19 April 2021 | Gulfport
Monday 19 April 2021
Having been a bit dissatisfied with Pixel 3a phone, which is completely compatible with Google Fi, broke down and bought a reconditioned iPhone XS on Amazon with an incredible amount of memory, but which, when we go offshore, doesn't currently have hotspot capability on the Fi system. Since we'll be in US and (hopefully) Canada for several months, shouldn't be an issue until next fall when it will surely be added... he said with childlike credulity.
*** Non-nautical opinion alert *** Seriously, you should not read this. You'll ignore the warning. It was just to make me feel better.
Although obviously not relevant, the likelihood of getting a blood clot from birth control pills is a thousand times greater than from J&J vaccine even if one makes the unproven assumption that it was the cause of six people, fewer than one in a million - all women 18 to 46, having a problem. Fortunately for the FDA, who halted vaccinations to all ages and genders, their concern for citizen's health was widely reported, but hardly anyone will be aware of the million plus who didn't get a timely injection, a significant number of whom will get sick. The guys who make those decisions are no doubt pleased with themselves because looking and feeling good is ever so much better than doing good.
Apropos of which, wearing a mask outdoors two weeks after getting a final covid vaccine is purely performative. Many do, of course, not wishing to engender angst because they realize lots of people are frightened, don't trust their government to tell the truth or anybody to act responsibly. However, if people are treated like adults they tend to act that way. Without a massive enforcement apparatus and even getting neighbors to rat out their fellows, authorities can't force compliance when people don't wish to submit. Acting like a recalcitrant teenager might be dumb, but massive and arbitrary lockdowns have significant health and economic consequences as well as creating widespread loss of respect for public institutions. Maybe, just maybe, honestly providing the best information currently available and allowing each individual to make decisions about her own life, his personal risk tolerance and their concern for their community would provide a better and safer environment or at least no worse. Looking around the world and at different US states empirical evidence absent media hype seems to support that more liberal approach.
Jack & Jan
17 April 2021 | Gulfport
Thursday 15 April 2021
Living on a boat is almost like being outside all year; lots of fresh air, but also too much sun. That big guy tosses off UV radiation like a golden retriever shaking off after a swim. Went to dermatologist the other day who cryo'ed some actinic keratosis spots, but indicated lower arms were a broader disaster area and needed a cream called fluorouracil, trade name Efudix. This stuff kills fast growing, damaged cells, precursors to cancer, leaves good cells alone and makes skin new again. Two weeks, twice a day and you're back to baby-like perfection... well, almost. So, it's been a week and a half and arms resemble a particularly bad case of mange. Almost two weeks past second covid shot, so infecting others probably not at issue, but one look and social distancing is not a problem. Had everyone smeared their faces with this stuff a year ago we could have nipped this virus thing in the bud.
Kicked off dock Wednesday, we anchored out for a couple nights and now on a Gulfport Mooring in Boca Ciega Bay, sight of last person to be killed by a shark on the west coast of Florida (Florida typically has a third of the world's shark attacks, which are caused mostly by blacktips, oddly, and concentrated on the middle east coast). Close enough to occasionally, but unreliably pick up town Wi-Fi. Floated by Salt Creek yesterday, home of Advanced Sails, to retrieve refurbished mainsail then, while wind was light this morning, hanked it on. Considering it's attached with a bolt rope that slides up a slot inside mast and not with hanks this is technically incorrect, but sounds delightfully nautical.
Preparing to go ashore to pick up car, left at owner's condo, and some mail. One parcel is an eBay ordered T-shirt showing a glass and the caption (*** Naughty word alert ***) "Wine, the Glue Holding this Shitshow Together". There were several on sale with "2020" placed after "this", but figured, for us, the notion was far more broadly appropriate.
Unable to procure either Uber or Lyft transport on a Friday afternoon, we dined locally and expect to get out this morning. Since weather for next three days is turning to custard, need to get remote tasks accomplished today anticipating huddling aboard to remain dry until Wednesday.
