Posts

Showing posts from November, 2010

Rolling a mage

I have been stuck here in Green Cove Springs for over a week waiting for parts.  I did discover that the Internet connection is quite good.  So I decided to roll a new World of Warcraft character - a mage.  The leveling procedure at the lower levels has really changed in the past couple of years.  It is now much faster with a lot less running around.

Of course the big news is Cataclysm, the next add on to WOW.  I fear that I am out of disk space so I will either have to purchase an external disk (they say it takes 40 gigabytes) or just take a pass.  Hummmmmmm.

LocalVisibility.org

I got an interesting sales pitch from a local provider in Ridgewood, NJ for http://www.localvisibility.org. This is a web site that polls various search engines with a telephone number.  The result is a series of web pages that shows results of various search engines and also competitors that would show up in the same search.

The web site says that its target is small and medium businesses.  The hook is links to local service providers who can assist you with making your site better.

I was both disappointed and interested that the telephone number used in the search is one that I have not used in a number of years.  The current phone number does not return any results.  I used a couple of the search engines listed and found the correct listing.  It made me wonder.

Date Harvard Square

As a graduate of Harvard University I was invited to join a singles matching web site called Dateharvardsq.com. Founded by two Harvard Business School (where else at Harvard?  Do you need to ask?) with the intended purpose of matching undergraduates, graduate students and alumni of Harvard and other "interested parties" it just came online in early November.  Since I met the screening criteria I decided what the heck, I might as well sign up and see what happens.

Imagine my surprise when I received a email announcing my first five matches.  As expected they were all intelligent and very accomplished.  What I did not expect is that they were, well, steaming hot!  They were, however, all in their late 20's or early 30's.  Now being male I can appreciate women of that age - in fact I can appreciate women of just about any (legal) age.  But I was immediately struck by two questions:

1.  Is there something in the water at Harvard that makes exceptionally beautiful, intell…

Déjà vu - Again!

Richard Nixon, November 17, 1973: "I am not a crook."


Charlie Rangel, November 29, 2010:  I am not a criminal." 



Why I hate streaming video and "Net Neutrality"

"Net Neutrality" is the concept (to paraphrase a Monty Python song) that "every packet is sacred."  The idea is that one can not introduce "Quality of Service" (QoS) controls to sort out the higher priority packets from the lower priority packets.  It seems there is a great conspiracy theory that companies that actually pay to run the routers and install and repair the wires that make the Internet work (think your local cable provider) would take advantage of companies that make lots of money free riding (think Google.)  Oh those EVIL corporations that didn't contribute enough to the politicians currently in office.  Shame, shame.

Actually everyone should demand QoS.  It doesn't matter if the packets for your web page arrive out of order but it really matters if your audio or video stream doesn't arrive in the correct order and on time.  QoS gives higher priority to the audio and video packets to help guarantee the "Quality of Service.)  …

Why are your stories always about things that break?

Sitting here in Green Cove Springs waiting for parts I thought this was a great post from sailing vessel Sunshine.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Image
The office at Green Cove Springs Marina has a porch.  This is the favorite gathering place for all of the people living at the marina and working on their boats.  The porch has a TV set.  Like most public TV's the selection of the channel to watch is somewhat arbitrary.  Normally if there is a single person with a particular interest that show ends up on the TV.  So I have been subjected to Dancing with the Stars, Ice Skating with the Stars and a collection of other shows that I have little or no interest in watching.  The other day I did get to watch several back to back episodes of NCIS but the Burn Notice marathon was eclipsed by football.  (Why is it that many people watch talking heads blather endlessly about sports?  I don't mind watching a good game, but the inane talking heads filling air time drives me nuts!)

The night before last a group of us old guys took over the TV and popped in Jim's DVD of Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World (Widescreen Edition…

Thanksgiving with KI4MMZ

Jim (Hobo II) and I were invited to Flagler Beach to have Thanksgiving with Bill of the Maritime Mobile Service Net.  Jim has some medical problems as a result of his service in the Gulf War so the dinner was prepared by two of his nurses.  It was terrific as was the company.

Thanksgiving is a special time for cruisers.  In various locations they gather together to celebrate.  Last Thanksgiving I spent in St. Mary's GA with 130 other cruising sailboats.  Green Cove Springs Marina (where we are currently working on the boats) had a Thanksgiving celebration of staff and slip holders that we were also invited to join.  I think it makes it particularly special when a group of people that you don't know well get together to give thanks for living in the United States.

