Friday, September 30, 2011

Remembering the First One

In this case my first job after college, Eastman Kodak in Rochester New York.  This week Kodak, which delivered its first consumer camera in 1888 lost 57% of its market value from $$468.2 million to close to $200 million.

The sad part is that Kodak has been losing market share for years having completely missed the digital revolution.  The company has not made a profit in several years and the rumor is that they are going to file for bankruptcy.

Kodak was perhaps at its peak when I went to work in the ECM&U (engineering, construction, maintenance and utilities) division in Kodak Park as a maintenance engineer.  Kodak was justifiably proud of its history.  They were heavily involved in the US Space Program and provided the film that was used in the Apollo missions to the moon.  I left to join the Navy in late 1969.

Companies come and go, rise and fall, but for me hearing this news was sad.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sailing and Camping

The weather for the past few days has been quite rainy.  So is the forecast for the next 5 days.  I am reminded how similar full time live aboard cruising is to camping.  Although I am not getting much water inside Reboot the humidity has made everything inside damp.  Just as when it was so hot this summer there is no social life, everyone is hunkered down inside their boats rather than sitting in the cockpit.  Like camping, whatever the weather is outside it reflects itself inside (unless you are in a R/V and run the A/C full time.)

Since I am trying to get Reboot ready to leave New Bern this is a major glitch.  I have put my (new) jib up. I still have canvas to put back up, taken down for Hurricane Irene.  My new mainsail is still in the bag.  All of my tarps that shield the sun are sopping wet.  I don't want to fold them up and put them away in this state.  I have finally come to realize that I am just going to have to do a bunch of the on deck work between the daily frequent showers.  Not fun.

The other concern is that we are still seeing afternoon thundershowers, some of them severe.  Sailing in the rain, while not pleasant is very doable.  It just requires either putting on a complete set of foulies or a swim suit.  In one case you try to stay dry, in the other you accept being wet.  Since leaving New Bern includes several hours of passing down narrow channels thunderstorms are a whole different problem.  I still have a couple of weeks, we will see what develops.

Today I am off to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point to get some military paperwork done.  I am about to turn 65 so I will transition from Tricare to Tricare for Life.  Wasn't I pleased when listening to the morning news I discovered that President Obama wants to charge me for my military health care benefit.  When I enlisted we were promised full medical coverage.  They have already eliminated dental and vision coverage.  They also prevent me from getting care at military hospitals and charge co-pays for drugs.  Now President Obama wants me to pay an annual premium plus co-pays for Tricare.  Consider that only 10% of Americans ever join the military and only 10% (if I have my numbers correct) stay in long enough to retire.  I guess that makes us "millionaires and billionaires."  Great!  Thanks, President Zero.

Fair winds and following seas.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Full Circle

As I was returning from the shower I chanced upon a group waiting for one of their members to figure out how to take a picture of the sunset with his droid.  It took him a good two minutes.  I started to laugh when I realized we are back at the begining when people did not know how to set the clocks on the VCR's.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Bern, NC WWII Vet "Honor Flight"

A private group of citizens here in New Bern has organized and funded "Honor Flights" for WWII veterans.  The Vets are taken at no cost on an escorted tour of Washington DC with particular emphasis on visiting the various military monuments.  Last night Jim (Gail Force) and I headed over to Coastal Carolina Regional Airport to welcome the Honor Flight home.

I didn't expect much, I presumed that Jim and I would be a couple of 50 or so people who showed up for the welcome home.  I was blown away when we arrived at the airport to join (my estimate) 1000 people who had showed up to welcome the Vets home.  It was a heart warming experience.  I should also point out that Pepsi came out with free Pepsi for everyone.  (New Bern is the birthplace of Pepsi.)

Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate.  After waiting about two hours we were informed that the flight was being diverted to Wilmington, NC and the Vets would be bused back to New Bern.  I think that the flight was going to arrive after the airport closed for the night as two planes landed just as we were leaving.  It was a disappointment but I was delighted that the people of New Bern developed, fund, and turned out to support such a program (without any government involvement.)  Props to the people of New Bern.

Fair winds and following seas.

Charlotte USO

When I fly from New Bern on US Airways I change flights at Charlotte.  In my last couple of trips I have taken advantage of the USO at the Charlotte airport.  North Carolina hosts many military bases and Charlotte is a hub for military travelers.  It is, as you can see from the picture, a beautiful facility.  The USO  was founded in 1941 as an "umbrella" organization to provide services to the military in WWII.  From the USO web site:

"Supporting America’s troops was the first mission of the USO. In 1941, as it became clear that the nation was heading into World War II, several organizations mobilized to support the growing U.S. military: the Salvation Army, Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian Association, National Catholic Community Services, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board."

People "my age" remember the USO for the Bob Hope Christmas Shows in Vietnam.

I enjoy my visits.  The staff is exceptional.  But the most important reason I go is to thank our current service men and women for their service.

