to see some of the pieces that came from faraway places like Tibet, China, and Japan, most of it was just sad. Anyway, One Ring has spoken her piece and counted to three (a'la O Brother, Where Art Thou), so that is that.

In less mature news, that same weekend is the Tennesee Renaissance Festival's Pirate Weekend. So we're coming back on Sunday so I can get my pirate on. Huzzah!

This just in - One Ring called. Kona is physically healthy, and exhibiting behavior consistent with a dominant female. The Vet recommends behavior training, which is our next step. More on the crazy nut as things progress.


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Sunday, April 5, 2009

What I've Been Working On This Weekend

Just for giggles, and separate from my usual lessons.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

One Last Bit of Fun

... Before I call it a day.

My pirate name is:

Iron Tom Flint

A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

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Recently Seen on Pirate Mod

I know that I could never get away with wearing these - no self respecting purveyor of pyratical purposes could! But you have to admit, they are cuter than all get out. If my niece and nephew lived closer, I would sneak them into their baskets!

The egg one is really my favorite, as it takes a line from the famous song Yo, Ho! Yo, Ho! A Pirate's Life for Me!

"We're rascals and scoundrels, we're villains and knaves. Drink up me 'earties, yo ho. We're devils and black sheep, we're really bad eggs. Drink up me 'earties, yo ho!"

Just click here to go to Pirate Mod, where you can dress your li'l buccaneer in the holiday spirit!

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More Updates, Including a New Job (Possibly)

My interview took place yesterday, much to my surprise. I walked into the morning meeting, and heard my boss say, "Well, I (and a bunch of other colleagues) will be unavailable today as we're doing interviews for the AT positions." She later caught me in the hall and said, "You're today, as well."

I B.S.'d my way through it, and was nervous as all get out until I heard how the other interviews were going. My office is right across the hall from the conference room where the phone interviews were taking place. Since the speaker phone was turned up to 11 (much to my annoyance), I heard some of the other candidates. Not good.

Today my boss came into my office as I was looking busy (more on that later), and said, "I can't officially tell you anything, since HR has to mail you a letter, but you're on my list to get hired." Woohoo!

Now I just have to wait until HR wakes the **** up and gets their act together.

Meanwhile, you're favorite government employed pirate ex-chaplain (I do think I'm the only member of that demographic) has been busy trying to find what is going on with the makers of the most awesome Pirate board game ever. Wizkids was sold by Topps back in 2008, and supposedly all product lines were stopped. But apparently there's still stuff coming out. So, even though the government blocks all searches for websites that involve games, I've been trying to figure out if the game is going to continue, or if it's gone the way of many of my other favorite games.

I found this earlier today, which was referenced from the Wizkids site:

On November 10, 2008, Topps announced [1] the closure of Wizkids. How this will affect the game is not immediately known, as they are 'evaluating the viability' of Wizkids product lines at this time.

Wikipedia had this in its entry on Wizkids:
The Topps Company announced on Monday, Nov. 10th 2008 that it would be closing down WizKids and discontinuing product lines including HeroClix. Topps CEO Scott Silverstein commented "This was an extremely difficult decision. But in light of the current economic conditions, we feel it is necessary to align our gaming initiatives more closely with Topps current sports and entertainment offerings which are already being developed within our New York office."

In the statement announcing the close of WizKids, Topps also indicated that it was pursuing alternatives to discontinuing brands so that brands such as HeroClix could continue on without any noticeable disruption in future product offerings.

There are rumors of other companies looking at purchasing Wizkids or the Pirates Constructable Strategy Game Line, but so far I can't find anything about it.

Oh, well. 3 1/2 hours to go. The boss and the doctor I work with are both off doing something, and I've followed through with all my assignments, so there's nothing at the moment that needs worrying about. So I'm going to play some more before looking for things to do.

Enjoy the day.

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