Hic Sunt Dracones

the smylere with the knyf under the cloke

Posts Tagged ‘offshore

Solar Sailer in the Sea of Simulation

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Life is something that happens when you can’t get to sleep.

— Fran Lebowitz

And drama.


Orange ambiance bathed half-a-dozen of Classic Juice empty bottles — a habitual beverage in a solitary mood for cinema — the light streak in between the soft toy of old and new as I set an alarm for Monday morning wake up call. The radio-iPod player warm glow at the the corner of the room commanded an ambiance of warmth. I should sleep easily.

The led light blinking and slowly lost it warm glow to outside light, screened by the blue blinds curtain.

I’m awake for hours from midnight. I ended up shutting the buzzing alarm at dawn. I let tiredness drape me, as the warm sun drape me to sleep till noon.

I thought of her.

The 6 months of offshore paid leaves ended. It’s a been awhile I’m being accustomed to cubicle 9-5 life. Even though it’s a contractual work on building up a database for newly bought Saturation Diving System from France, I rather be in the old office than being alone with other distraction at home.

Creative work on cinematography on hiatus, at least until March, then again, I might end up to Turkmenistan if I got a slot as a Diving Coordinator from the company that called themselves Sigur Ros — but none of the older generation engineers are uninterested with the Icelandic post-rock band. Come to think of it, I never met one of them who are genuinely interested with the band or even post-rock. By them, I meant a group of engineers that stuck on board the flotilla of  vessel or clunky oil rig in the middle of the sea or desserted town of post-communist bloc. A little appreciation of the melodic strings, percussion and synth might boost up the morale a little, that, and prayer.

I wanted to talk to her.

That sleepless night I thought of cold mechanical structure, sleeping in helium, bath in brine, work in abyss — translated in numerical database in a spreadsheets system.

Would she give me her number?

I got Numbers in my MacBook Pro, but they’re working in Win OS environment. Good thing I got Boot Camp installed — for MS Office, but more importantly for AutoCAD. Autodesk just released Mac version, but I don’t think I can spend a grand more on software. I’ve to make do with the old office’s version.

There’s countless version of scenario of how I should tackle the matter regarding her number, but which?

I spent the noon till evening crunching data from 7 boxes of manuals and technical books. It’s a mix feeling of elation meeting with the ex-colleagues and re-training my old engineering mind back to its track. 6 months break from engineering into creative work is an enjoyable months. From amateurish shot to professional production. I’m glad I’m given the chance to prove my strength in HDSLR cinematography, no matter how lack the skill I was when I first started out. It’s no wonder the ex-colleague are more interested with time-lapse question, choice of body and lens than answering my question to matter of the database work. It’s my first day. Be easy.

Getting her number won’t.

I was at the The Gardens’ Machines. It’s late. After three visit to different Machines store, finally I found a capable technician who are willing to take my Shure SE310 earphones.

Yuna, the musician just beside me with her errr, manly-friend. My mind said “Hi, I’m a fan!” My tongue uttered otherwise, slipping “uhm” and “ah” until it finally manage to change the subject of tongue slipping to more technical matter and economics: “It barely two years, the left ear bass driver are little off and why does it cost me RM1.2k in 2009 and now it’s RM800?”

Almost like bragging my audiophile attitude in front of her. While she’s more interested with buying an iPhone 4 for her (or her male-friend).

My ballooning audiophile technical jargon found its way to the the able Mac Technician, we talked about active-passive noise cancellation, treble and bass driver, stopping at vacuum amplifier, while waiting for my receipt.

I’m now less of one favourite earphones for traveling. At least for a month until they got it fix. Grado SR60i is too old school for a walk-about, and being open cans, not a good choice for public usage.

I like Sennheiser too.

Funny thing happened that night. I’m having my late fix of java at the Starbucks nearby and as the barista just about to pull the espresso shots — blackout. So there I was, coffee-less and with iPod without earphones, a MacBook Pro without wi-fi, a man without his night bath, a smelly guy sitting in the cozy cafe without air conditioner.

