Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Check is in the Mail

Last week the very hot weather in California had some high breaking hot days. Luckily the surf was also breaking and three days were spent at the beach surfing and riding my (new to me) beach cruiser I had rescued from the creek. Lots of things go into the creek by our house beside golf balls and shopping carts. There are always scooters and bikes that get thrown in. Today I recovered a brand new basket ball while walking the dog. Maybe it was a LA Lakers fan saying his last farewell to the almost year around basketball playoffs. The found beach cruiser only needed a little straightening and mud removal, then the bars were shorten three inches on each side, a different seat (my butt is not that large) installed, some orange grips and several leftover stickers were added. When in doubt always add decals and they also can cover a board ding in an emergency. A couple of weeks ago a Hobie Henry Ford long board left my house to ride in the back of a very nice 56 Chevy 2 door wagon in exchange for some Franklin's. I had completely forgot the ding under the In and Out decal so I threw in a leash to finish the deal.

While in the water last week the dog was left to guard our belongings and protect but she failed as some small decals were applied to my decal-less van by our favorite rack builder Frank of Surf Works. The dog usually sleeps or watches the rabbits and squirrels out the window waiting patiently until she can get out and chase them. The dog has several friends that will stop by the van and take her out for a walk when she is on guard duty. Frank is one of her buddies so she probably helped him paste the decals on the van. Later to balance the added weight of the decals a Save Trestles sign was put in the starboard porthole to prevent heeling when blasting down PCH.

Saturday my departure off to the boat was delayed until Craig the mailman made his stop to discuss surfing San O but my interest was for the check in the mail. Of course the promised item didn't appear and my UPS shipment of an outboard bought on EBay wasn't expected on Saturday but it is probably stuck in the same black hole as the insurance check. Funny the insurance company keeps calling me for a "Customer Satisfaction Survey" and today a survey was in the mail. They do know how to survey but they have no idea what happen to the missing check or how to track it.

When we went out sailing Sunday it was foggy but you could see enough to navigate the channel and of course as the sun rose higher the fog was supposed to burn off. Apparently the sun was stuck in a black hole as almost four hours went by before we could see anything. Going out we came upon a trail of flowers floating in the harbor. My first mate surmised that somebody must be showing their respect for a lost one and since we were lost in the fog we never did see the source. Today, Wednesday, celebrates seven days the insurance check and the UPS shipment have spent together in the black hole and in Craig's postal deliver today there was a envelope marked "Free-Pre-Paid Cremation! DETAILS INSIDE" Now there must be some connection between the floating flowers in the fog Sunday and the Trident Mailer in the mailbox. The Trident's return address is Rapid City, South Dakota and that is a long way from any ocean. To me a classical Viking funeral with lots of flames and fire works sound like a lot more fun than just scattering ashes but how to do it when you sail single handed most of the time may be somewhat difficult to carry out. As that may take a lot of planning and thinking the idea may have to wait. Maybe the Trident Society knows how to do a Viking Farewell. I will note that question on their enclosed self-paid reply card and return it to them for suggestions.
Previous Word of the Day

a ranch or large farm in a Spanish-speaking country, esp. a plantation in tropical Spanish America.
[Origin: 1905–10; <> income from a property > the property itself), deriv. of OSp fincar to remain, stative deriv. of fincar (Sp hincar) to drive in, fix, sink (a nail), alter. of ficar

"After forty days, when the child is fully integrated into the community, the routine of going down to the fincas begins. From when I was very tiny, my mother used to take me down to the finca, wrapped in a shawl on her back."

FIRST VISIT TO THE FINCA. LIFE IN THE FINCA (Chapter IV) I, Rigoberta Menchu AN INDIAN WOMAN IN GUATEMALA (Winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Down The Drain

We are experiencing a drought here in California. Actually the word "we" should be "some" as their are those that don't experience they just use. My son was visiting the dentist today and while waiting I did some reading but the wait grew longer than expected so I walked to a park with lots of tall shade trees. It had been a while since visiting here and the trees have grown tall unlike so many that are over trimmed. When I returned to the office the manager saw my book and asked wondering how I came about reading it. The colorful cover of I, Rigoberta Menchu AN INDIAN WOMAN IN GUATEMALA translated by Ann Wright is dog eared and worn with many pages highlighted, margin marked and is stamped Campus Connections USED BOOK and the stack of bar code labels resembled the annual tag on my Volkswagen van license plate. One previous reader has circled various words and had written in Spanish their translations (this would be the inverse for me).