The USO still provides important services to military travelers and their families today.  There are many opportunities to volunteer at a local USO.  If you are in a position to give back I suggest you contact them and volunteer your services.

Fair winds and following seas.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Forever Young - Erie Canal Closed

I have just returned from a trip to Wisconsin and Illinois.  Trevor and I stopped by the store at Southwind Marine to see Tom Young (Forever Young.)  It turns out that Tom had departed about two weeks before to take Forever Young down to the Annapolis Boat Show.  Since he was headed in my general direction I gave him a phone call to find out his float plan.  To my surprise he told me that he was headed back to southern Lake Michigan because the Erie Canal was closed due to damage from Hurricane Irene.  If you are planning on heading that way here is the link to the Erie Canal status.  Tom is now going to head down the Mississippi River to bring the boat south.  I look forward to hearing his experience as I have never made that particular trip.  Most likely we will join up in the Florida Keys.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Great Dismal Swamp Fire Wrap Up

I took a few minutes to follow up on the current state of the fire.  It is controlled and they are currently working to cool the final hot spots

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tryon Palace, New Bern, NC

 This lady is inviting us into the main building at Tryon Palace in New Bern, NC.  Their Web Site is  Jim (Gail Force) and I took the morning to walk over from the marina and tour both the North Carolina History Center and the Palace.

The Palace was built in 1770 as the residence of the British Colonial Governor of North Carolina.  At the time New Bern was the center of the Naval Stores industry.  Alas, the Governor's didn't get to enjoy the Palace very long, the locals didn't get along with him and he had to flee for his life.

The most interesting part of the history, IMHO, is that the Palace was destroyed in a fire in 1798.  The site was also compromised in that a major New Bern road and bridge across the Trent River ran directly over the foundation of the old palace.  Starting in the late 1920's a group of very determined women decided to rebuild the site.  They found the original architectural plans.  After 30 years of effor they rebuilt the structures to those plans.  In the rebuilding process they discovered the original foundations and built the new building on those foundations.  The story continues.  This same group managed to recover about 85% of the original contents. They then augmented the building with appropriate period pieces.  Visiting gives one a perspective of the effort and love that these people devoted to the reconstruction.  If you are visiting the Coastal North Carolina area I recommend you stop in for a visit.

If you do visit make sure the docent takes you into the reconstruction history museum on the second floor of the residence building.  On the wall is an aerial photograph of New Bern in the 1950's. The attractive downtown area was a jumble of warehouses and docks.  Quite a change from today.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pitching Deck

Those of us who sail are very familiar with a pitching deck.  We usually strap ourselves to the boat so that we can't be lost overboard.  Sometimes, as happened to me once in my early racing days, we can be tossed overboard and dragged but being attached to the boat makes recovery a lot easier.  The following two part videos give a whole new perspective to "Pitching Deck."  It makes you understand why Navy pilots are the best in the world - and I thank them all for their service.
Part 1
Part 2
Spoiler - have you ever seen 15 "bolters" and "wave-offs" in a row?

Fair winds and following seas

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Great Dismal Swamp Fire 90% Contained
Posted on August 30, 2011 at 1:28 PM


SUFFOLK -- Hurricane Irene may not have put out the Great Dismal fire, but it did a lot to contain it.

“The world has changed since we last saw it,” said Incident Commander Mike Dueitt Tuesday.

Thanks to Irene, the fire is now 90% contained, but there are still nearly two dozen smoldering spots in the refuge.

Getting to them is challenging because of flooded roads and newly-fallen trees.

Tuesday was the first full day back on the job for firefighters. Two 20-person hand crews are cooling remaining burning areas with small pumps in the south end of the fire.

“We’ll be winding things down over the next few days,” Dueitt noted.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mobile Template

As many of you know I spent my career in the IT industry.  Every time we wanted to do something new we needed to define, design, code and test it.  How different today.  I just clicked enable mobile template and now you can read Rebootracing from your smart phone.  How I love being a "user!"

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Getting Back to Normal - sort of

Although we continue to watch Katia with concern things are slowly getting back to normal here at the New Bern Grand Marina.  There was only minor damage to the docks and with the exception of one ramp it has been repaired.  The Hilton Hotel has had a large crew working on the water damage.  The carpets in several areas have been removed.  A large quantity of fans continues to try to reduce the humidity in the hotel.

The New Bern area is also getting back to normal but the damage is still quite evident.  Almost everyone has power back and the roads have been cleared.  I went food shopping yesterday with Gail and Jim (Gail Force.)  The stock in the food stores appears back to normal.  I understand from the local news that some of the areas close by are still in a bit of a pickle.  Apparently the road between New Bern and Oriental is still closed.  I presume it is either flooding or there is a bridge out.

The weather has finally turned cool - in the 60's at night which makes for great sleeping and in the low 80's during the day.  Now I have to get off my butt and starting doing the work on Reboot that was my primary reason for coming to New Bern in the first place.

Fair winds and following seas.