A guy trying to make a sense of this digital distraction and monologue affection.

Like any sane people in the deluge of digital world. I tweet on my handphone.

The timeline gone a little bit wild that night.

Instead of my smiling facial expression digitally bath with the white led, I’m now in a lit cafe. The power is back. Oh, the sweet barista troubled herself to Starbucks at The Borders to bring me to-go java.

I’m smiling a bit more and biting my lips as the timeline getting more visual.

I’m hungry. A hungry fat cat.

Semisonic’s Closing Time accompanying me home but not to bed.

I was wide awake till 8 am.

I started with compliment, gone half-through with half-joking intention. Ended up with embarrassment.


My tired mind failed me.

I was wide awake at noon, in the office. They’re formulating the work flow of repairing a hole at the strengthener of a Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. A converted tanker that work like an oil rig in deep sea oil field. There’s a hole smaller than iPhone inside the bow area. A work that only need 1 hour on dry land will took us 5 hours deep in the water. Welding in confined space always spells trouble. To make it worse it’s directly under the engine room and the waste collector. Oily and feces in the muddy dark cold water.

Oh, shit. I fucked up! I shouldn’t have asked her number!

There’s teleconference with a senior Inspection Diving Supervisor on the phone that involved with the FPSO’s last year Underwater Inspection in Lieu of Dry Docking (UWILD). He gave a pointer with the work flow, that shouldn’t be a problem getting a nod from Ship Classification Body like ABS or DNV. One of the engineer joke about sticking an iPhone with epoxy. Then the joke goes on from Corrosion Alarm App to Nanobots (my joke). We’re digressing. Back to the drawing board. Literally. The whole white board are blue lines of diagram and sea of red marks.

All it takes is time.

I can wait. Can I?

The underwater compartment will be flooded, the air bubbles from the air hose should gives the Welding Diver a few centimeter of clearance of open space and oxygen for the welding work. It took an hour to let the muddy water to settle down the sediments.

Settle down. The digital distraction may have wrought physical attention. It’s just classic Othello jealousy.

I was at the cafe. They’re a crowd of executives. Talking, sipping, eating, rowdy with laughter.

And all I thinking was is sleep (and finishing off this draft of entry).

Good night. Love.


Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy drowned me to sleep with Solar Sailer and Sea of Simulation.

Written by cthulhu

January 18, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Eclipse of the Soul

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I just got back from Singapore.

I missed a lot of thing during the span of the new year, even though I’ve been taking a day off from the very event that I’m scheduled to participate — yet job precedes ‘everything’, and the replacement leaves had been accumulating to hundred of days, exceeding 4 months.

I missed all the Steve McCurry workshop and talk last year (and the last 1st week of January 2010) due to my work.

I missed a couple of concert and art event, even though I’m just around Singapore at that time — can’t be away, since that would be MIA.

I missed the solar eclipse while I’m in Singapore — I didn’t bring my 5DM2 with me, due to excess baggage — the EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) took half of my bag spaces.

I misses her — Sue.

Recent news of her dad is in a good light. He’s recuperating well. The malignant cancer receding.

I’m happy for her.

Then came the news of the accepted proposal from ‘Mr. Paint-Man’.

I’m…happy for her?

I’m at Miri offshore and Labuan onshore in the span of 3 months when we broke up. When she broke up with me with that text to my parent.

The reason: because I follow my ex-gf Twitter and the Flickr set of a virtual avatar with my ex-gf. Seriously, this is the first time social networking becomes a reason for a break-up to me.

When it comes to proposal, isn’t it my parent advice to both of us to wait for your dad condition to get better?

She did told me, she’s joining an art class while I’m away being offshore, but I’ve never thought it’s more than just canvas painting.

