Sunday, December 27, 2009

State of the Union

It's Omphaloskepsis season, so let's all lift our shirts and begin gazing at our navels!

For the record, things are going as strong as ever in the Love and Coconuts household, with regards to our bringing our dream to life. We have been slogging along with domestic chores here in the off-season, working toward our financial goals that will put us in a bigger boat sometime in the next 6-18 months.

Don't worry about us too much, however, because our priorities are in order. We took two weeks to go thaw out on Maui in late November. We expect to limit our trips next year with the goal of spending more time on the water in the dinghy, as well as doing what we need to get into a keelboat.

We'll be traveling to London in early January, where Kris will do lots of work-type things, while Greg works on getting into the Excel boatshow and checking out the new season's offerings.

After that, the hope is that we get a couple of decent days, with some semi-warm weather and some early season sailing.

Our best to everyone in the new year!


Friday, December 11, 2009

Voyaging the Pacific - Miles Hordern

Just finished this one and found myself stringing it out, the last third. I was enjoying the location, maybe more than the writing. Although, I found it well written. Miles is a pom living in New Zealand and he embarks on a trip across the Southern Ocean, which is a large part of the book. He talks a lot about the expanse of ocean, the history of it, and more, while also doing a good job of putting you right in the cockpit and the cabin of his single-handed 28-footer.

He eventually runs into the South American continent and winds up helping on a mapping effort in the many islands, sounds, and waterways of the Chilean coast. He manages to evoke the place in a way that again puts you right there with him.

Eventually, Miles bears off to the North and then picks up the Trades and heads west. I found it quite interesting how many places he sailed right past; in the spirit of Moitessier, Mr. Hordern seemed happier to slip on past and keep to see.

My first experience of the Gambier Islands was through his writing here.

I found the bibliography to be a treasure trove of titles that I expect to tackle soon. There appear to be a couple editions of this out there, one of which has a variation on this title.

Monday, November 30, 2009

viagra salespeople and chinese sailing fans

Owing to the large amount of comment traffic that I just can't translate, I'm turning the captcha back on. I hope this doesn't mess up your sales plans or ability to post repeated chinese character comments.

love, greg

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Who's got the sailing hookup on Maui?

Anybody know some good sailing connections on Maui? I see many of these snorkel and champagne things going on, but no true sailing, other than the America II.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Recycled Adventure

I posted this one a little over a year ago when I launched this dinghy adventure.

... and I want some comments this time, my friends. Otherwise, I'm hunger-striking, or something like that.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009


A blogger who I've enjoyed reading thanks to a Tillerman tip, is calling for a writing project regarding identity. This guy, called something like Walter Mitty, gives an interesting account of what inspired him to ask everyone to write about identity. Then he calls for the following:

I want to hear about an aspect of your cultural identity and to counterpoint that, an aspect of the rivalry with another group that surely must, by definition, exist alongside it.

I was struck by this idea and after reading Walter's call for submissions I was puzzling it over as I drove to pick up my kids from school. In the car Teri Gross was interviewing a Pakistani man who'd moved to the US at a young age and has found himself searching for a deeper understanding of his identity, which is a mix of an American identity and a Muslim in America, as well as a struggle with who he is when he goes back to Pakistan for the occasional visit.

I think Americans are, by definition and necessity, at a constant crossroads of identity-seeking. My own story in America is only three generations old on my dad's side. My great-grandfather having sailed from Cork to San Francisco in 1886. My dad's maternal side came around the same time and ended up in the same Irish neighborhood in SF.

On my mom's side, there are similar stories, including one set of ancestors who sailed to Panama, which was a common thing to do, walked across the isthmus and sailed up to SF. However, they had their walk interrupted by civil war in Panama, which turned their 2-3 week trek, into a year-long odyssey.

Many of my Irish ancestors were escaping abject poverty, overcrowded homes, and severely limited futures.

My grandmother also traces roots to Captain John Smith, who's middle name may or may not have been Randy, as he seems to have quite a prolific family tree in the waning centuries of his North American adventures.

So, there's the background for me being dropped here in the Western US in the late 20th century. I've got a pretty solid grip on my cultural heritage, however, smoothly translating that into an identity starts to get a little squirrely when I think about the geographical aspects of who I am.

My dad joined the Air Force and I was born on Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California's Mojave Desert. Two years later, we found ourselves in Alaska for a three-year stretch. After that, I spent spots of time in the range of 2-4 years in Salt Lake City, Colorado, Texas, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Oregon.

Some years in Hawaii, a few in New York City, and one in Florida round out four-plus decades of itchy feet.