This morning the obsessive media is all Prince Phillip, all the time. Apologies to those who are fans, but my knowledge and fascination with British royalty is quite thin. America, after all, fought a war to relieve ourselves of not just a particular despot, but monarchs of any type, benign or otherwise, to form a government based on enlightenment values. Having dismissed this British and whimsical American infatuation, however, my sentiment is that the Duke of Edinburgh was the most estimable. The world is a bit less interesting without his steadfastness and wit. RIP.
Jack & Jan
07 April 2021 | St Petersburg
Wednesday 7 April 2021
To continue from yesterday's discourse about brain capacity, those two and a half petabytes cannot all be devoted to storage as one must assign a few gigs to an algorithm that retrieves data and indexing that allows it to work. Some folks have more efficient rules than others. Also, the odd synapse or two must be assigned for processing that massive memory into useful knowledge and wisdom. A few people devote significant resources to that end. Many do not. Anyway, seems most likely that as one ages, notwithstanding the effects that constant infusions of alcohol engenders, it's the search engine that falters. Therefore, we should inveigle Google to begin research on translating their system into DNA that can be injected at birth so everyone precisely remembers everything that he's ever experienced. You would recall in nanoscopic detail those times when you looked like a total moron or were an unmitigated turd... On reflection, that doesn't sound as delightful as originally envisioned. Never mind. Let's just continue to make up self-serving lies and convince ourselves they're real.
After picking up Sailpod - yes it arrived - used template to mark proper opening for MFD. During cutting, jig saw heated the material, a plastic substance, as it went through causing it to melt then re-fuse as blade passed on. Finally had to wrap cloth around hacksaw blade and cut by hand. There's probably an obvious, easy way to do this that everyone knows.. well, nearly everyone. With any luck at all it will never be necessary again. After slight additional adjustment it went together like Vegemite and toast - that's for Australians. For everyone else with a sense of taste the best match would be that nasty stuff and a garbage disposal.
After finishing morning tea we'll walk to Albert Whitted Airport for a bit of late breakie in celebration of Jan's %@&^$# &%$st birthday, then tonight at O'Maddie's with lovely friend and former next door neighbor Angela. Due starting back down after recoiling from upper limit of acceptable aging, today marks another milestone in my quest to become a boy toy. Not sure the gap necessary, but looking forward to being an older woman's plaything. Does anybody know the maximum age for which frolicking is considered seemly?
"Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself."
- Jane Wagner
Jack & Jan
06 April 2021 | St Petersburg
Tuesday 6 April 2021
According to Scientific American the average human brain contains around two and a half million gigabytes of memory. That's over thirty nine billion times greater than was carried on the Apollo moon missions and about half what's needed to remember the liter of milk one was suppose to pick up at the market on the way home. Experts suggest writing reminders, but we need a reminder to remember to read the reminder and then a reminder for that. It's a never-ending process that rapidly spirals into a situation too complicated to remember, so the best tactic is to assume we'll forget and plan accordingly. If it's really important, immediately drop everything else and do it now. If not ignore it. Of course some things are essential, but can't be done right away. What does one do? Used to know, but have now forgotten. What did people do before Google?
Post office has now asserted that Sailpod will be delivered today before 1815. 1815? Why not an even hour like 1800 or 1900? Alternatively why not 1823 or 1759? Who decided to make it 1815 and how? Mail is usually delivered to The Moorings, friend's condominium address, before early afternoon, so expect to meander that way after coffee to pick it up... if it's there. By the way, except for 2017 and 2018 when it had deficits of only 2.7 and 3.9 billion dollars respectively, the USPS has lost between 5 billion and 15.9 billion every year since 2012, 9.2 in 2020. Proposed solution is to increase stamp price and slow delivery, i.e. offer higher cost and poorer service. OK! that usually works.
Inertia is that property of matter described by Newton's three laws. It's characteristics are determined by mass and energy. If not familiar one may look it up on, you guessed, Google. A similar property effects mental processes that induce work. To confuse metaphors a bit, it's like a lead bowling ball in one's head (assume it doesn't displace those 2.5 petabytes of memory). It's so much easier to sit here and type out this twaddle than scrub the deck or remove and replace hatch seals, but once moving to then work through dinner and frustrate balance of crew who get grumpy when hungry. The lesson here is to keep brain cells active and apply energy where and when appropriate (as if that's going to happen). Another, only peripherally related lesson that seems to have been mislaid and has over the past several years been increasingly flouted is that reason ultimately takes precedence over emotion, reality over desire, objective over subjective. Be warned, good intentions very often create results that suck.
