Time for a short post.
My guitar has had this annoying buzz on it for months now, and I finally got around to fixing it, which basically meant opening it up, finding the buzz (a slightly loose structural support beam) and gluing it solid. No big deal, but I’ve been avoiding guitar practice for AGES because it annoyed me so much that I couldnt’ play. It took me half an hour to fix, and now I’ve been practicing every day since.
Moral of the tale: Um. Do I really need to tell you?
Welcome back, me.
It is I, author of this blog, and spokesperson of the incredibly inconsideratly inactive bloggers foundation of Doulos, and I have returned! Yea, verily, verily, etc.
So. It’s been 5 weeks since I last posted, roughly. And it has been quite a busy, time, yes, of course, that’s the way it is around here. And is that an excuse for not blogging? Well, probably not. But I’ll use it as an excuse anyway.
We’re currently sailing between Kuching, Malaysia, where we spent Christmas and New Year, to Cebu, Philippines, where we were 2 years ago.
Every 6 months or so we get a new batch of recruits, who go for 2 weeks of safety training, and that group of people is usually fairly “clannish”, and are known as the “Preship” group of whichever port they did their training. So I’m from the “Sharjah Preship”. Other famous past examples would be the Manila Preship, Banjul Preship, Istanbul Preship, etc, etc.
Anyway, 2 years ago we had the Cebu Preship join us, and they’ll mostly be leaving in the next month or so, and the next group of recruits will also be doing their training in Cebu… This is NOT normal. It’s the first time we’ve had this, ever, to popular knowledge. Normally it’s at least 7 or 8 years between being back in the same place at the same rough time to be able to do this, so every Preship is a different city.
This might seem like a very minor thing, and from a completely outside viewpoint, it is. However, Doulos isn’t just a ship full of people from different places, we also have a very strong Doulos Culture, which has devleopped over the decades as result of our rules, regulations, work habits, and the bizarre lifestyle which we have on board.
“Preship” groups are almost like your family, or clan. Whenever someone gets up to say something in a community meeting, for instance at the end of a port when we get together to share stories of what we (and God) have been up to, most people will introduce themselves with something like “Hi, My name is Daniel, and I’m from Cyprus, and the Sharjah Preship!” or whatever. At this point, everyone else from Sharjah will shout and scream or chant, or whatever.
OK, so the people from Sharjah probably won’t, since there’s only about 5 of us left, and we never managed to get a chant to work properly, but everyone from all the other active preships on board will for their people. So, to have two groups of people from different Preships, with the same name, is a bit weird. It’s like having two football teams with the same name. If they played each other, who would you cheer for?
So. There’s a random piece of Doulos culture for you. Now for some thoughts about it.
We are incredibly clannish, and seem, as humans, as christians, and as Douloi, to have an innate capacity to draw lines between each other, and to divide on the slightest pretext. And partly I object to the amount that the training department push Preship identity during the training. I can also see the side whereby this “Preship ” concept can be used positively to establish a home base and place for people to live and identify themselves in the community.
And identity is such a weird thing. Who are we? The good evangelical in me says something like “My identity is in Christ alone! All other things are slag!” And yeah, yeah. OK, so that is true, of course. But we do all seem to use boxes, either rigid or flexible, to put people and everything into. We constantly talk about getting “out of the box” and “not putting people in boxes”, but is that really practical? People’s individuality MUST trump any box we put them into, and anyone MUST be able to climb out of that box, and we must not dump people into boxes and judge them there and leave them forever, but is it possible to truly not create comparisons and labels?
Some days I get really fed up of the boxes and labels, and try to rebel.
“Hey! Are you the AV guy?”
“Oh. Who is working tonight then?”
“I am. I work here, but I’m not the AV guy. I’m Daniel.”
I don’t know. Enough rambling. It’s time for sleep.
The sweat drips from my nose, and splashes, sizzling, onto the soldering iron.
It’s roasting hot, and the cables are all around me, as squashed into a small space behind the audio rack I put the finishing touches to the new audio lines I just ran across from the desk opposite.
It’s dry-dock again.My third, now, and this time, I’m just not enjoying it.
I have quite a lot on my plate at the moment, what with trying to sort out many technical issues in the A/V equipment, and also get as much as possible done to allow us to expand and use what we have better throughout this coming year.
Also, the other members of the A/V team are busy with other projects, and I’m helping out a bit again with the deck ladder-repair and making crew.