Yvonne Strahovski #5 - Ken-Mar Dog Rescue - Rescue ME!

Image
Well, my month is up.  Now it is true that I don't have to return a video camera within the time frame for the money back guarantee but one can only carry a quest so far.  After all, I have sailing, partying, diving and drinking to do.  (Not to mention the ever so frequent and unpopular boat repairs.)  I understand that things didn't quite work out for Brian during his 30 day quest either; he thought he had failed and then several months later Brook actually contacted him and they met for lunch.

I have discovered that Miss Strahovski is a supporter of the Ken-Mar Rescue organization in Los Angeles.  I presume that she has a soft spot for dogs, particularly those in need of rescue.  So I want Miss Strahovski to know that in addition to being a sailor (with all the faults that implies) my friends would tell you that I am a dog very much in the need of rescue!  This nom de plume goes all the way back to my high school days when Lou Christie's Lightening Strikes was voted the …

One Reason I love Garmin!

I have been having some problems with lock ups on my Garmin network.  In the past with other vendors what you bought was what you got.  If the system had a problem you needed to uninstall it, send it to the vendor for a costly upgrade, and get back something that might or might not have solved your problem,  Garmin has a policy of software upgrades that you can download from the internet and then apply to your equipment.  The entire process is quite painless (as long as you have an SD card.)

The best part is that each upgrade seems to come with new functionality!  For example version 6.2 for my 5xxx series chart plotters added a graph function.  Cool!

Green Cove Springs Marina #2

The good news about Green Cove Springs Marina is that there is someone here who knows how to fix just about anything.  The bad news is they also know when it is not worth it to fix something.

Yesterday while getting engine parts with Jim for Hobo II I struck up a conversation with another customer.  It turned out that he is the local Yanmar (diesel engine) repair guy.  We were discussing the "sweet spot", the engine RPM that gives the best miles per gallon for the current conditions.  He told me that Flowscan made such a device and I asked him how much it cost.  He said he would get back to me, and the final answer was about $1,700.  Jim pointed out that I would have to burn an awful lot of fuel to recover the $1,700 cost so I put the idea to bed.  I also knew that no matter how cool I didn't have $1,700 to spend.

This morning the local marine refrigeration expert came down to look at two problems on Reboot:  the refrigerator and the air conditioning.  Short story, both …

Vibration

As I have been travel down the ICW I have noticed that when running the engine I was increasingly getting lots of vibration.  Yesterday when we pulled Reboot I discovered the reason.  Like most boaters I have sacrificial zincs attached at various places to prevent galvanic corrosion of Reboot.  One place is on the drive shaft.  It turns out that the zinc, rather than decaying by shrinking in general had decayed on one side while leaving the other side intact.  So I had this big off center weight attached to the drive shaft!  We changed it out and hopefully the vibration will now go away.

Green Cove Springs Marina

I got up at 3 AM to head up (down) the St. John's River to Green Cove Springs from Jacksonville Landing.  (Down because we were headed south even though we were going upstream?  Who knows?)  I was accompanied by Hobo II who had arranged for a diesel mechanic to look at his engine.  We arrived at about 7:50 AM and tied up to the dock. I had come for a "short haul."  They pull the boat out of the water, scrape and pressure wash the bottom and then drop the boat back in.  While we had Reboot out of the water I had the folding "Max-prop" folding propeller replaced by the original equipment bronze three blade propeller.  Folding props are great when you are sailing in light winds but you lose a lot of power motoring.  In Lake Michigan I did very little motoring and of course while racing you want every benefit you can get, but general cruising (particularly the ICW) results in many hours of motoring,  I was willing to give up light air sailing performance for higher…

Yvonne Strahovski #4 1/2

For those of you who can't get enough of Miss Strahovski she did a very beautiful photo shoot for DirrtyGlam in France for November 2010.  The link to the pictures is http://www.dirrtyglam.com/home.html