Jack & Jan
Here And Now
05 April 2021 | St Petersburg
Monday 5 April 2021
Monday 5 April 2021
Why doesn't Monday following Easter extend the weekend in the US like other holidays that fall on Sunday? Too commercial for the self-consciously righteous? Don't want to be greedy since they already get Good Friday off? By the way, anybody know why it's considered good? After all it might be fine for us, we get off work and our sins absolved, but how about Jesus? He got crucified. Where's your empathy? Are you so selfish to think it's all about you? Of course Jan & I can take off whenever we want, being retired and all, but getting a pass from agony, pain and torment for all the rest of eternity would be a nice fringe benefit.
If one can believe the USPS, sailpod MFD enclosure was in Tampa and is now out for delivery. After installing that, which should be relatively easy he said with gullible sanguinity, next effort, if one can call it that, is to finish building resistance to that pandemic thingy. Kicking back with a gin and tonic might be the perfect way, but we're willing to entertain alternatives... red wine, for example.
There are tasks that actually do require, you know, effort, but of course that's exactly why one doesn't jump into them haphazardly without considerable contemplation, often while developing immunity as propounded above. After sufficient mental preparation we could conceivably clean gelcoat, polish stainless and replace hatch and portlight seals among several other mundane chores one is subject to on a boat. Our primary aspiration, however, is to remain asleep until 0900 each morning. It's harder than you may think, but we must never forget that the early bird suffers sleep deprivation and for what? Worms.
Jack & Jan
04 April 2021 | St Petersburg
Saturday 3 April 2021
Geezer crew now completely shot. Also have received both vaccinations. Distaff half to achieve similar condition Friday. Probably still get nasty looks if we don't wear masks, so likely put them on when called for. It's conceivable we're thoughtful, benevolent citizens, but more likely just hate to appear rude or scare old ladies, particularly the male ones.
Sailpod for new multifunction display arrived last night at postal distribution center in Ybor City: Cuban enclave, nucleus of a moribund Tampa cigar industry and home of the original excellent Columbia Restaurant. Final assembly of all new electronics, except AIS converter, should be accomplished next week and after Jan's covid prophylactic, we'll have a free three weeks (say fast ten times) to malinger plus visit friends and tourist traps. Since Jan has never seen Weeki Wachee spring, putative home port of SV Anthem, expect to attend the famousish underwater mermaid show. **Spoiler Alert** Real mermaids drowned all the sailors who tried to capture them so these are just human women with artificial tails.
When someone sneezes, people nearby often say, "bless you". Why? Are they more worthy than others to receive this benediction? Nobody grants favor to anyone who hiccups or passes gas. Seems backward. Those who have a spastic diaphragm are merely annoying. Flatulators might even provide some humor and, if they can't sell the appearance that it was someone else, will sometimes ask pardon. By the way, have you ever noticed that the gastric bouquet produced by you is so much more pleasant than from anybody else? Indeed, sneezers could be aerosolizing their neighbors with a deadly disease and seldom even apologize. Perhaps it would be more appropriate if reprobates who forcefully discharge pathogen laden air from their noses would conversely bestow a blessing on the unwilling recipients. If compassionate and mystically inclined they might even imagine this offers some magical protection. It wouldn't hurt to beg forgiveness either.
Jack & Jan
02 April 2021 | St Petersburg
Saturday 27 March 2021
Somewhat easy wire run for autopilot control head turned into major goat rope when end plug wouldn't fit through narrow gap beside throttle and shifter cables. Don't wish to relive gory details attendant to massive disassembly of pedestal, binnacle, cockpit table and arch to make room by removing then replacing one cable, but it wasn't pretty. Final piece will be helm enclosure. Although connecting everything temporarily might provide head start on discovering why system inevitably doesn't work properly, there is some trepidation. This is something like jim-jams or collywobbles. Hope that clarifies any confusion.
