I went out to the boat tonight - it is now at its temporary mooring.
The boat seems good. Since the boat had been moved from the dock to the mooring when I wasn't around, I guess someone had used the engine because it was in gear - I didn't notice and fired the engine up.. and I looked around and watched us slowly start turning sideways. There was some boat traffic and waves so for a split second we thought that was it but it made little sense. Then it struck me and I yanked up the engine comparment hatch and looked to see if the shaft was turning - indeed! No biggy, but a lesson learned.
I had to use my knoggin' to figure out how to get into the diesel tank (to fill it) as the cap was rusted shut. Lucky I thought to use one of the wrenches I brought (torque arm, GO!). Since it was dark I was able to test all the running lights as well as the interior lights and depth finder (the gps, vhf, and radar I know already works).
Finally, leaks.. when I first got on the boat the pumps were on and off.. but there were waves from harbor traffic. I propped my roommate Ingrid at the hatch doorway with toothpicks in her eyelids and had her watch the bilge pump lights. They come on when the pump comes on. She watched for 27~30 minutes and they never came on once (by this time no more waves) so I think the old beast is doing quite well and not taking on much if any water now.
Tomorrow: Mast raising.
I stumbled upon an old post from years ago - April 2004 actually - and even then I was talking about boats and dreaming of deep pockets and long hulls:
But let us be honest here. The little [30 foot] Catalina that could ain't going to cut it. I need a real boat. 40 feet maybe, sleeps 5, with a diesel engine and teak deck. Mahogany hull most likely. Rich dark blue paint. Expensive. High Maintenance.. because in the end, all true beauties in this world are high maintenance.
While my pockets didn't get much deeper the maintenance is high and I got awful close to 40 feet. No teak decks but the hull is mahogany, the engine is a diesel, and it sleeps 5.
It is immensely interesting to sort through old thoughts that haven't occurred to you in a long time - like old friends who call up out of the blue - and it is sometimes surprising to see both what you were thinking in the past and what you were not
I've never been a "diary" guy. The only reason I even write this blog is because there is the suggestion that someone is reading.. but in times like this, I realize that there may be more worth to diaries than I thought. They can be like an annual job review, except you're your own boss. I don't have to explain why that can be useful (but I will; I've caught self lying to oneself and was able to sit self down and have self talk some sense into self).
But the positive light of all of this is that I've found my old self expressing the same dreams and desires as my current self, and that means that I might not have made the worst financial decision of my life in buying an old wooden boat.. It appears I may have a true and long-living interest in the beast.
I was in attendance again this year for the big shindig in New Hampshire. The camp where we were staying is right on Lake Winnipesaukee and owned by a friend-of-a-friend deal. Every year large amounts of homebrew is made and, for the most part, all you need to show up with is a tent. I didn't even bring one of those.
One of the days, down at the beach, there was an impromptu game of frisbee-catch off the float, as you can see in this picture.
We couldn't really have had much better weather.
If you've never seen a boat go in the water before, it is actually a fairly simple task. First, the truck shows up hauling the actual boat. Then you drive the travelift over the boat and throw some giant straps under the boat. Then you lift. And travel. Thus: Travelift.
When we first lowered her in she had a few dribblers and gushers here and there but was, overall, fairly solid. Since it was lunchtime for the yard boys we pulled her back out and I spent 40 minutes slick-seaming the cracks where it looked the worse, to try and stem some of the influx of H2
When she went in the second time it was apparent that the slickseam did some of the trick and she was taking on a lot less water. We pulled her over to a dock and tied her up, threw in an auxiliary bilge pump running off of shore power, and I ran the engine for 25 minutes or so for the batteries.
I'm probably overly worried about the batteries running low but I suppose this is a better safe than sorry
situation. The farther we remain away from a truly wet experience, the more I will likely sleep at night. I think. I hope.
today, I noticed that his bagel photo
was actually a perfect illustration of how wooden wedges are used to secure the masts on my boat. Except it is a bagel, not a wooden wedge, that is crammed into the hole. Sort of.