It’s all right to defend myself, she said but never once I’ve got the chance to meet up.

Then came the acerbic comments of her relatives and friends in the Facebook regarding me, which she finally deleted me from her list. What’s the story behind that bitterness?

I’ve revisited the spot, the gallery, the route, the eateries and the sanctum of our shared thought — the last one month after the Miri long project. I’ve never felt so distant when I’m just physically close to the shadow of that past.

It’s so kafkaesque.

That reminds me, she still has a copy of my Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Then again, she gave me a hard copy of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. Maybe that’s a good deal of books swap.

Just tonight, before I read her entry. I walk along the Sushi Restaurant that we used to go. It’s one of the first time we had a long conversation. I remember when she cried when I told her how I remain supportive of her — all those years when I got back from UK. That thought alone is the strongest, on how frail humanity are without their love one. Holding her hand is comforting — like a comforting thought of mutual adoration.

Those years back from UK, we’re just friend back then, with me having a whole lot more problem with my life: dad in IJN having a by-pass surgery, my working visa being refused by UK Immigration and Customs while I got a house and bills to settle back in UK, just going through another break-up and having a fresh start with life with cynicism while the family got loads of lawsuit from relatives due to the lion’s share of the late grandfather’s wealth.

Life is full with cynicism.

I’m content with my past ex-gf who helped me to gain my confidence back, to live life optimistically. Which is ironic, when I’m the one who’s usually being the good listener, and giving other people hope and motivation.

With Sue, I’m living a hope.

I finally got a full-frame sensor Canon Eos 5D Mk II, even though I’m just a hobbyist and she’s camera shy. She’s sweet like that :)

I make an appointment with property agent to buy a house nearby her area of work, once she quit that awful university in Gombak — actually the awful part is the administration and her She-Monster boss. I’ve never told her that, about the apartment or the house.

I would sell the L lenses to afford a decent wedding. I took the 3 month project with a heavy heart because I knew the offshore allowances could at least support me for the RM10k I needed for the wedding.

I talk to my newly-wed colleagues about the procedure and all those paperwork. Which I kept the small note inside my wallet as a reminder.

When she told me about her male Arabic (and the Russian) student who keep on nagging her with marriage proposal, it’s hard to tell her to be patient and wait for me to come back from offshore.

Then the news of her dad’s illness of nasopharyngeal cancer. Which my mum advised both of us, to wait till her dad’s better health before any marriage proposal to be made — when I’m somewhere near the platform in Miri.

Just a few weeks before I gone off to Miri, I’ve invited her to meet my parent for dinner.

There’s so much hope in that small gathering amongst my siblings and parent.

That hope still alight, but it just not with her.

I wish my ex(es) as well as former female best friends happiness and serenity and I believe that we part in good terms due to differences in thoughts and outlook in life.


Oh yeah, different geography and art class.

I’m happy for her.

With only bitterness to myself.


Alcest is playing Ciel Errant from the Souvenirs d’Un Autre Monde album in the background.

Sky wanderer from the memories of another world.

How apt, as I wallow in the distant world of sleepless night.

En ouvrant les yeux le matin
Aussitôt la peine m’emplit
Mais parfois je ne ressens rien
Ou juste le vif sentiment
De ne pas être d’ici…
J’aime alors contempler le ciel
Avoir l’impression de m’envoler
vers les nuages qui passent puis s’effacent
Dans le bleu d’une mer sans fin.

By opening the eyes in the morning
Immediately the pain fills me
But sometimes I feel nothing
Or just the great feeling
Not be here …
I love when contemplating the sky
The feeling of fly
to passing clouds then fade
In the blue of an endless sea.


And for the record:

I never called Ebb or in contact with her since I dated you (Sue).

I don’t know who’s the one keep telling you lies about Ebb and me while I’m virtually incommunicado during offshore.

You (Sue) should know better.

Didn’t you experience the same state of erratic communication while I’m offshore for 6 months non-stop years back?