Defender indicates unable to drop-ship pre-cut MFD enclosure from manufacturer and shipment date may be sometime later in April, so requested that if (notice conditional "if") able to dispatch sooner, please ship out same item without cutout. Order has been changed, but without indicating when it will be sent. They're usually good so could be OK. By the way, temporary setup had MFD and autopilot working, but no instrument input, which goes through old to new network converter. Fortunately fun meter for tracing inaccessible wires though bilge floats slightly above bottoming out at blocked head cleaning.
If wind remains light expect to unship mainsail for repair. Good guy Keith Donaldson of Advance Sails is still in business on Salt Creek. That last is completely irrelevant to nearly anyone reading this, but if you're in the area looking for a sail loft... And by the way, who decided that making and repairing big, heavy, unwieldy items in an upstairs room was a splendid idea?
Wind picked up to mild howl before we were fully ambulatory so, instead of wrestling with large, flappy, white sheet, traced Seatalk cable behind large sections of headliner (transponder wires run through bilge, network goes overhead). Temporary connections appeared to show that everything works as advertised. Touchscreens are a plague on humanity, but this one has not yet brought forth words that will corrupt children so may be sufferable. Anything's better than the contemptible piece of !@#$%^&*()_+ foist upon us (but for an excellent price with which we sailed half around the earth) in New Zealand.
After lovely dinner and conversation with former cruiser and blog correspondent at her home last night, which got us to bed around 0100, we slept in. With wind remaining merciful, unshipped and flaked mainsail into car trunk to take for repair. A five layer, laminant sail that large is right hefty, so convenient we're both 'strong like bull' (properly pronounced with heavy Russian accent). Expect to finish wiring today (except for pedestal mount, which awaits Thursday arrival of Sailpod) for reconfirmation of exemplary operation.
Misspoke, reference completion of electronics. Because AIS requires higher baud rate than normal NMEA (have no idea and don't care what acronym stands for) an additional converter is on order. Crikey, working on a boat is like life - just one thing after another.
Except for taking sail to loft and receiving shiny new WiFi extender and several Jan toys (she's gotten the buy bug) we did diddly today. This is good.
WiFi receiver installed after thirty seventh dismantling (slight exaggeration) of headliner (not as entertaining as the Beatles) and bulkhead shelving to run wire. Operates way easier than previous Alfa system. It's not that delays are a rare event, but Sailpod will not arrive until next week. My fault. In reordering a unit without pre-cut opening to expedite delivery, had the thing sent to mail forwarder - default destination. Have given self a punitive reprimand, but incorrigibility is difficult to eradicate.
Dermatologist today gave epidermises (epidermi?) a gold star, then made appointments for us to bring them back in six months and a year, respectively, for periodic perusal. He also related a bit of information: apparently new research indicates that dry skin is associated with systemic inflammation, so we should apply cream regularly and after showering. The lizard look is no longer fashionable.
Dentist, personal care physician and dermatologist are unanimous that we are supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (real word in the Oxford English dictionary) so, to avoid getting too comfortable, it's time we go out and do something stupid and dangerous. Smoking is smelly, drinking more induces hangovers, beach tanning gets sand in bodily orifices and drugs are expensive so we're contemplating more pleasant alternatives. Swimming with man and woman eating sharks would be perfect, but very few remain in the Gulf. Suggestions solicited.
Jack & Jan
Ending With A Bang
25 March 2021 | St Petersburg
Sunday 21 March 2021
Message from UPS Friday indicated that delivery of new chart plotter would be delayed a day. From what? No date had been declared. Then was told it would be Monday. It was delivered yesterday. The FedUPS gangs are doing a bang-up job delivering on high demand, but perhaps getting a bit frazzled.
Strangely enough wiring for latest electronics is well advanced. Third to last bit requires Jan transferring all her clothing and toiletries from several lockers onto bed, then putting them back. She loves doing this. She won't let me move her stuff due disaster that results. Some of us have organizational skills and some don't. Second to last is running wire from cockpit to connections under deck. Last thing is mounting and plugging in MFD and trying to figure out why it doesn't work.
