Saturday, April 29, 2006

A new picture! OK, so now all the bloglines people will actually visit my blog. that's cool.

So... meself in a kilt, after Scottish dancing in the international night programme last week.

Friday, April 28, 2006

I've been asked to consider if I want to join the drama team or not. One of the guys left, went home. He decided to leave about 3 weeks before he left, and had been discussing it with personnel for some time. Id still have to do deckie job full-time and then drama team a few evenings a week, during free time.

In deck department, apparently in a few months some of the carpenters are leaving, and if no professional carpenters join, they may be looking for normal deckies to start learning that job. The carpenter's job does have slightly better hours... basically normal deckie, but no firerounds or gangway watch! Yes, it would be hard, giving up firerounds. It's so fun getting my sleep pattern all messed up, feeling depressed and never knowing what time it is, waking up terrified that I've missed the watch, and wanting to go home, but I think I could handle the disappointment of not
experiencing it.

If I try really hard.

One of the other deckies told me he thought it would be my kind of thing, as I like doing stuff with my hands, and am quite perfectionistic, and so on. I'd love to learn more proper carpentry.

We've been doing fire-fighting training this week. Went to the Chennai technical college of maritime, for 3 full days of lectures, plus one practical day, and one other day when the time was kind of confused. We've been hearing loads on board about the training course the previous preship went to in Sri Lanka, I think, and how it was fantastic, real loads of training, having to crawl through cargo containers set on fire, put out loads of types of fires, and so on.

We didn't learn ANYTHING in the lectures, nothing we didn't have in preship. We didn't even touch a fire extinguisher, or see a match get struck. But we get a certificate, just the same as the other people!

About the malaria tablets... they seem to perhaps be causing restlessness and sleeplessness, in varying degrees and forms. But many many people on board are finding it hard to sleep at night, just lying awake wanting to walk around or get up and type, or work out, or whatever. Particularly on Sundays, when we have to take the weekly extra pills. But we're not really tired in the day. Everyone is so hot and sweating so much anyway. We take 2 tablets daily, and another 2 extra on Sundays. so many and we must all take salt tablets as well, as we sweat so much.

Monday, April 24, 2006

We're going out this evening to eat (our k-group) as the k-group parents are leaving this week, for good. They only joined the ship for 3 months. K-group is sort of family or fellowship group, all from our preship. There is one set of "parents", one of the married couples on the ship, so each kgroup has one married couple as parents. Ours are from our preship (which is the ideal), but many are not, but ours leave this week.

One of the older couples on the ship are on furlough right now, but come back in a week or so, and they will be the new parents for our group. They were also at the preship training. Each week we have a time together, for an hour or so, and generally it's in the parents' cabin, so they host it, generally provide drinks and buscuits, and so on. Also they make sure we're all ok, and not hating our jobs too much, or whatever.

Food here is very cheap. Like a whole meal for one person can be 4 dollars. For good meal, that is.
Fast food can be a dollar, or less. Mostly veggie. Many places have "veg", and "non-veg" on the back page.

I was so tired this week. My last off-day was right after watch, and we went out for the whole day,
so I'm just having a quiet day today. I read in the morning, had long lunch, chatting, and some music practice, perhaps clean up my cabin a bit, maybe start scripting a new film project or something this afternoon.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Just got back from the town. So many contrasts, so much poverty, so much deception, so much weird stuff. Several million people, bigger than London, and this is nothing like the capital. Huge numbers of beggers, homeless, etc. and the other people just shoving them out of the way, not caring, or worse. And so strange seeing thousands of idols everywhere.

Traffic is insane here, there are so many auto rickshaws. Imagine a 2 wheel hand cart, attached to a motorbike, and its slightly less posh than that. All metal.

Weather is pretty hot. Not too bad, for me. But if outside a long time in sun, for the Finnish, or whatever, it's bad.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

We're in India! Whoo!! etc.

We arrived yesterday, on the 11th April.

I'm kind of tired, in a general way, but also kind of excited and awake too. Jumping to the firerounds schedule (11pm to 7am work time!) really messed up my body clock, and so I got very little sleep the first few days. And I know I need sleep soon. But I'm going to stay up til lunch, and then sleep from lunchtime until 8 this evening, as one of our k-group is going on a team away from the ship for 2 weeks, and we are going to have a goodbye lunch for her.

So I was filling up time until then.

I've been part of a group learning a jazz/modern dance since pre-ship, and had wanted to make a "training" dvd for the dance, with each section (verse, chorus, rap-section, finale, etc) able to be played, and explained on the dvd, so that if people miss learning sessions, they can catch up faster, but also so that we can review on our own parts, and also to allow the dance to be kept going if key people leave the ship.

So I went just now to the photography/graphics office, and looked through their video collection to see if they had any tapes which had the dance on, with the right kind of tape that I can play on my camera, so I could start working on making the dvd (or at least a demo of the dvd,
which I could then use to persuade the dance leader to schedule a few sessions to properly record it).

While I was talking to the photographer about this, she (first of all she wanted to talk about my toaster video -- apparently her machine didn't play it right, so she watched it about 4 times trying to get to the ending, but it didn't work, and she was getting angry because she wanted to see how it ended! rather cool!)