In Chapter X Menchu writes the following: "We worship --or rather not worship but respect-- a lot of things to do with the natural world, the most important things for us. For instance, to us, water is sacred. Our parents tell us when we're very small not to waste water, even when we have it. Water is pure, clean, and gives life to man. Without water we cannot survive, nor could our ancestors have survived. The idea that water is sacred is in us children, and we never stop thinking of it as something pure."

To the right of our driveway is a storm drain and cross the street there is an identical drain. On the the other side of the cross street there is another drain that dumps into the park. The county workers came and cleaned the trash out of the drains last week and with the bottoms of the drains clean I can hear the water running into the drain on the other side of the street most of the day. The water in the gutters doesn't run 24/7 as most people don't water late at night just mostly during the heat of the day when they should not.

Two weeks ago there was a broken sprinkler head that went off every morning like Old Faithful spraying the property owners car in the street but they didn't seem it worth the problem to repair it. Finally I caught the neighbor in her driveway and told her about it and she had a repair person come out and correct it. About the same time I e-mailed a picture of another Old Faithful to the city with the location of the problem. This sprinkler was not on a residential line and had much more pressure and a much higher geyser. The city replied that it was the responsibility of a Home Owners Association and the city contacted them, but the repair didn't happen, I contacted the city again and they told me how to contact the Home Owners Association which I did but they didn't think it was their property and the manager called the city back. Then city inspector when back out and painted a large orange arrow on the sidewalk so the sprinkler's location could be seen but didn't repair it. The city then e-mail me back that it was really on the property of the church next to the sidewalk. Then I e-mail the church and they had it repaired. While in conversing with the city it was suggested that I call the water district about the problem and maybe they could locate the proper person for repair. I understand the city reluctance to repair the broken sprinkler located on private property and the inability of the inspector to accomplish repair as inspector just inspect. The pictures shown are from four front yards that are over watered daily and those example seem typical and were taken without walking any distance. In one photograph the hose used for additional watering can be see. All of the closest four neighbors water with an additional sprinkler attached to their hose as they somehow feel that their lawns are not getting enough water. Maybe more concern will develop when it is too late.
Previous Word Of The day


British : a line of vehicles caused by a traffic slowdown or stoppage

More than 500 motorbike riders revved off in convoy from a service station outside Manchester at 8am and staged a "go-slow" demonstration against escalating prices at the petrol pump. Onlookers - and even those caught in the disruption - applauded in support as they sat in the major tailbacks on the M62 and M60 around Greater Manchester caused by the protest

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Looking For Good News

Last week my boat's bottom paint was finished and the transom was painted. Then it was lowered back into the murky water of Wilmington and I motored her over to my new berth in Cabrillo in San Pedro home of Hurricane Gulch. First I had to take my noble Nissan to Cabrillo, drop it off and ride my bicycle back to the boat. There are two routes possible and the shortest one is over two bridges. I have done a lot of stupid and dangerous things in my life but the only reason to try and cross the Vincent Thomas Bridge without the armor of an automobile is suicide and they have a fence to persuade you not to jump off. But if you tried to cross over it on a bicycle you would more than likely get struck my a truck hauling a container loaded with crap from China and spend your last remaining breaths being a skydriver with a bicycle. The other route involves crossing numerous railroad tracks that can eat a 700 road bike wheel and spit the rider flying into the path of a truck hauling a container loaded with crap from China. If you stroll the asiles of a Cosco, Wal Mart or Target remember that 7.85 million 40-foot cargo containers were handled by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach which is 44% of all goods imported by cargo containers into the United States.

I am not sure if my boat likes the new slip yet and how she is handling the removal of her name from the transom. My guess is she is glad to be in the company of some very nice looking boats and much closer to the open water. We were all set to take her out Saturday and my son was looking forward to it then a late night call from him Friday changed that. That is why I am looking for good news.