MFD delivery required signature and wasn't actually left as originally supposed. UPS doesn't allow pickup at their office so had to wait until today. Actually came, but last bit of wiring shipped to West Marine store still on FedEx truck somewhere. Jan's prescription glasses, due today, also in limbo.
Jan passed her driving test (on smaller front right spare tire due a flat), but couldn't get the license because they wanted to see her passport. This is the same DMV (different location) that scanned that document into their system in order for her to get a learner's permit. We returned to boat, got passport and went back to original office where they asked her why she was trying to show it to them - your bureaucracy at work for you. License is only good for one year and was, as turns out, just so much monkey motion as it was an unnecessary precaution for her to get covid vaccination.. another extraneous piece of flotsam for the scrapbook.
Hung out at Panera Bread Co. eating bagels and ingesting caffeine hoping that various threads come together today to get wire, glasses and plotter. When computer, ipad and phone updates were completed went to hang out at Bob Lee's Tire Company while tire, which couldn't be fixed, was replaced.
Because old plotter had buttons, knobs and such on one side, new MFD is a smidge too small for extra wide cutout in old Navpod, so new must be purchased. It's on backorder. Defender promises drop-ship from manufacturer to prevent waiting until second coming. Considering that two other shipments are past promised arrival, boding is inauspicious.
Returned to PCP for test results that imply I'll make it. Good to hear there's still life in the carcass. Jan now scheduled for full workup and referral to get annual mammogram.
Second new/old printer arrived from eBay and prints fine, but scans with a shadow, readable. Good enough for government work... but then what isn't? Propane tank finally adapted as requested with easy-on connector, but without safety valve. Possibly newish rule (we've been away for a decade) exempts boats from this security required on all other LPG tanks (how do they know?.. we could lie). Is this Florida's new plan to reduce boat blight in anchorages? That and apparently flow could be interrupted as boat heels, so we get special dispensation.
Need to cap this off and send, otherwise it could drag on forever and get really nutty.
How about this thought: School zone ordinances demand drivers slow down. Few realize actual reasons for this. Well, here you go. People who create these rules continually interact with children. This obviously has a deleterious effect on their attitudes about these little unquenchably self-centered, black holes of neediness and irritation. On the driver end of the equation, as everyone knows, points are given and he who gets the most points wins. Having cars slow keeps them in the zones for longer, allows them to sneak up on unsuspecting agile ones (very young or slow juveniles award fewer or even negative points) and quick handling for aiming is easier from slower speed. Of course, the downside is that administrators get compensated by volume of students and there's no guarantee that the troublesome ones, you know, kids who think for themselves, ask difficult questions and resist indoctrination, will be the ones lost. Such are the vagaries of life, but crikey, it's good fun.
Jack & Jan
P.S. Please send outraged rants to firstname.lastname@example.org. Vociferous, shocked indignation is the goal here. Don't disappoint me. Jan had nothing to do with the last paragraph.
Decoupling From Reality
19 March 2021 | St Petersburg
Friday 19 March 2021
English does not assign gender to inanimate objects as does French, but does have its own absurdities. Why are single items of clothing pluralized: trousers, skivvies, knickers, a pair of pants? One might justify this because people normally have two legs, but what then about a pair of shirt? Are arms less important than legs? Two socks would understandably be a pair, but we generally have five toes so shouldn't one be a quintuple of sock? Why not a pair of bra? Alternatively, what about body parts that are bifurcated, but are referred to as singular? Does anyone have a pair of nose? We also have two lips, which are denoted as plural, so when installing a covering to protect others from covid does one wear a pair of mask? This confusion creates a difficult and hostile environment for interacting with others in our society. The insanity must end. As government is now in the business of making life risk-free based on the most delicate sensibilities, we should protect the resultant victims and demand rules mandating a rational language. Just remember, if I care, you should care. Will it be a pair of bra or one pant? Make a decision and enforce a law!
"Every regulation, no matter how benign, comes with the implied threat of violence. Every regulation ultimately includes a death penalty."