That’s the sound that the lights make when blackouts happen.
We just had another powercut.
Vrum bzzzzzt! Klunk! Klunk! Klunkklunkklunkduhduhduhduh!
That’s the sound that the fanrooms make when the power comes back on again.
The power just came back on again, by the way.
So, anyway. Right.
Yeah, there’s another fairly huge but unofficial project on which has pretty much sucked all the free time out of one of my team for the last 10 months – even from well before he joined AV – and also has been increasingly impinging upon the time of the rest of us.
They created an(other) unrealistic deadline to finish it before the end of this drydock, and I knew he would push all his time and energy into it.
So I pretty much gave him his work time to get this thing finished.
Which is good, I guess.
I mean, he’s not dead, which if we’d pushed hard at the AV jobs as well, I think he would be.
He just wouldn’t have slept at all.
We barely did anyway.
I was up until 3 one night working on an animation for the project.
Many of the AV tasks I had (I wrote down 58 jobs I’d have liked to either do, or investigate the feasibility of) have not been done, and most of them I didn’t even get a chance to investigate how possible they were.
So.. somewhat frustrating.
The first version is done now, which is good.
Still plenty of logistics and miscommunication issues to sort out.
I’ve been making sure I keep time for myself, not burning out, and part of that includes focussing more on painting and artwork.. we’ve begun “creative communities” on board – basically an internal art/photography/creative writing club, with picking a theme per month.
The theme last month was “Freedom”.
This month it’s “Love”.
Here’s a painting of mine – “Searching for Love”
I helped out a bit with the ladderwork again this drydock.
Pretty much the same as last year.. this time we stretched the rope slightly more thoroughly.. Check out before and after stretching:
I feel somewhat drawn out and stretched myself.
I don’t think I’ll snap.. but hopefully I’ll be all the more resilient to whatever life throws at me in the future because of it.
And my current work in progress.
Being Nasty at the desk, and nice the rest of the time.
Well… it’s been busy.
It is busy!
We’ve left Australia, and are sailing currently to East Timor. The programme team have a new manager, who is bent on reforming them and is changing many ways of working, becoming more team based:
brainstorming rather than ivory tower development of programmes,
Flexi-time working, everyone chipping in rather than fixed hours, and so on.
The AV team isn’t really part of the programmes team (go figure), but we work a lot with them, and so I’ve been trying to push my team into being at as much of this voyage’s programme team time as possible. Attending devotions with them, being at the creativity sessions, and so on.
This morning we had a fairly good session, which I led, I was trying to get them to think outside of the box in reguards to how we use our venue. The on board “Main Lounge” is most frequently set up with all the programme happening in one “stage” section at the front, and then rows of chairs at the back, or tables in a cafe setting. Often the most transformation the room gets is having curtains put up, perhaps fairy lights and lots of flags (you know, the whole international thing).
Anyway. We can do so much more. Once we started imagining things, ideas like turning the whole room into a Japanese Garden, with an island in the middle and a moat and bridges and stuff came up. Building a slum from Manilla out of the whole room, hanging the curtains to turn it into a ginormous beduin-style tent, and so on. One group even thought of having a “Indiana Jones” type set up, with different areas of the lounge being different places around the world, tying up some of the audience with a knife suspended above their head and then dropping it on them if their team-mates didn’t answer the questions of a quiz correctly…
Some of the ideas may take a little modifying. Health and Safety, you know.
Still, it was a good session, and then we looked through a lot of our video clips collection, to talk about what we can use, how we can use videos we have more effectively, and so on.
This evening was the weekly prayer-night, which this week was being run by the on board School. It was somewhat chaotic, as these kinds of things are wont to be.
Anyway, the guy who was leading the musicy part of it didn’t bring me a song list at all (which is mentioned on the pre-event A/V form, which he otherwise did fill in), and then half an hour before we began, during his sound check time, he brought up two new songs which needed to be entered into the database while I was trying to sound check them… He know’s it’s supposed to be 24 hours before an event that they give in any new songs.
Still, I told him off, but put the songs in anyway. So, quite hectic. It all went really well in the end, and sounded pretty good, all the songs worked, and so on. Apparently I made an impression on him though, as after the evening was finished, he showed up at the sound desk with a large bar of chocolate to say sorry for being so late all the time!! Amazing!
Makin’ a movie
I’m working on another short film/video project. Here’s a few frames from it for your enjoyment.