What is my American identity and how is it influenced by rivalry? I got beat up for being a Catholic in Mormon country, a Yankee in Texas, and white in Mississippi, which is plenty of rivalry; none of which I chose. I eventually learned how to stick up for myself and figured out no matter where you go, if you're not careful, you'll find the person who has a problem with you.

I'm not sure I'll ever understand the Texas perspective on what a Yankee is. I tried to explain to the guys who jumped me when I was twelve, that my family was from Ireland, by way of California. Neither place had anything to do with the Civil War. I think Yankee may just mean "doesn't sound like me," or "arrived here from a bearing generally North."

Ultimately, I feel like my identity is in many ways influenced by geography, including the landscapes of the West; the seascapes of the Gulf of Mexico; the reefs I surf in Hawaii; and my urban American living.

Cars and long-distance drives through American landscapes are a large part of my identity, which is what guys like Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch are trying to tell me, I believe, with the quantity and quality of those shots in their films.

I served in the Navy and sailed around the Pacific Rim, hitting ports on the way. I went through the Moluccan Straights and into the Indian Ocean, which still inspires dreams of The Maldives.

I have three daughters and a son, who certainly influence my identity, as do my sister, three brothers, and my parents. Although, as I grow older, I find the influence of my family of origin fading and more like a memory I take out of storage occasionally, than any sort of anchor.

My children, on the other hand, reflect back to me who I want to be, my struggles to become that person, the ways I've succeeded and the ways I've come up short.

To bring it back to Mr. Mondale, I imagine a guy with a thoroughly English-sounding name, living in a small village in the UK, probably has a pretty deeply-rooted sense of his own identity from the geographical and historical perspectives, and it's curious to me, what that must be like. In what ways is it limiting and in what ways is it empowering?

I'm sure that the freedom to move and change and, in some ways choose my identity, that I'm afforded here in America is something that I may never be able to put a value on. I know it's the one thing I want to give my kids.

In other ways, I wonder what it would be like to have a home and an identity that are less ephemeral.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I found this on another blog I follow. I'm recaptioning (and making up a new word in the process).
New caption: Well, Ollie, I look at it like this ...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Post O Joy

We've sort of gone into hibernation here at the future of the sailing vessel Clarity. Part of our desire to sail outta here is that both Kris and I have had it with winters. If you know anything about real winters and you know anything about Great Northwet winters, you'll think we are real wimps.

Which we may well be.

Winters are very temperate here, which is part of the appeal. However, we don't want anything to do with seasons anymore. Give us a sun over head for twelve hours and leave the dang leaves on the tree.

So, we are doing all of the household stuff for fall prep and counting down the days to Maui. 37 for me and 39 for Kris. I like that math.

On the boat front, we are still working steadily toward making a choice and getting our finances in order to purchase and eventually move aboard full-time.

All of which adds up to why we are slacking on the sailing and posting front. Greg's picking up extra writing work and draining his wit for The Man every day. None left in the evening.

Looking forward to some sun and some breathing room.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cap'n JP!

So, yesterday was World Rivers Day and our favorite Putney Bridge pub host is prodding us all to post with regards to this important event.

What did we do? Instead, we rode the Harley 300 miles to a little Bavarian-themed town in the Northern Washington Cascades to help them kick off the Oktoberfest season. They couldn't have done it without us. They would have sold approximately two gallons less of beer, and 2-3 pounds of german-themed meat products would have had to wait a couple of minutes for someone else to come along and eat them, instead of us.

All of this beer drinking, and meat eating took place on the amazingly beautiful Wenatchee River, which drains into the Columbia and fills up a couple of damns that generate some power that pay my bills.

We are grateful for some awe-inspiring rivers here in Oregon Country. And we are grateful that the Willamette doesn't require a typhoid shot, most of the time anymore.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's Business Time

Annual check-in meeting due this month ... or next. Kris and I are due to review our plan again. We'll take a weekend day and spend 3-4 hours checking where we are at, what's been accomplished, what's at risk, and what are next steps are. That's right, my friends, it's back to bidness time.

Results to follow!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Salvage Effort Continues

After the events of November 8, 2008, Kris and I mapped out a slow road to recovery for the girls. Joining the sailing club was step one; the hope being to get them around the water more often, and especially with other kids who sail and may inspire the girls to get back out on the water. With that in mind, I took the girls to the club on Monday night, the three of us intending to meet Kris after work.

Last night went well, in the other-kid regard. When we arrived at the club, Kris was already down at the dock, even though the mass of folks had gathered up on the hill. I think she was driven down there by the shorebound antics of the Laser fleet. With extremely light and variable wind, the bulk of the laserettes were up on the cliff yelling abuse at the race committee and the handful of laser sailors attempting to launch their boats.

