19 July, 2005

We still seem to be surrounded by water.

Not much on the television.

However we do get a channel that shows us the water.

The captain's reception drew all the well-dressed people.

The Brittania restaurant is two stories of posh dining. And there are other even more elegant establishments on the boat for wealthier people who wouldn't be caught dead in this crowd of commoners.

After dinner, what could be more natural than a night at the theatre?

And after that, how about a 70's style disco? I'm still looking for a punk club but I doubt I'll find it.

19 July, 2005

Day 3. As I feared, I wound up spending the entire night trying to get "Off The Wall" uploaded. I finally succeeded shortly after 8:00 am our time. It aired on WUSB this evening and is now available online so please listen to it so my efforts won't have been completely in vain. Apparently we're at that point where certain satellites have become very undependable. I wound up literally transferring one meg at a time, having the connection die, and then reestablishing the link, a process which took several minutes in itself. A broadcast quality file can be many dozens of megs in size so this was no easy task. If it wasn't for the resume ability of sftp, this never would have gotten done.

So already I'm on a schedule in direct opposition to most others on this boat. Today I woke up at 4:00 pm. Part of the problem also lies in the fact that we lose an hour every night due to our eastward progress. So I really never seem to know what time it is. I'm supposed to be paying attention to the little "Daily Programme" notices that tell you what's going on that day. So I didn't see that I had to appear before some immigration official with my passport sometime today. I just found a notice under my door advising me to show up tomorrow by noon, whenever that turns out to be. I'm not especially concerned; I suspect this sort of thing is more for their convenience than it is for mine. But I'll make an attempt to comply.

Tonight was rather interesting. I actually made it into one of the formal night activities thanks to Bob and Margaret, my newfound friends from Scotland, who lent me an appropriate shirt and tie. Bob even dressed in a kilt which made me a whole lot more comfortable. And surprisingly, he wasn't the only one. Something tells me I would like it in Scotland. The overall attitude seems very relaxed and defiant.

We wound up attending a cocktail reception hosted by the captain who seemed more like an emcee than anything else. Still, I don't doubt his abilities and I hope he's gone back to steering this thing safely across the Atlantic. We then went to dinner and a show: "Rock @ the Opera" which featured everything from Mozart to Freddie Mercury and was supposed to leave me "breathless and astounded." Well, it was nice, anyway. And the mere fact that I was sitting in a theatre halfway across the Atlantic was rather astounding in itself. And it's also pretty cool that once you're on one of these things, everything is already paid for so you can go to dinner, order room service, or whatever and nobody expects any money. Alcohol is the exception for which they take your magic card. You don't even have to tip - that gets added in at the end. I'm sure I'm in for a shock when I see what they give themselves.

I guess the biggest thing this boat has going for it is the fact that the people running it know how to fool you into thinking that you're not on a boat at all. Between the activities and the work I've been doing, I've lost track of this fact quite a few times. So I guess I'm definitely not bored. And tomorrow at around noon, we officially reach the halfway point. Not sure what exactly happens at that moment, but I suppose it'll be a good feeling.

Looking at our location, it appears we're about to pass east of Greenland although we're still as far south latitude-wise as France. At the time of this writing, our latitude is 44'21 252N, 043'34 397W. And today we lost CNN. Perfectly OK with me as it was the domestic feed and not the international. But it means all we have are prerecorded shows from the ship and no live television at all. But nobody seems to miss it.

I've tested out the satellite phone for tomorrow's "Off The Hook" broadcast. It promises to be somewhat touch and go, which I suppose is the way it ought to be. Apart from the Internet fiasco, technology is holding out pretty well. I swear just moments after writing that, a message appeared on my television advising of "service connection lost" with regards to our GPS info. Oh well. Hopefully they don't need that in the bridge.