I'm loathe to speak out of turn, especially ahead of turn, but the E.stimated T.ime of L.aunch (ETL) of 11:30am, Friday, July 27th is fast approaching. For a brief moment of panic this morning, on the phone with the boatyard, it sounded as though I might be relegated to a mooring for the weekend, left in an empty boatyard with nothing but my own batteries and bilge pumps to stem the inflow from the leaking. They called back half an hour later, however, and told me they had found some transient dock space to use. I feel much better now, but as I said, best to talk about this after
the fact, so I'll shut up now.
Delayed till another day. I am getting used to this. When I arrived at the boat this afternoon the current owner told me right off that she had some bad news. For the briefest of seconds I thought through all that might be wrong but my gut knew immediately that it was the boat haulers that were the problem. Indeed, they got stuck in traffic below Boston returning from a trip down to Connecticut and there was no way that they could get to Gardiner in time.Willard Beach Mooring Field
Since there was a lot of information to cover I stuck around anyway and familiarized myself with a lot of the boat bits. We pulled the intake water-cooling hose and jerry-rigged a bucket with water in the engine compartment so we could go ever diesel procedures. Overall it is a fairly simple engine and I'm impressed with the access. I had gotten the impression earlier that many folks would consider it a somewhat tight space to be in while working on an engine but I found it to be roomy and all of the screws, fasteners, primer pumps, belts, and whathaveyous are easily accessible.
While we were running the garden hose for the engine our bucket overflowed and we built up about four inches of water in the bilge. Suprisingly, the underside of the hull was seeping and, in some spots, dripping, but nowhere was there actual running water of any kind. This really raises my spirits about the launching, something I have been nervous about because the boat has been dry for over two years.
So the new time frame for launching is tomorrow at 1pm. We'll see if this third time is a charm, eh? I hate repeating myself but.. same bat time, same bat channel.
I've been having troubles with my comment system when there are more than a few comments for a given post. I had looked into it in the past but nothing jumped out at me so I just left it - I mean, how often do I get more than a comment or two on one post?
Nonetheless, that tiny bit of perfectionist in me is always whispering in the back of my mind and so, today, I combed through the CSS mess and finally found it. Cheerio.
It is unto the Gods of patience and the sea that I now find myself tongue-tied and thumb-twiddled to death, but still very much upon dry land. In some part I feel as though this entire summer's worth of boat research has itself been quite a journey - like a hard and rough windward reach, yet I've yet to put boat to water and this is what is holding me back.
Tuesday morning saw wet drizzle and grey skies and, while it didn't seem perfect, I was willing to bet the sun would make an appearance by mid-afternoon, right about the time we were supposed to splash the boat. However, I got a call early in the morning reporting that the boat haulers were having brake troubles. I didn't expect anything good from this but they said they might be able to get things figured out in an hour or two. By 11am it was a no go and we scrapped for Thursday, same bat time, same bat channel.
Wednesday I mentally stowed all that impatience and anxiety in some air-tight locker in my mind and it was - for a couple hours - as if there was no boat at all and I had no home and no responsibility and and and. Unfortunately reality is stronger than a winter gale and it came crashing back in time to keep me up all night tossing and turning, mulling, and trying to mind my own business; but the ideas, thoughts, plans, and fears were crashing against me like a surge against a breakwater.
Now, the weather looks phenomenal and I'll use that to my advantage this evening, keeping busy with the grill and some friends. Through this, and paying my dues to the patience Gods, perhaps tomorrow we can splash and, with any luck..
Okay, that last post was just to give a little breathing room between fireworks displays. Give me a few days to get this out of my system and we'll be back to our regularly scheduled program..
I stopped in to see my friend Zach before I went to the fireworks this weekend. I was in the area early, despite some poking around on the motorcycle along back roads looking for interesting picture possibilities, so I figured I'd drop in on the new family.