We found Kris and then wandered back to the boat launch area where a precocious young lady, about 2 years older than A and M, was working her way down the ramp, deeper into the water, while holding onto the dock.

She told us she was looking for a 'daggerboard' that one of the sailors had dropped. A and M were very intrigued and pretty soon, with a bit of encouragement from the kid, they were hip deep with their new friend Sierra, all three engaged in an active, vocal recovery operation.

As the salvage progressed, they came up with an unopened bottle of Red Dog beer. If you clicked that link and read to the end, all I can say is, "I dunno." I didn't have access to this information prior to viewing the bottle cap. Or maybe I don't have much imagination. I read a lot of Batman comics as a kid, but I think the thrill for me was a sort of empowerment fantasy, rather than, well, let's just call it: the author's particular bent.

Anyway, after a half-hour or so of dagger recovery operations, (which I later found out from The Tillerman was more likely a rudder recovery operation, owing to the fact that Laser daggerboards are designed to float) the team shifted interest toward the rush of Laser sailors who were now trying to launch as the wind had come up and the race committee were dropping buoys.

Sierra offered to push a couple of the Lasers out and quickly jumped in the water to do just that. M followed close behind and the two of them created a proper nuisance in the midst of the Laser launchings. It was beautiful.

After everybody was underway, one of the race committee boats returned to the dock and the girls invited themselves along to 'help out.' I gave the guy in the boat an out, asking him if it was okay if the girls went along. He cleared it and away they went for at least an hour.

They acted as the escort boat when the Portland Spirit came through on its evening upriver run. They also waved flags and wreaked havoc on the high seas, I'm certain. The boat driver was nonplussed, however, on return. We delivered him a beer and told him we probably owed him two. He was happy to enjoy it with us and sat down to chat. With roots in Florida, our new friend, turns out, grew up in Kingston, Jamaica.

All in all, a good day at the club. Next step, getting the kids on the dinghy again. I think Sierra helped our case when she told the girls, "I love to do capsize drills. Want to do some capsize drills? They are the best!"

I can feel the perspective shifting.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Book Review: Rounding the Horn

Loved it! Absolutely.

Dallas Murphy's Round the Horn is a wonderful mix of travelogue, exploration, sailing, geography, history, sociology, meteorology, and some cooking. His subtitle says most of it: Being a story of Williwaws and Windjammers, Drake, Darwin, Murdered Missionaries and Naked Savages--A deck's eye view of Cape Horn.

I found it to be a fantastic read; couldn't wait to pick it up and dive back in, wherever I was. Murphy did his research on this one and presents us with great collection of insights into the place and the human events that took place there over the past 500 years. Read this one and you'll have the best possible insight into the mysteries of Tierra del Fuego and the struggles to master the winds and seas throughout the past couple of centuries.

I give it my top rating, whatever that is. Some stars? A handful! Some thumbs? Another handful.

Read it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Book Review: We the Navigators - The Ancient Art of Landfinding in the Pacific

I'm about halfway through this one and enjoying it immensely, although I don't know that I would recommend it to most. David Lewis is the author, and he turns out to be quite a prolific writer, mostly covering things Polynesian.

Born on some island off the coast of France, Mr. Lewis was raised in New Zealand and Rarotonga, where he attended a Polynesian school. He later studied to become a doctor and after many years practicing medicine, including some involvement of the establishment of the British National Health Service, he set off to circumnavigate the world in a sailboat and then into a second career as a sailor. He built his own catamaran and completed the first recorded circumnav of the world in a multihull.

Maybe you all know these things, but he's new to me and most interesting for his disciplined study of Polynesian navigation methods. I was fascinated by the concept of navigating without instruments and have always wanted to know more about how the Pacific Islanders moved about and established themselves in such an enormous expanse of open ocean with no modern navigation tools.

This book does an excellent job (so far) of detailing how the indigenous sailors of the Pacific use only the things they can see to determine where to find land.

With tribal knowledge passed on through rote learning, the subjects of Dr. Lewis's study seem to be able to establish their location by stars and sun position and then maintain course through periods of cloud cover by orienting themselves to the running ocean swells. Coupled with the detailed drawings and explanations of the primitive sailing vessels they piloted, the scientific research approach to understanding the navigation methods is turning into quite a page-turner for me.

If my life was not so much on the go these days, I'd love to write more of these reviews. I've got a stack of about twenty books lined up to read, many of a similar sort as this one. And I've got another twenty that I've read in the past nine months that have mostly been recaps of sailors trips around the world.

Thanks T-man.

