As I lounged early Sunday afternoon, my mobile phone rang; it was my former co-worker Dave. He's on the verge of officially separating from the Seagoing Military Force, and was back in New Hampshire to collect his things and move them to Florida. We talked for about ten minutes, and then he asked me if I was home. I didn't want him to visit, but he'd be able to see the Minivan o' War parked outside, so I couldn't say I was out. He came over, consumed my roommate's Cheetos, and watched some sub-par football. While we did so, we heard the sound of water flowing. Initially, I thought it was an animal urinating just outside the apartment, but when it didn't stop after thirty seconds or so, that possibility was out. I looked closer, and saw something totally unexpected - water falling onto the carpet, from the ceiling. That's right, folks, it was raining inside the apartment. The water slowed and stopped flowing from that spot, but a few minutes later, another stream of water began flowing. This one showed no signs of stopping, and just before I ordered Dave out, the plaster of Paris that covers my ceiling peeled in another spot. This placed me into a pickle. I wasn't sure what the Beechstone staff could do about this on a Sunday afternoon; and at the same time, I didn't want to babysit a maintenance crew as they fixed the ceiling, since I was on the verge of heading to the Bruins game in Boston. I decided that the pots I'd staged to catch the water would be sufficient to contain this controlled leak, and got on the road.
I had only gotten a few miles down I-95 when my phone rang. Normally, I don't answer my phone while I'm driving, but upon seeing that it was Ray, I knew I had no choice but to take the call. He was freaking out; apparently, Dave had text-messaged Ray that there was "flooding" in our living room. To a submariner, that word in quotations has a specific meaning; when applied to our apartment, it's no surprise that Ray interpreted Dave's text to mean there was serious risk of damage to our place. Though I tried to reassure him that his very nice and expensive things were in no danger, Ray was adamant that even a single drop of water on anything he owned would unleash his full fury - an undesirable outcome for anybody in a one hundred yard radius. Thus when I reached the Hampton toll plaza, I turned around, headed back to Beechstone, and phoned the on-call maintenance guy. He cleared the drain in the sink in the apartment above us (the sink in which overflowed, causing the indoor rain), and vacuumed up all the excess water, thus causing the leak to stop much sooner than it otherwise would have. By the time the guy arrived with the vacuum, it was 5:10 pm, and he assured me that my presence would no longer be required, and that they'd get someone in to fix our ceiling. Being as I still had plenty of time to make the game, I set course for Boston again; the net effect of the delay was that instead of a leisurely dinner in Quincy Market, I'd be eating overpriced arena food at the TD Banknorth Garden.
It took me just under an hour to reach the Oak Grove T station, but after arriving and parking the Minivan o' War, I found there were no trains running! I'd instead be using a shuttle bus to reach the center of Boston. Though it was likely a bit slower, I reached the Garden about 6:40. After watching a bit of Patriots at Colts and finding my seat, I grabbed that dinner - sure enough, ten American dollars for an order of chicken fingers and fries, and a small soda. The necessity of driving back precluded the consumption of the Elixir of Joy. The colors were presented by Sailors from USS Sampson (DDG 102), a ship newly commissioned in Boston the previous day. The game was dominated by the attacking play of the Ottawa Senators, the NHL's best team this year; despite this, Boston held a 1-0 lead into the third, until the Sens finally put one past Tim Thomas on a rebound. As the minutes ticked down in the third period, I planned to bolt immediately upon the go-ahead goal being scored...but that didn't happen, nor did the overtime produce any scoring. Thus I got to see for the first time a recently instituted part of pro hockey - the shootout. Fortunately for my sleep cycle, this one only lasted the minimum four shots, with Ottawa prevailing. Immediately after Boston missed its second attempt, I bolted for the shuttle bus. I walked east on Causeway Street, towards where I was dropped off, but as I looked over my shoulder, I saw the buses right in front of the arena. I climbed aboard, and due to light traffic, it took us only 25 minutes to get back to Oak Grove. I fired up the van and stepped on it, setting the cruise control on 80 mph as I reached I-95. Just after 11:00, I arrived back at my apartment; Ray was there, and I briefed him on the outcome, and he was at least temporarily satisfied. He also told me of some interesting times in New York City; the full story will be forthcoming, but I won't be repeating it here. The ceiling hasn't been fixed as yet - but I talked with the Beechstone office today, and they assured me that they were aware of the situation, that their painter was dealing with a personal issue, and our ceiling would be repaired in short order.
At some point in the recent past, someone got the idea to rally people to donate to Ron Paul's Presidential campaign on November 5. I became aware of this through a new video at Liv Films. As the donations were tallied up yesterday, the "money bomb" directed at Paul's coffers ended up fattening the campaign's bank account to the tune of four million American dollars - easily the biggest fundraising day for any candidate in the 2008 campaign to date. Even CNN was forced to take notice, though they tried to throw cold water on the accomplishment, stating that the tally couldn't be confirmed until the end of the quarter, when the campaigns file with the Federal Election Commission. But why would Paul lie? His honesty and his dedication to principle are the rock-solid foundations of his run; it'd serve him no purpose to call them into question.
I thought Alex Rodriguez's absurd contract demands would be the weirdest thing I'd see in New York for a while. That was easily trumped by the sight of one of my favorite people, Tina Fey, on a picket line in Manhattan yesterday. Television and movie writers have gone on strike against producers, and this one looks like it could last for a while. Talking to CNN, Fey mentioned the "NHL strike"; with all due respect to both her talent and her looks, that was a lockout. There is also a more fundamental difference between this labor dispute and the four major sports work stoppages in the last thirteen years (the MLB strike of 1994, the NHL lockouts of 1995 and 2005, and the NBA lockout of 1999): this time around, it's management who are being the greedy arrogant fools. There is, as Captain Lone Starr once quipped, a "shitload o' money" in play here; the least the big dogs of entertainment could do is spread it around a little. There is one major question about this strike that I haven't answered yet. It's been widely reported that late-night talk shows, like The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and even my beloved Colbert Report are already in reruns...but I got a MySpace bulletin saying that Chelsea Lately continues to roll with all-new episodes. How is Ms. Handler doing it? I don't know - but I'm very glad she is.
We finally got somewhere on our big-important maintenance on the Submersible Death Trap, getting one of our detectors aligned yesterday. Today was filled with training, so no progress was made, but we'll be back at it tomorrow. And my old Chief has finally set off into the sunset; from what I've judged thus far, our new one isn't bad.
My tickets for Lynah East (see October 28 entry) arrived today; the raffle I entered to obtain them was under-subscribed, and thus obtaining the precious passes was really no problem at all. I might actually bring someone from the boat down to Cambridge to show them what true fan support is.
Tonight's newly-purchased "reading" material: Borat's Touristic Guidings to Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (and Touristic Guidings to Minor Nation of U. S. and A.), and Stephen Colbert's I Am America (And So Can You!) Tonight's pertinent question: the fictional Colbert or Tucker Max - who loves himself more?