In very many respects I must respect him and his wife. Since they have been together they've managed some long-term, long-distance relationship grind, 4 years of coast guard duty, the trials and tribulations of 3 years of law school, acquisition of a new home, and they had a child too.
In other respects, though, they're just idiots like the rest of us.
As I mentioned earlier, I got some fireworks pictures. Sure sure, tired old amateur photog clichés, right, but come on - it was a lotta fun playing around with the camera with these things booming overhead.
has a link to .. yaac
- yet another alarm clock
. This one is the Tokyo Commuter Alarm Clock and actually has a useful feature, and not just a loud obnoxious one. Apparently, it has a metro schedule and can ring different tones for different stations (at least I think so, based on my reading of the translated site).
It has been a long time coming and I've kept my mouth shut as much as I could because that is just my way. I guess I like surprises - good ones at least. While this is, arguably, just a change and the goodness or badness of it is still in limbo, I'm anxious to play this out and see where it takes me.
She is a 36 foot ketch built by the original Bill Dickerson of Chesapeake Bay. At 13,000 lbs she is not that heavy but not light either, and should prove to be a solid cruising boat for the coast of Maine. My real concerns are both her and my single-handing abilities.. especially since she is a ketch and therefore a more complicated rig than your average sloop, and a bad performer to windward comparatively. I'll certainly be dragging some crew out with me for the foreseeable future.
By keeping things simple, she offers a lot of space and storage and very few complicated systems to break and cost money. There is no refrigeration, just an icebox on the starboard side at the top of the cockpit, and there is no running water, only hand-pump faucets. She is equipped with a 28hp 3-cylinder Yanmar Diesel, fully overhauled only two years ago, so at the very least I'll have the option of motoring out of any trouble I get myself into.. if it starts. She has an aft-cockpit with wheel steering (something I am still coming to terms with - while part of me likes a wheel, I know that there is much to be said for a tiller when you're single-handing and a wheel is a more complicated steering mechanism in the end). At the end of the day I think it is a truly great fit for me, if a little on the large and costly end of things.
She isn't all simple, of course. She is decked out with PFDs, flares, fire extinguishers, and all the safety equipment you'd want for local cruising. She carries a GPS/Chartplotter, depth finder, radar, and VHF. Hopefully we'll be spending more time watching the waves than the screens.
The biggest problem of all, of course, is her greatest asset. She is a beautiful old wooden boat. Her hull is mahogany strips over an oak frame with an oak stem and long-leaf yellow pine keel and chine. The deck is marine ply and the masts and booms are sitka spruce.. She is all wood, through and through, and maintenance will be a bitch. Built in 1965 (1962?) she isn't a spring chicken anymore, and upkeep is going to be quite labour intensive. We'll see if I can rally myself for this sort of work and, if I can't, ladies take note; it might be a strong indicator of the fact that I am not ready for any other large commitments (especially of the diaper-changing, up-all-night crying variety - not that anyone is hoping I am).
If you'll take notice, the transom is bare of any name. She was previously Galatea
but now will have a new life with a new name.. nothing is decided, however, and I welcome any and all suggestions. I'll offer a free bottle of liquor of your choice (within a ~$25 price tag) to any who offers up a name we end up slapping on the back of this boat!
I took to the road and drove up to Hallowell on Saturday for their "Old Hallowell Day" festivities. Small town summer fun, basically, with some fireworks and a beer garden thrown in just for fun. If you've not experienced a Wharf PBR on a late July night with some band like the Rolling Blackouts
playing in the background, well, then.. you might just not have lived yet.
I dragged the camera with me on the off chance I saw something interesting to shot.
The weekend has come and with it, thoughts of life, choice, opportunity, and its costs.
In life, the things that make me happy or fill my time - like photography, jogging, drinking beer - aren't particularly unique or different. Not that I ever set out to be unique or different but sometimes feeling like everybody else is, well, disheartening. If you aren't able to specialize or there isn't anything unique about you then why do you exist? Certainly, everyone is an individual to a degree. After that you are a human with flesh, bones, body, and brains (sometimes).. nothing special at all.