Addendum: Some Older Reviews
A Family Cruise
A Family Cruise Gone Horribly Awry - NOT a light read

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Sir Robin Knox-Johnston became the first person to sail around the world non-stop and single-handed forty years ago today, April 22, 1969 when he crossed that finish line in Falmouth, UK, completing the Golden Globe Yacht race.

Today is Robin Knox-Johnston Day on the Web.

Earth Day, Sea Day, it's all good.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Search Continues

I think the man of the dock of O has the right idea. I've been looking at some of these coastal cruisers, with their fancy wine racks, down at the yacht broker's docks, and they just don't seem to be working out. The Dread Pirate O recommended a nice looking older boat up in Washington. I think we are going to look more heavily in the Bay and Seattle/Canada, rather than around here.

It seems like we might be able to find something more suited to our current/future needs in the larger markets. It also seems we might be able to avoid dealing with a yacht broker, which, so far, doesn't seem to be a very satisfying experience.

We've made a couple of offers on boats and it has felt like we were serving their needs as foil, rather than them serving our needs with a little more transparent communication about the process. This last one was sorta odd and unsatisfying, although test sailing the boat was great.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Warning: Political Rant

I just got my notice that my Oregon driver's license renewal is up and this time around I'm required to bring a sheaf of documentation with me to prove I'm an American citizen, living in Oregon, born on the date I claim, and equipped with the proper income-reporting documentation.

I've had an Oregon dl for 29 years and now I have to jump through this ridiculous set of hoops for what reason? To stop terrorists from legally driving cars in Oregon? To stop non-taxpayers from legally driving cars in Oregon? To stop Oregonians living in Idaho from driving cars in Oregon legally? To stop non-citizens from driving cars legally in Oregon?

Or is it more about some right-wing, protectionist nutjob attempting to put the kibosh on immigrants receiving driver's licenses in Oregon?

The upshot of all of this is that rather than mailing in my thirty-nine bucks every eight years and renewing, I now have to go stand in line at the epitome of bureaucracy to get a new picture taken and stand by while I'm approved as a taxpayer, Oregon resident, and properly documented citizen. To get into that line I'll now be putting myself on the road with a higher risk of driving amongst uninsured, unlicensed drivers.

I won't be proving that I know the proper stopping distance for pedestrians.

I won't be proving that I understand the new bicycle boxes at downtown intersections.

I won't be proving that I know the proper following distance, or when and how to use my turn indicators.

What happens if Oregon only requires you to show up and take a test and prove state residency, as they had done for the past 29 years of my driving experience? I think what happens is that we end up with a bunch of people driving cars in Oregon who live here and passed the same test as everyone else to get their license to drive cars in Oregon.

We put ourselves at less risk. If we were to do that, I'd be driving with a bunch of people who understand the bike boxes, use their turn signals, don't tailgate me in the Terwilliger curves, and flipping yield to me when I'm trying to get across the street with my children on foot.

Damn you, George Bush and all those like you.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Test Sail: Beneteau 323 - We Likey

Almost a beautiful day for sailing. The wind was a healthy 15 knots and out of the South. The only bummer was it started raining toward the end and it was a bit cold.

The smile on Kris's face belies the cold.

Note the professional looking gloves, too.

We liked her a lot. Great wind today and we were able to hold a straight line up the river, turn into the wind follow the same line back downriver, hitting over 7 knots a couple of times on the upriver reach.

Part of Kris's sailing smile is attributable to the saloon table's six-bottle wine holder, which you can see right here in front of her.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Pirate Blogger

Pirate's sailed around under a fake flag and commandeered the ships they came across. I know a pirate blogger. He doesn't actually have his own blog, but he commenteers on others.

I miss him. Anybody seen him lately?

You know who you are.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Test Sail: Beneteau 323

Kris and I are going to take this little beauty out on Saturday. She's not the world cruiser we expect to head for blue water in, but we are thinking a couple of years of river sailing in something like this, might be the best next step as we build our skills.

I think that future boat is going to be an Island Packet. Those boats really speak to me.

Anyway, this one is affordable for now, in great shape, and possesses the important things that Kris looks for in a boat: built-in wine racks.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Book Review: The Water in Between

By Kevin Patterson.

A canuck doctor, carrying a heavy load of Northern Prairie ennui, and pining over a couple of lost love affairs, takes to sea in hopes of finding something in Tahiti. What's the something? He's not sure, but he spends a lot of time reading and thinking about the traveling he's doing.

I enjoyed it and got caught up in the narrative, as well as the dialogue he has with the books he reads along the way. His outward trip is undertaken with a guy he meets at the docks, a guy in a similar mopey-pining mood.