Yvonne Strahovski #4

Image
It is Wednesday thus time once again to comment on my quest to have Miss Strahovski join me for diving and sailing in Mexico, Belize, and/or Guatemala this winter.  I am delighted to see that Miss Strahovski has taken to the water to further prepare for her duties as foredeck on Reboot. She has also become one of the most popular posts of all time on this blog. (The most popular, parenthetically, {and you know how much this author loves to speak parenthetically} is the Foncia Capsize blog entry.)  Now I admit that seeing a 60 foot trimaran go butt over teakettle is pretty exciting stuff, but guys, watching the destruction of a rich guy's toy vs looking at Miss Strahovski?  (There is something ironic in that statement, but it will remain unsaid {note the clever use of a parenthetical comment again.)}  The sad news is that no one from Miss Strahovski's entourage has yet to contact me.  Brian Herzlinger (My date with Drew - 2004) actually did a lot of work to get his date.  I on …

Why I hate the Intracostal Waterway

1. It is not an idiot free zone. While crossing St. Catherine's Sound in 30 knot winds I was cut off by a passing sailboat. I told him on the radio that I did not appreciate him cutting 15 feet in front of my bow in a 1/2 mile wide sound and was told that he gave me a "safe pass." He then proceeded to cut across my bow again, but this time he was a couple of hundred yards ahead. Branko pointed out that this same boat had cut him off in a narrow turn exiting Mile Hammock back just a few days earlier. And it was the same boat that had an argument with a bridge tender. First he rushed past us, then he complained that we had not kept up so he would have to wait for the bridge, then he kept asking the bridge tender to open the bridge when he was still 1/2 mile away. Of course the bridge tender won that argument.
2. Re "1" I think we both took some pleasure when we heard on the radio that he had run aground. Fortunately for him it was on a rising tide.
3. An…

Savannah Georgia #2

Our little task group (Hobo II, Water Hobo and Reboot) are casting off lines this morning to continue our journey south.  We spent a couple of nice days here in Savannah.  The dock is right on River Street (such clever naming) which is a big walking promenade filled with shops and restaurants.  Since we were here on the weekend it was quite crowded but the coolness of the evenings drove everyone off the streets by about 10 PM.

Jim, Branko, Maggie and I took a bus tour of the city on Sunday morning.  It was fun but given that it was Sunday most of the places we might have stopped and seen were closed until the afternoon.  Unfortunate.  Then Jim and I took the "Ghost Tour."  Savannah is quite proud of its ghosts, drunks, murderers and philanders.  At least the tour guide operators are.

Jim and I did meet some people on Friday night and ended up going to a dance club.  The band was dressed like ZZ Top.  When we first arrived I was put off by the music.but they were just finishi…

Happy Birthday XO

My kitten XO is one!  Happy birthday XO.  Maggie and Branko brought him new catnip mice for his birthday.  Thanks guys.

Savannah Georgia

The guidebooks say that if you only call on one port on the East Coast make it Savannah.  I would agree but it isn't that easy.
We made the sea buoy at about 2100 hours.  As is my standard procedure I did a security call announcing that three sailboats were headed up the Savannah River.  I got an immediate response from a Coast Guard small boat that announced he had us all in sight and was going to cut us off and head up the channel in front of us.  Since it was Veteran's Day (and my birthday) I thanked him for his service.  Actually, I always thank the Coast Guard and Navy Ships for their service.  He seemed surprised.
About a minute later I got a radio call from the Savannah Pilots.  They go by numbers, so the call was from Savannah Pilot 41 (or some number like that.)  He indicated that he was bringing a deep draft tanker down the channel and that there were two more deep draft vessels right behind him.  Since I have AIS I could see his progress (and one hopes, he could see m…

Yvonne Strahovski #3

Image
Since Reboot is going offshore for a couple of days to Savannah I am filing this a day early.  The good news is that Miss Strahovski has been practicing her bad weather foredeck crawl.  There is the issue of missing safety equipment, life jacket, harness etc. but I will give her a pass since this is only practice.  The bad news is that she still has not gotten in touch with me.  I know that I should be wandering around LA with a video camera interviewing her hard rock climbing coach, her hairdresser, etc. but that is just not me.

I got an interesting note from my son Trevor.  Apparently Balyu, his girlfriend, is a big fan of "Chuck."  So Trevor gets to watch all the episodes.  Perhaps he can give me some pointers in getting in touch.