.. anyway, she told me maybe I should apply for job of videographer, which is a post they have been looking for someone for for quite a while. I knew they wanted someone for the job, but thought they wanted a professional videographer, someone like dad. But she said no, in fact she had never even seen Adobe Photoshop until 2 weeks before they came to the ship, and had basically to learn on the job!

It's kind of weird... Like, all during firerounds this morning I was thinking about my job as a deckie.

I love the job, doing all the physical work and all, all the painting, scrubbing, chipping rust, and so on, but a lot of the attitude of some of the other deckies really annoys me, and I find hard to work with.

For instance, on the fire-rounds, there are these little red strips on the walls in different sections. What you are supposed to do is go to each section, make sure there are no irons plugged in, or whatever, check the bilges, and so on. Then scan the strip, and go on. There are some strips which are outside a hold, or other room, and you are supposed to open the door, check inside the space, and then close it and go on.

When talking with one of the other watchmen, I mentioned that I really didn't like going into one of the holds, as it's so creepy down there... always sounds like someone is walking around, and hiding from you. And he couldn't understand why I would go down there anyway, as the strip is outside the door, and "no-one ever bothers" to actually check inside. I dunno. Like some people are trying to get away with doing the least possible, but it seems like such a bad attitude to have, since we are here to serve God, and it's not like the jobs are enormously strenuous anyway.

Yeah, I've been kind of feeling a bit fed up with deck department for a week or two now. I was expecting it, of course. Most people go through a "down" cycle after about 3 to 8 months of their first department. And I've done 4 months of deck work now (including my STEP). So I know that it's just part of Doulos life, and that in 6 months more, I'll probably feel a lot better about it.

But anyway, I was thinking for ages this morning during my watch, if I was to move department, where would I go? I am even feeling engine room might be better, and was so tired with the attitude that if IT asked me to join them, I might even do that. Not too happy. So quite a surprise to hear someone tell me about this position needing filling, like the same day I'm really thinking about this.

Right now, I'm thinking it would be so cool to do this job. I'm pretty tired, and going through a not too happy week with deck dept, so I'm probably seeing it brighter than it is (the grass is always greener, and so on). I dunno. That's what I'll be praying about for the next while, we'll see what happens.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

I won "Pioneer" DoulOscar !

I thanked the toaster, said how great it was to work with, and how generous it was, etc, and then told everyone not to grow up. Stay as children. Its much more fun. We had 2 mintutes max for speeches, then they started playing snoring sound effects. Only one person got that though.

One of the creative people told me I got the pioneer award partly because I'm the only one doing short videos. Most people are trying to make whole long things.

our preship has a lot of techie/AV/media people, which is cool, and we're all (except I think 3) staying for 2 years, so hopefully we'll get the Doulos media quality going up and up. I was the only one in our preship to have made anything for the DoulOscars though!

Friday, April 07, 2006

I just got nominated for the DoulOscar "Most Creative" and also for "Best Actor". I have to prepare speeches in case I win... for the video I made about the Doulos toaster.* I was camera man, director, gaffer, editor, cutter, best boy, tea lady, actor, pyrotechnican, etc...

I want to make it again. Its kind of rushed in too many places but I learned a lot.

* note - to understand the significance, see the blog entry about the toaster

Thursday, April 06, 2006

We've been doing India orientation training. It was good, though quite long, and nothing too new: mozzies, be careful of drivers, no physical contact between men and women in public, no tight jeans, etc, knee length shorts at minimum, etc, etc, and be careful about what water we drink.

We all started malaria pills yesterday: dailies and weeklies. Apparently less nasty ones than last time, as there are hardly any resistant strains or anything here. The dailies are proguanil, and weeklies (as well!!) are chloroquinine. It turns out all of the people who got malaria last time were not taking their pills.

I think the biggest worry is crowd control. Apparently we will probably be doing no deck work for most of India, just crowd control. They're expecting at least 12000 visitors a day, maybe more.

One thing makes me very happy in India orientation: In most of the world, they talk of normal food, and veggie food. In India, they talk of normal food, and non-veggie food.

Food on board is very good now. Much pasta these days, the new chef Glenn is v. talented, and he has a hatred of "one each" signs. Most meal times there is fruit now, and also some at other times. Many times now we have signs up "ask galley staff for veggie option..."

It gets very hot now here... apparently we will have no visits to schools, as all the schools are closed for the next month, as it is too hot!!! And then we will start hitting monsoon season, I think. for most of Malasia, islands, etc. But we have teams out every day, loads of a-teams (2/3 weeks away from ship), and so on. One deck team per day is probably going out on visits too. We have only 5 teams, so maybe much more extra days out! whoo! Also the on board programme/conference schedule is up, and it is totally full. Like every morning, afternoon and evening, almost.

They had a couples night a few days ago, for all the marrieds on board. They interviewed over the last few weeks lots of them, talking about their families, pets, dogs, etc. and then mixed / edited them up. So they asked questions about the husband/wife, and then put in the answer about the dog, or something. eg: "what was your first impression of him? " "well, he has a really big nose, like this... " Funny.

i'm on firerounds or something next week, so I dont know what times I will be awake.