The other characters present for most of the trip are Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux. Patterson does a good job of mixing in his understanding of these guys and their writings, while contemplating his own desire to be out on this journey.

He's frank about his inexpert boathandling and some of the problems that arise from his mistakes. He also does a good job of putting you out there in the horse latitudes, as he and Don drift in the daily langour of the Pacific High.

Well-written and a good read if you like the long passages of other's work included with the descriptions of the people he meets along the way and the adventures they experience.

Interestingly, they end up going the hard way. Boat problems force them to head to Hawaii and they they have to beat back to the Cooks and Tahiti. Patterson returns to Canada to make some more money.

When he returns, he has brought a couple of recruits and they all sail the boat back to Hawaii together, where Patterson ends up alone, as the others must return to jobs. He singlehands back to B.C.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Book Review: Ten Degrees of Reckoning

Just finished this one and I'm all out of tears. Sheesh. Family goes cruising and irresponsible log-carrying ship runs them over in the dark. Heartbreaking result.

It's a good story to know, but the details in the moments around the accident are so explicit and immediate that it's hard to bear.

I'll recommend it with the caveat to those who care about children will most likely find this nightmare inducing.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Two Sealanes Diverge

So those of you who've been scoring at home know that Kris and I are looking for a liveaboard to make step one (or two) toward our new life of cruising.

Love and Coconuts is the dinghy that we picked up this past fall to work on important skills, like sailing a sailboat with sails, so we will be ready when buy the big boat. And this blog here, the original, is meant to track our progress toward making that big move.

We have seen a few boats and even made one offer, just because it seemed like a good chance to pick up something that might meet our needs for a great price.

Today we looked at a couple of big cruisers up in Seattle. The first, a 1995 Island Packet 45 is fantastic shape and fully kitted out for offshore cruising.

The second, a 1991 Tayana 55, would cost about $50k less, but would require about that invested to get it ready to go offshore.

The Tayana is very attractive and incredible. With a 16' beam, the saloon could probably double as a ballroom dance studio. And the master stateroom has a true walkaround queen bed. I've seeen a lot of boats with advertised 'walk around' beds, that end up being the sort you can edge about midway up the bed and then you run out of room. This bed is truly walkable on three sides.

I won't go on about all of the appealing things in this boat, but, my god there are a lot. And, at once appealing and terrifying is the amount of sail this thing can put up. The yacht broker commented that it is probably viewable from a satellite in space with all of the sails up. I wouldn't doubt it.

We'd need the five+ years we have coming before we would have the confidence to sail this thing. I imagine we'd have to find some crew to really run it right. Although, ahem, electric winches ... giddyup!

The IP was a solid confidence-instilling cutter rigged bluewater boat. And, with two massive heads and fiddles and handholds everywhere it's truly a cruiser.

So, maybe we get one, maybe not, either way we are educated and have discovered that this process is going to require a lot more question asking before we start to get close to the point where we begin to answer some questions.

More broadening before the narrowing.

Much more broadening.

Our work is cut out for us.

Meanwhile, we drove out to Pier 90-91. The USS Wabash, oiler that I served in, moored there when we came town. There's a new marina right next door; well, maybe it's 20+ years old. We walked the shoreline, watched some folks sail, and had a Spanish coffee as the sun set on a beautiful springy day in Seattle.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Caged Lion, the Little Dog, the Old Lady, and the Thickheaded Sailing Wannabe

When I sailed a couple of weeks ago, I believe it was my season opener, I came back to the dock to adjust something on the boat and as I approached an older woman walking a small dog (the size and disposition of which my sister refers to as a punting dog), hurried down the rampway and waved at me.

I came alongside the dock as she came down to where I was slipping in and she asked if I was from the sailing club (Willamette Sailing Club is a couple hundred meters downriver from my regular boat launch). I said I wasn't.

She then asked if I was sailing in the snow last month, meaning January, because she had taken some pictures from up on the hill of somebody out in the snow and left them at the club. I said that couldn't have been me, as I was out of town.

She then said, "Oh, you must be the one who capsized," which sounds a lot friendlier here in print than it did when she delivered it.

In fact, it sounded so superior that I nearly laughed, reminded of a haughty stereotype of a country club wife.

I smiled and said, "Well, yes, I've tipped this thing over and I'll probably do it again, if you want to know the truth. I tend to find the limits of my abilities nearly every day of my life."

She wandered off after this, a bit crestfallen in my estimation.

That happens to me occasionally. Someone pokes a stick in the cage and tries to rattle the lion, and I'm getting more and more used to the poking and relatively comfortable in my cage, and I tend to shrug it off and move along.

That said, I've really enjoyed all of the ribbing I've taken from you all, as it seems to come from a more genuine place.

