June 30th, 2010


10 of 30 - The Coming Bananapocalypse

   What would you say if I told you that bananas as we know them may be in extreme danger of disappearing. You find the thought utterly terrifying, I'm sure, but it's true!

   If you'll bear with me for a moment, and picture a large banana-like object called "Big Mike" ... that is what the common banana used to be (the gros michel banana). This was the banana everyone knew and loved for many years. When people thought banana this is what they thought of. These heroic bananas of yore were bigger and yellower and superior in all ways to modern bananas (well, I'm not sure they were say yellower but they were generally considered to be all around better). And then, they were gone.

   You see, all gros michel banana plants were seedless clones of one another, and thus a single disease was able to quickly wipe nearly all of them from the face of the planet (much like the potatoe famine).

   This was as recently as the 50s, so your grandparents might still remember a time when bananas were large and glorious.

   With no more delicious delicious gros michel bananas, the big banana industry turned to the next best banana they could find, the cavendish banana. The cavendish banana is the banana you currently consider your trusty yellow friend. When you think banana you think cavendish, and you think your little cavendish will never desert you. And you are wrong.

   Panama disease, the very disease that wiped out gros michel, is showing itself to be just as effective against the cavendishes. As cavendishes are ALSO all clones of one another, this has extremely dire implications for the industry. One day in your life time "yes, we have no bananas" may be more than just a silly phrase.

   Our only hope right now may be the goldfinger banana currently being developed by Honduras*

* unless James Bond stops them? **
** last year's coup in Honduras -- just part of a DEVIOUS banana conspiracy?!

The illustrious whirled models our visual aid today!
  • Current Music
    Lovemakers - Everybody's Fighting the Same Damn Fight

11 of 30 -- Nicknames

   Today I officially have the day off. Today it so happens we're transitting from Olympia to Seattle. This leaves me two options: (A) stay on the boat and do nothing particular with my day off; (B) spend my time and money getting myself to Seattle off the boat -- last time I did this I had to connect between three different transportation services and it was incredibly tedious. So I'm spending my day off on the boat. If we were sailing I'd probably go handle sail just as I would as if it wasn't my day off, but as it happens we're motoring. At least the first mate seemed to understand this is a pretty weak way to have a day off and hopefully I'll get another before two more weeks are out.

   Anywho, I've been meaning to write the stories behind some people's nicknames around here.

   Some people, like Staples Romeo, earn their nicknames, but more often than not they seem to be given immediately, if not prior to a person's arrival.
   One day two years or so ago, it seems Skook, cook at the time on Lady (whom I've never met but heard mentioned in many a story) was feeling delirious, and christmas was coming up, so he exclaimed "for christmas, I want a PONY!" and this desire for a pony spread to others and it was decided that the next new volunteer to show up would be called "Pony." And "when Pony arrives we can have nice things!" and "Pony will have a penis that can tell the future!" and other such mystical anticipation. When Pony descended into the Lady's forecastle for the first time he was greeted by the entire crew enthusiastically exclaiming "PONY'S HERE!!"
   The name stuck ever since and many never learn his real name. No reports on whether or not he can actually tell the future with his divining rod.

   When Knuckles first joined the boat he came up to the captain, not knowing he was the captain (I want to say it was JB at the time? our current first mate) and reported "hey I'm the new cook..." to which JB responded, looking off into the distance and exhaling his cigarette smoke "you shall be called Knuckles," presumably just because it seemed like a random thing to say at the time, but it also stuck like glue.
   When Knuckle's brother joined the crew earlier this year it was inevitable that his name should be ... Fingers.

   Sabrina was from Canada so we called her Maple Syrup. Kelly Snowdon apparently wrote K-Sno on her stuff, and the nickname K-Sno quickly became Queso. Sometimes I change it up and call her Gouda

   Staples Romeo is more of a story. The fellow is always hurting himself. Most prominantly he banged his head so hard on a hatch that he required staples on his head. On the other boat they started calling him "Incident Report," or "India Romeo" for short (since those are the initials IR in phonetic alphabet). Then the two names got combined. It's especially funny because he's particularly infamous on this boat for being all lovey dovey with our shipmate Jenny "Blue Green" Brown until she left and then being allll up in Daisy's business just under 24 hours after Jenny left ... and neglecting to inform Jenny he considered them broken up until a week and a half of this scandalous behaviour.

   Myself, I still don't really have a solid nickname yet. Daisy used to call me "G D" for "garbage disposal" because I'd lurk around until everyone had eaten and then the rest of the food would disappear down my gullet like a ravenous black hole had opened up, but unfortunately as the convention goes, G is Golf in phonetic and "Golf Delta" doesn't make a very good name. I'm presently on the station bill as "Gingerchops" as my muttonchops come in quite rusty coloured but that's a bit unwieldy of a name.

Picture of the Day

There are a lot of jellyfish here.


12 of 30 - Experimenting with Controlling Substances I

   In stark contrast to my recent entry about not drinking caffiene, here's an entry from the archives that is just bursting with caffiene!!