I’m still quite tired and frustrated and so on, but a bit better. I’ve had a day off since my last post, which was good, and another few days off in the next few weeks too, so that’s good too. I’ll be writing a longer text blogpost soon.
I’m tired. I’m stressed.
I won’t pretend to hide it.
I’m pissed off at the system, thoroughly fed up of how things currently are – in my work, my life, and in many things around me.
Yet, still, most things are going fairly well…
I’m now the “AV manager”, and discovering more and more how disorganised and messed up it is.
We have small forms in the drawer under the computer which are used during the sunday service on board, we give out the little forms, then people can fill them in if they want to, so that they can give to the weekly offering (usually to help a local ministry, or work in India, or similar) direct from their on board account, rather than having to use cash.
Anyway, this morning, the guy running the service came up and asked for them.. We had 10. Not good enough! So, I told him a few ideas of who he could ask for more, but this was at half an hour before the service, on a Sunday Morning. Not the best time to go looking for people to do random work like that.
We need to have once a week or so someone to check how many we have, say on a Friday, and then to get at least 200 before the Sunday morning.
Not a big deal, right?
Well, no, not a problem at all. Just the problem is that there are *hundreds* of little issues like this. Every day. And *NONE* of them are written down. When I started, there were no current weekly checklists or anything.
I don’t want to become a lists and rules based dictator, but how on earth else do you manage to get everything done that needs to be?
When I took over this job, there was maybe 1 hour of discussion between me and the predecessor about stuff, but none of these little details were noted. Each day day I find mord
And it was the same thing when I became waterman, 2 years ago. There’s no consistancy! As soon as people leave, things get dropped.
It’s why ships tend to have such strict and over the top and detailed procedures – everything gets written down.
Anyway. It’s just intensely frustrating. I’m so bad at admin, so weak at organisation, so forgetful about details, so easily overwhelmed by situations, so inexperienced at leadership, so unknowledgeable about everything technical I should know about, so young!
I guess in one way it’s kind of exciting. I mean, whoopee! So much stuff to learn! So much I can improve!
Yet it’s kind of hard to say that and not at least have some irony and sarcasm in it too.
Yes, it’s good to be stretched and have all this improvement to do, but at the same time, it’s “live”. We’re not playing with blank bullets. Every round is for real.
Every time I start a video playing in a programme, it’s not school, not training. People are in the programme, watching, and notice if things don’t work.
The audience have paid, usually. The programme organiser has spend hours arranging everything, and if I screw up, it’s her work that gets ruined.
Trying to set priorites, and figure out what actually is realistic and achievable…
And then how to make sure it happens. And each day discovering more things which have got dropped and then not only do we need to carry it, but we have to stop, pick it up, clean it, do repairs on it, and then start carrying it again.
I could go on. My list of current frustrations and things we’re doing badly is pretty much endless.
And I know I’m a perfectionist, but this isn’t perfectionism.. This is realism.
- Wireless Microphone Batteries Dying mid-show
- Cables going glitchy
- Videos playing during rehearsal but then refusing to play in performance
- Audio levels on all videos being different and needing constant riding
- Audio patch-panels/jackfields acting
- The trash not getting taken every day
- The room looking a mess all the time
- Cables not getting fixed or taken out when they break
Those are all itty bitty technical details. But they effect almost every programme we do.
And why?! Why have they not been fixed? And how can they be fixed easily, or at least dealt with, or worked around?
Well, they can. But we’re lacking any way to report problems, to deal with them, or do anything in a purposeful or directed way.
And it’s not just about technical details. Those are the easiest for me to see – of course – and those are the bits that are our job. From a programme side, this show up as mics dying unexpectedly, feedback, disruption, long pauses, lack of flow and professionalism, etc, etc, etc.
And we’ve all become so accepting of it! And that’s wrong. We cannot accept crap, when we are capable of beauty, and if we’re not capable of exquisite complex beauty, then we must simplfy until what we do is excellent at that level.
There’s so much attitude and team thinking that has to change too, and just as soon if not before the technical bits can get solved. I really am trying to focus on the people, in the team and those we work with/for, and that’s a topic for a whole other post, or possibly whole other blog. So I’ll just stick with the technical day to day bits today.
Everything is so reactive. Like the offering forms this morning. Having problems show up, and then deal with them.