If I think, then I am. If I do, then I have done something nobody else has. Thinking isn't particularly unique, it's what you do with it that counts. Or maybe this is what I am trying to tell myself. At the end of the day it is those things that you did
that make the largest differences, not what you thought
So I can choose to jog and I can choose to drink beer, but I can also choose to go out and do things that are different, or at the very very least, things I actually
want to do. Living in the free world - and the first world, to boot - I almost feel as though it is imperative that I follow to the fullest those opportunities of interest that have been made available to me - in fact, I may call it a duty.
Anything less is an insult to those who suffer the lack of these possibilities.
I just stumbled upon Arthur C. Clarke's First Law of Prediction
. While he is a scifi writer (2001: A Space Odyssey
), with all the caveats that that may entail, I like the cut of his jib:
When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
Perhaps replace "scientist" with "politician" and it might be worthwhile advice for our statesmen. Optimism, forward thinking, positive progress, and upward movement are probably a better fit for us, as a species, then negative and reactionary behaviour.
Sadly, I admit to stopping by myspace every few days to check if any virtual sexbeast babe has decided to try and be my friend. Hitting the "Deny" button never felt so good. It has the added bonus of being an active aggression against our culture (sex sells, glitz, glamour) instead of just passively hating it.
Anyhow, I've derailed. To get back on track, after I sent someone a message today, I was presented with an ad for Economist magazine:"Try six free trial issues"
Now, I gotta wonder: who fits into the small intersection of myspace users and intelligent global politics/financial connoisseurs?? Is that money well spent?
Did I post this? I don't think I did. It has been in the queue. Here yah go.New York City subway stop - from the train
Ah, the insecurities of youth
What I imagined the people around me were saying when I was eleven:
“Oh, man, I can’t believe that kid Simon missed that ground ball! How pathetic!”
“Wait. He’s staring at his baseball glove with a confused expression on his face. Maybe there’s something wrong with his glove and that’s why he messed up.”
“Yeah, that’s probably what happened.”
My favourite part, though, the keyword tags for the article. Seven things that should always
This one was requested in black & white and, as usual, I can't do exactly
Okay okay, I feel bad, so here it is in BW anyway.
Which one do you
I've been getting a lot of gripes lately about the lack of content and the proliferation of links on this blog. Apparently, economic debates of the higher order and giant squid aren't what my friends come here for. To be frank, I'm not sure they come for the photography, either - that is mostly for me and probably why you won't find my best
pictures here, just the ones that tickle my
own fancy in one way or another. If you couldn't tell, I like to play with colours.
So if they don't come for the photos or the links then what is it, exactly, that they are coming for? I really can't say. I've struggled, in my own way, over what to put here, how much to put here, and when. The reality is that the less I put down and the more obsequious I am, the less I think everybody gets out of it. But then again, in this world of everything-online, a little subtlety and vagary are sometimes just right.
At the end of the day, I post some of what I want some of the time and try not to post too much of anything I don't want. I don't count on comments because, while they may be the best part, they are far and few between and - truth be told - the fewest accompany those posts that I (and often others) think are my best. Perhaps there is something in human nature that makes us far more likely to comment on the kitsch? Easy to say "Oh my god!" at something intense and powerful, yet fleeting and gone
from our view in a blink of an eye, but far more difficult to address emotions of sadness, melancholy, introspection, or dispair? I don't know.