As for my own jabs, gybes, pokes, and blunders, I hope they are taken in the same spirit. If not, please send me a note. I'm a little thick, and, although fully capable of sensing when I'm getting the brushback, I'm a much better signal reader when the letters are in a serif-font delivered directly to my inbox.

I believe in community and have a strong desire to belong to a community of people I respect. That's not my original thought, but it is something I ascribe to. I also think that community shifts and changes and moves along. We are players, with our exits and entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts - wait! That's good. I gotta get that down. Maybe start if off with something like, All the world's a stage ...

After teasing everyone about their winter navel-gazing, I'm in the same boat thanks to some old lady and her dog. Thank dog the sun came out this week.

Much aloha!

Yaghan's RTW

Been following this Swedish couple on their circumnav. They are a couple hundred nm from Brazil and will cross their departure path there, thereby completing a round trip.

They will celebrate with a ten-day stop in Brazil during Carnival!

They have some links in their blog to good video of their adventures on Swedish TV, also.

Junior Returns to Seattle! And so do we.

Kris and I are off to Seattle for the weekend. We are going for fun, but also planning on looking at boats while we are up there. Our strongest desire was to check out catamarans, but apparently any catamarans that get purchased in Seattle end up sailing off for warmer latitudes in short order. So, not many to see.

There are, however, some pretty great deals on some sweet cruising monohulls, including a Tayana 55 and an IP 45.

Meanwhile the sailing (and drifting) skills continue to build over here.


Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm Such a Child

I'm so happy that our 44th President read his autobiography for the books on tape version. 'Cause now I get to keep these mp3s until the secret service invades my MacBook and snatches'em along with my fries...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Stomping the Koala

Which one of you blogger people turned me on to this blog: F%c& You Penguin?

C'mon, 'fess up. I suspect the GPW.

Why do I love this blog so much? Is there something wrong with me? Has this blogger tapped into a deep, dark spot in my soul that resents the eff out of cute little animals? Is this blogger drinking my milkshake?

Or is it something less nefarious? Something that I should just let flow and enjoy, a natural contraction occurring after the expansion of the past year?


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Three Sails Under my Boom

And two others under clipper/schooner booms in Key West.

Been posting like a demon over here. It's a good year, so far.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Vang This

Where else but in sailing can you say "I had to pick up a shackle for my boom vang"?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Another Shot of the Sister Ship for Bonnie on a Cold Day in Aiea

Adirondack II moored in Key West.

Dream on, scooter.

meme /meem/ [coined on analogy with `gene' by Richard Dawkins] n.

I responded to this meme going around on Facebook. I usually ignore these things, but my cousin and another guy I know each posted and I was inspired by their wit and vulnerability. So I jumped off the cliff, too.

25 Random Things

1. Dove into the Gulf of Thailand from a bar window. Read all about it here:

2. I am fascinated by my wife's habit of coordinating her underwear top and bottom.

3. The best thing I ever read was a note from my 22 y/o daughter telling me she likes to hear the stories I tell about her because it helps her remember what is good and strong about her.

4. I am surrounded by women who love me and tell me, my beautiful wife and three amazing daughters, and it makes me happy, however, I have a poor relationship with my parents and worry that I am not helping my son find his bliss.

5. I have recently discovered sailing and am a bit obsessed with it; in a good way.
In fact, Kris and I are planning our departure from the higher latitudes and I keep track of our progress on two blogs. We dream of lying at anchor in translucent water and work hard to perfect our repertoire of cocktails for the purpose of enhancing each and every sunset.

6. I like creme brulee.

7. I like Bordeauxs from 1985 that have been opened and allowed to air out for an hour.

8. I secretly admire my redheaded 5 y/o's rebellious desire to have whatever she wants whenever she wants it and regret having been such a good boy growing up. Of course I recognize that my current vicarious thrill is a payoff, since my caution was a survival tactic, so the regrets don't run too deep.

9. Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Tarzan Boy are the two songs that make me happy every single time I hear them.

10. I made wine in a plastic barrel hidden in the bilge of the engineroom I ran in the Navy. It was pretty good, but everything that came out of my body for the next week was a deep purple color, including snot.

11. I was raised a poor white child in Mississippi ... and Texas, Colorado, Utah, Alaska, and California.

12. I miss my brothers. I have some friends now who I get together with once a month and they feel like intentional brothers; they also know how painful I find it to have grown up with those guys and not be able to have them around anymore.

13. I'm very proud of my 19 y/o son's guitar playing skills and travel down to Corvallis whenever he plays just to sit and listen to him.