- Antony Davies
Boat projects continue apace. Don't remember what they all are as ability to hold in mind more than one item at a time has been lost, but there were lots. New chart plotter (pretentiously renamed "multifunction display" or MFD) has been shipped so, although tracking refuses to give an ETA, upgrade of electronics is showing light at the end of the tunnel. Given, however, my lack of an idea how to run a Seatalk-ng backbone (esoteric Raymarine verbiage) the view may be a locomotive coming the other way.
Jan has now joined the rest of crew in getting a first covid vaccine. Location was Bullfrog Creek Park Rd. just past Moccasin Wallow, east Tampa Bay. Process was quite efficient as it was drive-thru with virtually no wait and no need to leave the car. We have experienced the gamut as she was given Pfizer, another had Moderna and Rabbit got Johnson & Johnson. Just kidding. Rabbit got Moderna too as Florida ran out of J&J. Of course, they didn't want to give the shot to a stuffed animal, but we explained that he was very old, had a co-morbidity - having lost his nose, and was concerned he might make the other animals sick. His heart's in the right place, but we still can't get the little slacker to brew tea in the morning.
Jack & Jan
Body, Boat And Baubles
11 March 2021 | St Petersburg
Sunday 7 March 2021
If you've never started a project that reveals at least one more project which must be done before original, usually easier, effort can be completed, you may not have lived on a boat. In order to remove old washer, front panel and hatch trim had to be removed before it could be winched out through hatch on spare halyard and swung over to dock cart. This was the easy bit. Cleaning up the rusty, dirty mess underneath was accomplished and new washer fit through hatch without further disassembly. Even easier. Got old machine in then out of car trunk at solid waste landfill. Not as hard as envisioned. Placing the new guy into position, however, showed that when area was reconstructed for custom installation, underlying structure was not properly supported and removing old machine allowed weight of batteries to slide platform down angled hull and push cabinet base forward about four centimeters causing drawers to bind and cabinet fascia to protrude past front of machine. Trip initiated to Home Depot for parts and tools, floor jacked up, cabinet jacked back into position and braces installed. Will momentarily head home from coffee at Wooden Rooster to see how the whole thing comes together. Maybe it'll work. Anything's possible.
Celebrated success last night with Shepherd's pie and too much red wine. This week expect delivery of new plotter, autopilot and anchor chain. Can hardly wait to get started on those tasks. Boat work is my life.
Ability to send shipments to previous neighbor and lovely friend rather than general delivery and being planted in same location for at least a month has allowed ordering massive amounts of toys in addition to project parts. Once finished with ortho this afternoon expect to go pickup what bits and bobs have arrived to begin playing with between eruptions of work.
Bone guy stopped short of suggesting that amputation and wooden peg are best alternatives for hip. He couldn't determine from x-rays so would have to cut leg open for third time to possibly do things like cutting off top of femur and installing a longer spike and ball, installing a double cup that if dislocated would require surgery to fix or some other reconstruction that sounded equally enticing. He's retiring soon with bad back so referred me to one of three other orthopods for additional good news and follow-up. May consider after Pacific trip done with idea to avoid infelicitous movements in precarious situations.
Speaking of which, looks like this year is a go for SV Freezing Rain to make trip from Hawaii to Alaska then Seattle even if British Columbia still closed in July/August. After additional time in the forty ninth state may just sail offshore from Ketchikan to Washington, about six hundred fifty NM - four over-nights, and blow off locked-down Canucks. BC's loss is Alaska's gain.
Two thirds of autopilot hardware now mounted awaiting rewiring and chain ready to be marked and installed once dirty, rusty locker swabbed. Anchors removed for re-galvanizing and three hundred fifty pounds of old chain moved to trunk in case extra traction is needed for snow. Jan noted car is front wheel drive, last ice age is well past and extra weight uses more fuel. May rethink strategy. Plotter remains backordered.
Costco eye center exams yesterday provided slightly altered prescription for Jan, who bought new glasses, and determined that additional crew is not significantly more blind than previously and will continue to stumble around using their cheapo cheaters for reading. Newly confirmed vision subsequently used to closely peruse every item on every aisle to buy the usual cart full of necessities including a truck load of toilet tissue (slight exaggeration) as it is apparently now widely available.
Jack & Jan