Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I said "Larboard Matey"

Last month my senior daughter as in "not a senior in high school any more" gave me a few books off her boat's book shelf. The books were placed on my boat's book shelf for later reading. She has more book shelf's on her vessel than I do. She has more of everything on it except sails and I win that battle. The contents of any of her grog lockers would cause my tender to list. The first item to read was Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander which the cover say "the best sea-story I have ever read ." Sir Francis Chichester. My marina has a very nice library of books for lending and reading. O'Brian's saga of Captain Aubery R.N. and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon is a multiple book series containing fifteen novels so over five thousand pages can be used to fill in passage when the wind is still and the fog is heavy. The marina was missing Post Captain the second in the series so I picked up and started another series of naval battles by Douglas Reeman that was on the shelf. To find the remaining books about happy Jack I turned to E-Bay and won the bid on ten books of the series so I am now only missing four. Reeman book are quick to read and does not require a constant search for a reference. Oh, for those book by Willy that have a zillion footnotes. When I find an obscure word or expression to turn to my father's trusty OED that is half a zillion years old with thin pages and a torn cover. Oxford can cover most words and some expression but Google is available too. When searching Google you will often have the desired match plus many others which are often punk band names. Last night the "blue Peter" was ran up and now I also know of the longest running children British TV show.

It is difficult to interchange naval expressions or British navy slang in conversing unless you are talking to a pirate or speaking to someone three sheets to the wind after wetting a swab.

Of course you can use a strange word or expression and impress with your brilliant knowledge another person after you have to explain your cleverness. Most ropes on a boat have a specific name and I often explain their names to the mutant teenagers pressed aboard in lieu of gaol. All my sheets and lines are the same color (old) and I can't yell "grab the green or red one" when in a hurry but maybe after I have taken a few prizes like Captain Jack I will be able to had some color to the decks.

On my book shelf there is a sailing dictionary and in many cases the definition is shown as US or British. My theory is the different usage comes from the naval fighting in the fog, it would be easy to hear a Frog or a Spaniard across the water and figure friend or foe but after the tea party the colonist and the King's men spoke the same tongue.

For the unlikely hood that you have nothing to do figure out what these mean:

a farthing dip

bowl of neeps

run seaman

lascar crew


mumping villian

sponging house



Greta Green




brass rags

and figgy-dowdy

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Trapped in a House of Teenagers

Well the mutants are dwelling around our den again in great numbers. When I seek asylum at my boat for the weekend and return it reminds me of Little Red riding Hood sampling all the bears beds or The Wreck Of The Hesperus as my father used to say. Well there are the big wheels torn apart in the garage and the little plastic VW that has been lowered and the front wheels replaced with wider ones. Tools and parts laying everywhere, an extension cord running from the garage through the kitchen into the front room to power a PlayStation in front of the big screen. Outside the bean bags have made it to the trampoline and discarded energy drink are everywhere and the kitchen trash is full of fast food wrappers and there are pizza boxes with only the remains of unwanted garlic and Italian peppers laying on the counter top. This diet is remarkable as none of them are under six foot and lean still growing some with great abs and pecs. One's back is covered with recent ugly road rash after he had rolled the plastic VW sliding down a steep hill. Yesterday most of their time was spent riding bicycles over the dirt jumps my mutant son had built earlier in the year when it was cooler and now they had been filming again until it got too hot. So hot, dirty and sweaty they returned to the house fans and a/c to review the filming of today and that led to them watching a box of Sony Hi8 MP tapes made several years ago before he discovered editing which included them as a cast of twelve year old's crashing skateboards, bikes, shopping carts and mooning that could have used an Amtrak.
Then the backyard trampoline became the center of attention for a while collecting more jumpers through the open front door, then the portable disease moved towards the garage but the lord and master has sold one of their favorite little race motorcycle (it was so quiet) that they frequently abused which led to the use of other ones not so peaceful. The mutant whose back looked like a recent flogging, I also had taught to ride a motorcycle a couple of years ago, now wanted to ride one of the dirt bikes in the garage. He had just finished high school in June, has a job working in a tire store so maybe I could sell a dirt bike to him. Some of these mutants have been hanging around since grade school and follow my instructions just like they would from their own parents and ignore me in the same manner like my order "no wheeling" and his later shit eating grin "did you see my wheelies?" Somehow I manage to stay off the motorcycles and declined their well thought-out challenges and ventured out only on my skateboard. Things went down hill after that as the dog was pulling me on my longboard (skateboard) and she stopped and I got off to chase the board down the hill into the next street.
The next day the couch was covered with one large mutant wrapped in a very old Sesame Street Quilt with his cell phone plugged into its charger so he would not loose contact with his text message world even while sleeping all morning long. Another body, whose houses a school of tape worms that can never be happy, told me that his life purpose was to eat all of our foods with expired dates. I then offered him a bag of unopened Traders Joe's low fat pretzel sticks which he declined since there were not any dip to go with it. During the day the threat was raised to turn the main house breaker off if caught them watching Jerry Springer. Threats seldom work as later the former mayor from Ohio was on again without any watchers so I hid the remote. Then another mutant broke through the barrier placed in front of the front door armed with a stack of horror flicks. This (The Devil's Rejects by Rod Zombie) actually kept them quiet and scared for the length of the film but caused more hunger that required a run to get ice cream. Later after finishing their Baskin and Robbins they returned empty handed and started moving the big screen around until they broke the cable connector.
Now the cable repair requires a crimping tool and a garage search or a trip to the hardware store.
But an easier path is no more TV and no more Jerry.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