It’s only 3 months — and I promise to get back to you (Sue).

I got back — with discontent. Blaming my self, my job, my cynicism and my tolerance for patience for this failure.

Then I realised, what the effin’ for?

De gustibus, aut bene aut nihil.


Note to self:

What with the shopping therapy dude?

New L lens, Manfrotto monopod, Lowepro bag, Leatherman knife, Maglite and Surefire led light, Braun Buffel leather ware(s), New Balance hiking shoe(s) and Salomon attire(s)?

Start saving for the new Core i5/i7 15″ MacBook Pro or the Apple iSlate or whatever Apple going to call the tablet PC is.

And more books for the library!

Your marriage to capitalism (and intellectual) is vital!

Deep down I’m crying inside…and so does my wallet.

At Low in Putra Heights, Sideway to Sunway

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It’s been one year since I visit a friend, who’s also in the Oil & Gas business — now gone freelance in the ROV field.

It’s a hard time for him with less ROV job around here. China is booming with the job, but had been monopolize by certain quarter. Even the commercial diver rate had been slumping to a new low. For Air Diver, down to USD150-USD200 per day from USD350 per day. For Saturation Diver, getting less than USD500-600 per day.

Gone are the day for my friend market rate of USD450 per day. Local market only go for USD250-300 at the moment. One local company (a big one) even have the cheek to offer him lump sum rate of RM5000 per job!

He’s at wit’s end to support his lifestyle: half-a-million house, IKEA furnished home and the VW Golf GTI.

My advice, let go of his current hobby: ten-thousand ringgit mountain bike — two of them — to pay off the monthly debt.

Next the Nikon DSLR.

Hopefully there’ll be some ROV job around January in one of my sister company for him.

As for me, 2010 seems to be a-year-round pipeline project, UWILD of FPSO and IMCA Certification for the Air and Saturation Diving System.

I’ve been thinking about getting my CSWIP 3.4u Course and call it a quit. Gone freelance with local market rate USD350-400 per day.

Ah, wishful thinking! Maybe another year or so.


I miss her.

I stop by at Sunway from Putra Heights.

She’s unavailable at that time, attending to her dad’s treatment at the hospital.

After 3 month being offshore and break-up in between the day I arrived back in KL — it’s been a torrential day of my life, with her sudden downpour of dispute.

It’s a hard time to both of us.


Yes, you may have your schadenfreude moment now.

Written by cthulhu

December 4, 2009 at 1:59 am

Hello Internet. 21092 Unread RSS Feeds and 412 Unread E-mail.

I’ve been offshore for too long. Nearing 4 months now.

I’ve been fasting the whole Ramadhan, celebrating Syawal, marking my birthday, and eventually — Eid al-Adha and New Year in the middle of oil field.

This Petr0nas-Schlumberg3r Project is way too taxing.


In Labuan. Spending some time with the 3G broadband on board the current vessel.


Seen on Facebook: “Don’t ever let someone become a priority in your life, when you are just an option in their lives…”

Written by cthulhu

November 24, 2008 at 2:28 am

Le Mythe de Sisyphe

Camus presents Sisyphus’s ceaseless and pointless toil as a metaphor for modern lives spent working at futile jobs in factories and offices. “The workman of today works every day in his life at the same tasks, and this fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious.”

[Source:The Myth of Sisyphus]

Beneath the vessel lies the mariners’ catacomb of ancient sunken ships. From north to south, traffic of flotilla haste through the commercial sea highway of the narrow strait.

The underwater salvage work took 2 years.

Offshore soon. I’ll be back onshore another 45 days.


In the middle of the sea, ‘one must imagine Cthulhu happy’ as he labours to create meaning.


The Neko consoled, in the tone of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Swimming from the sea of morose and dejected to the plain of pleasant thought and warmth sincerity.

Written by cthulhu

July 12, 2008 at 8:07 pm