Honestly, we – the ship – has been doing programmes for so long now that ALL of these things should have become non-issues. And once we can get out of this constanct scrambling to pick up the pieces of something that’s just exploded, or running around like headless chickens to stop something from exploding, then we can actually start enjoying it, and being creative and actually going somewhere positive and improving.
But man, it’s tiring right now.
This blog post is short.
It is for my friend Bridget.
The sentence count: three.
Getting to know me, or not.
Good morning, blog. Although, actually, it’s more like evening, seeing as how it’s 7pm and everything.
It’s probably morning somewhere in the world.
I have a friend on this ship who has a fetish for “Awkward moments”. I’m sure he wouldn’t like it to be called a fetish, but whatever, he really loves them. He savours them, as a connesour, specially saving them up and preparing them, finely planning moments of Awkwardness in the same way that a conductor of an orchestra prepares the finale of a grand opera.
He’ll often say stuff intentionally to make people uncomfortable.
So I asked about a week or two ago, why?
And his response was something like,
(a) it’s fun,
(b) I enjoy seeing how people really are.
And the second one is the bit that I took issue with.
He said watching how people react when they don’t know how to respond gives a great insight into them, and let’s you see them without the pretence and acting that accompanies so much of human interaction.
What’s there to take issue with?
Well, seeing people when they don’t know how to react, is that really how they “really are”?
It seems to me to smell slightly of the whole humans-are-nought-but-animals thing.
And also, the “You know the real person by seeing how they behave under pressure”. – Likewise, the same.
There is some truth to it, of course. It’s much easier to act nice and give a good image when you are relaxed and can concentrate on impressing others, or on behaving well, than when things are stressful and you’re under pressure and don’t have time to think about what to do next.
Others have also said that you know how someone is by what they do in their spare time, or when no one else is looking, and so on.
Some people seem to do well under pressure, and be able to think quickly and clearly. Others don’t. Some people find it easy to find jobs to do and to use their spare time productively and pro-actively.
So… it’s often very useful to know how someone behaves under pressure, but I don’t think it really shows who they “really” are.
This would have been all nice and theoretical, and all that, except for this week.
I got sick.
And, it turns out, I don’t act very nice when I’m sick.
Usually, when I’m healthy and fine and everything, I tend to use a lot of hyperbole, sarcasm, and irony in my general day to day language. It tends to be (I hope!) fairly good natured, and over-the-top enough that others realise it’s not intended seriously.
“Could you play this CD for me?”
“Nope. It’s completely impossible – the computer can only play CDs on Thursdays.”
and so on.
Well, the thing is, recently I’ve started to tend to mix double meanings and more biting sarcasm into what I say, and, usually, it doesn’t mean anything – to me.
Ie, “hey, the programme schedule says you’re doing a song later, but you haven’t put a form in saying you want any microphones or instruments or anything, so it’s just a Capella, right?”
It appears though, my sarcasm and hyperbole and so on don’t pan out so well when I’m tired/sick or stressed.
We had a wedding yesterday on board. About half way through the ceremony, right in the middle of a song just as I was mixing the band and having to be constantly mindful of the two wireless mics the MC and someone else had and things were quite hectic, when one of the people who was videoing it (a local) came over and asked “Do you have any power sockets? I need to re-charge my camera batteries”.
“Yes, right here.” (pointing at the sockets)
“Ah.” (he pokes around)
“They don’t fit…”
“Oh, right. Um, yes. It’s European, sorry, the whole ship is set up with European sockets. It’s a European ship, after all.”
“You mean you don’t have any standard sockets??” (disbelief in his voice)
And this is, I’m afraid, where my stunning wit came to the fore again, and really didn’t help the situation at all.
“No, no. They’re all standard sockets.” helpful smile “European standard.”
Very helpful, wasn’t I. – I don’t think!
Yes… I don’t think. Maybe that’s the problem.
I’m struggling a lot right now with trying to balance work with relationships. Not in that I work too much and don’t spend enough time with people, but in that when people do things which really mucks up my work, I find it very hard to still be nice.
Part of it is I just really have no idea how to be nice.
Middle of a programme, pressing buttons and cueing video clips and trying to make the whole thing smooth and beautiful, and someone comes into the AV room from behind me, is standing right where I need to move to press a button on the video mixer, and asked “hey, would it be possible for you to play me a DVD in the other room in an hour or so?”
How do you respond to such things?
“Go away. I can’t listen to you now.” – Not really polite.