My good news for today is there are actually people riding their bicycles to work in the mornings. When the dog requires her service early in the morning I have been seeing riders on the bike trail that are not cyclists in training but honest souls that have switched from fossil fuels and today is the first time they have outnumbered the illegals and day workers. The other good news is a Congressmen talking about impeachment. Currently I am reading The Prosecution of George W. Bush For Murder by Vincent Bugliosi. The title is self-explanatory and the increased anger generated by reading it towards the Bush administration is only compounded after reading Al Gore's The Assault on Reason. Then there is the free newspaper I recover from my neighbor's driveway when he is traveling in his RV. Luckily the Los Angeles Times covers the paper with a plastic bag that's prevents it from being water logged by the sprinklers watering the driveway every morning and when they are gone I can catch up on Doonesbury. Several years ago my business was located in a building next to a distributor for the Los Angeles Times. He was an independent businessman that received the Times via truck each morning then combined the various supplements, bagged the paper in plastic if rain was predicted or it was actually raining. He had to pay for the plastic bags and that cost came out of his income. The Times would penalize him if he ever failed to bag and he was required to do so if rain was predicted. Today the paper is always bagged and I guess it is to prevent it from getting wet from overwatering and miss-directed sprinklers during our drought. In an earlier blog I mentioned the pros and cons of reading a newspaper and apparently George W. Bush doesn't read the newspaper either and relies on others to fill him in. My guess was that he didn't know how to read then I was informed that he was in a book reading competition with Karl Rove so my surmise was wrong. Both Gore and Bugliosi offer insights into the problems created my Bush's thinkings and countless others offer explanations for his behavior. More and more people are expressing a dislike for Bush's war and my opinion on the Iraq has never waffled, I have hated every minute of the war.

Now reading a headline that said, "WAR ENDED YESTERDAY" would be Good News but not one that reads "Bush Sends Troops to Iran".
Previous Word of theDay
Butt Call

When you have your IPhone or Berry in your rear pocket and you sit on it inadvertently placing a phone call.

After excepting an incoming call from my daughter there was no one there. I called her back and she said, "I am sorry dad it was just a butt call."

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dry Docked

My boat just spent Sunday sitting high and dry waiting to have her bottom groomed so instead of sailing the bounding main with my Russian sailor buddy I visited another sailing buddy in Dana Point that also possess the intelligence to be a proud Ericson owner. Her boat sits next to a Catalina, (having owned two of them) which makes her jewel shine brighter in comparison. After I bought my first sailboat someone informed me after the purchase not before that Catalina's were the Chevrolet of sailboats. The trip to Dana had a two fold purpose, one to visit my sailing buddy and the other was to go surfing.

In the morning the VW was loaded with all the stuff that I some how need to function. When I was a teenager we went to the beach in Santa Monica almost everyday and all we took was one towel to lay on and dry off with nothing else. So after loading what looked like a garage sale in the van I drove to the beach with the dog. Going to the beach is one of the hers favorite past time. She gets to hang out with all of her surfing friends, getting leftovers if someone is grilling and petting from strangers. After arriving and disembarking I discovered than someone had forgot to put the wetsuit in the van. Now as captain of a VW van one would think that the crew would pay more attention to important details but they apparently don't. I called my son at home and requested backup if he was gong to the beach but he had gone the day before and he just told me to "trunk it." That suggestion was declined as the surf was not big enough to warrant freezing my ass off. So our crew sat around bull shitting at the picnic tables.

One fellow who had just got out of the water informed me that he had been in for four hours without a wetsuit. This encouragement fell on deaf ears as I lacked the insulation or padding as he did. Most surfers that I talk to don't discuss much outside of surfing but our group fell in to a decent discussion of "what's wrong in the world today." I brought up some of the recent remarks my Robert Gates about how we can't help the people in Burma unless they allow us as the United States respects the sovereignty of other nations. As I was speaking my peace I referred to Dr. Gates as our Secretary of State and former Directory of the CIA. Later after rethinking my remarks I remembered that Gates is Secretary of Defense. Now I actually know a little about Burma and I would not drink beer or tea with Than Shwie but I do understand his reluctance to welcome aboard our Navy's warships. Here is a fellow who ran the CIA saying trust me, whose boss, the President is also the son of a former CIA Director. I just recently read Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi and she recalls the time spent there during the war between Iraq and Iran. I remember there was a war but really didn't recall much but with the Internet one can get so much information that was never available before. There are now realms of reading disclosures about the CIA if one cares to look them up and another tool available today that was not available when Iraq and Iran battled for eight years is Google. When I discover a foreign word or phrase when reading I Google with my IPhone instead of turning to the dictionary. What you can find is simply mind blowing.

Well in preparation today I will hangup my wetsuit in the van before setting out which will allow me to forget something else. In the month of May I have forgotten a pair of sox's, an inter tubes, numerous tools, clothing, phone, sun glasses (still at the boat), creams and lotions, you name it, I will forget.