14. I rarely wear socks with my sneakers.

15. The first time I tried to catch a wave over 20-feet it caught up to me and completely blew up my whole world. It was the first time in my life I realized that I'm not going to live forever.

16. I was Dave Johnson's (Olympic decathlete) first training partner. We ran a 300m race with some other guys and I won. Dave probably could have been on the Olympic team as a Javelin thrower, too. I was a lousy javelin thrower.

17. I drive to Mexico for a spring break surf trip every year, speak really bad Spanish, eat great fish tacos, drink beer on the beach, and fall a little bit more in love with Baja.

18. I was in a car accident four years ago this month and put on forty pounds over the past couple of years, probably because I quit running/biking/swimming. I've gotten a little fatter, but I'm a little happier. I expect to drop the weight again, but I feel grateful and a little humbled by the lesson I learned about how vulnerable we all are and what a fragile gift life is.

19. It's weird being a military brat. I lived all over the country and feel a part of the whole thing. When I see [insert place here] Native stickers on cars, I think that's a person with a closed mind and little imagination. I imagine if you counted up those stickers they would equal the number of people who voted for W.

20. I love Virginia Hamilton Adair's poetry.

21. Hoodies make me happy.

22. I own six surfboards and four bikes and whenever my wife asks me why, I answer, "Because I haven't bought another one yet."

23. I'm taller than you.

24. I should have paid attention in school and become a pediatrician. Now I realize what an important role parenting plays in how a kid turns out.

25. When I think I'm all done, I wipe one more time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Shh, don't tell Kris

... but I'm posting some Paris pictures. She's still a bit pissed at Paris, mostly because of the Parisennes.

Here are a couple of shots of liveaboards, just downstream from Notre Dame, towards the end of Ile de la Cite (which I can't be bothered to try and spell in proper French because I've lost all motivation to learn it after my most recent experience with the passive-agressive residents of the City of Light).

Photo Tag - You're It!

Captain JP tagged me with something Bonnie the Hawaiian New Yawk Kayaker started spreading amongst the sailing bloggers.

Now you're it. Go to your picture folders and pick out the fourth folder and then the fourth picture.

Here's mine. It's from Kris's and my recent trip to
Spain. Here we are sitting in Paco y Carmen's kitchen outside Sevilla, with our little friend, Pata Negra. We are holding snifters of what Paco called "brandy" but it tasted like no brandy I've ever had. It tasted a lot like a port, in fact.

Here's the box the bottle came in. Oddly enough, the photo is the fourth photo, in the fourth folder of my 'modified' photos.

Monday, February 2, 2009

An August Passing

This blog took a new tack back in September, inspired by Kris's and my determination to set ourselves a new course in life. I recounted that in our Bidness post.

Just this week, Adam over at Messing About in Sailboats posted his own manifesto, or at least the opening shot. He has set his year and intends on sailing off to the Caribbean in 2014. We are supposed to track him and hold him to his word, in support of his pursuing his dream.

Kris and I have an article posted on our home office wall. It's a similar piece to the one that Adam references in his post. If you look around enough, you can find them. They are the one's telling you to make the leap.

I told Kris about Adam's post and read the inspiring passage to her. She was as touched as I. Today she sent me her date. We have been shooting for somewhere in the 4-6 year range, with our eye on 2014, also. Now we have an actual month, August, and a day, the 15th.

Thanks, Adam.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Today's Rant: Truth in Advertising - The Politics of Slicing Pork Products

I know that if you want to claim your book has been revised, you have to change something like 20% of the content. I also know if you want to claim your food product is 'reduced fat' you have to drop at least 30% of the calories.

My question, who the hell is watching over the bacon industry?

This 'thick sliced' label is a joke. the most recent package of so called thick sliced bacon, which I bought, wouldn't be considered thick by the most anorexic super-model wannabe.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Winter Getaway Recap

Days away - 19
Airline legs - 8
Train legs - 1 (Eurostar from London to Paris)
Blogging sailors we met - 2 (Captain JP and the GPW)
Positive experience with French waiters - 1.5
Nasty French waiters in Paris - 3 (impressive considering we were only in France for 29 hours)
Women on quiet Paris side streets who tossed their heads and huffed after hearing our American accents - 1
Nasty people elsewhere - 0
Days until our planned return to Paris - [insert scientific notation here]
Colds acquired - 1 each
Family and friends caught up with - 4
Tapas plates consumed - dozens
Bottles of Rioja consumed - 1.2 per day (in Spain)
Scarves purchased by Kris - all of them (1 for Greg, 2-3 for friends, many for Kris [all worth it])
Countries visited - 5 Conch Republic, UK, France, Spain, Gibraltar
Sailing excursions - 2
Fish and chip platters - 6
Flamenco bars - 3
Number of times we said of Vejer, "This place is incredible." - 47

Back to Stumptown

We had a great trip to Europe. I posted a bunch of pictures of Spain on my Facebook. Make me your friend (hint: I'm one of the Greg O'Sheas) and you can see them.

