Happy Hour OTC

Part of the reason I haven’t been getting much done since I’ve been home this trip is the fact that I went to the OTC last week and the Happy Hour afterwards.

The one I went to on Tuesday is just one of many similar parties put on by various companies to make it ‘easy to do business’. Hey, I’m all for that!

This one was sponsored by Wilhelmsen (ships service) for the USMAAA (Kings Point grads). No, I didn’t graduate from Kings Point. I did apply after I graduated from high school on the sailing ships and decided I wanted to become a professional mariner. Too bad they turned me down because I was “too fat”.

Too fat for WHAT?

They couldn’t give me a good answer for that, neither could the Navy when I tried them afterwards. Oh well, I found ways to sail without either Kings Point OR the Navy. It just took me about 10 times longer to reach my goal of Unlimited Master. Too bad things have deteriorated so much in that time that it’s no longer worth being a ships master. 🙁

It’s really great that the USMMAAA doesn’t actually require you to have gone to KP. They’re actually open to any member of the maritime community. I joined them a couple of years ago. I like to go to their events when I can.

This particular event was a happy hour held at Pappasito’s right around the corner from the OTC. They had a nice buffet with Mexican favorites like tortillas, burritos, quesadillas and plenty of beer and margaritas to wash it all down.

I met some interesting new people there and caught up with some old friends. That’s always my favorite part of these things. I love to learn more about all kinds of maritime subjects, but I really like to meet all the interesting people there and hear their stories. Some of them have been sailing even longer than I have!

I was having such a great time, I stayed a little longer than I should have. I didn’t get home til late and I’ve been making up for that late night ever since.

Can’t wait for the next one! 😉

OTC 2015

I haven’t really done much since I got home. I just can’t seem to get over the feeling of being so tired. I’ve been super lazy, but I did get out to go to the OTC in Houston on Tuesday.

I wanted to see all the neat new stuff they always have there. It’s a really great place to learn about what’s happening in the oilfield and get a feel for what the work situation will be like over the next year or so. I wasn’t able to go last year when it broke all records, but considering the price of oil and the feelings of most oilfield workers I’ve heard from, it did pretty good this year.

One thing they changed this year and I definitely did NOT like, was that they banned all photography. I really have no idea why they would do that and for someone that likes taking pictures as much as I do, it really SUCKS. Here’s a picture of the outside of the NRG center which is where the OTC is held in Houston every year.

I went to a lunch presentation about DP (Marine Technology for Dynamic Positioning). It seemed to be mostly promoting the German companies involved in the marine industries (MAN, Schottel, L-3) and wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I did meet some interesting tablemates: a couple of guys from Malaysia, a couple more from Turkey and an engineer from Paragon Drilling (which recently split off from Noble).

I wandered around for a few hours checking out all the displays. I was especially interested in the ones with new vessels coming out. I liked the ones from Ceona, McDermott, Boa and Subsea 7. I talked to a few people at the booths about future hiring possibilities. Sad to say (tho not unexpected in this market), most were not looking for any new crew.

I did meet a recruiter from Swift. They had a booth outside and were the only ones I met who were very actively looking for people to sign on. I was happy to talk over job prospects in their air conditioned tent over a beer. My feet were starting to ache after 4-5 hours of walking around!

All in all an interesting day, but if I’m home again next year I’ll go on Thursday when it’s FREE!

Photo 101: Edge & Alignment

Here’s my entry for the Day 18: Edge assignment. I think it’s ‘edgy’ in more ways than one. 😉

I took it at the Houston Museum of Art. It’s in the tunnel between the 2 parts of the museum. It changes colors (slowly) and it’s really neat to watch when people are going through it.

I haven’t seen anyone fall off the edge yet, but I checked it out and you wouldn’t fall very far. 😉

Photography 101 Challenge: Edge

Here’s my post for Day 18: Edge of the Photography 101 challenge. I think it’s pretty edgy in a couple of ways. 😉

Since I just saw the email from the Daily Post re:Converge, I’m going to use this post and photo for that challenge too. 🙂

I took this picture (and about 1000 more) at the Houston art museum. Problem is somehow I lost a huge amount of them. I have no idea what happened. I was glad I still had some left.

I like that museum. Actually, there are 2 of them. There’s the Museum of Fine Arts (FREE Thursdays) and the Contemporary Arts Museum (FREE always!) right across the street.