Proof that beauty can be found in the strangest places, this thirty-six footer Burr Brothers Sloop is sitting in Dover-Foxcroft Maine, the place of my birth and the geographic center of Maine. Sailboats have found themselves farther from the sea, for sure, but this one is a good few hours away. A whole lotta brightwork makes for a pretty sweet looking cruiser, though.
is an interesting google maps mashup that collects information about the neighbourhood around your address (what stores, services, and other amenities are nearby) and gives it a walkability
While LAist's Zach Behrens got a 66
in the Sherman Oaks neighbourhood of LA (Some Walkable Locations: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a car
), Green LA Girl's Santa Monica score is 91
(Walkers' Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car
Portland's West End - my own neighbourhood - scored a respectable 74 (Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car
) but if you try the downtown area, which is only ~1mile away, you get a whopping score of 94. Personally, the stroll down to the old port isn't a big walking-detractor for me.. I almost don't even notice the distance. When you live in Maine you sometimes have to "widen your steps", so to speak, and be willing to go a bit further than across the street or down the block.
Of course, the walking paradise that is the Plateau in Montreal only scores a 62 so it isn't like Walkscore is perfect yet - and it looks like the business results might be limited to five per category (groceries, bars, coffee shops, pharmacy, etc).
Aloha, Mr. Hand.Severed hand grabs attention
: WALDOBORO, Maine:
Contractors working on an old house found a human hand that police later confirmed was severed 50 to 80 years ago.
It is not every day you get that much hand.
Sadly, it often takes big words, science, and mathematics to state the already obvious: Copyrights last for too long
The optimal level for copyright has been a matter for extensive debate over the last decade. This paper contributes several new results on this issue divided into two parts. In the first, a parsimonious theoretical model is used to prove several novel propositions about the optimal level of protection. Specifically, we demonstrate that (a) optimal copyright falls as the costs of production go down (for example as a result of digitization) and that (b) the optimal level of copyright will, in general, fall over time. The second part of the paper focuses on the specific case of copyright term. Using a simple model we characterise optimal term as a function of a few key parameters. We estimate this function using a combination of new and existing data on recordings and books and find an optimal term of around fourteen years. This is substantially shorter than any current copyright term and implies that existing copyright terms are too long.
I haven't written about it here yet because it sort of slipped my mind, but once again the trade winds of good fortune have blown over my fair head and financial matters between friends have been settled, happily, and with no regrets. That is to say, "money lent to a friend must be recovered from an enemy" has not once, not twice, but now thrice proven to be false and clearly a weak assignment when spread thin upon everyone's soul.
I clearly have found at least some friends that I can help out without the need to break kneecaps, and that sort of trust and acceptance, with a willing amount of leeway and an easy mind towards the tardiness of life, has so far treated me well. I am, often, reminded that my acquaintances - for all their riff-raff and rag-tag bedfellows, for each of their life's misdirections - they are sometimes and can often be better men and women then I, Gunga Din.
And so it is with these things, the circle or oval or some sort of inter-connected cycle - perhaps wobbling about an invisible axis - comes back on itself, winding around onto its own, and spinning off towards all destinations at the same time. We but mere children atop this tilt-a-whirl merry-go-round, hanging on for dear life and sometimes, sometimes, hanging on to our money, but sometimes just letting go.
My money wants to go and yet I want to put it to bed, tucking it in like grandchildren, little nuggets of happiness saved up for the future, the bright one, the one that needs shades. It is a struggle, and I internally bleed, in the mind's eye, as if it were a cage match between wit and brawn, brains and bowels. Here, though, as it can be with good friends, the show is productive more than destructive and everybody learns something along the way; something about living and getting on and ignoring those futurologists who sit, wrinkled, in their rockers and wheelchairs, writing their checks out in pennies or pence, positively weak with wealth.
Overwhelmingly unsurprising - A global study reveals an overwhelming wealth gap
research indicates that assets of just $2,200 per adult place a household in the top half of the world's wealthiest. To be among the richest 10% of adults in the world, just $61,000 in assets is needed.
Half the world, nearly 3 billion people, live on less than $2 a day. The three richest people in the world –- Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffett and Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helú -- have more money than the poorest 48 nations combined.
Humans having been harvesting from the sea for quite some time.. which is why it surprises me that nobody seems too concerned that, all of a sudden, giant squid are washing up on our beaches and showing up in fishing nets in numbers that don't seem to jive with historical averages.