“Dear brother! I would be more than glad to hear from you, and to help you in any way I can, even though you’ve broken two of our published policies in the last 10 seconds, nevertheless, I completely forgive you and forget all about it so if you come back to me in 20 minutes then I’ll be very happy to hear your request and see how I can most elegantly acquiesce to your desires.” – too long, and I’m already late for a cue.
“Ask me later.” – Usually what I’ll try and say but, unfortunately, what people want is something they need more input for. And usually they leave it right until the last minute before asking us. Usually the reply I’ll get from them (while they’re still standing in the way of my mixer) is “Well, I need to know now so I can arrange a laptop or something if you can’t do it.”
“Oh, are you running the programme now? Since you’re in the right place to press the buttons, does that mean I can leave?” – Unfortunately, something close to what’s likely to be my first response.
And it’s not that I really bear them any ill-feeling, or even that I mean to be nasty, mean, or sarcastic.
Sometimes as well, I’ve noticed I have a tendancy to use hyperbole, sometimes in ways which just don’t make sense to anyone other than me:
“Oh yes, it’s horribly frustrating when people forget to hand in their forms on time. I feel like screaming like a little child and jumping overboard whenever they do.” – yes, it’s frustrating, but not that frustrating.
I feel kind of like I’ve picked up some really rude sarcasm and humour somewhere. And especially when I’m tired, frustrated, under pressure, and sick, it really comes out and is just plain nasty to everyone.
Is this the real me, coming out at last?
Or is the real me the nice one?
“When a man’s at his worst, then you see him the best.”
“It’s not how good you are, but how good you want to be”.
*sigh* I have so far to go…
Wind tore across the darkened misty moors of the Lake District, pounding along the side of the tent like a tidal wave breaking upon the highcliffed shoreline of a forgotten arctic land. Outside of the tent, tiny rabbits huddled together in their burrows shivering due to the icy drafts, while inside and close by rain-drenched men struggled through the mud to complete their epic task.
Less then 3 hours previously 6000 people had been standing while the melodious hymn of Amazing Grace washed around them, many, even 200 of them touched to the heart made their way forward to pray and be prayed for, to receive the greatest gift in the history of the world.
3 hours later, the knowledge of this gift was the warmth that glowed inside the men labouring to bring their flight cases, amplifiers and speakers into a truck and depart from the now empty canvas cathedral.
Finally the dismissal was given, and as the last few items were loaded in the the crew slowly dispersed. The 4 OMNIvision men removed their mud covered shoes, and climbed into their small car, and drove out through the dark unlit pathway to the main road, and off into the night.
Soaking wet, muddy and weary in mind and body, their spirits were none the less high as they left the town and none of them were expecting the sudden sliding skid towards the roundabout and the ominous crunch into the other car which told them the journey home would be longer than they had anticipated.
The driver — a Scot — immediately turned their car towards the side of the road and drove up onto the curve to inspect the damage. They climbed from the vehicle shocked but glad that none had been injured. The other car was significantly dented, but the driver was unhurt. After the routine exchange of sarcasm, licence and telephone numbers and insurance policy contact details, the other driver perked up and laughed. Quoth he “At least it wasn’t my car, it’s a company one, I’d have been really pissed off if it were mine!”, whereupon he grinned, hopped in to his, or rather his company’s car and drove away.
The four traveling companions were not so fortunate in their predicament. The bumper was only attached by one nut and dragging along the ground. Inside, the plastic wheel frame was twisted into the wheel, and the headlights were no longer attached and pointing in various directions. With still more than 100 miles of motorway to cover before reaching their destination, it was decided that to attempt to complete it in that mangled condition would be folly.
A phone call for help from the Automobile Association was made, and they settled back to wait for the assistance to arrive.
It was not long until it arrived, and their disfigured ride was lifted on to the tow. The driver, a friendly Newcastle man was quick and efficient, and as he climbed into the cab a few minutes later, he turned and said “No hado sinye fine sell bacun ahl droye temsix unwil mitwethe rileh tuhye hom. Shubetheh intwenni mints.”
Our Scottish companion seemingly spoke this language and so replied, sitting in the passenger seat next to the driver, they passed the time chatting about the evening.
The two Germans turned to the fourth member of their party, a native of the land, although one who had spent most of his life abroad, and asked for interpretation. His eyes were as confused and uncomprehending as theirs, and much merriment was made by the continentals for his lack of understanding.
