sailing the NorSea


WEEK 5 2012

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First Post, 17 March 2002
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Saturday 4 February 2012
Saturday - Running around, doing minor chores. New flapper for the d/s commode, new handle for the u/s shower, looking for concrete curbing forms (no luck there), new stopper for the boat sink, stuff like that.

Book #16 would be A Larger Universe, by James Gillaspy. This was another nearly free Kindle book (I think it was on sale for $0.99), sci-fi. Not bad for a first effort.

When I had lunch yesterday with some friends they handed me a box of pens, the Pentel P-500. It's my favorite pen, fitting my hand perfectly, but it can't be found locally anymore. But they ordered some school supplies from Staples, and remembered me, Yay!


Friday 3 February 2012
Friday - did a quick rough wash of the car, in order to get the major grime and oils off it. I'll either wash it & wax it myself tomorrow or take it to one of those places that do it for you. I think I do a better job, but it kills my back and I feel mildly crippled for several days afterwards.

The thing that got me started was that someone who had sat in the passenger side seat during our field inspections last week reported that they'd gotten poison ivy last weekend. Yikes. So there was a chance that it was all over the seat. I had to spritz the seat with Woolite and vacuum it anyway, and that eventually let to me washing the outside of the car.

Book #15 was The Cruise of the Albatros, by E.C. Williams. This is the sequel to Book #14, Westerly Gales. We learn a bit more about the "pirates". They are, in fact, Islamic terrorists. The book is basically the re-arming of the ship used in the first book, and the addition of a 2nd ship, essentially the formation of a navy. Not bad.

With work canceled I can drop off the pile of e-waste tomorrow. So that's a plus. And the elbow and heel have recovered to the point where I should start thinking about resuming work with the pavers and landscaping.

Thursday 2 February 2012

Thursday - My friend T mentioned that his daughters were doing the Girl Scout cookies thing again. I'll have to order a few boxes, get my yearly fix...

Scam Alert! Scam Alert!
via tastefullyoffensive.

I watched The Dove (1974), via NetFlix streaming, in the evening. The photography is sometimes stunning, some of the best showing a small boat at sea that I've seen. The scenes of him sail handling in a storm are pretty fake, but probably not too bad for that time. There isn't nearly enough of the cluttered gear and lines on deck that you see in an actual cruising boat. There were also clearly two boats used in the filming, one with a distinctive blue striped jib, but they are interchanged at random throughout the movie, which is a bit distracting.

It many scenes the boat is over canvased, probably for dramatic effect. In a few others I think they sped time up, again for effect.

The acting and dialog are ... painful.

I remembered from the book that he had a cat with him, who died. I'd forgotten about the second doomed feline.

Book #14 was Westerly Gales, by E.C. Williams. The plot is set several centuries in the future, in a post apocalyptic world. The only humans to survive live in the Great Southern Ocean, on the Kerguelen Islands. They have slowly grown in numbers and prosperity, using the sailing ships and the ocean as their primary means of travel and trade. They are finally sailing north and trading/colonizing with islands in the south - Mauritius, La Reunion, so on. And then pirates begin attacking. A decent first effort.

Got a call from the boss, no work tomorrow and (I'm guessing) this weekend...

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Wednesday  - I mentioned Lie To Me having settings in the AV. They also have settings in Los Angeles, where I assume it is filmed. In particular another of the early episodes had a scene where there was a suicide from a bridge, a recognizable art deco-ish bridge over the LA River. Down near Dodger Stadium I think. The series is placed in Washington D.C. and they always make a point of showing Washington D.C. scenes (establishing shots I think they are called) - the Capitol, the Washington Monument and so on, so these local sets kind of break up the believability a bit for me.

N.C.I.S. has similar issues - suburban Bethesda looks a lot like the San Fernando Valley ;-)

I saw a dramatic painting of a battle scene on Tumblr the other day that intrigued me. It was clearly line-of-battle ships, engaged in a night action, with one ship burning and near exploding. The ships were modern in design, roughly Napoleonic Era rather than earlier. I immediately assumed it was the Battle of the Nile, but a quick Google image search didn't return a match. I then thought it might be the Battle of Cape St. Vincent or possibly the Battle of Trafalgar (though that was a day action, mostly), but again didn't find a match.

Battle of Chesma (1770), as painted by Aivazofsky in 1848.

Eventually I discovered it was a painting of the Battle of Chesna, the Ottoman Empire versus the Russian Empire, in 1770. It's easy to forget that there were a lot of wars going on in the late 1700's, with actors besides the British and French.

Book #13 was Death on an Autumn River, by I.J. Parker. This is another in the Akitada Sugawara series, and well done.

Books for 2012:

#1 His Majesty's Dragon: Temeraire #1
#2 Throne of Jade: Temeraire #2
#3 Black Powder War: Temeraire #3
#4 Hitch-22
#5 The Wave: In Pursuit of the ... of the Ocean
#6 Empire of Ivory, Temeraire Book #4
#7 Victory of Eagles, Temeraire #5
#8 Tongues of Serpents: Temeraire #6
#9 Return to Dakistee
#10 Villains Inc, Episode Four: Endgame
#11 The Innocence of Father Brown
#12 How Firm a Foundation
#13 Death on an Autumn River
#14 Westerly Gales
#15 The Cruise of the Albatros
#16 A Larger Universe

Tuesday 31 January 2012

Tuesday - Cleaning up the garage a bit. Found some paint and stuff that I need to take down to the boat. Added a few more dead batteries to the pile of e-waste. Actually, it looks like I might be working this weekend, in which case the e-waste drop off will have to wait a couple of weeks.