Is the internets just making me (us) more aware?
July 11th, 2007, Giant Squid Washes up on Australian Beach
July 6th, 2007, Rare deep-sea squid found off the Big Island
, Hawaii, after being sucked up by a water pipeline last week. "When we first saw it, I was really delighted because it was new and alive."
Note the past tense of was
December 26th, 2006, Giant Squid Captured, Filmed for First Time
, then dies.
The squid, a young female, "put up quite a fight" as the team attempted to bring it aboard, Kudobera told the Associated Press, and the animal died from injuries sustained during the capture.
December 21st, 2005, New squid on the (ice) block
, caught by commercial fishermen off New Zealand's South Island.
Back in March I wrote about the true cost of automobile ownership
, both in financial and environmental terms. Now, through edmunds.com, you can calculate it yourself
. Well, sort of.. and only for new vehicles.
I tried to make this one look like a painting, but failed miserablySunriseSunrise, a few minutes later
I haven't written much of anything on net neutrality here and that is probably because it is too depressing for me to render. Anyone who appreciates the extremely open, often free, and innovative space that is our cyberworld should take note, however, and get angry at both the companies perpetrating this atrocity and the FCC for letting it happen. If you watch SiCKO and get angry about healthcare, if you see the war on TV and seethe about it, you would be irate at the lose of net neutrality if you took the time to comprehend the implications.
Drugs in the city of New York
, as shot by a young documentarian photographer.
I was approached by a cocaine dealer who made it clear that he was a dealer. Over the course of the conversation he made it clear that if I wanted to follow him and photograph him I could. He took me to a variety of places - parties, people's apartments, the owner of an escort service..
She won an Inge Morath Award for young female photojournalists.
Judge not lest ye be judged.
So it is that here I lie, agony of heart, the awful melancholy of harm to our fellow man. Have not we all, in some way or another, taken the form of another and transformed it into our own creation? This, from a mere facade, a two-dimensional and limited representation. For how well can one know of any other - whether from mail or person, up close and intent? There are no wormholes or magic missles, no perfume or panaceas to jump through the hoops of the truth of the fact that we are all sperate beings. Wholly, if not holy.
And so it is that I do these deeds, of confusing the facts and faltering on foresight. Not knowing that the people I see are more than others; no, they are not, they are themselves, but more, and for all the seeing I've done there is so much more.
I haven't seen.
Each day I creep forward from within the archer slit I lay. The view gets wider as I cut off my angle, and eventually I know there will no longer be any angle, all angular atrocities of uneven economies having been cut out from my varaciously veranda-like view. This is the dream, anyhow, and someday I hope someone lives it. Until then we are all imperfect, and I'll be trying not to be so goddamned particular.
Six Month Status Report File #001
Front door is disingenuous and rude.
(it opens inward, and you are required to slip around it)
Getting sick of my craptastic amateur photography yet? Too bad. It keeps going.
First, though, an amazing feat:
While sitting around waiting for someone else to cook dinner, we hatched a plan. Who could carry the most beerz (not in their earz) without any assistance and no extra containers? While it was mostly an academic exercise in the end and nobody but I loaded up, it was still a feat. Twenty-six bottles of beers transported by a single 5'8" man-child. Impressive. I had a bit of a waddle but I could certainly move. I'd put my top speed at around 1/2mile per hour, not including time needed to stop and pull my pants up. Shoulda worn a belt.
This was what I thought was a cormorant. I didn't get in close to see but he was skimming along the water by the cottage. I caught this picture and then, obviously, mangled it to death with photoshop. Hey, we all have our hobbies.
These plants, which were all around the cottage, were a lot of fun to take pictures of in the waning light of dusk. It's all about light and dark, shadows and luminance.. really. Nothing gay to see here.. move along.
This is a bumblebee. Who doesn't like bumblebees? They should be shot.
The yacht club had fireworks for no apparent reason other than it was summer, the weekend, and dark out. This has happened before if I recall correctly. I'm not complaining.