4th of July

The holiday has come and gone but the summer continues. Last Thursday after surfing and riding my bike along the beach the great rabbit chaser and I headed back inland where the temperatures would be warmer. The beach had been mostly fog and the sun was playing hide and seek for most of the day. As we passed the entrance to the south bound 5 interstate the traffic was backed up as the highway towards San Diego was halted and remained that way as we drove north until we exited. Oh the pleasures of the freeway. Do these people not know you could leave at another time? Before I become so critical of other I must admit when I arrived at the marina the next day I had never seen so many cars. Of course the city provides a fireworks display in Cabrillo and several streets were blocked off to prevent parking there.

At our last house I would display my grandfather's American flag in front of the house and would always receive compliments although no one every realized the flag had only 46 stars. If I explained it had only 46 the reply was typically "Oh, that was before Hawaii and Alaska." Actually history and geography is not taught in schools I say joking (our local high school just eliminated the geography teacher due to budget cuts) and the 46 state to be admitted was the Indian Territory of Oklahoma about a hundred years ago.

With our new to us 3.5 horsepower outboard the dog actually went out in our inflatable several times to see other dogs floating by. When the sun went down and the fireworks started she did not care for it at all and to be returned to the boat cabin away from the loud aerial burst.

Beside the various city sponsored firework displays there were several backyard or local street citizens that continued late in to the night causing my hairy first mate to grouse even in her cabin bunk. The next day their were fewer folks to see and the wind conditions were great as we went seaward. If you wait to late the wind in the gulch can kick up making a single handed departure tedious as the hairy first mate does nothing to help and must be lashed to the mast to prevent her jumping ship at the last moment. Upon our return in the afternoon we set out to visit others in our rubber dingy but the internal air supply for some reason wouldn't stay in place so our motoring to distance islands were held off until the leak could be found. A bucket of soap water and much searching found the pin hole causing the trouble so maybe next time we can go in search of grass skirts and ukuleles.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Cost of Cleaning Up

When the dog and I go out in the morning we take two plastic bags. One for her chores and one to hold the plastics bottles, beverage cans and quart beer bottles that adorn the curb side. The plastic and aluminum collection was getting out of hand in the backyard and the bottles also needed to be recycled but the glass weighed more that I felt like moving and there was no room left in the van for them. So we got an early start to the recycling drop-off behind the Ralph's store. Too early was the first result as they don't open until 10:30 A.M. so when I returned at the correct time there was no where to park and there were several customers waiting with their plastic bags and cardboard boxes lined up waiting for the attendant to set up his scales and weighting cans. There were several that were not novices and the queue was organized with the exception that all the material being recycled was blocking traffic through the narrow street behind the stores. The sorting and payment is not a speedy process and the sun was out and getting hot in the shadeless alley. The scale, small ticket printer and register is powered by a 12 volt car battery that is charged by a solar panel on top of the storage container which service as both a office and a container. Three customer went through the steps of loading the weighing cans and the placing them on the scale and receiving a recording for each different type of material. Several folks drifted over to the shade provide by the store wall and conversed in English or Spanish. Since my Spanish is less than a few words I was unable to hear if they were grousing. The real complaining started when the battery ran low and the scale quit. This happened with me at the head of the line. I asked what the hold up was and I thought he said "he needed more pallets." (that is not what he said) and another lady asked later as the attendant offered no explanation for the hold-up and was told "he needed the battery to charge". Obviously I had lost something in the translation which is par. Then what order that existed turned to disorder as the UPS truck could not navigate through all the recycle material blocking the alley, then several Ralph's employees got off work and could not get out of their parking places. Then some regulars with small bundles wanted their cans "comped". Then several people started loading their goods back into their not so new F150 pickups. My wiliness to hold out for my remittance starts to fade as my cell phone quit working. I had brought a book along to read but somehow just couldn't get started on it as I melted in the sun. Finally after 1 hour and 45 minutes I decided that this could be one of the reason so few people recycle. I left with my treasure sitting there and maybe it still there, I don't know.
Previous Word of the Day

"large number" (especially of fish), 1579, apparently identical with O.E. scolu "band, troop, school of fish," but perhaps rather a 16c. adoption of cognate M.Du. schole, both from P.Gmc. *skulo- (cf. O.S. scola "multitude," W.Fris. skoal), perhaps with a lit. sense of "division," from PIE base *skel- "to divide." Related to school "a crowd of fish" (q.v.). For possible sense development, cf. section from L. secare "to cut."

On the 16th of November, in the afternoon, we lost a boat during our work in a shoal of whales. I was in the boat myself, with five others, and was standing in the fore part with the harpoon in my hand, well braced, expecting every instant to catch sight of one of the shoal which we were in so that I might strike.

(Page 6) The Wreck of the Whaleship ESSEX by Owen Chase