I'm putting some shots in here from our daytrip to Barbate, just down the road from Vejer de la Frontera, my new favorite place in the world. There's a shot from the yacht club deck

Some very old bottles of Bordeaux in a display inside the yacht club.

And a couple of shots from the fishing boat basin.

Kris was trying to capture the best angle on a lot full of anchors. Hundreds of old, rusted kedge anchors stacked in a yard near the fishing boats.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Adirondack II

Some more shots from our sail on Adirondack II. This is her first winter in Key West and I'm not sure how well it's going, but it was a fantastic day for a sail for us.

I raised the mainsail and got a turn at the helm on the way out.

There's also a shot of a cruiser we passed on our way in.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some More Key West

On Day Two in Key West we sailed with the racing schooner Adirondack II and crew. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day for sailing or a more fantastic boat to sail.

Here's Kris making nearly ten knots on a beam reach.

And here's Greg speaking with a couple of young ladies about the finer points of ship's system preventive maintenance. In particular, this discussion centered on the quarterly scheduled maintenance requirements of the DeLaval Lube Oil Purifier.

Some Key West

I've managed to meet two of my fellow sailing bloggers (blogging sailors?). Had a couple of pints in The Boathouse with Captain JP last night, after a weekend of fun in Key West with Jolea.

Here's Kris helming the Liberty Clipper on our way back in from the sunset cruise.

And here are Kris and Jolea with a young lady we met on Duval Street.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Wrath of the Gypsy Pirate Wench

We got in on a sunset sail with the GPW, taking a trip out on the Liberty Schooner. It was a nice little cruise on a beautiful big boat. It was fun hauling the sails up, too. I tried to get at the back of the rope line and the crew moved me up right behind them and made me work. Good thing I'm married, because my forearms are still wiped from hauling that thing up. (This is officially not a family blog.)

Kris had a chance to helm the schooner and we had to pry it away from her, AGAIN. She's showing her true colors each time she gets a chance to go sailing; she somehow ends up with the wheel in hand.

With Kris hogging the helm so often, I expect our boat's autopilot will have a pretty cake job once we get ourselves onboard and underway. Taking applications now.

Jolea also managed to get us into a cabaret show in which I ended up on the stage as the center of attention from a young lady of dubious origin.

I think I PRed last night. I would have thought it was a world record for drunkeness, but I'm in Key West and there seem to be some champions here that are far and away past what I'm capable of.

What a day ... and night.

We hit the pool this morning to help us feel human again. Now we are off to meet the schooner kid and see if we can wrangle a ride on the Adirondack II. She was out last night the same time as us, but managed to sail a hell of a lot further. She's a fast one and we look forward to the chance to sail her today.

Pictures to come!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Omphaloskepsis Virus Spreading

Uh-oh, now Black Hockey Jesus is getting all Derrida on us over at The Wind in your Vagina.

This turn of the calendar, while awaiting the return of our Northern Hemisphere sun, must be the season for us to gaze at our navels and wonder; wonder 'why not go ahead and get the double cheeseburger?"

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Papa Doble, Pint'o'Guiness, A Fine Bordeaux, and some Sherry in Jerez

Kris and I fly tomorrow morning to Ft. Lauderdale for the beginning of our January odyssey. We are hoping to sail with the Gypsy Pirate Wench in Key West this weekend, have lunch with cousin Butch in Miami on Sunday, a pint with Captain JP in Putney on Monday/Tuesday, a glass of Bordeaux with cousin Laurent in Paris the following Friday, tapas in Sevilla that weekend, and a glass of sherry at the source in Jerez!

The timing looks good for me to get a day at the Excel boat show in London, too. Kris will be bogged down with client interaction at the Kensington Olympia, hopefully allowing me time to slip away for a boat ride down the Thames.

Fingers crossed that the winter will be fading by the time we return, end of January. Let the sailing commence!

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 - Day 2

I just ran to Winco for some taco making supplies for tonight's shindig with old friends. I took A along and left M at home with Kris. I love how my kids immediately seek each other out after short absences away from one another.

As soon as we got in the door A was off like a shot to find her sister. They circle around each other like denizens of the local dog park, tails wagging, sidelong glances only, nothing too direct; me half expecting them to sniff each others' butts, as they quiz one another about what's transpired over the past 35 minutes.

They probe cautiously, expecting the other one to have transformed in some significant way during this absence.