This picture is from the tunnel between them. They always have some good stuff to see and they have new exhibits pretty much every month. It’s worth checking out if you’re in Houston.

How to Host an Oktoberfest Party

How to Host an Oktoberfest Party – Betty Crocker.

Since I’ll be going back to work soon, I’ll be missing Octoberfest this year. It actually started in Munich yesterday.

It’s already over here in Houston. I might have gone if I knew about it earlier. Really, I just had too much to do at home to check out fun things to do. 🙁

It’s always like that when I first come home from being offshore for a month or more. With this new job I recently started it looks like I’ll be missing ALL of the things I’d like to do for the next few months at least. 🙁

Here are some fun suggestions for those of you who DO get a chance to enjoy some interesting events on your time off. 🙂

Those pretzels look especially interesting. And beer is always good, I even have some Saint Arnold Octoberfest brew in my fridge right now, I’ll just have to settle for a few of those before I leave for work. 🙂

Frantic Flying to Frankfurt

I’ve got a couple of hours layover here in Frankfurt so will write a quick post. 😉

I’ve already been up for over 24 hours (I can never sleep on a plane, I have to be lying down to get any sleep at all), and I don’t know how much longer it will be before I can get to sleep once I get to Aberdeen (Scotland). I might not have another chance to post for a while. 🙁

I had a hell of a time getting to the airport in Houston. I was late leaving the house (as usual), but I got to the airport in just over an hours time (really good time, actually).

When I dropped off the rental car, they had me go to the front desk to get the paperwork taken care of instead of with the little handheld machine they usually have. It took a few minutes longer.

My ticket said “LUFTHANSA”, the signs at the airport said Lufthansa is in terminal D. So, I got off the bus at terminal D. No such thing as Lufthansa there. I asked some airport workers and they said Lufthansa is at terminal E.

So, I rushed over to terminal E. There was no such thing as Lufthansa at terminal E. Only United! I asked at terminal E and they said Lufthansa was at terminal D. So, I rushed back over to terminal D.

I was pretty damn frustrated at that point and freaking out about missing my flight. I hadn’t even checked in yet and it was about an hour before scheduled departure time. I asked for some help at the Qatar Airlines desk and a lady was kind enough to check for me. Yes, it was a CODESHARE flight with United!

Why the hell didn’t it say that on the ticket or the website when I double checked my reservation? I was frantically running back and forth between terminals and all along it was  a United flight and NOT Lufthansa!

I actually made it through security (what a freakin’ joke!) and got to the gate with 3 minutes to spare before the scheduled departure time. I looked at my boarding pass and they had me in boarding group 5.

I was a little bewildered by that. I mean, is EVERYBODY who flies on United an elite member now? I thought there was supposed to be priority boarding for elite members. When I looked again at my boarding pass, I noticed they didn’t put my frequent flyer number on there and I wanted to make sure I got credit for the flight, so I went up to the desk and asked about it.

Turns out, they didn’t have me in the system at all (good thing I had time to check) and when they put my number in, I was moved to group 2. Much better.

I had time to do all that since the flight was delayed. 😉

It’s a good thing I didn’t have a real tight connection in Frankfurt!

This Video Will Make You Want to Become a Houston Harbor Pilot

gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News | This Video Will Make You Want to Become a Houston Harbor Pilot.

 

I agree! It’s a good video, a good advertisement for the Houston Pilots.

I almost don’t even think about it any more; what a pilot does, what it takes to become one, what it’s like to be one, how much we depend on them.

I’ve sailed on dozens of ships when we’ve used pilots. I’ve been on the helm entering Cape Hinchinbrook going to Valdez, AK. I’ve been on the helm entering San Francisco Bay heading up to Benicia. I’ve been on the helm passing through New York Harbor. I’ve been on the helm transiting the Houston Ship Channel.

I’ve always admired the skill, experience and local knowledge the pilots have. They’re a fantastic aid to any ship passing through an unfamiliar port.

I’ve never really wanted to be a pilot myself, tho it is definitely a challenging job. I still like traveling and HOPE to be able to go somewhere interesting again one of these days. Pilots are experts on their port and they stay in one place.

It seems the pilots job is one most captains hope for one day but not me. 😉