I don't much care for weekends at the marina honestly, it's just too noisy. Generators, radios, parties. Mandatory earplugs if you want to sleep. But so it goes. I get that in my neighborhood in Lancaster too - noise pollution is just a fact of modern life.

Book #12 was How Firm a Foundation, by Dave Weber. Eh. Kind of a yawner. This is about the 5th book in this series and despite a fairly promising start has slowed down from kind-of-boring to very-boring.

In other exciting Kindle news I created a "Mystery" folder on mine, for mystery and detective stories. Between the Akitada Sugawara and Father Brown books it looks like I have enough to move them out of the "General" folder.

I mentioned that recently I started watching episodes of Lie To Me on NetFlix. Episode 7 starts with couple of kids a jeep driving through the Yemeni desert. Only, really, it's the United State's own Antelope Valley, east side, with the double-humped Saddleback Butte on the horizon. Probably Avenue K or K-8. It's always fun to recognize one's home ground in film, and the AV is a very popular shooting location, as the nearest "desert" to Hollywood.

Lie To Me: "The Best Policy"

Monday 30 January 2012

Monday - Back in Lancaster. Fairly decent winter weather here, for Lancaster, not freezing or windy. Mostly just relaxing.

I did act as a taxi for a friend who was dropping off/picking up her car at the mechanic. In return she washed a couple of sleeping bags that I had brought up from the boat (she having a front loading washer suitable for the task). I had suspected they needed washing, and when she commented that "These smell like dead hobo!" I knew I was right. My faulty sense of smell means I usually have to guess at this sort of thing.

You know those smelly old men no-one wants to sit next too? That's probably my future. Hell, it's probably my present. It would explain a lot.

After cleaning, Riley checks out a sleeping bag. Verdict: sleepable.

Doing a bit of cleaning about the house while looking for my spare drill, a cheap Walmart B&D. Haven't found it yet. But I did find my good portable drill and the 110V drill, so I'm good anyway. I can't find my jig saw now - I suppose it's in Martinez with a lot of other tools. I'll have to visit my brother some time and collect some of this stuff. I could buy a battery powered jig saw I suppose, one that matches my older Makita 14.4V system, but it's not really a priority.

I've assembled quite a pile of electronic waste to go to the drop off next Saturday, a TV, a DVD player, a CD carousel player, two electric bike batteries, a microwave and a pile of smaller batteries.

Reading for the last few days includes some pretty light stuff:

Book #9 was Return to Dakistee, by Thomas De Prima. This is another in the series (the 8th), and, to be honest, pretty awful. I think I'll stop with this series. I've been waiting for the writing to get better, but it isn't happening...

Hmmm. Checking, this is the sequel to Against All Odds, which I read but did not list in last years book table. Arrgghhh. Well, so it goes. It would make the year's reading 151 books for 2011.

Book #10 was Villains Inc, Episode Four: Endgame, by Marion G. Harmon. While not great literature, or even great SF, it was much better than De Prima's effort. A sequel to last years Book #140.

Book #11 was The Innocence of Father Brown, by G.K. Chesterton. I didn't care much for last years #136, The Man who was Thursday, but I enjoyed this. I think there are quite a lot of these Father Brown detective stories and look forward to reading more of them.

Sunday 29 January 2012

Sunday - One of my resolves has been to do something for the boat each time I'm down. It's easy to treat it as an apartment, and just come and go, but boats require a great deal of TLC, which I've not really been providing.

My goal for Sunday (Saturday actually, but I ended up working instead) was to get the compass finally installed. What actually happened was that I could not find my drill or even the drill bits, and spent the morning cleaning up and organizing things. Sort of a spring cleaning, though there wasn't actually that much 'cleaning' and it's not actually spring - though it feels like it. I organized the tools that were scattered all over the boat, organized the painting stuff - sandpaper in one box, brushes and painting tape in another, scrapers and tubes in caulk in a third, paints, varnish, acetone, etc in another.

I did find the drill bits, but not the power drill. I think I must have left that in Martinez. I have a hand crank drill but it's seized up and will need some work to become usable.

It was warm Sunday, 80F by noon, and calm.

Friday night we'd had a huge windstorm come through, one of Southern California's infamous Santa Ana winds. They were, indeed, warm. And they were very strong, whistling through the standing rigs of my boat and those around me, rocking the boat. The strongest gusts would set up a vibration in the boat mast - probably hitting some sort of critical  vortex shedding speed on either the mast itself or the standing rigging. I'm glad I stayed aboard - it was kind of fun, though earplugs were needed for any sort of sleep.

My boat came through OK, but there was some damage to the marina itself - covers blown off dock boxes and such, and some boats had damage. A boat near mine had its furling jib come loose at some point. It was torn and wrapped around the starboard shroud. If I'd heard it come loose I'd have tried to secure it, but the noise was indistinguishable at night from the other noises, like the shredded canvas cover on the boat at lower right.

torn roller jib
Note the twist about the starboard shroud, above the spreader, making furling impossible.

The Oxnard weather report at about the time of the picture was a ridiculously low wind of 6mph. As can be seen by the wind bent palms in the background of the picture above, the winds were probably in the steady 20mph range when this picture was taken Saturday morning. Port Hueneme reported steady winds of 25-30mph Friday night, gusting to 50mph. Another boat owner at the marina reported that his boat's anemometer read 60mph overnight.

Picture of the Week
old Admiralty Pattern anchor, Morro Bay.
Photo Notes: An old Admiralty Pattern anchor, Morro Bay.

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