   The other day I could not for the life a me find Rockstar and had to subject myself to some obscure energy drink called "Ludicrous."
   And this brings up the question I know is on all your minds, whats with all these energy drinks? Whats the difference? How do I know which one is right for me?
   As a benevolent service to you my readers, I embarked upon an epic quest to sample and review every energy drink I could get my grimy little hands on. I found 13 different types of energy drinks and tried them all. I then spent three hours hallucinating, followed by three hours with too little attention span to do anything but twitch, followed by 48 hours of restlessness. The things I do for you, the readers!!
   Among other things I learned in this adventure, is that the FDA does not recommend you consume more than 500 millegrams of caffiene per day, or three of those 16 oz ("two servings") energy drinks. Also among the vitamins advertised on most energy drinks is taurine. Taurine is believed to aid in digestion among other things, is an essential vitamin for cats, and is found in human milk (but not cows milk). It is called "taurine" because it was discovered in ox bile. As such, the amount of taurine in a drink can be said to be the measure of bullshit involved.

meet the crew

Major Brands - those most commonly available
Red Bull - Usually at $1.99 for 8oz, Red Bull weighs in at roughly twice the price of most other energy drinks, for as far as I can tell about equitable ingredients and taste. As such the even remotely financially conscious should avoid this bougousie beverage like the plague. By “Red Bull gives you wings” they really mean “here at Red Bull we’re giving you the bird.” (80mg of caffiene per 8oz)
Original Red Bull - see this entry for discussion of the original red bull which may have started it all.
Rockstar - man I just had a Rockstar again after having consumed only other energy drinks for awhile in the interest of this research, and man, I think I’m going to have to readjust some of the other descriptions now, I’d forgotten the divine goodness that is rockstar. (150mg of caffiene per 16oz)
Lost - the energy drink for persons that are professions other than rockstars – for example my erstwhile roommate Chen, an aspiring adult entertainment star, swears by Lost. It costs the same as Rockstar, is slightly harder to find, and tastes perhaps just a skoshe more intense.
Power Horse - tastes like Rockstar et al, only a little less sweet I think. (151.36mg caffiene / 16oz) (created by Hansens)
Monster - Much more flavoursome than Rockstar. At first I liked it but then after having a number of them (they were on sale 25% at Safeway) decided the flavoursomeness was getting old and Rockstar is indeed preferable. (created by Hansens) -- Also some friends of mine have invented a monster based drink they call either the Testicle or Monsticle. Basically its 25% Monster energy drink, 75% vodka (!), bite into a lime and toss it in, chug whole thing -- allegedly you can barely taste the alcohol. And the lime floating in it looks like a testicle or something. More research on this one still to come no doubt!
Monster Assault - a little more like soda and a little less that Red Bull / Rockstar “energy drink” flavour, tastes very sweet – I’d give it a B- (160mg caffiene / 16oz)
Full Throttle - Full Throttle, the Cocoa-Cola entry in the energy drink category, goes for some kind of lemon-lime flavour. In my opinion, it totally sucks. Interestingly, because Cocoa-Cola is behind it, Full Throttle can be found almsot anywhere. Its perhaps even more pervasive than Red Bull.. but I've never met someone who drinks it.
No Fear – I bought two of these on the way to Oxnard because they were two for one, putting them at $1.30s per 16oz. They tasted kind of like Full Throttle but worse. No Fear is the Sobe energy drink. I dunno if they have a deal with the “No Fear” clothing line or what.

Obscure Brands
Joker Mad Energy - I dunno what to say but that it tastes like rockstar but slightly different… more tart? At first I really liked it but half a can later I’m giving it a lower rating, I dunno if that’s because I was really thirsty at first or what.
Hanson’s Energy Deuce - I’m not sure what the deal with this stuff is, considering that I’m pretty sure Hanson’s makes Monster (among other things, they have the same contact address). I found one battered can of this on the shelf at Albertson’s once. Maybe it’s a relic of the predesessor of Monster? Only it tastes different. I could only describe the taste as “I can’t believe it tastes like that!” not necessarily in a good way, but not necessarily a bad way.. just.. wtf to the mouth. Jason liked it.. said “its not like being kicked in the mouth like other energy drinks.”
Independent Energy - tastes like grapefruit. I suppose it might be good if you’re into that kinda thing? I’m not into that kind of thing.
Ripped - This energy drink has seriously somehow managed to capture the taste of getting your ass kicked by a wave and receiving a mouthful of sea-water. Though without the salt content, its still disgusting.
Ludicrous - distinguishing feature: hella sweet. I mean in the taste sense, not the frasky sense.
Wired - 90mg of caffiene per 16oz (90 mg Inositol, 46mg Taurine), and at $1.19 for a 16oz can at Nugget, I used to live on this stuff (as the cheapest energy drink by far that doesn't taste like ass. In fact none of the ones that taste like ass are that cheap either). Unfortunately The Nugget hasn't carried it for months so I couldn't compare it to the rest. I haven't compared it to Rockstar but I'd say its at least second best to Rockstar by my reckoning.

Bonus: For extra points find the UC Irvine ID card, the 24 oz can of steel reserve, and the energy drink prominantly missing from the photograph.

PS: Don't worry mother, I didn't really drink all 13 at once and hallucinate etc.

In 30 in 30 News [this just a flashback to 2008]
   I'm particularly pleased that 30 in 30 participants are starting to get into the spirit of interacting with one another. hereticxxii has posted challenges for myself, meowmeowpants and metalphoenix. In turn, xaositecte (whose name, btw, I find on his journal and cut/paste from there whenever I need to write it since its impossible to spell) has challenged hereticxxii himself.