After about half an hour, they reached a certain motorway service station and they stopped there and moved the car across to a longer distance relay truck, and after buying coffee, bade farewell to the first driver, and climbed into the new cab and made acquaintance of the second.
The next 2 and a half hours passed fairly quickly, and they arrived at Carlisle before dawn had touched the skies with her pink streaked palette. The derelict car was left inside the shed, and the four weary travelers collected their belongings and went their separate ways.
I myself am one of these bold companions, and survived this ordeal with the a moral which I will now pass on to you: If you must drive around at midnight on wet and slippy roads in cars which have seen better days after yourself having worked for about 15 hours hauling heavy cases all over the place and are tired as anything, then drive slowly. Especially when approaching roundabouts.
In case you hadn’t guessed, the above is from when I was in Carlisle, I wrote it as an email, but was informed that it needed to be posted as a blog article. So. Now it is.
Here’s some food.
And some coffee.
I like coffee.
So, it’s currently a voyage on the way to Sydney, we just finished our first port in Australia, Brisbane, hanging out in AV, blogging and emailing and listening to [Flanders and Swann].
More up to date blog posts to follow, of course.
OK. So, due to popular demand, this service will resume shortly.
It’s now then.
I’m back on Doulos, I took the train down to Manchester, from where I flew to Dubai, from Dubai to Bangkok, from Bangkok to Sydney, from Sydney to Auckland, and from Auckland to Wellington where I joined up with Doulos again.
That was an epic adventure, in itself. There was a bombthreat in Dubai, with some English nutcase got himself drunk, and just as we landed got into a fight with a steward, and declared he had a “device” that he would use to blow up the plane. Of course, the crew had to take it seriously, and so we were sitting out on the tarmac for about an hour or so surrounded by police and firetrucks and SWAT teams and so on, before they managed to sort him out and let us off the plane.
Oh well, another day in the life of the brummie-not-yet-at-sea. Well, the trouble then came when about half of us from that flight were now late for our connecting flights, and so had to stay 24 hours in Dubai airport for the next plane.
If you’re going to get stuck in an airport for 24 hours, it might as well be Dubai. I know it quite well, [of course], and they did very nicely give me a hotel room overnight, and 3 meal vouchers. It was a bit complex trying to figure out sensible times to eat them, as I needed to leave the next morning at 6am, and was about to fly to Australia, so was trying to get my bodyclock as sorted as I could. So anyway, I slept the whole day, worked the night, and ate my mealtickets-worth at random times when I was awake.
So, right. I eventually got to Wellington, where some of my great friends were there with a ginormous paper origami crane bird thingy they’d made, attached onto a crown of old toilet-roll-cardboard, with dangly bits and all which I had to wear. It was so good to see them again. (In case you wondered). I’ll see if I can find a photo of the amazing crown. It wasn’t really my style, as such, but one does try to fit in, after all.
so. That was like a month ago now, and I’m settling in quite well. AV has been undergoing a few changes, some good, some… well, I have a differing opinion about them to the people who instigated them.
We’re now in Brisbane, Australia. It’s cool. I like it here. It’s good to be back on the ship again. Many people are about to leave, and there are 60 odd new people… But, new in that they joined 6 months ago, just as I left, so they’re already “old hands”, yet I don’t know them!
Anyway. It’s traditional for me to start new paragraphs with “Anyway” for no apparent reason. Here I am, I’ve started writing again, and so new posts will be forthcoming, fear not. I have a few more stories from Carlisle which I’ll be posting soon, but I figured it’s best to get the blog going again up to date, before launching into the past.
Oh! Right, yeah. I moved cabin, so I’m now in a smaller but very nice 2-man cabin, with this funny Brazilian guy. I managed to bring my coffee-maker with me from the UK, and it looks a bit strange of course, so he was wondering what it was. I explained and he nodded and said “oh, that’s nice.”. Then, a few days later, when I started making coffee (using the steamer to steam some ex-vanilla-icecream that had melted, to make vanilla-lattes), he just sat and stared, and said “Dude!” occasionally. He is now, in his own words, very happy to have me as a cabinmate, and has forsworn local cafes in lieu of his own cabin. I still like the local cafes. I still have so much to learn.
So, that’s the basic overview of the last 2 months or so, I’ll fill in the details as and when I get time. Thanks for listening! (Or reading, or whatever)