A Miserable Run, A Cold Morning

We (Reboot, Water Hobo, HOBO II and a cast of dozens) are anchored in Wrightsville Beach NC. The current air temperature is 43F up from the high 30's this morning. The wind has been blowing in the 15 to 20 knot range. The wind forecast is for Gale winds at Cape Fear and a high in the low 50's. We would have to cross Cape Fear Inlet to continue down the Intracostal. After a morning VHF conference we decided that we would just stay here for the day and wait for better conditions. We were amazed at the number of boats that just headed out this morning to continue their transits.Yesterday I got a radio call from a passing boat. It seems that they were headed for Wrightsville to have lunch with Tom Young and Maggie before they flew back to Milwaukee. I was disappointed that I would miss them as Reboot could not make the bridges in time. I did talk to Tom on the cell phone to catch up.The trip yesterday was very ugly. We have be combating low temperatures for a couple of day…

THe RV Park

Last night our trio spent the night in Mile Hammock Bay. This is a very popular anchorage on the Intracostal in North Carolina as it is one of the few good ones. We shared the anchorage with about 30 other boats - many snowbirders on their way South for the Winter.Normally it is very quiet on Reboot at anchor. In fact you can usually hear the voices of anyone in the cockpit of the boats around you. Imagine my dismay when the quiet of the evening was disturbed as some stink potter ran his generator all night so that he could have heat and light. Great stuff. Ugh.I feel like I did when after many years of camping with my family in a tent we were run out of our favorite campsites by the sounds of the RVers running their air conditioning all night.

And the rains came

I had hoped that once I got out of the Canadian Maritimes and the Northeast United States I would be greeted by better weather. It is true that the run from Norfolk down to New Bern was OK, but just OK. Crossing the Albemarle Sound and the Alligator, Pamlico and Neuse rivers wasn't great but they were OK. In fact the run down the Pungo river was quite pleasant.This morning we shifted over from Town Creek (where I dragged last night) to the Morehead City side. The three (H2OBO, Hobo II, and Reboot are at the beginning of the Bogue Sound stretch of the Intracostal. As we came around the corner by the State Port Terminal we heard a "special marine alert" for the Bogue Sound inlet - basically - don't even think about trying to go thru it for a couple of days because the waves and wind are so bad. Nice. Then we have Tomas doing his thing down off Haiti. I thought that after Earl and Igor I had paid my dues for this season. I guess not.It rained pretty much all aft…

Good - Bad - Good

Last night Water Hobo (H2OBO), Hobo II, and Reboot were together for the first time since Yarmouth Nova Scotia.  The night started out great with cocktails on Water Hobo and then Maggie made a great "Sunday dinner" for us all.  Branko and Maggie had purchased a set of dominoes at Walmart and we settled down to plan "Mexican Train."  Of course the purchase of dominoes did bring up the subject of the James Bond Dominoes - the only heroine name that I think appeared in two movies. Switching to card games I remarked on my personal favorite - Solitaire (of Live and Let Die)  - who was at 22 the youngest Bond girl ever.  Now Jane Seymour OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) and aged a bit still in my humble opinion one of the most beautiful women in the world.  (I am sure Nigel will tell me if she is "Lady Jane" or
"Dame Jane" or whatever.  It is always good to have a Brit around who knows such things.)

So after a pleasant dinner and game…

Yvonne Strahovski #2

Image
Today marks the start of week #2 of my quest to get Miss Strahovski to be my guest and foredeck person on Reboot this winter in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.  I am sad to report that neither she nor any of her entourage has contacted me yet.  (as an aside, Entourage was one of Trevor's favorite TV shows.)  I was encouraged to see that Miss Strahovski has done sufficient research to recognize that foredeck person alway needs to carry a knife in case of rigging jams and so forth.  Her selection seems a bit of overkill but you never know.

Sometimes it is a simple fix

While in New Bern I (with the help of Jim from Hobo II) installed a manual pump for fresh water in case the electric pump fails.  This upgrade was a direct result of the fact that the electric pump did fail while I was in Canada and I had no running drinking water for about three weeks.  When we finished the installation and tested it we then turned the fresh water electrical pump back on.  Guess what, it failed.  But further investigation determined that the fuse had blown.  We replaced it and the pump started working again.

The fuse is the type that are in your late model car.  It is difficult given where the pump is installed to check or pull the fuse.  When I went to Advance Auto Parts I discovered that they now make fuses with LED's built in.  When the fuse blows it glows to tell you it has blown.  Pretty neat idea, one I took advantage of.